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Life Without Vices

Vice-free, I move cleanly through a world of filth and depravity, pitying those who do not know the beauty of a life devoted to purity. I've given up the Tostitos entirely. Have not had a single cigar so far in 2007 and we're already well into Day 3. My resolution is a challenging one ("Improve on Perfection"), but I have yet to flag.

The rules of the new year are inviolable: Drink only mountain water, or, if that's not available, hill water, knoll water or berm water. Imbibe no spirits of any kind, no fermented beverages, no Rum Raisin ice cream, no brandied prunes, and consume cough medicine only in moderation and at meals (Robitussin pairs nicely with chicken). Eat no red meat save that which you have personally slaughtered. Hunting tip: Cows are more easily surprised under cover of darkness.

Obviously this is a big transition for the Obliterati; we have been getting together for chess, charades and the occasional wacky game of Parcheesi.

Your food pyramid should be built around a foundation of leafy greens, seaweed, Kentucky bluegrass and several varieties of fescue. I advise you to eat a great deal of raw fish, including the head, fins and scales. You should stick to whole grains, including the chaff. This is not for the amateur: Don't eat the corn stover without first consulting your personal physician or the Internet. I've been chewing so much I've got blisters on my molars.

If you've not lived this way, you can't imagine how clear you are in body and mind. There's a feeling not only of wholesomeness but, let's just say it, moral superiority. When you encounter a stranger you will look right into the person and see not only the flaws and foibles and serious failings but also the finer points of metabolism and liver function. Yesterday I stopped a lady in the street and said, merely as an act of Good Samaritanship, "Baby, you got gallstones."

I'm like a doctor now. I am a healer. To help others is its own reward. Also, they might purchase one of my publications. Where others see a basket case, I see a customer.

--

Boodle Mining...
Achenbach [last night]: Can I just note that, back in my day, no one would have had the crazy idea of staging an Orange Bowl between Wake Forest and Louisville. We always had something decent like Nebraska vs. Miami. We had Oklahoma vs. Florida State. We had real football with real football teams. No one even knows where Wake Forest is, though I strongly suspect that there are no trees there anymore. And Louisville? Isn't that a basketball school? What's next, Duke vs. St. Johns? I'm sorry but when I put on the Orange Bowl I don't want to be watching Bennington take on Johns Hopkins. Fortunately there's still the Orange Bowl Halftime Show, guaranteed to be hilariously awful.

Curmudgeon [weirdly early this morning]: I dunno, Joel. The Bennington-Johns Hopkins pigskin rivalry goes waaaaay back, at least to...um...er.... Well, way far back, anyway. [Or was I thinking of the sheepskin rivalry? I'm not fully awake yet.] There was that thrilling cliffhanger in 1936, with the score tied at 0-0. Then who could forget the 1958 stunner, with Johns Hopkins edging out Bennington 0-0? And my god, what about the scandal-ridden season-ending playoff game for all the marbles when Sarah Lawrence College snuck in a ringer, wide receiver Mary McCarthy out of Vasser, to defeat Bennington 0-0, only to be caught and disqualified, allowing Bennington to go on to meet Johns Hopkins in the 0-0 rout at Groton-on-Hudson? I know I'll never forget that one. It was so exciting I had to look up from my stamp collection twice.

But it does raise the chilling spectre of who would get the naming rights to their bowl game. The Perrier Water Bowl? The United Colors of Benetton Bowl? The Edna St. Vincent Millay/Edmund "Bunny" Wilson Persimmon Bowl? The Carson McCullers Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Bowl? [Wasn't Carson McCullers a third-round draft pick out of Julliard? bc, do you remember?] One's mind has become (as the 19th century German poet Hans Gemutlichkeit once put it so aptly), "geboggledschneedlich."

You may all now return to your dreary, pedestrian lives. I know that I shall.--Mudge

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 3, 2007; 8:26 AM ET
 
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Comments

Reposting this on-topic comment on behalf of kbertocci:

Joel is right on target with his "cruciferous vegetables" quip. A couple of years ago I actually went on a raw food diet for the first 31 days of the year. All the raw food websites say that when you give up "dead food" you start to feel cleaner and more energetic and healthier--they say that once you've done it you'll never go back to your old ways. So I thought a month would be a fair trial--I figured it couldn't hurt, at least I'd be a little healthier after the experiment. How great it would be to never cook again! Well, here's the voice of experience to tell you something: you might be able to eat raw cruciferous vegetables on the first or second day of a raw food diet, but after a week, even an apple starts to seem too harsh. Avocados and bananas are your friends; nuts and seeds are okay if you spend a lot of time chewing them. Carrots can be edible during week two or three if you pre-grate them. I didn't have a food processor; that's the basic tool of the raw foodies.

After three weeks I got to the point where I would almost literally rather starve than eat another raw vegetable. I limped to the finish line with a little assist from some high-protein home-baked bread (cheating! I couldn't do 100%). It was an interesting experience. Haven't been tempted to repeat the project, though.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 3, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm not quite finished with my vices quota for last year yet. There still is a half box of chocolates and a whole bottle of the very strong Starbucks liquer left in the house before I can realistically address the whole clean eating scenario.

On the positive side, I've pretty much cleaned up the 2004 legume overload, so its time I purchased more. It is soup season after all. Take a selection of cruciferous vegetables, add soaked dry legumes, onions and celery and cook it till the cows come home, and presto, soup of the week.

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The problem is when your vice becomes your obsession and kills you. Then we can all sit with our little bubbles above our heads at your funeral (see MoDo's column today at the NYT):

"That fat cow,that was never a buffet table that s/he didn't love."

"S/he had to smoke at every family occasion and make us all gag. I'm glad s/he died of lung cancer--serves her/him right."

"How many different sex partners do you think s/he had? Do you think s/he's take MY advice about buying condoms?"

Etc.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

dr;

Don't forget the stone.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Joel, like you, I always start out each year attempting to live a life of purity, simplicity, and merciless wholesomeness. Then I start to bargain with myself. I attempt to compensate each vice with a virtue. This causes a host of difficulties. I mean, what exactly is the exchange rate between time spent googling Scarlett Johansson and time spent researching Global Warming? And does consuming a bowl of organic celery flakes really adequately compensate my metabolism for that whole unfortunate Frozen Snickers Incident?

Besides, it is so easy to put off the penance until later. I believe that for me to achieve true karmic balance would require a solid year working in a soup kitchen as a Buddhist monk. Still, sometimes a compromise can be achieved. Blueberries are supposed to be good for you, right? So these blueberry doughnuts are, like, health food. I would go back for the blueberry muffins too, but, you know, that might seem sanctimonious.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Joel, like you, I always start out each year attempting to live a life of purity, simplicity, and merciless wholesomeness. Then I start to bargain with myself. I attempt to compensate each vice with a virtue. This causes a host of difficulties. I mean, what exactly is the exchange rate between time spent googling Scarlett Johansson and time spent researching Global Warming? And does consuming a bowl of organic celery flakes really adequately compensate my metabolism for that whole unfortunate Frozen Snickers Incident?

Besides, it is so easy to put off the penance until later. I believe that for me to achieve true karmic balance would require a solid year working in a soup kitchen as a Buddhist monk. Still, sometimes a compromise can be achieved. Blueberries are supposed to be good for you, right? So these blueberry doughnuts are, like, health food. I would go back for the blueberry muffins too, but, you know, that might seem sanctimonious.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sorry!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

dr;

What about the stone??? You can't forget the stone!!!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

My humble apologies as well. Unless we choose to blame the server, of course.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

And I don't care if she is wearing that cute cowgirl hat. "Little Debbie" ain't nuthing but a temptress.

http://www.littledebbie.com/

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous Boodle:

... Mudge, that 5:49 was a beaut, and I was composing something similar (yea, I was thinking of Vassar and Julliard - once again, great minds), but I'm still struck by the great "Ice Sculpture Bowl" in '47 between the Culinary Instiute of America (CIA) and Rensselaer Poly. Rensselaer was up 28-0 at the half in a terrible storm of freezing rain, but the CIA came out for the second half as a new team with an impenetrable defense, which were in fact 11 Ice Sculptures carved by the CIA during the halftime break. In the terrible conditions, a ground game between the tackles was the only realistic option. The CIA's impregnable defense turned the momentum to the CIA, who ran the Busboy play again and again, finally winning on the Pizza Delivery of Liberty trick play, just at the dinner bell.

JA, would you watch Mt. St. Mary vs. Butler or Iona?

I watched "Dirt" on FX during the half [last night]. Not that great, IMO, but had a few amusing touches (e.g. the photog who could see words when he was off his meds).

SCC Note: I did correct a misspelling and added a clarification.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

And I don't care if she is wearing that cute cowgirl hat. "Little Debbie" ain't nuthing but a temptress.

http://www.littledebbie.com/

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous Boodle:

... Mudge, that 5:49 was a beaut, and I was composing something similar (yea, I was thinking of Vassar and Julliard - once again, great minds), but I'm still struck by the great "Ice Sculpture Bowl" in '47 between the Culinary Instiute of America (CIA) and Rensselaer Poly. Rensselaer was up 28-0 at the half in a terrible storm of freezing rain, but the CIA came out for the second half as a new team with an impenetrable defense, which were in fact 11 Ice Sculptures carved by the CIA during the halftime break. In the terrible conditions, a ground game between the tackles was the only realistic option. The CIA's impregnable defense turned the momentum to the CIA, who ran the Busboy play again and again, finally winning on the Pizza Delivery of Liberty trick play, just at the dinner bell.

JA, would you watch Mt. St. Mary vs. Butler or Iona?

I watched "Dirt" on FX during the half [last night]. Not that great, IMO, but had a few amusing touches (e.g. the photog who could see words when he was off his meds).

SCC Note: I did correct a misspelling and added a clarification.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

*cueing "Attack of the Clones" theme music*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post, folks.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I like the food processor... If you run it long enough, it builds up heat and, if the thing starts to go, you might be able to "cook" some of your raw food.

Anyway, I just don't understand... Isn't cooking one of the big reasons why we invented fire?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 3, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, the Y2K&7 bug as infected the boodle.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If raw food is good, live food is better.
I recommend a diet of oysters and scramental wine.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I expect - I *hope* - that people will sit at my funeral having a great laughfest at my expense for my many faults and the incalcualble number of dumb things I've done during my life.

Remember me as I am, simply human. Occasionally, I am an inadvertent source of humor, as you never know what might strike someone else as funny.

Just like everyone else.

I'd rather laugh than cry about being human, but that's just me.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What about the Mikimoto Pearl Bowl? Hollins vs. Sweetbriar or Agnes Scott v. Mary Baldwin. I think people (middle-aged men) would pay good money to see that!

My New Year's resolution was to not have any New Year's resolutions. I never keep them. Case in point: I had lunch yesterday at Georgia Brown's. Fried green tomatos, two bisuits with peach butter, iced tea, fried chicken salad & bourbon pecan chocolate pie.

Posted by: PLS | January 3, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Life Without Vices" reminds me of the Kinks Preservation Act II:

We are the New Centurions
Shepards of the nation!
We'll keep on our
For sin and degradation

We are the national guard
Against filth and depravity
Perversion and vulgarity
HOMOSEXUALITY

Keep it clean
Keep it clean
Keep it clean
Keep it clean

I visualize the day when people will be free
From evils like perversion and pornography
We'll throw out Satan and we'll set the sinners free
So people of the nation, unite.

Put all the pervs in jail
Bring back the rack and the cat o' nine tails
Bring back corporal punishment
Bring back the stocks and the axemens' block
Let righteousness prevail!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Repost (SCC'ed) from previous boodle:

I am in Bowl denial since the Jackets lost to the Mountaineers. From now on all teams should declare their senior quarterback academically ineligible right before the bowl game because it makes such a great excuse.

I relish the salad days when all bowl games were named after agricultural products. Georgia Tech won a half-national championship at the 1990 Tangerine Bowl. That was back when in addition to the Rose, Cotton, Sugar, and Orange Bowls there was also the Minneola Tangelo Bowl, the Wheat-Barley-and-Cereal-Grain Bowl (held in Ames, Iowa), the Rice Bowl, and of course, the Cruciferous Vegetable Bowl.

And Joel slamming Wake in a major bowl sniffs of major sour grapes. Where were the Tigers New Years weekend? I can't help it that the Jackets let Wake into the Orange Bowl. I am just upset that the Gators are in anything with National Championship in the name.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

bc, count me with you on being laughed at, if people consider my life worth laughing at it would be much better than being an insufferable perfectionist.

Worst case scenario for me would be people at my funeral say, good life too bad she never seemed to enjoy it.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm still wait for the Tidy Bowl to show up on ESPN38. I really can't get into college football any more. Bad enough these days with the "pros" in DC and Pittsburgh. Talk about underachievers!!

Posted by: ebtnut | January 3, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

PLS,

I would pay anything to see the Scotties take the field in plaid skirts and maryjanes.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I mistakenly taken the title of this kit as meaning that Dick Cheney had resigned. I am so dumb. Gary my giant African land snail is living a vice-free life, laying parthenogenetic eggs, eating only raw vegetable and drinking only water. It just isn't very inspiring IMO. I just can't get excited at the prospect of a leaf of iceberg lettuce for lunch. We tamed fire, aurochs and wild turkeys for crying out loud, let's benefit from it.

I miss the old Bowls names too. Pfizer's Viagra & Erectile Dysfunction or Whyeth's Preparation H bowl doesn't have the ring of the old I Cotton/Orange/Rose bowls somehow.

Speaking of dumb, teenagers have found a new way to kill themselves: trunking.
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=3ad82fa5-4a7b-48cd-a529-c13c424b8b3a&k=66603 In the old days only certain Italian families were "trunking" the odd guy but the practice was deadly enough.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 3, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

dr, I know what you mean! I have six champagne truffles from Bernard Callebaut and a bottle of Pol Roger in the fridge (left over from our wild New Year's Eve night -- 1 glass of wine with dinner and in bed by 9:30!). Not mention the smoked salmon. Perhaps I should have smoked salmon, wine and truffles for dinner tonight and then hit the diet (hard).

It looks as though there will in fact be an Achenboodle mutual support team formed so that some of us can amend our eating. What larks!

Posted by: Yoki | January 3, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Copied from previous boodle:

bc, the actress I think you're refering to in the 'Trash' episode appears much earlier in the series. Episode six, so yello will be meeting Christina Hendricks in the very next episode.

http://www.imdb.com/gallery/granitz/3065/ChristinaH_Caulf_4893240_400.jpg.html?path=pgallery&path_key=Hendricks,%20Christina&seq=6


Remember 'Our Mrs. Reynolds'

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, omni, I don't remember "Our Miss Reynolds." I only remember "Our Miss Broks":

[summary courtesy of http://www.tv.com/our-miss-brooks/show/2328/summary.html?full_summary=1&om_act=convert&om_clk=summarysh&tag=showspace_links;full_summary]:

"The trials and tribulations of Connie Brooks, the wisecracking English teacher at Madison High School. Stories depict her romantic misadventures as she struggles to impress Philip Boynton, the biology instructor; and her continual clash with crusty, blustery Osgood P. Conklin, the principal. Connie rented a room from kindly old Mrs. Davis and rode to school each morning with one of her students, the dimwitted Walter Denton. At the start of the 1955-1956 season, Madison High was razed for a highway project and Miss Brooks found a new job at Mrs. Nestor's Private Elementary School nearby. For some reason, Mr. Conklin had acquired the job as principal there, and he and other cast members remained on the show to harass her. Connie's new love interest was the young physical education teacher, Gene Talbot, who was chasing her, quite a turnaround from Mr. Boynton's shy indifference."

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Miss_Brooks

Hey, it's not all tapioca and Pepto Bismol being an old codger, ya know!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you're right on with the moral superiority angle. After losing nearly 20 pounds on a new "Sonoma Diet," I started looking for temples to cast money changers out of. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Posted by: CowTown | January 3, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, the stone is reserved for when company comes. I make it extra special then. It's my good soup stone, you see. Surprisingly considering my lack of affinity for all things kitchen, I make good soup.

Loomis, it is so, and I am sure it will kill me. The vice that is. I firmly beleive that moderation is the key, just not with vices left over from Christmas. Or anything else apparently.

Isn't there a law or something about if you consume this stuff before New Years day its calorie free?

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everybody look sharp, straighten your ties and behave: we're on the WaPo home page, complete with that pix of our man JA. Company's coming any moment!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Heads up, folks! We're on the homepage! Best behavior, now...

Yup, doing the diet thing, as planned months ago. I hope giving up simple carbs and not eating lunch out with Hubby every day, and walking daily, will have a positive impact. All the sweet stuff is gone, now all I need is willpower...

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

omni, that's not who I was thinking of.

Think about that episode for a minute (to yourself), and what's missing from it.

Shhh.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2090-2525040,00.html

December 31, 2996

The fatties featured on the television programme You Are What You Eat know you do not cross food guru Gillian McKeith. When this bossy boots narrows her eyes and throws you her most disapproving frown, you know you are in deep trouble.
Now the whole of Scotland has cause to be worried about getting on the wrong side of the Perthshire-born nutritionist. McKeith's new year resolution is to cure her homeland's obesity epidemic -- and that could involve the food police paying you a house call.

If Britain's problem with junk food is scary, Scotland's is truly terrifying. Over the past decade, £100m has been spent on healthy living campaigns, but Scots are said to be eating less fruit and vegetables than they did 10 years ago. Obesity is responsible for more cases of cirrhosis of the liver [the cause of Michael Browning's demise] than excessive alcohol consumption.

Through her television programmes -- which regularly attract up to 3m viewers -- McKeith has used shock tactics to challenge people's complacency about their weight. From forensic analysis of their faeces [sic] to confronting people with a vat of oil to show how much fat they consume, no measure is too extreme.

The same in-your-face approach is needed to tackle obesity on a national scale, argues McKeith. She is currently developing an action plan to be put to the Scottish government early in the new year designed to shake some sense into lardy Scots.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Much to my regret, Agnes Scott doesn't have a field hockey team. The best they can do is soccer or volleyball. Hollins does have a very tough looking lacrosse squad.

http://www.hollins.edu/athletics/lacrosse/lacrosse.htm

I'm disappoint that the uniform doesn't involve matching twin set sweaters.

And episode six of Firefly is definitely going in the DVD tonight.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 2006
Maybe it is 2996--the more life changes, the more it stays the same.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but...

My museum just opened a new exhibit on Chinese fossils, with several specimens on loan from Beijing. Here's the press release:

http://www.vmnh.net/news.cfm?ID=82

The featured specimen is the feathered dinosaur known as "Dave":

http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/0701/0701_feature.html

The specimens are on exhibit through May, when they are to be returned to Beijing. This is the first time they've been in North America.

I recommend a visit for anyone interested in paleontology--it's a 4-hour drive from Washington.

Posted by: Dooley | January 3, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everybody look sharp, straighten your ties and behave: we're on the WaPo home page, complete with that pix of our man JA. Company's coming any moment!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

May 25, 2006
American Gasteroenterological Association

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524223250.htm

Study Links Obesity To Liver Failure

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "Hilarity ensues when...", there's a WaPo headline that is just making me laugh like hell: Bush is submiotting a budget plan to balance the budget by 2012. Uh, that's four years AFTER he leaves office (and not a moment too soon). So, uh, how does he plan to have control of a budget process that the next president (who is about 80 percent likely to be a Democrat, and edging closer to 90 percent with ever troop reinforcement)?

The man is just so totally out of his mind. Is there anything in the Constitution about staging an intervention? Somebody call Dr. Phil.

Mr. Balanced Budget. Jeeeeeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me vices are tied to insecurities, stuff bouncing around inside your head/soul, not about insufficent evidence about what we're really doing to ourselves, and rarely about the vice.
I've given this a lot of thought...I am the one trying to quit smoking again. (Just because I failed before doesn't mean I'll fail this time.)


Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"She proposes to recruit an army of nutritionists who would march into fat people's homes and sort out their lives, like foodie social workers."

Anyone marching into my house and telling what to do about ANYTHING gets a punch in the nose.

These "foodie" do-gooders are no better than people who would shove religion or prohibition or anything else down your throat.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news, NYT:

Aides to Iraq's prime minister said today that one of the guards at the hanging of Saddam Hussein had been detained in connection with the unofficial cellphone video that showed Mr. Hussein being taunted just before his death -- scenes that sparked outrage among Sunni loyalists when the video was posted on the Internet. ...

Mr. Stanzel, the White House spokesman, declined today to discuss what role, if any, the White House had had in the discussions leading up to the execution, saying only that the White House had been kept abreast of developments. ...

On Tuesday, a reporter for The New York Times spoke by telephone with Mr. Faroun and understood him to say that the prime minister's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, was one of two men at the execution seen holding a cellphone camera aloft. An earlier version of this article and the version that appeared in The Times's print edition today included that assertion. But Mr. Rubaie denied that to The Times today, and Mr. Faroun also said today that he was misquoted.


Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news, NYT:

Aides to Iraq's prime minister said today that one of the guards at the hanging of Saddam Hussein had been detained in connection with the unofficial cellphone video that showed Mr. Hussein being taunted just before his death -- scenes that sparked outrage among Sunni loyalists when the video was posted on the Internet. ...

Mr. Stanzel, the White House spokesman, declined today to discuss what role, if any, the White House had had in the discussions leading up to the execution, saying only that the White House had been kept abreast of developments. ...

On Tuesday, a reporter for The New York Times spoke by telephone with Mr. Faroun and understood him to say that the prime minister's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, was one of two men at the execution seen holding a cellphone camera aloft. An earlier version of this article and the version that appeared in The Times's print edition today included that assertion. But Mr. Rubaie denied that to The Times today, and Mr. Faroun also said today that he was misquoted.


Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news, NYT:

Aides to Iraq's prime minister said today that one of the guards at the hanging of Saddam Hussein had been detained in connection with the unofficial cellphone video that showed Mr. Hussein being taunted just before his death -- scenes that sparked outrage among Sunni loyalists when the video was posted on the Internet. ...

Mr. Stanzel, the White House spokesman, declined today to discuss what role, if any, the White House had had in the discussions leading up to the execution, saying only that the White House had been kept abreast of developments. ...

On Tuesday, a reporter for The New York Times spoke by telephone with Mr. Faroun and understood him to say that the prime minister's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, was one of two men at the execution seen holding a cellphone camera aloft. An earlier version of this article and the version that appeared in The Times's print edition today included that assertion. But Mr. Rubaie denied that to The Times today, and Mr. Faroun also said today that he was misquoted.


Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

without the proper mode of digesting the vegetables things wont go through easily...


miso soup and brown rice should be a part of any vegetarian process....

the miso provides flora and fauna for your intestines... the brown rice sweeps your intestines clean...

if you are going on a raw food diet you need to have the right bacteria in your intestine to process all of that roughage......


going on a strict raw or vegetarian diet w/o checking with a nutrionist could be dangerous...

also B 12 has to be taken as it is available only from wheat germ or red meat and eggs I believe...

pasta boon

Posted by: actually | January 3, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm laughing my butt off. I'm catching up on the long boodle (aka 'Santa in Trouble'), and just read the joke about the little girl helping construction workers. Thing is though, is that the damm page took so long to load that when I finally started reading it I had forgotten it was a joke. I tell you, it is a damm good thing I had nothing in my mouth. Thanks kbertocci.

Anyone who missed it, it's well worth a read.

http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/3701925702/m/8510072380001

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Just casual FYI, there seems to be a lot of problems with people posting today. I've had a few error messages and an accidental double-post, and several others have reported them. ALso, some people aren't seeing posts on their screens.

Time to cue the Twilight Zone music, or get the torches and march on Hal's office.

The latter, methinks. I haven't been in a good torch-bearing march lately.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for my vices I think I would be a total basket case.

i may already be one,it is just that no one ever tells me

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 3, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

That was a link I could not open at home, so I'd not seen it before Omni, thanks for the repost.

However, seeing how its lunch time, and one of my duties over lunch is answering phones...

You got it. Phone rang just as I was picking up and answering a call. Make that attempting to answer a call.

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Regarding your 1:05p.m., Mudge, you'll like this.

"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered." Voltaire

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - As I recall, the lacrosse team at Hollins is quite fierce. Class of '01 here, so I can poke fun at my alma mater. Did you know that Hollins is the only NCAA team with no mascot? Kind of lame. There was a contest while I was there to come up wtih a mascot, but nothing ever stuck. My husband calls us "The Squirrels."

Posted by: PLS | January 3, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

When Bush took office, the budget was balanced and nobody was killing Americans in Iraq. He sure took care of those problems. Now he is proposing plans to balance the budget and get us out of Iraq well after he retires. It sounds like some sort of cruel busywork program.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I am wasting time waiting for my lunch hour, and I went over to your blog,

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/

I can honestly say after the elf, I will never see you quite the same way.

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

re. The march on Hal' office. I'll bring the pitch forks if you bring the torches Mudge.
BTW weren't we supposed to get a substantial graphical tools upgrade for the new year ? Instead of that we get a flaky boodle. That's enough to forget my resolutions and return to a vice or two.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 3, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

PLS,

Let the record show that I made no disparaging remarks about the Hollins Whatevers. Every year the country loses a few all-female colleges and the world is worse for it. I think the latest is Randolph-Macon Womens College now just Randolph College. My cousin went to the co-ed Randolph-Macon College and was always having to explain.

I also admire any sport that lets ladies hit each other in the shins with sticks.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but what comes after the vice-free life? What comes after one has eaten the cruciform vegetables (cooked with a little oil to release nutrients and aid absorption), eschewed spirits, given up any nasty or unsociable habits, and engaged in regular and vigorous exercise? Ah, friends. The clarity of mind and body, and moral superiority gained by such a life is enhanced by a conscious decision to judiciously allow a modicum of vice to spice one's existence. Picture the virtue of the day without exercise, taking the elevator for one floor up when stairs are immediately at hand and calling the person in the next office rather than walking six steps; the cigar with mineral water after a long day at the office; the lavishly garnished baked potato alongside the broccoli rabe; the glass of red wine with breakfast oatmeal. You COULD do without these; in fact, you HAVE done without. You have thus earned your right to bask in the glow of vice righteously earned -- as opposed to those lesser beings surrounding you who have yet to find the true path.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was a close one! I am vastly relieved to learn in this report (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010201094.html) that our nation's 20,000 mall security guards are beginning to receive anti-terrorism training. I can't think of how many times I've been casually standing against the upper level railing in front of Victoria's Secret while my spouse shops for dainties for somebody's wedding shower, "Jeez, I wonder if there's a miniature thermonuclear (or thermonucular) device stashed inside that trash receptacle?" or, "Jeez, ya know, that Goth-looking individual with the black raincoat could be a cleverly disguised terrorist suicide bomber" (knowing, as I do, that suicide bombers tend to wear unseaonably large or oversize clothing in order to disguise the fact that they are wearing explosive girdles).

I must wonder, though, whether this effort isn't a bit misplaced. Shouldn't we be training and upgrading the equipment for security people at Chuck E. Cheese's instead of at the mall? I mean, if ever there was a terror-inspiring place, it's gotta be at the local Chuckie.

Ah, life's imponderables...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I think mo also elf-ed herself, but I can't get the link to work on my Flash deprived work computer.

http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=c019b04ea9659d0504faebfG06122608

People love the elf.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I was just sitting here thinking how my crush of the week isn't about romance, but about whose home I would want to live in that day. It's a toss-up today...yellojkt (he always cracks me up, but the elf costume really is way over the top) or Ivansmom (red wine with oatmeal?!? What's for lunch?)

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I received a list of "Thoughts for 2007" today, two of which are appropriate for today's topic:

1. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

2. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

You may discuss. I have to attend a grueling teleconference. Ta!

Posted by: CowTown | January 3, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, LIT, I wondered about that red wine with oatmeal, too. Everyone knows that white wines pair better with soggy, tasteless carbohydrates, not full-bodied reds, which go much better with link sausages, scrapple, Canuckistani bacon (the finest kind), etc.

With oatmeal I'd recommend a naive domestic with a hint of insouciance, such as the St. Michelle reislings (Washington State). And of course Shredded Wheat just cries out for an authoritative pinot grigio. Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops and Choco Puffs are pretty tricky, but I've always found a gewirtztraminer helps punctuate the cereal's nutty, fruity and/or faux-chocolatey pungency.

(See also the news release about Kellogg's removing from its line the "Choco-B@st@ard" brand kids cereal, at http://www.theonion.com/content/node/32010).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Cruciferous Vegetable Bowl et alia, I too remember when all the Bowls were agricultural in nature. In fact, I remember best when there were only four actual bowls any self-respecting football team would compete in: Rose, Cotton, Sugar and Orange. Them were the days.

Needless to say, nobody here is saying much about the Fiesta Bowl. They're all still in shock. Ivansdad watched it and said it was astounding. The common talk here before the game was that it was a no-win situation: if OU won, who cared? and if OU lost, how embarassing to lose to Boise State. As Ivansdad points out, they seem to have forgotten that Boise State had an excellent record.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, someone gave us a bottle of Ice Wine as a Christmas gift, I am thinking it would go nice with the Oatmeal - adding just the right touch of sweetness, albeit an expensive sweetner.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

While descending upon malefactors with torchs and pitchforks is a fine tradition, may I suggest the modern alternative of cattle-prods and eighteen inch MAG-LITE flashlights. This combination retains the safety feature of a well illuminated mob while correcting the problem of the slippery footing resulting from the application of the pitchforks.
Cattle-prods may be purchased from any good farm supply store and the cop flashlights are easliy taken from mall security guards.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, great thoughts. One has to wonder, however, just how many trick plays you can give up in absolutely critical junctures....

But, alas, there are only two certainties in sports (1) the Washington Generals will lose to the Globetrotters (2) Duke will always get the calls when they need them.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 3, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I yield to Curmudgeon's sommelier expertise - though the combination of a hearty, full-bodied red and oatmeal is heart-healthy! In fact, I think with Mudge's help I've stumbled upon a new breakfast diet, combining virtue with pleasure in moderation. Epicurean, in fact.

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

dmd, I think you're making a fairly common breakfast mistake: ice wines should be served immediately AFTER breakfast, not during it. Preferably along with a $6 to $10 Cohiba cheroot (brandy-soaked if possible).

If you must drink an ice wine WITH breakfast, then I'd recommend the Commuter Special: a cuppa hot java from Mr. Donut along with a brace of their tasty Dutch crumb donuts, and the ice wine served in an insulated go-cup.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

has anybody checked lately to see if we have shifted into the southern hemisphere?

This day is too nice for January.I have been working outside in a Tshirt!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 3, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Charlatans! Philistines! Everybody knows that the only beverage appropriate to accompany outmeal is strong, black, teeth-staining, blood-thinning, heart-fibrillating COFFEE! Not "peppermint stick" coffee, or "Nutmeg Vanilla Infusion" coffee. No! I mean coffee so dark that to look into your cup is to gaze into the yawning abyss of time! It makes the outmeal pay attention and DO ITS WORK!

That is all.

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

Boko999, thanks for reminding me what I can spend those Home Depot gift cards on - more MagLites. (I seldom visit the mall, so the security guys are safe.)

As for red wine with oatmeal, I hate oatmeal and never drink with breakfast unless I haven't been to sleep, or I'm flying somewhere on vacation. Alright, maybe a champagne brunch.

But I *have* been taking my Cornflakes with chocolate milk - I suppose Bailey's could be added on occaision. Maybe when F1 starts up again.

I'd also like to thank Joel for reminding me to hit the cigar store for a proper box of Ashtons.

Sweet Jesus people, live while you're alive.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody checked lately to see if we have shifted into the southern hemisphere?

What a beautiful day.

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

Upon further consideration, Ivansmom, I may have to re-think my breakfast wine suggestion, as you indicated. Red wine is indeed heart-healthy, having a high amount of anti-oxidants. And goodness knows, members of the clergy have been dipping into the communion wine in the a.m. for many, many years, with no apparent harm (well, lowered inhibitions resulting in molested choirboys nothwithstanding).

So sure, why not? A beaker of Montepulchiano with your Quaker Oats, what can it hurt? (Though instead of using your best fluted crystal, I think I'd go with the flower-decorated peanut-butter-and-jelly glasses.)

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

ooops...posted twice

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

ooops...posted twice

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

Related story, the warm weather up here is playing with the ice wine harvest.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=d9306ebc-7d64-44f7-a6d1-9b516e8edeb5&k=40974

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

Will be a tough year for Ice Wine producers, its too warm up here.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=d9306ebc-7d64-44f7-a6d1-9b516e8edeb5&k=40974

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

It's official... this is the Stuttering Boodle.

(not that there's anything wrong with that)

:-)

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

Sorry post didn't show up before and I refreshed several times.

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

Oh, wait... I posted successfully.

Never mind.

:-)

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

To Loomis re a post from the last boodle:

I am truly, very sorry to offend you.

I see how insensitive that phrase landed amidst all context.

You asked me to explain, yet apologies generally need more humility and less explaining.

I did not mean to hurt you, yet did. I am deeply sorry.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

In keeping with my new program - virtue in moderation - I'm off to take the Boy to a history museum. This neatly combines the virtue of responsible parenting with the virtue of a half day of work, plus fun for me.

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

The more I think about it, there are no such things as "vices". Only "guilts" laid on you by yourself or other people who don't share your idea of what constitutes suitable behavior.

I don't know why, but "society" thinks it's wrong to:

1. Smoke (this includes in outdoor venues paid for by cigarette taxes, where the exhaust from SUVs is apparently acceptable, but the carcinogens that paid for the place are not)

2. Get drunk at work

3. Eat anything other than granola made from free-range grains, nuts and berries

4. Boodle at work

5. Laugh

6. Touch yourself

7. Cautiously proceed through a red light after looking both ways to ensure nobody is coming.

8. Have a belly that jiggles when you do #5

9. Have a belly that jiggles when you do #6 (especially if you are also doing #2 or #4 at the same time)

10. Get drunk before work

Posted by: martooni | January 3, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This also reminds me of a quote from Grace Slick that I'm sure I have wrong, but it goes something like "I learned that anything my Mother said was immoral or bad for you or fattening was probably fun".

Or was that Dorothy Parker?

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

Since it is such a nice day here thought I would share - the waterfront park.

http://cms.burlington.ca/Page2605.aspx

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

The proper resonse to "You should get in shape" is to say "I am in shape. Round is a shape!", then continue with the second Dunkin Donut.

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

The moral superiority of those who are conspicuously virtuous is, of course, nauseating. But what I have always found disturbing is the moral superiority that some associate with vices. As if being deliberately self-destructive somehow makes one a more authentic human being. Maybe I am just reliving some especially unpleasant teenaged memories. I can't recall how many times some of the cool kids poked fun at me for not doing drugs, or smoking, or cutting class, or destroying property. I recall them derisively taunting me with words like "What, you think you are *too good* or something?" when I avoided such things. And it took me years to realize that there is nothing shameful in saying, "Yes, actually. I do."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

'Zactly so, RDP.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

So no more crime-scene stew for the boss then. Sheesh. That is a good way to reduce your methane footprint on the planet, getting rid of all that flatulent cattle.
I don't know about a full-bodied red with oatmeal though. If I were to eat the vile stuff I would it wash down with a light red, something floral like a Valpolicella. Anyhow the best breakfast drink is the bloohy Ceasar IMO. It contains all the vegetables you need too.
In real sports, the Canadian junior hockey team eked out a victory over the US in the 7th shot of the penalty shoot-out. The score was 1-1 after three periods and a 10 minutes sudden death overtime. So Canada goes to the gold/silver medal game and the USA is heading for the bronze/4thplace game next Friday.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 3, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking is a wise man. The Bloody Ceasar is indeed the preeminent morning tipple; the Canada food guide says that one large serving of Clamato juice is worth two vegetable servings, starting one off on the right foot. The vodka I'm not so sure about, it must do something good; have you ever noticed what fun people have at brunches when they start with a BC?

I think it is not a drink much known in the US and A, though. Perhaps we should make it part of our invasion plans.

Posted by: Yoki | January 3, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Good point RD, isn't moral superiority in itself a vice, and in my opinion a cover for someone who feels themselve inadequate.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, the Bloody Ceasar infultration has begun in the Boston area led by my hubbie and his cousin.

I am the rare Canuck who doesn't like them.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Amen, RD. Well said.

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I believe the superiority of morels is beyond dispute.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll bite. What's in a Bloody Caesar?

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, all along I though we were talking about morsel superiority. My bad.

All joking aside, there was a story a few weeks ago that basically said a shot of alcohol a day was good for you (but of course only a small amount--not sixteen caipirinhas, or whatever).

(Not that I ever drank 16 caipirinhas.)

(At one swim-up bar, anyway.)

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

C'mon now, what could be more healthy - and tasty - than a full-bodied red over Rasin Bran?

If your heart and lower digestive tract are happy, everybody's happy.

Martooni, be especially careful when you're combining 5, 6, and 7, there, dude. Wouldn't want to wreck Stella or anything.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Secret of a Ceasar its Clamato Juice,

http://www.mottsclamato.com/

add Vodka, celery stalk, spices.

http://www.planetcocktails.com/cocktails/BLOODY-CEASAR.asp

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

A quite wonderful US comic at Just for Laughs a couple of years ago remarked on the popularity of the Ceasar in Canada. He said something like, "So, you take a sip of a Bloody Mary and the first you think is, 'Hmm, needs... fish'?!"

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

uh, dmd, I think we got a problem with sequence, here. According to the link, here's the instructions:

"Ingredients:
1 Part Vodka
5 Parts Clamato Juice

Mixing Directions:
Clamato juice mixed with vodka 1/5, mix in HP sauce 3 drops, dip the glass in lemon juice and dip it into celery salt put a celery stalk into the glass -- enjoy!!!

Glass To Use: Collins Glass"

According to my calculations, one would have dumped the vodka and clamato juice all over the bar (or swim-up bar pool) when attempting to dip the rim in the lemon juice. I think I'd dip and salt first, THEN add the liquids and celery.

But that's just moi.

A full-bodied red over Raisin Bran? Hmmm. A buzz, AND regularity all at the same time (something we oldtimers tend to think about more than you youngens). Not bad, bc, not bad.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I understand your point RD, but you gotta admit that it's getting more and more difficult to enjoy "guilty pleasures" that used to be the norm.

I'm not saying we should go back to the days when doctors smoked cigarettes in the E.R., but when you can't smoke a cigar in a bar that has "CIGAR BAR" in its name, I think the morality and health-nut police have gone too far.

What's next? Vegas without gambling and hookers?

Posted by: martooni | January 3, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I should note I failed the hospitality test with the in-laws during the holidays by failing to stock clamato juice.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I am going to implooooode. I've been checking my school's intranet to get my grades for three days now, and it's been either down for service, or the traffic has caused it to crash. I finally got back on it a few minutes ago - and NONE of my grades are in. Finals were over almost a month ago, and my slacker professors (even the ones who used a scantron form) haven't posted grades!

Breathe...

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

Ahh Mudge they left out a key ingredient that the drinks are mixed in a larger vessel.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"The only way to cure an addict is to give him as much as he wants of what he's addicted to, until he doesn't want any more."

-- Ramtha, in the film "What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole"

Posted by: Dreamer | January 3, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I've always had trouble equating slavish rule following with moral integrity.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Breathe PLS. The same thing is happening to #1, and she's fit to be tied. If you make the Dean's List, the Government of Alberta sends you a little bit of cash and a lovely certificate suitable for framing. She doesn't mind about the certificate, too much.

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

dmd, my in-laws have actually provided me with a hospitality list, including the following items:

1 box Yogurt Burst Strawberry Cheerios
1 can Cremora coffee creamer
1 box Splenda packets
2 bags Millstone coffee, preferably Vermont Maple or Hazelnut Cream (blech - I hate artifically flavored coffee).
Sprite Zero (bottles, not cans)
Extra boxes of Kleenex

Apparently I'm running a hotel, and one with a darn good conceirge service at that.

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

Yoki, if only! The only thing I get from my government is higher interest rates on my student loans!

Posted by: PLS | January 3, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm laughing at your concierge service, PLS. As a joke, whenever we have overnight company, my wife puts a York sugar-free peppermint patty (the little ones) on each pillow as part of the turn-down service. And when we were on vacation in Cancun, we brought back several pairs of the complimentary slippers they give you, plus shaving kit, sewing kit, --all the usual stuff the tony places give you. So now we are fully stocked for guests (well, all except for the Yogurt Burst Strawberry Cheerios).

Regarding the problem with your grades and the school server being down: their IT department needs to hire a 14-year-old to get that system up and running again. That's the trouble with Xmas break--all the IT people are still home playing with their new X Boxes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Happy new year, Boodlers!

I keep a file on my computer into which I cut and paste my favorite boodle comments. I let Word name the file after the first line (as it likes to do), so on my previous computer the file was named "Science Tim explains maroon" and on my new computer it's "hey kids." I think that says a lot about this crowd.

Oh, and happy birthday RDP and helllloooo tangent, I noticed your name when I was skimming through. Also I'm thinking of you, Nelson, as you are recovering from your surgery.

My current google ads:

Do You Look Old ?
It's Not Your Fault. You Just Need To Boost Your HGH Levels. It's Easy
www.HGH-Facts.com

Blood Pressure Diet Plans
Plan a Salt-Free, Low Sodium, Tasty Blood Pressure Diet at Mrs. Dash.
www.MrsDash.com

Prepare to be Shocked
You may be younger than you think. Take the RealAge test and find out.
www.RealAge.com

Posted by: ac in sj | January 3, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I actually do that! Now I'm blushing. When we have people to stay, I always put a little box of stuff in the bathroom; razors, a new toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, a comb, some lip balm, some emery boards, some feminine needments, a small bottle of tylenol, some deoderant, travel-sized hand lotion, shampoo and conditioner (all in their original packaging, of course, to show that they are unused). You would not believe how many people actually use some or all of these over the course of a three or four day visit. They seem to like it. I also keep spreadsheets of my friends likes and dislikes (Harvey doesn't eat red meat and is diabetic, Will hates celery, Merilee doesn't eat peppers of any sort, Jilly only drinks red wine...).

Posted by: Yoki | January 3, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

But Yoki, that just makes you a great hostess. We keep "normal" extra around for our guests, too, like travel-sized shampoos, etc. I think it just rises to the level of absurd when the in-laws' "requests" rival the riders on a major rock star's touring contract.

Posted by: PLS | January 3, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

That's true; though I prefer to ask my Mum before she comes what she finds essential; otherwise we'll be making midnight dashes across the city at midnight if it turns out she wants lime-flavoured Perrier to take up for the night, instead of the plain Perrier on offer! (She may be a wee touch high-maintenance.)

Posted by: Yoki | January 3, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Here is someone we won't invite to the boodle.

From today's Chicago Tribune...

Excerpted from Joel Stein's LA Times column:

... Here's what my Internet-fearing editors have failed to understand: I don't want to talk to you; I want to talk at you. A column is not my attempt to engage in a conversation with you. I have more than enough people to converse with. And I don't listen to them either. That sound on the phone, Mom, is me typing.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0701030009jan03,0,6961519.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Best resolution is to do away with absolution. The more orgasms per day, the better the pay.

Posted by: JackassinHongKong | January 3, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Clearly there's a link between healthnuttism and a fixation on 1980's college football. Louisville is here to stay, at least for a while...not sure about Wake Forest.

The food masochism thing is no doubt a subconsciously self-imposed penance for having embraced disco as an adolescent. Therapy would probably be a less painful, though more pricey method of dealing with the incredible guilt that persists for decades after such a faux pax.

Posted by: SnorkelFace | January 3, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

if i didn't have my vices - i'd have nuttin!

nellie - yes, i WAS in times square on nye! how'd you know? were you there? chris daughtry performed! *swoon*

HAPPY NEW YEARS boodle! and tbg - give that hunk of a son of yours a big congrats hug from me!

lostinthought - how's the no cig thing going?

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

PLS, my in-laws are pretty low maintenance so I felt bad that I didn't have the clamato. Problem is I don't drink sodas, and drink mostly coffee, water and some wine or an occasional mixed drink so I tend to forget that others do. One the other hand I usually have a large selection of fruit juices (unsweetened), beer and wine and alcohols.

Like the idea of the using the small bottles for gifts - great idea.

PLS hope you get those marks soon.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D | Mr Stein may have a good reason for his attitude.

You've Got Hate Mail
Michael Wolff
http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/media/columns/medialife/5568/index.html

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much for asking Mo. Oh, I have my moments. Sometimes so bad I have to go put my head down. Either that, or open up a big ole can of whoopa$$ on someone, and that just wouldn't be nice.
But shockingly, I can now see myself as a true non-smoker. (A big leap forward to me).
I love NY. So sorry I didn't get there this holiday season, but glad a good representative of 'our kind' made an appearance.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

i made an "emergency" basket of stuff for my cousin's wedding shower (it was held in her soon to be in-laws house) of aspirin, allergy meds (it was the spring), stomach meds, female necessities, sewing kit, gum, travel sized whatevers, etc... i did the same thing for the wedding (it was held in a historic mansion not a hotel) but my aunt stole everything out of the basket before the guests even arrived!

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

LIT, good for you, hang in there.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, don't go giving Joel ideas now. He might decide he doesn't want to blog and clearly we desire him to do so. Can't have all these columnists telling us what is important now can we.

Seriously, the gent has a point. I know how much junk email I get. I can't imagine what its like for these guys. There should be a massive junk holding place for all the crap and a body to weed it all the invective. That person used to be called a secretary.

It should stay that way until there are consequences for emailing invective, like having said columnist give out your email address to those who whould spew it back at the source. There is nothing like a healthy dose of what goes around comes around to make people use good sense and manners.

At the same time, Mr. Stein, if its your mother, you are duty bound to answer all her calls.

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

To Loomis re a post from the last boodle:

I am truly, very sorry to offend you.

I see how insensitive that phrase landed amidst all context.

You asked me to explain, yet apologies generally need more humility and less explaining.

I did not mean to hurt you, yet did. I am deeply sorry.

CP,
I'm straddling the line about whether an apology is necessary. If you know more about the CIA's Operation Ajax in Iran, then an apology could be warranted.

However, if you have said or parodied something like this: "I went through the he11 of the Horns of Hattin and my distant great-niece sleeps with a Muslim? What is the world coming to?" --Guy de Lusignan, Second Crusade (Richard I, yet another distant great-uncle, could have said pretty much the same, different geography, during the Third Crusade.)

...then maybe I would be laughing. And which Crusade are we on now? The 13th? The 30th? I've lost count.

But thanks for the thanks.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Bokko, after reading that Michael Wolff piece, I'm so amazed and grateful that we have such a courteous, thoughtful, and civil group of boodlers here. Although, very occasionally, someone takes umbrage, apologies are quickly made (sometimes unnecessarily IMHO).

Long may we reign! rain? rein? rayne?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC:
Thanks for the apology.

It's dark. I need to turn on the office lights. It's sprinkling. It's cold. It actually feels like winter, but looking forward to 72 degrees on Friday.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh. Irony. IMHO also.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC, weed out

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Only in America do people, in order to lose weight, sign up for, and pay for, a company to send them food via fedex.

Oatmeal should be served with a cup of molasses. Or unhopped barley syrup.

B12 can be supplied by brewers yeast, or regular consumption of beer.

One can quit smoking tobacco by placing a coffee bean between the cheek and gum, and then chewing on an extremely hot dried red pepper when the urge hits.

Is yogurt vegan? It's all bacterium, no "milk" remains. What about brewer's yeast?

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The taste of coffee (don't come near my coffee!) has a mental connection to a cigarette. It just does.
As for the extremely hot dried red pepper, why not just give myself electric shocks? Same difference, no?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

If 72 degrees is even a possibility in your 72 day extended forecast, you don't have winter.

Granted, we've been extreeeeemely lucky here in NE Ohio (45 right now). But it's coming. I can feel it creeping up on me, letting me enjoy a little respite from the norm, only to whack me with 4 feet of snow and subzero madness right around Easter.

Posted by: martooni | January 3, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I checked today and we are still expecting the next 14 days to be above normal and for a change they are forecasting a reasonable amount of sun. It may not be 72 but I will take it. Of course the ski resorts are not happy.

I had a similar conversation with someone at work today we were speaking about the great weather today and we both mention our fear that we would pay for it later, hoping it wouldn't be too late, like April.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Boko,
*wink, wink*

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

dmd... I think "Old Man Winter" is a loan shark. He'll lend you a few more weeks of warmth, but when he comes around to collect... well... my arthritic knee always knows when he's coming.

Posted by: martooni | January 3, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Holy smokes (no pun intended), someone was trying to help, and I was getting out the can opener. I gotta go put my head down.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi!

On my way back from work I heard on the radio that Arbusto wrote an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal. Isn't that like saying that Milli Vanilli sang a song at their concert?

Posted by: a bea c | January 3, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, here it is:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009473

"What the Congress Can Do for America. Let them say of these next two years: We used our time well."

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 3, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

What an exciting day--I could reach the kit and boodle from work! They block anything with the word "blog" in it, so I'm not sure how this happened. I decided not to post because that'll draw attention to it, but cutting & pasting into a document so I'm online for just a minute . . .

Yoki, TBG, you're on. Feel free to share my address.

Ivansmom, you're my hero. Now what goes with PB&J?

Emma Rose makes a lovely elf. Thanks, yello.
http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=a1287c765ba90bd350a4628G07010314

Posted by: dbG | January 3, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Much better to go directly to the soul for cleansing, and let the purity trickle down from there. An added benefit is that there will be no need for moral superiority compensation for sacrifice. No hidden costs to others. How uncool is that? Get there. That is the directive. Do no harm along the way or you will delay your arrival. God Bless you all.

Posted by: Frozen1 | January 3, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

>Ramtha, in the film "What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole"

Dreamer, did I ever mention that I had a an audience with Ramtha in the 80's in NYC? Very cool. I make no judgements about her ancient origins, but I will say she was both entirely accurate in her predictions of my life and insightful in response to my question. Her answer actually influenced my career in a fairly large way, and gave me a peaceful resolution to an internal conflict.

I have to thank my girlfriend at the time for the experience, it was a birthday gift as I recall.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

So, how well have we used the last six years, Mr. Bush?

Jeez.

Wall Street Journal, no less.

Why not WaPo? Or NYT? or LAT? Or even the Charlotte Observer?

Ha!

A little late with that, I'd say.

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I'm all misty-eyed. I just watched the LSU marching band kick some butt. I miss hearing them practice behind my dorm.

Now we just need the team to do the same. Nick Sabin, eat your heart out. Purple and gold is so much nicer than all that red. And even Nick won't be able to turn the Tide.

Posted by: a bea c | January 3, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

dbG, you've got me thinking. Part of me, of course, wants to say "red wine!" However, after the red wine with our oatmeal breakfast, we want something a little different with our lunch PB&J, don't we? But virtue and clean living insist it have some health value as well. I'd suggest a strong stout, such as Guinness or Old Peculier. If you prefer to stick with wine, I'd say a strong regional, like a Greek wine. I'd avoid retsina, however, as I think the turpentine effect might not go with the sweetness of the jelly. Unless you've got a PB&Chutney, which is a whole different ball game.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

LSU vs. Notre Dame: THAT'S MORE LIKE IT.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 3, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC:

Saban, not Sabin. Not a typo, just the way I think the name should be spelled. I don't know why. Some names just sound like they have the wrong letters in them. Kinda like Nacogdoches, TX. Why not just spell it Nackidish?

Posted by: a bea c | January 3, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, do you by any chance have like, a single sister or something?

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

How does Ramtha know English?
Just asking.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

RDP,

All I recall is Ramtha, a.k.a. J.C. Burnett, is the wife of a dentist in Seattle or somewhere who represents herself to be I don't know, inhabited? by the spirit of an ancient warrior. (This could be wrong in several respects, but it's wht I recall.)

I canna tell you how a 2,000 yr old warrior understands English (or more accurately, my NJ American) but there it is. I guess if you can make it into someone else's body and hang out 2k years you probably have a few tricks up your sleeve.

I should mention this is after I had been assisting at "est" events which is where I met and fell in love with Rose Mary, the lady who provided the meeting. I believe most here understand I spend my time in a fairly hard-edge reality, where things work or they don't. Nevertheless, I had some experiences in the closed confines of those sessions which led me to consider things which, frankly, many we would scoff at.

For instance, I was working sound at one of these est seminars and falling asleep. I mean jeez, I used to do some pretty cool bands and here I was babysitting two or three vocal mics, on little sleep.

Suddenly, I had this intense feeling of fear or anxiety. I woke up, sort of shocked, and looked at the woman sitting next to me. She was laughing. I said "Hey, what just happened?" She said "Well, I noticed you where sleeping again and I just wondered what you would feel if I were holding a gun to your head ready to pull the trigger.

So, while I believe in an absolute reality (and am in fact a "Universal Philisopher of Absolute Reality", and have the certificate to prove it) I'm also willing to believe the power of the mind may be signficantly more than we we can measure at this point.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse


Achenbach" LSU vs. Notre Dame: THAT'S MORE LIKE IT." Agreed I thought Louisville was a baseball bat brand sponserizing the bowl. LSU is on fire 14-0 after 12 minutes.

I made cipaille for 10 on New Year's eve. What wine to serve with that ? It contained beef, red deer and duck that would be best with a red, turkey and rabbit that call for a white and pork that could go either way. I solved the problem by making no decision, e.g I put a white Bordeaux and a red Beaujolais on the table. Both wines agreed with the food!

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 3, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Ramtha leart english at the Edgar Cayce School for Suckers.

http://www.rickross.com/groups/ramtha.html

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Where's James Randi when you need him?
Unadulerated Bull$h!t.
http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Ramtha.html

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=29460

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I look at Ramtha like I look at most entities. If it provides a benefit, I don't care what it thinks or can prove it is.

That's why Jesus is just alright with me, even though I don't really believe he was any more the Son of God than I am. That's why I like the Ten Commandments, even though I think Moses carved the bloody tablets himself.

Whatever works man.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

EF - Then why can't he seem to master contemporary grammar?

Look, I remember when Ramtha and Mrs. Knight burst on the scene in Yelm Washington - a 45 minute drive from my home. Not only is there no external evidence or physical mechanism to support her, or rather his, claims, the story simply lacks internal consistency.

I do not mean to diminish what was clearly a profound experience, but, perhaps, I suggest, the basis is in psychology and not a pre-Atlantian technological society.

What bugs me is that this woman clearly has meaningful and important things to say. Things that touch intelligent and rational people such as yourself. So to mask it all in what, to me at least, seems such obvious bunk is tragic.

But, again, if the experience was personally powerful and meaningful to you - well, that's pretty important stuff too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

PLS,
An in-law rock band rider. That is hilarious. My folks don't have a list but we know what to have.

coffee
peanut butter
white bread

My mom is the only person in our entire family that drinks coffee. We have an under cabinet coffee maker just for her. Her coffee maker at home has an auto-off, so she always leaves ours on. One year she burnt and cracked the glass coffee pot, so we had to go buy a replacement. A lot of trouble for one visit a year.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

One last link before I stalk away, muttering.
http://skepdic.com/ramtha.html

Posted by: Boko999 | January 3, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

See the difference is when my in-laws-visit they bring all the needed food themselves. Plus enough for the House of Representatives - should they drop by. When they showed up for Christmas (the inlaws, not the House of Representatives) I had to haul one of those big Coleman coolers from their car into the house. My son needed to help me.

They are such good people.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

>I suggest, the basis is in psychology and not a pre-Atlantian technological society

Yo man, ever hear of marketing? :-)

I never believed she was some kind of ancient spirit. What I believe is she nevetheless became that character to an extent that she tapped into what basically passed for the same thing. It didn't pass my attention that there was quite a bit of theater involved (fans blowing the drapes anyone?), and her answer to me may have been what anyone who had listened to any nmber of life choices may have offered.

I'm sure there are any number of bartenders and barbers that might've provided the same answer. She sure guessed right on my health though.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I will never catch up with this boodle, nor will I understand half of what is being discussed. I can't really read the kit at my temp job (I'm counting the days til it's over) so trying to read it all when I get home is just too much when I factor in cooking, cleaning, working out and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

Yes, not only am I exercising with a program my daughter set up for me, but I'm on my third day of the south beach diet. Every time I do this diet the same thing happens. I start eating to live rather than the reverse. It must be some chemical thing that happens to my body when it doesn't get carbs. Two weeks of this and I'll be at least 5 pounds thinner. Plus, I feel better, more alert, when I do this diet and I don't really miss forbidden food, except fruit. During the second phase of the diet (after two weeks) I can eat fruit again and an apple will taste like food from the gods.

Very late sky report, there was a great sunset tonight that I only glimpsed when I walked to the printer at work, but "S" said it looked like glowing coals in the fireplace on the horizon.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 3, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Error - you can find true spiritual experiences from the most unlikely of sources, even ones you don't fully believe in. It all lies in being open to hear. Sorry, Error, no sisters, but I'm sure someone you know has the same culinary suggestions lurking. You just need a good conversational starter to unmask them. Good luck with that.

I told Ivansdad that I'd suggested the red wine & oatmeal combination to my imaginary friends. After a long, thoughtful pause, he asked, "Do the other people also refer to one another as imaginary friends?" I promised that you do, but I don't think he was reassured.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Cool link before shutting off the machine.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Posted by: a bea c | January 3, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Ivansmom, you can reassure him that I not only refer to my imaginary friends now, but for me it is almost like retreating to childhood. I was beyond shy as a young child, and had quite a compliment of imaginary friends, to the extent that my grandmother once recorded them to one of my aunts in a letter. Apparently I would describe in detail the activities we got involved in.

Bad Sneakers there was a lovely sunset here as well and "S" was correct with the glowing coals a perfect description of the sky driving home from work, the clouds were wispy and there were more vapour trails than clouds but there was was illuminated by pink then amber light.

Right now the moon is again casting its beautiful blue light on everything.

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

Well, it's LSU 21, ND 14 at the half.

Entertaining, if a bit sloppy on both sides.

The full moon makes for really neat illuminated aircraft contrails, even now, nearing 11:00 PM.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

mo -- I was jumping from channel to channel on New Year's Eve in New York, and there really was a young woman who looked just like the pictures I have seen of you at various BPHs.

I should have noted WHAT channel that was, but I just don't know.

Standing with another woman amid confetti and red balloons -- a Happy New Year!

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

By the by, Hi Dreamer!

Nice to see you.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Mudge, I meant to point this out to you if you hadn't already seen this questionable headline gaffe:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010200541.html

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC: pardon my horrific sentence construction.

So, I propose a game for tomorrow morning's news: let's see who can find the first written description of what Nancy Pelosi wears to work on her first day as Speaker of the House.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Just saw feud spelled "fued" on a CNN graphic. Sheesh. Not quite as bad as the Osama-Obama mistake, but you'd think they could hire someone who can spell.

Posted by: ac in sj | January 3, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

//I'm with Error - you can find true spiritual experiences from the most unlikely of sources, even ones you don't fully believe in. It all lies in being open to hear.//

?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Boko, you are on a slippery slope. Believes are believes (sp ?), not rational thoughts. I'm just saying that posting one's statement as an object of ridicule is not the most constructive thing to do. And that is from the least spiritual person I know well; myself.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 4, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Hello all, I'm boodling in my sleep, I guess, since I must be dreaming if I just read that wine is to be ruined by taking with oatmeal.

C'mon, anybody who has any sense knows you have to take breakfast oatmeal with Irish coffee or in the Scottish way-- single-malt whiskey, oatmeal, and haggis, although you really have to remember to take at least a shot before every course so you're throughly drunk when you eat the haggis.

The computer problem has been solved by defenestrating this computer and getting a new one, so all is sweet and bright in this midnight world of full moons and lightning-fast cable connections.

I wonder how Irish coffee would taste with haggis? Maybe I should sprinkle some raw fescue on them both to get the fullest virtue of insanity?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

If my dog Buddy999 began talking tomorrow and started giving me health advice from a dead 35,000 year old entity from Atlantis I would put a bullet in his head and curse myself for fool. Only an idiot would bother feeding such a stupid dog.

Now maybe I can stop grinding my teeth and get some sleep.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 3:30 AM | Report abuse

(Actually I think Boko should put the bullet in HIS own head, not the dog's head. A talking dog has to be either delusion or a marketable rarity value. Either way, not the pooch's fault.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 3:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Vices, vanities, and all. And yes, Error, Jesus is sweet. Oatmeal and red wine, I don't know Ivansmom, but your description of it was good to read. As for eating right, it's good to do that. I seldom do. I try, but the sweets I have a weakness for, I find hard to resist. Yet at times, I find that I don't want anything to eat or drink. This is something that happened to my mother, and her father. It runs in the family, especially as we get older.

We are taught by Scripture that the body is God's temple, and as such, we should be careful what we put in it. In other words, treat it good. I don't know about you, but I fail miserably at this.

Nelson, hope everything goes well for you.

No one has mentioned the school Oprah built in South Africa. I think it is wonderful this act of charity by her. When looking at the interview with Diane Sawyer, it broke my heart when she answered the question of why she did not build here in America. She said she helped students here, but that she found in South Africa a strong desire for learning that was not found here. In other words, my words, she just did not see that here in our children. Is she right? That is the only way to judge her answer, is it true what she said?

It just hurts so much, because I want that for my people so very much, the love of reading and learning new things. The desire and curiosity of finding out and embracing all the questions and the answers. We don't have perfection with this, but just to have the yearning, the desire, the "want to do this" is a beautiful beginning. I could not look at the interview anymore, it was too painful for me. For me, it was like giving up. And I cannot give up. That goes against everything in me.

Oh, love does not cure all, but it makes the heart so soft, so pliable, so giving, and it dries the tears, and puts joy in the heart and mind. And it is so much better than hate. I cannot change the world, but I can certainly help, and do all I can to help. Miss Winfrey is doing good, and that is what the media should say.

Have a good day folks. I have a funeral to go to today as part of my mission work. Keep me in mind, as I have offered prayers for all this morning, as in your prayers. The greatest love offering the world has ever known and still is, God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 4, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,

I wish more people in the world were like you.

I tutor a number of at-risk kids near me. By the time children become high schoolers, some of them insist they are dumb, hiding this anxiety in a world of false coolness marketed at them by music and clothing purveyors.

First we have to undo the feeling of innate stupidity, then the horizons widen. But by 15 and 16, I see that time has run out to undo this, for many students.

The music world -- created by savvy marketing, money-making moguls NOT some idie creative world it masks as -- says that school and learning are not cool.

One add for clothing two years ago in a teen-oriented music publication ran this line:

Hit this.
Not the books.

The add shows a scantily-clad young lady, being eyed by two "dudes."

Makes me want to cry and scream.

How do we take back our children's formative young adulthood from this mess?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 4, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,

Oprah -- very quitely and very swiftly -- made available funds to bring Stephen Covey to my local high school.

He ran a workshop on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for 40 students. These students made a presentation to the entire school, with followup activities for the rest of the year in home room.

She insisted that this remain quiet. So here in blogland, two years later, I am telling you.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 4, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

>curse myself for fool
If I can take life lessons from the Three Stooges I can take it from someone who claims to be Ramtha. I'd be just as happy taking it from a dog but I don't have a talking dog.

Maybe you should have Buddy read my posts to you, because you don't seem be getting it. She gave me career advice, which I have taken from any number of drunks just as happily. She made a prediction about my health which turned out to be very accurate.

The whole thing was a birthday gift from an exceptional woman, and I was smart enough to not throw it back in her face, but went along and got the best from it. You got a problem with that?

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Nicely worded WaPo link this morning to an article about Margaret Spellings saying "No Child Left Behind" is on track:

Spellings: "No Child" on track

Posted by: Dooley | January 4, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

belated boodle skimming:
PLS: I can totally relate to the grade thing; mine haven't been posted yet either. If we put all the work into studying and writing for finals, can't they at least get off their fat, um, donkeys [but the other word] and grade them? humph.

Re young people not being focused on learning: my experience in junior high and high school was that if you were smart, you got made fun of. Getting good grades was not a priority in high school. And grades don't even always reflect a genuine love of learning; now in college, it seems that grades are more of a focus, but only to be able to secure that great job to make tons of $$$. I recently did a paper on Ebonics and inner-city education. The statistics, graduation rates, literacy rates, etc. were shocking. Clearly, there is something very amiss in our education system and larger culture, if people are okay with the huge number of African-American kids dropping out. Perhaps we are still more racist than we would admit.

Posted by: Tangent | January 4, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the clothing purveyors and the need to consume, consume, consume, I just wish Oprah had taken off those gaudy, oversized diamond earrings she wore to open the new school in Africa. Are the diamonds in her earrings conflict diamonds?

Wouldn't small, more demure earrings have done the trick, when the whole focus of the day was supposed to be on the benefits of education to those motivated students of a certain income level who are so eager for it? Or is the point of an education to say "Hey, I can buy the finest luxury goods available. Hey look, everybody. I'm the Queen of the world!"

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about your grades not being posted. Fall semster-into-the-holidays is hard for us teach-types. I can point to the load of 66 papers between 7-10 pages. But, I did get my grades in on December 28. In the Terp Universe, they "appear" to students within 12 hours.

You sound thoughtful and focused on learning. So many of my students -- I like them all -- see school as a career step, and not learning-immersion.

But, of course, universities now market themselves as a career-building stop on the train ride of life....and kitted out with amazing gyms and food courts.

And boomer parents (me too) can be too hovering and obsessed with micro moments on the parent-train ride. Some benign neglect and "invisible" hovering can create a sweet spot for nurturing young adult children.

But learning! So much is possible, including career building -- when knowledge-aquisition and applications are grounded in a love of learning.

Tangent, many young people enter in the learning-is-not-cool world, but middle class kids can "code-switch" out, eventually.

Poor kids -- poverty is much bigger than dollars -- don't see more than one world. The world they occupy can be so dead-ended, that all of us should truly see this, register the anger of injustice, and work to ensure that education and the American/New World openness to movement based on achievement rather than pedigree really WORKS.

Scree done.

Cassandra, can you remind us again of the books needed by your programs?

For those in the DC area, literacy volunteer ops abound.

Posted by: Tangent | January 4, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Several, but they're mine not yours.

Support all the theives and charlatans you like. Suns up, another night got through.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *waving*

I'm about to bury my nose in the grindstone, but when I return later today I hope to read everyone's opinion on the basis for this article (why it's in Style I have no idea):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301914.html

I'll post my view later.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Crazy day today, will be on Hill. Should be a scene. Protests, rituals, a big Senate group hug going on right now, then the "re-enactments" of the swearing-in ceremonies in the Old Senate Chamber. The big news is that I am credentialed to within an inch of my life, not only with a new DL from DC but a new Congressional ID around my neck as we speak AND (drum roll) a new Library of Congress reading room ID that lets me just walk into the place with impunity.

STAND BACK HE'S COMING THROUGH...

I don't know when I'll have time to kit but I'll try. (FYI, if you're on the Hill, try any of the cafeterias. Great food, lots of Southern cooking, cheap.)

Posted by: Achenbach | January 4, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Style Article - war is illegal?

Perhaps. "Because the United States entered the war based on false premises, Ho said, the war is illegal. It is thus her son's constitutional duty to disobey orders."

But for many it would actually be the other way around. A desire to stay out of war would lead one to think the war illegal.

I have actually studied international law and best summation I have is that nations can do what they can enforce and that is legal. But I was only an undergraduate student.

It is a sad situation when one has to take a tough decision and pay the consequences. But we do claim to be a nation of laws. Is this a fair price?

Posted by: Gary Masters | January 4, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Hope the dental work went OK, College Parkian. Still loaded up with vicodin? Truly, though, no evidence of impairment can be discerned.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 4, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Well sure, Joel, you can just saunter on in, but what about your entourage?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Cassandra, I don't think Oprah could fairly say kids in America don't want to learn. I see the love of learning in small children still. As they get older, not all children get reinforcement and encouragement to express this, and eventually some lose it. At the elementary level, though, there is still time to nurture even a nascent desire to learn. One difference between children here and in Africa may be that here, we have public schools and everyone is expected to attend. Learning is not viewed as a privilege. In most of Africa, children must pay something for even public schools and many can't afford to go. As it isn't guaranteed, perhaps those children had a keener appreciation for the opportunity to go to school. Also, the social and practical consequences of failure to complete school differ significantly.

I must confess: I have never had red wine and oatmeal at the same meal. I still think it is heart-healthy, though. I did once have red wine and cheddar cheese spread with butter for breakfast, but that was in college. What was that about learning?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 4, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Keith Ellison will use Thomas Jefferson's Koran for his swearing-in today. As it should be.

First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Speaking of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9:

No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

Why are the expenditures of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency exempt from this law, this accounting, this accountability?

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Do all men know where to find cheap eats? Is there some secret publication they all get listing this week's specials, complete with maps? Ask most men to name the five closest restaurants, and chances are there's an IHOP on the list. A dank place with a dartboard will also make the list, but nothing with a tablecloth would even be considered.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 4, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

And Joel, congratulations on your enhanced access status, including the Reading Room pass (very impressive!). I assume you just forgot to mention the forehead-cam which you'll transfer in streaming video directly to the Boodle, so we can share every minute of the excitement.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 4, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

*emerging from the shadows*

Happy New Year to all. I trust that everyone had a nice holiday.

Posted by: jack | January 4, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I look forward to hearing your views. What conflicting feelings! I wish the Army had let him resign.

Morning, Cassandra! God's peace be with you.

Posted by: Slyness | January 4, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Great to hear from you Jack!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I too am conflicted by the article, I have a basic sense of how the military works, following orders etc (enough to know I could not do it). I understand that part of that would entail following orders that you may not necessarily believe to be correct.

That said I do believe there is a point where one should refuse orders they believe to be unjustifiable (genocide, etc).

Whether Iraq qualifies I am not sure, but from a reasonable standpoint I think he should have been able to resign, someone with those doubts I can't see as being able to effectively complete his job, or let him go to Afganistan as he requested, help is still needed there.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Feature story today in the Washington Post about Silvestre Reyes of El Paso. Can he do the job? Does experience as a border patrolman qualify him for hsi new leadership position in Congress. Did flunking the Shia Sunni test conducted recently by Congressional Quarterly put pressure on him to get smart pronto? With Reyes in this seat of intelligence, should I be sleeping well or poorly at night? Given his less than worldy experience and knowledge, will he be a pushover in his new position, an Hispanic rubber stamp? Poor, intelligent, neglected Jane Harman of California:

In Washington's power corridors you can hear the whispers. Isn't this one of those jobs that demand intellectual firepower? (Never mind those other whispers, as old as the republic, that not a few in Congress, even some of the stars, are, actually, well, dopes.)

All that Real Life stuff is swell. But the new outlaws are more lethal and formidable than ever. Is an instinct for the Common Man what the nation requires to ensure the global war on terror is successful -- and constitutional?

Can credential-crazy Washington countenance an intelligence chief with a two-year community college degree? Not to mention that ambush from Congressional Quarterly, where Reyes blew the question of whether al-Qaeda is Sunni or Shiite.

It's a big challenge for a lawman from a dusty border town.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Scotty,
Consider this reporting as well, from Bob Herbert's op-ed today at NYT Select, titled "Another Thousand Lives":

In a devastating critique of the war, the newsweekly Army Times led its current edition with the headline: "About-Face on the War -- After 3 years of support, troops sour on Iraq." The article detailed a Military Times Poll that found, for the first time, that "more troops disapprove of the president's handling of the war than approve of it."

Only a third of the service members surveyed approved of the president's conduct of the war, while 42 percent disapproved. Perhaps worse was the finding that only half of the troops believed that success in Iraq was likely.

The service members made it clear that they were not attacking their commander in chief personally. His overall approval rating remained high. What has turned them off has been the wretched reality of the war. In the article, David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, said, "They're seeing more casualties and fatalities and less progress."

In other words, they're seeing the same thing everybody else is seeing -- except, perhaps, Mr. Bush.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

LostInThought, good cheap eats are all men's priority, but Press Officers and PR guys know that if you want favorable media coverage, nothing beats "feed them, and they will come." JA's been doing this a long time, no one needs to tell him that there's a buffet in the Press Room, and maybe a chit for the cafeteria.

If you play things right, you can go on entire trips without paying for a single meal. Or beverage. Of course, this balances out the fact that the average journalist is not paid very well.

Someday I'll tell the whole story about a Champ Car race I covered at Mid-Ohio about 10 years ago, where the photog and I agreed that we would try to do the whole weekend without spending a dime other than for gas there and back. We had to get pretty resourceful from time to time.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Linda - Your statement that the intelligence community is somehow free of legal accountability when it comes to funds spent is completely and totally wrong.

The problem is that there is no well-defined quantifiable way to measure the consequences of IC funding. Further, those in Congress tasked with providing such oversight have historically been profoundly uninterested in investing either the time or energy into really understanding what is going on.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I remember the first BPH where some of the boodlers were surprised to learn I'm a guy. Well it looks like the superhero/villain quizes are little bit confused as well (still catching up with older boodles):

top two Superheroes:
Supergirl_____90%
Wonder Woman__90%

top three Super Villains:
Poison Ivy____44%
Catwoman______39%
Dark Phoenix__33%


Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

maybe I should change my handle to omnigal and just get it over with

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

When women try to go a whole weekend without paying for food or beverage, they have a name for her. I don't think it's "resourceful."

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

'Morning, all. Padouk, as usual you raise an interesting question. I propose that you and I form a boodle task force to put together the members of Joel's entourage (starting, of course, with you and me, for quality control purposes). Any volunteers?

Scotty, I hate stories like that, and have, ever since Vietnam. First the lesser issue: why is it in Style? I, too, have no clue; it belongs as a feature in the regular section. Now, to the merits: I hate cases like this, just hate 'em. On the one hand, the law is pretty clear: he not only joined after the war started (and so was fully warned), he WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to join, because he had to overcome the asthma objection. Then, to make matters worse (so to speak), he became an officer, so in my view has an even HIGHER burden of responsibility than some poor (Vietnam-era) draftee, or some backwoods kid who could claim he didn't know what he was getting into. So based on all that, he should go to Iraq.

On the other side of the coin, if the Army had any brains, some captain or bird colonel somewhere should have let this guy resign months ago, about 40 seconds after it became an issue, and done it in the dead of night, with nondisclosure agreements to shut everybody up. The Army has nothing to gasin by sending this guy to Iraq, and god knows, they are crazy to put him in a combat unit at this point. They offered him a non-combat job (which surprised me that they were at least trying to accommodate him), and he wouldn't take it, so he's an even dumber dumbass than he was before. So he's not looking to get out, he's looking for a fight, and that's what I don't like.

And as much as I hate this stupid, pointless war, I also hate it when somebody's Mom decides to go to Congress to start lobbying to get her Sonny Jim out of harm's way. If she was lobbying to get EVERYBODY home, I'd say go to it, lady. But she's not. She's mainly concerned about her own kid, and that's about it. I don't think it's a "guy thing," but I just don't like it much when somebody's Mom has to fight their battles for them. This guy signed up, knew the drill, then rejected several outs and picked the fight. So it's his battle, not hers.

When you join the military, I think one of the things you give up is the right to pick and chose which wars you go to. This guy was willing to fight in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. I UNDERSTAND that (and even agree with it)--but I don't agree that once you've voluntarily joined, you get to say yes to some and no to others; you can't run a military that way.

Which is why I hate stories and issues like this: the Army's being stupid and now pig-headed, the guy is being stupid and pig-headed, and Mommy is running around Congress like a mom who goes to middle school to complain that the music teacher won't let her son play piano in the marching band.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Frugal?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Omni... at least it didn't say you were part of the "Ambiguously Gay Duo" (not that there's anything wrong with that).

;-)

Posted by: martooni | January 4, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Well said Mudge.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that someone's sons are out there and this young fellow has decided he is not going to back his buddy, when he signed sealed and said he would. A legal contract, a legal obligation, and perhaps even a moral obligation to his country.

If soldiers can choose who and what they follow, they they serve themselves and you end up with very bad things. Very very bad things.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh and Mudge, I was tempted to use the term "metric" in my 10:21 post, but knew that you would track me down if I did.

I also think that additional research into the duties and, more importantly, benefits of an Achenbach Entourage (Achenourage?) is clearly needed.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | January 4, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

LOL, Padouk. Yes, "metric" would have set me off.

I think it ought to be "Achentourage," with the "t" in it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

RD, I'll volunteer for the long-distance entourage, unless of course WaPo springs (as it should) for fare to DC, to boost Joel's standing. The House cafeteria used to do grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon. Yum.

I am very conflicted about the soldier's story. Mudge put it very well. However, remember that given the nature of the fighting, there really is no "noncombat" position in Iraq. Unless he was in Kuwait or never set foot outside the Green Zone, he'd be carrying a gun and be a target, at the very least, with the obligation to fight if attacked. I can see where the Army, having gone to the time and expense to train him, wouldn't want to cut him loose just because he didn't want to obey orders. At a time when they're doing involuntary recalls, that's not the precedent they want to set. It seems like an Afghanistan posting would have been a good compromise, but there is that precedent problem again.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 4, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - right as usual. "Achentourage" sounds much better.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This potential member of the Achentourage is off to a pointless meeting. When I return I expect to see forehead-cam video of the Senate lunchroom (go for it, Joel, and have the beans).

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 4, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

dr, would that apply to all soldiers, if your country goes to war, must you follow the lead of your higher ups if they suggest wiping out villages, races.

There is a point where a soldier has the right and duty to refuse to follow orders, as was the finding of Nuremburg, just say I WAS FOLLOWING ORDERS, is not an excuse.

As for Iraq I would put it on the fence as to his right to refuse, he did provide alternatives that would work for both.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading Calvin Trillin's stuff for years (OK, decades), but want to put a plug in for Bob Thompson's very nice piece in the Sunday Style section on Trillin and his new book about his wife, the legendary (to me, anyway), Alice, who died on 9/11 (as Thompson says, yes, THAT 9/11, though of an unrelated heart condition). The piece is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/30/AR2006123001123.html but one advantage of the dead tree edition is there's a big photograph of Trillin and Alice on their wedding day--and something I hadn't know for, like, a quarter of a century: Alice was a babe. Oh, yeah. In a way, I sort of knew she'd be nice looking, and all, but over the years it had been hard to form a good mental image of her, especially with the pedestrian name of "Alice," and some of the things Trillin wrote about her.

Turns out she was a show-stopper, which I guess really shouldn't be a surprise. There's a nice line in the story, too: Thompson says that when he first met her, Trillin tried to impress her--and never stopped trying, ever since. Now I can see why. And now I gotta go read his new book about her.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I like your boodle-cam idea Ivansmom, especially if we could rss the boodle feed on his portable or blackberry. We could supervise JA's vice-free life in real time. He! Drop that roast beef sandwich and stick with the tree-beans salad!
I wonder why the Army insisted on keeping this Ho guy. He seems the worst kind of soldier. Guys in the field must rely heavily on each other and they have to have some trust in their officers. I'm not sure I would entrust my dog to this guy for a week. The Army should have jumped at the opportunity to drop the guy and made sure he was release for being an unreliable flake, not because he refused to go to Iraq.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 4, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

It is not that we are only looking for a cheap place to eat,but me in particular often find that little dive on the corner has the food we want and cheap.If I eat someplace and like the food,I tip the barmaid,and even the cook and the next time I am in there thay remember that.

I am always on the constant search for the perfect "REUBEN"I have tried the higher class places,the mid level ones,but the better Reuben is always found in a bar or a deli.

My favorite spot(where i have found the best yet)is a small Jewish deli next to the Wilmer eye clinic at John's Hopkins.
I don't know the name or phone #.But I sure know where it is and their hours of operation.I don't get there much,but they know my name and what I want as soon as I get in the door.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 4, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

dmd, the problem is that this guy joined AFTER the war started, and joined voluntarily, AND became an officer. So my answer would be that, no, one DOESN"T have a right and duty to refuse to follow lawful orders. Since it's now a volunteer military, he certainly had the right not to join up. And it's not like he joined before it started (like many others did), and so got "stuck" (which I would much more sympathize with).

Your bringing in the Nuremberg thing and the hyperbolic line of "follow the lead of your higher ups if they suggest wiping out villages, races" doesn't apply here and doesn't help the argument any. As bad as Iraq is, no one is suggesting anybody is "wiping out" any races, nor are we even wiping out any villages, as we did in Vietnam. Yes, there are excesses, and no, we shouldn't be there. But it doesn't help to inflate the problem to the level of race war and genocide. We have to try to keep the rhetoric in bounds. (Anyway, since Nuremberg and Vietnam, the rules of war are pretty clear about what soldiers can and can't do, and the right to refuse orders [or not] is pretty clear and well understood. Which is precisely why this case is a problem.)

Both sides offered compromises; both sides turned them down. That's what makes this case so stupid and pointless.

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

As always, Mudge, your case is succincctly stated. The gentleman in question chose to serve and has an obligation to serve. I think he would have been wise to accept an alternative assignment to fulfill his obligation. As I write, a couple of my students are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. I'm proud of these young men for choosing to serve under extraordinary circumstances, and hope for a saqfe homecoming. The first casualty of the war to come from our town fell a couple of weeks ago. His story was front page news. Tough stuff.

Posted by: jack | January 4, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Mudge you are right, (did I mention I would make a terrible soldier), but I do have a big problem with the concept of following orders without the ability to think.

I understand he volunteered, but as the story states he now believes the war to be illegal, whether he is right or not, I do believe he has the right to declare his sentiments.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I will say one more thing in the soldiers defense, if I understand correctly he signed up after 9/11 when the battle was in Afganistan not Iraq, just as people and politicians have altered their views on the war in Iraq - so apparently has he.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I hate stories like that, and have, ever since Vietnam. First the lesser issue: why is it in Style? I, too, have no clue; it belongs as a feature in the regular section. Now, to the merits: I hate cases like this, just hate 'em. On the one hand, the law is pretty clear: he not only joined after the war started (and so was fully warned), he WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to join, because he had to overcome the asthma objection. Then, to make matters worse (so to speak), he became an officer, so in my view has an even HIGHER burden of responsibility than some poor (Vietnam-era) draftee, or some backwoods kid who could claim he didn't know what he was getting into. So based on all that, he should go to Iraq.

***It was probably in Style because it featured a woman in the lead, taking charge of generating publicity. The feature story has no dates contained within it--so I'm not sure when the kid enrolled in the military, his asthma being a detail. Before the Downing Street Memo was leaked? Before David Kay's report that there were no WMDs in Iraq? Before the Duelfer report? Perhaps the young man heard the drumbeat for war before all the facts of how the war rationale was manipulated were in. Remember this war, predicated on untruths, has now lasted longer than WWII, with no end in sight. As Brokaw said at the Ford funeral, Ford din't come to office with any hit list or hidden agenda--unlike Bush.

On the other side of the coin, if the Army had any brains, some captain or bird colonel somewhere should have let this guy resign months ago, about 40 seconds after it became an issue, and done it in the dead of night, with nondisclosure agreements to shut everybody up. The Army has nothing to gasin by sending this guy to Iraq, and god knows, they are crazy to put him in a combat unit at this point. They offered him a non-combat job (which surprised me that they were at least trying to accommodate him), and he wouldn't take it, so he's an even dumber dumbass than he was before. So he's not looking to get out, he's looking for a fight, and that's what I don't like.

***Agree with Ivansmom...once outside the GreenZone, you're pretty much in a combat position. If he goes to Afghanistan, should he be fighting for Unocal and its pipeline? Interesting what Condi Rice actually did as regards the pressure she was putting on Viktor Bout, the arms-for-diamonds dealer, by the way. He became our arms courier for the Northern Alliance. The deeper you get into the story, the nastier it becomes.

And as much as I hate this stupid, pointless war, I also hate it when somebody's Mom decides to go to Congress to start lobbying to get her Sonny Jim out of harm's way. If she was lobbying to get EVERYBODY home, I'd say go to it, lady. But she's not. She's mainly concerned about her own kid, and that's about it. I don't think it's a "guy thing," but I just don't like it much when somebody's Mom has to fight their battles for them. This guy signed up, knew the drill, then rejected several outs and picked the fight. So it's his battle, not hers.

***There's always one case that is an example for all. You don't think Sheehan is still protesting this war to get her son Casey out of Iraq, do you?

When you join the military, I think one of the things you give up is the right to pick and chose which wars you go to. This guy was willing to fight in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. I UNDERSTAND that (and even agree with it)--but I don't agree that once you've voluntarily joined, you get to say yes to some and no to others; you can't run a military that way.

***The old hierarchical, military model. This war is a mess and this kid and many other members of the military, including brass, know it. I think most of the American public is hoping for a diplomatic solution rather than a military one. What will sending 20,000 more troops to Baghdad accomplish? How much more will it cost the American taxpayer? How much longer will Japan and China hold our debts? As my husband said last night, with his simple wisdom, if the military can't even control the hanging of Saddam on one of its own bases, how do you think that we're going to be able to control the country? Hmmm? Why don't we just declare it a Shia state, admit to the fact, and come home?

Which is why I hate stories and issues like this: the Army's being stupid and now pig-headed, the guy is being stupid and pig-headed, and Mommy is running around Congress like a mom who goes to middle school to complain that the music teacher won't let her son play piano in the marching band.

***You're being totally disingenuous here, Mudge. My father intervened for me in fifth grade when I was cut out of playing the zither at the school's Christmas pageant. I'd practiced, brought the instrument home to do so, and then I was cut and my best friend wasn't, probably a toss of the coin, because it was determined the zither music was drowning out the chorale portion of the presentation. It was finally decided that both Marie and I would play our instruments more softly and we both could participate. This son is a product of this woman's womb, and it's a matter of life or death. Can you fault her for her involvement? I certainly can't--not for a Washington minute.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The story is in the style section because Linton Weeks has been a reporter in the Style Section since September 1995. I think the real question might be why a style reporter wrote it. (maybe)

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

dmd, he can declare his sentiments all he wants--but that isn't the same as following a lawful order. He can't arbitrarily decide the war is "illegal"; that's a meaningless phrase in this case. It's pretty clear this war IS legal--everybody voted for it. Whether they were stupid to do so, or misinformed, or lied to, is irrelevant.

We just don't let single individuals decide what is "legal" in this or any other kind of issue; that's what courts are for.

If he thinks the war is "illegal," why didn't he take the outs they offered him? Why is his mommy stalking the halls of Congress? Do you think every mommy who wants her son to come home should decide such-and-such a war is "illegal" and Congress should pass a law allowing one guy to get out? Is that what we want our Congress people to be doing? Letting people out on a single case-by-case basis? They don't have anything better to do?

Sure, he's entitled to his opinion--pointless as it is. But he was given a lawful order. If he wants to take the consequences of disobeying a lawful order, then fine. But he'll never get any court, civil or military, to agree it wasn't a lawful order, not in a gazillion years. (The "unbecoming conduct" stuff is just crap, or as they say in the military, "chickens---.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

To Wheezy,
Thanks for asking about my teeth. I have a hairline fracture in my upper jar. Two teeth, also with hairline, longitudinal fractures needing root canals as a consequence. I swim with a Masters group, full of energetic young-adults just out of college. When two people, without glasses, go for the time, well, fractures happen. My lap mate would be horrified to know the extent of the damage. Did I also say that he can't keep left straight from right? He is a brainiac physicist with four left feet and a heart of gold.

I am so glad to find out about the fracture in the jaw. I kept telling one dentist that the whole thing still hurt despite measures drill-like and liberal doses of vicodin and naprosyn.

Fracture will take six months to heal. Vicodin on board two or three more days. Then, we will see what happens.

Biking on vicodin seemed ok, on back roads. I would not want to pull an Nicole Ritchie, she of the vicodin-poppin It Girls.

Omni -- people on the boodle thought I was a man. So, we cancel out. I'll drop more gardening and knitting terms, which should help.

AND YES, I KNOW that guys garden and knit.

---
Re soldier's tale: I have a special forces brother in his early forties. He was off duty for about six weeks in 2006. He came to Washington in the late fall to roam the halls of Congress and tell why the torture business was wrong, that it hurt his ability to function -- to say nothing of his credibility in the line and in the trenches.

He believes in structures and rules and conventions for engagement. He is sick about the loss of US credibility about human rights. Reputation: hard to earn, easy to lose.

As Casio said in _Othello-, weeping:
Reputation. Reputation. Reputation.
Reputation is all.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 4, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I will say one more thing, someone mentioned that the soldier had signed a contract. But he signed a contract based on certain evidence which time has disproven.

If I sold my house with as many falsehoods, and near falsehoods in my contract it would not be worth the paper it was written on and I would be in a heap of trouble.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I believe the war in Iraq is an illegal war, by INTERNATIONAL LAW, which Bush and company have decreed (by executive order)does not apply to the United States or its citizens.

Here's a link to an article entitled "Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial,
Says Nuremberg Prosecutor"

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/law/2006/0825bushstandtrial.htm

Posted by: kbertocci | January 4, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I could be wrong about that executive order--that was my impression from earlier documents I had seen, but apparently there is also a law passed by Congress that asserts U.S. immunity from the International Criminal Court.

www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31495.pdf

Posted by: kbertocci | January 4, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 4, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

LostInThought, I did what I had to do. Think of me what you will [eyes blazing but tearful, bc tosses his head haughtily]. I'll never go hungry again! Hmph!

Scotty, Mudge, I agree with you (I think) in that Watada should have been bounced before it went this far. Can't blame the guy for not wanting to go to Iraq, but don't join the Army if you don't want to be told where to go and what to do. I don't get it. Sheesh.

I heard Trillin discussing Alice and the new book on NPR yesterday morning (I think). It was bittersweet, but I did manage to smile.

I suppose I'm willing to be part of an Achentourage, if only to play the part of Face in the A-Team (Mudge, the parts of BA Baracus and Hannibal are still available. You pick.). Sure it'd help if I were better looking, but I am resourceful...

On the other hand, would I really want to be part of any entourage that would have me as part of an entourage? Hmmm.

Speaking of "I don't get it", Ladies and Gentlemen: George Will, someone who likely knows all about having to make a living from minimum wage.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301619.html

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Loomis, you've just dragged into this Condi Rice, blood diamonds and arms dealers, the Chinese and Japanese debt load, the all-Ford all-the-time funeral and Tom Brokaw, your zither, and the Rhetorical Captain Crunch: "a mother's womb." Jeez, gimme a freakin' break here, will ya? You, of all people, want to toss into an argument "a mother's womb" and expect it to be the trump card? If I threw "penis" into an argument you'd go stark freakin' Brunhilde berserk with a broadsword and shield, you know you would (and of course you'd be right to do so). So let's leave mother's womb out of this, OK? (And there's no cryin' in baseball, either. That's just the way it is.)

Yes, the war is a mess. Haven't I said that, oh, maybe a couple a dozen times? You're saying this guy should be let off--and ONLY this one guy---because "the war is a mess"? That's a good enough reason? Because Saddam's execution was botched (and wasn't it, uh, ME, who said it was an "obscenity"?)

"The old hierarchical, military model": yes, Loomis, that's EXACTLY what it is. Did you think it was otherwise? Did this kid? Did his mom? Is there some alternative way of running a military than the "old hierarchical model"? Maybe you think there's some better "touchy-feely" New Age/Dr. Phil way to do it? Maybe have little platoon "town meetings" and all the soldiers get to vote on who should be captain, and how many pushups they should do today? C'mon, Loomis, I know you know better than that, so why bring it up? I'm the one being disingenuous?

Can I fault the mother? Yes, I can and I do. I understand her desire to protect her son, but there are times when a parent is supposed to squelch it (especially when your little boy is an Army lieutenant), and stay home, and not go bothering Congress to write a special law allowing just your son and nobody else to come home. So yes, I do fault her. She should not be compared to Cindy Sheehan in any way (and I don't much like Cindy Sheehan, either, but at least Sheehan is fighting for other people's kids, not her own).

My analogy to a parent going to school to complain about something may not be analagous to your own case. We all know about parents who go running to school at the drop of a hat to argue for something for their kid, when in the overall scheme of things it isn't warranted, so don't tell me it doesn't happen or you never heard of such a thing. And there are also plenty of times when a parent is fully justified in running to the school. I'm just saying, this case wasn't one of the justified times, IMHO. Your mileage may vary.

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

As the wife of a career military officer (retired), I found Curmudgeon's 10:29 spot on. The military is a life of obedience, not choices. That may sound odd and unbelievable in today's social climate, but it remains true.

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

Where to begin, where to begin...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Willie, Willie, Willie! (sigh!)

Why shoot the messenger? Any talking dog that thinks that he/she is channeling 35,000 year-old spirits is DEFINITELY too stupid to waste food upon.

------

"(Actually I think Boko should put the bullet in HIS own head, not the dog's head. A talking dog has to be either delusion or a marketable rarity value. Either way, not the pooch's fault.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 03:46 AM"

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