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How To Get Filthy Rich

[My column in the Sunday magazine.]

If you're like most people, you are content to live a modest, middle-class existence, built around the small pleasures of home, family, friends and civic duty, even as your long-term plan is to become filthy rich and live in a mansion with lots of servants and a backyard zoo and a heliport and a huge pool that has a grotto stocked with frolicsome nymphs and stone cupids that spurt water in a suggestive manner. You respect yourself enough to know that "having it all" is merely a baseline for your true destiny of having even more than it all.

Tragically, society has failed to compensate you in a manner commensurate with your dreams. Worse, you're losing ground: The ratio of the things out there that you want to the things you can actually afford grows higher with each passing day. Socio-economically, you are sinking into the murk. Who are they, these people who have so much money? How can they afford to live in houses the size of the Pentagon? What line of work could possibly pay for such opulence?

Here's what rich people understand: You'll never make money by working. Working is for losers, the rabble, the (cough, cough) "working class." No, you make money by already having money. Then you let your money cavort with other people's money in an orgiastic frenzy of money-breeding.

What you need to do is learn to invest. You must become someone who can talk about "derivatives" without vocalizing the quotation marks. Ditto for talking about other "financial instruments," such as "credit swaps" and "collateralized debt obligations."

Obviously, I got these terms from someone else, specifically financial columnist Steve Pearlstein. I asked Steve what a "credit swap" is, and he wouldn't tell me, saying the explanation would be "too painful." I think he meant that any attempt to explain it to me would be excruciating for him. But I persisted, and he said: "It's a derivative product. It has to do with swapping what would be a variable stream of income, depending on changes in interest rates, for a fixed stream of income."

Okay, so somehow if you swap the one thingy for the other thingy, money appears.

Next, I called a very successful investor, Tom Gardner, co-founder of the online investment community The Motley Fool. I told him I wanted to invest in a hedge fund, because from what I've read, they sound better than mere stocks.

"You can make an investment in a hedge fund, but you have to be a certified investor with a net worth in excess of a million dollars," he said.

Dang. So what if I just bought a stock or two that would make me sound, at parties, like a savvy investor? He suggested that perhaps I'd like to buy a foreign stock.

"You could be telling people, for example, that you own Cemex, the largest cement mixer in the world, based in Mexico."

Of course! Who doesn't need cement?

Doubts creep in: Wouldn't my interest in Cemex instantly doom the stock? I'm the guy who bought WorldCom at its peak. The market surely depends on idiots like me to buy stocks that are overpriced. Aren't I the pigeon in this poker game?

Actually, the news is even worse. My friend Michael Lewis, who used to be a securities trader and wrote a best-selling book about it, Liar's Poker, says only losers buy stocks now. "All the smart money's out of the stock market. It's into private equity," he told me. "What's that?" I asked. Private equity is -- well, it's like a party that's in a secret location and lacks adult supervision. And it's getting louder and more fun by the minute. But it's clear that even if I managed to locate the party, these people would just hand me their car keys as though I were the valet.

Very discouraging. Meanwhile, the investment firm Goldman Sachs had such a great year that it reportedly paid more than $15 billion in compensation to its employees for 2006. CEO Lloyd Blankfein got an annual bonus of more than $53.4 million. We're talking Grotto money.

Is there room in that world for those of us who bring to the table only modest amounts of cash and are so fundamentally stupid we are willing to pay 18 percent interest on a credit card? Yes, our role is to give the money we made with actual labor to people who own yachts and private jets and whose children are so rich they don't play with dolls but with rented babies.

There's only one sane approach to the market: Admit that you're at a casino and that the house is ultimately going to win. Then plan to get lucky. After all, a man's gotta dream.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 13, 2007; 8:25 AM ET
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Next: Jack Bauer Takes Bagel Break, L.A. Suburb Destroyed


Rich people also don't spend money, at least not the way I do. If, for instance, you suggest to a rich person that you should meet for coffee? He will forget his wallet every time.

Posted by: Yoki | January 13, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

New money people are so, ahem.

Never mind the lack of art. It's the lack of books that one ponders.

Posted by: Old Money | January 13, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm a 99% lurker. I think I'm first here because the previous boodle just wore everyone out.

Posted by: Kim | January 13, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, NOT first...and I was really excited about that! Oh well, guess I'll slink back to lurkingland.

Posted by: Kim | January 13, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey Kim! Yeah, Moveable Type has been contrary this week. Don't worry about it, just chime in when you feel like it.

Posted by: Slyness | January 13, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

No, come on back Kim! "First Post" is tough to get around here, especially when boodles seem to last for days.

Yoki, I had a friend like that. Somehow I always ended up paying for lunch. Now he's got 5000 sq. ft. house - mine's closer to 1000. No wonder, he ate for free for years. It adds up.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 13, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Before I got married I spent some time trying to understand how people got rich. The consensus seemed to be that rich folks managed to buy things and have other people pay for them. You borrow money to purchase something like a rental house, and then use the rent to pay off the home. Then you do the same with Rockefeller Plaza. This works brilliantly except when it doesn't. Which is why I bought savings bonds instead.

Nowadays I follow a strategy called "let your wife manage the money. " Given that my wife is a trained mathematician, this works well. I mean, this woman will calculate our taxes twice to figure out how to save seventeen dollars. She also keeps a close eye on these things called "interest rates." (For the definitive treatment of these I recommend "Homes and Other Black Holes" by D. Barry.) A few years ago my wife called me to say that she had earned $50K that morning. After several alternative scenarios flashed through my panic-stricken brain, she told that she had re-financed the house.

The other secret to financial security is to buy mutual funds and sire extremely demanding children. You save thousands by not actually going anywhere. Plus, you are so busy arguing with your offspring about the need to do homework, and bathe, that you never have time to mess up your investments.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Joe Kennedy: when Joel Achenbach starts giving stocks tips, it's time to get out of the market!

Posted by: ot | January 13, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I like this sentence

let your money cavort with other people's money in an orgiastic frenzy of money-breeding.

Almost sounds pornographic

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 13, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm glad you mentioned The Grotto, but you didn't say anything about lounging around it all day in a burgundy velvet bathrobe with the Twins.

Here's a funny thing I've learned about managing money; when I don't care much about it, it doesn't care much for me.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

You know, this is why I can't read the business section of the paper; it's so full of gibberished jargon that I prefer hanging out with computer geeks. No, I'm doomed to remain a liberal arts generalist and will probably spend my retirement in a 300 square foot shoebox.

Posted by: Kea | January 13, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

As a perennial government worker, the subject of "money", in the sense of accumulation, is close to purely theoretical for me. I have a colleague who actually invests in stocks and has made some "money", in a small way. I'm not willing to climb the fairly steep learning curve needed for me myself to understand markets, but I've thought about giving him some money to invest on my behalf. If I had any. I suppose I could stop buying inexpensive (a cut above cheap) wine for a year and invest those savings . . . what am I thinking? Never happen.

From the previous Boodle: Cassandra, we'll never know the truth of what happened in the Duke case. The criminal justice system isn't really designed to ferret out "truth" even in the best instances, and with something so murky as this it never will. We'll be lucky just to know whether any crimes were committed, and if so, which. It seemed clear to me at the time that the D.A. was acting unethically with his media pronouncements before the case really began, and I'm glad to see the N.C. bar authorities apparently agree.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine cleaning a house the size of the Pentagon, but the Pentagon obviously needs some housecleaning. *w*

Is there a way to be cleanly rich? I'm laughing at your Rough Draft because of a tease to a Metro story on the front page of our newspaper.

A 30-year-old deputy, Emmanuel Sanchez, from the [Rio Grande] Valley, was pulled over in Georgia where Georgia troopers discovered $1 million in a duffel bag in the back seat and *in the doors* of his pickup. He has to explain to the Georgia juciciary how he came by this money legally before it will be returned.

The funniest grafs in the article are the remarks made by Sanchez's boss, interspersed throughout the article:

Asked about the Jan. 6 incident, Sheriff Lupe Treviño, *desensitized by corruption in the Valley*, said it's a moot point because Emmanuel Sanchez quit Wednesday and no longer works under him. ...

Sheriff Treviño said if the Georgia investigation reveals anything that needs to be addressed locally, his department will follow up, but no plans are in the works to launch an investigation. ...

"It's very disappointing when a policeman goes wrong, (but) it happens on all levels ... federal agents ... state troopers, county, city police. We have them in all ranks," Treviño said. "We have good reporters, we have bad reporters. It's in all professions."

[How did journalism creep into this conversation or interview? Who makes more, a deputy or a reporter? Joel, you driving around with a million dollars stuck in the doors of your Honda? You know, your cumulative profits from Carbucks? Trevino is such a maroon.]

Posted by: Loomis | January 13, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Okay, you are allowed to go second label. But anything below that and you might end up hauled before the committee.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

A quote from a relative, on why he didn't have any money. "I spent it on wine, women, and song. The rest of it I just blew."

Posted by: LostInThought | January 13, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I know! Great kit!

One of my favorite (geek) daydreams happens while I'm stuck in traffic looking at the lottery billboards. I know all but one of the upcoming lottery numbers. So using my superior math skills, I go and buy the numbers I know with all other combinations--for under $50 guaranteeing myself a win. Then I give the *losing* tickets, in reality worth tens of thousands themselves, to my friends (I love them and I'll need an entourage. What's the fun in being off every day if your friends have to work all the time?). We all go to Hawaii.

In reality, I work in finance, with people who make $20K a year and people who make millions a year (not me). Some people drive Jaguars, some come by the bus. I was standing in the cafeteria line yesterday and started talking to someone I see, but didn't know. She asked what I did, I told her, she said "That sounds like a well-paying job." What do you say? (What's the emoticon for comical anguish?) Yeah, it's okay? But I'm always on call? Excuse me, I hear my mother calling?

Posted by: dbG | January 13, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ice storm update: Yup. We have one. We are warm & cosy (still with power), but not going anywhere any time soon. I took the dogs out about 7 am, and there was a slight sleet that was actually somewhat pleasant. The ground & roads look white, but it is all ice. Crunchy. No traction. We're supposed to get more. They predicted this would begin yesterday afternoon, but it actually began about 7:30 yesterday morning. My windshield iced up taking the Boy to school; he anxiously said, "That isn't good." He worried that I wouldn't know whether to pick him up early since I don't have an office with a window. Isn't that sweet? The capitol was shut down by eleven, and I picked up the boy and was home before noon.

We ran some errands, of course. Ivansdad braved the grocery store in the morning, before learning the university cancelled classes (as a professor he didn't have that power, bah). The liquor store was very busy within half an hour of opening. I had to stop for wine before getting the Boy. I admit, RD, sometimes I go a little higher than second label. I have deliberately avoided cultivating a taste for really good wine - and here we are, back on topic with that "money" thing again.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

>Some people drive Jaguars

Used Jags are available at very reasonable prices. They depreciate like crazy.

But you'll still feel pretty rich while driving around. One of the nicest (and most reliable!) cars I ever had was a '93 XJS convertible.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

LiT's relative said: "I spent it on wine, women, and song. The rest of it I just blew."

Are you sure we're not related?

My money management skills pretty much boil down to:

Net Worth = "what's in my pocket?"

Assets = "what's in my *back* pocket?"

Retirement Plan = "convincing Little Bean she really wants to be a doctor when she grows up"

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

LiT's relative said: "I spent it on wine, women, and song. The rest of it I just blew."

Are you sure we're not related?

My money management skills pretty much boil down to:

Net Worth = "what's in my pocket?"

Assets = "what's in my *back* pocket?"

Retirement Plan = "convincing Little Bean she really wants to be a doctor when she grows up"

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

LiT's relative said: "I spent it on wine, women, and song. The rest of it I just blew."

Are you sure we're not related?

My money management skills pretty much boil down to:

Net Worth = "what's in my pocket?"

Assets = "what's in my *back* pocket?"

Retirement Plan = "convincing Little Bean she really wants to be a doctor when she grows up"

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

Reposting this just in case Moveable Type's acting up again:

Well, there *is* the "Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse" plan.

Also has the side benefit of requiring little financial planning for the future.

I considered this plan for a while myself. The trick was planning a fatal misadventure to go out with a cool bang (wrecking a race car, falling off a mountain, etc.), rather than some ignominious end involving choking on somebody's vomit.

Well, I've dawdled around for 30 years to the point where the "good-looking corpse" is no longer achieveable on my budget. So now I have to start thinking about money.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Jags are very nice as long as you don't have to figure out why something went wrong.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

woah!... I know yesterday was HAL's birthday and all, but I figured he'd have sobered up by now.

(apologies for the triple post above)

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It is almost GAMETIME.I will be heading down soon to start the festive feast.

All the filthy rich people will be sitting in suites and sky boxes.

The rich people will be sitting in the club level.

The other people,not really poor,but not rich either,will be sitting with me.In the elements, with the rowdy crowd.It should be a blast.

We will all eat well and drink well and hopefully we will all have fun.


Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 13, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

>Jags are very nice as long as you don't have to figure out why something went wrong.

Yes, and there is the $430 side mirror replacement. But I had to replace the side mirror on my 96 GMC Jimmy and that was like $270! I took a lot of ribbing from friends about that car, but it never let me down.

Someone paid like $65k for that car new. I paid $20k with 35k miles on it, and drove it another 35k miles without incident before I traded it in. You don't have to actually be rich to feel like landed gentry.

The same place has a 98 conv. with 20k miles on it, same price. If only it wasn't white...

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Just saw this over at CNN, from Bush's weekly radio address: "Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully," Bush said. "But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success."


The opposition has already made it clear what "alternative" they want: GO HOME.

To demand that the opposition provide an "alternative" that has a better chance for "success", you first have to agree on a definition of "success" and then believe that success is actually achievable.

The "opposition" he speaks of already knows better.

This is like watching a drunk trying to bet the grocery money at a rigged poker game after he's already lost the house and car and IRA, with his wife and kids trying desperately to drag him away from the table and even the dealer telling him to "go home".

This is beyond stupidity. This is willful stupidity.

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Error... I'm disappointed. I thought you were much more resourceful than that.

$270 for a mirror? Have you forgotten the power of duct tape?

I could have fixed that up for about $1 including spray paint to match the tape to the car's exterior.

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

>$270 for a mirror? Have you forgotten the power of duct tape?

martooni, I had the duct tape on it for about three months. The plastic base somehow developed a resistance to it. The funny thing is it was my bright idea to cover the SUV during a snow storm so I wouldn't have to clean it off.

The weight of the snow on the cover broke the mirror!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 13, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Thank the gods for the "dingbat" comment above. I read that same article this morning and had the exact same reaction. Nice to not feel so alone....

As for "assets" - Exactly!! ;-) I'm working on my youngest, who wants to become an Air Force General and gentleman tycoon...

Ivansmom, don't apologize for second label wine... Mine comes in a (large) box! (Let's hear it for "well-paid" civil servants!)

Posted by: Melangell | January 13, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Retirement Plan = "convincing Little Bean she really wants to be a doctor when she grows up""

This is my plan precisely, martooni. There were a few years when it scared the dickens out of me knowing that one day my well being might rely on my boys. they've improved since then, and I'm pretty sure that I will at least have a corner in the basement.

I can't do sotcks and investing. It makes my tummy hurt. Watching those who have makes one realize its a game, so martooni, you may want to also suggest that bean hang out with gents who like to play games of strategy.

Posted by: dr | January 13, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

In the category of thrift, my nomination for most durable garment: my dad's WWII issue Army winter parka. He brought it home from the Pacific, it was still hanging in a closet when Ivansdad & I moved back into this house, and it is now my winter-weather coat of choice. It is beat up and scarred, but with the fur-type hood liner, the quilting, and the knee lenth (on me) it is the perfect coat for weather 15 degrees (u.s.) and below. Don't the filthy rich have a habit of thrift, driving old cars, wearing old suits, etc.? Maybe I've got the mindset without the money.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The "old money" around Boston are well known for their frugal ways, Ivansmom. There is a saying around here that goes something like, "she doesn't buy hats, she *has* hats. Of course the nouveau rich spend money ostentatiously and overdo everything from cars and houses to jewelry. I have some friends who are extremely well off, I'm sure they're worth multi millions, but they came up from nothing, and while they have nice homes and cars, they are not in the least bit flashy. They know the value of a dollar and can be surprisingly frugal in some ways. I guess I'm now living by the old adage that the less I spend the more I keep.

By the way, your Dad's old jacket sounds like a treasure. Wish my dad had kept some of his WWII stuff, all I have are his dogtags.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 13, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

During WWII my wife's grandfather helped fly planes between India and China. ("The Hump.") When he died a few years ago his widow gave me his flight jacket. It is in pretty good shape. However, my wife refuses to let me wear it because of the memories.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I have heard of some wealthy people who are thrifty to the point of absurdity. The question is, are they rich because they refuse to replace things, or do they refuse to replace things because they are rich?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

CNN has the news conference concerning the Duke mess. Perhaps the State of North Carolina will clean this up, the attorney general, that is.

Thanks for your answer, Ivansmom.

Slyness, I hope you enjoy your weekend in the mountains. I've never been to the mountains of North Carolina. Never really had a great desire to go, but love the ocean.

As for being filthy rich, I can't even dream rich, that's how far it is from me.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 13, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

All my money is tied up in consumer electronics. I picked up a digital camera this week to go with the 1GB SD memory card I bought for $15 on Black Friday. I didn't need the chip back then, so I have been looking for a use for it.

The true key to wealth is to get other people to work for you doing something for less money than you are charging someone else. I'm not sure which is harder, finding people to work for you or finding people to pay for the things they can do.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 13, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

For those of you willing to invest in order to achieve the lifestyle to which you would like to become accustomed, I still have a few premium shares in my Brooklyn Bridge consortium I can offer to moderately capable investors. Joel?

Other opportunites currently available, at slightly higher risk, include bonds put out by Arbusto Iraqi Enterprises. We have been consistently informed by persons in the highest circles of government that this is a low-cost high-yield investment. Just recently no less a person than the President of the United States has insisted that no better investment plan has been offered. One must not think this is a partisan effort; a former vice-presidential candidate from the opposition party has consistently offered his support. While initial claims have proven to be somewhat inaccurate there have been numberous obscene fortunes established by the effort.
These bonds are currently trading at an all-time low; invest now for future success! Remember: past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Mudge needed to write this.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 13, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

For those of you willing to invest in order to achieve the lifestyle to which you would like to become accustomed, I still have a few premium shares in my Brooklyn Bridge consortium I can offer to moderately capable investors. Joel?

Other opportunites currently available, at slightly higher risk, include bonds put out by Arbusto Iraqi Enterprises. We have been consistently informed by persons in the highest circles of government that this is a low-cost high-yield investment. Just recently no less a person than the President of the United States has insisted that no better investment plan has been offered. One must not think this is a partisan effort; a former vice-presidential candidate from the opposition party has consistently offered his support. While initial claims have proven to be somewhat inaccurate there have been numberous obscene fortunes established by the effort. These bonds are currently trading at an all-time low; invest now for future success! Remember: past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Mudge needed to write this.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | January 13, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I used to date a girl whose brother was both a CPA *and* a corporate lawyer in the DC area (who knows, he's probably managed to squeeze in medical school and become a doctor by now, but I digress). He was also filthy stinking rich -- not born into it, just had a natural affinity for it.

His key to financial success was very similar to the principle yellojkt described. He used to say "Why should I take two hours of my time to mow the lawn -- time I could be billing out at $300/hour -- when I can get a guy to do it for $10/hour?"

He had lots of money (I'm sure he still does), but he worked something like 80 hours a week. No time for friends or family, no time for himself to just wind down.

I dunno... I guess it all comes down to priorities and what something is worth to you.

For the record, I actually enjoy mowing my lawn.

I also enjoy watching it grow.

I'm obviously not rich and do not have much of a social life.

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

In the category of experiences which don't require money: a boy, a large aluminum mixing bowl, and a long concrete slope covered with ice. Now that's the ingredients for some fun.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Here are two articles from the New York Times that I though sad.

The photo caption says, "...residents survey what had been their home. NATO troops, in building a new road to improve security in the area, razed homes and plowed under orchards and melon fields."

On Religion: Black Churches Hungering for Musical Talent

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 13, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Add a 't' to 'though' and you get 'thought,' which is what I meant.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 13, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom... that does sound like fun.

If there's hot cocoa on the menu, you can adopt me.

Posted by: martooni | January 13, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Ivansmom, some people get all the fun! It's 56 with clear skies here in the mountains, the ski resorts are having a terrible season. They are looking forward to your cold air the middle of the week.

Posted by: Slyness | January 13, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

yello... that reminds of about 25 years ago, we were out with friends and my mother-in-law was quite impressed when our friend Dave said, "I don't have much money these days; I spent it all on CDs."

She had never heard of compact discs. She thought he meant certificates of deposit.

being well acquainted with Dave, we knew better.

Posted by: TBG | January 13, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of acquiring several additions to the family, Martooni, outdoor fun is followed by hot chocolate with marshmallows. The little ones, filling the top of the cup.

Time to go back out.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse


How's your husband doing?

Posted by: pj | January 13, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Are they the little itty-bitty marshmallows? 'cause I could fire up the helicopter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Rich people without books?

I have my books and as a retired librarian know what to do with them.

You can keep the money - I have enough.

Posted by: Gary Masters | January 13, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't look like eather team wants to win the game.

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, wassup with those Ravens?

Posted by: Raysmom | January 13, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

pj... I am a Hokie. This might not be a good week in my house.


Posted by: TBG | January 13, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

This does not look good for the Iggles.

Posted by: dbG | January 13, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Yep, RD, they're the itty-bitty ones. Plenty of room, and lots of nice hard icy landing fields. Also, red wine for later. C'mon over.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

So am I, TBG. I'm kinda happy right now.

Posted by: pj | January 13, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

What is a Hokie? Is it some kind of dessert snack with a creamy center?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 13, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

FYI (off topic today, but harking back to previous discussions):

The 1/13/07 Doonesbury takes up the Grand Canyon Park Service vs. Creationists controversy:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 13, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Today it was seventy degrees or more. Tomorrow the weather person is calling for seventy-four degrees or more. The heat is off, and it's still warm.

The changes in the weather just don't help those of us that suffer from some kind of bug.

Ivansmom, I saw on the news your area, and the weather is nasty. I don't mean any harm, but I hope it stays where it is or goes somewhere else, not here. I've never been able to drive in snow or ice. I do hope your area gets a break, warm weather would be nice.

I know we're going to get bad weather eventually, we always do. It's just taking longer. I'm going to bed, I'm just too tired for anything. Good night, friends.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 13, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the Doonesbury cartoon, kbertocci. I laughed when I read it this morning.

Posted by: pj | January 13, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

If we're on the Grand Canyon story, here's a sidebar of sorts. We attended a meeting of the San Antonio Archaeological Association today and heard two great speakers, Ph.D.s.

Dr. Mike Collins from Austin (he sat next to us, so friendly and down to earth) spoke about his theory of the peopling of the Americas pre-Clovis, which challenges the long-held belief that tribes crossed from Siberia across the Bering Strait and traversed a southern route in the the middle of North America between two ice sheets. He's recently completed a program on the subject for British TV, he said.

Dr. Robert "Rick" Ricklis from Corpus Christi spoke of work on the Buckeye Knoll, off the coast of Texas and slightly inland on the Guadalupe River. This 7,000 year old cemetery site, his team discovered, contained a 10,000 year old fishtail bifacial from Belize, Mexico--probably passed down lineage to lineage, chert from northern Texas, and plummets and banner stones from the northeast. His findings show that these groups were not isolated but had contact. Buckeye Knoll predates other cemetery burial sites in Texas by 3,000 years.

I shouldn't have laughed, but couldn't help it when Rickliss explained that he has volumes of data to write up but can't because his funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has evaporated--the dollars have been diverted to Iraq.

Posted by: Loomis | January 13, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - wouldn't that make an interesting story in the morning paper? Alas, my evening plans look to be far less exciting. My son is going to a party. Given that he has rather severe social anxiety, this is a big deal. My wife is driving him to this social event, while I need to pick him up. I get the late duty because, wouldn't you know it, rock beats scissors.

While I am delighted to facilitate my son's social development, this highlights an unforeseen side effect of having teen children who do not yet drive. Saturday night sobriety

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Bummer, RD. This shows how much you love your son, that you would make such a sacrifice for him.

Of course, it also means you have your priorities in the right place!

Posted by: Slyness | January 13, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

My son does drive. That gives my wife and I a wild night at Arundel Mills. We have been to 3 bookstores in 24 hours.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 13, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, not too much of a sacrifice. I mean, Monday is a federal holiday. The red wine will wait a day.

Hey - total change of topic. I got the WaPo Magazine just now - and guess what the cover story is? People who believe that they are suffering from government mind control. It is such a sad story. These people really, really believe this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Got home in time to catch the 4th quarter of the Irsay game, and am as shocked as anybody else.

Now I'm starting to get a bit concerned about the Iggles. After that terrific hit on Reggis Bush (who I'm surprised to see is still alive, much less back in the game), I thought the Iggles were going to roll. But they are doing their typical first-quarter (or first-half) blahs. But once again I'm shocked at the Saints' swarming defense.

This might not be a good evening.

Regarding the subject at hand, moolah: one of my most serious character flaws is that I have never been very much interested in money. Never was, never will be. (And am therefore especially unlikely to ever have much of the stuff.) I don't know how I ever acquired it, but I've always had the notion that money is somehow a bit vulgar, and that paying too much attention to it (especially acquiring it), was tacky.

Also, a few years ago I began to develop a theory that the major psychological difference in personality and idealogy between liberals and conservatives was their attitude toward money. You know that subset of conservative who are forever b1tch1ng about taxes, and getting their taxes reduced, and the government spends too much, and all that? These people are obsessed with one and only one subject, to the exclusion of everything else: taxes. Conservatives tend heavily to be obsessed with money; liberals tend to not care about it (which is why they're perfectly willing to let the government spend it on silly things, such as better education, feeding the poor, medicine, research, daycare for working moms, etc. Conservatives never want to build anything or fix anything; they'd much rather save the money. Let the bridges collapse. Let poor people starve (hey, they don't work anyway, right? So ford 'em).

You ever been to a cocktail party or social event where there's this one guy who just goes on and on about taxes? Makes you want to strangle him, right?

I dislike Grover Norquist about a hundred worse than I dislike Bush or Cheyney (OK, maybe only ten times worse than Cheyney).

Enough about money. I'm bored with the subject already.

Back to something much more important: we're darn lucky to be down by only 6 points, methinks. C'mon guys, get back in the game.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Be srill my heart. Get the oxygen.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there, Mudge.

Posted by: pj | January 13, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I just asked Ivansdad if the Eagles did something good, and he said "yes". I figure that was the explanation for Mudge's excessively grateful post.

Hmmm. Ivansdad & I usually kill tax complaints by saying we are proud to pay our taxes, privileged to live in a country with our constitutional system of government, and happy to support it. Although, like Martooni, I'm beginning to think I want some of those recent taxes back.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Hot dog! Now we've got them right where we want them: on our own five yardline.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Wasn't s'pposed ta turn out like that. We were supposed to have a great goal-line series and stop 'em on the two. Somebody didn't get my memo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D,

When I went to Virgina Tech (or VPI as we called it back then), a Hokie was rumored to be, among many other things, a castrated turkey. Actually it is just a made-up word, like Hoya is for Georgetown University. Both words were made up to use by cheerleaders in the early 20th Century and have stuck around as nicknames for the school. When I was there, the VPI teams were also known as the Fighting Gobblers. Hokies might be an improvement.

Posted by: pj | January 13, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for that info. My knowledge base of sports and southern schools has been increased immeasurably.

BTW, I was saddened to read, in the obit you posted, that that wonderful man was felled by a post joint replacement complication!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 13, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Au revoir, a bientot, gute nacht, manana. Shells have been stuffed, meat sauce has been made, supper has been eaten, dishes must be done, bedtime looms not a minute too soon. Imagine, if I were filthy rich, all of this (ok, maybe not the eating or sleeping) would be done for me. Until tomorrow.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 13, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - Because my son is out of the house, my wife can do something that she would otherwise be far too inhibited to do.
Cheer openly for the Eagles.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 13, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Now that was a fun 1st half. I had 49er season tickets until 3 years ago when we moved to Oregon. You could not believe the disparging things the fans used to say about Garcia in the parking lot after a game. Something like he didn't have an arm and was paid too much. It seems it takes a supporting cast to make a good QB.
BTW, Garcia played for the minimum NFL wage the first year he came to the 49ers from the CFL.

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

62 yards. Westbrook.


Sorry if I'm repeating myself. It's been a very emotional evening. In fact, I'm nearly verklempt.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I see Mudge jumping out of his chair. Watch that leg.

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

That's football

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Do anyone else see that these are the *Layoff Games*?

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm back at the helm here, as disappointing as the Colts/Ravens game was, this Iggles/Saints game's pretty darn good. Did anyone notice the TV shot on the blonde lady in the first half wearing a half tshirt that read "F#(K DA EAGLES" (the real word)? they must have had the camera on her for a good 7 or 8 seconds before someone figured in the production truck figured it out.

Hang in there Mudge-san. I see NO just scored again to go ahead 27-21.

On a related note, anyone up for a BPH on this coming Thursday evening (the 18th)?


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "someone in the production truck figured it out"


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I thought it might have been *Duck the Eagles* There was something flopping around obsuring my view of the first letter.

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm.... a BPH on the 18th. Let's see.....

Yup! Count me in.

Posted by: TBG | January 13, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm rootin' for a Colts v. Eagles Super Bowl just to rub in to the shop steward. I am sure Happy Feet Manning will prevent that from happening

Posted by: bill everything | January 13, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. and to explain pj's question about my husband's well-being and that whole Hokie thing, see this headline...

Virginia Tech* Tops North Carolina†, 94-88

I think I may be sleeping on the couch this week.

*Currently unranked. †Currently ranked #1.

Posted by: TBG | January 13, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

bh, you could very well ne right about the DUCK. Once again, it could very well be my mind getting the better of me. And the flopping.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I really hate to say it, but I really liked the Budweiser commercial with the two teams of horses watching a zebra with its head in the instant replay booth. Great commercial.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Colts-Eagles Super Bowl, Bill? Nah, I don't think so. Even assuming the Iggles can get past this one (which ain't a given, by a longshot), I don't think they can beat Chicago. No matter what happens, it's a Chargers-Bears Super Bowl, unless Grossman has one of his meltdowns, which is possible.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Well then TBG, you can stay extra late at the BPH.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

So help me god, I was thinking turnover.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Why'd they kick? What's the difference between 4th and 10 and 4th and 15? It's all or nothing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

It's over. Heck of a game. The Saints deserved to win; McAllister and Bush were great. I think Garcia outperformed Brees, but it was the Saints' ground game that did it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go bc...

Fox Airs Profanity During Eagles-Saints Game

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

Oh well. It was a great run the last six games. My landlord is from Philly so I don't think I will call him in the morning.

Posted by: bh | January 13, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Rajiv Chandrasekaran has a very good lead story on the Bushies sending to Iraq the people who quit in disgust in 2003. It appears they may have finally learned their lesson -- three years too late. If I had my druthers, Doug Feith, Paul Wilfowitz and Paul Bremer would be arrested and charged with criminal negligence, if not sabotage. And if any of them wanna roll over on Cheyney, that'd be nice too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 13, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG. My mom wil be pleased to know that I *still* haven't gone blind yet.

I agree about the kick, Mudge. Deuce was great, and Bush played a hell of a game for a guy who's probably going to have a headache until April.


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "will"


Posted by: bc | January 13, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

yeah bc... you can tell your mom...

"Hey! Mom! You'll be glad to know I can still read 'Fü%k!'"

G'night all. It's been a while since I've seen SNL live (as opposed to Sunday morning on Tivo).

Posted by: TBG | January 13, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys,i'm bummed,my boys lost and the season is over.

I enjoyed myself very much today,It was fun.the crowd,the tailgate,the whole atmosphere.

Oh well,maybe next year.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 13, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Rajiv did write the article on Bush's personnel recycling efforts, but I wish that Rajiv had editorialized more and said whether he thinks Bush's re-injection of those who left Iraq in disgust at Bremer's and CENTCOM's failed management will improve the current situation.

(Frank Rich in his op-ed for the NYT tomorrow is labeling Bush a snake oil salesman, which makes me laugh because in the last week I bought a book that delves into the history of snake oil sales.)

When I chatted with Lawrence Wright on Wednesday night, I asked him whether he had ever met Rajiv. He shook his head yes, and replied "At the National Book Awards." I (since I had not followed the competition) followed up with the question, "Whose book won in the nonfiction category?" The book about the Dust Bowl, Wright responded.

Tim Egan's "The Worst Hard Time" must be to the National Book Awards what "Crash" was to the last year's Oscars, just as "The Looming Tower" and "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" were to "Brokeback Mountain"-- the latter cultural potatoes way too hot to handle.

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

Nice story in today's WaPost on Florida's Vanishing Tourist Traps. Oh, for the days before the entertainment industry was a monolith and took over and homogenized all events, turning them into TV shows or theme parks.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 14, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

As I was being held captive by a football-mad host, I actually saw some of those durn games. There's gonna be some black armbands on the boodle now.

I didn't see the other 2 games Mudge talked about, but hmmm... (looking ahead) Colts vs Saints? Saints, I'd wager.

By the way.. I SO want one of those giant bunnies.

Wilbrodog would flip out just seeing those , let alone having one for a bud, I bet.,,25689-2543514,00.html

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 14, 2007 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, my friends. Yes, I'm up, and getting sleepy again. Just wanted to stop in and wish everyone a good day. Hope you get a chance to spend some of the day with your Creator in a church of your choice.

I know my dad had his head in the television because of football. There's no need of calling, you're not going to get a conversation out of him.

As to the subject of money, I agree with Mudge's thinking, not that I have any money. I believe the world is divided up between those that put money front and center, and those that could care less. There is probably an in-between sect, which isn't bad. I suppose one could call that balance. Balance is good.

We know money is required in this world, but some people have so much more than what is required, it's almost obscene. What does one do with so much money? How much stuff can you buy? I suppose the object is not to buy, but to keep. Any money I've had, I spent. And I haven't had much, but the store got that. Sometimes people don't like people that have money because the money makes them different or it could be a case of jealousy. I don't know, I've never had to deal with that can of worms. I personally do not know any rich people.

I've always thought that if one is really rich, how can you tell if your friends like you for you or they just hang around because of the money? It seems the money would present all kinds of problems as far as personal relationships are concerned. I keep thinking one might not get a true reading.

Of course, who hasn't had the dream of winning the lottery or coming into big bucks. Somehow we think being rich equates with being at ease. I suppose in certain situations there is that, but looking at the whole picture, I don't believe ease would be the core benefit. I think there is so much responsibility in keeping and maintaining those dollars, that the ease may be hard to find at times.

Have a great day, my friends, even without all those dollars. There will come a day when even the richest man's money won't do him or her any good. It will not save them. They, as well as us, must say good-bye to this world and all its riches. I hope to go to church this morning, and I hope that can be your experience also. I have a small group to escort there, my grandchildren. That should be interesting. I'm hoping for the best. They did not act well the last time, but we're going to keep at this until we get it right. We usually go eat after service. They don't throw food anymore, so we're making progress in that department. Ah, children, don't they just keep one grounded? I love them so.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 14, 2007 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Me too, Cassandra. Up early. Its 5 a.m. and I have been up since 3:30. There was a time where I worried about insomnia, but now I just get up and read, or stitch, and soon enough, I can crawl back to bed. Seeing how its is 5, which is the perfect time in the morning to get up, its time to boodle!

Loomis earlier post

"Rickliss explained that he has volumes of data to write up but can't because his funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has evaporated--the dollars have been diverted" I'd have been with you laughing, Loomis. If its a choice between crying and laguhter, take the laughter every time. That is such a darn shame though, such an absolute shame.

Posted by: dr | January 14, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone. We are having a thundersleetfreezingrain storm, and it will be here for a while. Lovely. I'm about to go fill up the back bathtub just in case we lose our water. No church for us today, Cassandra -- for the first time in the nine years I've been singing there, they cancelled services. The weather guy just said this is something you don't see very often. THis is not reassuring. When the thunder started, the weather guys told one of them, who was doing a live remote from outside the studio, that he should come in right now.

As I age my lottery-win dreams have changed. I used to think I'd just go back to grad school and get a relatively useless degree purely for pleasure. Then I thought I could take an even lower-paying and more altruistic gummint job. Recently, I started calculating how best to divide, say, a million among local arts and civic organizations endowment funds - ten at a hundred thousand each? My family, of course, says "We could move!" I say, why should we move? This is a perfectly good house. We might fix it, of course.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 14, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hubby spending several hours working at the data center this morning, leaving around 6:30 a.m., which allows me to post.

Rick Ricklis (I gave it one too many s's on my second typing late last night) has a lot to say about the work that has been done at Buckeye Knoll, and it's a crying shame that he is unable to bring his report to fruition.

He isn't the one to have discovered the mound. The archaeologist who originally discovered it called it perhaps the most important cemetery site in Texas. Ricklis, who gave a similar talk to the San Antonio Archaeological Society two years ago, said the discover's statement is an understatement.

Because of prior sensitive negotiations with Natives, Ricklis has been prohibited from showing any human remains or skulls. All the information Ricklis shared was by artist rendering of burial positions, tools and/or jewelry in each burial site, the positions in which the Natives were placed when they were buried. Ricklis had photos of the earth stratification and the general dig site and workers, but nothing that could be construed as a human artifact. The evidence is that there was social stratification in this society, with the upper eschelon males having the more elaborate burials.

That said, I think the somewhat more interesting presentation was by Mike Collins of Austin, who, at the end of his talk, spent some time discussing Darrin Lowery, a young archaeologist excavating pre-Clovis artifacts along the Delmarva Peninsula and in Virginia. Lowery's findings are changing the existing paradigm of where these tools existed in North America. You can Google Lowery and find, by rapid association, that Maryland has also had its funds for archaeological research cut. Perhaps Dooley can weigh in on the topic, although his discipline is paleontology?

I had taken author Tom Koppel's 2003 book with me about the changing assumption of the migration of tribes into North America and asked Collins what he thought of Koppel's book. Collins said that he would recommend Tom Dillehay's 2001 book about the peopling of the Americas, Dillehay being the archaelogist who excavated Monte Verde in southern Chile. Moments after our brief exchange, Collins offered me his e-mail adress, which I gladly accepted. Collins said he can recommend additional reading materials.

Collins and I chatted during the break, and as it turns out, he is descended from the Revs. Coffins of Puritan New England on his mother's side. While we were waiting for Ricklis to begin, I asked him how he became interested in archaeology. As an 11-year-old kid in Midland, Texas, (where President Bush was raised) during drought years, he saw wind whipping away the dirt from artifacts in the ground and became hooked.

In closing, I would like to comment that the San Antonio Express-News has finally stepped up to the plate in terms of decent reporting about the mulch fire, finally giving a map of where the fire sits in respect to the Edwards Aquifer and the transition zone, what level of particulate matter will aggravate a person who is sensitive to smoke, what the state requires in terms of information from property owners who create a mulch pile, inspection process, etc. Three weeks after the blaze begins and we citizens of northwest San Antonio and Helotes finally get some serious, high-quality reporting.

Televison last night at 10 p.m said that two lightning strikes quite close to the pile yesterday terminated the efforts to put out the blaze. Paper today also reports that the rain we're having is knocking the particulate matter out of the air as the fire is being fought. This is a lucky break.

As far as today, I cannot recommend more highly Robert G. Kaiser's op-ed in the Outlook section.

Posted by: Loomis | January 14, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

SCC: by artist rendering of burial artist rendering of numerous burial locations

Posted by: Loomis | January 14, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, I missed my cue to weigh in about Bush's speech; been too busy to boodle, imagine that. But nobody can stop me from chiming in late, here goes:

Bush's speech induced serious flashbacks to the days of my childhood, watching with my parents as Nixon went on about "vietnamization"--the idea being that American troops were just helping the Vietnamese army until they could take over the job themselves, and eventually our soldiers would come home and we would have "peace with honor." But meanwhile, the death toll mounted, and the violence escalated, and at home the feeling of frustration and powerlessness grew, just like now.

Carl Hiaasen is talking about Nixon and Johnson in today's column, and he includes a nice little summation of our Iraq fiasco:

"Nearly four years after bombing Iraq, the president has finally gagged down his pride and said mistakes have been made.

"Gee, you think? We bombed and occupied a neutral country because Bush claimed it had weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a line of crap.

"Now we're mired in the middle of a bloody civil war that's costing about $100 billion a year, which is sweet for the vice president's pals at Halliburton but not so good for the deficit.

"Meanwhile, our troops are getting blasted to pieces by folks they were sent to liberate.

"Yeah, you could say mistakes have been made."


It's a shame that Hiaasen's column does not run in the Washington Post. But here's the link, anyway:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 14, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link Karen.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 14, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Why do people work so hard for money? I like the explanation give by a dolphin trainer, Karen Prior in her book "Don't Shoot the Dog", that for people, money is the ultimate secondary reinforcer. Animals learn to work for the click with an occaisional treat (the primary reinforcer). For humans, money is paired with many different kinds of "treats", so we keep performing to earn more.

Posted by: Behind the Pine Curtain | January 14, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

loomis, thanks. This is a good day for investigating more of this (Not a work day). I think my interest in archeology came from reading old books in the library at school. They were old texts from the 30's and 40's. They went most deeply into spearpoints, awls, the big things they found, as it was understood at that time, and it has always amazed me how far arecheology has come, how much more they can get out of sites today, and how even going back to sites today can continue to inform. But most of all, its what they now know about this continent that exictes me. It almost makes me wish that I'd have continued down that path.

Since you started posting about the Helotes fire, the one thing that caught me was how little attention it was getting locally in the media. Funny how its only now a big enough story to matter. Good thing too that you've got some rain.

Scottynuke, I'm going to keep my power consumption low here today, so I can fax some extra power over to Ivansmom. Hope that's ok.

Ivansmom, stay warm. I hope your emergency supplies include cards, candles and matches.

Posted by: dr | January 14, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dr. We're good so far. The precipitation has stopped and, lucky us, it was mostly sleet. Sleet doesn't stick and snap power lines as fast or efficiently as freezing rain. The things we learn. . . anyway, we're hoping the worst is past. Of course, we're still iced in, but that's okay. If we're wrong, we have flashlights, candles & matches, cards, and board games. I'm also a big fan of sleeping when the power is off.

The Boy tried to slide down the hill again this afternoon, but it is covered with a couple of inches of tiny ice pellets - like powder snow, but ice. No sliding yet.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 14, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The length of these weather events is what gets me. I'm good for 3 days or so, then I really want to get back to normal. We're in the 5th day of below freezing temps and icy roads - the icy roads being the streets in my immediate, hilly neighborhood. We had a little snow yesterday - didn't amount to much, thank goodness. I'm wishing for the dratted rain to return. Ivansmom, good luck to you. Careful with those candles!

I was looking at disaster kits the other day, and saw one designed for a work group - it had 3 packs of playing cards.

kb, the Hiassen column is really good. But apparently Bush is sending more troops whether anyone else (besides Cheney) thinks it's a good idea or not. Bah.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 14, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Guess almost everyone's watching football. One of the advantages of being female--having football on while doing other things is good enough for me.

bc, I'm in for BPH on the 18th.

For you gummint types, did you see the entry in the Style Invitational (move sequels)? Ferris Bueller's Flex Day. If only it weren't true.

OK, tie score with 1:38 left and Chicago driving. Time to watch with both eyes.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 14, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

A timely piece about how to spend snowbound days:

I remember that my dad used to read aloud the poem "Snowbound" when we were snowed in. Hilarity ensued. He was a product of the rote memorization school of education, and could recall entire poems that he learned when he was a boy. "Snowbound" is really long - he read it from a book, with great expression.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 14, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse


No problemo... :-)

/start Extreme Capra mode/

Who needs money when you have your health, your family, your significant other and Boodlers like these?


/exit Extreme Capra mode/

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 14, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I'm in for the 18th. :)

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

And just realized that Whittier wrote the poems that Bullwinkle parodied so well - Barbara Frietchie and The Barefoot Boy:

Game? What game?

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 14, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

A 50 yard field goal in Chicago puts the bears into the NFC championship.

Not bad 50 yards in the elements on that field.

Oh excuse me that was DA BEARS!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 14, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to come to the BPH if I may. I'll have to use the valet parking (damn) since I can hardly walk these days.

Interestingly, I find that a quick couple of glasses of wine reduces knee pain considerably! Really, it's therapeutic.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 14, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, three playoff games and if you took the spread you lost all three games. That's why I like this weekend's games.

I think I can make it on the 18th. That will be nice because I have miss the last several. It will be fun to see you folks again.

Posted by: pj | January 14, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that the valet parking at M&S doesn't get set up until 5:00 so if you're there early you'll have to drive around until they do.

Posted by: TBG | January 14, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, keep warm and dry. I saw your part of the country on television a few minutes ago, and I did not like what I saw. I hope you can keep the power. It can get really frustrating when the power goes out. I live in a hurricane prone area so I know that part of life. People get mean when the power goes out, and stays out a long time.

Your weather will be moving to our neck of the woods sometime this week. I don't think the ice and sleet, but certainly the cold.

Where is everybody? Isn't football over yet?

I wonder why every generation thinks killing and fighting will solve the world's problems. There are so many books and histories that tell a different story. I guess it boils down to being in charge. The one that rules. And I'm guessing here, but the one that is willing to kill, gets to rule. How frightening is that? Lord, have mercy on us all.

I hope to attend the King event in my county tomorrow at the local high school. It is good to remember Dr. King during this time in our country's history. If my memory is correct, Dr. King believed and served peace. It will be good to think of him and the work he did, perhaps it will remind us of that peace. Not far from me, African-Americans that work for a well known company will not be allowed the day off nor will they be paid holiday pay for the day's work. The company does not recognize the King holiday. Racism is alive and well in some parts of this country, and it most certainly is my neighbor.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 14, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse


I'm back.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 14, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey SciTim! How was the trip?

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Science Tim. Nicer weather here than it was in Hawaii?

Posted by: pj | January 14, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ahem, Pats 24, Chargers 21. Wahoo!!!!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 14, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

You know, when I flipped past the football game with NE vs SD, at first all I could think of was Nebraska(?) vs Shrieking Denizen(?). That just ain't right! Congrats, Bad Sneakers. How many more football games are there?

Ah, the Australian Open has started...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 14, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Count me in for Thursday.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 14, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, Are your hummers staying around with the cold weather?
Ours definately found a feeder it likes better than ours most of the time. It has been colder than usual here in the banana belt (temps down to 16F and snow flurries last wednesday)
Our Anna was gone all day today but it came by once an hour all day yesterday. Wednesday while it was snowing it stayed around here most all day.

Posted by: bh | January 14, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, next week Pats at Colts, Bears and Saints (not sure where), then the winners play the in the Superbowl two weeks after that. So two more games.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 14, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

All the games this weekend were close and very exciting.I am sorry that Ravens lost,now the New England won.I would have loved to have gone to my first AFC Championship.

New England just always seems to find a way to win.It isn't pretty,but they sure get the job done.

I would say that next weeks games will be pretty exciting too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 14, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Um, I mean THREE more games, two next Sunday, then the Superbowl. Sorry, I'm still in awe that the Pats pulled this one out. Yes they do almost always find a way to win. The Chargers are more talented, but the Pats have superior coaching. Belichick is a genius. And the team is experienced and mentally tough. I love those guys! But I really didn't think they'd make it this far this year. And I really, really didn't expect them to win today. They always seem to do it the same way, last minute, by a couple of points or a field goal, heartpounding, nailbiting agony.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 14, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

bc, I have a question I know YOU will be able to answer. Last night around 10:30, I heard a loud BANG and the lights went out. Seems a young guy was taking a restored 68 Fairlane down the road to our house, collided with a utility pole, and ended up in the gulley. He was okay, obviously the car was not. (Power company did excellent work; the pole was replaced and power restored by 1:30. I was impressed.)

My question: What about a 68 Fairlane made them worth restoring? I don't recall Fairlanes as being stellar vehicles. Just because they can?

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

>What about a 68 Fairlane made them worth restoring?

At a guess I would say large engine, relatively affordable. The prices on Mustangs and Camaros etc. are absurd anymore.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 14, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Ah! That makes sense, ER. Lots of folks in this area would have the time and inclination to restore a vehicle but not inordinate amounts of cash to spend. Thanks.

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Howdy all. Still here, still cold. We spent a long time sledding on the ice this afternoon, by which I mean the Boy rode in the giant aluminum mixing bowl while I laughed. All the Martin Luther King events here have been cancelled and rescheduled. My cousin got out today and said it was like driving in slushy frozen sand. I'm hoping for another early bedtime. Congratulations all you football people. I will be happy when it is all over.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 14, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'm sure bc can amplify, but the 1968 Fairlane represented a brand new model year and complete re-do of the Fairlane. This included what became the "Torino" line, and which also formed the basis of a series of Ford NASCAR models. So, yes, this particular model year and type is inherently a little more valuable or famous to aficionados. (I don't see it myself, but to each his own.)

Boy, I got slaughtered in my playoff picks--went 1 and 3, and my sole win was the Chicago overtime field goal. But yes, those were four pretty good games. Curiously, the two AFL games (the AFL is considred the "better" conference) were both upsets. One could argue that next week the AFL's third-best and fourth-best teams are playing to see who goes to the Super Bowl.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 14, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

bh, I still have hummers. Whether they're the same ones all the time, I have no idea. One came and tapped on the sliding glass door the other day when I didn't get the feeder thawed quick enough. We also had a juncoe poking around on the deck today. Maybe there's lots of native vegetation for your hummers too. My mahonia is trying to bloom through the snow.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 14, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

mostly, as an l.a. yokel, i had to double-check to make sure that hummers did in fact mean hummingbirds. i knew you couldn't be feeding those gas-guzzling contraptions, but i thought there might be another bird type i hadn't heard of.

we also get a lot of hummingbirds because of an enormous bottlebrush tree in the yard, but they've been hiding lately 'cause it's pretty nippy down here, too.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 14, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneaks, your QB Brady makes your coach a genius. He is HoF material. We are ready in Indy.

Posted by: bill everything | January 14, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Joel, did you know a quote from your Global Warming kit ("It's just not right" kit) was used as a question on the NPR radio show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on Saturday morning? 'Tis true. They even quoted you by name.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 14, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Bill on Indy beating the Ravens.It was an ugly game,but a lot of fun to be there.......Perhaps next year for us

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 14, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow, glad to hear so many can make it to the BPH on Thurs.

SciTim, welcome home.

Mudge, well, we did get clobbered, but they were all pretty good games. Much better to watch than blowouts. Next week at Indy should be interesting, watching the Dan Marino and Joe Montana of their generation playing in a Big Game. Oh, and what is this AFL you speak of? The Arena Football League? Kidding, buddy, kidding. I'm old enough to remember the AFL that played outside.

Mudge and EF are correct, Slyness. I would add that to EF's point that the prices restored '60s/early 70s muscle cars fetch at the big auctions these days are shocking. One of the 8 '71 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda convertibles (the most desireable and valuable at this point in time) is supposed to go on auction next week in AZ, it could go for $1.5 million or more. A friend of mine had a '70 Dodge Challenger TA he bought in 1975 for about $2000, he sold it last year unrestored (but complete) in the upper $30,000s.

This has had an effect on all the 60s muscle cars, a restored '68 Fairlane with nothing special could be worth close to $10,000, if it were a GT or a convertible, maybe even more.

On a personal note, I almost bought a '69 Fairlane Cobra Coupe (w/428 CJ) back in the early '80s, always liked those cars.

Ah, I should go to bed now, g'night.


Posted by: bc | January 14, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of filthy rich, the auction to which bc refers is a good place to watch people with too much money.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 15, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I am unfamilar with the Mall in D.C.I have not visited it for a couple of years.
What kind of monument is there for Dr. King?

What kind of celebrations are held DC later today?

I still find it so surprising that some people not to recognize all that Dr. King did for our nation in a peaceful way.

Happy Birthday Dr. King

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 15, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Stumbling back on topic. In 'God Bless You Mr. Rosewater', Vonnegut repeats the good advice to be nearby when large sums of money change hands and pick up the crumbs. One character decides to do just that. Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2007 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, can I take your chair after you get up to leave on Thursday?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 15, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy, there's no specific memorial for Dr. King *yet*, but they are working on it. Here's a list of celebrations in and around DC if you'd like to participate:

Was planning on going down there today with the kids, but some coordination didn't work and now it's looking doubtful.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

BTW, an interesting sunrise this AM, tangerene and gold dapples on a sea of lapis blue clouds, and a line of deep orange across the eastern horizon.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Watch it and you will have spent 17 and a half minutes very well. I watch this about once a month. You know, it really helps to put the current political situation and our leadership into proper perspective.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 15, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

White sky and pouring down rain this morning. I feel fortunate that we have escaped the ice storm that battered so much of the country. My last week at this tedious job. Next week I'll probably be back to being concerned about finding a *real* job, but at least I won't be doing mindless work anymore. Still basking in the glow of the Pats victory. "S" said he kept waking up all night thinking about the game. No holiday for me, have to spend the day trying to keep myself from dozing off at my desk.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 15, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Happy Martin Luther King's day, friends. Getting ready to try and go out the door. Will attend the King event in my county. Hope everything is going okay with you, Ivansmom.

Is football really over? I'll have to ask my dad what's next.

Cancelling the King event because of weather conditions makes sense, cancelling them because one does not recognize the holiday is another situation all together. I'm not trying to start a rant, just talking about the happenings on this King holiday. Two churches set on fire in NC, and a third broken into. Federal investigators on that case. Workers at a name brand product plant in NC not given the day off because the company does not recognize the King holiday, nor will they get holiday pay. Washington Post online headline: kids think Martin Luther King freed the slaves, which in sense speaks truth, but shows their utter lack of history. I cannot beat anybody up for that lack because I fall in that category much of the time, but it is so sad.

Morning, mudge, slyness, bc, and all.*waving*

Enjoy your day, and the rest of your long weekend. I hope you get to attend some of the King events in your area.

My thoughts this morning led me to think of the King of Kings, and how wonderful He is, and how gracious and merciful He is to all mankind. God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 15, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, thank you for the opportunity to correct a mistake I made a long time ago in the boodle, attributing that Money River concept to a different author. Of course, it is out there in cyberspace now, irretrievable, but I can at least do pennance. Here's the passage where Vonnegut introduces the concept:


"It's still possible for an American to make a fortune on his own."

"Sure--provided somebody tells him when he's young enough that there is a Money River, that there's nothing fair about it, that he had damn well better forget about hard work and the merit system and honesty and all that crap, and get to where the river is. 'Go where the rich and the powerful are,' I'd tell him, 'and learn their ways. They can be flattered and they can be scared. Please them enormously or scare them enormously, and one moonless night they will put their fingers to their lips, warning you not to make a sound. And they will lead you through the dark to the widest, deepest river of wealth ever known to man. You'll be shown your place on the riverbank, and handed a bucket all your own. Slurp as much as you want, but try to keep the racket of your slurping down. A poor man might hear.'"

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, p. 123

Posted by: kbertocci | January 15, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Did I write AFL instead of AFC? Hmm. Just proves the old adage, "You can't teach an old dog new acronyms." Or as TV Guide might write, "Alzheimers ensues when Mudge attempts to drag his brain out of the 1960s."

Sure, DolphinMichael, you can have my seat. I'll be there about 5-ish, and leave on the dot of 6:30 to catch my bus. Annie, any chance we might actually meet? Or will we continue to be two ships passing in the twilight?

Anyone capable of writing "tangerene and gold dapples on a sea of lapis blue clouds" at the freaking hour of 7:37 must have been up all night. I can barely type "duh" at this hour.

OK, boodle, off for a day of moving furniture (ugh). May boodle tonight if I haven't ripped/torn/pulled/fractured/warped/distorted/distended/dislocated of otherwise defaced and/or mutilated this Sacred Temple of a body. (Yes, my body is a temple. Kind of like, maybe, Ankor Wat. Very old, overgrown, no longer useful, falling apart, in need of major restoration/repair, and like Notre Dame full of lofty, dusty, cob-webbed empty spaces in the upper reaches, and with a hunchbacked madman ringing bells in the belfry and lusting after Maureen O'Hara. So much for corporeal metaphors.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I would show up earlier, but I wouldn't know how to behave... I know that because I don't know how to behave when I show up late.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 15, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

You know, I would like to go back to a day when A War on Terror was just a figure of speech.

It is interesting that, on Martin Luther King Day, we can look at the anti-MLK ... Joe Lieberman. Lieberman, get a clue, leave Iran alone. No plan from the peacenicks? Joe, just tell George and Dick to declare victory and leave. There you go, you win. I will even get you an "I WON" button.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 15, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey bc Thank you for the King celebration info,but I worked the night shift last night and I am going to read my emails and get some sleep.

It is an interesting sunrise here to,sort of orange and green and blue,throw in a little mist off the river too.

Mudge take care of your back when you are moving those pianos today.

Everyone have a great day

Goodnight or good morning...I am still confused

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 15, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

We're going to get the kids together from several families and watch the I Have a Dream Speech on DVD later today at a friend's house. Prior to that this may be a day in the countryside, might get in a big hike.

Did anyone else watch "24" last night? I tell you, that Jack Bauer is a genius of time management. The guy gets captured, tortured, kills a guy, escapes, hotwires a car, saves a guy from a helicopter raid (he gets crosstown in LA faster than any human alive), tortures a guy himself, then somehow tracks down a suicide bomber and foils the plot ALL BETWEEN 6 AND 8 A.M.

I know I should watch more TV because on the rare occasions I tune into a TV drama I'm shocked by what is permitted on the small screen these days. And appalled. And consternated. The show LOVES scenes of torture. Heavens to Betsy it's just a bit much!

Posted by: Achenbach | January 15, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse


Interesting comments there in your post. You know, back in the 60's, we had a whole lot of drama in real life. If you weren't here in DC and after King was killed, you don't really know all the sides of this experience and the absolute gift of a man that King was.

Now, with the huge challenges facing our nation, both here and abroad, we can't seem to make sense of what is happening. Maybe we don't see it at all. Maybe our willingness to let Bush keep making huge mistakes is the result that we are a population living with our head buried in the sands of 24 and video fantasy and games.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 15, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Yah, loved the bit where Jack escapes by tearing the carotid artery right out of a captor with his teeth. One who also just happened to have the keys to Jack's cuffs.

*Ptui* [bc spitting]

Carotid artery, the breakfast of heroes.

At least the terrorists knew not to have a hacksaw in the room with Jack.

Instead of heading downtown as originally planned, we're going to work on some School projects. It's science fair time, heaven help our poor children. From us well-meaning but overambitious Dads, I mean.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, please take care of yourself today.

It would be a tragedy if you showed up Thursday evening in the Captain Pike wheelchair. I'm sure someone nicer and prettier than I would be willing to hold a straw to your lips so you can drink your Tom Collins, though.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Dad is a retired NASA geek. Just the words "science fair project" could bring me to tears.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 15, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

My father died 16 years ago today, Jan. 15, 1991--pretty much the day Gulf War I started.

Timeline from Washington Post report Rick Atkinson's book about Gulf War I, interestingly titled "Crusade":

January 15:
UN deadline for Iraqi withdrawal. Schwarzkopf accuses Air Force of ignoring orders by not including Republican Guard in initial bombing sorties.

BBC News timeline (notice that the Powell Doctrine has been implemented--the size of the strike force):

15 January: Iraq ignores the UN ultimatum. There are 580,000 allied troops in the Gulf, against 540,000 Iraqi troops.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

So sorry Loomis. The hole never gets filled, it just gets easier to disguise that you have such a giant one. May he be having a great day, wherever he is.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 15, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the quote. I'm not sure KV came up with the concept, but he sure expressed it eloquently.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Please. I don't have a giant hole and I'm not trying to disguise anything. LostinThought, I think that you are doing a lot of presuming. He's not having a great day; he is dead. We think differently, you and I.

I'm trying to point out the differences in how these two Gulf wars were waged--and how my memory of the start of Gulf War is triggered by my father's passing. If anything, I would hope that perhaps some journalist would do a contrast and compare between Desert Shield and Desert Storm, given the "Sweet 16" birthday or anniversary of the first effort to contain Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Yes, you're right. We think differently. I would have said thank you, or just let it pass.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 15, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

LostInThought - Not to be insulting, but I think like you most of the time too.

MLK's speech still gives me goosebumps. The power of his ideas transcend the specifics of the civil rights movement and speak to everyone. Especially given what's going on today.

I only watched the first episode of 24. It lost me when the crowbar came out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 15, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Thank you LiT
Please know your words touched someone.My Dad died almost 8 years ago,I still miss him so much.

I would like to think he is having a good day today.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 15, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse


Take a little extra comfort in knowing at least one other Pats fan was standing about 6 inches from the screen last evening, waving madly for the SD field-goal attempt to go wide.

And JA, would you believe I actually "helped" the "24" production crew a couple of seasons ago? *L*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 15, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

bc, you did it to me again. "Breakfast of champions" indeed.

LiT, I think you captured it perfectly.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 15, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, as Joel mentioned, it's not GroupThink here. I'm not one for maudlin oe mawkish sentimentality. I'm more concerned for the UnDead, the living soldiers not yet killed in this current war.

Atkinson's book, "Crusade," I think, is ueful for readers--and perhaps may be for future historians--in his discussion of the leadup to the first Gulf War, particularly his passages about the role the CIA played and the diplomatic arm-twisting, some extreme, both Bush 41 and James Baker employed in forming a coalition of the willing.

I also enjoyed this historical tidbit on page 57:

"Exactly eighty years before Desert Storm began, in January 1911, the first bomb had fallen from an airplane when a barmstorming pilot in San Francisco dropped a pipe full of black powder as a fairground stunt. Millions of tons of high explosives had fallen since, yet air power still [in Desert Shield] was deemed a developing art fraught with uncertainty.

Interesting too, since today is MLK day, how MLK opposed the LBJ's Vietnam war.

For anyone who missed it, a story yesterday in the NYT in which Robert Caro LBJ's biographer (I've met him and we discussed chauffeurs--I, Earl Warren's; Caro, LBJ's], says the more apt comparison of Bush to a former president is to LBJ, not Harry Truman.:

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and happy Martin Luther King day, all! I think we may finally get out of the house today, because: Sun! The sun is out! There was a lovely clear, hard red sunrise this morning, and a crystalline blue sky right now. The packed ice on the ground and driveway gleams and shines. Even if it stays cold, the sun should help as we shovel key patches of driveway. Later.

In lieu of cancelled MLK events, the Boy and I will read our book about him and the civil rights struggle. He already knows the Dr. was advocating justice and equality, not abolition of slavery, but every year he's old enough to absorb a little more. I'm pleased that it just makes no sense to the Boy to treat someone differently because of skin color.

You know, Loomis, the Boodle wouldn't subject you to mawkish sentimentality deliberately. When most people mention the day of death of a close relative, it is from sentiment or respect, not as a catalyst for a further train of thought. I think many of us may have misunderstood the intent of your comment, but any expressed condolences would not have been meant to offend.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 15, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Me, I'm not one for being lectured to.

LiT, thanks. I scattered my old German Shepherd's ashes on my family's gravesite. It makes things easier to think she's playing with my dad and grandfather, dog-lovers both.

Posted by: dbG | January 15, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

i just notices that the last sentence of the kit "after all, a man's gotta dream" comes across a bit ironically in light of today's holiday.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 15, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Forgive the defective link, but I came across the hard copy of this in my "must keep" file.

In particular, I like "Incompetence at the extreme is a double-whammy, the authors declare: 'Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.' (Which explains Washington, in a nutshell."

I know y'all discussed already back in March, but it just makes me smile (ruefully, of course).

Posted by: Raysmom | January 15, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Our intrepid receptionist is finally returned to the office from her vacation. I just spent the last half hour with her going over her photos, just some of them. She and here sister were in Uganda just where Lake Victoria sends its waters to the Nile working at an orphanage there, The Amani Baby Cottage.

She said it was an amazing and interesting vacation, and I could tell from what she said that it was filled with much joy and many sorrows. She said sometimes she had to keep asking herself if this was real, if children really go through these things in a country they now call one of the safest in Africa.

We are so protected here in North America, so lucky, so safe.

Posted by: dr | January 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It certainly explains Bush's insistence on reinforcements as the only possible solution.

Now where can I get one of those alarm clocks, and is it big enough that the lab can't retrieve it for me?

Posted by: dbG | January 15, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Shall we have a discussion on Freud and sympathetic projection (hardly being lectured to)? Would you like to initiate the discussion, dbG?

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

This is another view from a columnist/blogger.

He writes

Like a lot of modern newspaper people, I have a blog.

For those of you who don't have a blog yet, think of one as a large yellow Labrador: friendly, fun, not all that bright, but constantly demanding your attention.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 15, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else see the irony that Bush chose today -- a day intended to honor a peace maker -- to announce that he's sending in more troops and nobody can say nuttin' that's going to change his mind?

That's not a "decider"... that's a "dictator".

All I can say is:

"Excuse me... you seem to be sitting on my representative government. Can I have it back please?"

And all he can say is:

"Pull my finger."

Posted by: martooni | January 15, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, that's a good article. I bet Joel (and his editor) can relate to this:
"Sometimes I wonder whether I care to the point that I neglect other things, like, oh, my job. Tweaking the blog is seductive in a way that a print deadline never is. By the time I am done posting entries, moderating comments and making links, my, has the time flown. I probably should have made some phone calls about next week's column, but maybe I'll write about, ah, blogging instead."

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 15, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Hi all,

I want to report that Nelson is home and recuperating from her surgery. She had some complications, but all seems to be working now and she'll be up and back on the boodle soon!


Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Loomis: //Would you like to initiate the discussion, dbG?//

You're too kind. However, I'm just not pedantic enough do to the topic justice. Please feel free.

Posted by: dbG | January 15, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

TBG, glad to hear that about Nelson. Give her my regards.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 15, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This afternoon my son and I were out and about in my minivan. He was driving. We were in the left lane at a light and I said, "You know, we have to turn right up at the next intersection."

He said, "Yeah. I know. I'm gonna pull a 'martooni.'"

Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: to do

Posted by: dbG | January 15, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse


TBG... you owe me a new monitor *and* a fresh coffee.

The long arm of martooni's bad influences reaches far. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | January 15, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

TBG, send my regards, please. Its good to hear she is on the mend.

I remember those days driving with the boys well.
That was when I came by all the gray hair. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: dr | January 15, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Same here, TBG, regarding well-wishes and regards to Nelson.

Also... not to give your son any other ideas, but remember that although minivans are not generally considered to be "babe magnets", they are *very* roomy.

Just sayin'.


Posted by: martooni | January 15, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

TBG, good news about Nelson.

Mo can speak to this with more authority than I, but please don't miss the graph on the dangers of using the same password on various sites.

I've been in computer forensics classes where specialists broke *our* passwords in minutes. It's not pretty.

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

Amazing story about a hiker rescued after 5 weeks of being missing (I always worry about my friends that hike alone, capable as they are). The part I like is this, from one of the guys that found her and prepared her till she could be brought out. They left her a book by Michael Connelly:
"Dorn told the brothers she was warm enough at night, but her eyes lit up when they offered her the book, he said. He felt comfortable leaving her after that because 'you could tell she had a positive outlook,' he said."

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 15, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I may be far more sleep deprived than Mudge, but shouldn't that be lapis lazuli blue clouds, not lapis blue? I mean, I know Mudge's lapis blue, but we were talking clouds being blue, which doesn't make much sense considering that blue is normally what is in between the clouds.

I think. Maybe they renamed all the colors while I was trying to shut up Wilbrodog from chatting with the local dogs after a long insomniac night where he saw me chatting too much with friends and figured he could do the same at 3 AM in a strange city, following the classic quote: "What do I care, nobody knows who I am here."

Of course, he could have been joining in the city-wide mourning of the Ravens' loss. Nevermore barketh the dog and all that.

I finally told him my sleep was more important than his barking and that he was not allowed to bark, touch, or bother me in any way until my host knocked on my door to awaken me and that he should lie down and try and SLEEP.

He obeyed. It must have been the red-rimmed stare and morning-breath snarl.

Let insomniac gnomes lie, for nature is red in tooth and fang.

We'll be respectively lifting a large draft of Russian tea and a large bowl of water for the BPH, I'm sure. It's just a little further away than we normally sit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 15, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I really thought this would be a Canadian Boodle today, what with many of the Americans off work.

What gives? I thought I'd learn a new lesson today like I did on October Crisis Day.

Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I may be too much influenced by this blog but at least it's a generally improving influence.

I had a good subject for a guest kit and couldn't resist giving it a try. That had to be good for me, composition practice. But when I had done all I could, it was manifestly Not Good Enough for Achenblog, so I didn't submit it.

As yellojkt said recently on "Live by the Foma": "Writing is hard and should be left to the professionals. This of course does not apply to blogging."

Accordingly, I posted my essay on the now-mostly-defunct Read-Think-Live.

It's called "On the Boundary Where Science Meets Art"

I'm about a week behind on everything right now; I'll probably catch up to the Martin Luther King subject next week.

As a matter of fact, I will be giving a short presentation on the subject of "Pilgrimage" at my interfaith women's group meeting on Wednesday, and I plan to speak mostly about my visit last summer to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. So I'll be spreading the gospel about Dr. King to a diverse audience. Rest assured that any Achen-comments on the topic will be considered and used as inspiration.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 15, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

kber, you should have submitted it for a guest kit. It's plenty good! That sounds like a fascinating exhibit. Yes, I agree that we don't appreciate nearly enough what our bodies do for us.

Posted by: Slyness | January 15, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

kb, I agree with slyness - you still have time! I tried to think of a guest Kit topic, and came up blank, which is why I'm not a writer.

The exhibit you wrote about is showing in Seattle too, and there was an interesting incident:

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 15, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree to kb

and your daughter wrote this?

Never before have the internal workings of my own body seemed so particularly individual, and never would I have thought organs could seem so much like carefully planned sculptures. Like fine art, this exhibition borrows from life, and presents its observations in a surprising, original, and ingenious way, making reality shift into a shape you might never have imagined without artistic intervention.

Maybe a writer in the making too

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 15, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

*raising flag and playing Taps*
It's dead. Really, truly dead.

Oh, well. Won't miss much during 24!

Posted by: Raysmom | January 15, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind words, y'all.

Yes, Artist Alice is a talented writer with an active imagination. As good as she is with words, she's even better with illustrations (that's her major in art college). We're proud of her, naturally.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 15, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I liked it, Kbert. This isn't the first time we've read Alice's words, is it?

I shied away from this exhibit when it was here, but perhaps it will return.

Posted by: dbG | January 15, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

TGB, thanks for the news about Nelson. Please give her my regards and best wishes, and I hope she returns soon. I laughed out loud at your son's driving comment. This is why I try not to let the Boy and the Boodle mix -- though he and Ivansdad are pretty dubious about my imaginary friends.

kbertocci, I agree with other posters - that is very interesting and certainly worthy of submission as a guest kit. I'm not even going to try. I write for a living, but my expertise is pretty circumscribed and not very interesting, or even a little disturbing, to most folks. Beyond that, putting words together to entertain and inform is, shall we say, hard.

No school tomorrow for the Boy or Ivansdad, thanks to rock-hard icy roads. I'm glad now I brought work home, so I don't care whether I get out or not. I tried to shovel off some of the driveway today. Hah. Mother Nature scoffs. My cousin, a few hundred yards north but not nearly as hilly and with a truck, drives out with impunity. Bah.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 15, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Impunity is, if allowed, a reckless driving companion. My cousin does his best to keep her in line.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 15, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

My son is also trying to get in the 40 hours of supervised driving required for a Virginia License. Surprisingly, we are having a hard time getting him behind the wheel. At the rate he is going, we expect him to qualify somewhere in his early twenties. Now personally, I'm okay with that. However, I have pointed out to him that unless he picks up the pace my wife will be driving him and his date to the Senior Prom. Heck, if he never gets his license my wife might end up *being* his date.

I suspect anxiety is involved. I mean, Fairfax is a pretty scary place to drive. There are so many nice cars to hit. I am seriously considering making some kind of sign to keep other drivers alert. I think "Student Driver" might not be sufficient. I'm leaning towards "This Vehicle Powered by Unstable Thermonuclear Fission."

That ought to discourage tailgating.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 15, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

RD, may I recommend a '74 Chevy Malibu? Get one with the 350, a dent in the fender, rear bumper askew and a torn-up vinyl roof. He'll be safe and have all the juice needed to make it out on the highway.

The Very Expensive Cars will Give Him Room.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 15, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

RD, good luck to you. I'm encouraging the Boy to pay attention to driving and get his license as soon as he can. My parents were delighted to have me drive myself to rehearsals, etc. when I was eligible, and I feel the same desire. Ivansdad, on the other hand, allowed his parents (nervous mother) to drive him basically until he went to college. I am so not there. Hoever, this allows me to stress the importance of safe driving to the Boy - he'll never get both parents' consent without it.

I'd go for a '72 Ford LTD. Those things are built like a tank - I had a case where one drove through a brick wall, hit a target (whoops, remember I do criminal law), backed out and drove home. Also, my college boyfriend had one. Indestructible (the LTD, not the boyfriend).

Time to convince the Boy that, although school is out tomorrow, it is still past bedtime. A bientot.

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

oh, man. i kind of disappeared for a while there, didn't i? where did i go? who knows. i was busy studying for this exam, and then it turned out to be way easy, and since then...i have no excuse. i'm sorry friends. loomis, i saw one of your ubiquitous relatives mentioned in a story in stranger than fiction, chuck palahniuk's collection of non-fiction works. i believe it said that he started a combine harvester demolition derby in montana. i'll look later.

not much to say. too tired to read through all of today's comments. money is a funny thing. some day, i hope to have some. my chosen career field is fairly lucrative, assuming i make it through school, and i guess i live pretty cheap. (although who knows how long that will last once i have money.)

Posted by: sparks | January 16, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse


Just let me know if you need a little help with that sign. Only a small licensing fee required. YMMV.


Hey sparks!! Good to see ya, and no worries. We all remember school. Hope you can spare a little time Thursday.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 3:58 AM | Report abuse

I think maybe, just maybe, the Post home page people need a little more headline space:

"Arlington Lawmaker Praised for Greenhouse Gas"


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 4:22 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, that headline is beautiful.

Hey, sparks, good to see ya!


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Who could doubt where MSM is going with a headline like that? Right on target I'd say.

Do the writers mean to make it so funny or is it an accident?

Posted by: dr | January 16, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick note about driving instruction; I've taught perfromance driving (yes, racetrack stuff) at academies around the country (and I have the hats and shirts to prove it) off and on for the past 15 years or so. While there is no argument against providing kids with a safe vehicle, my focus for teaching my kids is about teaching them how to avoid accidents, and how to react to potentially troublsome situations when they start.

I won't list the whole bc syllabus here, but I will say that the familiarization phase will take place behind the wheel of a small basic car with a manual transmission, so they get a feel for how a car actually works and how to maneuver. Plus, it can be very satisfying to learn.

Even though my oldest does not yet have a learners, we're playing the "what's that guy going to do" game as we're going down the road, to get her to observe cars around her and anticiapte what they might do, so she learns situational awareness and focus behind the wheel.

Once she learns the basics and has a license, I'm sending her to one of the local academies for teen/beginner instruction to reenforce the above, and to have her start to learn about and practice car control (i.e. when a car starts to slide, how does it feel? what do you do?) under controlled conditions. Plus, someone else can do the instruction, so she's more likely to actually listen.

There will be more, probably including some competitive autocrossing, so she can have a little fun behind the wheel and blow some steam off. I find that when I can drive as fast as I possibly can in a controlled, legal manner once in awhile, I can be far more saintly on the highways.

AutoWeek magazine devoted an entire issue (September 4, IIRC) to teen driving, and it's excellent. I'll try to find a link, goor reading for parents. And more than a little sobering.


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse


I think it was a case of not enough space and a person too lazy to rewrite the headline.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Wow, the MLK luncheon was great, so many people. Wall to wall people, and an excellent speaker, an African-American first in North Carolina, a state Supreme Court Justice, and female at that. I could not hear the speech, but read some of it this morning. I judged the speech by the number of applauses, there were many. And the MLK contest for best essay and poster winners were beautiful.

TBG, glad to hear Nelson is during okay.

Ivansmom, glad to hear the sun is finally shinning in your neck of the woods. I hope you have power soon as well as your neighbors.

Loomis, Loomis.

The family left this morning, packed up everything and headed out about six o'clock this morning. The children have to be back in school. I really enjoyed them, although it is work, much work. I think they enjoyed their visit, at least I hope so.

I have the job of cleaning up now, not looking forward to that. I think I'm going to put it on hold for today and do it later. I need to get some sleep and finish my medicine. The temps are going to change here. It has been real warm, so warm in fact that some of the flowers are starting to bloom. That will change in a matter of hours.

Have a good day, my friends, and I do hope your long weekend was the best. Time to ratchet(?) up for the Super Bowl, no? Are we almost there or is there more drama to take place before the final drama? I forgot to ask my dad yesterday. He was talking about the troop build up. He watches the news all day, which I don't think is good for him because it causes a lot of anxiety, yet I can imagine the anxiety many parents are facing with this decision.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 16, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

OK, I found the link.

Unfortunately, it's in .pdf format (aka Adobe), and you have to register to get it (but don't need to subscribe to the mag). If you know about those sites where you can use an existing ID...

Anyway, I registered and downloaded the file, simple and easy.

If you have any problems, let me know.


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

'morning, Cassandra.

Two big games coming this weekend, the NFC and AFC championsip games.

The winners of those games meet in the Super Bowl two weeks later.

Yesterday was a good day to talk and think about Dr. King, and keeping the dream alive.


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

An example of a sobering true fact: More teens die on American roads every year - between 5 and 6,000 - than American soldiers who have given their lives in the entire Iraq war (over 3,000).


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Been reading while in and out of town. A relative -- big player in Chicago Dem. politics -- died and will be buried on Wednesday. Irish wakes with political overtones are the most astonishing events. We are finally figuring out how to add food (good, I might add) to the traditional mourning libations. This is due in part to the Italians who married into the clan.

I will be using Boodle Pop to retrieve a certain address and send math review books to Cassandra. Fuller report on this trek later. Thanks in advance to Pat about Pop, which in the Midwest, means soda.

As for driving, BC had good advice. I have launched two drivers to reasonable success and this rule was key: NO DRIVING WITH FRIENDS for a long time. This meant we were still driving them around a great deal in the high teen years, but look at the data: driving with a group of friends jacks up the accident risk significantly. I believe that part of the analysis suggests that
*pink drivers in a group with pink passengers multitask, gab, giggle, etc.
*Blue drivers in a group of blue passengers driver faster and take more micro and macro risks.

BC, by the way, two guys in my neighborhood are car dudes, in the way your discussion and blog suggest you are. Perhaps you know them. R is a Ford guy. Last summer, when he showed off his new "King of the Road" Shelby, after six months in his operating theater-garage, my son googled the car and told me the money that could fetch on Ebay. Son of CP is 14. He remarked that how could R choose between the 98K and the coolness of car?

"Sh***t, er sheesh, mom. You know, I do swear when it is appropriate."

DK, formerly of West Texas, races cars, primarily GM models.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 16, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

My condolences, College Parkian.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

You do seem like a car dude,but how fast are we talking when you are driving in a controlled and legal manner.

Do you race as well?it is all so ironic that the discussion has turned to vehicles.As I was driving up my mountain,I heard my favorite Bruce song off of "Darkness" Racin in the streets.I love that tune.

Cloudy and windy and cold here,I have today off,but I am going to bed for awhile.

I guess winter has finally showed up.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 16, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Is it too late to submit a guest kit? I tried writing one yesterday, but it has over 600 words. Far too many. I could delete every other word, but somehow I think that the end product won't make the cut.

Oh well, next time I'll have to do a better job at thinking small.

Posted by: Pat | January 16, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scottynuke. Great guy and rather quiet for a pol. The Chicago Sun Times wrote about how he lost his seat in 1968 due to a very brave but unpopular stance against neighborhood restrictions on race and religion. We in Maryland think we ride on a Democrat-machine, but again, SHEESH.

He gained his ward seat back a few years later. He was also an Army Ranger in WWII, which most of his 58 nieces and nephews DID NOT KNOW.

The Tribune reported that he would change the tenor of difficult meetings by singing either WWII songs or Irish pub ditties. Now, I did know that, since he sang often. I remember the WWII songs like

*Apple Blossom Time
*Looking at the Moon but Seeing You
*Pennslyvania-FIVE-6000 (or something like that, you know, mostly humming in time and then that phone number)

Many fine people lifting a parting- glass or two ....

Posted by: College Parkian | January 16, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Pat, submit to JA anyway. Wondrous things might happen.

JA will enjoy, whether published or not.
JA may edit your piece nicely.
JA may use a idea or turn of phrase for us all to enjoy and applaud, or take umbrage to (with our manners intact).

Posted by: College Parkian | January 16, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

TBG was asking why yesterday's boodle wasn't a Canadian Special. Well, most of us were busy shoveling, pulling cars out of the ditch, standing still in traffic, etc. as a snow storm swept Eastern Canada. I was 1 hour late for work too so that doesn't leave much time for boodling. It is cold today, say -19C (0F, give or take a few) so it is Winter all of a sudden. Thanks for the link on teen driving bc. The Fungi would wear only one type of footwear; black workboots. So let's say that the subtleties of gas and brake pedal control are learned rather slowly. I'm seriously considering wearing a hard hat and four point racing harness next time we go for a spin.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 16, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

CP, sorry to hear of your relative.

greenwithenvy, yes I do race.

And I keep the shenannigans to racetracks, because that's where they belong. I'm not mature enough to not want to drive as fast as I possibly can, but I am mature enough to indulge off of public highways.

I wrote about some racing I did a few months back, you can see it on the 10thcircle.

CP, I have some friends at Ford and Daimler Chrysler who've worked on that new Shelby Mustang 500 KR and work on the Viper. I get to drive their work toys once in awhile, it's great fun. Especially the tweaked cars that make close to 700 hp.


Posted by: bc | January 16, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

bc - you make a great point about deaths on the road. I am always surprised that the most significant threats to human life are not given appropriate attention. More women die from heart disease than breast cancer. More Americans die from the flu and its complications than any other infections disease - including AIDS. And, of course, the dangers inherent in driving to the beach far outweigh the threat of being attacked by a shark once you get into the water. And remember the DC sniper attacks? The odds of being killed in a "normal" murder far outweighed the odds of being picked off by that long-range rifle.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse


Don' git me started on risk perception... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, you said earlier you were providing newkular-related advice on 24. So you are that middle-age blonde woman then. I wasn't picturing you this way.
On the show 24 terrorists set off nuclear bombs and torture works every time (except when applied on Jack, of course) so I suspect that VP Cheney is providing much of the creative content.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 16, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. Just checking in. My modem at home is on the fritz again, and I have an appointment for three weeks from whenever for the Comcast guy to come and replace the damn thing. Would have boodled last night, but it was very frustrating being "dark."

Got a lot of work done over the weekend (bonus: without killing myself or even bleeding from anywhere important). Got all the kitchen cabinets but one moved and roughly placed in the new kitchen, and finished tiling the tub/shower area (now have to grout, which I hate).

I have two sons, two sons-in-law, and several friends who could not turn a screwdriver clockwise or even widdershins if their lives depended on it. Being "a handyman" is as alien to them as being a brain surgeon. They spend their weekends and holidays doing fun things. I spend mine doing things I hate.

Somethin' ain't right.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 16, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

In "Casino Royale", Bond pops up in the parking lot of a nice private club, and a pudgeball takes him to be the valet. Throws him the keys to a nice Range Rover, which Bond immediately uses to create a diversion.

So perhaps the next Bond movie will be titled "Private Equity" and have another valet incident.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 16, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse


If that middle-aged blond is me, then there are a lot of confused BPHers today...


Seriously, the "24" production crew called me for a few technical details and to make sure their plot device was exactly that and not something real.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't wait to get my drivers license. My mom occasionally let me drive alone on my learners permit when she didn't feel like staying up late enough to pick me up.
I took the test within days of my 16th birthday and went on my first date with my future wife within a week of that.

Since my son is sixteen, much of my social group is parents of other teenagers. Many of them are perplexed by the reluctance of their kids to get the license. They just don't seem to be in a hurry. The practice hours seem to be a major hurdle. In Maryland, that number is 60. Imagine taking a week and a half off work just to go driving with your kid. On our cross country trip he logged about twenty hours total at a rate of 2-3 hours a day. He also got one speeding ticket (80 in a 70) on a deserted stretch of I-10 just east of El Paso.

He got his license in October, about a month behind schedule. He has to wait 151 days (I want to know what Solomonic negotiation went into that number) before he can have a non-related minor passenger. I call it the no-car dating rule. So right now either I or his girlfriend's parents have to shuttle them back and forth when they want to sit in the backseat together.

In February, when he can carry passengers, all bets or off. He then becomes full time chauffer for the band carpool and can date and park with impunity. Even then, Maryland still has several nanny-state rules in effect until he turns 18. No cell phones while moving, zero tolerance on blood alcohol level, and a few other silly ones.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Thanks for the kind thoughts, Cassandra. We continue to have power but still can't get out of the driveway. We're going to make an effort to clear some of it later today. Good luck to everyone who is about to be hit or suffering through this storm or the one in the north. Loomis & Gomer should be getting some winter today. Even Bayou Self (hi, where are you?) if he's still in Houston. Hi, Sparks.

College Parkian, I'm sorry about your uncle. He sounds like a great guy. The song is Pennsylvania six 5000. Now I'll be humming it all day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 16, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Over the weekend my wife wistfully mentioned getting the bathroom redone. Some neighbors of mine have been rebuilding their bathroom on their own for a few months now. It makes you appreciate a good contractor. I got inspired enough to caulk a few loose tiles that had been letting water into the wall. I doubt that will stave off my wife's wallet draining bathroom fantasy.

Several years ago I replaced all the shower valves and faucets which included learning just enough soldering to be dangerous. I can also field strip a toilet in less than a half hour. That and changing light bulbs is pretty much the extent of my handymaniness.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

sparks! Good to see you! We've been wondering where you went. Hope you'll stick around.

Good morning everyone. It does look like winter is finally arriving today, but I'm glad its just the temperature and not all the yucky stuff falling from the sky. I saw that some parts of flyover land got more than 3 inches of ice. Yowch.

Posted by: TBG | January 16, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The Pennsylvania Hotel proudly claims that PA6-5000 is one of the oldest continuously assigned phone numbers in the country. The Pennsylvania is in midtown New York across the street from Madison Square Gardens and caters to tour groups and foreign tourists.It's the only place in New York my wife won't stay at again. It's not that it is terrible, it's just not very good.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Haaretz, the Israeli daily with an English edition, reports a secret, unofficial peace deal between Israel and Syria.

Wonder what's going on.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 16, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm a little startled by your assertion that Cassandra ventures into territory about which she knows nothing. As I've read her posts, I recall her clearly saying (about a variety of subjects) when she is unfamiliar with a topic, or with the facts behind something, and often asking for others to provide information or informed opinion. I think we can agree that on race relations and Christian faith, the topics on which she is most passionate, she does have knowledge, and that from a perspective otherwise usually unrepresented on the Boodle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 16, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse


You are brilliant in so many ways, but awfully prickly.

I enjoy reading what you have to say, and appreciate the reporting about the mulch fire.

But I think you should consider a simply, swift apology: Undorned and without much else, as you suggest.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 16, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

We had our annual synagogue retreat this past weekend. The theme was the conception and experience of God and of holiness. Certainly the most overtly religious theme we have had. Usually, we have been more concerned with explorations of individual ethics and more down-to-earth stuff.

We closed on Sunday morning by reading the text of the "I Have a Dream" speech. Dang, that man could write. Oration is not a commonly developed skill in modern Judaism, it seems. I could hear King's cadence and emphases behind the words as we read.

Posted by: Tim | January 16, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I have pondered what I would do with my ill-gottne gains if I should win the lottery. My odds are limited by my disinclination to ever purchase a lottery ticket, but a guy can dream. I imagine creating a front organization named The Institute for Conservative Thought, whose sole purpose would be to fund NPR programming and thereby tick off conservatives. The motto would be "Because a thought is a terrible thing to waste." I would fund the Powerball (or Lotto or Keno, or whatever) chair in probability and statistics, with the mission of teaching normal people about probability and expectation value and so forth.

Oh, and I would pay off my mortgage, send my kids to college, and buy a Prius. Y'know, fancy self-indulgent stuff.

Posted by: Tim | January 16, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

What I mean to say is that Cassandra doesn't know a rat's patoot about my father--nor does anyone else on the Boodle. She was also way off in her way too early assessment of the Duke rape case. She has her faith, I'll grant you that.

How can y'all project that I have a deep hole regarding my father's passing and that am trying to "disguise" my feelings.

And Ivansmom, I was quite surprised that you wrote this yesterday:

You know, Loomis, the Boodle wouldn't subject you to mawkish sentimentality deliberately [yet, when there is a family member death, there are about 32 subsequent posts typically on the Boodle]. When most people [I am hardly most people, as you must realize--so sorry that I don't fit into a neat categry for you] mention the day of death of a close relative, it is from sentiment or respect, not as a catalyst for a further train of thought {it was a catalyst for a further train of thought for me, obviously]. I think many of us may have misunderstood the intent of your comment [see below], but any expressed condolences [condolences are one thing, but false projections are another]would not have been meant to offend.

The last sentence is the doozy. I wrote one sentence about the date of my father's death, and about three or four paragraph's about Gulf War I. Yet, given the inequity in terms of words and subject matter in my first post--father vs. war, the Boodle women jumped on the death. Read, folks, read. I can barely stand to be in groups of women for any length of time for all their silly ooohing and cooing most of the time--very smart, bright women excepted.

Posted by: Loomis | January 16, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes, College Parkian, I am waiting for others to apologize to me.

Posted by: Loomis | January 16, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Snuke, 24 called to be sure they weren't too plausible?

Posted by: dr | January 16, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I made the calculation recently that I could quit work and live off lottery money for the rest of my life and maintain the same standard of living as I do now...

Investments not withstanding and including taxes of coarse...

if I won a little over 7 million.

Wow! I'll need to be a millionaire when I retire just to keep up.

Posted by: Pat | January 16, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, thanks for the kindness about my uncle.

But I am glad I now know the correct number sequence on that PA telephone.

When I was little, I thought it was a train line.

Take care in the ice. Way worse than snow. We have a chill in the air and wind in the trees. The bamboo in my neighbor's yard creaks and whines in just such low but whipping winds. I like the sound.

The lottery game is like the "If a Jeanie gave me three wishes" game from long ago and far away. We thought it "Jeanie" because of the Barbara Eden-Larry Hagman show.

What is the answer? More wishes must be one of your wishes.

Posted by: Coillege Parkian | January 16, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"More wishes must be one of your wishes."

So if I win $10 million in the lottery, I should use the money to buy 10 million lottery tickets?

Posted by: Dooley | January 16, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, *Tim, and I hope your cold is better. I like the idea of the Powerball Chair of Probability and Statistics, and think you should locate it at UNLV. Of course, Las Vegas may not want it. Perhaps they'd pay you to move it elsewhere.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 16, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

CP, when you wish for more wishes, do the resulting wishes have any less power than the original ones? (Sort of like making copies of copies...)

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

Unless they're digital wishes, in which case they're perfect copies.

Posted by: Dooley | January 16, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse


Essentially, yes. *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Be careful copying digital wishes, Dooley... you'll have the RIAA, MPAA and other *AAs throwing lawyers at you faster than you can stick a shake at'em.

No offense to the legal crew here (I probably should put one or two of you on retainer, considering my luck and general disregard for authority and rules).

Posted by: martooni | January 16, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Dooley and

hit the themes
on "If I.." memes.

Ivansmom can advise
Raysmom copywise.

Tim and Scottynuke
can false chances rebuke.

Pat will buy BC's guitar
and BC will blow moola on cars.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

New kit.
Jack Bauer is getting old.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 16, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Calling all '24' factcheckers! New Kit!

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: pbfdvh ozsg | February 5, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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