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Hillary: Escalate in Afghanistan

[I'm very sad to hear just now of the passing of Art Buchwald, one of the most beloved figures in the history of The Washington Post and someone who showed such humor and grace in the past year. He was funny to the end, telling Ben Bradlee, "I just don't want to die the same day Castro dies." Here's the AP story. Here is an index of Buchwald's recent columns. And here's a profile of Buchwald by Rob Hiaasen of the Baltimore Sun.]

I parked myself by the exit of the Senate TV/radio gallery yesterday for the serial press conferences by presidential hopefuls. I'm not good in tight quarters (unlike the president I require an exit strategy) and the room was as packed as it's probably ever been, what with a huge issue (Iraq) colliding with enormous ambitions. Biden/Hagel/Levin were the warm-up act for Hillary (plus presidential despairer Evan Bayh and some Republican congressman who should have gotten the hint when, during his overly long summation, all the cameras stopped clicking).

Big-time political journalists jammed the room, including MoDo and the blogger formerly known as Wonkette. MoDo said hi to me -- her exact words were, "Hi" -- which I took to mean, "I love your blog and can't believe they give it away on the Internet for free."

Press conferences like this function on two levels, the legislative and the political. In terms of legislation, you have the Biden/Hagel/Levin proposal that has the meritorious attribute of being something the Foreign Affairs Committee might actually pass and send to the Senate for a vote. It has the demerit of being non-binding. Biden thinks Bush wouldn't be able to ignore it. Oh, really? This president? He doesn't even listen to his Dad.

The Clinton proposal, meanwhile, has the attribute of stopping the president's "surge," though it also has the significant demerit, as Dana noted today in his Washington Sketch, of having no chance of passage in the Senate (best sound bite of the day, from Hillary: "I can count").

Meanwhile there's the presidential politics overlay that obsesses all of us (I wouldn't pretend to be above it), and causes the news coverage to cite the influence of people who weren't even on hand, specifically Senator Obama.

Kudos to Howie this morning for citing something that didn't get quite enough emphasis in most media coverage: Hillary called for more troops in Afghanistan. This was not a passing comment, but a major thrust of her remarks (echoed by Bayh and Rep. McHugh). She warned that the spring thaw will bring renewed fighting that could topple the Karzai government. Such a position may be a nifty piece of triangulation, as Kurtz writes, but it didn't sound like a politically calculated position so much as an honest appraisal of a situation that she and her two colleagues had just seen with their own eyes. Though obviously it raises the question of why Afghanistan wouldn't also turn into a quagmire.


'Now this may be a carefully considered judgment that Iraq is a quagmire-like civil war that is all but lost, while defeating the Taliban is still a strong possibility if we help the Kabul government. But it also has the effect of signaling to voters: I may be against further escalation in Iraq, but I'm not against military deployment when it serves our interests. The first part will appeal to Democratic primary voters (though not as much as advocating withdrawal), the second to general election voters who might be wary of a female commander-in-chief.'

[On Sen. Clinton's website you can read the text of her remarks and see the video. Excerpt:

'I believe our priorities are upside down. Afghanistan is a success story thus far, and yet we know it's going to be under increasing pressure in the months ahead. We should be adding more American military forces and we should be requiring the NATO countries to fulfill their commitments to the forces that they had promised us.

'In Iraq, the prescription is the opposite. Rather than an escalation of U.S. troops, which I do not believe will contribute to long-term success in Iraq, we should be beginning a phased redeployment of U.S. troops as a way to put pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own security and future.

'The President is sending mixed signals. He has finally said that this is not an open-ended commitment in Iraq, but he is providing the Iraqis with an open-ended presence of American troops. We need to change course.

'It would be a great irony if the Administration's emphasis on escalating our presence in Iraq caused it to ignore the threat facing Afghanistan where those responsible for planning the September 11 attacks are still our enemies. The President's team is pursuing a failed strategy in Iraq as it edges closer to collapse and Afghanistan needs more of our concerted effort and attention.']

[From a long piece on Sen. Clinton in the latest Weekly Standard: "To this point, she and her advisers have run a savvy undeclared campaign based on locking up early support and raising money while preparing for a general election in which the candidate, a polarizing figure, can be cast in a moderate light. The biggest threat to that strategy would be a Democratic primary fought on the left over Iraq. After all, war has derailed presidential frontrunners before." Example: Muskie 1972.]

[In the New York Times, Sen. Clinton tells reporter Patrick Healy, "I am cursed with the responsibility gene. I am. I admit to it. that you've got to be very careful in how you proceed with any combat situation in which American lives are at stake."]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 18, 2007; 9:38 AM ET
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Next: The Gender Test


When I said I'd hoped Joel would write something about Buchwald (in the last Boodle) I didn't mean that he should write the same thing I wrote!

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is right - we do need more troops in Afghanistan. It's a scandal they were even pulled out. Afghanistan is a place where American military power can really do some good. Yet if we keep ignoring it, you will see a Taliban resurgence that really does represent a threat to the West.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

And Afghanistan won't be a quagmire because the vast majority of people in that country do not want to see the Taliban return to power. Here, most of the people really are on our side.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I thought the war on terrorism was centered in Afghanistan. I mean isn't that the whole reason we're fighting? I'm probably confused, and for me, is that anything new?

Look outside the apartment complex, and every car is gone. I don't know if there is an evacuation or people just had somewhere to go. Nasty weather to be in.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Kurtz deftly shows how many news outlets (notice I didn't say "the MSM") constantly imply that every word or action taken by Ms. Clinton is done as a result of careful political calculation. "Isn't it interesting that these papers barely allow for the possibility that Clinton is doing what she believes is right?" Thank you, Howard. Now if we can deal with this urban myth about how Clinton is "divisive" without even saying anything resembling the scorched-earth partisanship of, um, certain other politicians. I'm not sure I support her candidacy yet, but my ultimate decision will be based on her positions and qualifications, not shallow assessments of her charactor or ambition.

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"...MoDo said 'Hi' to me..." You're a master of the art of understatement, Joel. Thanks for the laugh. I've been reading Kurtz's colume daily for a long time. The White House Briefing, Media Notes and the Achenblog all provide a look at events that either miss the majority of the MSM reports, or aren't elaborated upon for days after the event. IMHO, anyway.

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Saw this a while ago and didn't post the link as it is heavy Canadian content. It is the summary written by the Canadian comedian Rick Mercer, (same guy who played the drums with Rush). He went to Afganistan to visit the troops for Christmas, I found it an interesting summation of the lives of the Canadian troops serving in Afganistan.

A humour glimse into the lives of the troops and a small insight into the conditions there.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"...MoDo said 'Hi' to me..." You're a master of the art of understatement, Joel. Thanks for the laugh. I've been reading Kurtz's column daily for a long time. The White House Briefing, Media Notes and the Achenblog all provide a look at events that either miss the majority of the MSM reports, or aren't elaborated upon for days after the event. IMHO, anyway.

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, CowTown... I like the way you said that (your 10:45).

Has anyone noticed it seems like there is more coverage of the daily violence in Iraq? Today's news on every station seemed to lead off with reports of bombings in Baghdad even though they seem to happen every day. No more small item at the end of a broadcast along with the stock market numbers.

I'm glad more attention is being given. Could you imagine the noise a bomb that kills 10 people in a marketplace in most world cities would make?

Well, yeah.. kaboom... but you know what I mean.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

GEEK...double posted in an attempt to catch SCC...*slinking back into the shadows*

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you met MoDo? In person? *swoon*

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - you are quite right. Afghanistan is all about putting down the Taliban - who harbored UBL and Al Qaeda. Iraq was, in my opinion, a costly and terrible diversion that never had a thing to do with terrorism.

I assert that part of the domestic support for the President is the inability of people to differentiate between our intervention in Iraq and our efforts to suppress AQ in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

What little I've seen about Afghanistan indicates the government has taken root. Unfortunately for Sen. Clinton, her every utterance will be taken as triangulation.

Iraq increasingly looks like Denmark at the end of Hamlet, except in addition to Norwegians, there's Polish, English, Finnish, and maybe even some Magyar invaders on hand, and each invader has local supporters. How about Hamlet II, where the Norwegians get all the abuse and non of the booty?

How is it that the Post has Kurtz, Froomkin, Milbank, and Morley? Amazing resources.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 18, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I must admit I get a little hot under the collar about Afghanistan. I mean, we were doing everything right there. Feeding the people. Building coalitions between tribes. Helping to establishing decent institutions. And then, in the mistaken belief that since Afghanistan was easy, Iraq would be too, resources and attention was pulled away. I just hope that support for Afghanistan doesn't wane. That would truly be a tragedy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

SCC "were pulled"

Hey - Busy afternoon for me, so have a great BPH!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Not only does Joel give his blog away for (italics)FREE(/italics), he gives away his column as well.

According to the flypaper theory, we drove all the terrorists out of Afghanistan where they moved through Iran to attack our troops in Iraq so that the Mall of the Americas would never get bombed. So far so good, as long as you don't place much value on the 3000 American lives that have been used as a Judas Goat.

Ted Rall today suggested that Baghdad is safer than Baltimore.

I took umbrage.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Lately I think there are some Senators who maybe should just stay in the Senate. Al Gore, had he been a Senator from '93 through 2000, might have made a bigger impact than he did as VP.

John Edwards. Need I say more?

Also lately I have come to desire a strong President with political power and punch. One on my side, specifically. This puts me at odds with people such as my neighbor who is a Ron Paul fan. Now, setting aside the whole Libertarian issue, would not such a President, with modest party-machine capability to say the least, be to Jimmy Carter as Jimmy Carter was to LBJ?

I want a President who agrees with me but has the punch of Kennedy (with actual electability, and less grime, please!). Or Hillary. (But not a stealth corporatist, please!)

So when they say "Obama!" I just smile. I predict Obamamania will be a dim memory by spring '08.

I want Al Gore! Run, dang it, run!

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Yellowjkt, Your blog entry today was great. But, what is Ted Rall talking about anyway? He fires his guns in all directions so it's hard to tell what his position is on anything.

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Yello, that Ted Rall for you. One either likes him or take umbrage. I'm afraid there is no middle ground there. Personally speaking, I like Baltimore, especially the wharf district.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

yello... that "safer than [insert your favorite US city here]" bull has been floating around for awhile now.

Seems that someone found some statistics that showed that IRAQ (the entire country, not it's capital city) is statistically safer than [insert US city here]. Most often, it's DC they're comparing it to.

So an entire country of 25 million people in 170,000 square miles is being compared to a city with half a million people in 61 SQUARE MILES.

But of course, we're talking about folks who believe that saying something makes it true.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

correction: that's

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I think Ted has his tongue firmly in cheek. It just bugs me that ever since The Wire or even Homocide, Baltimore is the go-to reference for urban decay.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Comic book version of geopolitics on the Hill, comic book version of geopolitics echoed in the Kit, comic book version of geopolitics in the Boodle. Gore Vidal, who wrote an essay titled "Bad History" must be laughing his head off.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

yello says:"It just bugs me that ever since The Wire or even Homocide, Baltimore is the go-to reference for urban decay." Well, it's probably that is is safer to shoot a show in Baltimore than Detroit or New Orleans.
Afghanistan is the perfect opportunity to show the West resolve in dealing with real terrorist. That is not good that NATO meeting after NATO meeting failed to bring actual reinforcement to the 32800 troops already there or even, in the case of Italy, France and Germany, to convince the member to send troops in the "hot" areas. Transport helicopters & aircraft and very mobile combat units are badly needed. A renforcement of 21000 would achieve a lot in Afghanistan but it doesn't seem to be headed that way.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 18, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Your point in your obscure 11:58 being what, exactly, Anonymous?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

There are these interesting comic books from Japan, "manga", with all sorts of interesting art and story lines (some are pretty weird). They call them "graphic novels" now. Hey, a graphic novel Kit & Boodle - can we get a drawing feature on this? Along with our italics?

When you read Biden/Hagel/Levin very quickly, it may register as Bagel/Levin.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 18, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking of them as Bin Hagin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, indeed.

Who said "seven seas?" I decided to actually count them.

Arabian, Arafura, Aral, Sea of Azov
Banda, Baltic, Barents, Beaufort, Bering, Bellinhausen, Black
Caribbean, Caspian, Celebes, Chukti, Coral
Sea of Japan
Sea of Okhotsk
Red, Ross
South China
Tasman, Timor

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LostInThought | January 18, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Alas, a noble effort counted in vain, Jumper. Back in the old days when I was just a wee lad (before the 15th century or thereabouts), the term "seven" sometimes just meant "a lot" or "several," and there were seven main seas then commonly known and named, and which an old salt might be supposed to have ventured upon: Red, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Adriatic, Caspian, and the Indian Ocean (which of course was not a "sea" at all).

Of course, this was all from a somewhat Eurocentric perspective, and yer average swabbie never heard of most of them thar seas you be countin' up, see? A lot of 'em are named for people who weren't even born until the 18th century (Beaufort, Bering, etc.)

If they'd just waited a few hundred more years, they could have discovered and added the baribbean Sea to the list, which would have given them access to "the Spanish Main." (Oh, now that thar's a tale I could tell, ye can believe!!)

Ol' Master Wikipedia his own self claims the term goes back as far as 2,300 BC, to the Sumerians (who were a little before my time).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Cortez (Mar de Cortéz?)

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 18, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Caribbean

And you left out the White Sea, the Sea of Love, and the Sea of Tranquility, which to my knowledge has no boardwalk, no beaches, no sand crabs, no saltwater, no saltwater taffy, no tides, and doesn't allow swimming without a lifeguard (no place you'd want to visit with the wife and kids, in other words). (Of course, you well might not want to go to a lot of the other ones, either.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Whew!! I'm through the worst of the day...

*counting the minutes to BPH*

Beaufort has a Sea AND a Scale?? Some people have all the luck...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, they CALL it a "sea"

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. This is geting deeper and deeper, so to speak. Here's a site that lists no less than 85 seas, subdivided up into areas.

Among the better known ones are the Sargasso, Ionian, Sea of Marmara, Java, Bismark, and Dead. Plus a whole bunch even I never heard of. To me the list sounds like that self-esteem thing where everybody gets a sea named after them: Irish Sea, Sea of Crete, Tyrrhenian Sea, the Labrador Sea, etc. Take a major sea or ocean and parcel out a bunch of little sub-seas to keep everyone happy. Sea of the Hebrides. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yellojkt
Thanks for defending Bawmer Hon.
I have seen O'malley's March several times while enjoying a crab cake and some green beer.

Posted by: bawmerboy | January 18, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

A man so nice they honored him twice, scotty.

Now that you mention it, I do feel the beginnings of an attack of scurvy coming on, the cure for which may need to be another dose of antiscorbutics late this afternoon. Wonder if M&S can do a caipirinha?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Not only do I not agree with Hillary that we need to escalate in Afghanistan; I opposed the original military action that was a reaction to the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. Those attacks were not planned and executed by the Taliban, nor were they implemented by citizens of Afghanistan, much less the military forces of that country. The terrorist attacks were not comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and war was not the appropriate response.

Sometimes when I feel so far out of the mainstream and "everybody" seems to think that military action can lead to peace and justice, I consider that I might be crazy, after all.

But I don't really need my Bible study group or my work colleagues or the boodle to agree with me in order to believe that I am right. I imagine a study group that includes Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, and George Orwell. I wouldn't even need to bring in Gandhi and Dr. King and Eugene Debs. The literary guys could handle this issue. Vonnegut saw WWII; Twain saw the Civil War. Orwell was up-close and personal with British imperialism, and the other misuses of military force of his day. They all produced art out of their experiences, so even though their respective worldviews could be characterized as pessimistic or cynical, the act of creation itself belies the attitude and affirms their underlying hope that a better world is possible after all.

But that better world will not be created by means of violence and terror.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Checked it for errors, but didn't sign it.

Big SCC.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 18, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

As Jasper might have said in that episode of the Simpsons where a bunch of adults end up teaching at the school:

"Unsigned boodling - that's a paddlin'."

Posted by: byoolin | January 18, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What about the Aegean or Ionian seas?


Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bah, Mudge, that link of seas is incomplete.

None of these lists the Emergen in Iraq, the Falla on the White House grounds (which has a bad el Nino effect on the Lega in Crawford), the Pira in the Carrebean, the Pharma up in New York, the Papa in Rome, the Delica in France, and [drum roll please]... the Candide up on the Hill.

Thank you, thank you very much.
I'll be this goofy all day, be sure to taunt me at the BPH this evening.


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The big P word--Pakistan, not to mention the Pashtuns, the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Harzara. Throw in the Tunisian Combat Group for good measure.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Tsk, tsk, bc. For you of all people (except maybe ScienceTim) to have left out the moon seas, aka luna. Or the additional/removable medical ones, the appenda.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Hippocra, Inconsistent, Aybee, and so on and so forth...

Posted by: byoolin | January 18, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

And, of course, from "The Crimson Permanent Assurance," the Accountan.

It's fun to charter an accountant
And sail the wide accountancy,
To find, explore the funds offshore
And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy!

It can be manly in insurance.
We'll up your premium semi-annually.
It's all tax deductible.
We're fairly incorruptible,
We're sailing on the wide accountancy!

Posted by: byoolin | January 18, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

A number of us here on the boodle are 1918 Spanish Flu mavens, and that being the case, I draw your attention to this somewhat interesting article at

I kept waiting for the piece to tell me something I didn't know, the main thesis of it being well covered in John Barry's book "The Great Influenza." The main thing I can see is only that the team of researchers mention proved using monkies what Barry's book explains: the deadly "cytokine storm" generated by the body's immune system was as deadly as the flu itself.

One interesting sidelight is that antibiotics exist today that would have alleviated the bacterial infections that caused the cytokine storm response. So the very same flu today would be approximately only half as deadly as it was in 1918, since we can now cure the bacterial part, if not the viral component. (Assuming there's enough medicine, of course).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, from what I read in the article, the anti-biotics wouldn't avert the cytokine storm. They'd just prevent bacteria from opportunistically infecting the tissue damaged by the storm in the first place.

Posted by: Josh | January 18, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, from what I read in the article, the anti-biotics wouldn't avert the cytokine storm. They'd just prevent bacteria from opportunistically infecting the tissue damaged by the storm in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with your ideals, kbertocci (1:39), I respectfully disagree with you on Afghanistan.

You state that "Those attacks were not planned and executed by the Taliban, nor were they implemented by citizens of Afghanistan, much less the military forces of that country."

On the surface, that's true. However, by all appearances, the Afghan government at the time (the Taliban) willingly provided a safe haven for terrorists that had already launched attacks (USS Cole, Kenya). It wasn't as if no one knew the goals of those terrorists; yet the Taliban chose to support them anyway. Once the Taliban made that choice, to my mind they are as responsible for attacks as was the Japanese government for the Pearl Harbor attack.

Therefore, as I see it, if there is any such thing as a "just" war, Afghanistan is an example of one. You can make the argument that war is never justified (and you seem to be doing so); in principle I agree. Yet history does not seem to favor the moral high ground--most of history seems to be littered with the eradication of relatively peaceful societies by more war-like antagonists. Sometimes, violence is so insane and irrational that it can only be met with violence, as distasteful as that may be.

Posted by: Dooley | January 18, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Mudge, that link you provided mentions the Lunar Mares, so I decided to skip 'em.

I didn't forget them though.

I will mention the Martian Mares, Erythraeum, Sirenum and Aurorae Sinus (don't get *that* seawater up your nose), though. I know you'd enjoy plowing the Martian waves in Scribe, with DT sunning herself on the foredeck in a yellow bikini.


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, i agree that we are in murky territory regarding just war criteria and the like, but could you elaborate on the statement "The terrorist attacks were not comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor"?

the casualties were in the same ballpark, and the terrorist attacks actually seem worse to me because their goal was maximum civilian casualties instead of taking out military targets.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 18, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

LA Lurker, I think what kbertocci means is that the terrorist attacks were carried out by individuals, not at the order of a country's actual government a la Pearl Harbor.

Yes, the Taliban harbored the Al Qaeda members responsible, but the Taliban did not order the attacks.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

My bad, Josh. Thanks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

MoDo and DT in one Boodle??

RDP must be in heaven...

And I ain't that far off.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Of course, kbertocci can speak for herself.. Sorry kb..

(And I can't believe I gave up a chance to use the words "vis a vis"--I LOVE that expression).

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, look who had to retract an article!>1=8921


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sea Sea Rider counts as two, right? And Chel sea, too; Middle Sea and High Sea, and Sea brook (doubly wet, but single sea)...there's lots of new ground available, should any of you care to follow up (or down).

Posted by: Medallion of Ferret | January 18, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Sea Sea Rider counts as two, right? And Chel sea, too; Middle Sea and High Sea, and Sea brook (doubly wet, but single sea)...there's lots of new ground* available, should any of you care to follow up (or down).

*Get it? "Ground" for "Seas". Hahahaha!

Posted by: DemoticVirgin | January 18, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

i don't know enough about just war theories to know where harboring the enemy fits in the scale of considerations, but making a blanket statement "they cannot be compared" seems debatable since they were both successful attacks on u.s. territory.

(p.s. vis-à-vis is great expression!)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 18, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The Taliban made one of the most serious mistakes a state can make by openly harboring a group of ill-meaning thugs intent on creating mayhem in other states. Old buddy Gaddafi of Libya made the same mistake for the longest time when the state gave asylum to Action Directe, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ETA and other assorted terrorist organizations. Libya wasn't invaded but had to suffer through repeated attacks by various states, which weren't too pleased with its behavior. It is a tragedy that innocent people die in these attacks while the leaders lie protected in their bunkers but states have a right to self-defense, so to speak. Afghanistan is still salvageable but the locals are losing patience with the continued corruption of their government and the lack of progress in the reconstruction. The earlier the military phase is shut down by a strong push against the Taliban the better imo. The Taliban were also the clowns blowing-up everything that wasn't Muslin in the country, including secular schools, schools for girls, art, historic castles, etc. There was already a strong Afghani resistance against them already, the US intervention was the (overwhelming) tipping point.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 18, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert, BTW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I added some additional material to the kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

As opposed to just adding material. This is ADDITIONAL material that I added. Which makes it special.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The Taliban is not a state.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

No, TBG, you go ahead--my credibility has to be kind of low since half the time I can't even remember to type my name in the little box.

My thinking is that the way to deal with terrorism is to treat it as a "crime against humanity"--join with other countries to combat it. The approach of using our military muscle to attempt to solve every problem has only led to our being isolated from the rest of the world; the U.S. has never been held in lower esteem than it is right now. Meanwhile, we're spending money we do not have, thereby losing ground every day to China, which will be the new world power before you can turn around twice, and in the end we won't get to own the middle east oil anyway.

Even if it worked as a strategy, I would be opposed to war because I don't think the ends justify the means. But my point is, it DOESN'T work. What China is doing, that's what works: work hard, pay cash, be the lender, not the borrower, be more of a producer than a consumer. That is more or less how America became a world power, but our day is done and now we're just desperately trying to hold on to something we can no longer afford.

[Maybe I need to spend more time watching American Idol and less listening to NPR, ya think?]

Posted by: kbertocci | January 18, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Adding old material would be plagiarism, natch...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Nothing has inspired me here, except Baltimore. I yearn for Balimore, hon. Oysters on the half shell in the Lexington Mkt. Old Bay seasoning inflaming fingers scratched from tearing apart a mound of big blue crabs.... The poor Chesapeake Bay. It's not a sea, but think of the sea change that could have occurred had the monies wasted in Iraq been used for Chesapeake Bay improvement and/or our poor education system both at the primary and university level. Afghanistan, whether a good or bad idea, and I know it's a tired subject, but I can't get away from Tora Bora and the imbecilic notion of allowing locals to perform perimeter security when they knew Bin Laden was there. It's almost as if they wanted him to escape. Hey! Don't get me started.

Posted by: (Sheepish) Dave | January 18, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Scotty; Consumer Reports reported incorrect or misleading information?


It's a good thing that the fine, noble, attractive, brilliant, upstanding crusaders for public highway safety and All That is Good and Wholesome to Right Thinking Americans at the NHTSA brought this to light and forced the retraction.

Seriously, at least they're retracting the article. Good on the NHTSA for callin' 'em on it.

[Please note that I did not use the word "shenanigans" anywhere near the words "Consumer Reports". Thank you.]


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Antibiotics don't work against viruses.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The Weekly Standard, Billy Kristol's rag? Gag me.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Interesting link, there, scotty. Looks like Consumer Reports screwed up big time. That's going to be a major blow to their credibility. I'm sure the people at DOT and NHTSA in particular are all a-buzz about it. They've been steadily hammered for the last two weeks by that CR "study." Of course, the retraction will probably run on page 27 of most newspapers.

Getting blurry... hands beginning to tremble...liver spots reupting upon my lily-white flesh...anybody know what the Eight Deadly Warning Signs of Scurvy are? I may have three or four of them already... my normal collagen synthesis, which depends upon the hydroxylation of proline and lysine residues in my endoplasmic reticulum [don't ask] to form hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, respectively, seems to be failing. My prolyl and lysyl hydroxylase, the enzymes that catalyze the hydroxylation reactions, require vitamin C as a cofactor. In cases of chronic deficiency, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine are not formed in appreciable amounts, which is EXACTLY what seems to be happening to me, e'en as we speak (OK, type)! I believe I must soon suck upon the juice of the lime (and some french fries and a burger couldn't hurt; I skipped lunch, ya know).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

My sister just sent me something she wrote and is sending to all of her friends and family...

A child of the 60's in suburban Washington, DC, I avoided the countless demonstrations that, eventually, helped to end the Vietnam War. Since then, I have been comfortable feeling that I am too educated, too busy, and too claustrophobic to simply be a body in a sea of people trying to make a point to a disinterested audience.

These past few years, I find myself both fearful and incredibly angry that our President is out of control. After ignoring the UN to invade Iraq he now says outright that he doesn't even need the support of Congress to continue his mission. We voters sent a clear message last November and he, amazingly, thinks it didn't apply to him.

My conservative friends are very actively wringing their hands over the cost of health care they might have to bear for illegal immigrants. This war has already cost $660 billion, more than the cost of all those years in Vietnam, off-budget and borrowed from foreign nations. With the interest our children and grandchildren will be paying on that mounting debt, you could probably buy health insurance for every illegal immigrant that ever lived. You could cure some diseases, perhaps educate people to make them productive rather than dangerous. You could buy some really tasteful wedding gifts for gay couples.

You could put all that money and all those human resources into finding Osama Bin Laden and creating sophisticated and effective methods of defending our country against the true threat of terrorism.

3000 American soldiers have already died fighting "for Iraqi freedom" and generating international hatred, the unknown effects of which could hurt us some day. We've allowed tens of thousands of civilian Iraqis to die, with no end in sight.

I don't know how likely it is that a draft will ensue, but my sons are of age and if it happens it will be too late for me to say "Oh, dear! This is really bad!"

Friends asked me to march on Washington next Saturday, January 27 and I naturally recoiled. Marching is for college kids, not for grownups like me. It won't matter, Bush won't pay attention, the White House will smirk from inside its comfortable walls while I'm in a crowd of dummies wrapped in wool scarves and wearing sensible shoes.

But . . . what if everyone came? What if everyone that feels like I do left their homes on January 27, locked the door, got into a car/bus/train/plane, and come to the streets of DC? What if millions of people were there, people just like me that say this madness has to stop? Not young, unwashed, drugged out, overly dramatic hippies, people easily ignored by a conservative 60's America, but we doctors, lawyers, CPA's, writers, teachers, parents . . . not just voters but campaign contributors and fundraisers.

The newspapers would crow "Millions March on Washington!!" Congress would notice it. And wouldn't even the White House have to notice it? Millions of people?

On Saturday, January 27, I am going to my very first demonstration, proud to be a body in a sea of people that the White House will want to ignore, hoping that many millions of others just like me will leave their homes, lock the front door, and head to DC to tell the President, in the words of my late Thea Kiki, and with or without her Greek accent: STOP IT.

Assemble on the Mall,
between 3rd and 7th Streets, at 11 am.
March will kick off at 1pm.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Cursed with the responsibility gene." Very nice. I think I'll use that one on the Boy. Perhaps I'll imply that he has inherited the responsibility gene, and should accept (dare I say take responsibility for?) the curse.

I agree with RD and others, including Senator Clinton, about the importance of Afghanistan. I could never understand why, for all funding and staffing intents and purposes, we abandoned that effort -- which was WORKING -- for this misadventure in Iraq.

Thanks, bc, for the goofiness. Other seas: Transparen, Obdura, Obstina, Ecsta, Inconstan.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 18, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Combining the previous topics of singing and the seven seas, Mudge, here is a tune-coutie just for you:

Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho!
It's a long, long way to go.
It's a long, long pull with our hatches full,
Braving the wind, braving the sea,
Fighting the treacherous foe;
Heave Ho! My lads, Heave Ho!
Let the sea roll high or low,
We can cross any ocean, sail any river.
Give us the goods and we'll deliver,
Damn the submarine!
We're the men of the Merchant Marine!

Wish I could join you. Maybe next time. (Gotta go play nurfe to my wife wif a toofache)

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 18, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Y'all enjoy that BPH now, y'hear?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 18, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

bc, you made do a rare double snort with a two-and-a-half guffaw in pike position.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

11:58, you are correct: antibiotics don't work against viruses. However, your implication that Curmudgeon is too dim to know that fact, is incorrect. He specifically noted that antibiotics would have been useful against opportunistic secondary infection by bacteria and would thereby have decreased (not prevented) overall morbidity in the 1918 Pandemic. Or is it an Epidemic? I can never remember with confidence.

What's your beef about quoting from the Weekly Standard? Whether you approve of their editorial stance or not, they are a player in the reporting and opining biz, and merit serious consideration, including serious refutation if/when that is called for. If it is your opinion that their reportage is meaningless nonsense, it might be more productive if you say that clearly. Do you have a disagreement with the specific excerpt that the Great and Powerful Az quoted above? Are you contending that the quote gives them more deference than they are due? I don't think that anyone here is giving the Weekly Standard great credence for its Voice of Authority.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 18, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Son of CP is indisposed, so I won't be boodling in person (sounds like the famous library in London I can never spell correctly).

But the sliver lining is that we have been watching Cosmos -- in honor of Mr. Sagan who is now part of the induction team facing Mr. Buchwald.

Rent COSMOS or buy it. Poetry and science together work wonders.

Cassandra, I find study of the cosmos to be deeply spiritual.

Psalm 8:
Oh Lord
Our Lord
How wonderful is your name
Over all the heavens.......

In the opening sequence is a musical note phrase, I counted four notes, that can be the beginning of many tunes, including the old standard hymn
How Great Thou Art.

The tune to that, by the way, is a Swedish folksong. In a small Lutheran Church near Bemidji, MN in the early 80s, I heard that song sung at such a clip. FAST. FAST. Almost dance-able and such a contrast to the ponderous pace usually plinked out for that hymn.

Boy has a list of wikipedia topics now, including:
*Prime numbers
*Scientific notation and the number prefixes.

He turned to me saying the Carl does not really know that Pluto is not a planet but a Pluton....but then said, I guess he would get the message in heaven.

Boodle in earnest, dear travelers. Lift a glass for Art B. His humor was always such a gentle gift.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Don! Another great chorus to a sea dog song:

And the ocean winds may blow
and the stormy seas may flow
While we poor tars stand watch upon the decks,
while the land-lubbers lie down below
While the land-lubbers lied down below.

Navy brother taught us several (clean) ditties.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to see anyone's endoplasmic reticulum. And keep your ectoplasmic reticula where they belong, in the sixth dimension.

Posted by: Yoki | January 18, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, the 4:00 strikes me as reason to test-fire the zapper...

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm off to the BPH! Hope to see as many people as possible there!


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

it worked, Joel.

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

What! What got zapped! I bet it was naughty! *giggling like a 7-year-old*

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

Speaking of zapping:

Arms war in space anyone?

Posted by: Tangent | January 18, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Darn! I missed it! Can somebody whisper it? Pass me a note at the BPH?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I want a zapper. Can you get one on e-Bay?

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"One interesting sidelight is that antibiotics exist today that would have alleviated the bacterial infections that caused the cytokine storm response."

It's the virus that causes the cytokine storm response.

The body's immune system consists of two major types of white blood cells: T and B cells. B cells produce tailor-made antibodies that help the body remember and quickly respond to invaders, and T cells are responsible for patrolling the body, seeking out and destroying diseased cells.

When the lungs are infected with the flu virus, the T cells release chemical signals that cause them to stay longer in the lungs. However, more T cells are always arriving, and they in turn release more signal and stay longer in the cells, leading to a build up of T cells and chemical signals. This is called a "cytokine storm" and it is thought that this causes damage to the lungs.

Dr. Tracy Hussell, from London's Imperial's Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection says, "During flu infection the immune system has an 'all hands on deck' attitude to the viral assault. But it's this that causes most of the damage. The exaggerated immune response produces inflammatory molecules that lead to what's known as a 'cytokine storm'. Essentially too many cells clog up the airways and prevent efficient transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream."

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Want to read an artful example of Right Wing Perfidious Buckpassing? This is the best I've seen:,0,3419763.story?coll=la-home-commentary

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It was a puerile (even by our standards!) reference to the Lewinsky case. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Electric Horseman" is a hoot. Both Redford and Fonda are great and Willie Nelson is extraordinary. He made up the "trailer hitch" line that still makes me fall out of my chair when I hear it.

Posted by: pj | January 16, 2007 08:27 PM

Double standards.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Book World had a similarly scathing review of that book, too, Cows.

Fading fast...abandoning ship now, scotty and bc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, Warren Bass in the Post's Book World eviscerated that book:

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Man you gotta be fast around here...

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Raising a glass of refreshing beverage to the boodlers' health righ now, cin cin.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 18, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Sea link, Mudge! I'll incorporate them into my seacabulary.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Raising a fine, refreshing Cuban cigar to the Boodlers' health right now.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Would someone tell me once and for all, were we Americans blowing up Japanese submarines before Pearl Harbor, or was the one we sunk that very morning the first one we sunk?

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Howdy CowTown, how's it pokin'?
So the CIA's installation of the Shah in 1953 had nothing to do with present-day Mideast turmoil. I guess it all depends on how far back one wants to go. Jon Stewart had a guy on the other night who quoted McClellend (sp?) of Civil War fame (fired by Lincoln), who after touring the Middle East said the Middle East is different from America and until the U.S. recognizes that fact, we'll never be able to deal effectively with those Islamic states. I think this gets back to Geo Bush wanting to sew the seeds of democracy there only to watch it flourish like the little gardener boy he aspires to be back at Crawford.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

posted by Dave

Posted by: Dave | January 18, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

(You sure ask a lotta questions for someone from New Jersey - Roseanne Roeseannadana)

I'm looking for a crazy movie I saw a long time ago. Don't know the name, or who starred in it, but it seemed a sort of satire on "North by Northwest." As I recall, at least half the movie someone was trying to kill the hero. In the final moments, the protagonist says, as yet another attempt on his life is made, "What, me worry?"

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Dinesh D'Souza was on The Colbert Report on Tuesday. It should be a warning sign to all Colbert guests when they find the host is in vigorous agreement with their statements -- it means that an insightful person is holding you up as an object for derision. Run, run, little Dinesh! Alas, little Dinesh did not run.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 18, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The ending sentence of Warren Bass' review of D'Souza's book is particularly scathing. He calls the book "dim and dishonorable." Ouch. You couldn't do much worse in front of the judges at AI (well, I could).

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Colbert supposed to be on O'Riley tonight and vice versa?

Posted by: Dave | January 18, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Colbert on O'Riley's show? Now I want cable!

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I caught the D'Souza interview on last night's re-run. What a deluded idiot. Deluded because of the views he's trying to peddle, idiot because he actually seemed to believe that Colbert was buying it.

In other news, I was home sick again today and was only able to half-heartedly skim the Boodle. I know we have some pointy-heads and lawyers and even nuke and NASA types here, but are there any doctors in the house?

Mrs. Martooni did some sleuthing on Wikipedia and is convinced that I have pancreatitis. My immediate reaction was "ok, doc... but can you spell it?". Anyway, I read the write-up and let's just say that I'm more than a bit nervous -- enough so that I'm trying to get an appointment with my *real* doctor, but he's out on Thursdays (I thought docs only took Wednesdays and weekends off). So I did some more checking around and found that the symptoms I'm experiencing (not to mention my alcoholic history) all match up.

I dunno... I keep telling myself it's just a combination of the flu and some pulled back muscles, but I've never had a flu like this and usually a heating pad will fix my dodgy back.

Anyway. Hope you're all enjoying the BPH. One of these days I'm going to suprise you all by showing up in Stella (just look for the cloud of smoke and very loud backfiring).

Posted by: martooni | January 18, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

kb, you have plenty of credibility with me, and please continue your preference for npr! in your earlier post i thought that you were implying that the attack on pearl harbor was a legitimate (just) reason to respond, in contrast to 9/11 and afghanistan. but if you're advocating a pacifist position in general (as the recent post indicates), then i withdraw the question. i'm not a pacifist, but i respect the position. i think a just war case can be made for the decision to go into afghanistan, but not for iraq.

in fact protesting the current administration's handling of the iraq war sounds like a pretty reasonable way to spend some time to me. i'm surprised there aren't more protests actually.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 18, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Jumper ---
My husband, a famous know-it-all and former submarine sailor, says "we absolutely did not sink any Japanese submarines prior to the morning of December 7, 1941."

Posted by: nellie | January 18, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, if you can get to an urgent care clinic, do it. If you're experiencing severe pain, that's telling you something. Take care.

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse


Take care. I think the BRAT diet might be right for you -- no fats and watch the sugars-- so go carefully with the banana and applesauce part.

Tea (pushing tea)

See the doc, really, before the weekend. My son battles pancreatitis occasionally; it can be related to some auto immune conditions.

No chocolate or mild products in an attack, so no fortifying milkshakes for you.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I messed my back up long ago but it took me a long time to understand what to do with it. People who tell you to put an icepack on it and not a heating pad are correct. The idea of doing that in this weather is not appealing, granted.

A lot of back pain involves muscle spasms. A lot of muscle spasming can be alieved by potassium. Eat a banana today, and one tomorrow. Thereafter, 2 per week.

I do this and it helps.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

SCC Alert:

no MILK products

I agree with CowTown. Get thee to an urgent care-er-ry.

Posted by: CP TO MARTOONI | January 18, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the advice. Rice was already on the menu for tonight and we even have some bananas (a surprise, since they're not on the regular shopping list). I'm hoping the doc can see me tomorrow, but I'm not counting on it (or looking forward to his bill).

In the meantime, I'm keeping a stiff upper lip (and not going anywhere near stiff drinks). Tonight it's nothing but Gatorade -- gotta get those electrolytes rebalanced. :-)

Posted by: martooni | January 18, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

We are all aware (aren't we?) that the "T" in the BRAT diet tradionially portends "toast", not "tea". This is a spectacularly uninteresting diet, which is kinda the point!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 18, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"Traditionally" portends toast, natch!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 18, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, good luck and lay off the fat and sugar (and booze) for tonight, and try Ben-gay to loosen up your back muscles.

(You might want to wait until the burning wears off before you try icepacking it).

You'll be back to your singing chipper self in no time.

Skoal to all the BPHers, and here's mud in yer eye.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Much larger correlation between heavy smoking and pancreatic cancer. Thank you for smoking.

Posted by: 11:58 | January 18, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

martooni, hang in there, and please do see a doc soon.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 18, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Martooni -

Pancreatitis pain is SEVERE. I think it's pretty unlikely you could be uncertain whether it's your back or your pancreas. I guess there are mild cases of pancreatitis, but from watching a close family member with it, I'd say if it's not as bad as what your wife went through giving birth to the Bean, it's probably your back. Nausea does go with the pancreas problems and not with muscular problems, though.

Please take your health seriously - for your family's sake if not for your own.

[stepping down off soapbox ...]

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, sorry you feel bad. I join the rest in saying, get to a doctor.

I hope all that attend bph have a good time and enjoy yourselves. I, like martooni, will one day show up, although I won't have a "Stella", just might be in a wheelchair, hopefully without the smoke.

I have been inside all day. The weather did not get much better here later in the day. I hope I can get out tomorrow for a little while. I just could not chance it today. I'm not good in ice.

Maggie, I have the math books, and just want to thank you so very much. They are so nice, and I'm sure the kids will gain much from them.

We did not do math and reading today because of the weather. School was two hours late, and by the time they got the kids there, they had to bring them back home. Main highway good, but back roads are not so good in this kind of weather.

Ivansmom, how is it in your neck of the woods? I do hope you get that much needed sunshine.

And have a cup of java for me, folks.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

This weather seems a little cold for a presidential election season. Oddly, it's an odd-numbered year, too.

But the scandals, exposes, even (semi) dirty tricks have begun: Hillary's campaign has dug up some secrets about Obama. Can anyone spell Madrassas (I can't, I admit it).

Wonkette provided this link:

And so it goes.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I have a pretty high pain tolerance threshold -- not high enough to ever want to be the "pusher" in child birth, but I'm able to put up with a lot. To use the DHS Threat Level analogy, I'd rank this as Code Orange. The worst pain is just below the ribs, similar to a cramp, followed by what feels like a sucker punch to the kidneys. The frequency and severity hasn't increased or decreased, but to get whacked with it every 10-15 minutes or so is really starting to tick me off.

If this is some sort of kharmic practical joke meant to punish me for sneaking off for a drink right after Little Bean was delivered (I was there as the non-pushing freaked out bumbling idiot), enough already. Ha freaking ha. You got me.

In any case, let's just say that if this doesn't start settling down by tomorrow morning, I'm definitely going to see a doctor -- if mine isn't available, the ER will do.

Posted by: martooni | January 18, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Martooni -

If it's really pancreatitis what they do is rest the digestive tract by giving you fluids intravenously - nothing by mouth. See, every bite, every sip of anything but water stimulates the pancreas to release enzymes. Which, in the case of pancreatitis, try to dissolve your own pancreas instead of the food.

Sorry if I've made anyone want to lose their dinner.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I read about that, Wheezy, and none too happy about it. Although I did see that the recommended pain killer is morphine, so there is an upside. I guess.

Posted by: martooni | January 18, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned John Waters in my blog this morning and now he is on 'My Name Is Earl'. Talk about kharma.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Go to the ER, martooni. My son had a "stomache" that turned out to be a ruptured appendix.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

This is reaching back to 1988, but at that time morphine was nixed in favor of Demerol for my family member. Morphine exacerabated his pain. It can sometimes cause a fluttering of a sphincter between somewhere and somewhere else (not the sphincter we usually think of when we hear that word) and so they don't like to use it. Demerol was fervently welcomed and effective, though.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

martooni, to add to the diagnosis by internet - my husband had pancreatitis a while ago. He had to be on a clear liquid diet for 3 days. I believe he went to the emergency room because his doc couldn't see him for weeks. I've had kidney infections that caused pain in my back - the worst one I've ever had was a few years ago, and it caused pain in my side. I didn't go to the doctor till I was throwing up, because I didn't think it was anything serious. Took a month of antibiotics to get over it - Cipro (which was very expensive and didn't knock it out) and something else - and Vicodin. Anyway, throwing up is a really bad sign. My kid had appendicitis - he was living away from home and didn't go to the doctor till about 2 *days* after his appendix ruptured (not that he realized that, of course). The doctor said anytime vomiting continues for more than 8 hours, go to the ER. Yikes. And sorry for ruining your dinner.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Last comment, I promise. Just remembered, Martooni, that if you decide to self-medicate tonight, glaucoma meds are extremely helpful with the pancreas pain. Not that you would have any available, or anything ...

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse


Not only that we sat next to each other and scotty took our picture, just to prove once and for all that we aren't the same person (I imagine he'll be posting them by and by).

And yes, M&S knows how to make a caipirinha (though they had to look it up in the bartender's guide). But once they found the right page--outstanding! As omni pointed out, a potentially VERY dangerous drink. I believe I may have had a brace of them before I left. (I also recommend the seafood and corn chowder, which was so good that maggie o'd also ordered a bowl of it.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize you had any doubt about Annie's existence, Mudge.

When you clap your hands, believe in unicorns, dream of rainbows, and whistle leprechaun drinking songs, then you will find her stepping forth at the BPHs.

Or you could just stay late enough to miss your bus. Whatever.

Glad your day was made. Those unicorns do stir wicked caipirinhas, don't they?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Mudge so glad you and Annie finally got to meet, I hope you asked her to start posting again.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

that is momentous. and i wish annie would come back to the boodle, too.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 18, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

martooni - hope you feel better.

Looking forward to hearing about the BPH.

And okay you Canadian types, you're off the hook for now:

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I know our money gets laughed at a lot, but casino chips - Please :-).

Martooni, please seek medical attention quickly, a problem fixed early is much easier than later, if I can't get my family to listen perhaps you will.

Still feeling warm and fuzzy from hearing Mudge and Annie met, kind of like what I felt at the end of "An Affair to Remember" and I hope I got the right title.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The gathering - darn it, missed it by thaaat much! As I was getting ready to head out of the office doors, I was talked/cajoled into a project that ended up keeping me until too late to want to head into D.C.

I will be making it to another one soon.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 18, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

An even bigger (to me) guest star tonight was Stephanie D'Abruzzo from 'Avenue Q' on the Very Special Musical episode of Scrubs.

Annie was Mudge's Snuffleupagus. Everytime he left the room, she showed up. Now the cat is out of the bag. A new era in Boodle history has begun.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, what's the context of the question about Japanese submarines? I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but just did some research to confirm what I thought/remembered: the first Japanese sub we sank was the midget sub we sank on the morning off Pearl Harbor about 75 minutes BEFORE the Japanese attack began. So, technically speaking, I suppose we did indeed blow up a Japanese sub "before" we entered the war.

The sub was sunk by the destroyer USS Ward about five miles off the mouth of Pearl Harbor. The Ward radioed Pearl Harbor, but the report wasn't believed at the time--one of those many stupid little things that got into the conspiracy theories about US foreknowledge, etc.

Later during the same day, we sank four other miniature subs inside Pearl Harbor. The first conventional Japanese sub we sank occured three days later, on Dec. 10.

Researchers in Hawaii found the wreck of that first mini-sub in 2002.

There has been considerable controversy regarding on of the other mini subs, and about a year or two ago there was an article published in one of the naval history magazines showing a photograph of the harbor taken by one of the Japanese planes in the middle of the attack. Under careful scrutiny, the photo appears to show torpedo tracks inside the harbor, indicating this this sub may have made it in and fired torpedoes at one of the battleships, contributing to its sinking (this was never known before, it having been assumed the battleships were all sunk by planes). I haven't seen any follow-up on that article, so it may still be an open question.

(I suppose one could weenie the question a bit, because we didn't declare war on Japan until the next day, though retroactively back a day to Dec. 7. This was voted on the same day and Roosevelt signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m. EST. Under this weaselly ruling, yes, we sunk five mini-subs before Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war. On the other hand, Japan had declared war on us, though said declaration wasn't delivered until a few hours AFTER the attack was completed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Minor correction: four other subs were lost that day, though it may be incorrect to say "we sank" them. One ran aground outside the harbor, and washed ashore; a second had mechanical failure and was captured. Two others were sunk inside the harbor, but exactly how and by whom isn't clear.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I just saw a piece on Scarborough, who I generally don't watch, regarding AI. He had some woman on who had been a contestant last year and they were discussing the last two nights of AI. She said that the contestants had already gotten by two rounds in order to get to perform in front of Paula, Simon and Randy. This might explain the surprise and anger many of them had towards being told they were lousy. But it also makes it clear that the show purposely puts these no talent people on to be ridiculed, which I find reprehensible. '

One more day at the temp job from he11. Looking forward to making curtains for the kitchen and stripping the wallpaper from the last room that needs redoing. Oh, yeah, and looking for a 'real' job. If I didn't need health insurance, I could work part time and be completely happy and more or less solvent.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 18, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

BPH was great, as always. Yes, Annie and Mudge sat side-by-side while Annie ate her mythical cheeseburger.

Also in attendance: Maggie O'D, Mo, bc, Raysmom, LostinThought and Scottynuke (and me, too!).

And there were appearances by pj and Dolphin Michael, who we haven't seen for a while.

Good food and drink, great conversation and lots of laughs.

We even found out about some great stuff in Connecticut, of all places!

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Cancer of the pancreas is hard to find (diagnose) because the organ is hidden behind other organs. Organs around the pancreas include the stomach, small intestine, bile ducts (tubes through which bile, a digestive juice made by the liver, flows from the liver to the small intestine), gallbladder (the small sac below the liver that stores bile), the liver, and the spleen (the organ that stores red blood cells and filters blood to remove excess blood cells).

The signs of pancreatic cancer are like many other illnesses, and there may be no signs in the first stages. You should see your doctor if you have any of the following: nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss without trying to lose weight, pain in the upper or middle of your abdomen, or yellowing of your skin (jaundice).

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

OK, broke my promise not to post again. SOMEONE is trying to scare you, Martooni. People can have pancreatitis for years and never develop pancreatic cancer. I know this from experience. Mostly only older people or people who have had pancreatitis for many years get pancreatic cancer. The symptoms are often similar, but you're MUCH MUCH more likely to have pancreatitis than cancer. Of course, pancreatitis is bad, but not that bad.

Don't let trolls bother you.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah, cheery thoughts galore for Martooni as he decides to make a date with a M.D.

I had a teacher die of that. And a boss died of a differnet form of cancer. and then another teacher, I had bad vibes about due to fatigue, hidden bad moods, and yeah, cancer there also, but survivable.

I'm not so keen about dragging out the big C, but anonymous is correct-- anytime your body is off, nausea, vomiting, you need to consider the big C ASAP so you can nip it really early.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Remember, it might NOT be pancreatitis, or anything else related to the pancreas.

I'm told it can be very dangerous -- and also unnecessarily worrying -- to diagnose maladies on the basis of medical Web sites. Diagnosis by boodle is probably even more disastrous.

That said, if we're going to play Armchair Physicians, I'll put my money on gallstones. Either that, or there's a Martooni Voodoo Doll out there that's getting a lot of use right now.

Nevertheless, a prompt visit to the doctor, if not the ER, would be prudent. Whatever you have, it probably can be and should be treated.

Take care, you danghippie.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 18, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't know... Diagnosis by Boodle is a great boodle handle.

Is it any worse than diagnosis by Weingarten chat?

{Yes.. take care of yourself Martooni!}

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, let's put up a BPH dartboard, and just toss darts and diagnose wherever the darts hit, Tom fan.

"Terminal case of overgrown toenails!"
"Reverse persistalitis!"
"Little Bean hopped on Pop's back too often!"

Remember, none of us are doctors, nor would we ever play one on TV.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm seriously doubting whether this is really Wilbrod posting.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, c'est moi, Wheezy. I'm just in a morbidly flippant mood, as always occurs when I hear discussion about cancer, and when I've gone into tragic BPH withdrawal.

It's called dark humor, or is it displacement behavior?

If only if my brain were shrunk, I'd know.

(BTW, reverse persistalis basically means barfing.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

If you are Wilbrod, you could prove it by moderating and publishing the comment I just left on your blog. I think Wilbrod, with her perfect score on the verbal part of the GREs, would spell peristalsis correctly.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I think I've made my point.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Wheezy, if you look at all my posts, you'll see I often misspell words due to haste or whatever.

The GRE doesn't test spelling skill.

I always tend to remember "persistalis" that as based on "persist" rather than peri- (around) stalsis (place), which is a relatively rare greek root for me to see, and in fact not commonly used as a root elsewhere in medicine.

I'm flattered that you'd think I'd spell every medical term I use flawlessly. I do that with maybe 95% of the terms I do use.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Or was that persistalitis?
(i.e., a condition that persists)

Posted by: Tom fan | January 18, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Wilbrod. Why're you trying to scare Martooni?

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

See my blog, Wheezy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Good article by von Drehle (didn't he leave?) on Art Buchwald:
I remember how much my parents loved Buchwald, especially during the Nixon era. I have his latest book on order from the library.

(Hi, Tom fan, nice to see ya!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

[Oops -- I boodled out of order. (I think.)]

Posted by: Tom fan | January 18, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi, mostlylurking.
Yes, I enjoyed DVD's piece, too. [DVD -- ha. The man has very confusing initials.]

I know I've gotten myself into all sorts of trouble in the past by trying to discern 'lopers from bona fide boodlers, but I have to say, I'm pretty sure that *is* the real Wilbrod posting. (You can tell by the extra line space before the signature block.) (Not that there's anyting wrong with that.)

Posted by: Tom fan | January 18, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Tom fan | January 18, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't, Wheezy. I just got reminded that I had a teacher die of pancreatic cancer. I don't like to hear scare talk of cancer, either.

It's important to follow up on vague symptoms to catch cancer at an early stage, but cancer symptoms rarely are acute until advanced stages.

Martooni said flu, then mentioned electrolytes. If it's "stomach flu", meaning vomiting and/or diarrhea along with the pain, it could be norovirus, it's a particularly virulent strain of stomach flu going around.

Anyway if intense pain (even without vomiting) isn't enough for Danghippy to see a doctor, I don't know what is, though.

His very resistance to seeking treatment definitely suggests he should see a doctor.

My mom, weeks after being told she had asthma, refused to call a doctor even when coughing profusely. A sibling made her go to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She had it 3 times that year, she never fully recovered from her first bout, and nearly died from the ordeal.

She felt too bad to want to go to the doctor, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Again, I'm sorry Wilbrod. We all have our own reasons for caring especially about certain subjects.

I am ashamed of myself for sinking into paranoia and getting way too obsessed about this blog. Need to go to sleep now.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 18, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

R. D. Padouk,

The Taliban were not a threat to the west, nor will they be. They merely provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda, which IS a threat. The Taliban are a threat to most of the Afghan people, particularly its women and girls. For this reason I hope that they will be supressed.

Posted by: Usha | January 18, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Wilbrod, we missed you and the witty notes tonight, and we kept looking under the table for Wilbrodog while sighing heavily.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 18, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

BTW, thanks for the sympathy, Tom Fan.

Tried to sleep, couldn't. Perhaps I should tell the Boodle about my magic bottle of Everclear? Almost gone now - so sad!

I inherited a bottle of Everclear from my stepfather. Everclear is some kind of pure grain alcohol, about 500 proof. I think, other than cartoons about revenooers and hillbillies, the only purpose of this stuff is for goosing punch bowls.

My stepfather died 8 years ago, and in the past year or so my brother's wife and I have started working on his extensive liquor cabinet when we go to my Mom's on Sundays. First we polished off the bottles of Kahlua (for my s-i-l), and B&B (for me). We shared a bottle of Jim Beam and some Bailey's. We made the whole company share the mundane vodka, rye and gin. Then we were left with the truly odd: sloe gin, creme de cacao, creme de menthe, nasty peach schnappes, etc. The poor man rarely drank, but he loved to buy liquor for guests. And then, foraging a few weeks ago, I found the magic bottle of Everclear!

I took it home with me, and tried to make a screwdriver with it. I knew it was potent, so added just a touch in the bottom of the glass and topped off with much orange juice. After a couple of these I awoke with a severe headache and the world's worst hangover. And I'm an experienced drinker! I became more cautious - I put perhaps 1/2 oz. of Magic Everclear in a glass with 8 ounces of juice. Still - one or two of these produced prodigious hangovers!

I became more cautious still each day - putting perhaps 1/2 tablespoon Magic Everclear in a glass with 10 ounces of juice and ice. This was amazing - instant drunkenness!

I have now been working on this one bottle of liquor for over 2 weeks and it never runs out. I've had about an ounce of it tonight - watch out world!

Posted by: Wheezy | January 19, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Going to try to get dressed, and get out this morning. Probably end up at the washroom. I believe I am addicted to that place. I hope everyone enjoyed the BPH. I can't wait to see the pictures.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness. *waving* Mudge, glad you got to see Annie. I hope she comes back too.

Martooni, I am also hoping that you saw a doctor, and feeling better.

Have a good day, my friends. I think we might see some sunshine today, although it will still be cold. Sunshine is good.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2007 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of fire suppression, but it was a day of fire oppressionfor many in my neighborhood and the surrounding area. Never have I seen smoke hang in the neighborhood as thick as fog.

I was outdoors most of the day, cleaning up the debris in the yard from the Big Freeze and Big Thaw. The smoke was so overpowering by late afternoon, I had to quit and shut myself indoors. The smell inside our home was not really much better. Our dog had been outside most of the day with me and his fur reeked of mulch fire smoke.

Last night, an entirely new wrinkle entered the mulch fire story--contamination of well water. The story that will be in today's paper on our doorsteps in several hours:

Efforts to put out a mulch fire in Helotes were halted late Thursday after complaints arose of a smoky odor to drinking water from nearby wells.

Owners of two drinking water wells near the mound reported problems late Wednesday with their water [firefighting efforts had been suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the ice storm], which had turned cloudy and smelled of smoke, raising fears of soot contamination in the Edwards Aquifer, said Steve Clouse, vice president of production and treatment operations for the San Antonio Water System.

That prompted a meeting Thursday between representatives of SAWS [San Antonio Water System], Edwards Aquifer Authority, Helotes [city of], Bexar County and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Afterward, contractors hired by the state agency were told to scale back to smoke-suppression efforts only [which only aggravated the smoke].

After another meeting that ended late Thursday, TCEQ ordered its contractor to stop applying any water pending completion of an environmental action plan and well-testing program, said SAWS spokeswoman Anne Hayden.

(More story if you use the link provided.)

Meanwhile, up in Austin, the ice storm forced Gov. Rick Perry's inauguration ceremony inside the state capitol. The inauguration party at the Austin Convention Center went on as planned, where Perry's close friend, singer Ted Nugent performed the night's final act.

According to yesterday's paper, Nugent appeared onstage wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with a Confederate flag and shouting unflattering remarks about undocumented immigrants, including kicking them out of the country, according to people who attended the gala. Machine guns, including an AK-47, were Nugent's props.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 5:32 AM | Report abuse

In college, our intoxicant of choice was Hunch Punch, a 50% mix of grain alcohol and fruit punch. The punch part was right on the money.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Some out of context quotes from the von Drehle tribute to Buchwald.

"Buchwald's French was terrible, and that was the essential fact to embody his career."

"a man who was not, technically speaking, a gifted writer."

"Buchwald experienced long stretches when he wasn't fresh at all."

"He liked to drop names..."

"He earned a fortune as a public speaker without actually being able to speak clearly."

"Buchwald's columns weren't deep or nuanced;"

With friends like that...

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra! Hey everybody!

Cassandra, did you catch Eugene Robinson's column this morning? I thought it was excellent:

Martooni, we want to hear that you got the medical care you need!

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Linda, Cassandra, everyone! *waving*

No great surprise about the MCM, he's been 'round the bend for years now.

Yes, the BPH was wonderful, apart from our constant cranial bumping as we searched in vain for Wilbrodog under the tables. Connecticut IS a wonderful state, innit TBG? *L*

And yes, I have photographic proof the universe did not implode when Annie and 'Mudge finally met. Annie reports a great influx of work is occupying her time, but she's aware that people miss her presence here. I should have BPH photos posted this evening -- hey, I gotta work SOMETIME, right? :-)

And who inna heck is D'Sousa, anyway? Sounds like someone's been reading the Ann Coulter "Say Anything to Sell a Book" pamphlet. *rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Just a few moments this morning to post a Friday chuckle. Note to those unaware do not attempt to go down the chimney after drinking! Have a great day all.

Posted by: dmd | January 19, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Taliban and AQ. We're slipping into semantics here. The messy relationship between the Taliban and AQ does not lend itself nicely to clean divisions. To slip into jargon for a moment, the Taliban facilitated AQ. To claim that the Taliban wasn't responsible for AQ is like claiming that someone who raises killer bees in his back yard isn't responsible when his neighbors get stung.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh and mudge - when I read that article about the 1918 flu I kinda had a "duh" response too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Linda... I thought of you this morning when they showed the ice was moving back into San Antonio. First drought, then ice. Who can win that one?

The Ted Nugent concert sounds just awful. I never really cared for him; you'd think age would mellow someone out. I remember seeing some feature on him on TV or something about how he's big on hunting and killing animals. I just googled him and I'm sorry I did.

What kind of governor has this guy play at his inauguration? Coming from Virginia, I know how you feel having someone like that elected (George Allen was our governor and senator. Yuk. My proudest moment still is when we *didn't* elect Oliver North to the Senate).

And Linda... I'm a little afraid to ask, but how is your eye doing?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"The Taliban were not a threat to the west, nor will they be."


ELIZABETH RUBIN, New York Times, October 22, 2006

During the period from 1994 to 2001, the Taliban were a cloistered clique with little interest in global affairs. Today they are far more sophisticated and outward-looking. ''The Taliban of the 90's were concerned with their district or province,'' says Waheed Muzhda, a senior aide at the Supreme Court in Kabul, who before the Taliban fell worked in their Foreign Ministry. ''Now they have links with other networks. Before, only two Internet connections existed -- one was with Mullah Omar's office and the other at the Foreign Ministry here in Kabul. Now they are connected to the world.'' Though this is still very much an Afghan insurgency, fueled by complex local grievances and power struggles, the films sold in the markets of Pakistan and Afghanistan merge the Taliban story with that of the larger struggle of the Muslim umma, the global community of Islam.

It is not at all clear that Afghans want the return of a Taliban government. But even sophisticated Kabulis told me that they are fed up with the corruption.

Posted by: 11:48 | January 19, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

An interesting piece on corruption in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Army.,,3-2554802,00.html

This is largely subsidized by your tax dollar dear Americans folks. Combine that with all the recent reports of Iraq's government being infiltrated by the various militia who have no interest in a strong Iraqi army and it becomes quite obvious that the Iraqi Army "stand up" will proceed very slowly.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

More from the story of Gov. Perry's inauguration:

Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, downplayed the incident, saying: "Ted Nugent is a good friend of the governor's. He asked him if he would play at the inaugural. He didn't put any stipulation of what he would play." Black said, adding: "Most people had a really good time and enjoyed the show." [Our local cartoonist David Branch has drawn attention to the Perry and Nugent party today.]

But some within Pery's own [Republican] party said the appearance was unbefitting a governor who might have national ambitions. [My recommendation: do not, do not, do not, under any circumstance, vote for Rick Perry--see more below.]

"I think it [Nugent] was a horrible choice," GOP strategist Royal Masset said. "I hope nobody approved it."

This report is coming from Washington, D.C.:

Texas received both a top mark and a failing grade on its economic health Thursday, according to a report from a Washington nonprofit.

The state got an "A" for its business vitality, but an "F" for how that vitality filters down to its residents, a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development said.

If that were not perplexing enough, the liberal-leaning nonprofit's 20th Development Report Card for the States gave Texas a "D" in development capacity, which measures factors like high school completion rates and energy costs to assess how well-positioned states are to grow.

Analysts for the economic development organization summarized that the state's economy could be described as "a hospitable environment for businesses but one that poses serious challenges for residents." [Husband's translation: The little people are scr*wed.]

"If they think life isn't good in Texas, they need to explain why in five years we've gained more than 2 million new residents," said Ted Royer, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry. [Husband's wisecrack: The majority are undocumented workers.]

But it ranked 50th in average teacher salary, uninsured low-income children and high school attainment, the corporation said. [TBG: get down on the ground and kiss the soil that your son walks and studies on.]

Texas also was 49th in a ranking of the working poor, which measures the number of workers whose income does not move them out of poverty.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Scotty's right, Wilbrod: we kept looking for Wilbrodog all evening. At one point I actually thought he was there. I felt something sit on my foot and put its head against my knee. I started scratching its head and it licked my hand. When I realized you weren't there, I looked down under the table and saw that it was only bc. I should have known.

(Yeah, yeah, you saw that coming a mile away. I know, I know, but whadja want me to do, stop in mid-anecdote?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

11:48, should you not more correctly be 9:13 now? Sorry, I could not help myself.

Linda you sound much more like yourself today. Thanks for the Helotes fire update.

North of the city of Edmonton, there was a fire in a forested area very similiar to the one where I live, that firefighters would put out, only to find several weeks later, it would pop up 10 miles away. It traveled underground through the peat beds which are really just natures compost, and would pop up every summer for 3 or 4 years. The line about just leaving the Helotes fire burn is not really comforting. I was sure hoping they would have had some kind of spiffy new technology to show off while putting your fire out.

Too bad they can't convert all the heat from the fire into something useful.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, what is this "MCM" to which you refer?

Posted by: Wheezy | January 19, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, Mr. Nugent is often referred to as the Motor City Madman, for increasingly good reason.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scotty.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 19, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, kids: Here's something fun!

The world's first, one and only...

Boodle Wiki!

Some weeks ago, yellojkt posted a questionnaire, and a few dozen people filled it out. I used those results as a starting point and put up a site on (yellojkt, I didn't find your completed questionnaire, somehow, but that's okay because you can be the demonstrator to show people how to add their info to the wiki site...)

Check it out:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 19, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

No, dr, I am not myself. I am so mad that my fangs and fingernails are flashing.

My next-door neighbor Stella approached me in the yard yesterday as I was cleaning up the mess left my the storm. (She, a nurse, is home on extended disability leave after trying to move a 460-pound woman who passed out while "on the throne" at University hospital. Her Highness and Heaviness quickly came to and had a panic attack. There were no doctors on the floor, so eight staff members tried to move the woman by placing a plastic sheet under her. Three of the staff members who tried to budge the woman ended up hurting themselves.)

Stella asked me if I my phone was working. I said no, our phones stopped working on Tuesday morning. They promised to have her phone working by the end of today. We were told our phone service would be back by Monday.

Lst night we got, on my husband's work-provided cellphone, an impersonal, 800-number phone call from AT&T telling us that our line had been restored. Funny that, never in my lifetime can I recall having a working phone that has no dialtone. I am surrounded by sheer incompetence.

Yesterday I saw two AT&T trucks speeding down our street, really exceeding the speed limit, before taking a fast turn around a corner. My husband says that I should have run after them and flagged them down. Sure, drop my rake and take off after them like Wiley Coyote.

*Please, please, Mr. Wizard...get me outta here! Please?*

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It is so cold outside, and no sun today, unless it decides to show up later. I'm finished at the laundry room. Going out again. Hope everyone has a good day.

Good morning, Loomis. It's good to hear from you.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

So, you're furious because your neighbor had a problem with a fat person and (one) of your phones isn't working? OK.

Posted by: 11:38 | January 19, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Ted Nugent is a little far on the edge, but to make him sound evil simply because he hunts is wrong. Hunting is a legal activity and if done respectful of the animal, is the way the world has worked for millenia. Humans are a predator in the circle of life.

But the ak47 is taking owning guns too far and it doesn't matter what country you live in. The really dangerous places in the world seem to be the places where everyone carries a gun like we would carry an ipod.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, uncle Ted has embraced the NRA as is constituancy so what would would expect.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

11:38, I don't think that was well done of you. Loomis is responding to something I asked her yesterday.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Hunting is all right with me too but Uncle Ted has embraced the NRA as his constituancy so what would you expect. The NRA is steadily getting unbalanced. In some casa they are pushing for mandatory gun ownership. To save the land of the free they say.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I confront a difficult decision. At the end of June, on the same dates, there are two conferences that I might attend. So, I must choose:

(1) A conference on subject matter that is close to my professional activities, in San Antonio, TX.

(2) A conference that is peripheral to my professional activities, but is in Bordeaux, France.

(3) Just stay home and get some work done.

Surely, you see the nature of my quandary.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It's more than just hunting dr.. Nugent seems to be kind of bloodthirsty. A little over the top it seems to me.

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The comment bot is toying with me again.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

11:38, I don't think that was well done of you. Loomis is responding to something I asked her yesterday, and the neighbour part is by way of explanation of how she came to be talking with the neighbour. Its empty in neighbourhoods durning work hours.

Loomis, I had to smile at further proof of phone company incompetence. We could no doubt share stories. One time after the phone company fixed things, our office was getting the calls and faxes that belonged to a whole building across the alley way from us. Our receptionist ended up with tennis elbow and we had to do an ergonomic assessment of her station because of it. It takes talent to screw up like that. And then there was evil B#ll mobility. It took them a whole year to straighten out a single months unbilled charges, system wide. And then there is how even though a builder has installed all the phone lines when they did services, it takes them 6-8 weeks, to walk down to a panel, and flip a switch to get your service up and running.

Ok, I'll stop now. I always find that if I need a reason to yell, all I have to do is look at whet the phone company did now.

Please forgive me, if I have maligned any phone company employees, but its the system that sucks, not you.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

tbg - i just HAD to bring this site to your attention... it's a visit to... well, connecticut...

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

SCC, 'What' the phone company did.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

mo, the best part definitely is the map title. "The area around..."

Really, folks, you have to go look. It wouldn't be the same if I just said it.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 19, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Mo, that is too funny. It's hazy in Mianus today. And only 34 degrees!

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Wandering back to a topic for a sec, here's Buchwald's "goodbye" column:


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, I think that as an astronomer you should worry more about Uranus and leave Mianus alone.

*I don't suppose the usual phrase "rimshot" would be appropriate here. No, didn't think so.*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, according to the map on that web page there really is a place called "Yonkers." I always thought it was mythological - like Atlantis. Or Kennebunk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, according to the map on that web page there really is a place called "Yonkers." I always thought it was mythological - like Atlantis. Or Kennebunk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, mo... You've done it now. Did you hear that there are some job openings in Mianus?

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse



San Antonio in late June. Approximately 83 F and muggy.

Bordeaux in late June. Approximately 66 F.

The Baltimore/D.C. metro sweatbox in late June. Approximately 77 F and muggy.

Tough choice indeed.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Tim, have you thought of cloning yourself?

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh rats. Tried to stop my 11:07. Just when you want Moveable Type to step in, it's nowhere to be found.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

[And here I was thinking Mianus rhymed with Hyannis, and wondering what was so darned funny.]

"job openings in Mianus" -- that phrase is just fraught with redundancies.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

bc, thank you for that link.

I will now have a tune cootie in my head all day. And in this case, I will keep it.

Last night, as I was putting some books on the shelf, I realized how unordered they were. My lone Buchwald book was right beside the Forgetting, a book about Alzheimers. That seemed wrong so I put Hiassen's Skinny Dip between them.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I've lived in Mianus for years, and you all should be ashamed of yourselves. Sure, Mianus may not be as large as some places, but it is rugged. Mianus can handle the kinds of misfortune and hardship that you people in fancier locations simply can't imagine. I think that I, and Mianus, deserve an apology.

Posted by: Happy in Mianus | January 19, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

haha tbg - my plan is working MARVELOUSLY! *evil grin*

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Art Buchwald's "last" [in the 'print this after I die' sense of the word] column is here:

I love the line that is so typical of him:
"I'd like to think some of my printed works will persevere -- at least for three years."

Posted by: byoolin | January 19, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, "Happy in Mianus," we kid because we love Your... I mean, Mianus.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 19, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I hear it's very difficult to fly into Mianus.

Unless you use a helicopter.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

In my experience the beverage selection in Bordeaux beats what you can find on the (heavily germ laden as revealed by Lindaloo) Riverwalk. There is a lovely breeze from the sea coming up the Gironde valley. There are lovely French women in summer clothing. travelling on both sides of the valley you will find villages which names you have seen before on bottles of wines.

On the other end SanAntonio has the better BBQ meat and a ring highway you always end on wherever you go. An a big pile of burning mulch.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Mianus is 40 feet above sea level.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 19, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This blog STINKS!!!

Posted by: 11:48 | January 19, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I understand that that's not entirely true. While it may be difficult for powered flight using artificial means, naturally-flying organisms are quite successful in the area of Mianus. For example, Mianus is the home of the world's leading breeders of the aelated primate, known colloquially as the Winged Monkey. Winged Monkeys fly out from Mianus on a regular basis, bringing joy and a happy smile of surprise to children and green-skinned witches everywhere within range.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I understand that that's not entirely true. While it may be difficult for powered flight using artificial means, naturally-flying organisms are quite successful in the area of Mianus. For example, Mianus is the home of the world's leading breeders of the aelated primate, known colloquially as the Winged Monkey. Winged Monkeys fly out from Mianus on a regular basis, bringing joy and a happy smile of surprise to children and green-skinned witches everywhere within range.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Is it really pronounced that way? I mean, sometimes it's all in the way you stress the syllables. As "Exhibit A" may I present the Pennsylvanian town of "Lititz."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

That was a good Robinson piece on the state of the union. Here's what I imagine Bush will say when it's his turn:
I am here to address the state of the onion. You heard me right. We live in a many layered land, and I intend to peel away the layers to give you, my fellow Americans, a sense of where we stand four or five years into this war in Iraq and two years after the devastation from that woman Katrina. But first I would like to share an antidote with you. We succeeded in toppling our Iraqi nemesis, the dreadful rathole inhabiting Saddam. (Aside: I mean we really toppled him. And a couple of his buddies we literally toppled one of them too! I mean, ugh!) But here's what I was thinking, my fellow Americans. Recently I saw a mouse caught in a trap. I'm not talking one of those sissy traps that keeps the mouse alive only to struggle in vain, maybe gnawing off a foot or mouse arm. I'm talking the old fashioned whap-'em-on-the-head trap. I looked at that little mouse; and I thought to myself, "He was nibbling something he liked; and he didn't even know what hit him. In a way, that was a merciful death, my fellow Americans. And so I stand before you tonight. I stand before our duly elected Democrat-majority congress. And I say to you, we can do better than hangings that are lacking in dignity. We can do much better. So in conjunction with our Iraqi brethren, I am going to initiate work on a capital punishment device that is more in keeping with that mouse trap. Just as the accused and convicted is reaching for something good to eat, perhaps his last meal request, perhaps it's a steak from one of my prize steers from my ranch in Crawford, BAM--he, or in deference to madam speaker, she, gets whacked. I mean a fast whack, right on the head. It could even be automated. I offer this, my fellow Americans, because I think we are spending too much time on the old issues. I will point out to you, however, wouldn't you like to see Obama's head in one of those big mouse traps? Excuse me? Oh yes! I mean Osama. pardon me, Senator, but when you have a name that so closely resembles the name of a terrorist.... Well, I bet your lovely wife doesn't mix the two of you up!

Posted by: Dave | January 19, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm. Twice. All is not well in the Fortress of Hal.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

RDP, Tom fan;

I do think it rhymes with Hyannis.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

There's always Great Balls, Montana.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

By golly, Loomis. That's. Pretty. Good.

Posted by: Tim | January 19, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Loomis, for the fire update. I am still amazed that my in-laws, who rely on the local SA paper for information, have so little knowledge of the mulch fire. I sympathize with your phone problems as well. Although I'm sure it wasn't their intention, it sounds as if the AT&T trucks looked like they were sneaking through the neighborhood as quickly as possible to avoid residents whose phones they weren't fixing.

ScienceTim, don't you think it is important to branch out and learn about new (but related) areas of study? I think going to a conference close to your professional activities is so same-old, same-old. You don't want to get stale or stuck in a rut. On the other hand, you don't want to stay home working when you could be improving yourself through knowledge and travel. And fine wine.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

And Come By Chance, Newfoundland

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I understand SciTim's temptation. If my home life allowed, I could probably justify attending a conference every month. And it is alarming how much more relevant the technical content of a symposium seems when conducted in an area with sandy beaches.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I note with amazement that THERE IS NO SCHOOL TODAY EITHER. I'm almost convinced that they're just easing us into the idea that there will be no school ever again. I came to work today, and the Boy can go teach with Ivansdad. We do have sun, and the ice is slowly melting, but the neighborhood roads are a big ugly dangerous mess of ice and slush. They all refreeze at night. Oklahoma City has something like 14,000 miles of roadway, and they can't possibly clear it all -- and the neighboring communities have the same problem. We're due for more snow tonight and tomorrow.

Is 11:48 channeling the mythical Lone Mule?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

You are making me blush.

Seriously, I lose my coffee all over my desk just when a client walks by, and I almost had to explain myself.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The ScienceKids definitely are pushing for Bordeaux. The Spouse is backing them up on this. On the other hand, San Antonio does boast many fine attributes: (1) the Menger Hotel, housing the conference; (2) Southwest Research Institute, sponsoring the conference; (3) The Alamo; (4) burning mulch within easy driving distance. That's a pretty spectacular array of tourist-trappery. Plus, there's the whole, y'know, professional-relevance thing going on.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse


If not, 11:48's the benificiary of a wonderful coincidence.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Mianus is actually a very tidy place because it's a kernel or two north of Cos Cob (the art community and the Bush Holley House are there). And we all know what Cos Cob's used for, right? Of coarse, North Mianus is even further north of Cos Cob.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Mianus is actually a very tidy place because it's a kernel or two north of Cos Cob (the art community and the Bush Holley House are there). And we all know what Cos Cob's used for, right? Of coarse, North Mianus is even further north of Cos Cob.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

SRI? Pungent monkey pee? The memories. Worth the price of admission! Photo included in link. Should I also post a photo of Bordeaux?

One of our neighbors works on the Mars Rover whatever out there. Or maybe its Uranus rover. I can't remember.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, as someone else has suggested, I strongly urge you to consider weather patterns in making your decision. Any indoor venue in San Antonio will be comfortable if you don't mind be air-conditioned to within an inch of your life. However, outdoors in San Antonio in July is NOT comfortable. Of course, there will be the attraction of the burning mulch, which I'm sure Bordeaux can't match.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Mianus is a kernel or two north of Cos Cob?

I'm not sure I fully understand the implications of that, but I think it's time to head to the Emergency Room.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

tom fan - it's prolly not pronounced the way i would LIKE it to be pronounced but my juvenile sense of humour will pronounce it the way it OUGHT to be pronounced... did i mention i also laugh at fart jokes?

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

TBG, Sparks, and Sparks' brother also attended last nights BPH, just long enough for a burger and a soda. And...mianus was there too.

Posted by: omni | January 19, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, the SwRI of which I am thinking is a much, much bigger organization, despite the similarity of names:

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Another fun Pennsylvania city -- Titusville.

Believe it or not, I once dated a stripper from there (as in the tassle-wearing, not gas-mask-wearing variety). Met her in Atlanta, of all places.

Well... I'm heading off to the ER for tests. The doc was able to see me this morning and after berating me for still smoking, still drinking (even though much less), and still eating raw meat, he proclaimed "this is not good" when he prodded my upper abdomen and saw tears well up in my eyes. So... he said he could do the additional testing (blood work, mostly), but wouldn't have results from the lab until Monday, therefore, "get thee to ER, do not pass GO, and btw... here's my bill".

Sounds like I'm in for a wonderful afternoon filled with needles and beeping things. As long as nobody comes near my rear with a rubber glove, nobody will get hurt.

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim -- youngest child is singing Mahna Mahna, which always reminds me of you. I don't know why, but it does.
She thinks the other word is bah-DEEP. Any clue what it really is? Do I bother to correct her?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

mo, I think you've -- we've -- started a new tradition on the Achenblog:

Vulgarity Friday [to replace Frivolity Friday]

We've set a new standard in puerility!

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

good luck martooni! (tho i'm prolly too late for u to see this) and i meant to mention that it could just be a wicked case of stomach flu! i had it once when i was around 15 that made me blow chunks and hurt from my stomach thru to my back... just a very very nasty case of stomach flu... nuttin life threatening at all! (sorry to ruin everyone's lunch!)... now, lets get back to mianus!

(i missed mtg sparks' brother! darn! i always miss everytin!)

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered that this town may be pronounced MEE-AWN-US? Just sayin'. And Martonni, good luck, just stay away from the machine that goes, "Ping."

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes, Martooni!!!!!

omni, you're quite right about sparks and sparksbro... Photographic evidence to appear later today.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

martooni, glad to hear you made it through the night.
Keep us posted.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Lostinthought, I'm afraid that I have absolutely no idea what song your youngest is singing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And, if I may be allowed to ascend the soap box for a minute: Why do pundits, both conservative and liberal, refer to Senator Clinton as "Hillary." It's sexist, insulting, and demeaning. It demonstrates that "Kos" can be just as petty and small as "Hewitt." Unless, of course, they all agree to refer only to "John," "Borak," "Rudy," etc.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if we should start an FAQ about Mianus?


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHA!!! And here, it always reminds me of you. Sesame Street song without words. Sort of.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Tim.. this is what she's talking about...

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

And, if I may be allowed to ascend the soap box for a minute: Why do pundits, both conservative and liberal, refer to Senator Clinton as "Hillary." It's sexist, insulting, and demeaning. It demonstrates that "Kos" can be just as petty and small as "Hewitt." Unless, of course, they all agree to refer only to "John," "Borak," "Rudy," etc.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you know the song:

(Do doo do doo doo)
(Do doo do doo)
(Do doo do doo doo, do doo doo, do doo doo, do do do do do doo doo doo do doo.)

[That makes sense to me -- does anyone else no what I'm talking about?]

[See, this is what happens on American Idol: The contestant hears, in his or her head, the song as it's *supposed* to sound, and assumes everyone else is hearing it that way, too. Only they're *so* not.]

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for the double post. I'm really sorry. Really.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

cowtown - i repeat... "it's prolly not pronounced the way i would LIKE it to be pronounced but my juvenile sense of humour will pronounce it the way it OUGHT to be pronounced... did i mention i also laugh at fart jokes?"

and tom fan - we are only being geographically correct! no vulgarity here! perish the thought! (heck, even loomis got into the frivolity! that's a GOOD thing!) *grin*

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse


"know," not "no"

[Same phenomenon -- it sounded fine in my head.]

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I read Eugene Robinson this morning. Good editorial, as always.

Martooni, glad you're taking care of yourself. Hope everything works out good.

We got sun, bright and sunny. Still cold, but oh, so much light. I have the doors open and the heat off. Just to get some fresh air.

I got a new book from the library that has pictures from my state. A noted photographer put together this book, I can't wait to start it. I may not be able to travel, but the places can come to me. Isn't life grand?

Loomis, you said you had smoke in your house. I hope it doesn't get in your clothes, that's a scent that does not come out. Washing or dry cleaning won't do the trick.

Glad you got sun, Ivansmom, but I'll bet you probably don't want anymore snow?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I added these to my list of Seas: Aegean, Adriatic, Dead, Ionian, Salton, White. Thanks.

That website was too wacky. We must have standards, for crying out loud! Or else we would start to include everything including bays and oceans and gulfs. Hmmph. (Sea of Possibilities?! Julius Seazure?!)

Everclear has one known use besides making extractions (homemade vanilla concentrate and the like). It is to spike a large watermelon. Only Everclear is strong enough to add a kick to a 10-pounder. Maybe there should be a drink called the Julius Seizure... hmmm...seize the possibility...

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

martooni, get well, buddy.

Hmm. Which Muppet *is* SciTim? Dr Bunsen Honeydew? Beaker? I bet he can do a killer imitation of the Count...

LIT, is that

Mahna Mahna
doo doo doodoodoo
Mahna Mahna
doo doo doo doooooo
Mahna Mahna
doo doo doodoodoo
doo doo doo
doo doo doo dootdootdoot



Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

TomFan, that's what I BOO'd too.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

SciTim's Bunsen, no doubt...

It's ME who's Beaker...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

That's it! Dear child thinks it's ba-DEEP ba-DEEP DEEP, etc. etc. Think I should correct her?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

bc, you carry a tune well.
Congratulations! You've got a golden ticket, and you're going to Hollywood!

On that note -- I just realized it's 2 o'clock in the morning. Why am I still up?

Night all.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Great Balls, MT!

I hail from there and I expect most would LOVE that phrase. Thanks, Loomis, you made my day.

ScienceTIM: As a child, in Great Balls natch, I almost did NOT watch the annual telivising of The Wizard of Oz BECAUSE of the Winged Monkeys.

I still get a shiver about that, this from someone who grew up around rattlesnakes, cougar, grizzies, etc.

Winged Monkeys!!! Calling my therapist right away...

PS. Did not know until the late 70s when we finally got a color set that the film changed from BW to color as Dorothy opened the door on to Munchkinland....

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

'night, TomFan.
Try not to lose too much more sleep over Mianus.

Scotty, fine, Beaker you are; *Tim, Dr. Honeydew. Mudge: Waldorf or Astoria? Or Animal?


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The transition from BW to color as Dorothy enters Munchkinland is one of the most inspired cases of technological improvisation in movie-making. Legend has it (at least, so I've heard) that much of the Kansas material already had been filmed in BW when it became clear that color would be needed in order to compete with Gone With the Wind, filming at the same time. The transition in WoOz was handled so well, and so conveniently, that I have always found this story to be a bit suspicious. However, it does make for a nice legend.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 19, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Linda, the Southwest research institute you pointed to : "maintains the world's largest baboon breeding colony of 3,600 animals" Let's just hope they keep the gate locked at all time, otherwise the burning mulch will be the least of your problems.
ScienceTime, if you decide against common sense to go to SwRI say hi to my former crack-measuring collegue Joe Cardinal, I think he's still a senior structural engineer out there.
Oh no, I've written crack-measuring. Where will that go ? They were cracks in steel structures folks, nothing more. There is nothing to see, circulate, keep moving.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Tim, but you're incorrect. SRI or SwRI is in the general neighborhood of our former San Antonio home. I used the map link in the link that you provided and it's the same location. Second, if it's on Culebra (snake in Spanish) Road, it's the same organization. Third, my husband's coworker's husband works out there in an engineering division.

The campus is huge. The primate research was the first side of the business house, and they now have many, many divisions and enterprises.

They still have the baboon and chimp pens I believe. The route past them was formerly on my commute to work, and if the wind is jsut right, the smell is quite pungent (a memory that just won't go away), as I mentioned.

The Menger Hotel is historic, with the Alamo next door. You might want to talk to yello about his impressions of this older accommodation since he stayed there last summer. You're invited for drinks or I can offer my tour guide services provided I have nothing hinky with my eye going on, as was the case with yello.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

With regard to the previous kit and boodle, I suspect some of you might take umbrage at today's Lisa de Moraes colyum:

Another Precinct Heard From: Rosie Weighs In on 'American Idol'

By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, January 19, 2007; C05

"American Idol" clocked another 37 million viewers in its second night back on the air -- the singing competition's biggest-ever Wednesday audience, which is something considering that the finales air on Wednesdays. Nights one and two of the sixth season of "Idol" have now delivered the show's two biggest audiences ever.

Understandably, Rosie O'Donnell of ABC's "The View" wanted a little of that ratings action. So she made Wednesday night's episode of "Idol," in which the judges pilloried lousy auditioners, the subject of her Thursday morning "View" sermon.

First, they showed a clip of one Kenneth Briggs, age 23, whose performance was among the worst. Briggs looked like Peter Lorre, or, as "Idol" judge Simon Cowell noted, a bush baby.

Simon: "You look a little odd. Your dancing is terrible. The singing was horrendous and you look like one of those creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes. What are they called -- bush baby?"

Paula: "Simon, you are sick."

Randy: "Simon, you're crazy."

(Rosie forgot to include the clip in which Paula told Briggs:"I think you're awesome. Not right for this competition, but I think you're awesome." But that's life.)

"That's compassion for you," Rosie scowled after the clip aired. "Isn't that what America thinks is entertainment, to make fun of someone's physical appearance and then, when they leave the room, laugh hysterically at them? Three millionaires. One probably intoxicated."

Rosie called it "so sad."

"Who, Simon?" asked "View" colleague Joy Behar. "The whole thing, it's terribly sad to me," she said, as visions of double-digit ratings increases danced in her head.

"If you keep serving people crap and telling them it's a meal, they're eventually going to think that it's a meal," Rosie continued. She assailed the humiliation of "people who are obviously not capable to make a decision on whether or not they're strong enough to handle national humiliation."

The "American Idol" process, Rosie proclaimed, " is to ridicule people who are mentally unstable."

We're not sure where Rosie got the inside track on Briggs's mental health. She did not elaborate.

Former "Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler, who was on "The View" that morning, explained contestants are "very aware of exactly what you're getting into. I mean, you've watched the show before. This year is not going to be any different than next year. You know what you're doing when you get into it."

Fox declined to respond to Rosie's sermon.


Rosie? In a controversy? Hard to believe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse


YOU'RE Animal, aintcha???

And the Great Favog's a Muppet, so 'Mudge is all set.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I just read the AP story about Bill O'Reilly appearing on the Colbert Report last night. O'Reilly tried a couple times to get Colbert to break character and admit that he's doing satire, but no dice. The AP writer claimed it was an unanticipated disappointment for Colbert when O'Reilly claimed to be effete, that the tough-guy persona is just an act. Unanticipated, maybe, but Colbert's interviews are built around his ability to improvise responses to the guests. Colbert's rejoinder "But if you're just an act, then what am I?" was simply brilliant.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 19, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

SwRI does a lot of HIV and herpes work with the primates out there:

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, that's FASKinatin', as Popeye would have said. I should have compared addresses. The SwRI site that I linked does not mention the biomedical research aspect in any obvious way. The biomedical side of the operation, that you linked, did not seem to have any obvious links to show that there were non-biomedical parts of the operation -- of course, I may have missed something. When I saw that they mentioned having 60 PhD's on staff, I figured it couldn't be the SwRI that I know, which is huge and has a lot more than 60 PhD's. Heck, I could probably name a good dozen just among my personal acquaintances in one division. I know that the physics side of the house does a lot of DoD contracting work, which may explain why they want to keep their public personae distinct.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Re: correction.

LIT, I wouldn't correct her. It's adorable.

My oldest used to say "snunk" for "skunk" when she was little (there are plenty of them out where I live), a precious memory.

CP, the Wicked Witch and the Flying Monkeys (a pretty good name for a rock band, I think), used to scare the heck out of me as a little kid. My kids think it is a great movie, and never were scared of WW & FMs. Go figure.

Here's a weird memory (may or may not be real), IIRC the night Hurricane Agnes hit DC (in '72), we couldn't sleep because of the noise, so mom popped the TV on, lo and behold, Erroll Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"; made us forget about being scared for awhile (until the power went out). I've always loved EF since then, "Captain Blood", "The Sea Hawk", all that. But even EF couldn't save the wonderfully named "The Big Boodle" from being a stinker.



Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

SCCs: "Errol", second "bc".


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The biomed info is listed under words that don't reveal true ops. The terrorist threat is a concern.

It's well known that they have a Cat3 biolab, but I heard form a reliable source that it's really a Cat4. The sad thing is that there are some dangerous bugs out there and the city has expanded in every which way around them. There have been protests--they come and go--about the wisdom of relocating much further away from town.

They had a real blooper when a package going FedEx or UPS fell out of a truck and landed next tothe freeway--with a dangerous baboon pathogen, natch, that wasn't discovered as lost for at least 24 hours, as I recall. In the paper, on TV news--mid to late 90s.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Yep, those San Antonio attractions just keep adding up. How could I stay away?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

BC -- good scary! We all need a reason for therapy, and now you have one....Winged Monkeys.

My middle child HATED the Milo and Otis movie when the two creatures (tiger kitty and pug puppie?) floated down the rapids?

She left an overnight party because that was too scarry!

Winged Monkey did not phases her, because she said, "Mom, everyone knows that is not real."

Kitties and Pugs in a basket on a rivelet looked real to her.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse


I will vouch for the convenience and historicness of the Menger. You can't sleep any closer to Alamo without getting rained on. It's also where Teddy Roosevelt assembled the Rough Riders and I think they still have some of the same barstools in service. For a bar with less machismo and more piano playing, there is a Pat O'Briens with its infamous 30 oz Hurricane within stumbling distance of the Menger. If shopping is your bag, the Menger backs up to a huge suburban style mall that is at the end of one spur of Riverwalk. Riverwalk restaurants are touristy but filling.

I was in San Antonio in July for just one night and did not find it overly hot in the evening. By mid-day it had become uncomfortably warm. But then I had vacationed the previous summer in Vietnam, so my calibration may be off.

Make sure to check out the other missions in the area.

My wife would never allow me to take her back to San Antonio if any destination in France were on the table.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Tim. Doesn't sound quite as good to say to the waiter, "Bring me your finest San Antonio."

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kbertocci, for the wiki. RD, if you're out there, what is the book you extolled recently? I can't remember anything substantive about it except that I should write it down, and am too lazy (or pressed for time, take your pick) to find it by back Boodling.

News flash here: the county and area cities got together to re-do the snow routes and designate "super snow routes" that will extend county-wide. Apparently this week they've discovered that various municipalities and the county had treated the same roads differently, so people started out on a plowed road and suddenly found themselves stuck on a dangerous, unplowed road. Coordination is a wonderful thing. Actually, I'm grudgingly impressed that they got together and fixed the problem before the forecasted snow for this weekend.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Due to the general tenor of the boodle this morning, I was completely unable to read the following story with perhaps the dignity it deserves.

It seems that James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, left a will naming his six children as heirs. But a few years ago he had another child with a woman named Hynie. I swear to god I am not making this up. Anyway, Brown left both his Hynie and the little Hynie out of his will. His lawyer says Hynie wasn't really Brown's wife because she was married to somebody else when she married Brown. They therefore had the marriage annulled. After Hynie properly divorced the first guy, she and Brown never got around to re-marrying. Or something like that (one therefore must mourn the lack of a newspaper society page headline announcing the Brown-Hynie nuptuals). It's all going to wind up in court, and depending on how the judge rules, the Hynies might not have a leg to stand on, which would surely raise a bunch of anatomical and engineering issues, I would think.

You can find the Brown-Hynie article here:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Well done, Mudge.

I noted something interesting in the second article:

'"That is going to be litigated and a judge will tell us whether she is Mr. Brown's spouse," attorney Strom Thurmond Jr. said.'

Strom Thurmond, Jr. Interesting.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, bc, ya know I skipped right over that part? I was laughing so hard at the possibilities of the overall idea that Thurmond never registered.

The world just gets weirder and weirder.

For the trial, I just hope Hynie doesn't ask for a change of Venue. She could wind up in...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

My wife would never allow me to take her back to San Antonio if any destination in France were on the table.

yello, forgive me for saying so, but you wife is brilliant.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC: your wife

But you already knew that when you married her.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I like San Antonio, but I must concur with Loomis here. Your wife is brilliant.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I've been to SwRI. Go to France instead.
And SwRI does do lots of work with animals- not all of it PETA friendly I'm afraid.

And SRI in the technical community invariably refers to "SRI International" a group in Menlo Park California previously known as the Stanford Research Institute. I've been there too. I believe Joel actually did some writing about it some years ago for the Post Magazine.

I know both of these because one of the things they have in common is an insatiable thirst for government funding.

Ivansmom - I am now reading "Artistotle's Children." It is fascinating stuff about the influence of Aristotle's rediscovery on Europe during the late Middle Ages. I know it sounds boring as dry toast, but it is actually very interesting - even exciting at times.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The Menger's mean mango sorbet, a dessert so beloved by Bill Clinton that he occasionally had some tubs of the stuff flown to him.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

CowTown : I noticed the use of "Hillary" too. I suspect that it is a way to prevent confusion with Bill. Sorta in the way that Bush senior used to refer to Saddam Hussein as "Saddam" in his speeches to avoid confusion with the king of Jordan.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, my best and most favorite instructor at Golden Gate University in the telecom program (circa 1982-3), Dan Allen, worked at SRI in Menlo Park. We would swim laps at the same city pool at noon as well.

I looked for him via Google during the last year. He is dead and was gay, so I found out. Golden Gate University San Francisco, the mother campus, now offers a scholarship for gay and lesbian students in his name.

Sterling Houston, our local African-American playwright whom I mentioned here, died several months ago of AIDS.

Tragic losses, both.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Strom Thurmond, Jr. must be in his sixtie/seventies by now if he is the son of the other Strom T. It's always funny to see guys in their seventies or eighties called junior. Not that I would laugh openly at Junior Soprano.
Even canadian money get sucked into the SwRI black hole RDP. They will take any and all money.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 19, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, RD. I put it in my PDA so I'll actually have something to reference while browing for books, and also put it on the Boodle wiki in "book recommendations". If it is in both places I may actually remember it. It didn't actually sound dry as dust to me, I like that stuff. Did I ever mention the time I got a bachelor's in philosophy by taking almost all the required courses in one year? Kids, don't do this at home. By the end of the year my brain was mush -- perfect preparation for law school.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but is Hilary Saddam or the King?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't that depend if you republican or democrat?

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It has been a long-standing habit for news reports to refer to Hillary Clinton as just Hillary. I don't like it.

In the book of Jurassic Park, Ellie Satler is perennially referred to as "Ellie", while Whats-his-name Grant is referred to as "Grant" or "Dr. Grant." This is a case in which a movie got it better than the book -- in the movie, Ellie Satler corrects someone (I think it was the Big Kahuna) by noting that she is "*Dr.* Satler, actually."

Posted by: Tim | January 19, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

mahna mahna...

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom wrote: "By the end of the year my brain was mush -- perfect preparation for law school."

Excellent if somewhat obscure reference to one of my favorite shows and characters, Prof. Kingsford in "The Paper Chase": "You arrive here with your heads full of mush, and you leave here thinking like lawyers."

Of course, I could never quite figure out if "thinking like a lawyer" was a compliment or not. (Sorry, ivansmom, SoC, and others in the legal profession.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Bah-DEEP bah-deep deep

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Mudge, but it's The Shroud for you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

CP, your daughter has good instincts. Milo and Otis was Japanese-made, recut and dubbed for US audiences.

I heard persistent rumors they DID have a few animal "actors" die during the making of it.

Posted by: WIlbrod | January 19, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Bill's been out of office long enough that most people know whom is being referred to when the word "Clinton" comes up. The use of "Hillary" instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Senator Clinton, or Ms. Clinton, or even, Clinton, is a slight - a "diss" if you will. Like "Democrat Party."

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Mahna mahna . .

you know, ba-DEEP is a little more rhythmically interesting. Thanks, y'all.

Time to hit the wine store before Storm the Second. Son of Storm? Storm II: the Great White Wave?

do DO do do do.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it should stop, CowTown. It sounds like something from a Tabloid.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

It is a diss. It's a way of trivializing the accomplishments of these women. Pelosi's fashion-sense, for instance. I didn't see a lot of press on Hastert's big sloppy suits when he became Speaker, or talk of his children and grandchildren.

Same thing happens all over the world; in Canada we have whole articles devoted to how our Governor General is hot, or who a certain Liberal former cabinet minister is dating, or how people don't like (called shrill, of course) certain female politicians' voices.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, gang. As an editor I'm pretty conflicted over this "Hillary" thing. Properly speaking, it should just be "Clinton," since the proper second reference for anyone is the last name standing alone. But in obvious cases where there's more than one possible person, the rule is to use the first AND last name, so it should be Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. One could also have the option of using Sen. Clinto for her, and Pres. Clinton for him. (Don't anybody start that nonsense about him being "ex-president"; a prexy is always a prexy even after he leaves office, though don't ask me why. It's just the rule. Deal with it.)

"Ms." would NEVER be correct for her, and only in the NYT might she be "Mrs." and even the NYT has finally dropped the Mr./Mrs. thing. And then you would have to use "Mrs." for all the other female senators and Congresswomen, -- and then that would perforce require you to use "Mr." for the men, and your stuck in the quicksand again.

And all these considerations would apply only to formal stories; in pundit columns, etc., I don't see anything wrong with just "Hillary." No one would especially object to either "Arnold" or "Ahnold" in an informal context, or the Terminator, or Gubernator, or whatever. In a major sense, the are no different from Rosie, or The Donald, or Rudy, Ike, Adlai, Lyndon, or any other politician or celebrity who was well enough known to be on a first-name basis.

I think what's being "read" into the discussion is whether one likes or hates her. We sense the disrespect if a Conserv is wailing away and thrashing "Hillary," and we want a little more courtesy and respect. But if an avowed fan is praising Hillary, we don't mind it at all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod! Thanks for information. She can get out of therapy now since the FEAL IS REAL!!!!!!

Wilbrod the Gnome


Card No 3457

BC needs one to avoid Winged Monkey therapy; me? Nah. Therapy is a gift I give to myself.

Knitting too; seeds and bulbs; biking....

What is wrong with the world? Can't we send an army of knitters, paleontology geeks, dog trainers....[insert your passion here] to the trouble spots.

But, what do I know?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

FEAR is real.

SCC on the above phrase, although

FEAL is REAl could be a commercial for hair replacement.

Or artificial turf.

Or synthetic velvet.

I'll quit now.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy that College Parkian stopped by to say a couple of words. Unfortunately, I did not understand any of them. Huh?

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought that perhaps THE FEAL IS REAL was an exhortation of empowerment to encourage coming forward with claims against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I am desolate. Through our back-channel e-mail system, Padouk has just informed me that I missed a sighting of Giada DeLaurentiis in a bikini on the Food network. It is nearly time for me to run for the bus, but I may just throw myself under the onrushing wheels of an Amtrak train instead.

If there's a major snarl on the railroad system this evening, it will be because I have lost the will to live.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Or, of course, College Parkian could have been proclaiming her feudal homage to the governor of Maryland, as a vassal within the fiefdom of UMD, College Park (the comma is a critical component of the U's proper name). "My fealty is genuine, my lord; the feal is real."

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And writers and pundits refer to "Condi" all the time and no one bats an eye.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the phrase The Feel is Real would be useful in the conversations couples have. Almost always, one member of a couple will be talking about feelings, while the other will be seeking solutions to a 'problem.' In occasionally venting to Himself, it would be useful for me to remind him that The Feel is Real and the thing to focus on.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I do.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

In referencing "Condi", I think the dichotomy in terminology is quite apparent -- lefties (my kind of folks) genuinely intend to belittle her, deflating her for her arrogance, her overreaching, and her inability to perceive that theories of political power do not result in neat and tidy real-world events. Whereas righties want to elevate themselves, to be seen as operating within the rarified realm of high-level policy-makers and the political cognoscenti, persons of consequence who may speak familiarly with each other. Neither one is terribly appropriate. If you think she's a blowhard and an unrealistic loon, then say so. If you want to be perceived as a thinker and pundit of substance, then say something substantial.

Posted by: Tim | January 19, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The Feel is Real

You have made sense of my blitherings. My week is complete. Thanks.

Yes. A great phrase for talk within families, especially the ones that get touchy-feely.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

You are one of the DOG peeps, right? Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Canoodling? As in from Alberta?

I am trying to keep all the threads and spinners on the AchenWeave clear.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, Yoki, they do bug Mr. Harper about his weight. Its all about the same thing. Not showing a public individual the respect to to all people.

I don't care what they sound like so long as they have good brains, and better hearts.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Pretty mixed weekend coming up: going to a retirement party for my former boss Saturday, going to a memorial service Sunday for the brother of a friend (never met the brother or the brother's immediate family so it's a show-up courtesy thing), and need to hold a come-to-jesus meeting with my son, who needs to get his s-- together pretty quick.

bc: New Orleans or Chicago? Pats or Chargers? Methinks Saints and Pats go to the bowl.

Try to stay warm and dry, peeps.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Actually, SD, Strom Jr. is in his late 30's, IICR. His mom married Strom in her middle 20's and he was in his 60's. The marriage lasted a while but came apart when Strom was in his 80's. She developed a drinking problem, I think it was. Their oldest child, Strom Jr.'s sister, was killed by a drunk driver some years ago. She was college age.

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Right on the money, College. I am a crazy dog lady with BMDs, and I am transcribing the Boodlicious recipes into a cook book. And I'm in Calgary, Alberta. You're good!

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm back from the ER and it's official: acute pancreatitis (not be confused with the more deadly "chronic" version). And here I always thought "chronic" was a particularly powerful variety of glaucoma meds.

In any case, they poked and prodded (no rubber gloves, thank the FSM), gave me an EKG (dang do those little tabs hurt when they rip'em off), and I even had an ultrasound. I did protest at that point that I am definitely *not* pregnant, but they said it was to check for gall stones.

Four hours of IV drip and a very nice dose of demerol later, they grudgingly let me go home. They *really* wanted to keep me overnight for "observation", but I just don't have the cash to spare. I'm sure they had good intentions, but considering that they're building a brand new 8-story complex next door, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to keep hangnail patients overnight. Compromise was that I see my doc on Monday.

So... not the best news, but not the worst.

Now it's off to pick up my prescriptions, then settle down to catch up on important stuff -- like Boodling.

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

martooni - Good to hear you're only "acute." Good luck with your doctor appointment on Monday.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Get better, 'toon. Don't want your 'cute pancreatitis to get ugly.

btw, I was bemused by your references to some of the Pensylvania hot spots like Lititz and Titsville. The wife and I just visited Lititz a while back. My favorite town name in Pa. is Intercourse, which is just down the road from Bird-in-hand. Realy.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 19, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I just got home from the BPH. Did anyone else run into traffic?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 19, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin, your 5:38 is snortworthy. I can't find the pictures of the BPH. Are they not posted, or am I just being a maroon?

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 19, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I just got around to reviewing a Powerpoint presentation and associated written remarks from James Hansen (Dr. Climate-Modeling), delivered at the American Geophysical Union meeting back in the late Fall. Unless we start getting serious about reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and getting off the fossil-fuels, we are screwed.

I conclude: we are screwed. Or rather, I would estimate that everyone that you know who is under the age of roughly 52, is doomed to have their quality-of-life seriously reduced before they die (estimating that an adult might expect to last until about age 85). I have great faith in our biosphere's ability to recover from disaster, shaking off loads of species and whole phyla in the process. I feel certain that the human species will survive. The survival of current human civilizations seems much more uncertain.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

dolphin mike - did you take the detour to mianus on your way home again?

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

In re: ScienceTim's 5:45, there is an intriguing article in the Jan. 22 New Yorker on Amory Lovin and his ideas about averting climate change disaster. I would welcome comment on the article and the ideas from some pointy-science types who can evaluate the science behind the claims, as I am complete round and cannot do it myself.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Take care of yourself Martooni!

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I always knew you were acute guy.


Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - I agree, strongly, that we need to deal with CO2 emissions, but I'm not quite ready to put my head in the oven. I accept the predictions of the experts, but I don't like the words "doomed" and "screwed." The adaptation of civilizations to stress is not something that lends itself well to computer modeling. I have confidence in our civilization. We will find a way. If nothing else, I think how we interpret the term "quality of life" may mean something a lot different in 30 years than it does now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

RD wrote: "I have confidence in our civilization. We will find a way"

Me too, RD, yet what SciTim points at suggests that mitigation and adaptation will be increasingly more complex and expensive. We may be moving away from mitigation options are toward adaptation strategies, which are by nature more expensive and complex.

The winners and losers here will likely destabilize societies within nations and the world.

The contrast between rich and poor will grow larger, with all the risks that entails.

So, serious stuff here. We (US middle class) will lose ground here, and our children and grandchildren will struggle in ways that will feel like the great depression but different in detail.

Hansen is a responsible and clear-thinking scientist.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

My point is that predictions about the course of civilizations are vastly more complex than predictions about the course of the climate. Again, while I enthusiastically support efforts to control greenhouse gases, I do not accept as a given that the world my grandchildren will occupy will be worse than our own. Different, yes - but worse, I don't know. I think there are lot of surprises in the future that we simply cannot predict.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Nice job, kbert! Thanks for taking it on.

Yoki, how's your Berner foster puppy doing with his peeps?

Re: the Sesame Street song without words, that's my lab Emma's theme song.
Em-nEmma-nem, do do do do do
Em-nEmma-nem, do do do do
She loves it.

Don't look at me like *your* pets don't have theme songs! Cutter's is *Bat Dog."

Submissions from your own house, please.

Posted by: dbG | January 19, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The theme song of our Cairn Terrier is clearly "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

RD, perhaps our grandchildren will want less stuff and be less driven by status symbols like oversized SUVs and McMansions.

Perhaps they will gain joy from tutoring, knitting, restoring old cars, raising/fostering abandoned dogs, planting bulbs in public spaces, etc.

But human nature seems to be acquisitive and comparative (am I better off than the Joneses?)

But you are right, uncertainty can swing in more than one way.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh, I have a sciency-type comment! The WSJ today reported that, thanks to high oil prices, the developed world has showed a small but significant drop in oil consumption for the first time in more than 20 years. Perhaps there is hope for us after all. Given my determination to acknowledge the worst but expect better, I'm with RD. Even in Oklahoma, a consummate petroleum production state, we are concentrating in a big way on alternative fuels. Granted, wind power is not consistent and there are significant problems with ethanol and biofuels at this point. Still, the fact that a place like OK is serious about them, on a policy level, signals some kind of sea change. Or whatever metaphor applies to petroleum products. Help, my science just ran out.

Martooni, I'm glad you went to the ER. Your comment about keeping hangnail patients overnight almost made me lose a mouthful of very decent Chianti (Riserva). Please go back to your doctor Monday as ordered, take your meds, and stay away from alcohol & other self-medication. If you get bad-tempered, just remember you have an excuse: you're sick.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

RD says, "The theme song of our Cairn Terrier is clearly "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones."

My atypical mini poodle, rescued from a dementia-declining neighbor, embodies

It's a Wonderful Word, made famous by Louis Armstrong, but her favorite cover is by Eva Cassidy.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

CP - yes, sometimes I'm of the opinion that what this country needs is a really good depression. Snap us into shape. I'm not saying I wanna encourage this - but as that great philosopher Doris Day once said, "The future's not ours to see."

(Cool stuff in my inbox BTW.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, by our very lifestyle we are modelling to the Boy the concept that one doesn't worry about keeping up with others, that SUVs are bad for the environment and our personal economy (as are McMansions), that we have an obligation to be stewards of the earth entrusted to us, particularly on a small scale, and that public service and civic involvement are part of life. We'll see whether any of it sticks. I know we've got him on the SUV issue.

On a completely different subject, I don't usually read Robin Givens and have had no opinion of her, but I really approve of today's column on weight standards for models. I was never much for fashion, although my law school roommates did introduce me to Vogue and shopping. However, I heartily applauded Spain's decision to ban models who are obviously starving. Sometimes I'm so relieved I don't have a girl, with the consequent "I'm too fat" worries. Models who can wear a size 0 just don't help anything.

I'm trying to limit myself to two unrelated topics per post. We'll see how long this lasts. At least it will add to the post numbers for Joel (if the WaPo is counting).

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of oil consumption and global warming, this today in my e-mails:

[New York] City Council Calendar for Monday Jan. 22nd, 2007 - Sunday Jan. 28th, 2007

** Meetings for Friday, January 26, 2007 **

Environmental Protection
10:00 AM, Committee Room - City Hall
Oversight - The City's PLANYC 2030 sustainability goal to "reduce global warning emissions by more than 30%" and how best to achieve it.

2030??? Imagine that--23 years from now and more than 30 percent. So whaddya think--31 percent if we're lucky? Such prescient oversight. Not necessarily a plan either, but simply a goal.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom -I do have a daughter, and I really loved that Robin Givhan article. It cut so brilliantly to the key problem. How wonderful if one of those modeling agencies would say: "Come back when you have hips."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

For the interested:

Now speaking of really skinny young ladies, I need to get the one who looks kind of like me ready for bed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Ivansmom. Girls are hard in some ways; boys are hard in other ways.
Viva la differance! Raised two pink ones, nearly launched; raising a blue one, who is a boy-man. Awkard puppy phase who needs a hug weekly but doesn't want one.... so he hugs a dog instead....

Teaching is a cat bird seat:
I do see an interesting cross-section of 19-24 year olds. Many of them want to climb a career ladder and get stuff. I adore being around young people, but worry that they don't fit the Winston Churchill observation about

**young people should be radical and unrealistic

old people should have some caution and conservatism in them.

But, perhaps sustained higher oil prices -- carbon tax anyone?-- plus a wish for independence from"furion" oil, well perhaps we will change for the better. (Leave the Alaskan North slopes alone, please, as there is not that much oil there, really, given our long-term voracious appetite.)

Aside: Moderately long ago and far away, I worked as a wordsmith for some great sci-energy conservation guys/gals. A large UNNAMED foundation granted us an exploratory grant to look at energy security issues. We did the work, consulting with a variety of Mid East scholars.

We were told later, sub rosa, by an active family member of the named foundation that HE wanted us to continue but the board thought our thinking was too abstract and not grounded in reality.

Suddenly, some of the original PIs on that grant find themselves to be sexy "it" thinkers.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse


Many states and localities are working toward fine ends, that may yield energy savings benefits in the near term for the action-takers.

But interesting-er are the companies who begin to trade carbon credits. So, we shall see, won't we.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

hey rd - are you watching ghost whisperer? u got me stuck on this darn show! (and i can't stand jennifer love hewitt... normally)

Posted by: mo | January 19, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I clearly don't read Robin Givhan, since I don't know her last name. Good luck with the whole body-image thing with your daughter, RD. I remember when my cousin, who at the time didn't have a resident mother, was going through her puppy-fat stage as a pre-teen. We had a talk and I reassured her that she was supposed to look exactly as she did then, it was a developmental phase. [Nice of her to ask, considering I have been in my post-maternity, lost some weight but shape forever changed stage for several years now.] Now, of course, she is fourteen and willowy, but she has a good sense of nutrition and exercises regularly. There is hope.

I don't want to deceive anyone. We model a lifestyle for the Boy, but I'm not sure he always appreciates it, particularly when it comes to acquisition.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, You might be amazed at the number of people who never even thing self-critically about such stuff. So model to Boy and hope for the best.

Acquiring is human after all. One idea is to push experiences over stuff.

Off to the remnants of Friday, chiefly to walk the tiny battery-operated dog now and then hunker down. Chilly, but not the ice-clad business out there Oklahomy-way.

Take care, all. G'Nitey.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to do some checking (you know, facts and all that nonsense), but it seems to me that back in the mid-80s when I was selling cars, the MPG ratings for most were in the 20-something city, 30-something highway range. What bothers me is that the current crop of vehicles are advertised with the same kind of numbers.

I know that newer cars have a lot of extra "stuff" to power and are hamstrung to a degree by tougher pollution control standards, but I would have expected that with 20 years of technological advancement we should be seeing numbers like 40 city, 55 highway on even the larger models.

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Dogs' Theme Songs:

Yeoman: Mr. Rogers, It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Broc: George Thorogood, Bad to the Bone

Libby: Orbison & Dees, Oh Pretty Woman

Cat's Theme Song:

Bobo: Gershwin, Someone to Watch Over Me

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

bc, I have no clue why I said Pats versus Chargers. Senility, I suppose. Of course, it's Pats versus Colts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi mo! Nah, 'tis a re-run. I'm sitting down here in the bunny room writing one of my weekly letters to friends and family back West. If I don't write these missives, I fear they might forget I exist.

I don't watch much evening television. I'm down to CSI, NCIS, and Ghost Whisperer. I like Ghost Whisperer simply because it is sumthin' different. Although I must admit my enthusiasm waned a bit when we saw JLH wake up in the wee hours of the morning in full makeup. A woman who can see dead folks I can buy, a woman who wears false eyelids to bed, well, not so much....

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC: false eyelashes! "False eyelids" are just scary. Although come to think of it, so are her eyelashes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, so glad to hear you went to the doctor and ER, best wishes for a speedy recovery. With Dad having been in UCI for almost a month now, I truly appreciate the luxery of our health care system, it is certainly not without its faults - some quite large, but dealing with illness is stressful enough, not to have to worry about the costs - priceless.

SciTim, I was waiting for a meeting to start this morning and glancing through the newspaper and saw and article about the climate change study - not a great way to start the day. I hope we can find ways to alter the path, and that our collective governments will get serious about the environment and what needs to be done to affect change, ironically the meeting I went into did not portend well from this neck of the woods.

Posted by: dmd | January 19, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, a young woman whose mother is a lifelong friend and who was born just 28 hours before my younger child, is currently in residential treatment for anorexia. Her mother had hopeful things to say about her night before last - she is stronger and is up to 94 pounds, her size 0's are getting tight. It is indeed a terrible affliction and a cultural shame that thinness is considered good. I applaud all efforts to change the model norm.

Martooni, glad that you are on the mend. Keep it up, for heavens sake!

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog's theme song, best as I could think of one, was "How much is that Doggy in the Window?"

I like "Bad to the Bone", but doesn't fit him. Jelly Green's "The Bear Song" doesn't quite fit either.

This would be apt for troublemaking beagles:

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 19, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Padouk. The next installment of Giada on the road is coming on in about 8 minutes.

At the moment I'm watching "The Mexican," which I always liked, despite what the critics said, and discovered that lo and behold, the actor playing Beck the kid who gets killed in Mexico was played by David Krumholtz, who plays Charlie on Numb3rs, which comes on at 10.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

You have no idea how long it took me to figure out why Mianus was funny. Thanks, Tom fan, for the clue. Ha!

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 19, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I like this song... not sure if it's a theme for me or for my friends.

That's What Friends Are For

We're your friends
We're your friends
We're your friends to the bitter end
(The bitter end)

When you're alone
Who comes around
To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you're outside, looking in
Who's there to open the door?
That's what friends are for!

Who's always eager to extend a friendly claw?
That's what friends are for!

And when you're lost, in dire need
Who's at your side at lightning speed?
We're friends of every creature
Comin' down the pike
In fact we never met an animal
We didn't like, didn't like

So you can see we're friends
(We're friends indeed)
We're friends in need
And friends indeed
Are friends indeed
(Are friends indeed)
We'll keep you safe
In the jungle forevermore
That's what friends are for!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | January 19, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

It took me an awfully long time too, mostlylurking.
I kept staring at the Web site thinking, What's the joke? The quaintness? What? For a while there I thought I'd lost my sense of humor -- or that maybe I'd never even had one in the first place.

I guess we could congratulate ourselves for having such clean, innocent minds.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I was just going to put your Pats/Chargers thing down to plain old geezing and overlook it.

I think there's a chance of bad weather for the Saints vs. da Bares, which favors the home team. Of course, my heart wants the Saints, and they have a remarkable road record this season (6-2), but the only time they faced a defense like da Bares was Baltimore's, and they lost at home 35-22. Pick: da Bears, but I hope the Saints shock me.

As for the Pats at the Colts, the Colts' defense is on a hot streak and the Colts *did* beat the Pats at their house back in November, but New England hasn't lost a game in a month, and they play unpredictable "find a way to win" football during the playoffs. Pick: the Pats in an upset.

martooni, cars today are roughly 20-30% heavier than they were 20 years ago, and have far higher specific outputs than back in the day. Some of that fuel mileage went into the weight of the vehicles, some of went to just making more power. A Honda Civic Si makes 190 hp but still gets very good fuel mileage. Granted, it's a torqueless beast, but it scats pretty good once it's wound up.

Hope you're feelin' better, too, dude.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: 21 Jan 14:00

The key lime pie looks to die for.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Tom Fan, then that means I have a dirty mind. I caught the "mi-anus" reference immediately. I'm reading it visually, not phonetically.

Uranus, Mianus, it's all the same to me.

E.g. If you think too phonetically you might not realize that atone originally came from at + one to be at one with God.... atone for your sins. It has nothing to do with atonal music.

So I'll go atone for my dirty mind by being at one with some dirty mags, um, I meant prayer books. Yeah, that's it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 19, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Excerpts from earlier posts:
"I have great faith in our biosphere's ability to recover from disaster, shaking off loads of species and whole phyla in the process."

"The WSJ today reported that, thanks to high oil prices, the developed world has showed a small but significant drop in oil consumption for the first time in more than 20 years."

"We may be moving away from mitigation options are toward adaptation strategies, which are by nature more expensive and complex."

Well, duh! Stuff changes, but only in response to stimulae. It has made no sense to try to browbeat populations into to changing habits which were built by years of habituation to cheap gas, fairly calm weather and stable coastlines, as long as those conditions still prevailed, because people don't work that way. What HAS made sense is to warn the manufacturers/providers of cars, housing, insurance, and energy that they'd better be prepared for a major shift in buying/consumption patterns, 'cuz a hard rain's starting to fall. And, those folks have been doing some preparing, and the pace will only increase.

Now that oil production has essentially peaked at this price point (obviously, if oil goes up to $200 per barrel, we could double worldwide production fairly quickly, but I'm not sure that the world will wish to double worldwide consumption at that price), the many other energy options which have been played around with over the past century or so are starting to look more attractive. Same with realizing that this weather crap is expensive for wealthy corporations. (The poor are getting a free ride from the wealthy folks on this, since the poor won't/can't adjust their habits so readily, but it's only fair, since the wealthy are the pointpersons on the direction of climate-changing energy usage.)

"(Leave the Alaskan North slopes alone, please, as there is not that much oil there, really, given our long-term voracious appetite.)"

True enough, as far as it goes, but realistically, oil drilling is not a big deal ecologically. Do, don't, it probably doesn't much matter. The North Slope will get along fine either way and, as you point out, the intrusion will be fairly temporary. We're not talking about strip-mining here.

"but I would have expected that with 20 years of technological advancement we should be seeing numbers like 40 city, 55 highway on even the larger models."

Well, actually, there are a fair number of models that provide those numbers, but folks ain't buyin' 'em! I have to laugh at people who complain about gas prices. Gas is still pretty darned cheap. I know this because when I got gas yesterday, the vehicles that I counted in the gas station and on the street up to two blocks from the gas station consisted of: One bus, 24 trucks or SUV's (two seemed to be commercial), 7 vans (four seemed to be commercial), 9 smaller cars (mine was one!) and a motorcycle. Of all of those vehicles, I only noticed at least one passenger other than the driver in four (including the bus. Mine, alas, was not one). Trust me, gas is still cheap! When gas gets to be expensive, those ratios will change. In all fairness, spending an extra $6000 on a car to save $20 per week on gas makes no rational sense to most folks who already drive small cars, so the motivations have to be clearer for them. And the folks who can afford large vehicles are usually either, 1)not scared off by a measly doubling of gas prices, and/or 2) so attached to the idea of a large, powerful vehicle (e.g. soccer moms who have to haul around kids in crappy weather, manly men who like to have a big unit [of transportation], oil executives who are secretly engaged in a policy of decreasing the available supply of their product, etc.) that the mere increase in gas of a buck or two or three per gallon is just not that big a deal.

Ahhhh, the tragedy of the commons!

On the whole, I'm with RD Pad here. Lots of things aren't fun, but change is the one thing that humans are better at than almost anything larger than bacteria!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha - yes, I tend to use Spanish phonetics when I come across an unfamiliar name (I don't know why, especially when the name doesn't look Spanish). So I was thinking, mee-ANN-us. I did the same thing with Yakima - I thought it was ya-KEE-ma, but it's American Indian - YAK-a-ma. Don't even get me started on Puyallup.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 19, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, that was a long one. Sorry!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

When I say things like "we're doomed," "we're screwed," it's the summary of the following logical chain:

(1) The worst consequences of our actions can be avoided if we make thoughtful changes now.
(2) Thoughtful changes mean spending money and effort to prevent bad things.
(3) Since bad things haven't happened yet, most people will not believe that bad things are inevitable.
(4) Therefore, no thoughtful changes will be made.
(5) Therefore, we will not avoid the worst consequences of our actions.
(6) Therefore, it is prudent to prepare oneself and one's loved ones to cope with the range of outcomes, somewhere between "not-too-bad" and "ecological and economic disaster."

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

I take it as given that we (humanity) will cope with the results of our own folly. We will adapt. It is my job, now, to pre-adapt my offspring and my family and friends on the individual level. Just selfish, I guess, but I would like for my lineage to be well-represented in the crowd of successful adapters. I think we have a good bit to offer. That requires predicting what they will have to be adapted to. Pessimism is not a bad thing for this purpose -- over-prepared probably is better than underprepared.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I probably should have added "not that there's anything wrong with having a dirty mind."

Posted by: Tom fan | January 19, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it would only cause more confusion, but technically Strom the Younger should drop the Junior now that his dad is gone. Kurt Vonnegut did this between 'Breakfast of Champions' and 'Slapstick'. Coincidentally, this is the traditional break point between "good old" Vonnegut and "bad newer" Vonnegut. I don't subscribe to that division, but it's out there.

And sorry guys, I watch Food network for the eats not the eye candy. Otherwise The Hungry Detective would be very disturbing.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Decades ago, as a young man who was disappointed at being told that the proper pronunciation of the planet (this one's still a planet, right?) was "urine' us", I adjusted by simply adjusting my pronunciation of the body hole to "in' us". Problem solved, all the grade school jokes still work!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Summary of SciTim's post:

The sky is falling, build bomb shelters, and learn how to generate electricity from digesting all those canned beans you got on sale. And if enough people make electricity out of gut gas, maybe we can reverse global warming after all.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 19, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yello, Miss Manners teaches that when Senior dies, Junior takes Senior, III becomes Junior, etc. I always wondered how that would work in my family, where Junior died before Senior and III. I think it's easier just to let them keep what they got when they were born.

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I like your natural selection approach, SciTim. I tend to think the same way (guess that's no surprise).

Posted by: Dooley | January 19, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Tim, that logic looks sound to me. (I was going to say "sounds sound" . . .)

I agree, most people *don't* believe bad things are inevitable. They seem to think our way of life, our civilization, has some sort of fail-safe mechanism built into it. It was perfectly understandable that *other* civilizations collapsed and/or experienced environmental devastation (the Mayans, the Easter Islanders, the Ancient Romans, etc.), but that could never happen to *us* -- it's almost as if people ("they" -- or we?) think some invisible line was drawn somewhere between "the olden days" and the present day, at which point suddenly a guarantee was given that Everything Will Work Out Just Fine. Or, more likely, most of us are just incredibly short-sighted.

[But I consider myself to be an optimist. No, really -- I do.]

Posted by: Dreamer | January 19, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

yello - you bring up an interesting point. I tried (unsuccessfully) to educate a friend of mine on the fine points of family naming conventions. He's the fourth in a series of identically-named eldest sons, and he was discussing the pros & cons of naming his son (for discussion purposes) "Oldest Son Smith V". I pointed out to him that the traditional method of naming your son after yourself (and your identically named forbears) is to name him, well, identically! (i.e. "Oldest Son") The other appellations are traditionally appended only by others (friends, family members, newspapers & historians [if you rate a mention], and sometimes by the court, if it gets that ugly), but never in the official naming since that would take away from the whole point of being identically named, wouldn't it now? I couldn't help but slide in the fact that the habit of making the addition (Junior, III, etc.) part of the official name is a relatively recent middle-class affectation.

Nope, no dice. His son is now, officially, "Oldest Son Smith, V". Sigh.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I was in elementary school during the 1950s, when we had routine nuclear holocaust drills and had to crouch under our desks. I've been pretty much waiting for armageddon and the apocalypse for the past 50 years, Tim.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - For some of us, those drills lasted until the early 70's!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I remember the under-the-desk drills - don't look out the windows, cover your eyes with an arm, etc.

This had prompted a tune cootie:

"Hammer to Fall"
words and music: Brian May
performed by Queen

Here we stand or here we fall
History won't care at all
Make the bed light the light
Lady mercy won't be home tonight

You don't waste no time at all
Don't hear the bell but you answer the call
It comes to you as to us all
We're just waiting
For the hammer to fall

Oh every night and every day
A little piece of you is falling away
But lift your face the western way
Build your muscles as your body decays

Toe your line and play their game
Let the anaesthetic cover it all
'till one day they call your name
You know it's time for the hammer to fall

Rich or poor or famous
For your truth it's all the same
(oh no oh no)
Lock your door the rain is pouring
Through your window pane (oh no)
Baby, now your struggle's all in vain

For we who grew up tall and proud
In the shadow of the mushroom cloud
Convinced our voices can't be heard
We just wanna scream it
louder and louder, louder

"What the hell we fighting for?"

Just surrender and it won't hurt at all
You just got time to say your prayers
While you're waiting for
the hammer to hammer to fall

It's going to fall know..hammer to fall
Waiting for the hammer to fall now, baby
While you're waiting for
the hammer to fall!


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

well that was uplifting.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 19, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Bob, my larger point was that those drills and that outlook and mentality have stuck with many people of my generation for half a century: a more-or-less "routine" and unsurprised view that, yes, the human race can cripple or even wipe itself out at pretty much any time--and is probably going to do so one way or another. I wouldn't have thought it might be due to global warming...but sure, why not that as likely as anything else?

According to Tim's estimate, I myself am likely to miss it (and no one's more surprised about that than me), but that's not the point.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that this was obvious, but I'll state it anyway:

My point in the long, rambly thing above wasn't that nobody should take preventive action in the face of large scale changes. It was that it's ludicrous to expect most people to act against their perceived best interests in the absence of perceived strong motivations.

Again, the tragedy of the commons is in play here. At the moment, relatively stable weather & coastlines, relatively cheap gas & other energy, and relatively breathable air & drinkable water are all available to relatively wealthy people, while living according to long-ingrained habits. To eschew those habits will effect immeasurably small changes on the overall use of the resources while they're still available cheap, because others will constantly take up the slack. All the preaching in the world won't change fundamental economics here.

As Tim points out, education with an eye to future adaptation & reaction is the only strategy worth pursuing. I am rather enheartened by the fact that most of the major car companies, oil companies, and utility engineering firms (as opposed to the utilities themselves, who are rather constrained by the fact that often state governments control their rates, and therefore their investment strategies) have been taking advantage of at least a little of their tax breaks to do a little R&D, and have a few things to throw out there.

But really, how can you ask A-Corp to go broke producing over-priced fuel-cell cars to a nearly non-existent market while B-Corp rakes it in hand-over-fist with business as usual? We could certainly demand that the government increase the federal gasoline tax, and provide some serious incentives to corporations which will provide these things at a reasonable cost to consumers, but the shrieking about government handouts to wealthy corporations will be unending until these things are desperately needed because the hard rain has started to fall!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

'mudge - I got your point! I"m not quite so venerable as you, but I'm old enough to have spent a lot of years more-or-less assuming that we was all gonna go out in a blaze of un-glory!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

It's probably marginally relevant to relate (yeah, I know, I've mentioned it before!) that I spent a fair number of years ensuring that B-52 bombers (which I can neither confirm nor deny had nuclear weapons onboard or near at hand, but which were definitely guarded by young men with very large weapons!) were ready to launch on VERY short notice.

Yeah, I got your point! : )

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I have no trouble believing that the world is going to heck in a hand basket (not quite sure what a "hand basket" is, though). I wonder if it is because of the nuclear war threat as a kid (which seems to be coming back now).

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 20, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

It just isn't the same without Freddy.

Gawd, I *love* Queen.

Posted by: Yoki | January 20, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Me, too, Yoki.
Luckily, so do my kids.

LA lurker, that song is not uplifitng, but the fact that it's around 25 years old (if not more) is somewhat encouraging to me: Mudge, Bob S *Tim, and others have made the points better than I.

The future will be different, and we have a lot to do to get there. We can choose to try to make things better, or take up the fiddle. I just don't have the callouses for fiddlin' much any more.

Good morning, all.


Posted by: bc | January 20, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

With this one, climate change, I am more aligned with SciTim, perhaps it was just the day I had. I am normally an optimist but I fear we will not make the changes necessary until it is too late, when the changes are undertaken it may only be after serious problems have occurred and may take a long time to correct.

Mudge smiled at the under the desk drills, I did not live through them, but my children now have "lock down" drills, in the event of child abductions, shootings at school etc. Only the terror has changed from a large nuclear explosion to a variety of smaller,equally terrifying events.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

A disturbing fact that didn't made the news in the US is the proposed 5-fold increase in the production of oil from tar sands deposits in Alberta (NWT and Saskatchewan too?). The production of oil from tar sands involves using multiple tons of steam to separate the oil from the dirt. Currently, the steam is produced by burning natural gas and some oil. Currenly, Alberta produces 37% of the carbon emission while hosting 10% of the population. It is expected that any reduction in carbon emission achieved elsewhere in Canada will be dwarfed by the massive increase in fossil fuel burning in the tar sand industry. Nuclear reactors are great at producing steam, any hope the tar sand people will have an epiphany and invest in one or two of those ? Otherwise the world will pay a dear price for Alberta's wealth.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 20, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking, I believe there is a proposal to build a nuclear reactor for the tar sands. I do not know if they have enough water though for a facility like that. Saw an article quite a while ago about the levels of the McKenzie (?) river and how it had gone down as a result of the increased production in the tar sands.

There have been calls to halt the increases in the projects until viable solutions are developed/implemented but they are lost amid the ability to create money.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

fyi, I posted the column as a new kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 20, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Morning all...

We still had the "duck and cover" drills going when I was in school and to this day I can't imagine how a school desk would protect me from a nuclear blast. I also remember the scratchy black & white newsreel-style films they showed as part of the "training". One minute they're trying to scare the bejeezus out of you with footage of bombs exploding and ripping through houses, and the next they'd go Hanna-Barbera on you with cute animated bombs telling you everything will be okay -- as long as you duck and cover.

I didn't mind the desk drills so much. Was a great opportunity for a little boy to sneak a peek up his classmates dresses.

btw... thanks for all the good wishes. Feeling much better today (though that could be the lovely painkillers they prescribed). They also put me on an antibiotic that appears to have nearly wiped out my bronchitis overnight.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

A thousand pardons, all, for the delay, but here are the Jan. BPH photos, complete with the Pulitzer Prize-winning shot of 'Mudge and annie in the same place at the same time! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

They still do the under-the-desk drills around here... they just call them "tornado drills."

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Jared | January 28, 2007 2:38 AM | Report abuse

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