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Michael Browning

Marc Fisher speaks for me on Michael Browning. You may not have known of his work, and that's a shame, because he was a treasure, a literary genius, and for many of us a journalistic god, redeeming a profession prone to flabby thinking and hackneyed prose. Fisher has dug up a lot of good Browning material . Here's the fine obit from the Palm Beach Post, and here's a Browning classic on watching kids grow up too fast.

Here's a Browning story that ran in Tropic in 1982 (thanks, kbertocci).

There's an online guest book for Browning. Some excerpts:

Mike Capuzzo: "To me he was a giant in all respects, our Thomas Wolfe, the more gifted one, not the sharp social critic, but the southern Goliath who wrote thousand-page narratives of pure poetry....But trying to describe him is an empty game compared to the power of his art, his ability to set one's heart and mind on fire."

Gene Weingarten: "Disorganized, understaffed and untalented, we editors at Tropic magazine in the 1980s would occasionally find ourselves three days from deadline without a cover story. At these times there was only one person to turn to.

"'Hey, Browning. Go to the Krispy Kreme in Miami Shores. Don't return until you have used hunger as a metaphor to explore the philosophical nature of yearning, vis a vis man's eternal quest to understand his place in the cosmos. And throw in some of that Latin stuff, like Pliny the Elder.'

"Mike would roll his eyes, inform us that Pliny was Greek, not Latin, and that, anyway, Plutarch was a far better source of wisdom about yearning. Then he would mutter some imprecation in ancient Mandarin, and lumber off to Miami Shores.

"These were some of the finest stories Tropic ever published."

Tom Shroder: "Browning is an editor's dream. He cuts paragraphs with the precision of a jeweler. They fit together as if they had grown that way. When I prodded him to elaborate on a particular point, the potential threat to the rest of the world as China's millions emerge from poverty and consume more and more of the world's resources, Browning telexed back with a message that was effective both as an editor-silencing device and a summation:
'They aren't ants. They're people. They want to build their country up, and they have a right to do it. They've suffered terrifically and I think they deserve a break. And that, mes amis, is my final word.'"

And Shroder includes a passage from a Tropic piece by Browning:

"Skyscrapers have sprung up along Chang An Avenue, Beijing's central thoroughfare, glassy monsters 30 and 40-stories tall. But at their feet is still the 19th Century, with horse-drawn night soil carts creaking by, slaughtered pigs exposed on the sidewalk, chickens and tomatoes being raised in tiny plots and bottle collectors passing with musical cries down alleyways of clay brick under red wooden lintels flecked with gold. There is a magic here amid the chaos, far and strange, a sparky quartzy-bright ice-crackle in winter, in summer, a shady, cicada-buzzing watermelon ripeness. The sunsets are fiercely beautiful, faintly poisonous, glowing through tons of floating coal dust . . ."

See also Liz Donovan's Infomaniac blog.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 2, 2007; 10:11 AM ET
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Next: Life Without Vices


Sounds like an amazing writer. And only 58? Heck, he was only getting his second wind.

And I think there would be a pretty good market for that slow glass.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 2, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I had to look up Rabaelesian.

Money quotes from the obit:

'He was a lapidary writer, never afraid of compound- complex sentences and arcane references. One editor at The Miami Herald, in a year-end evaluation, called his stories "breaking literature."'

"Michael Browning is survived by dozens of distressed friends and thousands of sorrowing readers."

I'm sorry I never heard of him until now.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm fairly heartbroken about this. Let the politicians rise and fade, let the celebrities burn themselves out with idiocy; Browning's death is a real loss. There aren't many writers of any sort, and maybe especially journalists, who have the grace and humour and empathy he did.

I'm sparing some thoughts for his family. So young!

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

When Joel was teaching his course last year (?) and the subject of literary nonfiction came up, Michael Browning was one of the first writers I thought of--one of the few newspaper journalists I could name who wrote so well that the subject matter was largely irrelevant. Even if I wasn't particularly interested in the subject, I would pounce on his articles because the writing was so beautiful and he would make me interested soon enough. His China stories were especially memorable.

A personal memory: when my daughter was 7, Browning wrote a column about how he was disappointed in his children's lack of interest in books. I read the column to her and she was so passionate in her response that I suggested she should write to Browning. She did, and so did many others. He wrote another column which mentioned her letter in a particularly kind and encouraging way. It's one of our family treasures.

58 is too young. Browning at least has left behind a significant contribution to literature, and made the world a better place.

Here's the Browning article I posted on the Tropic fansite:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 2, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Here is my three degrees of separation from Michael Browning. In 1994, I lived in a townhouse complex in Palm Beach Gardens right next to a Publix where I bought most of my groceries. In March of 2000, Browning did a feature profile on a grocery bagger who had worked there for 15 years, overlapping my brief residency.

Four months later, Browning also writes the guy's obituary.

This is becoming Tearjerker Tuesday.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

karen, that's great, thanks for posting it!

Posted by: Achenbach | January 2, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I confess, I've never heard of Browning, or if I have, I don't remember (and it seems from the tributes written for him I surely would have remembered).

Going off topic here (so quickly)

College Parkian -- I think you and I are the same kind of gardeners. My last garden also featured verbena on a stick (Brazilian verbena) next to a huge mess of yellow black-eyed susans.

One year I planted some electric zinnias in front of my rose trellis, thinking they would obey the laws of perennial gardening: be a nice mid-height plant for a mid-border position. I have pictures of me standing under 6' zinnias, all of them. A veritable forest of shocking pinks, reds, oranges. Again, it was a riotous effect -- expert gardeners would shrink back in dismay. I wasn't happy with where the zinnias were. But my god they were eye-popping!

Don't know if you ever read the posts about me breaking the springs on my old '91 Ford Escort by hauling roughly 1000 lbs of horse manure away from a horse farm for my garden. The soil was about 10" of manure and compost. Hence, mutant zinnias.

So, even though my purist inner gardener was not pleased with the backwards border effect of the zinnias, just like I was unhappy with the mixed bag of narcissi, the neighbors loved it. This made me happy. Who cares if it wasn't a perfectly shaped border (though god knows I tried)? If it made folks happy, I felt successful.

This will probably be my last post before sugery tomorrow. dbG, I think you're right about me having internalized the guided imagery.

Thanks for all your well wishes. This procedure is meant to help do away with a long standing issue that has caused me great distress for decades. I am hoping that my overall health will improve after the surgery -- so much physcial and psychological energy has been poured into this problem. I will be free!!!

It's a positive step -- but like so much that is worth anything in life, no pain, no gain.

See y'all in a few weeks.

Posted by: nelson | January 2, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll be thinking of you nelson. Hoping for the best possible outcome!

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

yello... that's quite a connection.

I'll bet Loomis is related to him, though. ;-)

(sorry Linda, I couldn't resist).

Posted by: martooni | January 2, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Good luck Nelson. Prayers, good thoughts, pyramid energies, etc.

Two children in college (some problems are good ones but expensive) moved me toward cheep-cheep flowers like zinna, annual sunflowers, and a few workhorse perennials that spread joy far, wide, and long. Verbena-on-a-stick amazes all who see, yet you must buy online in boutique-y plant sites.

Read Jean Bolen as you recover, really. She weaves together the spiritual, mental, and physical. Get well. Also, browse your seed catelogs, PRN.

Michael Browning is one of the practitioners of "new journalism" who kept high standards within the somewhat sloppy, free-wheeling world of creative nonfiction.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 2, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, nelson... good luck and get yer butt back to boodlin' ASAP.

Posted by: martooni | January 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

It's a small, small world. In my high school Trig class in Florida, I was one of three people that had taken Geometry together two years earlier in the Philippines.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yello... it is a small world. I was going to make some wisecrack about it, but I've got a better true story instead:

My best friend from back when I was a little Toon and wearing Sears brand "Toughskins" jeans (just couldn't wear out the knees on those dang things)... anyway... my best friend had just returned from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and had just landed at the airport in Orlando. My father, who hadn't seen my friend in probably 30 years, was at the airport to catch an outgoing flight to Peru. The two of them literally bumped into each other, somehow recognized each other and managed to squeeze in 10 minutes of catching up before Dad had to board his flight. The really weird part is that we're all from Western PA.

I'm no expert in statistical analysis, but I'm thinking both of them should have bought lottery tickets that day.

Posted by: martooni | January 2, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A shame about Mr. Browning, he'll be missed.

Re. slow glass, I posted this link on Fisher's blog, and I'll repost here.

Bob Shaw's "Light of Other Days", a classic in the Bradbury tradition, IMO:


Posted by: bc | January 2, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, speaking of New Journalism, I just read a book called The New New Journalism, by Robert Boyleston, the head of the magazine journalism program at NYU. It's not a good example of the genre in itself--it's mostly in Q&A format and Boyleston let the writers edit their own sections--but it is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the "literature of fact." John McPhee is not interviewed but he is mentioned about 150 times. It's a book I don't hesitate to recommend to Achenblog fans. (And to you too, Joel, on the off chance you haven't already read it.)

Posted by: kbertocci | January 2, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Who knows, martooni?

I've watched the Ford funeral. Beschloss and Brian Williams have only a small portion of the history.

(Saw cousin Doro next to Bill Clinton--along with the other Bushes.)

Ford, Leslie Lynch King Jr., was a Porter cousin. Beschloss and Williams, I forget who of the reporting duo, said that, like Truman, Ford came on the political scene out of nowhere. Ford's roots go back to ancient Windsor, Conn., as do Truman's (although I have no relatedness to Truman).

At the funeral, a eulogist said Ford's presidency and likeness could have been depicted by Norman Rockwell. The Rockwells were a founding family of ancient Windsor.

Of course, Ford was a Porter cousin to Ronald Reagan's first wife, Jane Wyman, born as Sarah Jane Mayfield, raised by the Fulks. Nancy Reagan, born as Anne Francis Robbins, is also descended from the founders of ancient Windsor.

The connection between Cokie Roberts and Ford family are strange, too. She is descended from Jonathan Brewster of Plymouth Colony, who operated the Plymouth trading post on the Connecticut River, land on which the Loomises settled. The Loomis and Porter wives were sisters, and the Porter family were neighbors to the Loomis family. Cokie's dad, Thomas Hales Boggs Sr., Democrat,, was majority leader in the House when Ford was Republican minority leader there (and both representatives served on the Warren Commission).

Here's Ford's welcome to the Shahanshah and Shahbanou of Iraq, in 1975, when both Ford and Kissinger welcomed the royal couple. It was after Kermit Roosevelt's CIA Operation Ajax had been successfully concluded in Iran in 1953, that the Shah had welcomed Gulf, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texaco and Mobil to Iran. No wonder that Ford and Kissinger welcomed him so warmly.

And about eight years later I held a beautiful Persian to my breast who had been psychologically scarred by the Shah's brutal regime. I hope to fill in the middle part of the story soon.

Posted by: Loomis | January 2, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

You know I hae holiday fatigue when I use the same verb repeatedly. SCC:

Here's Ford's welcome to the Shahanshah and Shahbanou of Iraq, in 1975, when both Ford and Kissinger played host to the royal couple. It was after Kermit (Kim) Roosevelt's CIA Operation Ajax had been successfully concluded in Iran in 1953, that the Shah had ushered Gulf, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texaco and Mobil into Iran. No wonder that Ford and Kissinger celebrated the Shah and his wife so warmly.

Posted by: Loomis | January 2, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

A morning sky report; where I am, it's still morning. I have three skies to report -- the sky above me, the sky below, and the sky next to me.

Up-slope from me, in the direction called mauka, the rumpled orange-tan hillside extended to a bright blue sky, perfectly cloudless. Faded green brush and grass in ever-smaller clumps as the height mounts. Black ink shadows cast sharp to the left in the orange light of the morning Sun. The wind rattles as it gusts among the lodges. Down-slope, in the direction called makai, the brush is heavier, greener, slipping down the orange hill to the shores of an ocean of cloud, an inlet from the Pacific to the East. Sometimes, the clouds rise and connect to the ocean from the West. Here and there, conical islands of brushy volcanic cinder poke above the clouds. Across the bay, a long gentle slope rises up and up and up and still up and more up and further up, until finally it rolls off on a gentle curved point at the top of Mauna Loa. Above the Long Mountain rises that perfectly cloudless blue sky once more. No snows on the slopes this time.

Looking out my window now, I see the clouds are rising. There's turbulence and boiling out the Southeast, where the wind washes over the smaller volcano of Kilauea.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 2, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

SciTim thats a fantastic sky report. Oh to be where the sky is beside and below.

Posted by: dr | January 2, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt posted this on the previous boodle, a very sad story:

This is the necessary backdrop for every "Surge" story you might come across these days.

For example:

Posted by: Achenbach | January 2, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, methinks there was something in the air about a birthday? May it be a happy one.

Posted by: dr | January 2, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Happy Birthday RDP!

That story from the NYT is a heart-breaker.

In a way, so is the other one. Anyone who thinks we should have a surge-and-stay should go themselves.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 2, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Right, dr.

Happy Birthday, RD.

And thanks for reposting that, Joel.
I don't think I can read it again, though.

*Tim, thanks for the tri-sky report. Did I tell you I'm a little envious of you at the moment, sir?


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

Buried in the Weekly Standard article Joel linked to:

"The war can be lost in the next six months, but it cannot be won in the next six months."

The neocons want to hang on to the bitter end.

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

Hitchens on the Saddam execution:

'The disgusting video of Saddam Hussein's last moments on the planet is more than a reminder of the inescapable barbarity of capital punishment and of the intelligible and conventional reasons why it should always be opposed. The zoolike scenes in that dank, filthy shed (it seems that those attending were not even asked to turn off their cell phones or forbidden to use them to record souvenir film) were more like a lynching than an execution. At one point, one of the attending magistrates can be heard appealing for decency and calm, but otherwise the fact must be faced: In spite of his mad invective against "the Persians" and other traitors, the only character with a rag of dignity in the whole scene is the father of all hangmen, Saddam Hussein himself.'

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

Happy Birthday, RDP! *waving*

SciTim, do you HAVE to rub it in??? *L*

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


We all knew it was only a matter of time before video surfaced. And I'm not terribly surprised at the speed of its appearance, either. I haven't (and won't) watch it, but from what I hear Saddam wasn't all that dignified. Defiant, yes.

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

All of this is making me glad 2006 is over. It wasn't particularly good for me, either.

I liked the Michael Browning excerpts. I would say "the inheritance" about his mother is perhaps the piece I like best. The only line I found slightly overly-flowery in that piece was "It was like night-blooming jasmine suddenly blooming in early afternoon."

Yeah, he's a good literary journalist. Sui generis. Somebody who can make lead stories into features by finding that hook and making it into a smooth piece, not just the raw story reporting.

One suspects he'd have covered the Gallaudet protests magnificently had he been assigned to it. Just saying that one was a piece of P***-poor reporting all around.

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

Thanks for the birthday greetings. I plan on skipping it for the next few years.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 2, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Many more happy ones anyway, RD!

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

Thanks, KB. This will come in very handy as I revise my syllabus.

John McPhee is now an elder-overlord-arch-deacon-priest, etc.

All executions are wrong, even if the victim is evil-incarnate.

Loomis, if you are related in some way to F.S. Fitz, then we are relies.

And, I keep thinking both with pathos and humor about your Persian fella.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 2, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Saddam Video. There is, perhaps, a chance that it might be of some actual value. I am sure that at some point somebody may want it run through a speaker identification system to prove that it was really him. You know how rumors are.

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

belated SCC: author of the book I cited is Robert Boynton.

Boynton is a town in Florida. Boyleston is a street in Boston. My brain is old.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 2, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

And regarding Saddam's "dignity." I think Joel's earlier comparison to Timothy McVeigh was insightful. Both went to their deaths absolutely convinced of the righteousness of their actions, and hence assumed for themselves the air of the martyr.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 2, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

...and not only that but it's spelled Boylston Street. I'm going to sit in the corner now.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 2, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

And regarding birthdays. From know on I am going to refer to my age as "a decade less than Gene Weingarten." That way my age shall never change.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 2, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't have time to Kit or Boodle, but I just wanted to tell everyone that...

HE GOT IN!!!!!!!

Posted by: TBG | January 2, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- does this mean that a progeny of yours will be in college this fall?


Otherwise, happy that he got in (to something good and desired).

(Dogs get into squirrel scat at this house, which is not a cause for celebration.)

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

This Tom Donnelly that wrote that Weekly Standard article is one of the top neocons. Two years ago he was pushing for more troops in Iraq:

"Finally, Rumsfeld's greatest shortcoming--his failure to fully and rapidly adapt his program of transformation to post-September 11, post-Iraq realities--can only be fixed by the White House in the form of an expansion of U.S. ground forces and increasing the baseline defense budget."

More telling, he was doing force projections on what it would take to oust Saddam back in July of 2001, months before Hussein helped bin Laden destroy the the WTC.

//remove tongue from cheek//

The rationalization then was that Iraq was flagrantly violating emargoes and developing weapons of mass destruction.

"Saddam already is earning enough to revive his missile and weapons of mass destruction programs and UN inspectors were ejected from Iraq years ago.
Further, Secretary Rumsfeld's defense review may wipe out 20 percent of Army combat units. This would make any American support to the Iraqi opposition a highly conditional, airpower-only affair. Assembling a heavy, armored force of even four divisions that could, if necessary, defeat Saddam's army and then occupy Iraq would involve not only every unit based in the United States, but in Korea and Europe as well. The difficulties of deploying and employing such a force would raise a risk that undoubtedly would be a deterrent to any American president inclined to action against Iraq."

Donnelly opposed Rumsefeld back in 2001 out of fear that troop cuts would take the army below the level needed to engage in a land war in Iraq. The goal of militarily ousting Saddam predates 9/11 and anyone who thinks otherwise is being played for a fool. The neocons have gotten what they wanted and it has played out disastrously. Why should we keep listening to them?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

CONGRATS, TBG!!!! *Snoopy dances* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse


Congrats on your son. I hope he enjoys it. The American higher education system is great because there truly is a place for everybody. I had too many bitter TA's in college bemoan the intense competition of national universities in their home country.

My son got his PSAT scores this week and they were less than he was hoping for. We hope that it will fire him up to take the SAT this month seriously. We told him to treat the PSAT as important and he clearly didn't.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, RD! I hope you're enjoying the extra day off. I am, though as it turns out I would have taken it in sick leave anyway. I tell you, 45 is a GREAT year. You'll love it.

Nelson, good luck with the surgery. I recommend Anne Lamott for convalescence - Traveling Mercies and Plan B are very helpful no matter your religious persuasion.

I wish I had heard of Michael Browning earlier. What interesting stories he wrote!

The Boy took the test and was Superman too. Dissatisfied, he took it again and was Robin.

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

Also congrats to Don & Mike for getting back on the air.


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

Son of G got into Queens!

It is truly a great day!

Of course, he'll be mine while he's in Charlotte!

Posted by: Slyness | January 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, RD! Live it up a little!

And I didn't know Don and Mike had been missing. Tells you how often I turn on the car radio.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - Today my wife and I went to an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet.
We are such crazy people.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 2, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

RDP, if you REALLY wanted to be crazy it would have been a sushi buffet...


Yellojkt, apparently Don was ready to hang it up for good but was talked off the ledge. For which I am thankful.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, TBG and son of TBG! That is simply splendid.

Think of me later this year when #2 awaits news of admissions for her BFA from Queen's, Bishops, UBC and UofC (Drama -- no big surprise there!) and next year when #1 will be waiting to hear from the graduate faculty of her choice (UBC, MA in Asian Studies).

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... My son will be attending Queens University in Charlotte, NC.. and yours is waiting to hear from Queens University in Kingston, no?

I've been there a few times! What a great town and a beautiful campus. We love the ferry trip to Wolf Island/New York.

(He's also a drama geek [his term] but isn't planning on majoring in drama; he'd like to participate, which is why he wanted a small school.)

Posted by: TBG | January 2, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Attaboy, Spawn of G! Just remember your mom has her eye on your room as her new office/sewing room/yoga room combo, so visit regularly to be sure she doesn't jump the gun. I know this because I saw it in her eye at that BPH everytime she looked at you with ill-concealed glee.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 2, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Poor Son-of-TBG. There is no place in North America he can go where the boodle doesn't have spies. He's going to enjoy being a Royal. Charlotte is a great college town with a lot of things to do. I remember one particularly drunken St. Patricks Day.

Good times, good times.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

If you remember a drunken St. Pat's Day, yellojkt, it must not have been *that* drunken.

I remember a few St. Pat's Mornings, but Days and Evenings? Nope. Just a green blur.


Posted by: martooni | January 2, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Just have a few minutes,

Nelson good luck tomorrow and good wishes for a speedy recovery - I will be thinking of you.

TBG & son of TBG Congratulations!!

Joel I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, will get to reading your links later tonight when I have time.

RDP - Happy Birthday - enjoy.

Posted by: dmd | January 2, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

TBG, successfully launched! Son of G, attaboy.

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

It's a pity that Mr. Browning has passed on. I've read a couple of things written by him, and he was very good at drawing in the reader.

Happy B-day RDP.

Congrats to the young G. Good Luck to him.

To Quote the Mad Hatter
"A Very Merry Unbithday..." to the rest of us.

Posted by: Kerric | January 2, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

It's a pity that Mr. Browning has passed on. I've read a couple of things written by him, and he was very good at drawing in the reader.

Happy B-day RDP.

Congrats to the young G. Good Luck to him.

To Quote the Mad Hatter
"A Very Merry Unbithday..." to the rest of us.

Posted by: Kerric | January 2, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Before I start lighting candles for the dear departed (Jolly way to start 2007, eh?). I want to take a moment to pass on a funny bit on do-it-yourself certification of service dogs.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 2, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I know its a busy day, but this too is in the news. The new man at the UN.

CBC also has a peice that seems by headline to say that Canada is going to 'fix' the UN. Without reading the article, I say 'be afwaid, be vewy afwaid'.

Someone at the CBC thinks we are a bigger player than we are. Great ideals as ever but its going to take a lot more than any single nation to fix the UN. Maybe just one good man at the helm, with the personality to lead, but far more than one nation.

Posted by: dr | January 2, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, please pass on my congrats to the boy. Congrats to you, and Mr. T as well, but I'll save it until the reality of what's happening hits. Later.

nelson, best wished for tomorrow.

I'd heard about the video of Saddam's hanging this AM and it is something I will actively avoid.


Posted by: bc | January 2, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach, you've found a way to put the boodle in intensive care: links agalore about Michael Browning. It took me maybe a hour to read it all, let alone post.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 2, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I think people are reeling over the news from the past couple of days.

Aside from the real news, I'm a little woozy from staying up to watch that amazing Boise State/Oklahoma game last night into overtime, and GH Bush's Dana Carvey imitation during his eulogy of President Ford.

All catawampus, I am.


Posted by: bc | January 2, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Beware, you're on the Island of the Palm Collectors, as reported in Hawaiian Airlines' magazine:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 2, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Man the was a great game last night and not too hard to root for any school from Idaho.It reminded me of the fumblerooskie that Nebraska had against Miami in that great national championship game from 20 years ago.

I am watching Wake against Loiusville now,before heading to work.I do love this time of year,bowl games and NFL playoffs.

Did you have fun at the Redskins Game?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 2, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Great kit, Joel. Thank you. I had never heard of Michael Browning before today, unfortunately, but reading some of the links here and on Fisher's blog make me realize I missed a treasure. So I guess politics ain't the only thing that is local; journalism is, too.

I love "The DaVinci Code" piece of his on Fisher's blog and the "Hacksaw Jones" piece that kbertocci linked to. Now I gotta go read the others. See y'all sometime.

Posted by: pj | January 2, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Too pooped to pop, folks. Spent the last two days working on our vacation cottage, putting up beadboard and tiling the bathroom tub/shower.

And like Wilbrod, I just spent the last hour reading links. That was a great obit Eyman wrote on Browning. Would liked to have known him. (But I have this curiosity thing: the obit mentions two sons but no mention of a wife or ex-wife. Yeah, yeah, I know the drill...but it makes me crazy anyway. I always think it should be explained.)

So on that note, goodnight, all. I've got to get my beauty sleep in preparation for the grueling three-day work week ahead.

Oh, one observation that a lot of people aren't going to like: if only that soldier who found Saddam hiding in his little spider hole had just dropped a grenade into it, we'd have been spared a great deal of trouble and expense, to say nothing of this three-year farce and this obsenity of an execution.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 2, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

See, every time I get over it, Curmudgeon posts something that revives my un requited passion for him. Sleep well, sweet prince.

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Who said anything about "unrequited"?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 2, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, dgb, you out there? You offered some support if someone wanted to give up a bad habit. I'm thinking you were going to eat entirely vegetarian if someone gave up something? You want to play group therapy?

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... just why should a Valkyrie of a lawyer with fluffy Berners at her command ever have to put up with "sorry, not interested" from any guy? ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 2, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

But I'm not a lawyer, I'm a business guy! Though I do have fluffy Berners to make me strong.

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

And I'm also slow on the uptake. I didn't realize I was being blown off! Sad, reely.

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 2, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I am preparing to give up my bad habit as well, you have my email if you need support.

I finally conceded there is no "right" time to give up a good habit, so it better be sooner than later, and two weeks of visiting ICU is great inspiration.

Good news Dad is using the fingers a little on his right hand, things are going slowly so any positive changes are big at this point. Just wish we could talk to him to find out what is going on in his head - hoping the venilator tube will be out soon, my attempts at lip reading are failing miserably and he is clearly frustrated.

Posted by: dmd | January 2, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow I will try to post on the concept of purification. And resolve. And discipline. I now eat only raw cruciferous vegetables.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 2, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Joel, had time for one of the links before bed, the "slow glass" piece. So perfect, as the mom of an 11 and 6 year old I am struck by how fast they are going. We spent much of our spare time on the holidays coping VHS on to my computer to be burned to DVD at some point.

Going back and watching them grow up again before my eyes was wonderful but there was a part of me that wanted to clone them at each age (we only taped the good parts!).

We also had a complete surprise when we watch them, as I said before we were not given a high chance of having children so each one is cherished, the first was literally an an item on a Christmas list (my husbands), and the second one we discovered throught he videos was a New years hope/declaration for the year 2000, simply stated my husband made a statement that he thought our family would grow that year, I was pregnant about two months later.

We had both forgot he made that statement and at the time it would have seemed like a crazy thing to say - six years later it was a wonderful surprise.

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

JA, wash 'em first. Remember the spinach.d

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

Joel please include sure fire directions for resolve and purification - I get the concepts its the follow through I keep tripping up on.

Pat, short moon report, we have a beautiful winter full moon here tonight, clear, cool sky and a bright moon glowing off the developing frost. It was a perfect winter day today, sunny skies, just a little cold (5c), driving to the hospital and back was a joy today, watching the sun on the long grasses and the shadows through the trees made a 3.5 hour round trip pleasurable.

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

Hi dmd. Oh yes. The slow glass piece was what I would say about my children, if I were a writer. And mine are old kids!

Shall we give up the bad habit together?

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

Congratulations TBG and offspring! I remember those days of excitement, getting ready to leave home, back in yester-year, like literally, the year before the year before last. But seriously, that's awesome, college pretty much rules (except for the whole work bit, which is kinda over-rated). My motto: work hard, then play hard, but most importantly, find a group of friends that will, and do, go to the mat for you. It's worked pretty well thus far, but I am the (infrequent) boodler with the least experience at this wacky thing called life.

Posted by: Tangent | January 2, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

But you have much wisdom for your years, Tangent. Seen sparks lately? (The boodler called "sparks", not the fire-related sparks.)

Very tired after a day's work. I didn't know Michael Browning - lovely writing.

dmd, you only taped the good parts - ha! Hope you're able to communicate with your dad soon. I'm sure he appreciates you being there.

nelson, hope all goes well with your surgery and you're back to boodling soon.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 2, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That Slow Glass story really works today--the day my son got accepted to college.

One co-worker, whom I've known since before I was even pregnant with my son looked at me today and said, "He's a SENIOR!?" I had just been thinking the same thing.

Posted by: TBG | January 2, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes that is usually how I remember the orange bowl,2 powerhouse teams playing for the championship.

When their school was winning their last regular season
game and they knew they were going to the Orange bowl,the students would usually throw oranges on the feild.

Well several years ago the University of Maryland played in the first Weedeater Indepedence bowl.Do you have any idea how hard it is to throw a weedeater onto the field.I throw mine every spring and summer when the dang won't start or gets clogged, and I can only throw it a few feet.But I must admitt there are way too many bowls nowadays.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 3, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I've been studying, and just finished, so it's off to bed.

Congrats, TBG, and to your son.
Are congratulations in order for you also, Slyness?

I am not familiar with the writings of the person in the kit, but I want to read the links.

Mudge, don't work too hard. It sounds as if you've come back from vacation full speed ahead.

As to the the Saddam video, I think it is just awful to see that footage on television. We had to keep channel hopping in order to miss it, it was everywhere. Okay, perhaps we needed to know of his death, but did we actually have to see it? And I don't say this in defense of Saddam, but do we really still want blood and guts?

My dad and I looked at the funeral of President Ford yesterday. Mrs Ford looked so thin and frail, and I can imagine she was a little weary. It was a nice service at the National Cathedral. I believe Mr. Ford was a good man, not perfect, but a good man. Good men are in short supply. And good men make us all look good. The singing was excellent. And the speeches weren't bad either.

Have a good day, everyone. Today is Bible study day, so I will be busy. My daughter is still here, and she has the bug too. She can't talk, and she says everyone at the job has strep throat. I suspect she does too, and possibly me too. Oh well, we hope to weather this too.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 3, 2007 2:57 AM | Report abuse

There must be something extra special about the full moon tonight. My kids described its magnificence yesterday evening before the sun went down. And a few minutes ago my wife stirred from her slumber and told me how beautiful our moonlit backyard appears at this time of morning. (4:00 am)

I think i'll have a cup of coffee on the back deck and pray for Nelson, DMD's Father, and everybody else who is sick and out of sorts, as well as my brother-in-law who had his first blood transfusion a few days ago since being diagnosed with Leukemia.

Remember, it is the 10th day of Christmas, and, As for me, the season isn't over yet.

congrats TBG & Son!

My New Year's resolution is to get more exercise, which is my answer to everything.

Posted by: Pat | January 3, 2007 4:29 AM | Report abuse

The trouble with going to bed early (at least at my advanced age) ... is that you get up early. 4 a.m. is no time to be prowling around the kitchen looking for something to eat that won't make any noise. I pretty much ruled out all the really good stuff and was stuck with Special K and 2% milk.

I dunno, Joel. The Bennington-Johns Hopkins pigskin rivalry goes waaaaay back, at least 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.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 5:49 AM | Report abuse

FYI (I hadda look it up):

"Cruciferous vegatables" from Wikipedia:

"The flowering plant family Brassicaceae, also called Cruciferae, is known as the mustard family or cabbage family. Agricultural plants in the mustard family are also known as cole crops; cole comes from the Latin word caulis (stem), as does the German Kohl.

"The family contains species of great economic importance, providing much of the world's winter vegetables. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale (all cultivars of one species, Brassica oleracea), Chinese kale, rutabaga (also known as Swedish turnips or swedes), seakale, turnip, radish and kohl rabi. Other well known members of the Brassicaceae include rapeseed (canola and others), mustard, horseradish, wasabi and watercress. The most intensely studied member of the Brassicaceae is the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana.

"The family was formerly named Cruciferae ("cross-bearing"), because the four petals of their flowers are reminiscent of crosses. Many botanists still refer to members of the family as "crucifers". According to ICBN Art. 18.5 (St Louis Code) Cruciferae is to be regarded as validly published, and is thus an accepted alternate name. The name Brassicaceae is derived from the included genus Brassica.

"A close relationship has long been acknowledged between Brassicaceae and the caper family, Capparaceae, in part because members of both groups produce glucosinolate (mustard oil) compounds."

One warning: be careful, Joel, a steady and exclusive diet of cruciferous veggies has been shown to be goitergenic (I'm sure everyone is well aware of this, but thought I'd just point it out to any dolt who has benn, like asleep for the last 300 years, or whatever).

And since these plants are from the cole crops family, does a person who harvests mustard greens and carries them to market become a cole porter?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it was Carson Palmer I was thinking of. Or Carson Daly.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, dmd, I'm in.

I wrote to Yoki last night asking for a week to prepare (pull together recipes, different food, including cruciferous vegetables, etc.), but I'll do it.

Do we have a name for this grand endeavor?

TBG, congratulations, RD, the happiest, nelson, you go! Sorry I'm not expounding, I've been sick since Dec 30 and the antibiotics are just starting to kick in.

Posted by: dbG | January 3, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I now reflexively read the comments on all our political stories, in the same way that I feel compelled to rubber-neck when passing a car crash.

Seriously, why would anyone think that Lois's story about Obama's book is akin to a GOP hit? It's a completely fair and dispassionate story saying that Obama will face scrutiny and potentially attack ads regarding his youthful drug use. But there's no arguing with people on stuff like this. They know what they know. And they're very angry.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 3, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

I liked the slow glass story too. What a great writer. His review of The DaVinci Code ensures that I won't ever bother to pick up THAT book!

It is amazing how quickly children grow up. My baby is 21 - 21! - and I don't know what happened. I remember my mother saying that she had enjoyed her children at all their stages of growing up, but she liked us as adults the best. I'm finding that to be true also. My older daughter, who was such a challenge, is a lovely, thoughtful, conscientious person. How did that happen? I can only be grateful. Her sister still challenges me but is becoming a responsible human being. Thanks to God for them both.

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Emergency Sky Report!!

Probably too late, but anyone in the DC metro with a good view of the western sky hopefully saw the faintly Armageddon-ish sight of the full moon glowing through a light deck of clouds colored several shades of rose and pink by Apollo's rising glory.

Happy 2007 once again, all!! *waving*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I am in!

Off to get ready for work, another beautiful morning - three in a row not used to this.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I missed that sky so thank you for the report.

Pat, yes, Christmas continue 'till the 6th. The giftless holiday for us will commence with the ceremony of the socks. Usually St. Nick brings socks, stuffing them in shoes that left at the front door. But this December, the college thing got in the way. (Get read, TBG, and don't redo his room too soon as THEY.COME.HOME.LOTS.)

St. Lucy's day -- wreath of candles (batteries) -- on the head of middle daughter and then Lucia Buns-- saffron sweet rools -- and hot coffee. But again, finals interferred.

So on the sixth this year, we will roll the days into one shebang. Since this is the last day of Christmas we could burn our tree in a bonfire, but the neighbors might complain. Instead, we will burn the wreath in the little (outside) Franklin stove.

Posted by: Scotty Nuke | January 3, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The sight of the full moon setting to the west on my way home from work and the full sun rising in the east(duh I guess the sun is always full)was pretty nice,not to mention everything was covered in a deep frost.It makes me glad i live in this beautiful place.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 3, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry ScottN! Your name appeared magically in my post. As I tried to remove it, well oopsy-daisy.

Off to have tooth number two fixed. I am riding my bike -- on vicodin. I don't believe that it illegal.

Posted by: College Parkain | January 3, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Yer welcome, whoever that was... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

College Parkian;

Ride safely!!!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! I just finished reading Samuelson's discussion of productivity concerns... the rate is dropping. Productvity, like inflation, makes up for many things (and, of course, causes other issues).

RJS is concerned with the upcoming bubble of retirees. Fair enough. I was wondering if anyone else may have thought that the rate my also be reflecting our sadly changing economy where we have people who had been working 40 hours per week making Fords now working 55 hours per week making burgers.

Is our productivity rate just another sign that the middle class is slip-sliding away?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 3, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The story of my "Persian fella" is humorous, College Parkian? I suppose there is comedy everwhere here at the funhouse.

Since you find it so laughable, perhaps you'll have the courtesy to explain why?

And while we're at it, CP, why not take a crack at explaining to the folks here the story--that takes place in the same timeframe, the early days of the Eisenhower administration--of Guatamala, Ubico, Arbenz, the United Fruit Company, and Henry Cabot Lodge, this story slightly disguised and portrayed in the DeNiro movie, "A Good Sheperd."

That is, provided, you're not living in the United States of Amnesia.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

But Linda, that was all for a good cause...

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 3, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse


Your memory is slipping. It was definitely Carson Kressley.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Ooooooh!!!! Time to play "Who Should They Cast??"

Via CNN:
LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- The pilot pickup season began in earnest Tuesday, with NBC greenlighting three one-hour projects, including a new take on "The Bionic Woman."

The original series, a spin-off from "The Six Million Dollar Man," starred Lindsay Wagner as a woman whose body is mechanically enhanced to save her life. It ran on ABC and then NBC for three seasons in the mid-1970s. NBC's order is contingent on casting.

Perhaps Jeri Ryan or Jolene Blalock from the Star Trek universe? SciFi chops are already established, so...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, I'll bet as a child, you always got high marks in 'plays well alone and with others.'

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

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 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, and Orange Bowls there was also the Minneola Tangelo Bowl, the Wheat-Barley-and-Cereal-Grain Bowl, the Rice Bowl, and of course, the Cruciferous Vegetable Bowl.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

LostInThought, I have to say I was a late bloomer in the "with others" area... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Casting for "The Bionic Woman": Ann Coulter!!!! She already has no heart or brain, so there's plenty of room to insert biomechanical parts. Why, her skull cavity alone has capacity for a 1960s era IBM Eniac series computer with all tubes as well as refrigeration unit.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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: kbertocci | January 3, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke -- Aahh but you do it so well now.

Totally off-subject. I try to see to it that Small Child has an eclectic set of influences in her world. Ya never know what's going to stick. She was coloring, and I could hear her singing, but I could just barely make out what she was saying. I didn't want to interrupt/stop her, so I inch over. Yes, out of this tiny child with the cherubic face, I hear "Fat bottom girls you make the rocking world go round."
I about spit out my coffee.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 3, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

horndog alert,%20Jolene&seq=3

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse


I hear someone once proposed the Blueberry Bowl, but no one wanted to travel to Downeast Maine in late December or January. Can't imagine why not...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh. I can boodle on my new Treo 700p. This won't end well.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh. I can boodle on my new Treo 700p. This won't end well.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

>Is our productivity rate just another sign that the middle class is slip-sliding away?

It seems to be that a decrease in the growth of productivity was inevitable, considering the increase has been the result of office workers being accessible around the clock via email and cell phones.

There's only so much "around-the-clock" to go around. Also there has finally been a backlash against "always-on" work and people are starting to rebel and take some of their life back, especially since the profits have gone disproportionately into corporate coffers while the average Joe's paycheck hasn't shown the benefit.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh. I can boodle on my new Treo 700p. This won't end well.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Workplace safe, omni?

LostInThought -- outta da mouths of babes... *LOL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Apparently doesn't work well either.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Behind his back, people who loved Mr. Browning called him The Panda, because of his figure. Six and a half feet tall, with a girth to match, he was one of those large men who somehow manage to seem dainty. He twinkled.

Here's the real tragedy of the Browning obit: For every book he read, he probably gained a pound. Definitely didn't eat right, probably didn't exercise, died at 58. Sorry, but the overwriting in the obit is too much (and Browning was complaining about Dan Brown's sophomoric writing?)--the morbidly obese don't twinkle, at least not in my experience.

Might as well raise a cross today for the death of creativity. News this morning is that Steven Spielberg and pals are going to bring back the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford is 64. Why, in this day and age of surge-and-purge in Iraq, I guess we need to bring back the Ealke Scout, squeaky clean all-American swashbuckling hero. Can Robert Langdon be any worse than Indiana Jones?

Yeah, right, Dolphin Michael, all for a good cause...

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

>Workplace safe, omni?

yeah, should be.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Dieting extremes--wake up, folks!

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Just a head shot of Jolene from imdb

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Spent some time reading the Bush unauthorized biogarphy. Very very interesting stuff. Lots of nice reminders of our old America. Poppy Bush telling Kennedy to have the Courage to ratchet up our involvement in Vietnam; Brown Brothers Harriman, etc.

You know, when I was last at the West Wing on the Mall, I had to think that possibly those really nice paintings provided to the museum are a bit the result of our wonderful national habit of pandering to our blue bloods and their generation to generation love of a fight.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 3, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, omni. She is teh hott, but that still isn't enough to make me suffer through 'Enterprise'.

I am five episodes into my box set of 'Firefly' and that show had cuties for every taste, gender, and preference. Plus the Josh Whedon writing doesn't taste like Brannon Braga dreck.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Good luck getting that chopper worked on, CP. I won't turn you in on that possible RUI charge, but for pete's sake please be careful riding your vike.

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 willing 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. Not that great, IMO, but had a few amusing touches (e.g. the photog who could see words when he was off his meds).


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Sadly genuine reporters are becoming obsolete in our corporatized culture.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | January 3, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Not that ILJ will read this, but wouldn't it be nice to take the time to compose a real contribution to the Boodle before spamming us? *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

You may note that there is a new kit, with boodle mining.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 3, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Dolphin Michael, for 50 years we have supported too many tyrants, overthrown too many democratic governments, wasted too much of our own money in other people's civil wars to pretend that we're just helping out all those poor little folks around the world who love freedom and democracy just like we do.

And what do we have to show for it--a society of docile workers, and whoee-boy, enthusiastic consumers, and obedient soldiers who will believe just about anything for 10-minutes--the sum total of their attention span.

I know, I know, Science Tim will come back at me with bribe-taker Spiro Agnew's inspiring utterance, "The United States, for all its faults, is still the greatest nation in the country." Tim, at least you're well enough to make the trip to Hawaii this year, and I'm glad of that.

I remember when you first came on the Boodle, it was a quiet day, and you, Padouk and I were discussing Kopi Luwak coffee, among other things. You said, "I'm an astrophysicist."

My silent retort was, "Yeah, and I'm Napolean Bonaparte (or take your pick...Marie Antoinette, Martha Washington." Turns out, Tim, you are an astrophysicist, and I'm NOT Napoleon Bonaparte. *w*

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I spent a wonderful evening rooting around the internets snuffling out and devouring articles by Michael Browning. Being introduced to the work of such a wonderful writer by the news of his death produces feelings of admiration and loss, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

While I managed to contain my tears, I sure felt badly for that poor piper playing at President Ford's funeral yesterday. I remember when the bugler at JFK's funeral missed a note my Dad commenting that the poor guy would remember that moment for the rest of his life. One can only hope that the rabid cat the piper had in his pipes will share some of it's lives.

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

LostInThought, *that's* funny. Sounds like you're raising Small Child right.

I used to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" to my kids when they were little, there have only been a few instances where they used "Mama Mia, Mama Mia, let me go!" against me, but it was effective.

yellojkt, if you're likin' the eye candy in "Firefly", I 'spect the episode "Trash" (later in the series) will be popular at Casa yellojkt.

nelson, hope to see you in here soon.

Isn't Pamela Anderson already pretty much a Bionic Woman?

Oh, wait a minute. I got it.

Joan Rivers *is* the Bionic Woman.


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

Speaking of bionic women, I've plunged (ahem) into Stingray, the Gerry Anderson series about WASP - World Aquanaut Security Patrol.

I think "Marina" was sculpted based on Ursula Andress.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 3, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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.

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse,%20Christina&seq=6

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I am barely half-way through Melvilles novel, "White Jacket" and my premise that is indeed a metaphysical manifesto only heightens with every additional chapter read. You know, Melville was a rapt reader of the most prolific writers and thinkers known to our genus and species, from reading him and in his acknowledgement of, he thought very highly of the words and works of Shakespeare. He mentions the names of untold number of authors and creative beings the likes of which I have never heard of, though their contributions to humanity and literature be immense. Can a book from the past speak to the future? How seriously do you take the writings of Nostrodamus? As an example. What is consequential writing, what is writing of consequence. Philisophical suppositions crossed the mind of the late Mr. Browning from what I've read of late, or the recent. For what is "the late" as opposed to what is the "recent" in relative terms? In the time-frame of fifty thousand or one-hundred thousand years how would going into the past, say one-hundred and fifty years be relative, in time? A few months? Perhaps. In Melvilles novel, what is the "White Jacket?" The soul. The opening sentence announces it in point of fact, "It was not a very white jacket, but white enough, in all concsience, as the sequel will show." He made/manufactured his soul-jacket and stuffed it full of assorted items at hand, thoughts, beliefs and all the cursory sundries of living, we all hand-craft our very own "White Jackets" every day we live.
This is no book review, for I have not gained the half-way point as yet. Just a few random thoughts to get off my chest.
And passeth along some insight, question my ken,keenness any way you please. Of particular interest is the chapter titled, "The Commodore on The Poop." In this chapter Melville relays the simple yet complex usage of signals by flag and of colour to initiate an action, no words, no sounds, just an understanding of the signal. And I quote, "And as every man-of-war is furnished with a signal-book, where all these things are set down in order, therefore, though two American frigates-almost perfect strangers to each other-came from the opposite Poles, yet at a distance of more than a mile they could carry on a very liberal conversation in the air. When several men-of-war of one nation lie at anchor in one port, forming a wide circle round their lord and master, the flagship, it is a very interesting sight to see them all obeying the commodores orders, who meanwhile never opens his lips."
A central character Melville relates to is the resident poet on ship, Lemsford, a writer of poetic verse, given cause to hide or stash his manuscripts for a tyrant of a forward officer is forever taunting Lemsford to way-lay his sacred works.
A curious choice of a moniker to give this poet, Lemsford, to me, with a little phoenetic tinkering, Lens Ford, LensFord. Ford is the Lens, the focus to Melvilles canto eminating from the ethereal. Shrewd, no?
Now, it so happens that Lemsford has stowed his "Songs of the Sirens" in the gun barrel of a cannon about to be discharged in salute, the Number 20 gun, and before Lemsford can reach it the salvo is launched. To which the benevolent and highly regarded Jack Chase(can you say Chevy, shrewd) eulogises the lost letters as such, and gives an "ay" for a metaphysical supposition done right. "Well, my after-guard Virgil,' said Jack Chase to him, as he slowly returned up the rigging, 'did you get it? You need not answer; I see you where too late. But never mind, my boy, no printer could do the business for you better. That's the way to publish, White Jacket,' turning to me-'fire it right into 'em; every canto a twenty-four-pound shot; hull the blockheads, whether they will or no. And mind you , Lemsford, when your shot does the most execution, you hear the least from the foe. A killed man cannot even lisp.' "Glorious Jack!" cried Lemsford, running up and snatching him by the hand, 'say that again, Jack! look me in the eyes. By all the Homers Jack, you have made my soul mount like a balloon! I'm a poor devil of a poet. Not two months before I shipped aboard here, I published a volume of poems, very aggressive on the world, Jack. Heaven knows what it cost me. I published it, Jack, and the cursed publisher sued me for damages; my friends looked sheepish, one or two who like it were non-committal; and as for the addle-pated mob and rabble, they thought they had found a fool. Blast them, Jack, what they call the public is a monster, like the idol we saw in Owhyhee, with the head of a jackass, the body of a baboon, and the tail of a scorpion!" 'I don't like that,' said Jack; 'when I'm ashore, I myself am part of the public.'
"Your pardon, Jack; you are not. You are then a part of the people, just as you are aboard the frigate here. The public is one thing, Jack, and the People another.'
"You are right,' said Jack; 'right as this leg. Virgil, you are a trump; you are a jewel, my boy. The public and the people! Ay, ay, my lads, let us hate the one, and cleave to the other.'
Ford is the lens.

Posted by: cookkenusa | January 6, 2007 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for site! It's amazing!
Tiger Balm

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