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The Gender Test

[My column in the Sunday magazine.]

"An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games failed a gender test and was stripped of the medal. [The runner], 25, took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after placing second on Dec. 9."

-- The Washington Post, December 19, 2006

GENDER TEST FOR MEN, WOMEN, OTHER [BETA]

Time limit: Three minutes. Please use a No. 2 pencil.

Cellphones off. No chewing gum. Note: There are no "correct" answers, but all have chromosomal implications.

1) "The Immaculate Reception" refers to:

a) Something involving football.

b) Franco Harris catching a deflected pass on fourth and 10 and running 60 yards for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a thrilling playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders on December 23, 1972.

c) The fact that Joseph and Mary could throw a welcoming party in Bethlehem for the Three Wise Men despite having no caterer.

2) True or false? The car should be lowered from the jack before you finish tightening the lug nuts after changing a flat tire.
a) True.

b) False.

c) As if.

3) Armpit farts are:

a) Always funny.

b) Not something to be attempted by an amateur.

c) One of the big reasons Donald Trump's last marriage failed.

4) A man can find the milk in the refrigerator:

a) Sometimes.

b) Only if God directly intervenes.

c) Only if the milk has acquired the gift of speech.

5) A child who is crying because he struck out in a baseball game should be:

a) Chucked under the chin and told, "Get 'em next time, slugger."

b) Immersed in love and doted upon with so much affection and candy treats that he loses any ability to distinguish between success and failure.

c) Named a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the opposing pitcher, his parents, the opposing coach, the league, the manufacturers of the obviously defective bat and ball, and the municipality for its failure to turn on the ball field lights despite the abundance of cloud cover.

6) The uterus is:

a) A female reproductive organ, sometimes called the womb.

b) A wind instrument in an orchestra.

c) A rare African mammal (pl.: uteri).

7) Which is the funniest word?

a) Concupiscence.

b) Proboscis.

c) Pecker.

8) A "doily" is:

a) A small, decorative mat of lace or paper.

b) A wheeled handcart used for moving heavy objects.

c) A nickname for a socialite, derived from a famous first lady of the United States in the early 19th century, Doily Madison.

9) True or false? It is rude for a man to "adjust himself" in public.

a) Extraordinarily so.

b) False, if it's an emergency.

c) Not if he does it surreptitiously with a hand in his pocket and avoids loud commentary along the lines of, "Dagnabbit, my boys can't breathe!"

10) When a male driver becomes lost in a strange city, the best course of action is to:

a) Stop and ask directions and don't worry that this suggests a deep failure of manliness.

b) Get out a sextant and take a reading of the longitude and latitude based on the position of the stars.

c) Keep insisting that you're not really lost, then pull into the first Burger King or Taco Bell you see and strap on the feed bag.

11) Define "vas deferens":

a) A reproductive tube, the name of which is taught to students in sex education classes in a vain attempt to get the boys to stop using words such as "weenie."

b) The new rock band formed by former members of Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Def Leppard.

c) A Latin phrase describing how men and women vary.

12) The appropriate thing to do immediately after sex is:

a) Snuggle.

b) Fall asleep.

c) Hang up the phone.


[In other news....Sen. Clinton has announced. Click on the extended entry for the text of her announcement.]


[Sen. Clinton:

I'm in. And I'm in to win.

Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country -- about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I'm starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days.

The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.

And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world.

I believe that change is coming November 4, 2008. And I am forming my exploratory committee because I believe that together we can bring the leadership that this country needs. I'm going to start this campaign with a national conversation about how we can work to get our country back on track.

This is a big election with some very big questions. How do we bring the war in Iraq to the right end? How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care? How will we ensure our children inherit a clean environment and energy independence? How can we reduce the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare?

No matter where you live, no matter what your political views, I want you to be a part of this important conversation right at the start. So to begin, I'm going to spend the next several days answering your questions in a series of live video web discussions. Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website. Sign up to join the conversation here.

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values.

I have worked on issues critical to our country almost all my life. I've fought for children for more than 30 years. In Arkansas, I pushed for education reform. As First Lady, I helped to expand health care coverage to millions of children and to pass legislation that dramatically increased adoptions. I also traveled to China to affirm that women's rights are human rights.

And in the Senate, I have worked across party lines to get billions more for children's health care, to stop the president's plan to privatize Social Security, and to make sure the victims and heroes of 9/11 and our men and women in uniform receive the fair treatment they deserve. In 2006, I led the successful fight to make Plan B contraception available to women without a prescription.

I have spent a lifetime opening opportunities for tens of millions who are working hard to raise a family: new immigrants, families living in poverty, people who have no health care or face an uncertain retirement.

The promise of America is that all of us will have access to opportunity, and I want to run a 2008 campaign that renews that promise, a campaign built on a lifetime record of results.

I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.

I need you to be a part of this campaign, and I hope you'll start by joining me in this national conversation.

As we campaign to win the White House, we will make history and remake our future. We can only break barriers if we dare to confront them, and if we have the determined and committed support of others.

This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say "we can" and "we will."

Let's go to work. America's future is calling us.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 20, 2007; 8:48 AM ET
 
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Next: On "Hillary" vs. "Sen. Clinton"

Comments

Very funny Joel, I believe I will be posting the milk question on my frig. Perhaps they need to develop a man frig with shelves small enough so that only a row of items can be placed, remove the door shelves as men don' look there anyways, and drawers?

Can you tell I get asked a lot "why don't we have insert item in the frig?"

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

There should be a fourth option for #12: (d) Shut down the computer.

Let the battle for gender-related umbrage begin...

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

A thousand pardons, all, for the delay, but here are the Jan. BPH photos, complete with the Pulitzer Prize-winning shot of 'Mudge and annie in the same place at the same time! :-)

http://www.monkeyview.net/id/2480/janbph/index.vhtml

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant Joel. But you forgot "Thinks it rhymes with Lavoris."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

dmd... there already is such a thing as a "man fridge". They're usually covered in automotive stickers and can be found in garages and workshops. The shelves are arranged for a single purpose -- to hold as much beer as possible.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Ahh yes, Martooni I am familiar with the "beer frig", but as the husband loves to cook I must deal frequently with him searching in the real frig for items. Would pull out shelves help?

So glad you are feeling better.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I get my very own jug of milk that is always right inside the door. It was my wife's solution to me drinking from the carton.

Posted by: Pat | January 20, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I recently saw a British comedy sketch in which a man opens the fridge, drinks some milk straight from the carton, notices that the milk's gone off, yells upstairs to his wife, "The milk's gone off!" -- and then puts the milk back in the fridge.

It made me realize how lucky I am: My husband only puts *empty* cartons back in the fridge.

Posted by: Achenfan | January 20, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Rick Perry just held an Immaculate Reception in Austin. It was immaculate inaugural because not one Perry supporter seemed to even care, yet alone notice, that performer Ted Nugent was wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt.

Lug nuts. If you're smart enough to earn a good income, just buy a membership in Triple A and get on with your life.

Armpit farts. Probably about as funny as Mianus, Conn. If your mind is in the sewer, what do you do for an encore?

Milk in the refrigerator. How old is the man? Over 18? Married? Divorced, widowed, single? Usually he locates it by the sour smell, provided he's not too hung over from the night before.

What happened to the child is crying because SHE struck out in a baseball game?

Shall I continue?

Posted by: Loomis | January 20, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

SCC: an immaculate inaugural

Posted by: Loomis | January 20, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, real girls play hockey :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the boodle.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, we're going to have to start calling you Loo'mudgeon -- and I mean that in the nicest possible way!

[My mind was still in the sewer when I finally went to bed last night and giggled myself to sleep thinking about Great Balls, Montana.]

Posted by: Achenfan | January 20, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

>Shall I continue?

No, please don't. There's got to be a party somewhere else you can ruin.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 20, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

. . . and we also have an Err'mudgeon.

Posted by: Achenfan | January 20, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Yes, felt I was forced to play nice yesterday--you know, come down to your level--to avoid Err'mugedon.

Posted by: Loomis | January 20, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's in, and in case her website crashes, here's the full statement of her announcement (which I guess I'll also append to the kit). [Uh, gee, great timing on gender test gags!]

I'm in. And I'm in to win.

Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country -- about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I'm starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days.

The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.

And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world.

I believe that change is coming November 4, 2008. And I am forming my exploratory committee because I believe that together we can bring the leadership that this country needs. I'm going to start this campaign with a national conversation about how we can work to get our country back on track.

This is a big election with some very big questions. How do we bring the war in Iraq to the right end? How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care? How will we ensure our children inherit a clean environment and energy independence? How can we reduce the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare?

No matter where you live, no matter what your political views, I want you to be a part of this important conversation right at the start. So to begin, I'm going to spend the next several days answering your questions in a series of live video web discussions. Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website. Sign up to join the conversation here.

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values.

I have worked on issues critical to our country almost all my life. I've fought for children for more than 30 years. In Arkansas, I pushed for education reform. As First Lady, I helped to expand health care coverage to millions of children and to pass legislation that dramatically increased adoptions. I also traveled to China to affirm that women's rights are human rights.

And in the Senate, I have worked across party lines to get billions more for children's health care, to stop the president's plan to privatize Social Security, and to make sure the victims and heroes of 9/11 and our men and women in uniform receive the fair treatment they deserve. In 2006, I led the successful fight to make Plan B contraception available to women without a prescription.

I have spent a lifetime opening opportunities for tens of millions who are working hard to raise a family: new immigrants, families living in poverty, people who have no health care or face an uncertain retirement.

The promise of America is that all of us will have access to opportunity, and I want to run a 2008 campaign that renews that promise, a campaign built on a lifetime record of results.

I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.

I need you to be a part of this campaign, and I hope you'll start by joining me in this national conversation.

As we campaign to win the White House, we will make history and remake our future. We can only break barriers if we dare to confront them, and if we have the determined and committed support of others.

This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say "we can" and "we will."

Let's go to work. America's future is calling us.

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

What you think: Can she win? Will she?

My two cents (offered with the proviso that I am almost always wrong about these things): Yes, and yes.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 20, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"Just when you thought it was safe to go into the boodle."

Yes, I've always thought it safe to go into the male-dominated Boodle.

I guess the womb is funny (probably can't get the U word past the filter) if you're 13 years old and not yet had the opportunity to be enrolled in your high school's much diluted reproductive education program.

For this crowd, far and away the winningest funny word is the one derived from Greek, cloaca.

A Doily is a generic term for those women gentically endowed with superior mammary appendages, always a source of constant amazement and amusement for, again, those males who haven't had a decent course (coarse?) in reproductive education or who are too ugly or socially awkward to have access to reproductive activities.

Is it rude for a woman to breastfeed in public?

The answer to number 10 is c.

Who was Vasco de Gama? Better yet, define "veritas odium parit."

The appropriate thing to do after "the act" is to politely request that HE go home.

Posted by: Loomis | January 20, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I just hope the Democrats can leave one good candidate standing at the end of the primary season.

I hate to see good people torn down by their own party before they even have a chance to run against the other party.

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

In our home, nothing can be found *because* it's behind the milk. It's gotten to the point that it doesn't matter what they're asking for ("have you seen my coat/homework/backpack?") I answer "Look behind the milk."

Also, noone will drink the last of anything. If there's a tablespoon of juice left in the bottle, the bottle goes back in the fridge. This is only a real problem when it's done with the Bailey's.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought months ago the democratic ticket would be Hillary for pres,Obama for vice pres.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 20, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh now you've gone and jinxed her!

I think she can win if the Republicans nominate someone who is, you know, resolved. But if the Republicans go moderate, I doubt she can pull it off.

Lots of people still view her as too Machiavellian. And, to some, that she didn't dump Bill just feeds into this perception.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I have also encountered a lot of people who are threatened by the title of Sen Clinton's book "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child." To them, this translates into "The Government Knows What is Best for your Children."

This scares them.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

RD, I have a question for you or any other US boodler, the perception of Hillary as Machiavellian, it that upsetting to people because of the manner or because she is a woman seen as being Machiavellian.

Looking from the outside I have seen a different perspective, I remember at the start of the Clinton presidency he had a dynamic, outgoing, beautiful and independant wife. At some point (the cookie incident) she seemed to begin to fade and in my view frumpify (if that is a word). As a woman I started to lose respect then, but I do not mind rable rousers if there is a good reason.

If a woman is to be a leader I would like to see one that is capable of being a woman politician and not the preferred image of a woman politician.

As for staying with Bill, if she left just as many would condemn her. The choice was hers and she should be respected for making it.

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

dmd - let me stress that I like Sen. Clinton - yet I work with many people who, to put it mildly, do not. As to gender? It certainly plays into it. There is this stereotype of the "conniving female" that is, I fear, alive and well.

Yet these people wouldn't vote for a Democrat no matter what, so I guess it's kind of a moot point. A vote cast with derision still counts only once.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks RD, still laughing at the "conniving female", as if that is some type of evil breed. Of course there are never "conniving men" :-)

And yes I fully understand you are passing on the viewpoints of others and not yourself.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Someone said it is "sexist" to refer to Sen. Clinton as "Hillary." Not necessarily. It may be, however, an expression of contempt.

"For what?" one might ask. Perhaps for the usual disingenuousness.

I guess the "suspension of Habeas Corpus" didn't make it to the top of the focus group. Or "corporate welfare out of control." Or "my husband's administration presided over the most jaw-droppingly outrageous growth of corporate plutacracy in American history." Or "this current administration shall spend time in prison if it's the last thing I do."

Nope. That would be crazy talk!

Posted by: Jumper | January 20, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Loomis says: "mammary appendages, always a source of constant amazement and amusement for, again, those males who haven't had a decent course (coarse?) in reproductive education or who are too ugly or socially awkward to have access to reproductive activities."

Okay. So what's your point?

Are you saying that smart, sex-educated, socially adjusted, good looking men do not appreciate a nicely shaped pair?

Are you saying that there are no males in the medical profession who enjoy some playtime with these dual-use "appendages" on occasion?

Heck... I'm a computer programmer, but I still like to play video games every once in a while.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wrong side of the bed; I admit it. And it's "plutocracy."

I noticed something a while back. Whenever photovoltaic doubters speak, they often say something like, "And where will we PUT all these things. Why, to get enough power we would have to cover an area the size of Nebraska!" Hinting that Nebraska won't like it, and they wouldn't.

Elsewhere, I read that all the asphalt in this country would "cover the state of Nebraska." Okay, get ready for it:

Duh. I say start putting photovoltaic panels over every square foot of asphalt in the country.

Posted by: Jumper | January 20, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I think it is only sexist if that is all that is appreciated!

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Jumper I agree with you, similar comments are made about harnessing wind power - i.e. it looks terrible. Where I live in the summer there is a constant brown haze on the horizon, on bad days it is tangible you can taste it, if affects people like me with breathing problems. Yet people would put up with that over wind generators.

I have been working all week where there is one wind generator, it is near the lakefront, and it is only one, but I find it interesting to look at rather than and eyesore.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,

I thought of you today when I read the comic strip "Pickles."

http://www.comics.com/wash/pickles/archive/images/pickles20070112217720.gif

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Sen. Clinton:

If I had to choose between her and just about any Republican, she'd get my vote. I have no problem with a female president, but she's a little too middle-of-the-road for me and while her "triangulations" may be brilliant, politically speaking, but I want real change and that means taking real risks.

That said, the more I think of continuing the Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush progression with another Clinton tacked on the end, the more suspicious I get that we're in a rut as a country. If she wins, that would make 24 years of two families controling the White House. If she wins, and then wins again, that would be 28. And what happens if Jeb decides to jump into the ring at some point?

Like I said, I'd back her if she wins the primaries. Until then, I'm leaning toward Obama or Edwards.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

dmd... those wind generators I've seen around Ontario are beautiful, if you ask me. The ones that look like this:

http://www.web.ca/~cfre/Images/singlewindsmall.jpg

When there are groups of them, especially, they are stunning to watch all spinning gracefully.

I remember a couple of years ago we came across a group of them on a mountainside in West Virginia, I think.

The sight was majestic.

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Lovely test, Joel. I too particularly liked the milk with the gift of speech. Perhaps then it could also say when it is bad. At our house I know where everything is. I usually answer queries with "did you look [behind something] [under something]". When the Boy asks where his shoes, etc., are, I tell him that is not my job. It irks him because he knows I know. On the rare occasion I do not know, the item is usually lost.

My answer to the lug nut question is, I can't budge the lug nuts. It seems like they put them on tighter than they did when I was a teenager.

Freezing rain and sleet here so far today. Feh.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, scottynuke, for the BPH pictures. I was glad to see Annie again. I have to wonder, though - Annie, Raysmom, myself - all blondes around a certain age. Who else may be lurking who fits that description? Is this a significant Boodle demographic? Is there something about the Achenblog that attracts blondes?

No, probably not. And yes, I have a collection of blonde jokes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

dmd... I agree.

There are other attractive parts, too. ;-)

Not to be "Captain Obvious" here, but it's the combination of parts working in concert (including the brain) that make a woman attractive. I would imagine that the same applies to what women find attractive in men.

Nothing wrong with letting a little lust into the break between NPR and the Sunday crossword.

Unless, of course, you're a disembodied brain floating in a fish tank. But even then, brains need a tickling every once in a while. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

>. . . and we also have an Err'mudgeon.

Err'mudgeon was just diagnosed with colon cancer. I'm in no mood to suck up to the Wicked Witch of the West. So she and everyone else who enables her constant attacks can go to h3ll.

Day in and day out you allow this constant source of bile to poison a light and enjoyable booodle. You can have it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 20, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Ever see a pic of Joel's lovely wife?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

EF - Oh my goodness. Best of luck to you. Really.

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

TBG... "When there are groups of them, especially, they are stunning to watch all spinning gracefully."

Unless you're a bird.

Why can't they install big screens or some other meshing that would keep birds from being pureed? I expect they would reduce efficiency somewhat, but I imagine the savings from not having to pick up all the dead birds would cancel it out.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Error... damn, man. I hope they caught it early enough. Hang in there.

As for the W.W.W. aka Hermione Granger, I'm with ya.

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

EF, very sad to hear this. You have my prayers and best wishes.

I always enjoying reading your posts and think that your handle is one of the five best on the planet.

Slay those cancer cells with your flashing sword! My your wit and swashbuckle protect gird you well for battle.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 20, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Typing with too much coffee on board.

SCC: May your wit....gird you for battle.

Protection also to you.

##it happens to the best of people.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 20, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, martooni. I didn't know about the birds. I have no experience with the windmills... just a distant observer.

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Error, that's bad news - good luck to you. You know we'll miss you if you don't post, but we'll be thinking of you. You can contact me at scomstoc @ nwlink.com

Let's all try to be little kinder here, folks. Linda, you're a good enough writer to understand how your words cut - so please, take more care. And maybe we all should develop thicker skins.

I'm pleased to report that our rain is back in liquid form - temps in the 40's, a bit of blue sky and almost sunshine. Ivansmom, hope the "normal" weather returns to you soon, and The Boy goes back to school.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 20, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Error... that sucks. I'm sorry. Keep us posted on how you're doing and what we can do to help.

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

EF, I'm sorry to hear about your illness. You will be in my prayers.

Posted by: Slyness | January 20, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

EF I am so sorry about the diagnosis, you have always struck me a a fiesty person, hence one of the reason I like it when you post. Please use that spirit and your anger right now to fight this.

My thought, prayers and best wishes go with you.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Error, I'm sending you good thoughts.

Posted by: Yoki | January 20, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn, I'm very sorry to hear you have cancer. I'll be thinking of you as your medical treatments progress.

There's a recently published book for you, by my friend and colleague Jim Chastain, "I Survived Cancer but Never Won the Tour de France". It isn't sappy. Jim finds a lot of humor, not all of it morbid, in his account of medical procedures, well-meaning (and not) responses, playing the cancer card, etc. If you have kbertocci's email she can reach me, or just email your particulars to Joel where I can get them, and I'll be glad to send you the book.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

So, RD, you're telling me Joel's lovely and gracious wife is blonde? Perhaps this isn't a coincidence after all, even if you believe in coincidence.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, just saw your note about the birds, I was going to include something in my post about studies being done to determine the effect of the windmills on birds. I would not want to wipe out birds with the windmills.

I know in Toronto at certain times of the years the lights on the towers in the city are adjusted as a similar problem with birds hitting them would occur.

I saw one report that suggested, or someone mentioned to me that the windmills may be low enough not to cause widespreed losses for birds.

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel posted this here before, so I hope he doesn't mind if I post it again. Say what you will about Joel, but he does manage to surround himself with some mighty charming women folk.

http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051007/MAGAZINE04/51007046&SearchID=73269646979816

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks folks, I'll take all the prayers and support I can get. They say it's beatable. I'm relatively young and strong and stubborn as a mule, and I have every reason to believe the doc was being completely honest, 'cuz God knows he didn't pull any punches otherwise.

There was some talk here the other day of scaring people... well I say this gents be afraid, be very afraid. Do not allow the fact that you have no symptoms, no extra money, no insurance, or no time to keep you away from being tested.

Now HAVE FUN dangnabbit!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 20, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Words to live by EF. Literally. And I have great confidence that you will beat this. As I've said before, we boodlers are made of stern stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The first time I saw a big wind farm in Southern Alberta http://www.visionquestwind.com/existing.asp?pg=waterton&mi=04&bdy=waterton&id=existing
the turbines took my breath away. I think they are beautiful.

My firm does a lot of work for wind developers, and I asked a client once about the dangers to wildlife. They have a few bird deaths, but not many because the noise keep most of them away. The number of deaths is much smaller (something like .002%) of the average number of birds that die in cities every night because of the lit office buildings.

In that area, the turbines are tall enough to allow most earth-based animals to walk freely around them with no injury from the arms.

As dmd says, people tend to focus on a small thing like turbine-caused wildlife deaths, without thinking about the much bigger toll cities take; just because the farms are new they get the attention.

Posted by: Yoki | January 20, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Error, although it may be hard I hope you can keep your sense of humour it will help.

You can beat it!

Posted by: dmd | January 20, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Error, I always tell people to have fun. I spent a lot of time as a child observing my dad, who loved his job, and other family members who weren't as lucky. I decided that it is a perfectly legitimate goal to find work you like and activities you enjoy, and then have fun while you live your life. Of course, I'm making a lot less money than I otherwise would, but that must mean I don't think of money per se as "fun".

Yoki, thanks for the information on windmills and birds. We have several windmill farms here and I've heard that the threat to birds was far less than it might appear, but since that was at least thirdhand I wanted to see if anyone had more reliable information.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

ef, good luck with your treatment.

rd, thanks for the link to the real achenbach gender test.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 20, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, funny you should mention that book because the title was literally one of my first thoughts. I had read Lance Armstrong's op-ed a few days before this all came about, which was actually last Tuesday.

Look, I'm finally gonna drop some weight, and I'll save on haircuts for awhile. One of the nurses is trying to hook me up already. The anethesiologist went thru his checklist and said "hey, you're healthier than I am!".

And I'm getting a killer deal on trading in my old Caddy. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 20, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

That is a Great attitude to have ef.

Keep up the good work.

Keep posting as well,because I have found that posting here makes us all feel good.

Off to work.....Brrrrrrr

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 20, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Much better after playing with my new toy: free morphing software. I just morphed my face and my cat's face. It's truly bizarre and I had fun. Wish I could post it here.

Speaking of not wanting to kill critters with our lifestyle, I remember going to work on a truly outback Texas location once, and being horrified by the danged kamikaze jackrabbits that would panic and in trying to escape would run at random and often double back under the truck tires. ("NO," I'd shout, "don't - not - garr, you foolish rabbit! Why did you suicide? Why!")

So after days of this, one morning I started thinking, well where are all the dead rabbits? And that very afternoon we saw. A bobcat showed up off the side of the road as we rounded the corner. As we came to a stop, he looked at us, and I quickly rolled up the window. If you had seen the look he gave us, you would have, too. A look of pure malice: he had no love of humans whatsoever. I'll never forget it.

No gratitude for the free lunches at all.

So if there aren't piles of dead birds under the wind generators, and not because of bobcats, then the things may not be too awfully cruel to the birds.

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


i may disagrre with all you say but will defend with my very life your evry rught to say it
-Decartes

Posted by: donmacnamara | January 20, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Error, what can I say except...

*putting on moustache and handkerchief*

"GET BETTER BRAIN!!!!"

Oh, sorry, wrong organ...

Seriously, man, I'm crossing what can be crossed and hoping you have lots of positive developments in a very short time.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck, Error.

Posted by: Dooley | January 20, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

i just listened to the video of sen. clinton announcing her exploratory committee and online video chats. it's pretty bold of her to go right to the new media format, and i think it's related to an assessment that bill clinton made of kerry's campaign. he thought the dems were taken out by the swift-boat ad campaign because they were still thinking in the box of traditional mass media, which tends to be liberal-leaning (at least historically, of course fox has changed that equation). the dems where therefore not used to fighting to define themselves as the republicans had already learned to do in the face of the liberal media, and now both sides have to be able to do with the influence of the web and other new media formats.

this is gonna be interesting.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 20, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Just catching up - glad you went to the ER, Martooni! Please do what they tell you to do.

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis, Error. There's a great essay in the February issue of Harper's, which came yesterday (and interestingly, is not yet on-line) by Barbara Ehrenreich, an editor. She writes of her battle with breast cancer and how everyone told her to keep hoping, have hope, etc. etc. Her message: Ford Hope! She's fighting, and learning, and shopping around for treatments, but she's sick of the Think Positive crowd who almost seem to blame the victim of every misfortune for not being positive enough. Not saying I agree with her 100%, but it was a funny article. She's winning her battle with the disease in the way that suits her.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

EF,
Hang in there. I have a history of prostrate cancer in my family. Grand-dad died of it. My uncle had his removed. I get poked every year now. So far so good. As many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer. Both are easily detectible and treatable. Which month is the one where all the stores hang blue ribbons and have special sales?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

coming out of lurker status just to tell EF: You have a whole bunch of boodle-lurkers pulling for you. good luck with this tough journey ahead. You can do it. You're Error Flynn!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

EF...It's amazing how far modern medicine has come. Keeping you in my thoughts/prayers.

In re: Sen Clinton. I keep thinking that, like the house in Garp, she's pre-disastered.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Error, all my best thoughts are coming your way.

Posted by: dbG | January 20, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Just dropped in to see if the BPH photos were out, and thanks Scottynuke.
.
Error Flynn, I join fellow Boodlers in wishing you the best. I am confident you will prevail over this cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
.
Not to jinx anything, I believe in Clinton in '08. It can happen.

Posted by: CowTown | January 20, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

EF, anytime you want piles of insensitive colon cancer jokes or puns, contact me. I'll hook ya up somehow.

I'm a mite sorry there won't be an Error Flynn in '08, but heck, between dealing with your colon and the level of waste, corruption, and sheer muck this administration will leave behind, I vote for the colon (but never Colin).



Posted by: Wilbrod | January 20, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, wait a minute. I'm still for Error in '08. Laying low through most of the caucuses and primary season is a smart move this time around. You'll be ready, and the electorate won't be tired of you.

I was thinking,though, Error, that you might also want to lay low in the groundhog wars for a while. Lull them into a false sense of security. Then, when times are more propitious, bam!. I may have to consult with you, as I seem to be fighting squirrel wars. Today I put the bucket with birdseed just inside our glass porch door, where they can see it as they scamper about the carport. I want to see whether they'll open the door with their little rodent paws. I may regret this.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Denny Dougherty of the Mamas & The Papas died at the young age of 66.

Posted by: CowTown | January 20, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

That Barbara Ehrenreich article sound similar to some of Jim's book (I Survived Cancer But Never Won the Tour de France). He has some pointed things to say about people who insist that you must be positive at all times; also those who say that if you were praying right, you'd be cured.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

uh oh... Wirty kept my comment for review. I wonder what magic word triggered it this time?

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

(2nd attempt)

So, Error... I was just thinking. If they use radiation therapy on you and, say, some freak accident happened like in "The Hulk"... you could end up with some very cool super powers.

Like laser beams that shoot out of your eyes.

Or... since they would be focusing all that energy on the other end of you, maybe some sort of high-octane directional methane blaster w/optional ignitor control.

The balance of power in The Groundhog War would definitely shift.

;-)

(btw... this post has been brought to you by Tramado1, a very fine pain killer indeed)

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

HA! Found it. It must have a list of meds associated with spammers.

Posted by: martooni | January 20, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

EF, whatever happens, whatever you do, please, please don't go away.

Tonight, I'll be bringing my daughter to a play performed by the students of the high school I graduated from over 20 years ago. I'll be surrounded by youth for "The King and I". For me, it's as good as it gets.

Posted by: Pat | January 20, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm really conflicted over No. 3 and No. 12. I think the correct anwer should be "all of the above" in both cases. Does this mean I have gender identity issues?

Error, sorry to hear that. Can I have your parking spot?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 20, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I can safely predict, Error, that one of the more difficult parts of dealing with your illness will be reading a lengthy discourse about how a certain person's famous antecedent successfully defeated colon cancer, only to be killed at the Alamo. Be of good cheer.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 20, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, did I ever tell you I love you?

Posted by: 6:06 | January 20, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

ER, Hope you get well every step you walk through. Ever considering a blog here like Leroy Sievers kept on NPR? Best wishes.

Posted by: daiwanlan | January 20, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Been a tough week on Achenblog...

That said, ROTFL, Shiloh!

Posted by: Slyness | January 20, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Pat!

The girl who is playing Anna in the production of The King and I you'll be seeing tonight is a very good friend of Son of G. She's amazing. You are in for a real treat. (I saw it last week.)

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not terribly fond of (or amused by) the pissing contests which break out here from time to time, but Shiloh definitely has me chuckling!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

You know, I think one of my non-ancestors DID kill that notable colorectal cancer-fighting antecedant at the Alamo.

Ahhh... good nongenetic memories.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 20, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Not to be fair and impartial (not me!) but I don't think Loomis is from San Antonio, just moved their for business. I think.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC: there, not their.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Error,
been there; done that. It's not that bad. Anti-nausea drugs are the bomb. Words of advice: plenty of sleep (ambien, anyone?) and stay away from sickies! Far, far away! No supermarkets, department stores, or anywhere where people gather.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 20, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Why do these anonymous posters never have anything to say about any topic other than Loomis-bashing? How about commenting on Joel's column, or any of the other non-personal-attack-based topics that get discussed around here? I guess Loomis as a topic is more popular than anyone would care to admit.

Honestly, I think the reactions to Loomis are far worse than Loomis's original posts. If you don't like Linda's posts, don't read them, and don't comment on them. Otherwise, the nastiness escalates rapidly. Personallyl, I don't think Linda's posts are too hot to handle -- we should be able to cope.

On a separate issue:
Error, I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and I wish you the very best for your treatment and recovery.

Posted by: Achenfan | January 20, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

What, you mean it doesn't rhyme with Lavoris?

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Since my attention's wandering, I offer this link up:
"inside the wandering mind"
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/118/1

Folks, I call your attention to the machinery used.

The fMRI is very hot stuff. It's been able to give images of the brains of people with bipolar or schizophrenia and show how they do, in fact, differ from "normal people."

Apparently the brain does etch its traumas in its organic structure. This will not replace traditional diagnosis, but complement it and refine it.

Now with two perspectives, we might be able to triangulate mental illness more accurately; for instance, is all bipolar disease alike in cause, course, or effect? I highly doubt it.

Again, this stuff rocks.

Now what was I saying?


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 20, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan, the mind boggles at the complex logic behind a post decrying attention paid the subject of the post. At least it wasn't anonymous! But I digress... : )

The actual subject of this post was the strikingly gorgeous setting of the crescent moon with Venus just below. Too late for the East coasters, but y'all out west should make sure that you see it.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse


This brings to a close the sniping portion of this boodle.

I'll delete the anonymous attacks on Loomis just as I deleted one of her comments a couple of days ago.

Personal attacks are not just against the rules here; they're a drag. They drive everyone away. There are better things to discuss. Please let us move on. The boodle fundamentally has to govern itself. If it can't, it will very soon go the way of 8-track tapes.


Two years to the day before she would take the oath, Hillary Clinton announced for the presidency -- isn't that worth talking about? I keep hearing that she's not electable. I think not only is she electable but probably has a better chance than anyone else at the moment of becoming the next president -- she's running a smart general election campaign already, aiming for what she percieves to be the exact center of political gravity in this country. She has as much poise as the day is longer, is smarter than just about everyone else, and her alleged scandalous 90s-era "baggage" (all that Travelgate, Rose Law Firm, missing files sort of stuff) will only matter to people who would never vote for a Democrat anyway.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 20, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,

Don't you think it's cool that now, at least, the scientists acknowledge that it may be the illness which changes the brain structure? 20 or 30 years ago (too long ago for your memory, probably) they made it seem as if mental illness was caused by structural deficiencies in the brain, not the other way around. Now they at least admit that they don't know which came first. It's a start.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I hate that long pause while the comment bot decides whether or not to take a comment - you see its problems. I meant that you are most likely younger than I am, Wilbrod, not that your memory is deficient.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

EF, I wish you a speedy recovery.

Right now I'm reading "The lay of the Land," by Richard Ford, in which the main character is dealing with prostate cancer and wrestling with all sorts of meaning-of-life questions. Ford is a terrific writer -- this is the third in a trilogy that began with The Sportswriter and then Independence Day. Probably not the kind of storytelling that's for everyone, but gosh it makes you think and look around and appreciate the textures of ordinary life all the more.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 20, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, I know that the Bob S. of ten years ago would not have been willing to vote for the Hillary Clinton of ten years ago, but a fair bit of water has gone over & under the bridge since then. I ain't the same person, and I don't think that she's the same person. There's lots of talkin' & thinking to do between now and the November after next, but I'm certainly willing to consider voting for her. And I've found that I'm often fairly representative of that great, hard-sought-after, middle ground of "undecided voters".

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering what Wilbrodog's "hearing" name was changed to? Heard he had a bad reaction to the original, and that it would be changed, but never heard if it really had been. I simply haven't been keeping up with things.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: Clinton

Couldn't we just call her '44? A joke in Wonkette a few weeks back is that, at home, they call her 44. And, just to bug neo-cons, some have started referring to Chelsea as 48. Or 47, can't remember.

I read a lot (way too many) magazines, going on the theory that if you fill your mind with good stuff, it'll improve the actual workings of the mind ... buying this? Get real. I have two kids in a school which does its main fundraising during the magazine sale each fall. *You* try to find 8 magazines you want to read each month, so that each Wheezy-brat can get the chattering monkey stuffed animal prize for 4 subscriptions!

Anyway, I read a lot of dead trees. And the main issue every pundit decries is Hillary's tin ear for the masses. She's brilliant, heart's in the right place, but she can't speak and connect, or press the flesh and feel it, the way Bill does. The contrast is simply so startling compared to her house-mate. It's not as if Kerry or Gore was particularly gifted in that regard, either. Bill was a genius with people. At least he'll be working for her.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Yup, shortly after his first (presidential) election, and repeatedly thereafter, I made the observation to acquaintances that we were unlikely to see the likes (as sheer political animal & charmer) of Bill Clinton during our lifetimes.

Having said that, ol' Barak ain't no slouch!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel. Bob S., I wish I could see Venus & the Moon, but they're hidden behind cloud cover and SNOW. Feh. Fortunately we got rain & sleet most of the day, so the roads are still good. Unfortunately, it melted the ice on my upward-sloping driveway (getting out) to near impassability. My car is now parked elsewhere.

I find it very interesting that Senator Clinton declared so firmly and so early. The Boy asked about it today -- wondered who else was running -- and I told him she was throwing down a gauntlet. I explained she has some solid support (yes, I know, some solid opposition as well) and powerful fundraising ability, so she is making everyone else decide whether they REALLY want to do this. Yes, we all knew she was going to run, and I told the Boy as much, but such a confident declaration so early is worth noting.

I told the Boy most of the folks so far who've stated they're NOT running, after due (sometimes minimal) consideration, are Republicans. In many cases it was a good thing. For instance, although he did well after the Oklahoma City bombing, you don't want Frank Keating for president. I still wonder what that announcement was really about -- I just know he wasn't seriously thinking of running.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... tell me what you know about Huckabee?

I saw him on the Daily Show the other day and was kind of impressed. I know absolutely nothing about him, but he sounded a lot more compassionate about real people and real problems than most Republicans.

Not that I'm going to support any Republican candidate, but it's always nice to have some of them who won't totally stress me out if they're elected.

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

We've often mentioned to the Boy that Bill Clinton was the consummate politician. I liked him, but I would have voted for him anyway because I knew he could win. It had been a long time.

Joel, thanks for the mention of the Ford book. I've read the first two but somehow haven't read the third yet. I bet we have it, though. It is hard to keep up sometimes. I'd recommend some Jostein Gaarder to anyone interested in fiction mixed with philosophy. I read "Sophie's World" - the gold standard - years ago, and have been reading some more while iced in. That's what home libraries are for, right?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, yes, in the shelter Wilbrodog had a name that I didn't like, thinking it sounded too similar to a word associated with violence.

He looked so sad when the shelter person called him that, so right then, I determined to change his name to something that indicates something beautiful and black, the minute I got him.

I don't know how he responds auditorily to the spoken name; it's not said correctly by most people anyway.

It's really just for telling people what his name is, since I can't write down his sign name.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 20, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I was happily typing an answer to TGB when suddenly my screen went to some sort of Windows update. I hate computers.

I don't know much about Huckabee, except he has been good on health issues in Arkansas. He started a state health initiative and modeled by example, changing his diet, exercising, and losing a lot of weight, all publicly. I'm a little jaundiced because Oklahoma has a suit pending against Arkansas regarding chicken poop contaminants affecting our water supply. They're apparently not as willing as Oklahoma to rein in some of the big producers, but their runoff goes into our eastern lakes and rivers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee handled himself quite well on The Daily Show, I must say, and was quite funny. And although I come down on a different side of the Choice issue than he does, I was impressed when he said...

"I'm pro-life, and I think life begins at conception, but I don't think it ends at birth. We have to be concerned about a child's education, healthcare and safe neighborhoods, clean water, the access to a college education. That is pro-life."

Posted by: TBG | January 20, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Chicken poop, chicken poop!?!?

I live on the Virginia side of the Potomac, but there's a long-standing issue with Maryland about that very issue.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

In all fairness to the Maryland chicken-poopers, I seem to recall that a lot of progress has been made in plugging it up, as it were.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, I also believe that life begins at conception.

But my definition is a little more rigorous than these silly biological or religious farces.

I believe that as soon as I conceive of fathering a child, I have! They number well into the tens of thousands (if not more) now. Therefore, I tend to be kindly disposed toward all the children that I meet, since there's a decent chance that they're one o' mine!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. - although I'm pro-choice, I'm pretty sure I know what you mean about conceiving easily. All my husband and I had to do was (pretty much) look at each other and boom - I was pregnant! This was a little inconvenient, but we worked with it. I mean, doesn't everyone want two children under two? After years of everyone telling us that if we didn't get busy pretty soon we would be infertile - hah!

You're off the hook, though, Bob - I can swear they're not yours.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The Moon and Venus were breathtaking. And Orion looked down as he likes to do this time of year. I was glad for the clean cool air.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 20, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I like to see people getting enthusiastic about Senator Clinton and I will certainly vote for her if she gets the nomination.

Looking back over the presidential elections I've lived through, it seems like the person who is the obvious choice 18 months before the election doesn't usually end up with the nomination or the office. I remember Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton starting out as long shots.

I mostly hope, as TBG said this morning, that the Democrats will pull together, not attack each other--in the primaries they should emphasize that they are all GENERALLY on the same page, and then each one can emphasize the special qualities that set him/her apart from the field. Then after the convention, they should ALL campaign for whoever the nominee is. I hope my guy Howard Dean is working on setting this all up; maybe he is, because we think alike, Howard and me. And if he can't take credit for the Democratic victory (Bush is the person most to thank for it, along with the Iraqi resistance forces), at least having Dean as head of the party didn't hurt--he's been doing good work organizing the grass roots and we need that.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 20, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Jostein Gaarder ! Thanks for the reminder, Ivansmom, although Son of CP is not reader his sister-sibs were (are).

Too tired to say much but I did see the twilight show:

sliver of moon and the evening star.

Perhaps that was Venus. Who is the resident Anchen-stronomer?

Long ago and far away, the moon was called a
fingernail paring moon.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 20, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah RD, the crescent Moon and Venus were beautiful tonight! Earthsky.org says they will be about the same tomorrow night, so anyone who missed it tonight will be able to see it then. The weather gods willing, of course.

Posted by: pj | January 20, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

//There should be a fourth option for #12: (d) Shut down the computer.//

Not necessary -- modern computers "go to sleep" if they aren't given any inputs for a few minutes, and this may well be a reason.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 20, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA -- OK, that's funny. Not-so-very-subtly crude, but funny!!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn, I'm very sorry to hear your bad news, and I hope the treatment is completely efficacious and not too stressful.

I just finished reading Marjorie Williams's posthumously published book, The Woman at the Washington Zoo. Her case was completely different from yours in that her initial diagnosis was stage 4 liver cancer, so when she writes about it she doesn't talk about victory or recovery, just extending her time as much as she can.

She writes with mordant humor about people's reactions to her illness, like the two other writers mentioned earlier today. Inevitably, people faced with a cancer diagnosis will be at a loss and many of them will say stupid things.

Here's Marjorie, on page 335:

============
"...people...had memorably inappropriate reactions. I can't count the times I've been asked what psychological affliction made me invite this cancer. My favorite New Yorker cartoon, now taped above my desk, shows two ducks talking in a pond. One of them is telling the other: 'Maybe you should ask yourself why you're inviting all this duck hunting into your life right now.'

"Another woman sent me a card to 'congratulate' me on my 'cancer journey' and quoted Joseph Campbell to the effect that in order to achieve the life you deserved, you had to give up the life you had planned. SCREW YOU, I thought. YOU give up the life YOU had planned."
=============
[The capital letters are italics in the book.]

The book, by the way, is extremely good. Ms. Williams writes about motherhood, feminism, politics, and culture, with insight, humor and an amazing intelligence. Her profiles of people in positions of power are fascinating in their detail and analysis. I had read some of her articles in Vanity Fair, but to have a whole book full of her work and read it straight through gave me a new appreciation for her writing skills.

I had been completely unaware of her as a person, so this very personal book was an opportunity to glimpse an extraordinary woman, who faced up to the ultimate test of character and saw it through with grace and wit.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 20, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

kbert - I was vaguely aware of the book, but (like many other still-unexplored great joys in life) hadn't gotten around to it yet. You've bumped it WAY up on the list!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

By the way, kbertocci, I was gratified that you enjoyed the D. Hofstadter book (Le Ton beau de Marot). It's not an easy book to describe, and I don't know lots of people to whom I'd recommend it, but I thought that it would appeal to you. I like pretty much everything I've ever read by him, but he's definitely not everyone's cup of tea.

Here's a fun review of a lecture he gave at Cornell at about the time of the publication of the book. Talk about a reviewer who really got it!

http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/97/5.1.97/Hofstadter.html

Posted by: Bob S. | January 20, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan: //Why do these anonymous posters never have anything to say about any topic other than Loomis-bashing? How about commenting on Joel's column, or any of the other non-personal-attack-based topics that get discussed around here? I guess Loomis as a topic is more popular than anyone would care to admit.//

Loomis' style is more straightforward than most others, and it seems she's more concerned with contributing food for thought than maintaining the boodle's set of social relationships. That's an opinion formed over a long time of lurking with a few months of occasional contributions.

Considering that the blog is "offically" directed to topics about the world outside (JA's columns and kits) whereas the boodle in contrast focuses more on itself, possibly as a parasite living on the WaPo web site, I can see how there could be a difference in the responses to something on the front page that gets newbies unaware of the boodle social system, compared to this boodle which includes a lot more self-reference and navel gazing.

Recently JA invited the world outside to comment on Iraq. We got a lot of inside information and very well thought-out opinions, that was of course mixed with boodle insider gossip like news that so-and-so is boarding the bus for BPH, and so forth. An outsider wrote to complain about the high proportion of gossip in what I guess he assumed would be a topic-oriented list.

An insider might write, "Gosh, I'm sorry to hear you have but don't you think that > would be more nuanced if only you knew about ?" An outsider would phrase the exact same comment differently: "What you wrote about is stupid." (Plus maybe more insults and suggestions about why the original poster is so stupid.) But they're probably communicating the same idea. Perhaps a "true" boodle (Boodle) would be maintained better on a site not connected to JA's kits or other stimuli that draw in outsiders?

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 20, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

The Woman at the Washington Zoo is a wonderful book. I cried at the chapter when she sent her daughter out on Halloween, feeling she'd gone forward in time to see her daughter's prom and wedding day.

My dad died when I was 3, I'm now older than he ever was. For a long time I was upset at all he missed in my life, now I wonder about what he missed in his.

Posted by: dbG | January 20, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Straightforward is one thing, as is not wishing to participate in the boodle's imaginary friendship. Aggression is another.

Thanks, Wilbrod, for your thought-provoking input re: the fMRI.

Posted by: dbG | January 20, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Everyone must be stuck indoors, and maybe a bit grouchy.

For what it's worth, recently-released statistics showing a downturn in cancer deaths in the US were accompanied by comments to the effect that colon cancer treatment has improved remarkably.

Twenty or thirty years ago, it seemed the much-publicized War on Cancer would fund a lot of interesting biology, but probably not do much for the wellbeing of the American public. The cynics perhaps suspected that food rationing would be a better idea--maybe something like Cuba's national low-calorie diet program.

Milk is out of season. Gallon of bright pink grapefruit juice in the fridge. The plastic jug's cap is lipstick-pink. Looks fit to kiss, if not to hold a conversation with.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 20, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA -- your description of the Boodle as "a parasite living on the WaPo web site" is wonderful. Great insight.

I come here, daily, to read humor, political opinion, and personal opinion. When personal opinion become opinions of persons, the whole structure falls apart.

Posted by: nellie | January 20, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Uh, oh, the gobbler of chevrons was at work. This may be what I intended:

An insider might write, "Gosh, I'm sorry to hear you have //illness// but don't you think that //your reply about ABC// would be more nuanced if only you knew about //DEF//?" An outsider would phrase the exact same comment differently: "What you wrote about //ABC// is stupid." (Plus maybe more insults and suggestions about why the original poster is so stupid.) But they're probably communicating the same idea. Perhaps a "true" boodle (Boodle) would be maintained better on a site not connected to JA's kits or other stimuli that draw in outsiders?


Posted by: LTL-CA | January 21, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I would not be attracted to that site.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 21, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, I'm not sure I'd want to be part of a "true boodle" that didn't discuss Joel's writing and that didn't welcome newcomers.
I think such a boodle would collapse in on itself pretty quickly -- it would be the ultimate "meta boodle" and wouldn't be very interesting. And, as you say, it wouldn't be approrpriate for publicaiton on the WaPo Web site.

[I'm not sure whether I'm agreeing with you or disagreeing on whether this true boodle of which you speak would be a good thing or a bad thing -- but I think we're on the same page?]

A lot of us showed up here in the first place because we were drawn to Joel's writing and had an interest in the sorts of issues he writes about. As a result of this common interest, relationships developed -- but ultimately I see that as a side benefit. I'm not sure that it's enough to sustain an interesting -- dare I say "intellectual"? -- discussion. And sometimes maintaining relationships within the boodle is done at the expense of welcoming newcomers (and we were *all* newcomers once) and at the expense of fleshing out the topics raised in the Kit. I realize that going off-topic makes for an interesting, spontaneous discussion. And it's great that this has turned into a forum where people can get support, sympathy, etc. But I think we would have lost something if it bacame *only* about that. Balance is key.

I guess this is like any relationship -- there's always the risk that the spice will be lost. And I do sometimes think that things were more "spicy" back when we didn't know each other, and we could take more risks with what we posted, without worrying so much about offending people. Perhaps we can keep some of the spice by a) being more open to "outsiders," and b) being more tolerant of alternative views.

Without wishing to be so presumptuous as to speak for Loomis, may I suggest that maybe she's just been expressing some frustration at these sorts of phenomena. I must admit that I sometimes feel such frustration myself.

[End of rant.]

Posted by: Achenfan | January 21, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA: Grist for the mill, indeed! I've rolled it around in my head repeatedly. (My head is now smoother on the inside!) There's no question that an insularity (indeed, even a certain parochialism) has evolved amongst the regulars which can be offputting (and, to some extent, unwelcoming) to newcomers who aren't "in the know".

But, irritations about trivial insider gossip aside, the only real common thread that I've found in complaints from those who don't consider themselves part of the fold is that they don't appreciate the fact that their stridency isn't appreciated!

Well, gosh, too bad! It's demonstrably untrue that the group here doesn't think about, and doesn't discuss here, weighty issues (even, occasionally, those about which Sr. Achenbach has written). I'm not convinced that the general distaste (among most of the regulars, of whom I'm only marginally a member) for strongly-voiced indignation is such an awful thing.

The semi-regular accusations of lock-step groupthink are, I think, misplaced. There's a pretty healthy difference of opinions represented here, even by the usual suspects. As often as not, I'm a dissenter, and willing to make it known. But it's always seemed natural to use fairly gentle smartassedness (that's a word, right?) rather than all-or-nothing bludgeoning in this forum.

I can remember any number of examples of folks being told that their tone wasn't appreciated, but only a relatively few examples (nearly all of whom were fairly irrational one-time ranters) who were told that their thoughts weren't appreciated.

So, yeah, I agree that the group must guard against the comfy feeling that their precious feelings must always be considered. But, I've got no problem whatsoever with the group sending out the message (although I might sometimes wish for more humor and a little less holier-than-thou) that civility is valued here.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

[I posted that before I saw your 12:13, LTL-CA. I think we *are* on the same page.]

Posted by: Achenfan | January 21, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

"Pull into the first Burger King or Taco Bell you see and strap on the feed bag."

Burger King:
Double Whopper with Cheese Sandwich
1010 calories 65 grams of fat

Whopper with Cheese
770 calories 47 grams of fat

Taco Bell:
Mucho Grande Nachos
1320 calories 82 grams of fat

Taco Salad with Salsa
850 calories 52 grams of fat

Diets high in fat are believed to predispose humans to colorectal cancer. In countries with high colorectal cancer rates, the fat intake by the population is much higher than in countries with low cancer rates. It is believed that the breakdown products of fat metabolism lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). Diets high in vegetables and high-fiber foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals may rid the bowel of these carcinogens and help reduce the risk of cancer.

Even though family history of colon cancer is an important risk factor, majority (80%) of colon cancers occur sporadically in patients with no family history of colon cancer. Approximately 20% of cancers are associated with a family history of colon cancer. And 5 % of colon cancers are due to hereditary colon cancer syndromes. Hereditary colon caner syndromes are disorders where affected family members have inherited cancer causing genetic defects from one or both of the parents.


Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Loomis - Do you know to what extent those colon cancer stats are controlled for age? I'm always a little leery of raw statistics for occurences of cancer within populations, since (obviously) older folks who've escaped all the other deathtraps are at higher risk for virtually all cancers.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

On a lighter note, I ALWAYS eat the celery sticks that come with my chicken wings, and lately I've taken to eating the filters of my cigarettes, for the fiber.

So I should be OK, huh?

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

CowTown mentioned Denny Doherty's death a few hours ago. Here's a Google video of them doing "Creeque Alley":

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8068797538613321904&q=mamas+and+the+papas

It's sad to think that three of the four are now gone.

Posted by: pj | January 21, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, pj. I always got a kick out of the song, but had never seen a video of them performing it.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes, here are my frustrations with the Boodle and it's a discussion that I think we need to have. Nice to see (read) you, Dreamer. In many respects, I think you have framed the issues better than I, below (on rereading my grafs amd it is after midnight here).

I am on solid ground; there is no wave action. Yet some treat the Boodle like a bona fide ship. Yes, I'm aware that we have weaved some silly narratives here, such as being stranded on Alcatraz--mea culpa. But after the fifth time of the conn being passed back and forth I'm beginning to be a little seasick, if you catch my drift. Yes, this conn was offered up once to females with no takers, but it's a ridiculous joke and reeks with power structure. I'd like to think we're all on the same footing here.

I would gladly deselect myself as the Original Group of 12 or whatever the nomenclature is or was--I've forgotten. The first time we said that we'd head to the bunker it may have been funny. Now, particularly when the Boodle topic du jour goes to the home page or someone inadvertently wanders here, the insider bunker jokes persist. It stopped being funny some time ago, at least for me. Now we show true scorn if people with handles we don't recognize show up and they are critical of Boodle content, Dave being a very, very recent example. "Bite me" isn't very welcoming. I'm sick and tired of the elitism. It's not nice and it's not pretty. People who have alternate opinions and dissenting opinions are treated shabbily more often than not.

Also is the Boodle really a church that needs a chaplain? For Jews and agnostics and atheists and anyone else in between the constant, day-in and day-out repitition of Christian doctrine and Christian blessings is really hard to stomach. Yes, there are days that the verbiage goes beyond blessings. Dawkins makes a case for a strong morality without religious affiliation. I'd be just as tired if the chant were representative of other faiths.

Also, how is that remarks made by one are prurient, while similar expressions by another are labeled puerile? Is what is implied not as offensive as what is explicitly stated?

To veer back on-topic about gender and to segue:

When I was young, it was the hope of many of us women that when we matured and received an education we could break into the all-boys club. (Do you realize that many bright young women sit home alone on Saturday nights?) As Maureen Dowd has said, once we arrive, we find, disappointingly, that the glue that holds men together is "naked babes, beer, gear, bathroom humor, scoring tips and a core philosophy that men are incapable of talking to other men unless they are making jokes." Disappointed, yeah.

Learned interesting tidbits today about why our phone isn't working and activities at the command and contol center for the mulch fire. Failure of government and failure of corporate.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Loomis - Do you know to what extent those colon cancer stats are controlled for age?

Bob, if you have an interest, please feel free to investigate it or research it.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Bob,
Live wild, die young. Que sera sera.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Science Tim,
I wouldn't presume to speak for Pluto or Jupiter, but as a 10-year resident of San Antone, I can speak knowledgeably about SwRI:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA012007.01B.NZ.State.pluto0119.1a36c0a.html

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

dbg - An uncle of mine died this past week, and I gathered with family in Georgia on Friday & Saturday to remember him. He (Leonard) was the husband of my dad's twin sister. A lot of fun stories were told about him (he was a pretty memorable figure to most of those who ever met him), but one of my favorites involves someone else who died far too young.

My aunt & uncle were married before my parents got married, and lived in Savannah (GA) along with my dad's mother. Leonard feared very few things or people on earth, but (as he & my aunt accompanied my parents on their elopement to South Carolina for a ... hmmm ... somewhat accelerated marriage), he was in near terror at what his mother-in-law (who was very ill with cancer at the time) was going to say when she found out that he had known about the plans and hadn't told her.

It may not shock you to find that I was the primary reason for the hurried plans (feel free not to mention to my parents that I shared this with you!), and I think that my grandmother eventually forgave him. I'm told that she really, really wanted to make it to see me, but died a few months before I came along. Several of the family members and friends spoke of the fact that at gatherings for HER passing (lo, those many years ago), stories were told of Uncle Leonard's fear of facing the "steel magnolia" that was my grandmother after she found out about his part in the elopement.

I've often wished that I'd had a chance to get to know her. She was, by all accounts, a by-God force to be reckoned with!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Loomis - I get (and basically agree with) many of the points you make about clubbiness, juvenalia, and sectarianism. But, I also agreed with you the first couple dozen times you made the same points.

You seem to value rationality and effective speech, so I'm at a loss to understand your wasted effort in repeatedly (and increasingly bitterly) making the same (obviously ignored) points.

Whatever, pixels are cheap, and you gotta do what you gotta do! But it's fairly easy to engage folks at the level at which they're comfortable, and I think it's not quite as puerile as you insist. Tuning out the uninteresting stuff is pretty easy. (I'm pretty sure that a large portion of my blatherings are tuned out by a large portion of the readers!)

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 2:08 AM | Report abuse

What's not to concentrate on is Fidel Castro's health. El Espectador, a Colombian newspaper, ran a story today with no really new information, but this rather retrospective musing (my incompetent translation):

What's certain is that the Cuban leader's health continues to be a state secret. The only thing that seems clear is that after three unsuccessful operations and many complications, his prognosis is very serious.

In Cuba nobody knows anything or says anything about the subject. The only thing clear is that his brother Raul, vice-president and minister of Defense, is beginning to make some changes: he's rationalizing the island's economy and administration. And Fidel's hyper-revolutionary verbosity and gesturing has disappeared, a relief for those who suffered almost half a century. The petroleum aid from Venezuelan president Chávez and Chinese contracts to buy nickel are also contributing to improvement in Cuba's economy, so the island hasn't become a pressure cooker.

I've been rearranging the books, which are proliferating dangerously. I still haven't read "Personal History" by Katharine Graham or "The Carolina Parakeet" by Noel Snyder. Creepy to see a 1979 photo from the Kissimmee Prairie of a cabbage palm that had once housed parakeets. And a peculiar picture of "Charles Doe at the entrance to his egg collection in Gainesville in 1935." From Princeton University Press, of course.

With a surfeit of good stuff, why bother to be annoyed at displeasing items?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 21, 2007 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Depressing trivia:

"The last known Carolina Parakeet, Incas, died in the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918, nearly four years after the last known Passenger Pigeon, Martha, died in the same aviary cage."

from Dave's Snyder book "The Carolina Parakeet"

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 2:34 AM | Report abuse

By the way, when did the establishment of an "exploratory committee" become tantamount to girding up your garters for serious business?

If pj, Loomis, Wilbrod & I start exchanging e-mails about the possibility of getting the airlines to recognize trained armadillos as service animals, that's an exploratory committee. Somehow, I don't think that the anti-armadillos-on-aircraft faction will get too concerned about it.

When The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Senate opens a big fat bank account with a designated purpose of, "place to stash the campaign swag for 2008", then I will consider that games have ceased and serious business has begun.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 3:03 AM | Report abuse

And by no means was that remark limited to Sen. Clinton's intentions. I've heard numerous references in the past couple of weeks to the establishment of these committees (McCain, Obama, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Thomas Tancredo, and weren't Joe Biden & Dennis Kucinich in there somewhere?), but c'mon now. There's exploratory, and there's shooting rubber bands at the moon!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 3:12 AM | Report abuse

bob, does having 14M in the bank after the election is over count?

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?cid=N00000019

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 21, 2007 3:13 AM | Report abuse

It counts a heck of a lot more than some silly "exploratory committee". I have to giggle, the name of this thing. It's not a name that serious people use when doing serious business!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 3:21 AM | Report abuse

As I understand it, an "exploratory committee" is a financial fiction which allows one to raise funds to be used for determining whether or not one will try to raise funds for actually running a campaign. Now, does that sound serious to you?

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 3:23 AM | Report abuse

A regular lurker here. Posted a few times. Wanted to put in my two cents regarding Senator Clinton. Getting elected and reelected in NY is entirely different than getting elected as President, IMHO. NY is generally liberal. Unfortunately, this country will not elect a woman and especially not Clinton. There seems to be a visceral dislike of her, for whatever reason. Another "unfortunately" is that this country will not elect a black man. So, I'm praying that the Dems will pick someone that can win. We have to get those Republicans out of power. We have suffered enough. We have a long, hard road to travel in the years ahead. This is indeed a dark period in our history. Sorry if this is a downer post. Everyone feel free to now discuss football. Go Colts!

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. First of all, I read your post Error, and I am so sorry. I will pray for you, and I do hope everything turns out well for you. Please keep posting, we want to know how it goes with you. I don't know where you live so I can't visit.

Secondly, I'm sure the reference to chaplin is for me. This is a blog, not a church. And it is Joel's blog. Although my intentions are good, at least I believe them to be good, I can see that what I do just might get on some folks nerve. I do not elevate me, but Him that made me. I do not apologize for that. I'm sticking with what I believe, for what is the alternative? Embracing alternatives that hate my beliefs and me too? I think not.

That said, I believe the whole argument is that I go, and go quickly. My hope and prayer has been that we all remain here, and accept each other regardless of our political, religious, or any other beliefs. I still hold on to that. Thank you everyone for the good time, and for the chance to make friends. We are still friends. I will lurk, and visit occasionally. I will continue to pray for all, and will sign in when I get the chance. I am not offended. I want good things for you my friends, you have not harmed me in any way. I want this blog to be so well known here and around the world, and it will be so, and not because I say so, but because of the good people here, and the writing.

Have a great day.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 21, 2007 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Aaaack, other than Cassandra (good morning to you too and have a good day as well, Cassandra!), I think I've killed the boodle! I should have stayed lurking ...

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, jlessl -- I remember you.
No, you didn't kill the boodle. Remember, it's early Sunday morning, so people are probably still asleep.
Don't be a stranger . . .

Posted by: Achenfan | January 21, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Jessl, I hope you are wrong about your country not being willing to elect a woman or someone who is black. In order for things to change the attempts must be made, I may have reservations about Hillary Clinton, and none so far about Barack Obama, but I think they should run.

Cassandra, you know that vast majority here do not want you to go, please think carefully your decision, as I do not beieve you have caused problems. Your faith is an integral part of you and for that you should take pride. Whatever you choose to do know that I have the highest respect for you. Have a great day.

Posted by: dmd | January 21, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

dmd - I wish and hope that I am wrong. There are many people in this country that just will not vote for anyone other than a white male. Sad, but true, I'm sorry to say. I am just being realistic I think. Lord, how I would love to be proven wrong. Can the Dems take that chance, however? Listen, GW was re-elected (forget for a moment that 2000 thang). It has to tell you something about the voting populace of this country. Again, unfortunately.

Achenfan, you have an amazing memory. It's been quite awhile since I posted. I do read the blog almost every day.

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Jlessl, I too remember you, here as well I would like to see another female leader but like you know it is important to have a great candidate first, perhaps this is the time I remember the first Bush run and people thought he would be good as he was someone they would like to have a beer with, hopefully enough of the American public learned that is not necessarily the best method of choosing a President.

I am probably not the best judge thought as I liked Hillary the most when she was getting on everyone's nerves.

Posted by: dmd | January 21, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Star-Moon together reminder.

Ivansmom, the Jostein Gaardner author of _Sophie's World_ taught high school for years in Norway. After a string of successful -- indeed intellectually challenging--- books for young adults, he found the Sophie Prize. It is a bit like a Nobel, but reflects the curious thinking of JG. "Who is influencing the world for good." My neighbor Herman Daly, economist, won the prize in part for book co-authored with John Cobb. _For the Common Good_ (1989; 1994)

Spirituality alert: Cobb is a Christian theologican. Their book discusses locally-engendered, sustainable development as offering both economic stability and dignity in the developing world.

Daly may be remembered in future for his notion of uneconomic growth. Globalization lifts principally the boats -- cruise ships? -- of international corporations. Not all growth promotes the economies of countries, or indeed, regions.

As for discussion on boodle ethics and ontology, I add this:

In digital environments, moves toward intimacy help create community. I think that this blog-response group is how we would behave at a community picnic or even bar gathering.
*Big chat (politics, sports, culture, events) interwoven with
"lite" fare(kids, pets, job-stories, and humor).

Spats and conflict occur at picnics, bar stools, cubicle farms and whoah! families. Manners help.

Why not, I say. Looks human. I like the mix.

Here is my big comment:
Clinton and Obama -- just seeing their faces reminds me of two other iconic moments with "Mrs. Ferraro" and Jesse Jackson. Jackson's speech at the nomination convention in year X is one of the most moving bits of televised history ever.

Obama is telegenic and bright but woefully new to politics.

Clinton carries Clinton.Baggage. American Idol is snarkier than ever, on purpose. We can expect the same of this political campaign. Yuck, I say. Human somehow, but not our better angels. OR Angles, as I first wrote.

But the original kit was funny! So here is my "lite" and personal comment:

Son of CP at 14 gets about half of the content. He looked up at me, when stumbing over "vas deferens".....

"Is that Latin for vast difference."

"Yes, sorta, and even more."

He Wikipedia'ed it. I can't believe I wrote that.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 21, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Let me point out one very important and overarching fact.

This is Joel's frickin' blog.

If Joel doesn't approve of the implicit power structure - or whatever - Joel will speak.

Joel, and only Joel, should have the authority to chase people of this blog.

And so far the only thing that Joel has stated is that he dislikes personal sniping, and so anyone who wishes to stay here, myself included, is honor bound to follow these wishes.

Outside of that, if someone is offended by this place, may I suggest, as always, that the Web is a great big place. And I am sure Joel will refund the membership fee.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I completely forgot, I had my husband read the kit, I did not have to ask what his answers were the laughter gave them away. Thanks for giving us such a great kit to share we both enjoyed it.

Posted by: dmd | January 21, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. What RD & Bob S. said.

Cassandra, don't go. I don't think anyone posting today suggested you should leave. There may have been a wish that you not give your daily blessings, etc., but you should feel free to disregard that. That whole topic has been discussed here before, and the consensus seems to be: some people appreciate it, some don't, some don't care. It is, to you, an important part of your posts. We all, including the posters who don't like your blessings, post things that others don't appreciate, and some of us do so fairly regularly. We're all free to skip over those parts we don't want to read.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Loomis: //People who have alternate opinions and dissenting opinions are treated shabbily more often than not.//

As someone wrote last night, *attitude* seems to be more of a trigger than dissenting opinions.

//For Jews and agnostics and atheists and anyone else in between the constant, day-in and day-out repitition of Christian doctrine and Christian blessings is really hard to stomach.//
As one of the above, my stomach is fine. I'm happy to see an obviously intelligent and kind person who has a dissenting opinion from mine post about hers.

You wrote that you have frustrations with the Boodle and it's a discussion we need to have. I believe the umbrage many in the Boodle have taken with your negativity is something we need to discuss also. Discounting good-faith postings by others and reacting like a cat with her tail stuck in the door is not helpful.

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

For a lurker that seldom posts, I'm exceeding my limit here. But just an observation from one who reads this blog on a regular basis. I think the problem is nuance. Blog postings, and emails, lack it. That is why, in business, they counsel you to re-read your emails before hitting send. Messages can be interpreted as harsh without that facial expression or voice inflection. And, not to mention, we all get cranky once in awhile, no?

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

And Dreamer's post has disappeared, so we don't know what s(he) wrote.

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

She didn't post as Dreamer, above, dbG... she used her Achenfan handle.

All her posts are here.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Humor, to me, is the sine qua non of the Achenblog. Categorical humor includes parody, ridicule, sarcasm, satire, and even snarking and sniping. It is generally recognized that the humor of superiority and degradation are part of the sthick and may serve a purpose as anodyne. Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit. But truth, however biting, generally wins over fawning flattery.

That said, the nexus between "The Gender Test" and the inclusion of the text of Hillary's announcement in the blog instant struck me as funny. Think about it.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

jlessl, there's a limit!? I'm doomed. Glad to see you here, exceed away.

Sunshine, sunshine. We escaped most of yesterday's storm, and I expect and hope the ice will continue to melt today. I have to hike up to my relative's house to claim my car now, as I couldn't risk our driveway again yesterday. Ah, bracing fresh air!

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh! Is that the Pitt-Jolie progeny. erh, PRODIGY.

I am humbled, at both your emerging genetic beauty but your brains.

And I bet the social justice quotient is high, too.

Celebrities, oh how they elevate us.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 21, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so now I'm on a roll. Ha, ha. I swear, I'll stop after this. But back to the Hillary electability (is that a word?) issue. Perhaps, she should use as a campaign slogan "A vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill". You know, there are many of us who wish he could run again. Ah, for those days when the only presidential transgression was infidelity, rather than an immoral war, costing this country in thousands of American lives lost and placing a horridous debt upon our children, our grandchildren, and on and on. Oh and that pesky stuff about taking away our liberties, one by one. All the while when we're supposedly fighting for freedom and democracy elsewhere? And look out for King Bush, he's got his sights on Iran and if that happens, Iraq will look like a day at the beach. But that's a whole other rant.

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Cassandra, I was counting on you.

Since Loomis is now a medical expert eager to blame my diet for my condition she should talk to my doctor who said there's really no known trigger. Also she should add in the chicken salads I've been eating almost exclusively for about three years now.

See ya on the funny pages.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 21, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG. I'd missed that, although it resonates in distant memory.

My question is, just taking one example, how does January 8, 2007 09:51 AM express frustration at the phenomena Achenfan and Loomis have cited?

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Error, I agree that was ill done. But please don't go. Please!

Posted by: Yoki | January 21, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Okay. I can't stop. So I happen to have some time on my hands this Sunday a.m., what can I say?

Anyway, Error, you are one of my favorite posters. Martooni is the other. He is so dang funny. With regard to your current health problem, you will do what you need to do. We all wish you well.

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This might post twice, so I'm sorry if it does....

jlessl... you've now learned the secret to serial boodling:

"Just click 'submit'!"

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

jlessl, I have to laugh to see another "mostly-lurker" on the slippery slope to achen-addiction. Welcome to the monkey house, friend.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 21, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to change the topic,but there are a few games on this afternoon.
Game #1
New Orleans at Da Bears
Gametime temp 30 with snow,this should be fun to watch.
I am pulling for New Orleans,last years record was 3-13,A few good draft picks and a free agent pick up in Brees and they are 1 game away from their first Super Bowl.
They have the #1 offense against Da Bears great D.Weather will be a factor,considering no team that plays in a dome has every played in a super bowl.I am hoping that changes today.I always love it when the field is covered with snow and they fall down and slide another 10 yards.
My pick Da saints 17 da bears 10

Game #2
New England at the Colts
game time temp 31 and snowing
But unlike Da Bears they play in a dome
game time temp 70 and only heat pump wind
Peyton Manning vs Tom Brday,but I think it will come down to Adan Vineatari vs the Pats kicker(too hard to spell his name).It sure would be Ironic if Indy wins on a last second field goal.I think this is the week that Indy gets soft on run defense,NE will set up the run,by using the pass,something the cheifs and ravens failed to do.

My pick NE 31-Colts 21
Now last week I was completely wrong on all my picks,perhaps sentiment played a part.So if I were a betting person,I would pick opposite of what Green is going with.

Enjoy the games and the snow everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 21, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Ah! A Vonnegut reference.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 21, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yoki and jlessl, thanks so much. As RD said, it is indeed a big World Wide Web, so you can find me at errorflynn.org.

No dirty word filter, no Loomis.

Any Achenblog boodlers or ex-pats are welcome. I figure at this point there's got to be almost an equal number of former boodlers as current. :-)

Shiloh, you cracked me up last night, as usual.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 21, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

My $.02:
Regarding the boodle: this is a free country w/ freedom of speech and freedom of the press. RD: I agree with you that this is Joel's blog, and thus, subject to his rules. If he is ok w/ both Loomis' and Cassandra's posts, self-police action is uncalled for. He does exercise his zapper occasionally, and, compared to say, On Faith or the Mommy Blog, the conversation here is quite friendly, and thus, he does not need to exercise his lightening bolts often. Yet, you argue the most heatedly with those whom you know the best. I lurk here most of the time, post here infrequently, am not one of the 12, am a hanger-on, if you will. Yet I enjoy reading both Joel and the commenters' writing. If something offends or doesn't interest me, I scroll past. I would invite all of you to do the same with all of my posts, and any others which annoy or offend you.

Sen. Clinton: I think that this country is ready for a woman president, if the right candidate were to run. Is she the right candidate? I do not think so. She is a divisive figure, and the country is too divided already. We need a unifying figure, or, here's a crazy idea, a cross-party ticket, say, McCain/Obama, or someone else. Putting her policy aside (which I cannot say I'm well-informed of), I do not think she should get the Dem. nomination.

Sorry, more than $.02

Posted by: Tangent | January 21, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Never claimed to be a medical expert, but do know some basics-minor in dietetics. I am not making diagnoses here obviously.

Here's how I see it. If you don't know about the dangers of a high fat diet or excessive alcohol consumption or heavy smoking or caloric intake that have been in the news for years, then it's hard to have sympathy. That's why the Darwin Awards were created. You have the right as Americans to make poor choices if that is what you are doing. You have every right as an American not to accept responsibility for your life. I have little sympathy in these instances, to be painfully honest.

However, scientists have been exploring for some time now genetic links to alcoholism. There are genetic links to colon cancer, as I posted, and to diabetes, as Mudge has posted. If your problems are connected to genetics (as are some of mine) over which you have absolutely no control, then you have my deepest and continuing and most tender sympathies.

If you yourself are exacerbating known genetic weaknesses through unwise activities, again I don't have much sympathy. If the government is exacerbating known genetic weaknesses through unwise activities, as is the case with the local mulch fire in my instance, then I am royally forded.

If anything, those diagnosed with a given disease or those suffering health consequences of drugs disguised as consumer items (anyone see the latest news in the past week about how nicotine levels in cigarettes have been deliberately increased by tobacco companies?) should be demanding more science and in far too many cases more government oversight.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy - Say it ain't so! I think the Colts will buck (ooh, a pun) their jinx and not choke - Manning, are you listening - and actually win today. Well, at least that's what I'm hoping. This team wins, wins, wins all season long and when push comes to shove ... sheesh, it's about time they won when it counts.

I'm also hoping we elect Hillary. Or Obama. Either will do in my book. Hey, I happen to like the dream world I live in.

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You can beat it Flynn.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, now I'm really steamed. Loomis, it amazes me that you consider yourself so perfect that you feel free to *continue* to judge and offend and, obviously deliberately, hurt a friend. It would not kill you to just back off, you know?

'bye all. I'll lurk. If friends feel like chatting, leave me a note at http://yokiskitchen.blogspot.com

I'll keep working on the cookbook (recipes to dbioyoki@hotmail.com) and let you know how that stands from time to time.

Posted by: Yoki | January 21, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

No, Cassandra, I honestly don't think you should go. You have a great deal of common sense and world experience. For one, I am interested to know why you know so much about smoke.

People here are thin-skinned or maybe it's just that my hide is pretty tough for a variety of reasons. I've been mischaracterized a number of times but I'm not too upset about it. When someone misinterprets and projects my emotional state, I'm far more uneasy.

As pure example, if Tim were to call me an ignoramus about astronomy, I would say that he is correct. Hermoine Granger I ain't. I am interested, but my interest level is low, in contrast to paleontology. I wouldn't be offended if Tim called me an ignoramus, derived from ignorant, meaning lacking in knowledge or training. If someone were to call me uneducated about a topic and explain why, I would accept it in stride or argue to the contrary. If someone were to call me stupid, I would take umbrage because any topic under the sun can be learned.

Know that the word baptize came into our language from the Greek which means to immerse in knowledge. From the web:

In Tamil Nadu, "baptism" was mostly. translated as jnanasnanam, a neologism from Sanskrit, which literally means bath of knowledge.

If this were just a humor blog (Is it just a humor blog?), then I would say that in some instances I am humorless. But in the past there has been a great deal of science and politics in which I am intensely interested.

I would like to talk about Hillary and her presidential bid, but my husband is calling me to assist him with pruning since he was uneducated in the subject. He now knows a great deal about the art. However, my two hands are ready to steady the ladder. Yes, mean are sometimes necessary.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Yoki,
I am rather bothered that you took some of our recipes for compilation without asking. If they're for your own compilation, no problemo. Offering them beyond your own kitchen as a collection is another matter. How would you have handled the one I provided for cranbery apple pie--whose source I cited and which is probably under copyright?

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice."
--Ben Johnson

Posted by: Tangent | January 21, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry to hear your news Error, whether you continue to contribute here or not (I wish you'd stay) please be sure to have people to talk with. I'm sending you positive vibes.

Cassandra and others, I think Tangent is right. If Joel is okay with the posts here, I wouldn't spend a second worrying about what anyone else here thinks. In any gathering of this many people, not all will be the best of friends or even necessarily like each other. What's important is to keep an open mind and a good measure of civility. Just because we can't see each other in person, that does not give us leave to act in a manner we would never use in 'real' life. I have been plenty ticked off in the past by certain things here, but my mother would roll over in her grave if I lowered myself to respond in a less than polite way. I can always walk away from the computer and throw pillows around the room or take a walk, much healthier than letting my emotions go nuts inappropriately.

Ok, that was my little venting, chalk it up to nerves about the Pats game. Of course I want them to win, but if they don't I'm hoping that the Saints beat the Bears, would love to see them win the Superbowl if we can't. The worst scenario would be Pats/Saints 'cause you know who everyone in the country except New Englanders would be rooting for...

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 21, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I haven't taken anything that wasn't sent to me by willing Boodlers, all attributions are correct and where copyright is an issue, I correspond with the publishers. Don't try to teach me my business.

Posted by: Yoki | January 21, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Loomis: //People here are thin-skinned//
Yes, and EF is to blame for his diagnosis, unless it's strictly genetic. We get it. You bear NO responsibility for your insensitivity.

//my hide is pretty tough for a variety of reasons.//
Your recent snide retorts indicate otherwise. The fact that you ascribe the finest motives to your own behavior while castigating others for theirs indicates both a massive lack of self-understanding and overabundance of self-importance.

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, please return at some time in the future. Your insight and writing is *so* interesting. While the dog peeps (thanks, CP) will miss you, I'm sure others will too.

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I think you're off-base about yoki and the recipes, Loomis. You may have missed several longish threads several months ago wherein yoki announced she would like to compile the recipes; there was discussion about same; she put out an additional call for more recipes and gave her e-mail; several boodlers then posted a few more recipes, etc., etc. (I sent her six, off-line, that I never posted here; she has referred to having received several others). There was plenty of opportunity in thos discussions for you raise any personal objections about any recipes you may have posted. I don't recollect you did so at the time.

I suppose we could get into a Clintonesque question of defining "asking," but I see zero question or problem over yoki taking receipes we've posted here. To my knowledge you yourself have only ever posted one recipes, that for your pancakes, and which several of us had to virtually beg you to post. Whether yoki took that one I have no idea. If it bothers you, then just tell her you don't want her to use your sacred pancake recipe. Nothwithstanding that, I don't see you have any reason to be concerned about anybody else's recipes.

To my knowledge, recipes cannot be copyrighted per se (as a list of ingredients; however, the text could be, and in that case the solution would be to rewrite the language of the instructions. And yes, it would be "proper" to cite the sources, where known. But I can think of no field of knowledge that could be any LESS susceptible to "proper" sourcing than recipes.

Um...er... that cranberry-apple pie recipe you posted and that you think might have been copyrighted? Did you yourself check? No? You mean, you knowingly posted what you suspected to be a copyrighted recipe without checking? You didn't ask permission of the (probable) copyright holder? Tsk. Tsk.

You also seem to be unaware that there are about a gazillion recipe books out there with "stolen" recipes in them. Maybe two gazillion, I dunno. But I suspect what this boodle doesn't need is a self-appointed recipe copyright policeperson. We have enough self-appointed morality police around here as it is.

/signed/

Mighty Favog, self-appointed boodle deity

aka Curmudgeon, self-appointed boodle shop steward and conn-passer-in-chief

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Joel ever feels that the Achenblog is his toy -- his ant farm, if you will. Sometimes he drops in a piece of meaty news, some times it is sugary humor. Then he can watch how the critters react.

Posted by: nellie | January 21, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, that is simply genius.

Of course, like a science project. Or a Twilight Zone episode.

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I wouldn't be inclined to use the term "ignoramus" because it carries strongly negative connotations, regardless of its etymology and precise technical denotation. It implies a willful choice to remain ignorant, which is not correct, nor fair.

Having gotten started on this, I will weigh in to note that I do feel that the whole discussion is getting bogged down in interpersonal issues that are kind of silly. Remember, we really are "imaginary friends", and much of our friction is imaginary, as well. These things are simply not well handled with typed text and without prior personal experience of each other to help flesh out the written words. I think we would all do well to take a deep breath and let our umbrage go. After all, if it loves you, it will come back! I don't think that I'm cold or callous, and I'm not indifferent to these issues; I just feel uncomfortable addressing them with such a limited means of communication.

My personal rule for each of my postings is to (try to) judge whether I'm posting for my own benefit or because I think I have something to offer to others. In this case, I'm popping up because I was personally cited, otherwise I've been mostly staying out of the fray. Not above, just out of. And I say "try to", because I hardly claim perfection in self-judgment. I delete about half of the posts that I start. Rightly or wrongly, I'm hitting "Post" on this one.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 21, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the gender test: I think it's pretty funny. I recognize real people in many of the stereotypes. It's funny, also, for the cases in which I know people who are precisely opposite the stereotypes in the test. The funniest, to me, are people I have known who consciously model themselves after such stereotypes, because it is the only notion they have of how to be an actual man or woman, which is sad and painful. Funny without pain is like coffee without caffeine: pointless and unworthy. It's the painful truth that sells me the humor.

I imagine that the folks of Mianus, CT feel pain all the time, thus qualifying for my humor standard.

Posted by: Tim | January 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Is it just a humor blog?" Funny you should ask, Loomis. Joel's humor from my perspective is intrinsic to the blog, but it is not limited ("just') to humor; witness the humorless participants. It works because it's fun, just as "doin' the dozens" is fun, save for the goat.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh yikes... you mean there are people in Mianus? Ouch.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

SciTim You only delete half? I've been running about 75%.

But your point is correct. Why should we care a rat's buttocks what some lady in Texas thinks?

Unless directly assaulted I am simply going to ignore those unpleasant posts. I encourage other's to do the same, and let Joel take care of the rest.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, long time no type.

As long as I'm in an opining mood, I suppose I might say something actually relevant to Joel's Kit -- The Hillary Clinton part of it, that is. I am unusual in that the Clintons, male & female alike, do not personally interest me all that much. I never got "the Clinton magic", nor have I ever understood the mortal fear that Republicans seem to feel when confronted by Clinton. I mean that literally -- after the election of (W.J.) Clinton, a Republican acquaintance spoke unironically of her fear and how he is just plain scary -- and his wife even scarier. I still don't know what the heck she was talking about. Was she afraid that Bill would come to her house and try to seduce her? Succeed at it? That Hillary would come for a three-way? The whole thing is utterly mystifying to me. George W. Bush has given us plenty to actually, personally, physically fear, yet she voted for him. I didn't care for the politics of G.H.W. Bush, nor Reagan, but they never gave me visceral fear for the future of the nation. What's the problem?

It's this sort of unreasoning fear that Hillary Clinton needs to overcome. I won't write her off, but I remain skeptical of the ability to make people think when they don't want to do so.

Hillary Clinton represents many policies in which I believe. On the other hand, there are many people who would vote against her, purely based on who she is and what they fantasize about her. That isn't fair, obviously. Presidential politics isn't about fair. It's about enacting the will of the people. I am not willing to sell out my policy interests in the welfare of the whole nation so that I can stick a thumb in the eye of the Republicans and put up a candidate many of them abhor; not unless I feel certain that my policy preferences will get more than 50% of the Electoral College in the process. It's not about the person, it's about the nation. I'm not declaring that I will vote against her; heck I'll probably vote for her (in MD's meaningless primary), and I definitely would vote for her if she were the Democratic candidate for President. But I remain uncertain whether I think she is the wisest choice for candidate. There's many months left in which to be convinced one way or the other.

Posted by: Tim | January 21, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

There is also humor in parapraxis, as in: "Yes, mean (sic) are sometimes necessary."

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I agree with you about Hillary Clinton. I think she would be a good president; she's smart and I think her heart is in the right place (my daughter says "everyone should have to do a report about Hillary Clinton--they'd all support her).

But *right now* she's not a good candidate. I do like what she said about understanding the Republican machine and I don't think anyone could 'swift-boat' her successfully--she wouldn't put up with it. Maybe time will tell. Maybe Bush has smartened up this country a little bit and people might see that you don't want a president who pretends to be a regular joe.

I also don't understand people's fears of the Clintons. It makes no sense to me. I had one friend who said that Al Gore was a "very bad man." He may be or not be plenty of things, but I don't understand that accusation.

Remember when Bob Dole ran against Bill and said, "They're gonna try to ram universal healthcare coverage down your throats again!" ?

Well, yeah! I wish they had rammed harder. Then the martoonis of our country wouldn't be leaving the hospital before they should just because they can't afford it.

Maybe she has to run only to maintain her political clout. But just like Tim says, time will tell.

And perhaps this should be one of my 75% deleted posts, but it may be time for a good TBG ramble...

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi Tim, just passing through and got caught up in Error's bad news and the preachy nemesis of more than a few bloggers.

You are correct about the visceral reactions to the Clintons. Their demonization was an orchestrated effort by the self-appointed moral majority neocons. I say that vis-a-vis being a first-hand witness to hellfire and damnation sermons about how they imperil the moral fibre of the nation - a political message delivered with evangelical fervor through many churches. The race for the democratic nomination will be new fodder for the pews.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

If we're an ant farm, I'm easy to spot: I'm the one with the toolbelt and sawdust on his antennae riding around on a psychedelic caterpillar.

How I miss the larval days when doting ants brought me goodies and fussed over me.

Posted by: martooni | January 21, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

.. or a not-so-good ramble.

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

Good double ent, TBG. At first I thought, how sensitive!

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Where can I get my copy of the pirate recipes? I've been waiting patiently for the work to be done on this project and would like to get mine before the whole thing gets bogged down in lawsuits, injunctions, and kneecappings.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ack! I didn't mean *that*.

Yikes. Next thing you know I'll be talking about Mianus again.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This brings up an editing question...

When you are using asterisks as a substitute for italics, does the asterisk go *before*, or *after,* the comma?

I guess *after*, since the comma would be in roman--not italic, right?

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

martooni - you never fail to deliver the funny. You make me chuckle out loud. That's why you're a valued poster to this blog. Does anyone remember that Twilight Zone episode where the guy was like a hamster or something? I mean he in this room, obviously didn't realize he was someone's "pet", running on a treadmill?

Posted by: jlessl | January 21, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, TBG, it does seem kind of personal, but if you want to share, . . . (smile)

Posted by: dbG | January 21, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Shiloh, I winced twice at that one - first for the typo, then because of the actual meaning intended! Luckily we're being spare the term "Hubby" these days, tho - prolly because someone decided to criticize other people's shortcuts. Always kinded hated "Hubby."

Posted by: Wheezy | January 21, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

It's snowing outside my house righjt now. Outside temperature has dropped 3°F in the past hour. I see we have a winter weather advisory.

Woo-hoo! Snow day tomorrow?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 21, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of gender, I just went to the Mall with my wife and daughter. I think they need to issue little badges for men to wear while their female relations try on clothing. Something to indicate that it is not by choice that one is loitering around the brassieres.

On the way home we saw lots of accidents. I guess it has been so long since the area had snow that people forgot all about that "slippery road" business.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Do parents really like snow days too?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 21, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I watched New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on "This Week" this morning ( I saw "Ten Years After" 8 o'clock at the Montreal Forum) and was favourably impressed. He has the most extensive resume of anyone in the race.
This seems like a guy who could make a run up the middle.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/21/AR2007012100264.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/us/politics/21cnd-richardson.html?hp&ex=1169442000&en=7e45b2bbd7d4a4ba&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I am a parent, and I still like snow days. As long as there are not too many of them in a row. Sledding. The fireplace. Board games. It's all good stuff. That is, on the days on which, I, too, have a snow day. Even when I have to go to work in the snow, the inconveniences of snow do not outweigh my happy memories and my appreciation of the beauty. Plus, I am unimpressed by our local school system and by their emphasis on homework quantity over quality, so I consider snow days to be an academic gift. We are looking at moving, choosing a new house based almost entirely on the quality of the local schools.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 21, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And special projects SciTim. One musn't forget the special projects. Evidently the school district believes that all that stands between us and barbarism is an understanding of how to make historical figures from Pringle's cans.

I imagine Fairfax county will be at least two-hours late. They are notoriously finicky and have been known to cancel school because of "nippyness."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

As a parent, I like snow days - but not FIVE IN A ROW! Okay, I know, I'll stop ranting about it. Ice is thawing, I may make it back out the driveway this afternoon (thanks to hard work from Ivansdad) and I confidently expect the Boy will have school tomorrow.

I reluctantly agree with ScienceTim & TGB regarding Senator Clinton's candidacy. I like her, always have, and respect her. She's got a lot going for her. However, the fear and hatred directed to her is visceral, and I don't think she can overcome it all with reason, sound policy, or friendliness (should she choose those routes). There are lots of Hilary-haters here, and it goes beyond hatred of Bill (they hate him too, but separately). I don't know whether some of it is fear of a strong woman; there are women who dislike her just as much as men. I don't know what it is, but it is real and I'm afraid will pose a real obstacle to victory should she be the Democratic nominee.

I like an Edwards/Obama ticket myself.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

You know, I'm puzzled. I've never been in a situation where being mean got me what I wanted/needed. I have been in situations where I was mad as he11 and jumped up and down and wrote strong letters to CEO's. But deliberately hurting someone's feelings to get my way or made a point is a foreign concept. How rude. How totally unproductive.

Life is not fair. Let me say that again: LIFE IS NOT FAIR. That is rule #1. Rule #2 is that what goes around, comes around. It seems to me that if you are consistently nasty to people, you are on a downward spiral that leads to places I don't care to go. How much better to ask for redress with exquisite politeness, or even to keep one's mouth shut.

As Lincoln so aptly noted, the best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends. It's even better not to make your friends your enemies in the first place.

Peace!

Thanks, Wheezy, for the heads' up. I won't refer to my spouse as hubby any more.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Mudge--I, too, would have answered "all of the above" for #4 and #12. I'm not sure what that means, but at least you're not alone.

The reason I like this blog is that people are able, for the most part, to disagree without being disagreeable. This is a particularly rare quality these days. Most of us read something here every day that we disagree with, but let it go.

However, there is one statement I can't let pass unchallenged. //People who have alternate opinions and dissenting opinions are treated shabbily more often than not.// I find this to be hypocritical at best, particularly in light of what follows: //day-in and day-out repitition of Christian doctrine and Christian blessings is really hard to stomach// How is this not "shabby?"

Posted by: Raysmom | January 21, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little teapot,
short and stout
Here is my handle,
here is my spout

When I get all steamed up,
hear me shout
Just tip me over
and pour me out!

--

I thought this little ditty might add a little levity and irreverance to the thread, but dangit... I run it 'round in my head and it turns out to be topical to the kit (the Hillary part) *and* several of the boodle sub-threads.

Posted by: martooni | January 21, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

THAT, Martooni, is pure genius.

Glad you're obviously feeling better.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

But Martooni - a post combining irreverence and levity on-topic is a real coup! Keep it up. I'm lucky to do either irreverence or levity separately, without worrying about a topic.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Interesting bit on the Hillary '08 thing:

"[Hillary] has told friends that she is more worried about winning the Democratic nomination than winning a general election against a Republican"

Found it on NYTimes, via Huffington Post.
(linky follows): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/us/politics/21dems.html?hp&ex=1169442000&en=3a58675662e8aec3&ei=5094&partner=homepage

btw... anyone for a cup of tempest on the veranda?

Posted by: martooni | January 21, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/03/AR2006010300316.html

The ethics guidelines of the International Association of Culinary Professionals focus on giving proper attribution to recipes that are published or taught. The association advises using the words "adapted from," "based on" or "inspired by," depending on how much a recipe has been revised. ("Adapted from" is the phrasing favored by The Washington Post and many other newspaper food sections, which, along with culinary instructors, enjoy "fair use" of someone's creation for the purpose of teaching, news reporting, scholarship or research.) The only time a recipe should be printed without attribution, the association contends, is when it has been changed so substantially that it no longer resembles its source.

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all! *waving*

Maggieo'd, that was very good advice to Error, I hope he can avoid crowds whenever possible.

Boodlers come, Boodlers go (you're still missed, kguy, and Cassandra and Error will be missed as well, if they go). Posts appear and scroll by. Pick out what you consider to be the wheat and let the chaff keep on going. What else is life about, anyway?

Sneaks, I'm also on pins and needles about the Pats game. Hoping the Saints can turn things around. Three fumbles already... *SIGH*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 21, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

http://www.amiright.com/parody/misc/traditional802.shtml

*sigh and double sigh*

"I'm A Little Teapot" Based on the performance by Traditional
"I'm a DD-Cup" Parody by Phil Alexander

I'm a double-D cup, large and round
Good flotation, I won't drown
See the boys's chins drop to the ground
(As I) lift 'em up and drop 'em down

I'm a double-D cup, I'll announce
They're two stone if they're an ounce
When I get all dressed up, I can flounce
Holy moly! Watch 'em bounce.

I'm a double-D cup, yes I am
But I'm not the height of fashion glam
Maybe lose some weight? Now, that's a plan:
'Specially 'cause I'm a man

Posted by: Loomis | January 21, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Slyness & Ivansmom... ;-)

I'm now off to Little Bean's bedroom to peruse her library of pre-kindergarten tomes for more bits of wisdom adults need reminded of.

(sorry for the dangling participle... pain killers in action, y'know)

Posted by: martooni | January 21, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Martooni - painkillers are the Karmic compensation for disease.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Many years ago a group I belonged to put together a cookbook. There was/is a company out there somewhere that takes a group's recipes, puts them into a book format, makes an index, binds the books, etc. for a percentage of the proceeds.

The rule of thumb we were told was that if I took Mary's Recipe and changed seven things in it (1/2 tsp. cinnamon changed to 1 tsp cinnamon, for instance) then I could enter the "new" recipe as Nellie's Recipe.

Does anyone know if this has a basis in fact?

Posted by: nellie | January 21, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Just add "bile optional."

Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - wise words indeed. Am watching the game with the Presario on my lap. (My wife keeps complaining about "clicking.") I must admit I do not care a lot about this game, but I agree it would be nice if the Saints won, but it doesn't look good.

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

Cute, Loomis! Thoughtful of you to provide something for us Neanderthals. : )

(I'm grinning here)

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Boob jokes?

"Any topic under the sun can be learned."

Some topics have to be experienced personally, but yeah, with enough learning, you can bluff your way through a discussion of prostate pain, for instance. Or the traumas of underwire.

But there's a big difference between discussing cars based on articles in Car Fancy and hearing BC talk about his latest hot-rod.
There's a big difference between reading about marine stuff and hearing Mudge and others mention trivia about boats. And there's a big difference between reading Hawking's books and listening to SciTim hawk in between jokes and mention the latest at NASA.

And so on. That's why I like this blog-- you can get first-hand references to esoteric subjects and actual NEWS beyond who's flying high, prying, lying, or dying that is the fodder of newspapers.

Nobody's stupid here, everybody has certain knowledge that not everybody else has. What you accuse the blog of lacking, I actually find to be its main strength.

I would add that all genetic weaknesses are exaceberated by the stress of living. I recommend you read
http://wilbrodthegnome.blogspot.com/2006/11/engine-that-runs-cool-lasts-longer.html

The most long-lived mice strain originally were the most short-lived mice strains-- the genetics were the same.

Now as we are full-blast norovirus season, here's a reminder to all of you to be extra-careful in washing your hands and sharing any glasses or silveware with norovirus sufferers.

It's a pretty wicked case of stomach flu, and the worst is that you often don't even want to drink anything to stay hydrated. I've heard of public events and workplaces being closed down due to norovirus epidemics just last week.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson annouced that his hat is in presidental dem. nom. ring.

What's not to like?

Western state
energy wonk
Hispanic-biracial
knows something about nukes
in the trenches on border issues.

Go Bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: College Parkian | January 21, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

//Nobody's stupid here//
Sorry Wilbrod, I'm officially stupid according to the Wonderlic (tm) intelligence test. I've always scored slightly above average on all the other IQ tests I've taken but Mr. Wonderlic scores me as a barely functioning moron. This is the first time I've been told that I've failed an intelligence test and been refused an interview based upon my inadequacy.
Shortly after graduating from college I was judged ineligible for a factory job because I lacked a high school diploma. The HR lady reasonably pointed out that while I had a college diploma and a university certificate, I had completed my courses as a mature student (I was 41, OK I'm slow) and did not have the required high school credentials.
I must confess disappointment at the results but questioning the authority of a discipline as scientifically rigorous as Human Resources with their lie detectors, handwriting analysis, and other powerful psychometric tools would smack of sour grapes.
Oh, the humanities.


Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 - that test sounds weird - is it one of those HR tests designed to show if you're a "team player" or something? Because if it truly is supposed to measure intelligence it's obviously faulty. I admit I'm too lazy to go look it up. It's a pain you had to go through that - just applying for jobs is hard enough, to my mind.

I recommend a look at Error's new blog -

http://web.mac.com/errorflynn/iWeb/Error%20Flynn/Welcome.html

Posted by: Wheezy | January 21, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 - that test sounds weird - is it one of those HR tests designed to show if you're a "team player" or something? Because if it truly is supposed to measure intelligence it's obviously faulty. I admit I'm too lazy to go look it up. It's a pain you had to go through that - just applying for jobs is hard enough, to my mind.

I recommend a look at Error's new blog -

http://web.mac.com/errorflynn/iWeb/Error%20Flynn/Welcome.html

Posted by: Wheezy | January 21, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 21, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Boko... you are not a barely functioning moron. You function very well, it seems.

Ha Ha Ha!

No, seriously... I have a feeling you scored too high to match any of the jobs they have open there.

That test reminds me of the time I took the Civil Service Exam (do they still have that?). It was for clerical work.

For the first several minutes, I thought it was the hardest test I'd ever taken. There *had* to be a trick--the questions were just too easy, too obvious. Then I realized they WERE that easy and just sailed along.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

So, TBG, did you get a job?

Me neither.

I ended up in the community college media center and lasted 11 months before I ran screaming back to academia to get my masters.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

What the ?????
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/20/AR2007012001227.html

Posted by: Caged Rabbit | January 21, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The football continues to bounce in strange ways. A fumble for a touchdown.

BTW, I thought the Saints were going to win after that Bush catch and run.

Posted by: bh | January 21, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I've never heard of that IQ test. See, even morons can teach me something new!!

I think that test's a buncha bovine manure, but not having smelled it close up, I wouldn't care to venture an opinion on which species of bovine.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I saw a tv show once, I think it was 60 minutes, that reported about a police department (in Colorado?) that would give IQ tests to applicants and then only take the ones who scored in the "average" range. If you scored too high, you wouldn't be eligible for a job on their police force. The theory was that highly intelligent individuals would be bored (?) with police work, they wouldn't like the job and they would quit so the training would be wasted on them. I don't need to see the test results for the brainiac who thought up that theory. I already know what range he is in.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 21, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Here are some sample questions of the test Boko took. You decide if he could have possibly scored in the "moron" range...

Sample Questions for WPT-R
The following questions are similar, but not identical, to those presented on the actual WPT-R forms.

Question 1
Which of the following is the earliest date?

A) Jan. 16, 1898 B) Feb. 21, 1889 C) Feb. 2, 1898 D) Jan. 7, 1898 E) Jan. 30, 1889

Question 2
LOW is to HIGH as EASY is to______?

J) SUCCESSFUL K) PURE L) TALL M) INTERESTING N) DIFFICULT

Question 3
One word below appears in *color*. What is the OPPOSITE of that word?

She gave a *complex* answer to the question and we all agreed with her.

A) long B) better C) simple D) wrong E) kind

Answers
1. E 2. N 3. C


http://www.wonderlic.com/products/selection/wptr/sampleQuestions.asp

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

"Only mediocre people are always at their best" -Somerset Maughan

That standard applies often kbertocci. <3

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

You guys are way too kind but I'm afraid there is some corelation between these tests and someone's intelligence.
After reading, "12) The appropriate thing to do immediately after sex is:"
I spent a couple minutes looking for the "change the batteries" choice.
This reminded me of my dumbest idea. Solar powered vibrators.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 21, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think IQ pretends to be a precise scale when it really isn't. I think humanity is divided into three groups: slow, average, and bright. Anything more precise than that is silly. And as a precursor to success even these coarse divisions are rough guides at best.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Nicely said and salient, Padouk. It is the individual and not the cohort that tells.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 21, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

21-3 New england is up on the Colts....Manning almost looks shell shocked....and i am hearing boo's in the crowd.Maybe no dome team will make it to the Super Bowl.

We had about 3" of snow here in WV

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 21, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a football type, but I think they give the Wonderlic to football players before they go in the NFL. Some players score quite high, but then at least one guy in the NFL is phi beta kappa (Manning? I forget). There seems to be a correlation between certain positions in football and high Wonderlic scores but I forget what it is. Ah, the things I've learned from the Wall Street Journal.

I agree that for practical purposes slow, average & bright works very well. I'm pretty bright by test scores, as I suspect many of us here are (whether or not we have taken the tests), but there's lots of folks smarter than I am. I have noticed that persons with very high IQs may in fact be less happy and productive than folks in the "bright" or "average" range. I won't let the Boy know what his score is, just as my mom wouldn't tell me when I was a child. It is important that he learn being smart is important on a personal level, but it isn't even close to everything.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I expect the Boy knows he's bright, Ivansmom. I know I did, compared to the other kids. Not the smartest, but one of them. When I got to junior high, they started having advanced courses and I was in them. The competition was certainly stiff enough that none of us ever had airs about our brains.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The thing I like about Brady is that he doesn't put a baseball cap on when he is off the field. I do wish he would keep his helment on his head like Montana and Young.

Posted by: bh | January 21, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I used to be bright. Then my son became a teenager.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Ivansmom. Benjamin Franklin seemed like a pretty happy guy overall.

http://hightechbiz.com/pub/genius.htm

I think there's a conceit that genius is allied with suffering or madness. This is possibly true in some cases-- bipolar disorder is simply overrepresented in artists and writers relative to the general population.

So is originality of thinking and creativity something measured by IQ tests? I highly doubt it.

IQ tests are often rated for speed, rather than depth of knowledge. So somebody who is a fast reader or visual processor has an edge.

I remember the how-do when it was revealed John Sununu had a 240 IQ. Overlooked in the article was that John Sununu said he had enjoyed spending something like 2 days on the test. That meant he did not follow the time limitations on the IQ test. Heck, I was thinking "give me 2 days and I could score 400 on that dang test."

Speed is what normally separate the geniuses from us schlomos.

On an IQ test of mine as a kid, an evaluator said it appeared my slow hand coordination basically dragged my response down, not my spatial thinking.

(I once was the kid who stayed in during recess to finish my math work because I couldn't get my pencil to move fast enough-- thanks to being over one year younger than everybody else and thus not as advanced in fine motor skills.)

So IQ tests favor speed in response, and picking the best reply from a choice of 4, memorization, alertness, focus, etc.

Nobody's exactly asked to compose a sonnet in Swahili to prove their intelligence.



Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

And I think you are right about those in the top fraction of a percent. A lot of them (and I have met many) seem to be just a wee bit odd - as if they were servants to their intellect instead of the other way around. (I have read that Isaac Newton once claimed that his proudest accomplishment was to to have remained a virgin.) I think intelligence is like money - at a certain point getting more doesn't do you much good.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

True of us all, RD!

Here's a funny story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/20/AR2007012001332.html

I remember asking for, and receiving, Holmes for Christmas when I was in the fifth grade. I still have the collection; the spine is falling off.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

That's OK RD, wait a few years and you'll be bright again.

Make that "wise." That's how it works. Think how you'll feel the first time you hear your son say proudly, "My old man..."

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

And RD Padouk, in an era where sexuality was still pretty much (um) "do it in marriage, otherwise stay celibate, or go to hell"... how was Newton's comment weird?

And it's pretty much thought he started losing his marbles due to mercury poisoning, not to an excess of brains.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I guess it depended on one's social circle, Wilbrod. As I recall, neither virginity nor celibacy were held in high esteem in the court of Charles II.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I don't pretend to be a scholar on Newton, but I have read several recent biographies of him and I don't think that mercury thing is especially well-accepted. I think his mental functioning was pretty good right till the end. And, I assert, his extreme paranoia, secretiveness, obsessiveness, and social dysfunction all suggest a person overwhelmed with the demands of his brain. But then again, who can say what goes on in another's mind? As for the virginity statement, (which may be apocryphal) I leave that one to individual interpretation.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Your feeling that those people may be slaves to their intellect might not be off, RD.
There's a considerable amount of pressure on intelligent people to find the cure for cancer, or otherwise excel beyond other people, but not always given the tools to succeed (see above "genius" list) in term of character-building, learning to master challenges, etc.

It's also worthwhile remembering intelligence generally means an increased ability to learn-- and that means the bad stuff as well as the good stuff. Now think of all the crap you've been dealt in your lives that could have led to PTSD... accidents, etc.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, your comment resonates, RD. I used to know everything, but then my son got to fifth grade. I shudder to think how little I'll know when he reaches his teen years.

The Boy does know he's bright, Slyness, because if he doesn't bring home As (or occasionally Bs) we ask him what was up with that. As we say, we just want him to work to the best of his ability. We also have a good idea of what that is. As he is assigned more challenging schoolwork, of course, we'll adjust our expectations accordingly. Slightly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

All tied up. Hmphhh. Time for Brady to put his helmet back on.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

21-21

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 21, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, is there a football game on?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my younger daughter won a place at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, which is a high school for the bright kids in the state. It's for the last 2 years of high school and is residential and small, so the kids are among peers as they never will be again in their lives. She got a great education but I'm afraid it spoiled her. She's just now coming around to acknowledging that those who aren't as smart as she and her buddies may be human beings worth knowing and being nice to. Soooo...regardless, kids will be a challenge to their parents!

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe not. Hobbs (Ellis, not Thomas) just returned the kickoff 80 yards. So Brady only has 21 yards to go and he can take his helmet off again.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Hobbes (the other one, not Ellis) would have like that touchdown drive: nasty, brutish and short.

Pending review, of course.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, you're a woman after my own heart!

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, your daughter deserves congratulations. We have a specialized statewide science & math high school here as well. In fact, I think we patterned it from yours. If the Boy were inclined in that direction, that's what I'd want him to shoot for, social adjustment be damned. As it is, I hope he'll be in the baccalaureate & performing arts school.

Bad Parent Moment: Has anyone else enjoyed hearing, "Just a second, [Mom]", and answering, "One"?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

'mudge - My Irish-Norwegian buddy from Southie (Boston) is biting his nails, but I keep assuring him that this one's in the bag. I don't think he's buying it.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Generally, RD, it seems that misery plays no favors in the IQ game:

http://www.physorg.com/news5222.html

NO correlation, inverse, sideways, upside-down, right-way up, or otherwise between intelligence and happiness.

Weird people can be happy too.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, Ivansmom, we have the opposite problem with our oldest, straight B's would cause an outbreak of happiness in this household. What she excels in is not quantified in school, she is all personality and heart, outgoing, will make friends with anyone, has a high emotional intelligence and is very good a reading others emotions and is learning not to feel their emotions, she can at times get overwhelmed by others situations.

We have yet to find a way to tap that into the regular school ciriculum. While she can comprehend the stories they learn very well, she struggles to fully express that.

I am hoping in time it will balane out.

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

I thought it was in the bag during almost the entire first half, Bob. Now I'm afraid it has been unbagged. I still think the Pats will win. But the Coltsd have scored 18 points in 11 minutes. That don't zackly portend well.

Your friend in Southie may be in for a rough evening.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ivansmom, it's a great school at a fabulous price - zero. Zip, nada cost to parents, unless they want to pay for the charter buses that pick up and take the kids for holidays and such. The year she graduated, the General Assembly, in a fit of rationality not normally seen, voted to give free tuition to NCSSM grads who go to colleges in the UNC system. The incentive worked; IIRC, about 70 percent of her class stayed in state, compared to less than 50 the year before.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, they basically did that tuition thing here too. The University of Oklahoma now has an astonishing number of National Merit scholars per year - I think they're free for four years. With any luck in a few years we'll be seeing a difference in the science sector (yes, we have one), business and the high-end workforce.

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

I never claimed really, really smart people were in any way more unhappy than the norm. (Personally, I subscribe to the "happy gene" theory.) I just report that I have known a lot of super smart people who were also quite eccentric. Make of that what you will.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

dmd, she will be fine. There is a school of thought that people with high EQ do better than those with high IQ. The smartest person I've ever known is my ex-husband; he has done okay in the world but used to berate himself because he hadn't set it on fire. His IQ/EQ disconnect has been an issue for him his entire life.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, a SECOND fumble for a touchdown. Never seen anything like this is my 900 years. Bob, this thang has turned into a football game.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, dmd, did you see this article today?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/19/AR2007011901360.html

I thought it was interesting...my daughter's take on it is that creativity, which can't be taught or tested for, is more important than high grades. She should know.

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't seen the article, Slyness, but it is very interesting. I'm hoping for creativity and high grades.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

My wife says if I'm clicking too much. (I wonder if there is a shot for that.) So I guess I need to log off and watch this game. Itza doosie, fer sure.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 21, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

At one time or another, for one reason or another, I've taken a number of IQ tests or other tests that tend to correlate well with measured IQ (Stanford=Binet, Wechsler Index, Leiter-R, ASVAB, SAT/PSAT, even a Mensa exam), and have consistently scored about the same (98th-99th percentile). That didn't keep me from failing out of Georgia Tech within a year or so. But my time at Tech was critical in introducing me (at a fairly early age) to a pool of folks where 98-99th percentile IQ is only a little above average.

Practically, I long ago learned that I view the world a little differently from many people. Since I tend to look at larger pictures, and how smaller details fit into wholes, I can be a little (sometimes more than a little) maddening to folks who don't think that my cavalier attitude toward nuts & bolt details (like completing a college degree, or holding a job that will actually allow me some financial stability!) is a wise way to approach life. And at the opposite end, I can be extremely frustrated with people or institutional processes which seem to be ignoring (out of sheer inertia) obvious details which would improve their effectiveness.

But I've accepted that other people & organizations have a vast array of motivations which are important to them, even if I don't alway know how to value them particularly highly. And I've come to accept that what I have to offer is only occasionally useful to them. So be it! For the most part, I've been able to be helpful and appreciated, and even brought some people happiness, and managed to be pretty happy about doing it.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Slyness, and you are right she will be fine, our hardest task is just in keeping her from getting down about marks. Fortunately she has a great teacher this year, a very positive person who gives lots of reinforcement. Her marks are improving but more importantly she is gaining confidence in herself and beginning to care about the school work, not on par yet with her social world but getting better.

Great article thanks for the link, spent the day with a great young man who was doing some work for us. He was educated both here in Canada and the US (Penn & NJ). In his early teens his parents moved not far from here and he struggled in school and didn't feel he was learning so he applied to various private schools and returned to the US. He described is school as emphasizing thinking rather than the correct answer, it was an atmosphere where he could thrive. From what I gather he has a degree in Engineering/Computers but currently is working in PR/Promotional work and attempting to become an actor. He was an absolute delight to work with, cheery and full of energy, great with people, intelligent. He would be a fine example of that article.

Posted by: dmd | January 21, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, 'mudge, there seems to be a plot to make my buddy's night interesting!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Tied again.

Methinks one may have to alert the fire department; this one has set the barn aflame.

Hobbs: 41 yard return. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

There you go, Bob S.

Time to get the Boy to sleep. Good night, all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 21, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... This doesn't look good for the Boston boy!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Poop. Euphemistically speaking.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 21, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

To change the education discussion slightly, I had an interesting epiphany recently while talking with a friend of mine. It was a case of someone really changing my mind...

I was complaining about kids being graded in P.E. on their abilities in sports/athletics. I have always been bothered by this. But my friend, who has a law degree and is a very bright, energetic, creative and successful person, pointed out that when she was in school, P.E. was the only class where she excelled. It was the only place that her particular natural talents were showcased.

What's the difference, she asked, between someone who is born good at math or someone who is born good at sports? No one complains that the person who is naturally talented in an academic subject has an easier time getting an A in that class.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, well. No joy in Beantown tonight!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of being good at sports... Go Colts!

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, what a revolting development that was.

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

I will say, TBG, that PE was the subject where I always had to hope for mercy in grading, myself. I haven't had any PE since I was in the 9th grade.

Actually, my daughter's comment was a snide one about how No Child Left Behind doesn't foster creativity or good thinking skills. She has a point.

Are you glad to know that Son of G, great kid that he is, will be in an environment where he will be a minority, next year?

Posted by: Slyness | January 21, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

No Child... is a classic & fascinating example of large solutions gone awry. Rather than accepting that the cures to unfair problems often require unfair solutions (and targeting state & federal funds specifically at underperforming school systems, schools, and students), it's been decreed that the solutions must be equally applied to all schools, with a detriment (in misspent time, at the very least) to many programs that were working fairly well.

I guess, like many problems, if it was easy, we'd have figured it out by now.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

By the way, another new "exploratory committee" has surfaced. This one is that of the Hon. Bill Richardson, governor of the state of New Mexico.

Now this guy, I think I really like, although I don't know a lot about him. I gather that there was some messiness involving his possible involvement with leaks in the Wen Ho Lee case. I don't have much patience for that sort of game-playing, if that turns out to be a valid accusation.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 21, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Actually the "No Child Left Behind Act" aims to work by punishing schools for underperforming students by withholding funds that all the students at that school need.

Does anybody see the flaw in this reasoning? Punishment is an ineffective motivator, and it can sour good people on the whole education business.

Consequences are fine, but schools are NOT omnipotent, no matter how much we seem to legislate them as if they were. In doing so, we force them to become stulifying bureaucracies that treat kids like UPS packages to be shipped in, processed, and then shipped back home.

Hey, students do rotten in PE, Math, or English because they're just not that good at it-- remedial help and teaching can maximize their potential, but they are unlikely to be world class athletes in those subjects.

I could have gotten 20 years of remedial help on speech etc, but I'd never be able to speak as well as an average kid even when adult. That's the facts of life. I'm okay with that. I'd be ticked off if the NCLB required that I be able to perform tasks requiring speech.

Or that I would be able to write a few pages of tests rapidly in a given time frame at an age when I would have had below-par fine motor skill speed.

I don't excuse anybody from learning as much as they can and ought to learn. If you have a legit disability or weakness in any field, what you can learn and achieve is your ticket to success and real self-esteem, not "everybody is a winner" self esteem.

But I am furious at the NCLB standards because basically deaf kids would have to begin reading by age 3 just to keep on schedule with other kids in English language acquistion, and they start judging deaf kids on literacy skills at ages when they are still learning English.

As I say, I learned reading at age 4 and it never hurt me any. My language acquistion of English at age 6, thanks to intensive reading enrichment from my mother, put me at a par at a 3rd or a 4th grader by 6 1/2 years old.

Most deaf kids didn't have that kind of advantage in language acquistion-- ANY language acquistion. It's an effect often felt life-long.

So should the teachers try and teach the kids enough to fake passing the NCLB test by drilling on the test, or maybe actually teach the kids some actual English?

My position: focus on the results at age 18; track the kids and see how they got there, BEFORE you go ahead and penalize schools for having large groups of students who may be late bloomers.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 21, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Slyness... Son of G calls the 65/35 girl/boy ratio he'll find at college next year "awesome."

Of course, he's going there for the academics.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

One thing the schools around here are judged on is how well they IMPROVE on the standardized testing (which are aptly named the SOL tests, for Standards of Learning).

At some point, you just can't improve anymore and some of the schools in my neighborhood are nearly there. They are getting very creative in how to improve.

They start by encouraging the smartest kids to go to after-school programs to coach them into getting perfect scores; near-perfect isn't good enough anymore if you've got to get better each year.

Posted by: TBG | January 21, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi, jus' checkin' in, folks.

A little disappointed that the Pats didn't pull the AFC Championship out, but it was a good game.

Joel, that was a heck of a Rough Draft, dude.

I'm thinking of forming an Exploratory Committee to locate my Inner Adult.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

It sounded like a great finish,not the one I wanted...but OELLA.

I told you guys to pick against who I am rooting for it works everytime.

I was skating my way to work when that fantastic finish was going on.

The major roads were ok,back roads was another story.....I am glad I was one of the few out.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 22, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the topic of scholarly achievment in children I have always thought that the key point was not what was taught but how.

From my own personal experience I remember being interested in school and my grades up until around, oh, 7th grade or so.

What puberty? Nah that *couldn't* have had *anything* to do with it...

Back on track however, it was at this point where I became bored with school. I found that I could easily pass all my courses with above average marks merely because I could remember things that I had been taught 5 or six years ago. And when it came to English class I was able to fake it(BS my way through any assignment) due to an overinflated vocabulary brought about by spending most of my spare time reading. Even today with just the overall gist of the plot line of a book or play I can infer the cause and action of the characters throughout. The only subjects (other than PE) that held any amount of interest to me were math and science, because they were the only ones that caused me to try. This continued until High School when it took an amazing teacher to get any interest and effort out of me whatsoever(sp?).

The unfortunate result of this was that even though my intellect and knowledge was high for my age, I found my grades beginning a rapid descent. I knew the problem, but no longer cared enough to think about a solution.

Another unfortunate effect is that I found myself not particularily interested in what my future held for me, or could hold. Which led me along a merry chase of figuring out who and what I am and am meant to be. I still am searching, and I don't know if I will ever find what I seek but to quote myself so many times thus far "Meh, whatever".

Posted by: Kerric | January 22, 2007 1:55 AM | Report abuse

NYT sez admin is going to push for higher car fuel efficiency standards.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/washington/22fuel.html

I would suggest that a simple measure would be to require large vehicles to have commercial plates, which cost extra. In the case of a transit-mix concrete truck, the large size is required, and the extra cost is passed on to the customers. In the case of taking the kids to school in a Yukon, the large size is unnecessary, and charging extra for it would probably reduce the numbers. Another approach would be via carbon tax -- a charge based on C02 procuction, which correlates with exhaust volume and fuel consumption, and might be implemented through a tax on gasoline.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 22, 2007 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I guess the other side is that a judgment on how big a vehicle is "necessary" would be considered to belong in a "mommy society" like UK, as opposed to the Wild West we enjoy in the USA, and would attract opposition on the grounds of restricting "freedom".

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 22, 2007 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Less than 24 hours after Gov. Bill Richardson declares he's running for President and some Democrats have begun the innuendo and "some people say" smears.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/a-question-for-bill-richa_b_39170.html?p=2#comments

Posted by: Boko999 | January 22, 2007 2:31 AM | Report abuse

TBG, you made me laugh out loud! I'm glad Son of G likes the odds. I WILL watch over him carefully.

Are you snowed/iced in this morning? The rain has stopped here.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *waving*

I've thought for a long time that anything other than a "car" should be treated as a commercial vehicle (exceptions for large families, of course). Good to see the NYT finally agrees with me.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Achenbach, if you happen to know a WaPo editor you may suggest him/her to change Galludet to Gallaudet on the front page.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 22, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Good to see that LTL-CA agrees with me.

Where's my coffee???

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

'Bad Parent Moment: Has anyone else enjoyed hearing, "Just a second, [Mom]", and answering, "One"?'

If that is a sign of bad parenting, I'm terrible because that is heard in my house on a daily basis.

We specifically sent our son to a summer program in the hopes that he would realize that wouldn't always be the smartest kid in the room. I think the message hit home.

He likes to tell us that "Most parents would be delighted to have kids with just one B". We throw back that if he worked as hard as those other kids did for that B, we would be proud too. We tell him that for any class we don't see effort in, anything less than an A is unacceptable. In a class where we see an adequate amount of effort, the best possible grade is all we can expect.

He takes the SAT next week after underperforming on the PSAT. We will see if any lectures about effort trumping ability have sunk in.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I won't be able to read the sports page or listen to sports reporting for a day or two. Alas, I think I'm too wrapped up in the fortunes of the home town team.

On the bright side, I don't have a tedious temp job to go to this morning so I can instead concentrate on a few remaining items here. I need to travel to the fabric store to find the makings of some kitchen curtains and then start stripping the wallpaper in the guest room. And oh yeah, look for a real job.

Very light snow falling this morning from a white sky. I can't shake the uneasy feeling about this weather. We drove to New York on Saturday and the absence of any significant amounts of snow, and few frozen bodies of water were disturbing.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 22, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Bob S.,

I didn't know we had more than one attendee of the North Avenue Trade School in our midst. Many of the most successful-in-life students from Georgia Tech never got their degree. Arthur Murray dropped out to manage his dance instruction business.

From

http://www.trivia-library.com/a/biography-of-famous-american-dancer-arthur-murray.htm

"In between jobs as a dance instructor, Murray worked as a draftsman at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and as a reporter at the New Haven Register. Deciding to further his education, he enrolled at Georgia Tech. Murray supported himself by conducting dance parties at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, where he proved both his ability as a businessman and his excellence as a dance instructor."

Yesterday the local alumni chapter had interviews for scholarships and once we again us geezers got blown away by the caliber of high achieving high school students out there.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

yello... I'm curious: what is your incentive to your son other than saying it's "unacceptable." Restrictions? Withholding privileges?

I'm asking because I want to know why I would have rather died than come home with a D and my son seems to think passing is the goal. My parents held no other incentive other than "unacceptable," but that doesn't seem to work in my house now.

I used to tell my parents about friends who got some sort of reward for getting As. Their reply? Should we pay you to brush your teeth, too?

When a person's self-esteem isn't tied to their grades, it's hard to get them to perform. Thank goodness my daughter has an inner need to get good grades. It will certainly make the college search a lot easier when it's her turn.

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - Your son sounds like mine. I think there might have been something in the water in the early 1990s.

When I went to college there were many extremely bright kids who had never really accepted that in high school they had been a big fish in a small pond. They fully expected that for them success in college would be achieved with the apparent effortlessness of gods. (I think I may have lifted that line from "Chariots of Fire.") When harsh reality started to intrude, many of these kids couldn't handle it. They blamed the curriculum, the other students, the facilities, heck, even the food - anything but face up to the fact that they did not possess infinite gifts. Many actually dropped out rather than admit that they had limits.

We don't want this to happen to my son. Yet teenagers seem to be programmed to disregard the advice of their parents. Our solution is to encourage him to take part in activities where he probably will not always succeed. For example, in Band he is known as a good sax player, but not a great one. The knowledge that he will not always be the best at something, no matter how hard he tries, is a valuable lesson.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

TBG, with the oldest we try really hard to emphasis that the most important person to please is herself. She knows how good she feels when she does work she is proud of, rather than the mark we try to get her to concentrate on that. When she does well we ask her to describe how she feels, she is well aware that she doesn't feel that way if she hands in sub-par work.

In life it will be hard to live up to others expectations, but if you can live up to your own it is a great place to be. This is of course hoping that the self respect will guide them to being the best person they can be - counting on not being wrong on that.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Gosh... I hope my question to yellojkt didn't sound snarky.

I really want to know.

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

For discipline, we employ a large number of empty threats concerning computer access. This is more a function of his surly attitude ("I SAID in a minute") after an afternoon of gaming than long term academic performance.

His incentive for a perfect report card is a steak dinner at a restaurant of his choice and he's become amazingly knowledgeable about where to find good filet mignons. My post-PSAT lecture about scores that competitive colleges look for prompted eye-rolling until I offered a dollar a point over 2000 on the SAT. Bribery works.

That and continued nagging have made him actually crack the SAT prep book. A kid has to be amenable to incentives in the first place. Fortunately, while other parents were bombarding their toddlers with flash cards, we were buying him tchotkes from college bookstores. His childhood toys have included a Wake Forest football and a Duke Blue basketball as subliminal hints. Raising expectations is a better long term strategy than over-programming academic work.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

So much for January 21 resolutions!

TBG, we use a similar way of communicating expectations to #1 and #2 as do yello and Mrs. yello. There is no trick to getting the child to become motivated. Our girls have always known that we have the highest respect for their individual strengths and accomplishments; they have always been exposed to a variety of disciplines, and so they had, I think by about the age of 15, a good assessment of their own abilities. Therefore "acceptable" and "unacceptable" aren't absolute measures with either of them, we're not talking "anything less than a 96 in History is unacceptable." Rather, as dmd says, we've always tried to encourage them to think things through and know within themselves what they are capable of. So they work to their abilities. They are not exceptionally anything, but they do well because they enjoy the challenges of school and know that their job is to apply themselves.

So like so many other things in the parent/child relationship, it is a matter of respect, communication, support (and lots of praise and fun and laughter) over years to help them build that inner critic who *knows* what is good work and what is not.

Of course, I performed a big drama when one of them brought home a 56 in math a couple of years ago, because I knew she was slacking ;)

I know we are succeeding in this, because both them will seek our input (advice?) on decisions regarding both their academic and personal lives: pretty good, I reckon.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm not totally sure what motivates my son to do well. I think peer pressure is involved because he runs with a pretty bright crowd. Also, I have been known to casually leave a lot of brochures for all-male military schools sitting around.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Very relieved to hear from you Yoki.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Dialtone! Backlog of calls to make. Busy, busy, busy!

Calling Froomkin...

Bush to be a No-Show

On Monday, Jan. 29, the Center for the Intrepid, the rehabilitation center for wounded military personnel, on Brooke Army Medical Base in San Antonio, will open. But Bush will be missing in action.

The 65,000-square-foot center will be one of the most sophisticated rehabilitation facilities of its kind in the world. It includes some of the most technologically advnced equipment to assist service members with amputations and other severe extremity injuries, including a high-tech gait lab, a a prosthetic fabrication lab and a computer-driven, virtual-reality rehabilitation dome.

The ceremonies will be notable for what they are missing--the commander in chief.

President Bush declined an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Jan. 29 opening. Having recently committed more combat troops to Iraq (and having already begun stationing them there--see Arkin's WaPo blog today), it would have been an "appropriate gesture" (according to our paper--appropriate gesture, my backside) for the president to acknowledge the extraordinary sacrifices of military personnel who have suffered catastrophic injuries.

(What would Hillary do? Is Laura Bush available? Actually, Bush will be sending a proxy, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, in his place. Wonder if Nicholson was in the Texas Air National Guard?)

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund raised $42 million from more than 600,000 individual donors (I bet Bush was sweating bullets that maybe the American taxpayer might have to foot the bill.) to design and construct the state-of-denial (whoops, art) structure. Of the funds raised, only $900,000 is from Texas.

Posted by: Loomis | January 22, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Another reason why some have a problem with Hillary Clinton. She's a boomer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/weekinreview/21broder.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The biggest veiled threat to my son is for my wife to say, "I guess I'm not being a good enough stereotypical Asian mother." He knows what that means.

You have to remember that I live in Howard County which views Lake Wobegon as a special needs district. My wife is a gifted and talented teacher at the elementary school my son went to. When our son was recognized as above-above grade level in math, it made for some awkward situations where my wife could have come off as a pushy parent with connections. In fact, we never pressed as hard as parents outside the system regularly do. Howard County has a super secret county-wide math program that we did have to make some calls about because our son was sick the day of the entrance test. Fortunately his success in that class and a 5 on the Calculus AP test his sophomore year have vindicated us.

Rather than send him to the Johns Hopkins programs and other semi-elitist gifted track private programs, we have emphasized building on his relative weaknesses. He had been an indifferent reader, so I signed the both of us up for a middle school level parent-child book club at the local public library. My BigBoxOfBooks® Rewards Program account will testify to long term success of that involvement.

Now we just support the heck out of the activities he enjoys. I never in my life imagined I would be a band parent, but I spent all day Saturday at a fund raiser. That also means not pushing activities he has lost interest in. He has abandoned his Eagle Scout project, as I suspected he eventually would, to spend more time with the Rocketry Club. It warmed my heart to hear he is following in my footsteps on the Math Team without my prodding.

The two of us watched "Election" last night as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of becoming overly driven. He thought the football star with the broken leg was the most sympathetic character.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

RD, Ivansdad & I both went to a university which had a similar truth-to-experience ratio: lots of smart kids shocked to discover they (a) weren't the smartest one there and (b) had to work. We tell the Boy about it as an example of why he needs to develop study skills now, when he doesn't really use them. Being around the arts has helped the Boy learn that you don't always get the part, solo, exhibition, etc., even if you are good. In fact, you can have the best audition and still not be right for the part. These are useful lessons.

Mahna Mahna update: I put my friend, excellent and versatile musician Mary Catherine Reynolds, on the history of the tune. She reports it is by Italian film composer Piero Umiliani, and first appeared in "a racy Swedish film". In addition to her musicianship, Mary is a prodigious source of tunes and enjoys researching what she doesn't know. Find her at http://members.cox.net/shartelavenue/ or (for her jazz group) at www.mb2u.com. Wouldn't it be nice if I figured how to link these things?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Although the conundrum being explored here applies to all kids, I think it is most complex when dealing with extremely bright children. Do you push them early to raise their expectations only to risk having them crash and burn in college? Or do you keep the expectations and demands low and then try to jump start them in high school so as to fulfill their potentials?
Parenthood is not for the weak of heart.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for info on Mahna Mahna. But as it reminds me of ScienceTim (no idea why), and now throwing in the 'racy Swedish film' tidbit, goodness knows what image is going to pop into my head next time Dear Child starts singing it.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 22, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like there are some pretty amazing parents on this blog, not hard to see why the kids follow closely behind.

Yello I like your idea of supporting the childs interests. My oldest has recently joined a drama group, she is very excited her dad and I completely support her interest in drama as the boost of confidence will do her good. She will try anything but can develop a big case of nerves when she needs to perform (talent show auditions etc). However, the group she has joined is a very fundamental christian group, her dad and I are a little nervous of that as awful as that sounds. My daughter on the other hand just keeps laughing and saying - they are not going to brainwash me!

RD I think children are hard wired to certain things, I have a dear friend with a very bright child, very science oriented, for him learning is just something he loves to do and does so on his own. Just as my daughter is hard wired to be a social butterfly.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Indeed it is not, RD. And having children makes their parents grow up in a hurry!

My elder daughter had a good friend who was the product of Montessori schools. She was two years ahead of her peers, having done well in the first grade at the age of 4. She is a very bright child and did extremely well through high school. College was a different matter: she went to 4 and took 6 years to get a degree. Maturity is key to success in college, I'd say. Pushing kids ahead really can mess them up when crunch time comes.

A 5 on the calculus AP as a sophomore, yello? I'm impressed. Of course, younger daughter said the calculus AP was the easiest test she'd had all year.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - that's the key point with my son. Getting him to understand that just because he can suceed in high school by studying on the bus doesn't mean he can pull it off in college!

dmd - I agree about the hard-wired bit. How else can you explain my son's refusal to acknowledge the innate allure of electromagnetic theory despite my many enthusiastic expositions on the topic?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

My son was disappointed to get a 4 on the US Govt AP, but since writing is not his strong suit, we were proud and supportive.

This year's AP tests are Chemistry, CalcBC, and World History. Senior year he will only have English and Physics BC.

His school is in the lower half of the county for number of AP tests taken. They don't crack that silly Newsweek/WaPo power index of the top 1% high schools like the top six county high schools do. Like I said, transfer students from Lake Wobegon get put in remedial classes at Centennial where the really ambitious high achievers go (which we threaten our kid with occassionally). We prefer that he be a bigger fish in a relatively smaller pond even if it makes putting together a class schedule a nightmare each year.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

RD I am laughing, my father spent many years toiling the virtues of his alma mater, to four children, no takers. He is resorting to bribery with the grandchildren, using original artwork from my Grandmother (she painted) as the bribe.

What is wrong with children today when they don't get excited about the innate allue of electromagnetic theory! :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey, drop a supermagnet through a copper tube and tell me that doesn't get your heart racing.

'course, it could just be me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Interesting discussion (if I can make that comment without being overly offensive). Regarding intelligence, I'm always impressed by how so many equate intelligence with perfection. There are so many examples of intelligent people doing stupid things. Wasn't it the American University president a few years ago who was caught making anonymous obscene telephone calls? And then there's Bill Clinton, who I admire greatly, but who seriously screwed up. Kennedy, anyone? Regarding school performance in kids, it's a crap shoot. Oldest daughter would do anything rather than study. She's now in the Air Force (Hmmm... something Kerry said comes to mind). Her younger sister is entering her senior year at college and is an excellent student. Now we have seven-year-old little miss perfection.

Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The Boy shocked me the other day by saying he wanted to go to Harvard or Yale. I asked, "Why?" He's apparently heard, independently of our house, that they're good schools. I said that, having attended Harvard, if he was serious he should find a good undergraduate school and go to an Ivy for his graduate degree. Neither Ivansdad nor I have ever put pressure on the Boy to go to a particular school (not at ten!) and I was surprised. As far as I know he still doesn't have a particular area of interest, and I think that is as it should be, in fifth grade.

Of course, he's applying and auditioning this week for the area specialty school in performing arts, which also offers the international baccalaureate program. It is a complicated process, and they get about 450 applicants for about 100 slots each year. We're told he has a good chance of acceptance, what with test scores, grades and professional experience. Ivansdad & I want him to get in because it goes from sixth to twelfth grade and most of the schoolwork is difficult. Also, all the kids we've known who've attended are good kids. That has to say something for the school overall.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - good luck to your son. I wasn't around much last week and only saw a few references to the problems you were having with the weather, hope things are improving.

Dave I think there is a big difference between intelligence and common sense/arrogance. How society defines intelligence is an interesting question, is a person who scores well on tests more intelligent than someone who knows the limitations of their intelligence and uses what they have in combination with hard work and personality to succeed on par with a person who scores well. In this example I would use my husband someone who really struggled in school, got a college degree (not university) and went on to work in a completely different field, his success came for the most part through hard work and definitely personality. In many ways he is able to accomplish more than some of the very bright people he works with who are somewhat limited by very poor interpersonal skills.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

*jumping in randomly*

I read a news item that debated the merits of doing away with the middle school in favour of a K-8 and 9-12 heirarchy. INteresting topic. I believe that success in school depends largely on reading to children at an early age, exposing them to a lot of different experiences, the expecations set by parents in the home regarding the impotrtance of schooling, the educucational level of achievenment of the parents, parental involvment in school and the quality of the school itself. Our children are achieving, by SC standards, in the 90th percentile or better on their State assessments. I feel very strongly that our children would be in the same boat as their lower achieving peers if the financial/opportunity shor were on the other foot. Search for an article titled "What It Takes to Make A Student", published in the NYT on 26 November. I'd provide a link but the article is likely archived by now. Searching for the article should be light work. It provides valuable insight as to why students from different socioeconomic backgrounds achieve at such disparate levels. We're lucky our children are relatively high achievers. Our eldest is representing our school district in a statewide writing contest in the eighth grade. I think I've mentioned this before...she did it of her own accord. We only found out about it after the entry started winning.

re: gender test "Which is the funniest word?" HA!!!

Posted by: jack | January 22, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my younger daughter wouldn't do IB, she said it was a waste of time. She went to a pre-IB middle school, so she was well aware of what the program entailed. Instead, she did advanced, honors, and AP courses and then went to NCSSM, as we discussed last night. She said the IB work wasn't difficult but was busy work. Something to think about for the Boy.

dmd, good for your husband! We all need to keep firmly in mind that there is a great need for good plumbers, auto technicians, electricians, and they earn as much or more than people with advanced college degrees. Snobbery about degrees is ridiculous. Content of character is what we should be judging on, if I may quote MLK.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

This problem comes up regularly in discussions of animal sentience; how can we define intelligence (or lack thereof) in another species, when we can't even come up with a way to define intelligence in humans?

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I worry, not so much about how bright a kid is, but how competitive parents have become about how bright they can tout their child(ren) as being; the kids are no doubt aware that their parents ego is involved in whether they get into the gifted class, elite minor league sports, advanced violin class, or whatever. What a burden!

Both my kids are good a some things, not so good at others, take time to hang out with friends, work hard in school, laugh a lot, take naps, and are encouraged to take advantage of opportunties when they present themselves. To the degree possible, we strive for balance in all things. I think they'll do fine. I might not be able to brag about them, but I'm delighted by the people they are becoming.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Waiting for a 10 a.m. appointment with an AT&T rep here at my home. The fact that we have a dialtone is only a temporary patch, but have been on the phone the past hour, although a short test with my (SO? Bill'sWife? Or should it be Writer's Husband? kinda like the names used here on the Boodle to connote male affiliation...) determined that AT&T has not disabled call forwarding. Will the AT&T guy (I have his name) be a no show?

Talked to a repairman on Saturday morning and at the time we were expressing our concern about the lack of phone service for five days. I also shared my concern that AT&T trucks were exceeding the speed limit on Thurday and Friday in the neighborhood. I noticed the speeding when I was raking leaves and cleaning up the yard on both days after the Big Freeze.

The telepone repairman asked if I had written down their license plate numbers.

I explained:
It's hard to write down the license plate numbers when they are going so fast that I can't even see the plates.

I don't normally carry a pencil and a pad of paper with me when I do yard cleanup. Typically my tools are a rake and an oversized trash can.

Third, I am blind in one eye.

Posted by: Loomis | January 22, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Hi RD! *waving*

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Slyness could not agree more, in a conversation the other day with several people we were talking about favorite fine restaurants and it led to a conversation about "professional waiters", each of us had a story about someone who turned what would have been a good dinner into a spectacular one simply by the quality of their service.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Where did I read recently that your amount of get-up-and-go has a much greater bearing on success than raw intelligence. As a youth, it was my ambition to have get-up-and-go.... There's a good article in last week's New Yorker on the turnaround of the Denver school district. Well, I think it's on the turnaround; I haven't finished it. But it is interesting to read about the Hispanic kids who rebelled at being defined as hopeless.

Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's a cross-border cultural question... Twice in this boodle I've seen a reference by a Canadian that differs between a college degree and a university degree. In the US they are one and the same.

That's not true in Canada? Explain, please.

Also.. Dave.. good point. Glad you're here. My son is a perfect example. I said earlier that for him, just passing the class is the goal. I was wrong. The goal for him is purely the learning. The rest is secondary (although he knows he must pass the class).

Why the poor grades, then? You can get an A on every test, but if you don't turn in one worksheet or piece of homework, that zero brings your grade way down. At his school an A is 94-100; B is 84-94, etc etc.

But if you sat down with him to have a discussion on any subject he's learned in class (or on his own), you'd be surprised at the level of his knowledge.

I think in the long run, that's why he will be successful in life. How many As or Bs he got in high school won't mean much.

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, you are a mom, no doubt you have lots to brag about. I was so proud this morning when the youngest went to school in a lovely blue velvet dress, sleeveless and crisp white stockings, when I mentioned it was cold and she would need a sweater, she replied I know I am going to wear my Toronto Maple Leafs jersey on top.

You can't teach that skill!! :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

In Canada, accredited Universities (what you would call Colleges) grant recognized degrees, and are members of an organization that, well, accredits, and receive a certain kind of funding from federal and provincial governments.

Colleges are (wrongly) regarded slightly less rigorous, and grant diplomas and certificates in more technical disciplines (aircraft mechanics - college, aeronautical engineering - university) and receive funding on a different formula.

Some traditional colleges become universities by becoming accredited (Ryerson in Toronto).

In actual fact, the differences between the two are much narrower now than they were when I was in school; the biggest difference is what you can do when you finish. With a college diploma, you get a good job, while with a University degree, you go back to school to get a Masters before anyone will hire you :)

On the other hand, if you want to be a PhD professorial type, college in Canada won't be a first step on the way.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I always thought intelligence as academic potential was overrated. It does get you the academic education you need, but I think to overfocus on that robs a kid of the full development they need, just as if you overfocused on a kid as being a champion athelete.

Having been an underachiever in youth (B average, mostly), I knew perfectly well that there is a big difference between potential and kinetic intelligence.

For one, it always seem the less you use your intelligence in a given subject, the "more potential" you have sometimes ;).


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps "Loomis-affiliate?"

Near-Loomis?

Personally, I never had a big problem with "hubby", so long as I am empowered to respond with "wifey." This keeps the "hubby" rate low.

Just because it annoys us to have people try to pigeonhole us, the ScienceSpouse is listed as "home-owner" on our mortgage documents and "taxpayer" on our income-tax forms, while I am "spouse", even though I am generally the person who takes the lead in handling such paperwork drudgery and thus would tend naturally to put my own name down first. This freaked-out the IRS something fierce on our first joint tax return, which made it all worthwhile.

Mr. Not-Loomis?

Cousin?

(Sorry, I just had to put that last one in there).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 22, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I will attempt to explain Canadian higher education - Ontario centric, (other Canucks please chip in).

Our universitys are the same as yours, you would on graducation receive the appropriate degree.

Community colleges would grant diplomas in a wide array of areas, more hands on learning. For example my husbands diploma is in Surveying. What was in the beginning more of an advance trade school system has really progress to cover a broad spectrum of careers. Many students now either complete a University degree and then go on to get a College diploma or the reverse. Nursing was one career where you could study in either University or College and there was a slight difference in the end, only University RN's could go on to Administrative positions. This has been eliminated though.

Outside of some of the obvious degrees, Medicine, Engineering, etc whether someone has a University or College degree is not hugely significant. It is what they do with the education and their own skills.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, since you mentioned that your espoused partner's name is "Bill", you could just go with "Mr. Bill." Simple, descriptive, and a source of endless referential merriment for those of us who are Persons-of-a-Certain-Age and who remember the Adventures of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live.

Or, you could try "Loomispouse."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 22, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Techincally "husband" should be abbreviated to "hussy", but that's already been taken from the abbreviation from housewife and degenerated.

It makes me wonder what joyous future could be in store for "hubby."

Instead of hubby, maybe we should go with "Husstler" instead?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I will attempt to explain Canadian higher education - Ontario centric, (other Canucks please chip in).

Our universitys are the same as yours, you would on graducation receive the appropriate degree.

Community colleges would grant diplomas in a wide array of areas, more hands on learning. For example my husbands diploma is in Surveying. What was in the beginning more of an advance trade school system has really progress to cover a broad spectrum of careers. Many students now either complete a University degree and then go on to get a College diploma or the reverse. Nursing was one career where you could study in either University or College and there was a slight difference in the end, only University RN's could go on to Administrative positions. This has been eliminated though.

Outside of some of the obvious degrees, Medicine, Engineering, etc whether someone has a University or College degree is not hugely significant. It is what they do with the education and their own skills.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... they do the IB diploma at my kids' school, too. That means that many of the AP classes have been eliminated. The IB classes do provide much more busy work, and the kids who get the IB diploma say it makes college that much easier.

But I don't know if it's worth giving up high school to make college easier.

Every family I know who has a child who completed the IB diploma has subsequent children who do not pursue it. Yes, they take IB classes, but don't go "full IB," as they call it. They all say it took too much toll on the kids and the families. And these are all bright kids who spent years in gifted/talented programs and who excell at everything.

My son's favorite class in HS was his IB English class last year. He didn't stick with it this year to move to the AP English 12 (they don't offer AP English 11 at his school). What he learned is that it's not whether it's IB or AP, but who the teacher is. (I think that might be the best lesson of all.)

It's nice to be in a school with all those choices, though. I know my daughter will fill her schedule with IB and AP classes, but she won't be going for the full IB diploma.

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

TBG,

I found the arbitrariness of grading scores ridiculous. I guess somehow they think higher point distributions means they are tougher. A 95 on a test with lots of gimmes can be a poorer measure than a test that has questions of differing difficulty so that a real distribution can be made. In my engineering classes, the raw 0-100 grade was meaningless until we got the appropriate statistical analysis.

We had to explain to our son that one 50 negates four perfect scores and that all extra credit is mandatory. Points are fungible.

Building character is a whole nuther issue. I would rather have a kid that is an honest tradesman rather than CEO of Enron. That was a culture of elite privilege run amuck.

My wife as a GT teacher sees a lot of parents push kids into classes well above their ability and just waits for the attendant crash and burn. Then the parents claim she isn't meeting their kid's needs. Their needs would have been met in a class at their learning level where they would be learning new material rather than getting lost and bewildered by stuff above their head.

Don't get me started. Too late, I guess.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Ah, dmd, your colleges sound similar to our community colleges, which offer 2 year programs. You can get a 2 year degree or diploma in a number of programs and then go out and make lots of money, or you can get a 2 year degree and go to a 4 year college or university and get a bachelor's degree. Then you go forth and look for a job.

In our local system, we have a 2 year degree in fire science, with which you can go to the local university for 2 more years and get a degree in fire engineering technology.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, somewhere in there I had a post and it was apparently eaten. The school we're looking at for the Boy has honors, AP and IB classes. You can take any or all and don't have to "choose" IB until your junior year. This is particularly good for performance-track kids, who have their own exhaustive requirements list. We like the variety of challenge classes available. The Boy is coopted to the point he thinks "challenge" is a good word. He also likes "strategy", and hasn't as yet pronounced it "strategery". There is hope.

We don't do classes, activities, etc., for appearances sake, and the Boy is much less scheduled than many of his friends. I'm a big fan of playing and hanging out, though it means I have to tolerate video and computer games. The Boy received a really cool board game for Chrismas - Khet (I think). It is like chess with lasers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, y'all type a lot!

Just been trying to catch up, and found an issue near and dear to my heart.
Edumacation!

There is a fine line concerning whether to keep the bar high and push the students to meet the standards or lower the bar and take what you can get. With the former, the kids who try their hardest and are the smartest are the ones who pass to the next grade and graduate and go to college. With the latter, evryone passes, evryone graduates, and everyone goes to college.

In many colleges, the same game is played out, cheapening a Bachelor's degree, as too many underqualified peole get their diplomas. Now, a Master's is required for many entry-level jobs, just as a Bachelor's was a few years ago. The market is flooded with degree-carrying imbeciles, because we have all dropped the ball and lowered the bar.

More to come...

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, the 65/35 ratio is a thing of beaty.

I was a pretty big fish at my small, private high school, so that was a huge adjustment for me to realize that many of my college peers are just as, or more often, smarter than I am. I am an extremely competitive person, however, and so am working my way towards the top of my department. But ultimately, it is about learning, or rather, learning how to learn; as someone earlier said, the "how" often being just as important as the "what." Of course, the "what" is pretty cool too. But the adjustment from Great White to goldfish takes time, but I think most people are in the same boat. Those that think that they aren't, aren't even worth bothering with. :)

Posted by: Tangent | January 22, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Life is good when you have kids that fit inside the mould that we call the modern school system. When your kids don't, you are subject to an endless cycle of where did we go wrong, is it my fault, should have, would have, could have, mostly from yourself. I started like everyone else, determined to do everything right. I am a lot smarter now.

I am the parent of one son who did not graduate highschool. I am prouder of everything he has made happen after that 'failure' than I could ever be of his having a paper that says he completed regular schooling.

For each of my sons, I don't care what they do, or what kind of qualifications they have in life, I care that they find something they can be passionate about. If you can be passionate about your work, great, you are doubly blessed, just so long as there is something in your life that fills your soul with joy.

That is how I measure success, not in homes, jobs, degrees or money down the line. If my sons find passion, even if it's something that matters only to themselves, I did my job as a parent.

That same measure of success rules my life, and is how I can answer question 8 unequivocally in several different formats and am willing to submit samples of same.

Posted by: dr | January 22, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Amen, dr, amen!

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, dr. Fundamentally, no matter what kind of education you receive, or what qualifications you have, passion and joy are great measures of success.

As I told a bunch of people at a job interview once, at some point where you went to school shouldn't be the most important thing about you.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

NCLB is not actually about a lofty ambition for all children to succeed and for teachers to not let any of them fall through the cracks. Forgive the cynicism, but it is a tool to allocate money based on test scores, such that the ones who do well get the money, the ones who do poorly get decreased funds, to the point where the school will often close, sending its students to the "good" schools. Now, all of those "bad" students will either be magically educated by the "good" teachers, or they will drag down the test scores of the "good" school. Get ready for good to become bad and another school forced to close.

As I have said before, the students in my class who pass are the ones who work hard and value their education. The ones who fail are the ones who have zeroes in the gradebook and do not understand the value of an education.

Teachers do not teach these values, parents instill them.

Or they don't.

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Teaching should be a bi-directional thing, it seems to me.

We've had teachers make mistakes and forget to record grades for work, giving my kids a "0" for something, then we find the graded paper and ask nicely for them to record the correct grade. The only times we've ever had trouble is when someone is not willing to admit they had a mistake, and correct it.

Dooley, I am still awaiting conclusive evidence for human intelligence, too.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

dr, that is a fine definition of success.

Thought of you this morning, received my Sask tourism email and noted that that both Moose Jaw and Saskatoon have made the list of Cultural capitols for cities of their size.

http://www.sasktourism.com/newsletter/default.asp?page=2&WT.mc_id=0107sscrt&WT.mc_ev=sscrtContent2#2

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Canadian collegiate system, I received an email from a buddy of mine not more than ten minutes ago and he happened to mention one of the courses he's teaching. This is what he sent me:

I am teaching a critical and creative thinking course to office admin students, and I am having great fun. For example, one of the exercises the other day had the class in groups building logical arguments around certain issues. Group A argued that "Capital Punishment Should be Legal in Canada". As the groups worked away, I approached this particular group and read some of their listed premises off of their flipchart. I told them that they had some decent reasons listed but asked them if they had considered the other side of the argument. The group leader insisted that "there was no other side!"

"Well," I replied, "there is always another side, so for the purposes of this argument I will play the other side."

"How can you do that? I can make a case for capital punishment that you could never defend," she said.

And with that she looked at me and in an icy cold tone said, "Paul Bernardo".

I looked at her and said, "David Milgaard". Not surprisingly she didn't know who that was.

So, I left the group alone, after explaining the plight of Mr. Milgaard, and told them to think of that argument. When the group presented, the lead presenter said, "Oh, we thought about your argument about that guy who didn't do it, and we, like, figured, like, with CSI and everything like that today, that things like that, could like, never happen. So we dismissed it."

[For our American readers - Bernardo: serial rapist, with wife as accomplice held teenage girls hostage in basement, killed 2. Milgaard: convicted of rape-murder in 1969 based on jailhouse informant statement, cleared by DNA evidence in '97 and another man charged a week later.]

Posted by: byoolin | January 22, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Gomer's 12:31:

In 10 years of teaching high school and college, I've never had a student that turned in every assignment yet still failed the class.

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The International bacc. can be too taxing in the final year, nope, make that the final two years. Witch no. 1 will graduate next June from IB. She is bright and hard working yet she barely manages to meet all the deadlines. She had to quit activities she enjoyed, like the Poney Club, for lack of time. Having such a difficult last year makes lot of kids abandon the program when they are in sight of the goal. It is hearthbreaking for the kids and their collegues as they have formed strong relationships in the first 4 years. Having said that this challenging program seems to form people who are more college-ready since only being bright doesn't do it; hard work is necessary. I just wish Slacker Son had been accepted in the program, he may had ended up with friends with better work ethics than the fellow slackers he is hanging with.
I don't know for the US program but the local IB classes usually end up 70-80% female because of the emphasis on communication skills in the entry exam. The tests are done in 6th or 7th grade, at an age (11-12yo) at which the girls apparently have a much better command of language and communication. The all-female staff of the IB school see no problem with that.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 22, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

dr-

The NCLB/American system is turning towards college being the only acceptable goal for our secondary students to pursue. As you have seen from your child who did not graduate, this is a fallacy. There are many career paths open to those who do not excel in the traditional way in school. But we are getting rid of vocational programs left and right to provide more college-prep stuff, thereby leaving behind (you like that turnaround?) the kids who don't fit our new mold.

Or mould, as the case may be...

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

For the Footballheads in the room:

Bill Parcells just resigned as the Cowboys' head coach:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012200530.html

Hmph, I guess that means TO is staying in Dallas. For the moment (I don't see TO getting along with someone like Bill Cowher, for example).

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Gomer says, "The ones who fail are the ones who have zeroes in the gradebook and do not understand the value of an education."

Zeroes in the gradebook do not mean someone is not getting an education. My son has plenty of zeroes, but could probably run circles around many of your A students.

I scolded him one day because I said he wasn't taking advantage of the incredible education he is being offered. He argued that he IS taking advantage of it. He's learning everything they are teaching him. He said, "I'm taking more advantage of learning than the kids who do just what it takes to get the grade and then forget it all."

His SATs and other scores prove he's learning it all right.

Funny thing: when he's working at a job, whether it's using his brain or his brawn, if he's getting paid to do something, he puts 100% into it.

That's what's going to make him successful one day--no matter what he does.

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

A common gripe we have with "advanced" classes is that too often "more work" is equated with "more challenge". In his freshman year, our son due to scheduling conflicts had to take Honors English rather than GT English. The teacher was taking her assignments for the GT class and manually scratching out 20% of the requirements out for the Honors class. It bugged him to no end that he was doing 80% of the work of the GT course and only getting 50% of the GPA boost. Her assignments also tended to have high percentages of the grade based on artistic merit. My

He has the same teacher again for English 11GT and we are hearing much less complaining from him. He knows the game now and is playing it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

For those of you with children choosing their future career, here is the list of most trustworthy positions as viewed by Canadians. Note where National politicians are,

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070122.wrespect0122/BNStory/Business/home

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

For those of you with children choosing their future career, here is the list of most trustworthy positions as viewed by Canadians. Note where National politicians are,

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070122.wrespect0122/BNStory/Business/home

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The point I was making about zeroes in the book was backed up by Dooley's 12:38. The kids who try inevitably do better in school than the ones who give up.

TBG mentions,"Funny thing: when he's working at a job, whether it's using his brain or his brawn, if he's getting paid to do something, he puts 100% into it. "

I have had students tell me that they don't need to learn science because they'll never use it in their career in the NBA. These are 8th graders we are talking about, and I don't think anyone's drafting them. I also know that these same kids try harder for their coaches than they do for their teachers.

Point: They know how to try, they can do amazing things when they want to, but (insert school subject here) is not important because it's not what I want to do.

When did we stop telling our kids to suck it up and do what they must before they get to do what they want? Around the same time that adults started getting paid seven and eight-figure salaries to play games on TV?

Maybe no connection, I just loathe pro sports. My stripeths shineth through.

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

On another tangent:

RD, I was thinking of you when I saw this:

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5766

Yikes. Something tells me that the folks (soliders, sailors, Jules Verne novel reenactors) who operate the 64 megajoule version won't have old-style metal fillings in their mouths.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, I'm with ya on pro sports. The NBA in particular is a freak show of physique, talent, and training.

The money is made because of marketing, merchandising, and that half of all U.S. males want to watch pro sports, for some reason.

I like pro hockey. Less money overall, the guys are more of a medium-size physique and unrecognizable out of uniform, and they work helluva hard on that ice.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I neglected to say earlier that an individual's level of intrinsic motivation plays a significant role in achievement. Personally this was a tough one for me, as I didn't earn an A until college. After that, I had an inkling of what I was capable of. I only tapped that potential later in grad school. BTW, TBG, has your son chosen a college?

dmd: Thanks for the trustworthiness scale. I secretly knew Slyness was right at the top of the trust list...

Posted by: jack | January 22, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The only trouble with the 8-megajoule railgun is that sooner or later the target is going to notice that crew laying all that track.

(Or, the Roadrunner will shunt it off on a siding which disappears into a tunnel painted on the side of a mountain...)

Posted by: byoolin | January 22, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The only trouble with the 8-megajoule railgun is that sooner or later the target is going to notice that crew laying all that track.

(Or, the Roadrunner will shunt it off on a siding which disappears into a tunnel painted on the side of a mountain...)

Posted by: byoolin | January 22, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

bc - railguns are certainly way cool.

Personally, I am interested in their potential to fling useful electronic gadgets into low earth orbit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

bc, thought of you the other day going to work, I was working temporarily elsewhere, on the site of where the Toronto Indy is held, one morning coming in I took a slightly different route and realized I was on the straight away heading for the Princess gates where the Indy cars take a hard right turn. The temptation to have some fun down that straight away was overwhelming. Fortunately I drive a wimping car or the two mounted policemen I noticed later as I passed them may not have taken lightly my amusement.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating that judges are twice as trustworthy as lawyers. Is the Canadian system different from US? Here, after all, judges are just lawyers in robes. I wonder whether a US poll would find such a marked difference in trustworthiness between the two.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I really do like the commercials during NCAA games that states"there are over 360,000 college athletes and almost all will be going Pro in their chosen fields" not sports.

No matter what we think about sports,what a great way to get a free or cheap education.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 22, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I found winter -- it's here in Chicago. Actually I'm at Fermilab and meant to post a kit earlier but it's crazy I'm telling you just crazy that you can't post to a blog these days from a moving rental car on a freeway, I couldn't conjure a Starbucks to get online using my T-mobile account and since then I've been in interviews regarding theoretical particles. These people are mad scientists. But it's all good.

So I'll try to post something tonight. Thank you. Please continue. All the best. J

Posted by: Achenbach | January 22, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I noted that as well, only difference I can think of is that our judges are appointed not elected. Having seen some of the ads for Judges when they are up for election (Buffalo area) I wonder if that would lower their trustworthy rating. Judges here fly under the radar and for the most part people outside the legal profession or who have involvement in the court process would not be aware of what they are like.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Funny, byoolin.

RD, that's why I made the tongue in cheek Jules Verne comment.

Also, "megajoules" would make an excellent Boodle handle or Rock Band name. Or p0rn star name, now that I think about it.

Wilbrod, I've only met a few NHL players in my life, but they didn't seem like "regular" guys to me. And I don't just mean because they were Canadian.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Jack... my son will be attending Queens University of Charlotte! We took a look based on Slyness' and I believe your suggestion. Perhaps a Boodle first?

Gomer.. I'm not arguing that kids should do better than zeroes. I am at my wit's end with my son. After this year, he's on his own. I helped get him to college.. it's up to him to succeed there.

I have instilled in him the idea that college is not vocational school. He still doesn't know what he wants to be if he grows up. At least he doesn't give me that, "I'll never need to know this" crap at all. He actually wants to know it.. and usually ends up knowing it pretty well.

I just wanted you to realize that zero often just means "not turned in," not "not learned."

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm very impressed that WaPo springs for a driver for your rental car. I KNOW you weren't trying to post *while driving* a moving rental car on a freeway.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Funny, byoolin.

RD, that's why I made the tongue in cheek Jules Verne comment.

Also, "megajoules" would make an excellent Boodle handle or Rock Band name. Or p0rn star name, now that I think about it.

Wilbrod, I've only met a few NHL players in my life, but they didn't seem like "regular" guys to me. And I don't just mean because they were Canadian.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sports that don't get enough respect, in women's basketball--#1 Duke at #4 Tennessee tonight on ESPN2. Planning my evening around it (Mrs. D's steamed that she has to work, though.)

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

Fermilab! - Hey watch out for those DOE folks. I've heard stories...

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Firefighters are trusted because they come and take care of all the stupid problems people cause themselves. Of course, they do stupid stuff themselves.

The project I'm working on involves case studies where firefighters were killed as pedestrians at roadway incidents. Based on the cases I was given, I can say two things:

1. Firefighters should stay away from moving pickup trucks.

2. Firefighters should definitely stay away from pickup trucks driven by drunk drivers.

Ooow, can hardly wait to hear what Joel has to say about Fermilab. My exhusband worked there, before he moved to Charlotte and met me.

jack, TBG's son got into Queens! She cried. I was delighted.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

bc : hey - if I've done the figgerin' right 64 MJ would get about 1.75 pounds to the moon and beyond. (Hey - better than nothing.) But I think it could get almost 3 pounds into low earth orbit. That could be useful if the acceleration stress can be worked out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

My son has added Harvey Mudd to his short list based in part on my Boodle-learned hinting. They offer a $10k per year scholarship to students that can jump through a certain number of hoops.

If I weren't so emotionally atached to my current handle, I would definitely change mine to MegaJulesVerne

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

dmd, hey, I know that turn! They should rename it "Paul Tracy corner" because of all the accidents he's had there (on the other hand, I suppose there are a lot of "Paul Tracy corners" out there for that very reason) I understand your reluctance to pass the Mounties going full chat, but I drive a pretty slow car most days during the winter. Nuthin' wrong with that.

It's much more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, if you know what I mean.

Joel's in Chicago, I'm sure he didn't somehow manage to wheedle Mike Wilbon for a ticket to the NFC championship game there yesterday...Fermilab; cool. WAY cool. [I'm such a dork] Looking forward to seeing whatever it is you're working on, Joel.

RD, I'm sure that it has occurred to the many people in the US, Russian, and Chinese governments that a railgun capable of tossing projectiles into LEO or better makes for a dandy and inexpensive anti- satellite weapon, and Mr. Cynical (that'd be me) is inclined to wonder if the timing of this railgun announcement had anything to do with the Chinese possibly testing an a-sat system a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012200264.html

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

You know, I'd don't really object to that odd form of humor, mostly employed by men, that plays gleefully into hackneyed stereotypes about gender in order to elicit a laugh. Once in a while it's outrageous, surprising, or genuinely funny, but when it's bad it's just... tired.

Posted by: M | January 22, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - Talk about a poor ratio! (Although there is that college across the street.)

Seriously it's been over 20 years, but drop me a line if he wants any inside info.

As I've said before, there are many well-funded private colleges around the country. I ended up paying less to attend my first choice than if I had gone to a much larger public school. Just because the raw tuition seems nasty, doesn't mean you shouldn't look further if a school seems to be a good fit to a kid.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

There's also work on high-pressure compressed-gas guns (essentially, gigantic BB guns) to propel objects up to escape-velocity or near-escape velocity, drastically reducing the fuel required to be carried on-board. The necessary working gas should use molecules that are as small as possible, to avoid storing energy within the rotational and vibrational motion of the molecules. The gas is compressed and superheated. The preferred working gas is hydrogen, the simplest molecular gas there is, and very cheap to produce (relatively speaking). A firing of the gun thus involves a projectile leaping from the barrel (which may be 100's of meters long), followed by a jet of superheated pure hydrogen gas, squirting its superheated self into an oxygen-rich atmosphere. There are flames, and noise. I've seen pictures, but I haven't had the opportunity to view it myself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 22, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT would look cool, SciTim!

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - I've even seen the two proposed together. The "long pole in the tent" (Please don't come after me Mudge) seems to be shock. How can one get some useful electronics (which is what I care about) into orbit without turning the innards into metallic mulch?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the Pumpkin Chuckers on the Eastern Shore are doing secret ABM research.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The idea of using railgun (or rather maglev) technology to launch objects into space was a big part of the old Heinlein book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Anyone read it?

I liked the maglev catapult they had to propel shipments of ore to the earth. When the "Loonies" rebelled, the catapult became railgun, shooting big rocks at high velocity at the earth rather than to the earth.

Pretty neat idea.

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna accept the risk of over-interpreting, and infer that M's post at 2:34 PM suggests disdain for the Kit. A little ambiguous, I admit, but I think that's the gist of the message.

Is that "M", as in the famous film of the same name (which I have not yet seen -- popcorn night with the kids!).

Posted by: Tim | January 22, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Yep - the railgun idea has long been a favorite of those who find allure in the elegant equations of Maxwell.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Rail gun are way cool but 64MJ that is about 17.8 kilowatt-hour, so this thing got to come attached to a power plant, a small newkooler reactor or the Mother-of-All-Capacitor. It would come handy to discreetly hurl billard balls at "unfriendly" satellites though. Or as a way cooler version of Saturday Night Life's Yard-A-Pult.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 22, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Tim - There's a homepage link, so I expect sporadic bombardment of humorless umbrage.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | January 22, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that M seems to be focused on the Kit.

And the only problem with a railgun ASAT is that some of the highest-value targets can alter their orbital path after you fire the railgun... *shrug*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Of local interest to those who are interested:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012200579.html

I will always pine for you Diana Hallander.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It is too bad there is a homepage link when the Boodle has moved on through education to rail guns and advanced geeky weaponry (I mean that in the nicest possible way). Now we'll all have to go back and read the Kit again.

Yellojkt, have I suggested your son try Rice? Oh, I probably did. I'll say it again.

But watch out, TGB, for that ratio. Tell your son it may not be as good as he thinks. When I was in college (a while back) the ratio was 70% guys, 30% women. We thought we had it made. However, of the guys, a third were too geeky to date and a third were engaged or "taken", so we all ended up dating the same third of the male population anyway.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 22, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

bc beat me to the punch wrt a satellite-killaing rail gun. It's OK to make me feel slow witted bc, I'm used to it.
Tim, collegues of mine used a light gas gun to project fancy metal "coins" at interesting speed. The gaoal was to make nanocristalline material by rapid deformation. Unfortunatly they used He so there wasn't much of visual effect at the month of the gun. The bang though, ouch...
I think it was reported that the long big gun Gerry Bull designed for Saddam H. was probably a light gas affair. Fortunatyely most things Bull designed didn't worked at first, he always needed gifted "executants" to make his brilliant designs work.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 22, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I dun see no homepage link... *confused*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke....*That's* what confuses you? I've been lost for hours.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 22, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Stepping into my way-back machine, I think I did my high school US History term paper on "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

*sharing my map with LostInThought* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Maureen,
Is that you?

Posted by: 11:48 | January 22, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd, hey, I know that turn! They should rename it "Paul Tracy corner" because of all the accidents he's had there (on the other hand, I suppose there are a lot of "Paul Tracy corners" out there for that very reason) I understand your reluctance to pass the Mounties going full chat, but I drive a pretty slow car most days during the winter. Nuthin' wrong with that.

It's much more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, if you know what I mean.

Joel's in Chicago, I'm sure he didn't somehow manage to wheedle Mike Wilbon for a ticket to the NFC championship game there yesterday...Fermilab; cool. WAY cool. [I'm such a dork] Looking forward to seeing whatever it is you're working on, Joel.

RD, I'm sure that it has occurred to the many people in the US, Russian, and Chinese governments that a railgun capable of tossing projectiles into LEO or better makes for a dandy and inexpensive anti- satellite weapon, and Mr. Cynical (that'd be me) is inclined to wonder if the timing of this railgun announcement had anything to do with the Chinese possibly testing an a-sat system a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012200264.html

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

So basically, we're going to sling sticks and stones at satellites in orbits using large, high-powered nail guns?

Is it me, or does this sound suspiciously too low-tech for this to have been created by the military industrial complex?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

bc, how did you post the same post one hour apart?

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I agree. Sounds more like the type of thing a couple of guys would design in their garage. You know, when the novelty of the potato cannon wears off.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 22, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

bc has mad skills... *nods*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Did you ever read Heinlein and think "icky," like I did? There was always a slightly orpnographic sub-text.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke, I don't think a map of Disney World is going to help. Anything else in that glovebox? Or should I just go to the Teacups, wait until someone gets me?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 22, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Here the light gas gun my collegues used to hurl ( approx. 4km/s or 8800 mph if I remember correctly) little bits of metal at unsuspecting targets. High pressure shock compression of solids it was called. Shock indeed.
http://www.valcartier.rddc-drdc.gc.ca/poolpdf/e/169_e.pdf

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 22, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Yoki-

I don't remember the Moon book being very orpnographic, but I do remember one about life after a nucyoolar war in which the survivors (and therefore the ones to sire the new human race) were like two men (one older, of course) and a gaggle of females (at least one of them criminally young).

Icky to the max.

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

That was Six Flags, LostInThought!!!

But I'm sure I've got Google Maps in here somewhere.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I believe that is the precise reason why Heinlein remains so popular with some men I know. Let's face it, most readers want a good story with some fun features they never get in real life, rather than originality.

Isaac Asimov once was ribbed about never writing about sex. He wrote "The God Themselves" in which one part is basically devoted to alien three-way sex and relationships. It won a Hugo, or was it a Nebula?

I rather like "Stranger in a Strange Land." It's like the quinessential alien "love, not war" hippie book. I grok it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Wilbord, I grok you! Too true. I read Stranger in a Strange land, and that was the first one I thought icky.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The ScienceSpouse has described Heinlein's "character development" and "mise en scéne" (correct accent mark?) as following this course:

(1) I know I'm brilliant. (Page 1)
(2) Say, hot mama, can you do this complex math problem?
(3) By golly, you're brilliant, too.
(4) Let us have sex together (this is a fairly accurate portrayal of the moment of maximum romance).
(5) (Turn to page 2) In fact, let us get married and have children as quickly as possible. It is our duty to the human race.
(6) Don't waste time on that classic-literature/Hop-on-Pop crap; there's calculus to be learned!
(7) And don't forget the survivalist skills.
(8) Remember, anyone who lacks these skills and abilities must be eaten by ferrets for the good of the species. It's a sad necessity.
(9) Now, let us save the rest of (what we define as) humanity!

(Now, turn to Page 3).

In fairness, this is later Heinlein, part of his response to the sexual revolution (I guess he was for it). Earlier Heinlein, was basically sexless. In general, he was consistent on the theme that the weak deserve to die.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 22, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Crap, my stoopid Time Tunnel's been acting up again. Sorry about the wicked Stupid Browser tricks, folks.

I think when GWB proposed the moonbase I mentioned TMisHM and that it was a dandy place to drop rocks on people's heads, and that the Arbusto folks knew it.

I convinced AchenTomFan to read "Stranger" about a year ago, she groked it, too.

I dunno about Dr. A being so sexless, I seem to remember some of the later Foundation/Robot books having some very minor stuff in there. I also remember Dr. A's highly amusing comment that men would take their women dancing far more often if women's b00bs were on the back instead of the front.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, you forgot

7a) swordplay
7b) Naval Academy reference

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

What SciTim said. Although I did get a great grade on a high school book report where I slammed "Stranger in a Strange Land." I'm afraid I hated it. And was therefore shunned by many.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Heinlein got his start writing "juveniles". It seems many of his notions concerning sexual relationships never progressed much from there. All his female characters suffer from madonna/whore complexes and there is a lot of subtextual snickering and elbow-ribbing throughout.

Even SISL caters to certain harem fantasies. My SF professor in college asserts that Heinlein dropped acid while writing the book and from the change in style, you can spot the exact sentence he was on.

YMMV
TANSTAAFL

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The comparison of Early Heinlein to Late Heinlein moves me to finally abandon my credentials as a pure lurker.

It always seemed to me that somewhere along the way Heinlein started believing his own press releases. The later books were way beyond "icky." They were unreadbale. But, read them I did because I had not yet figured out that Science Fiction was a dead genre -- killed by the growing sense of cynicism as people stopped believing we would escape from this planet in their lifetimes (no offense to those among the boodle who are still working at an underfunded NASA).

Posted by: Pining For Fjords | January 22, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I should have added that I saw *Tim's list coming a mile away.

As it were.

SD, didn't mean to make you feel slow-witted. Sometimes I'm vague, indirect, obscure. Y'know, incoherent.

Dooley, was that a Future History paper?

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Welcome Pining!

You wouldn't happen to have beautiful plumage, would you?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

No, he's just restin'

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The plumage does start to go after a while.

I'll just be back to my pining, er, lurking.

Great view I've got here from this perch - shame about the nails, though.

Posted by: Pining For Fjords | January 22, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Pining for the Fjords, I wouldn't go as far as you do in pronouncing science fiction dead. Science fiction does not strike me as a dead genre; however, there are certain stock plot-lines that are pretty well dead by now. In the hands of a clever writer, they can be resurrected. In the 60's, science fiction authors discovered that people read stories to explore the state of being human, more than for solid predictions of a credible future. Winnowing ensued, occasionally relieved by hilarity, I suppose. Still, the occasional "hard" science fiction appears that is worthy of note -- Brin, Benford, Poul Anderson (he's still around), John Kessel, Lucius Shepard. It requires more attention to writing than the old science fiction, but the thematic interests persist. Myself, I'm heading more towards children's fantasy literature these days. Partly out of professional interest for storytelling material, partly out of a preference for stories that are stripped to the essentials of story-ness. Sex is interesting, of course, but there are other ways of addressing the central emotional themes without having to get squelchy. This often forces the writer to work harder to convey what he/she wants to say.

Of course, Sturgeon's Law applies -- 90% of it is crap. But 90% of everything is crap.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 22, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse


I read Bova and Pohl. And the Asimov Foundation Trilogy was fun. But that was all long ago. For me the golden age of SciFi was around 12. Although I did recently read and enjoy William Gibson's books - but that's about it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh and early Heinlein was great - until he started to confuse a technical white paper with good fiction.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Today I have been doing legwork and telephoning in conjunction with the 28-day-old Helotes mulch fire.

I am very seriously considering trying to be part of the hotel voucher program so that I can avoid the smoke. I spoke with Yvonne Escamilla, public information officer for the Bexar County Fire Marshal. She said 80 families are now using the vouchers, with 20 rooms yet available. Vouchers are issued for a period of seven days. I spoke with local ABC-affilate reporter Jessie Degollado in the women's restroom at Helotes City Hall and she said that she heard from a reliable source that the hotel voucher program is broke. The royal roundaround I got in trying to get information about the hotel voucher program this morning is worthy of a sidebar because the current setup is a joke. I am still waiting for a callback from the representatives involved with the program, rather than the public information officer Escamilla.

Two local wells tested positive for soot contamination on property located adjacent to the fire, this information released on Friday (test results were back on Thurday--but press information was not available until the end of day Friday) with no data provided as to the level of contamination.

Firefighting efforts were completely halted on Thursday (ice storm stopped the fire suppression efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday) after the contamination was discovered, so the fire continues to send up very large plumes of smoke. It was horrible here in this area southwest of the fire on Saturday.

Oil Mop of Pasadena, Texas, responsible for quenching the blaze, is now in charge of groundwater testing, which they have subcontracted. OIL Mop is not taking any questions. Terri Clawson, public information officer for the Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality, said that Oil Mop's subcontractor is testing 20 private wells in an arc around the two polluted ones to determine if there a plume of contamination and how far any further soot contamination of the groundwater may extend.

I spoke at 9 a.m. this morning with Al Arreola of Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro's office, Castro being my state representative. In closing our conversation, Arreola said that he would get back to me with two pieces of information--the level to which Castro has been involved in getting state assistance to extinguish the blaze. Areola said that Castro had been involved and I wanted to know to what degree.

Arreola also promised to e-mail me with state guidelines of what state employees can or cannot do while on the job while using a state-supplied computer. After eating at El Chaprral on Saturday, about one mile northwest of the blaze, Loomispouse and I pulled off at the two TCEQ Strike Force (as they are now calling themselves) trailers. I was looking for Cameron Lopez, TCEQ environmental engineer, with whom I had spoken shortly after the emergency response center had been set up.

I knocked on the door of the trailer into which I had previously been invited to see the locations of the mobile air monitors. I got no response, but could see that someone was inside. I opened the door hesitantly and saw the same man who had informed me on our first visit where the three mobile air monitoring stations were located at that time and provided me the information that TCEQ was having satellite communications problems. I talked to him briefly but saw the computer screen over his right shoulder. He was in the process of downloading video games from Yahoo, an activity that has me very concerned as a citizen and taxpayer.

There is a meeting at Helotes City Hall at 3 p.m. for TCEQ, county and local officials. Marie Gillis, Helotes city administrator, will attend in lieu of Mayor Jonathan Allan who holds a full-time job. The meeting is not open to the press or the public, but I was told by Clawson that there will be a press briefing to follow. Degollado seemed to act as though she would be attending. She will be filing a story for the 5 p.m. newscast.

A took a ride in the pickup truck of concerned resident 65-year-old Esequiel Campos, who drove 31 miles from his home on the South Side to offer his solution for fighting the fire, about which he wanted to remain silent. Thanks to the offer of being chauffeured by Campos, I got closer to the fire than I had previously been, while Campos was pointing out what he considered problems with the professional firefighting efforts. He feels that Oil Mop built the retention pond on the wrong side of the mound so that the water seeped into an abandoned quarry very close to the mound and percolated into a streambed and the groundwater.

The fire continues to smoke very heavily from all sides of the mound, but we realized that the level of particulate matter was extremely high Saturday afternoon when I became very congested and found it difficult to breathe.

Degollado reported at noon that the new proposal is to build another pit at the site or nearby, to be lined with clay, into which parts of the burning pile will be deposited--details are still extremely sketchy. Escamilla heard at a meeting at 8 a.m. Saturday that an idea being favored at that gathering of officials, including the San Antonio Water System and the Edwards Aquifer Authority, was to drain the water away in a set of pipes--no details provided about how far the pipes would extend and where the water from the current retention pond would be released.

The date originally given by TCEQ for having the fire completely put out was Jan. 24. No information has been released how much any new firefighting measure might cost and when the fire might be contained. The question of who will pick up the tab--property owner or the state--has now been in court in Travis County for about a week.

I would like to get to the hotel(s) where displaced families are located and talk to them. I may have the opportunity after I see an allergist, Dr. Lopez, who is seeing many of the residents with breathing problems resulting from the conflagration. Loomispouse jokes that the state of Texas is going to kill us with secondhand smoke.

Posted by: Loomis | January 22, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought we had 3 choices for a dooley

a) A small, decorative mat of lace or paper.

b) A wheeled handcart used for moving heavy objects.

c) A nickname for a socialite, derived from a famous first lady of the United States in the early 19th century, Doily Madison


oopps that was a Doily....my bad

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 22, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, bc (it's been a long time), it was compare and contrast with the American Revolution--which was part of the story itself, IIRC.

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I liked Stranger in a Strange Land, when I read it in high school for the fun of it. I also read the Foundation trilogy but remember absolutely nothing about it.

Don't get me started on Jane Austen, however.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

*snorting diet soda through my nose at greenwithenvy's post*

b is strangely accurate, while a and c are funnier than you could know.

Posted by: Dooley | January 22, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The difference between fantasy and science fiction is now nearly moot. Our understanding of the universe requires an invocation of Clarke's Law (advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic) for anything involving trans-solar travel. There is a whole subgenre of urban fantasy where Blade Runner grittiness and fantastical powers co-exist.

Check out your local BigBoxOfBooks and you will find that fantasy outshelves hard soft or merely turgid SF by at least 2-1. My theory is that it is easier to write. There are only so many Brins and Bears out there that can write the thesis defense level hard SF, while about anybody can come up with a new name for an elf.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Storyteller says: Science fiction does not strike me as a dead genre; however, there are certain stock plot-lines that are pretty well dead by now.

Totally agree that some plot-lines are obsolete. On the other hand, sci-fi movies are still going strong. They just get around the whole impossibility of interstellar travel thing by being set so far in the future that anything could happen by then.

Contrast with AC Clarke giving us a lunar base by 2001 and a second manned trip to the outer planets by 2010.

Where's my dam flying car?

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Flying car, nothin'! I want my jet pack!

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Did I say Heinlein? Yes I did. I meant, of course Clarke. Time to go home.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Lostinthought,
Would you mind posting that video of Mahahma Mahamna (sp?)again? I can't seem to find it.

As for flying cars or jet packs, I'd settle for bionic knees!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, I did know that "Mistress" is an update of the American Revolution, my he Future History reference was a bit of a double entendre/gag for full-on Heinlen readers.

Heinlen wrote a series of books and stories along a future timeline he plotted, called, cleverly, Future History:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_History

Sorry to be the purveyor of such dorky humor. But, there I am.

yellojkt, you forgot the other B of current hard SF writers, Baxter.

Got to spend some time with Fred Pohl some years ago (crap, 20, 25 years ago?), really nice, interesting guy. Of course, that mighta been because I had my girlfriend of the time with me, a petite green-eyed blonde, quite fetching. She'd actually read "Gateway" and a couple of his other works (at my behest). Couldn't blame the guy one bit for enjoying the moment.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC: please remove my "he".

Hmph, that'd be a trick, now wouldn't it?
Ow!

bc

Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The typical Clarke novel consists of 300 pages of earnest hard sf about hard-working engineers and scientists solving some problem followed by 50 pages of complete bat-guano insane mysticism.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 22, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Maggie... it was me who posted the video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7vvdOGwPu4

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go Maggie.
Mahna Mahna
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7vvdOGwPu4

Racy Swedish film and ScienceTim. Cracks me up.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 22, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I never said Dr. A. was sexless-- he wrote a lot of dirty jokes and limericks, actually ;).
The God Themselves was written in the 1960's, I believe. He also wrote for Playboy, since they pay well. He wrote a pretty funny short story called "What is This Thing Called Love?" which he considered a dig at erotic sci-fi.

He did incorporate some sex and romance in some of his later books, but always much more tastefully than Heinlein did. That might have been the influence of his second wife.

While, you'll admit, when you pick up Heinlein you expect some discussion on zero-gravity sex, or whatever the hell it is.

Storyteller Tim, I'm afraid the classic stock storylines basically count as fanasty or storytelling devices now, rather than fiction about science itself. Take for instance, space travel.

Now, that in itself has been the classic fodder for sci-fi, but if you read some of the golden classics today, you have to say, "if this was written today, with today's knowledge, this would be fanasty."

A Martian Odyssey, for instance, which is one of my favorites. I think the pivotal point that makes it ageless (to me), is the linguistic communication involved, not the setting.

It is difficult to write good sci-fi based on hard science; in fact, I often find it tedious to read Brin and Bear because of the excessive detail involved.

Ultimately, it often doesn't really matter that much to the story anyway.

I think if the bare essentials can't be told in a short-story, maybe it's too much raw information for the reader. And I feel exactly the same way about many clunky fanasty universes with excessive detail and a general ponderous gravitas.

Dunno, I get enough of that in daily life.

And I think SciTim underestimates the kind of hard sci-fi that's out there. The fields just have switched from engineering and astrophyics to biology and other softer disciplines. A recent award-winning story is worth the reading-- It's called "The Empire of Ice Cream."

And I love two classics: "Homefaring" and "The Leaves of October" that use two basic conceits (in the literary sense): time travel and space travel/alien contact to basically investigate the very alien, yet familiar worlds of lobsters and trees with considerable poignancy (and miminal sex).

So is sci-fi still "spectulative fiction" about the future or possible alternatives?

Or is it any fiction that uses the stock story devices-- spaceships in place of flying carpets, etc? The latter, I feel, is a subset of fanasty.



Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Lots to read here. Wow. I like the C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy, seldom read.

Out of the Silent Planet | Perelandra | That Hideous Strength

Tolkien really liked them.

---
As for education and parenting, I like to emphasize more the qualities that all children (people) can work toward and develop quite well:

patience
persistance
honesty
faithfulness
generosity
compassion

Looks, some aspects of intelligence, athletic ability, singing voice, etc: much of this is hardwired. Yes, let us help our children develop these qualities. But all people can work on the other virtues by effort, diligence, and sensitivity.

---
I see lots of smart kids, all good test takers, who have trouble with critical thinking and practical interaction with peers. Most of professional life is like a group science project, I tell them. When I assign case-based work or a group based professional scenario assignment they GROAN. And, of course, they will all pass on the cubicle-farm and run a cool biz, with blog and Google partnership, etc.

(I like nearly all of them, even the difficult students.)

Some of my favorite students are the late bloomers who make it back to school after stumbling in high school or college.

I wonder about the late bloomers who never make it back. Which brings me to my last point, RELATED TO THE SERIOUS UNDERSIDE of the KIT, male achievement is slipping. I worry, on average, more about boys and young men.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 22, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

(Only saying it was me to alleviate her confusion as to why she couldn't find it in a LostInThough post)

Go back to your lives, now, citizens.

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Maggie- Mahna Mahna is the first act on the first episode of the first season of "The Muppet Show". It's on DVD now, and my boy loves it! Fraggle Rock, too, for those who had HBO growing up (I always watched it at my rich friend's house).

Yello-
I credit Harry Potter with the success of fantasy today. Fairly well-written fluff that can appeal to parents, but is easy enough for the target audience, contains characters that target audience can identify with, etc. I rarely had to tell kids to put books down in my classroom before Harry came around. After, it's a very common thing.

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse


YelloJ, wrote "...50 pages of complete bat-guano insane mysticism."

---
Tipping my hat to you, oh thee of the silver (yellow?) pen. Wish I wrote that.
I feel a cartoon coming on....

Posted by: College Parkian | January 22, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

what does IB stand for?

i would love to see sen clinton run (and win) but i'm somewhat pessimistic about her chances - i work with all men and the concensus is that men still have a problem voting for a women (the one's that don't hate her outright)

Posted by: mo | January 22, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi mo... *waving!*

IB stands for International Baccalaureate.

Basically, (very basically( it's the idea that there is a worldwide standard and curriculum/program for graduation with an IB diploma.

You can find out here: http://www.ibo.org/

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

How many of the men you work with are married, Mo?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - yes exactly right about Clarke. Still I did enjoy his early stuff - 'specially the short stories.

Does "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle count as SF or fantasy? In any case I really liked it as a kid. The sequels, alas, not nearly as much.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

***Non-PC alert***

The way our voter turnout goes, if any so-called minority candidate ran for office, and ALL of the voters in our country who are of that same minority registered and voted for said candidate, s/he would win.

We have such a small fraction of the populace that actually vote, that if every woman voted for Clinton, she'd win hands down.

Same with Obama, if every black person voted for him, he'd be in.

But this won't happen. Of the people who do vote, I feel not enough are ready or willing to go with the female or the person of color, whoever they may be. I wish to be proven wrong.

Please.

***End Non-PC alert***

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Surprised that "A Canticle for Leibowitz" is in the science fiction section. Not sure where I'd put it, but SF doesn't seem right.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 22, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - that's an interesting question... why do you ask? i'd say it's almost half and half leaning more toward married...

Posted by: mo | January 22, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian-
I enjoyed the CS Lewis Space Trilogy. Some pretty far out stuff there. I liked the floating islands.

RD-
I'd go with fantasy with a twist of sci-fi on "Wrinkle." I don't remember any technology that made the tesseract possible. I could be wrong...

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Last science fiction I read was Sphere, very strange, and long, with layers upon layers of layers. Saddam was interested in big guns that shoot long distances. He even had Sheffield or some such company making the tubes. But he got found out before he could assemble it. Back to college: My daughter conducted tours for incoming freshman and their families at her school. She was always entertaining with the stories. The mom who asked who is going to tell her son when to shower. The mom who asked who is going to make her son's bed and tell him to wake up. There was an excellent piece in this weekend's Post written by a Harvard prof concerning the lack of political activism of our youth as compared with the VietNam era. I was looking for a link but I can no longer find the article.

Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

DUNE was the best.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

After lurking here for over a year, the Heinlein conversation convinced me to post. I got up to get a cup of tea and think about it. Unlurking on-line anywhere is a big deal for me (I'm shy). I came back and refreshed the page, and Pining had already written exactly what I was going to post - almost word for word.

Not the first time this has happened, but the first it was so exact. (is it the tinfoil, of lack thereof? Should I adjust my set?)

(apropo of favorite scifi writers: I seem to recall attending a funeral/tribute to Poul Anderson in 2002. I think he can be added to the list of those than have passed on...)

Posted by: sevenswans | January 22, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

CP - I like your six virtues. I think they are refrigerator worthy.

Shiloh - Yes, the word Epic was made for Dune. But oh those sequels.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC: than = that ("...that have passed on"

Posted by: sevenswans | January 22, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank you TGB, Lostinthought, and Gomer for the links and info.
I think that the furry orange guy
*could* be saying "phenomena," which would fit in the context of today's boodle.

BYW, Phillip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, is the best SF/fantasy ever written.

Signed
Often Wrong; Never in Doubt

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy is awesome, truly awesome.

Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, if you want SF/Fantasy, "The Martian Chronicles" are still my favorites. Creepy, fun, sad, and extremely memorable. "specially since its been 25 years since I read them.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, a pity he's gone. I liked his books even though few would have made my ultimate "favorite" reads-- he was always reliably good, and I'm sorry I didn't get to read all of his Hoka novels yet. (very funny).

A trip into Ander-saxon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ander-Saxon

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, don't adjust your set, and tinfoil is reserved for BPH.

Or is it. Mudge did I miss a memo again?

Tim, that list, with a tiny bit of editing works for the romance novel genre too. Not that I've ever read any...just sayin.

Posted by: dr | January 22, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi all! I ducked out on the 12th and re-emerge sans appendix.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 22, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' Maggieo'd the plans for what they gave Lindsay Wagner*

:-)

And Dune, oboy...

Very first SF book I ever really fell in love with, and the first two sequels were pretty good. "God Emperor" was a bit much, I have to admit. And I'm torn as to whether or not I'll apologize to Kyle MacLachlan after I punch him out (if I ever meet him) for participating in that piece of insanely bad bat guano that masqueraded as a movie.

Now, the miniseries was another thing altogether...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

SoC!!! Good to see you back and healthy!

*waving*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

SoC, hope all went well.

Posted by: dmd | January 22, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke,
I had to look at wikipedia to find out who Lindsay Wagner is. Now I get it; she's the Bionic Woman. Then I thought, "Who is Xanax, Warrior Woman?" Back to wiki. It turns out that it's Xana, Warrior Princess. Then, "Who is "Xanax?" Now I am anxious about how much I don't know about pop culture. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC: another embarrassing admission; it's XENA, not Xana.
Dang.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' Maggie O'D a coupon good for one free drink at the next BPH as compensation for prompting a Wiki visit*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Xanax is a little-known superhero known for his ability to remain calm and stress free and, like, you know, all mellow and stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, SonofCarl! We've missed you! Hope all is well now.

Sevenswans, Pining, also welcome!

TBG, there is a question on CNN.com asking if anyone has actually met people they have come in contact with online. I chuckled and answered, YES!

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - the Dune sequels simply exhausted me. At some point I wondered if any piece of fiction was worth learning this much nomenclature.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke--

If you get the opportunity to punch out
MacLachlan, go for it. I'll bail you out.

Posted by: OK | January 22, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, that was a charming post! I'm looking forward to you getting another cup of tea and writing again.

Posted by: dbG | January 22, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

XenaXanax would have been a great intro boodle handle. Dangit. Always with the timing...

Posted by: sevenswans | January 22, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, and Slyness, I finished History of God and two other books in the last bit. When I hit that section on Kabbalism I was secretly longing for my inflamed appendix back as it was less painful.

My sense is that she got to St. Augustine and then realized "holy man, I'm doing a history of the world here!" and the quality went downhill thereafter. I thought I recognized some of my patented slap dash get the thing done technique towards the end, so my people will be talking to her people.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 22, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Sequels are like sequins; glittering little attachments to the primary fabric of the novel with little substance.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

StorytellerTim, TBG, LiT, thanks for 2 great laughs today.

Posted by: dbG | January 22, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl.. so good to hear you're doing well. Now... will you be able to keep your index?

sevenswans... funny how easy it is to hit that Submit button a second time, isn't it?

Slyness... Ha! I love it!

Posted by: TBG | January 22, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

SofC, that does make me feel better about having given up on History of God. You say the quality went down hill after that? I gather I didn't miss much by quitting. It's against my principles not to finish a book, but that one deserved the exception.

Ha! Shiloh, good one!

Lessee if I can come up with good sequels.

The second half of Little Women
Paradise Regained?
Checkmate was a worthy sequel to The Game of Kings, but the ones in between? (The Lymond Chronicles)
I loved the story in Busman's Honeymoon but it's not as good a novel as Gaudy Night.

I'll keep thinking.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Alice Through the Looking Glass? okay, not quite as good.

I thought the "Lord of the Rings" triology was an inferior sequel to "The Hobbit" myself. Sparkly, though. My preciousssssss....

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

dbG, thank you for the compliment! (and thank you to the other boodlers for the friendly responses). Another cup of tea so soon after the first would likely cause iuntesdrstig typos, and frighten the cats as I impatiently click submit over and over while my dial-up connection moseys down the electron pathway. (note to self: buy the decaf next time)

Apropo of the kit (or one of them), I was mostly indifferent to Senator Clinton until recently. I would like to think that she could get elected. She seems to have all of the national and international leadership skills needed, as well as a good idea of what she's getting into and what to do with it if she gets there.

I'd say she's 10x as determined, 50x as intelligent and 100x as qualified as last time's candidates. Not sure that will be enough to break the barrier, but it's in the ballpark.

Posted by: sevenswans | January 22, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Continuing the simile, prequels are like undergarments, the unmentionables.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks, I posted a new kit. Feel free to repost comments from this boodle.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 22, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to sevenswans. It is incredibly intimidating (I just love the alliteration to which the English language inclines itself) but it gets easier (especially among the mostly civil populace of the A-blog). Post when you will.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

still busy. but found this for mo: http://www.gothicbeauty.com/links.html

Posted by: omni | January 23, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

of course she prolly already knows.

Posted by: omni | January 23, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: shaioj xlty | February 5, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

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