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Astronaut Behaving Badly, and Other News

Ain't love grand. Lisa Nowak is from DC and Rockville-- see her NASA bio. Nice photo, certainly better than the police mug shot. "Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers so she wouldn't have to stop to urinate, authorities said." Crazy? Or a great travel tip? You make the call.

Houston Chronicle goes with the irony lede:

"Lisa Marie Nowak was accustomed to hard training, prolonged deprivation and a strong sense of mission. But this is not exactly what NASA had in mind when they made her an astronaut."

[2 p.m. update: So this story has been preoccupying me all day. Rubber tubing??? A steel mallet? What was she planning to do with these things? Murder her rival, according to police today. It's all very disturbing. And tragic, of course. This is one of our best and brightest. I have met many astronauts and they've all been amazing people who can fly fighter jets and compete in triathlons and write computer code and all sorts of other such things simultaneously. They're all psychologically screened and tested in every which way (think of Tom Wolfe's elaborate and hilarious descriptions, in "The Right Stuff," of what the Mercury 7 astronauts endured). But perhaps there are things that can't be screened. Human passions by nature resist control. Love hurts. It's lonely out in space. And so on. This case has to be a shock for the astronaut corps.]


Bulletin: Today we passed 90,000 comments on the Achenblog. Nice boodlin'!


Someone should write a funny column about how the Senate specializes in doing nothing.


From Josh Partlow's excellent dispatch from Baghdad:

'After the patrol on Thursday, Sgt. Michael Hiler, 26, stepped down from his Humvee and described the day's effort as "stupid."

'"We should have pulled out a long time ago," Hiler said. "It's going to take the hand of God to change anything about what we do here, which is nothing. This country's going to fall apart sooner or later, and at this point I say, 'Good riddance.' "

'Sitting on bunks while waiting for an evening patrol, a group of soldiers discussed the enemy and the latest security effort, described by Padgett as "the last best hope for Iraq."

'"All these extra troops start coming into Baghdad, you'll start reducing the anti-American violence. That way, it will show quick results for the Bush administration. And that way, 'Hey, we won the war, let's get out of here,' " said Pfc. Daniel Gomez, 21, a medic. But he said of the forces opposing the Americans: "They're like the Viet Cong, they can wait it out. We're not going to be here forever, and they know that. And then we're gone, and it's all theirs."'


Someone should write a blog item about how it was the worst Super Bowl ever.


Via Arts & Letters Daily, here's Meghan Daum of the Los Angeles Times, riffing on Hillary Clinton's attempt to make a joke about evil men: "If there's anything that can hinder a woman's credibility faster than becoming visibly pregnant or getting caught watching Lifetime, it's revealing the ability to be genuinely funny."


Complicated times in the Ryan O'Neal household.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 6, 2007; 8:49 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sloppy Super Bowl; Barrel Full of Senators
Next: Learning How To Think


I actually thought the Super Bowl was great in the rain, one more challenge for the teams to overcome. At least until Grossman forgot how to throw...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

THE MOON ISN'T EVEN FULL! The cold snap must be driving everyone mad.

Diapers as a means of speeding along a road trip is a capital idea. Particularly in the presence of a full Playmate.

Posted by: jack | February 6, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

That astronaut love triangle story is just crying out for the Dave Barry treatment.

Posted by: wiredog | February 6, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

From the last boodle, where it was mistakenly addressedt to Raysmom.

Wheezy-I'll plead guilty to making a sweeping generalization, but I'm sorry to say I think your school system is the exception. While my personal experience is from teaching in schools in a half dozen states, I still wouldn't smear the entire nation based on just schools in which I've taught. I make my sweeping generalization based on research on teaching children living in poverty, including the Algebra Project. Your child's regular math taking peers are fortunate indeed to have a full choice of electives.

In the rural area where I am now living 2 of the closest 3 middle schools have no foreign language classes for any 8th graders. Taking Algebra I is possible, but doesn't often happen. Ironically, Algebra will be required for all 8th graders in MN by 2010. It will be interesting to see if it has the desired effect. Despite repeated disappointment at educational innovation, I live in hope.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 6, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, thanks for the 3 a.m. bulletin on the astronaut, by the way...

Yes, there is a maverick view that the rain made the game more interesting. I love snow games. I love games where you can't see the lines on the field. Grossman was terrible, so maybe Gators aren't perfect after all.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 6, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The moon was recently full, actually...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Astronaut Lisa Nowak is also an Annapolis grad, and is an F-18 fighter pilot, as is Astronaut Oefelein. Nowak attended the Navy's Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, graduating in 1994; Oefelein attended the very next class (which overlaps part of the year), so they would have been classmates there and one may reasonably conclude they've known each other since about 1995. Nowak worked at Pax in one of the test squadrons, as did Oefelein, who is also a "Top Gun" graduate and went on to become an instructor at the Test Pilot School. What the relevance of any of this is I can't say. Maybe nothing other than they've known each other for 12 years or so.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

How many people believe that this astronaut chick "only wanted to scare" the other woman? I'd like a show of postings, please. Just your gut channel Mr. Rummy, it's a known unknown, or something like that.

Posted by: Kim | February 6, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"They're like the Viet Cong, they can wait it out. We're not going to be here forever, and they know that. And then we're gone, and it's all theirs."'

deserves repeating

Posted by: frostbitten | February 6, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

yes it does

"They're like the Viet Cong, they can wait it out. We're not going to be here forever, and they know that. And then we're gone, and it's all theirs."

Posted by: omni | February 6, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

A couple of comments on Ms. Nowak's trip:

Amercian Astronauts since Alan Shepard ("Permission to relieve bladder.") wear diapers on takeoff. They're standard equipment, IIRC.

It's not like they can relieve themselves into beer bottles and chuck them out the window or anything.

Also, I don't know of anything other than a good-sized diesel truck that can go 900+ miles (Houston to Orlando) without stopping for fuel, so chances are she had to stop *somewhere* along the line for fuel. And for diaper changes, I suppose.

Some off-road racers (Baja 1000, etc.) use a catheter running down their driver's suit leg to a hole in the floor of the vehicle for such things.

This reminds me of a story about off-road legend Ivan "Ironman" Stewart (which I have probably mentioned in here previously, so forgive me if you've heard this before). Just before the beginning of a big race, Stewart was walking around the paddock and had to go One Last Time before getting strapped into the car (if you want to meet drivers, go to a trackside bathroom 10 minutes before a race), and stepped into the nearest facilites. Mr. Stewart was already wearing the catheter, with the exit tube sticking out next to his driver's boot. Instead of undoing everything just before getting buckled up, Mr Stewart just walked up to a urinal, picked up his leg, and began his business.

Two guys walk in, see this going on, and one says to the other, "Wow. Now I know why the call him 'Ironman'."


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Nowak had donned adult diapers to avoid the customary rest stops"- Houston Chronicle.
I'm very confused.
Are astronauts bedwetters? If resting is being used as a euphemism for tinkling I don't understand how culture trumps physiolgy.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Ryan O'Neal do a show like the Osbornes? Sounds like it would be exciting. And it would have the beneficial social purpose of satisfying the public's growing need for moral superiority. Flailing pokers? That beats Survivor to heck!

Posted by: CowTown | February 6, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see that the cruel baby diaper harvest has been discontinued.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, you're probably right, our school district is pretty different. NB: I didn't use the term "sweeping generalization," which is pretty loaded, emotionally. I used "extrapolate," which leans in a different direction.

You're definitely much more knowledgeable about this issue than I am.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 6, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Repost from last boodle, re: middle school education.

Here in Howard County where every child is gifted and talented, part of my wife's job is to recommend or place the fifth graders into the appropriate tracks in middle school. The most important placement is math since you can always back off a level, but it is hard to accelerate once you are in a progression. Other than the Super Secret Math Program I boodled about before, the most advanced middle school track is 6th-Pre-Algebra, 7th-Algebra, 8th-Geometry. That puts you on track for Calculus in 11th grade, which is a year faster than most school systems that teach calculus.

My wife starts her elementary school pre-pre-algebra sequence in 4th grade and continues it through 5th grade. Parents are always asking how to help their kids do well once they get into her class. Her response is multiplication drills. Having to stop and recall a multiplication fact just wrecks all your problem solving momentum. Parents should make sure their kids know all the facts up to 12 x 12 instantly. Knowing squares up to 20 x 20 is also valuable.

At my son's school, there was a mandatory reading class in addition to language arts. A foreign language could substitute for the reading. He had both Spanish and band for the three years of middle school. In high school he has dumped Spanish after two more years of it, but has stuck with band.

It's great to have a wide exposure of subjects in middle school because the courses don't "count" and you can experiment a little more widely with interests.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Passion combined with spite are a lethal combination; and being smart and capable just makes one more capable of doing really stupid things. Just my two cents.

Posted by: Dave | February 6, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the diaper wearing isn't just an astronaut thing. My dad has ferried fighter planes transoceanic a couple of times. His typical survival pack included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a long trashy novel.

I don't think I will ever ask him the diaper versus catheter question. There are things I just don't need to know.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Rubber tubing for touniquets, knives, and garbage bags. Sounds like the propman's list for an episode of The Sopranos or maybe she was planning to watch and follow along with the Food Channel's, The Tidy Butcher.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

De nada, JA, it was too wacky to ignore even at that early hour...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Yello I may not be understanding the system correctly but isn't that system streaming the kids a little young? We complain up here when the kids must choose at the start of High School (Grade 9) the opportunity to close doors early is quite easy.

My oldest is rapidly approaching those important years so the info is very informative and helpful.

Posted by: dmd | February 6, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

AND-where are this astronaut chick's kids and who is taking care of them? As a working mother, I can see the whole 12 day in space arrangement, but an arrangement for a mad dash across the southeast on recently acquired info? Not so much. AND-if the rubber catheter is coming out of the bottom of his pants, you mean he just goes when he's driving and....where does it go from there?

Posted by: Kim | February 6, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Re DMD, yes, we can push too soon. I see a number of bright but weary and beleagured college. Hard to see jadedness in their shinning faces....

Why is a subset of children OVERSTIMULATED, supported and stressed yet suceeding, when so many get crumbs from the table....(don't feel critiqued parents here.....but do help your child work in balance like dogs, flowers, blue music, sudoko, car racing, knitting, reading for pleasure.....)

But Yello's wife is right: drill on multiplication and I would add, be able to undo them in the division tables.

Sad story: When I try to tell families that buying the drill books or making cards is key to algebra, they kinda don't believe me. Add, when they buy the books, if they do, the high school sophmore is not pleased, particularly because the drill books says, "Four Grade Math" or has cutie-pie pictures in in. Boys at this stage tend to really quit, substituting the false and sometimes deadly cool of drop out and gang it.

I think that some think I am selling snake oil. Algebra must be more mysterious than that.

So, I really like these drill (consumable) booklets from Key Curriculum:

Slyness. If all of us supported Math is for Everyone efforts like The Algebra Project and each child received and completed these drill sets....stop me, I am dreaming.

Next time, we can discuss grammar and composition as a justice offering in the cafeteria of school....

....grading papers, really, truly, madly deeply.....

Posted by: College Parkian | February 6, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.
The astronaut story is astonishing but not surprising - you never know when bam! you'll wake up a criminal. I expect that, whatever her intentions when she set out from Houston, by the time she reached Orlando she didn't really know what she was going to do. If she'd still wanted to injure the woman she would have done it as soon as they were alone. Ah, ain't the delusion of true love grand.

I did finally catch up on yesterday's Boodle. Thanks for the greetings to the Boy. I think he meant to write that this would be the last time I'd let HIM post, but I thought he did all right. RD, regarding the life insurance, the gleam in your wife's eye, and the metallic coffee, just remember Mithridates. Cassandra, your friend needs to use publicity to find a lawyer willing to take her case (ideally pro bono) and intervene on her behalf with the school system. She should be able to talk to the superintendent. If both girls were fighting, both girls should be punished. There should be a hearings system set up to appeal the discipline and transfer decisions.

Hey, Error Flynn, I'm glad to hear from you. Congratulations on receiving the first part of your treatment and finding a comely nurse. It may be part of their plan to dangle the promise of that nurse in another section, just out of reach - gives you something to think about.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Why was the super bowl bad? I did not watch, but heard that it rained, Prince was better than good, and Peyton Manning was the prince of the day, I think, so why was it the worse super bowl ever?

yellokt, the information about the multiplication tables is very good. A lot of the kids I work with have problems with that. So every kid in your county is smart? Is my understanding of that correct?

Can someone help me with the long question asked in the last boodle? I know it's loaded, but your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

And sorry, I was talking so much this morning, I forgot to say hello to the Boy. Welcome to the boodle, and we would love to hear your thoughts. Hello, Ivansmom.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 6, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Kim, I mentioned in my 9:56 that there is a hole in the vehicle's floor for the tube to exit under normal conditions.


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Although I'm finding it difficult to not laugh at the phrase "donned adult diapers," I must say I find this astronaut chick story rather sad. I honestly -- almost *literally* -- don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Posted by: Tom fan | February 6, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Whew...thanks, BC, for clearing that up. Gotta stop skimming! I think it's sad, also...but put in perspective alongside the story out of Baghdad, we may as well laugh about the astronaut chick. I have definitely been using up tears on the stories out of Iraq.

Posted by: Kim | February 6, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom. According to the stories I've read the victim heard footsteps behind her, rushed into her car and locked the door. The perp then pretended to be a stranded passenger and tried to get the victim to open her door. When the victim refused but lowered her window she was peppersprayed. The perp was found in disguise in possession of rubber tubing, garbage bags, a NEW knife, and Maxwell's silver hammer. If the victim hadn't beat the perp to the car I submit that we wouldn't have heard from her again.

Posted by: DurhamCountyPersecuter999 | February 6, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

More space news: the amount of space junk has been deemed beyond a critical amount, such that a slow, destructuve, chain reaction is inevitable. The latter is sure to take out something big...

Posted by: jack | February 6, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Hiya, Tom Fan!


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Here's my favorite paragraph from the astronaut story:

"Chris Ferguson, a pilot on the mission, also attended the hearing. Asked afterward about Nowak's behavior, Ferguson said
'perplexed is the word I'm sticking with.'"

Chris, you're my role model. I hope I can remember this, if I'm ever in a situation where everybody wants a quote. Just take your time, choose a word carefully, and then, no matter what, stick with it. That's your word. In fact, I think that may work in other situations as well. I will consider it.

Imagine the boodle, if we could only use one word for a comment.

Ha. (That might be mine.)

Posted by: kbertocci | February 6, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Jack you beat me to that article I chose to look at this one first, Dick Cavett on the importance of words and pronunciation.

Posted by: dmd | February 6, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, that one word idea is doubleplusgood.

Need to choose mine carefully, since you already took the good one...


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

IDK: I Don't Know.

Posted by: omni | February 6, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

No dmd, you understand it perfectly. The tracking starts very early. Two things to remember. It's a gifted and talented program and applies to only maybe the top 10-20% of the students. Even the steps one or two paces slower are still very advanced.

There are two cut-in points at the elementary school level. Tests are given at the end of third and fourth grade. The kids that enter GT Math in fourth grade tend to do much better than the ones that join in fifth grade. Because of parental pressure and the need for class diversity, the program often relaxes entry standards rather than ratcheting them up because it is better to err on the inclusive side. Kids that find the pace too tough go back to the "regular advanced" math with no ill effect.

The parents of my wife's students frequently work at NSA, APL, NIH, and other TLA type places. Her school is "average" for Howard County. The more upscale elementary schools are downright cutthroat.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

It's not so much that EVERY kid is above average, but Lake Wobegon has nothing on Howard County. It is more that the entire county is decidedly middle class. I did some research for my latest blog post (which I will plug again)

My son's school is 30% black. Some area high schools are over 40% African American, but none have more than 20% free/reduced lunch eligible. The area is culturally diverse, but housing prices keep the socio-economic status to the right of the curve. I said it before, but most tests only measure the income of the student's parents.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

DCPersecutor999, I agree that Nowak certainly came prepared to do some damage, and I suspect that was her intention back in Houston. However, I conjecture that as her emotions cascaded (probably several times) during the long drive, and she donned her disguise, and then she actually got to the airport in a position to carry out her plan, she became a little less certain of how exactly to go about it, or perhaps even of what she wanted to do. For usually law-abiding citizens, even those caught in the grip of a strong emotion, actually accomplishing physical violence on another is more difficult than we think it will be. As I read the story, Nowak was on the same shuttle bus, got off at the same stop, and followed her victim. If she'd wanted to really hurt her, she would have tackled her after they got off the bus and were alone, before the woman reached her car. This hesitation suggests to me that Nowak no longer quite knew what she wanted to do. Of course, that has little or no effect on what she'll be charged with.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I like "perplexed". Also: confusticated, hornswoggled, discombobulated.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

That is a scary and sad story about the astronaut. She thought this out, so it wasn't like she was in a passion or something, but then the thinking isn't good either. Sounds like she had a problem from the beginning, and she certainly has one now. I wonder if anyone noticed a change in her. Sometimes people give off signals that somthing is wrong, very wrong. But in the case of smart people it may be accepted as, can't think of the word.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 6, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't see the Cavett story, dmd. Rats!

Totally off topic: Note in this morning's paper that Zsa Zsa Gabor is 90 today.

Ninety. That makes me feel old, too.

Posted by: Slyness | February 6, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

You have to remember that most shuttle pilots come from the fighter pilot fraternity. I refer you to "The Right Stuff" and "The Great Santini" for further studies.

My very stable, family-oriented dad came home from a one-year tour in Korea with a dead tooth. He has never explained how it happened. We suspect alcohol on somebody's part was involved.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

As one of the mathematically challenged I can track the beginning of my troubles to failing to memorize the multiplication table. I could usually ferret out the answers on tests but it took me so long the rest of the kids had gone home. Dylexia didn't help any either, but then she was always cruel.
Oh, oh. The order of operations. Know 'em, love 'em.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Discombobulated! My favorite! (although I admit to a sneaky fondness for "egregious")

Posted by: sevenswans | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Totally random recollection:

I was going through Dulles last week, and heard a Muzak version of "Spill the Wine." Almost enough to drive a classic rock fan to drink.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Slyness didn't realize that was a suscription required portion - too bad it was funny.

Future Darwin award winner here, close your eyes everyone, think about how cold it is, now picture yourself trying to cross the Niagara river in a rubber raft to pay your credit card bill. You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: dmd | February 6, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The astronaut story is very sad. Just goes to show that astronauts are people in a job -- an ultra-cool job, but still people in a job. They aren't superheroes, they have defects and foibles and extreme foolishness, like other people.

Being smart and capable does not keep you from being crazy. It may make you better at it.

Unless there is some incredible Perry Mason-like revelation in the storyline, Lisa Nowak has just erased everything that she has ever tried to be or to become, thrown away everything she was and everything she had. She is a destroyed human being. She is a 43-year old woman with skills she can't use, starting from nothing. Maybe she can get a job as a crop-duster. There is no way that anyone will let her fly anything that has passengers.

I have my Word: "Challenging."

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 6, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

bc is correct: astronauts wear "diapers" during shuttle launches as well as during re-entries, because, as he said, there are long periods of time when you can't get up and walk around, and stroll down the cockpit to the loo. Also, astronauts are packed together next to each other in threesies and foursies during launch and re-entry, and it's a bit of a privacy issue: nobody wants to stop and do their business when there's somebody 18 inches away from you. Especially in mixed company. Of course, the "diapers" are not quite what many of you may be thinking; they are sort of like "Depends" (I guess; never seen a Depends), but a bit more sophisticated and better quality.

Yes, the story is very sad. What is interesting to me (having had several years' exposure to test pilots and flight engineers, and how they train and think) is the extremely bipolar state of Nowak's mind. On the one hand, she appears to be involved in this extremely emotional love triangle or quadrangle or trapazoid, or whatever geometric shape it turns out to be, and she pretty clearly just lost it and went a bit bonkers--not anything remotely like you expect a highly trained and disciplined fighter pilot/engineer/test pilot to behave. But in the midst of going bonkers, what does she do? She apparently realizes she has only X hours to drive 900 miles to get to Orlando by T hundred hours when Shipman's plane lands. She probably calculates she'll have to drive at an average of Z miles per hour to get there. Without even consciously thinking about it, she knows her car (whatever it is) gets Y miles per gallon, and she'll have to make D number of fuel stops (say two or three). She understands she's extremely pressed for time, but has just enough time (as well as a certain amount of first-degree premeditation) to assemble her traveling gear and the diaper rig --and HAS MENTALLY MADE THE TRADE-OFF THAT WEARING DIAPERS SAVES TIME OVER MAKING PIT STOPS. That's what's incredible to me. On the one hand she's nuts; on the other hand, she's figured out out to trim three minutes from a 900-mile drive. In a way, I'm in awe of her. She probably packed bottles of water (or, of course, Tang), as well as what Nasa calls "low-residue" (read: poop-minimizing) snack food and energy bars. Test pilots: gotta love 'em.

I think the fact that she packed a BB gun pretty much testifies to her state of mind, that even in her bonkers state she never intended to kill Shipman. Which doesn't mitigate the rest of it, though. She's probably got a halfway decent temporary insanity defense. And there's obviously a helluva lot of back story we'll never know about until the movie version comes out on the Faux network.

She'll obviously resign from NASA and the Navy as quietly (and as soon) as possible, and go into some sort of psychiatric counseling. Sooner or later, she'll write a book, and sell the movie rights, which will cover her legal fees and rehab costs.

I actually feel a great deal of sympathy for her.

Now, to casting the movie: David James Elliott ("JAG"), of course, has to play Oefelein. If it's a semi-sleezy Fox production (OK, that's redundant, I realize), they'll probably get Jennifer Love Hewitt for Nowak. If it's a halfway decent flick with honorable intentions, my money would be on Honeysuckle Weeks. Yeah, you'll have to look her up. But she's worth it.

We don't know anything about Shipman yet, so we can't cast her yet.

Movie title: Crash and Burn.

Unfortunately, I think this thing is going to be all over Access Hollywood and some of those sleeze networks. Which is too bad. I'll be VERY disappointed if she winds up on Dr. Phil or Oprah.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt: My second grader is doing well in math and I want that to continue. Flash cards--got it! Thanks for the pointers.

Posted by: Dave | February 6, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I can't figure out the acronym "TLA"

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 6, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Dick Cavett has a blog? And you have to pay for it? And this is a money-maker?

Posted by: Tim | February 6, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Do you suppose she was wearing regular adult diapers, or "NASA Adult Wearable Digestive Wastes Undergarment Containment System"-brand diapers?

Posted by: byoolin | February 6, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I bags flummoxed.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

My current word is uncaffeinated.

RD, I'm pretty well insured as well. Also, if you don't like your coffee, I'll ask my wife to send yours her recipe. It has this great almond-y flavour.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

TLA: Three Letter Acronym
ETLA: Extended Three Letter Acronym

I'd be surprised if there aren't a few Goddard offspring floating around the HoCo GT program.

I did some more research and Deep Run may have once been Waterloo Middle. I need to find a definitive chronology.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

dmd | What's the problem? A Canadian in a boat in the winter. I've gone water-skiing on New Years Day on Mississippi Lake. (Dry suit)
He wasn't even in trouble according to the linked article.
"The four advised the man to paddle toward the shore, and he complied."- The Buffalo News
Just another case of authourities over- reacting.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Well except for the part where he had a little trouble in the past with guns at the border, he was 4 hours is super cold and he made some irrational statements - typical canadian :-)

Posted by: dmd | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

NASA Adult Wearable Digestive Wastes Undergarment Containment Systems costs $12,576.83 each.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In the spirit of yesterday's health discussion I interrupt this Boodle for a public service announcement. Go ye and get an abdominal aneurysm screening. Last week my 70-ish aunt went in for a full bone density test. Lo and behold there was a large abdominal aneurysm - no symptoms. Yesterday the family was on hospital watch during the almost 3-hour surgery. All went well; it was near a kidney and her intestines had to be paralyzed, but she is on the mend. The aneurysm was the size of a grapefruit, as opposed to the usual golf ball (I love doctors who speak real-world English). [Footnote: here's when the exorbitant post-retirement insurance was worth it.] The Boy asked "is it fatal?" and I told him yes, if they hadn't caught it, but they can fix this if they find it. In December my mother-in-law had surgery for a hernia which had let her colon float up by her heart. We just think we know what our internal organs are doing in there.

Please return to the regularly scheduled Boodle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The ETLA for NASA Adult Wearable Digestive Wastes Undergarment Containment Systems is 'NAWDWUCS'. (Pronounced just like it looks, natch.)

Posted by: byoolin | February 6, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Tying together boodle threads:

*Said astronaut learned her math facts. *She can recall them under stress.
*Perhaps she needed more relaxation. *Love is a madness always (insert any and all Shakespeare).
*Smartness has limits.
*We can all crash and burn. spectacularily. (I hope my such events are more private).
*Insanity happens.
*I hope she has access to COBRA and can pay for it.
*Young children are in the backstory.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 6, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, yello--if you're an astronaut you can get those NASA Adult Wearable Digestive Wastes Undergarment Containment Systems at the Navy Exchange ("PX" or to some of you) or commisary for the handsomely discounted price of $8,426.52, or the handy family pack of six for $45,000.

Cassandra, no one has answered your Super Bowl question. Those who say it was "the worst Super Bowl ever" say it because it was an extremely sloppy game, not just because of the rain. There were four fumbles in the first quarter alone, and six total. Grossman threw two interceptions, but they were really ugly interceptions. He just played badly.

But I think the "worst ever" idea is a bit exaggerated--over the past 40 years, there were some real embarrassing blowouts (you just have to be an old fart, like me, to remember them). What "worst ever" really means is "worst in my memory, which is only about 9 years' worth."

As to the school fight question: the kid needs a lawyer, and there need to be lots of good eyewitness testimony as to who said what and when. Without that, it just becomes a lot of "he said she said" and your kid will probably lose, being the newbie as well as the winner of the fight. For some reason, the winner is presumed to have been the agressor, which may or may not be true. In sports, it is very known that the refs miss the first punch, but they always see the seond punch, and penalize the second person accordingly.

Unfortunately, I don't think that helps you much.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Is this too far off topic?
Just in from CNN.
San Fransisco mayor to seek rehab at the Delancey Street Project.
When you backslide you're caught by the Invisible Woman, the booze is scooped up by Mr. Fantastic, and The Thing administers aversion therapy.
The Torch, being a teenager, sulks.
The facility is supervised by Dr. Strange.
Hey, it's Frisco.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Multiplication Tables - It's not a matter if a child gets the answer correct, it's a matter of how fast the child gets the answer correct.

So don't even bother them with the trick with the 9's. If he learns that way, it will forever slow him down.

I wrote a computer program for my son to learn his mathfacts. It was similar to a timed flashcard test. In 2 weeks (30 to 45 minutes a night) he could answer each problem and click on the answer in an average of 2 seconds. This launched him into the advanced math class for the rest of the year.

A computer is probably the best tool for teaching kids their multiplication tables, but if one is not available, the practice of presenting the problem (like 4 times 6), allowing for 1 guess, giving him the answer and repeating the problem over if he gets it wrong I have found to be the most effective way to teach children this very important memory excersise.

The same goes for reading. If you want to help a child read, have him read to you, if he doesn't know a word, or gets one wrong, just tell him the word and move on. If you have to tell him more than 10% of the words he is reading, dumb the reading material down to a level he can handle.

Never tell the child he is guessing when he gets a word or problem wrong. The fact that he is guessing goes without saying and will only serve to interrupt the learning process and add frustration to what may already be a difficult task. Making the child "sound out the word" also adds the interruption and frustration element to the process.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Why do I have this opinion?

Well, I tried to learn to read as an adult and failed. I wasn't very good at feeling little dots on a piece of paper and make words out of them, and all the help I got from my instructor was "you're guessing again". Of course I was guessing, If I could get it right the first time, why would I need an instructor? Braille quickly became the class I hated most.

Posted by: Pat | February 6, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

re: Nowak. I think she knew what she was doing. On the bb gun issue, her "problem" was probably that she didn't own a gun. She either risked a paper trail in buying one, or a witness trail if she tried to buy one "on the street". So she decided she would bluff with the bb gun. That's just suspicious me, though. I never have bought I only wanted to scare him/I didn't know what I was going to do/I had a change of heart at the last minute.

So my word is "intent".

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Nowak is not to be released on bond as originally reported. She's now been charged with attempted first degree murder.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, Mudge, and yellokt, thanks for getting back, and yes, the information does help. I've always thought there is a process concerning bad behavior, and this process was done fairly. I don't have all the details, but I'm pretty sure you are right, Mudge, when you say the winner is going to be seen as the aggressor. I don't think the child responded until she was hit. And then, all bets were off. That is what I taught my children. Doesn't matter what anyone says, walk on, but the minute it gets physical, try to leave whom-ever in next week. And I am not a violent person, but schools can be rough, and I don't believe in school violence, mediation is the ticket. My children had problems also, but not the violent kind, because I pretty much lived at the school house. And that is what parents have to do. Don't send your children where you don't go. You love your children, the world does not.

My word, "what"?

Got to go, I've missed the eleven o'clock, now have to run for the three o'clock, and the water is cold.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 6, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

In contact with friend who works at NASA med in Houston. Counseling is imminent or has already started. My guess is that lots of people fantasize about harm to a competitor in romance (or other situations). The rub is her poor impulse control and the act of carrying out the thoughts. She is married with kids and neglected to think about how that would affect them, so she's not thinking clearly.

Posted by: bonzo | February 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

This really needs no additional comment...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I wonder: if they ever decided to market those NASA Adult Wearable Digestive Wastes Undergarment Containment Systems to the general public (like Hummers), what flavors would they make them in? (To be determined via online poll, most likely)

[bc waving hands]
Ok, ok, it's a joke, don't get your Depends in an uproar.

Still thinking about a word.


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

SofC, Nowak was in Houston, Texas. She's military. You can buy a gun in daycare centers and 7-11s in Texas. In fact, I think it's a requirement. (Somebody better frisk Loomis next time she goes to a Helotes mulch fire meeting.)

Seriously, I don't think she gave any thought to covering her tracks--like Ivansmom said, whatever she may have originally intended, by the time she got there she didn't know what she was going to do. But I don't see anyway she could have planned to "get away with it," whatever "it" was. She just wasn't thinking rationally about some aspects (and super-rationally about others). But she could have killed Shipman any of a dozen ways, with or without a gun, if that had been her intent. To me the BB gun was clearly a "scare" weapon, but there was no intent from the beginning to commit murder. You just don't pack a BB gun to a shoot-out.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

My son was involved in an altercation in middle school. It was reported as an "attack" instead of a "fight" because my son either couldn't or didn't strike back. As a result, his punishment for the event was negligible, but there was a triggering event for which he was punished.

We have always taught him to never hit anyone for any reason while on school grounds. This may be unrealistic in some situations, but it's our first line response.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Did she have a BB pistol or a Red Ryder Rifle? If she wore the trench coat (duster?)to cover the rifle she probably had a backup plan to snipe her rival and put her eye out.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

My one word was going to be "completely heterosexual" until Scotty posted that link; now that's out the window.


Posted by: byoolin | February 6, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Front Page Alert! Please place your trays in an upright position and extinguish all smoking materials (including brush fires). No running or pushing. Use good, indoor language. Everyone smile!

Posted by: CowTown | February 6, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse


I had pretty much the same reaction on hearing a Muzak version of Let's Get It On in the grocery store one day. Some songs should just be off-limits.

Posted by: OK | February 6, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

We did timed multiplication (and addition) table tests back in 3rd? 4th? grade. They were in the form of a 10x10 or maybe 12x12 table. The fast way to do it was to complete the pattern, rather than solve the individual problems -- using addition, not multiplication. After you've done that enough times, you have learned the multiplication table by rote. The kid who could beat me is now prof of physics at UCLA. Sigh.

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 6, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe. But even if you can buy a gun with your large fries you still have a witness, plus (this I don't know - do you have a problem crossing state lines with your Happy Meal and Mc38 special?).

Here's the inventory:

"trench coat, wig, pepper spray canister, a BB gun, a new steel mallet, a new folding knife, several feet of rubber tubing, and several large garbage bags"

One point of view on this collection is that without a gun, it's only a suspicious list until she actually made contact.

I still think the garbage bags were for more than diaper disposal.

I liked "Crash and Burn" for the movie, BTW. I'm still thinking of alternate titles.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse


As a Kinsey 0.5 (I'm assessed half a point for knowing what the Kinsey Scale is) that had a gay roommate for three years, I can say that Haggard and his evaluators are the most deluded people I have ever heard of.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

bc | Crapulous?

Ivins' bag of comedic tricks included the perfect metaphor: "Being Canadian" was "like living next door to the Simpsons" -Slate

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Deep Run was Waterloo Middle. I know--I went to Waterloo Middle in '68-69, and I sent my then elementary school age girls to Deep Run when we returned from Berlin in 1993.

Posted by: Dave | February 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Ya think??????

*shaking my pointy 'lil haid*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is one last test for whether Nowak's story is BS: if she used cash for all her fuel stops to FL, unless that was always her practice.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering how they evaluated his "complete heterosexuality." I mean, without field trials, you have only speculation. So what did they do, hire a wide variety of prostitutes or volunteer "evaluators" (you know, volunteering because they care so much about the church) and each attempted to tempt (or more) a telemetrically wired Ted Haggard so they could gauge the significance of his involuntary reactions? Anything less than that, and they're just flapping their gums.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 6, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I just thought I'd mention that it is 60 degrees here, on our way to a high of 66. I have to gloat today because tomorrow a cold front comes in and it will be back to winter. My driveway still won't have time to melt. It is a lovely, blue, balmy day now, though.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

How about "The Right Stuff II" for the title?

I was thinking "ineffable" would be a good word, but that may not be it, either. Maybe "effable"?

"idiotropic"? hmm. "nugatory"? "ephetic"? "hebetate"?

Still thinking...


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, yes, the knife, trash bags and rubber tubbing suggest either kidnapping and/or dismemberment, don't they?

Hmmm. Alternate titles.
"The Spurned Lover Cannonball Run"
"The Fluffitado 900" (bc, you just know that one was for you.)
"No Time to Pee"
"No, I'm Not Going to DisneyWorld, Officer"
"Augured In"
"Crossman .17" (very obscure reference to the BB gun and caliber--but I kinda like it)
"Highway to the Danger Zone"
"Sex, Lies, and Rubber Tubing"
"Flights of Fancy"
"Turn Right at Tallahassee"
"Houston, We Have a Problem."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Um, diapers are just a convenience thing. When I was a kid on long trips we used to wear diapers. Also one time i was driving cross country from Jacksonville to Los Angeles and I was in a hurry. I don't think the use of a diaper for unrination is all that uncommon. I wonder if truckers wear them? I heard somewhere that some of them do. Anyway, i think it is not very profesisonal of the news media to mention the diapers. That's her own business, weather she was on her way to commit a crime or not.

In my area, the news reporter held up an adult disposable diaper as a prop as she mentioned the part about her using it so she iddn't have to stop for a bathroom

I thought that was rather tacky.

I'd file a law suit if the media ever reported nation wide of me wearing a diaper ona long road trip to meet up with some chick that stole my man! LOL!

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Posted by: NurseBetty | February 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, joy. It's -4 and snowing. Light, billowy snow. Cars are sliding during lunch traffic. Pandamonium is ensuing.
My word today is: insouciant.

Posted by: CowTown | February 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Both of Lisa Nowak's sisters are lawyers, we'll have to see what kind of defense they can put together. I feel sorry for her husband of almost 19 years, her teenage son and her twin daughters. Can you imagine what her son is going through at school today?

Posted by: Cissa | February 6, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I've always contented that there was money to be made with a Depends concession outside of major sporting events. I'd suspect, however, that the levels of beer consumption might quickly overwhelm your run-of-the-mill Depends, and we'd have to go for something more NASA-like.

That will be $22 for your ticket and $12,800 for your astronaut-style adult diaper. Thank you. Move along.

Posted by: Awal | February 6, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

And I need to gloat about our Denver weather today. After making deposits to the weather bank (in the form of 45 brutal days in a row) we finally get to "withdraw" a 65 degree day today.

I've heard that they're forecasting snow again for this weekend. If I ignore it, I'm hoping it will go away.

Posted by: Awal | February 6, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

While installing drapes at Ottawa's Royal Hospital (a mental institution) and clambering over a female psychologist's bookshelf I noticed an article entitled "Male Tumescence." Her disapproving look after me explaining the reason for my laughter only hardened after I told her I had just finished Kingsley Amis' "Jakes Thing." She had heard of it and didn't appreciate Amis' take on sex therapists.
You'd think a sex therapist would have a sense of humour.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Good morning. Incontinency Clinic. Can you hold?"

Posted by: CowTown | February 6, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm just astounded Google Ads hasn't already picked up on this Boodle's content...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

NurseBetty: Sue thyself.

Posted by: :-)999 | February 6, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

CT, yer eeeeeeeevil...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

You said "hardened". ****Beavis laugh***

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Already the local Republo-Trolls are declaring Global Warming to be over. That's it. It's gone! See? It's very cold and snowing outside. So, let's stop this silly nonsense about there being too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and gas up the snowblower.

Posted by: CowTown | February 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If these things actually cost $12K, you would hope there would be some kind of inventory control on them. Sheesh. You'd think you could make one of those outfits from Dune for that.

"Houston, we have a problem" made me require recaffienation.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Teleogenic- I made it up but like it cause it's just so wrong.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Certainlty a different take on *yo mama wears combat boots*

Posted by: bh | February 6, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, when you get to the point you're married, "respectable" and then, okay, think it's a great idea to be doing meth with a male prostitute...

I'd say sexual orientation is the last of your problems; more likely sex addiction issues.

Information on sex addiction:

That said, I'm sure Haggard scores much higher than Yello on the Kinsey scale.

Since I have no one-word responses, I submit: speechless.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 6, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, dmd. Makes me think of Frank Zappa's "Blue Light": ..."your future...your can't even speak your own ******* language...

Posted by: jack | February 6, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Throughout our recent deep-freeze I reminded the Boy that we could thank Global Warming for our unusually cold weather. Global Warming: harbinger of Extreme Weather Events.

Harbinger. There's a good word.

I'm off to visit at the hospital. Y'all enjoy your day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 6, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Remember when we talking about Doc Watson?
The copy of Memories I ordered way back when just appeared in my mailbox. Good thing Buddy999 is part husky or we never made it back to the house.
*Commences dancing*

Posted by: Nostalgic999 | February 6, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking the mallet was for forcing all the diapers into the plastic trashbags (hope they were Glad). The knife was for cutting the rubber tubing into lengths in order to tie the bags shut.

The BB gun was to be used to shoot herself in the leg -- to keep herself awake. She was probably snorting the pepper spray.

See? It all makes sense if you look at it illogically...

(That's my word.)

Posted by: jmack9 | February 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC stick 'wood' somewhere in there

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Er would would

Posted by: Someonelse999 | February 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

FINALLY!! Someone at last has a kind word to say about greenhouse gases. (And all you people were complaining; now don't you feel ashamed of yourselves? I think some of you may owe greenhouses gases a big apology. (Canucks, please note: you play a major role in this. Well, your rocks do, anyway. In fact, your rocks rock. So to speak.)

Here it is:

World's oldest rocks show how Earth may have dodged frozen fate of Mars

Doctoral student Nicole Cates and Assistant Professor Stephen Mojzsis survey a landscape of ancient rocks in Hudson Bay, Quebec, in Canada

Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that has become a bane of modern society, may have saved Earth from freezing over early in the planet's history, according to the first detailed laboratory analysis of the world's oldest sedimentary rocks.

Scientists have theorized for years that high concentrations of greenhouse gases could have helped Earth avoid global freezing in its youth by allowing the atmosphere to retain more heat than it lost. Now a team from the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder that analyzed ancient rocks from the eastern shore of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec, Canada, have discovered the first direct field evidence supporting this theory.

The study shows carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere could have sustained surface temperatures above freezing before 3.75 billion years ago according to the researchers, led by University of Chicago Assistant Professor Nicolas Dauphas. Co-authors on the study, which appeared online Jan. 16 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, included Assistant Professor Stephen Mojzsis and doctoral student Nicole Cates of CU-Boulder's geological sciences department and Vincent Busigny, now of the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris.

The new study helps explain how Earth may have avoided becoming frozen solid early in its history, when astrophysicists believe the sun was 25 percent fainter than today. Previous studies had shown liquid water existed at Earth's surface even though the weak sun should have been unable to warm the planet above freezing conditions. But high concentrations of CO2 or methane could have warmed the planet, according to the research team.

The ancient rocks from Quebec contain iron carbonates believed to have precipitated from ancient oceans, according to the study. Since the iron carbonates could only have formed in an atmosphere containing far higher CO2 levels than those found in Earth's atmosphere today, the researchers concluded the early Earth environment was extremely rich in CO2.

"We now have direct evidence that Earth's atmosphere was loaded with CO2 early in its history, which probably kept the planet from freezing and going the way of Mars," said Mojzsis.

The CO2 could even have played a role as a "planetary thermostat," since cold, icy conditions on Earth would have decreased the chemical weathering of rocks and increased the amount of CO2 moving into the atmosphere, ratcheting up Earth's surface temperatures, according to Dauphas.

In a companion article that appeared online Feb. 2 in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Mojzsis, Cates and CU-Boulder undergraduate Jon Adam used a technique known as uranium-lead dating to establish the ancient age of the Hudson Bay rocks. Discovered by Canadian scientists in 2001, the rocks were confirmed by Mojzsis and his team to be at least as old as an isolated outcropping of West Greenland rocks previously believed by researchers to be the oldest on Earth.

The CU-Boulder team analyzed the rocks by crushing them into powder and dating zircon crystals present in the rock, said Mojzsis. The technique allowed them to calculate the geologic age of the crystals based on the radioactive decay rate of the uranium and lead isotopes in relation to each other, a technique known to be accurate to 1 percent or less.

"Zircon is nature's best timekeeper," said Mojzsis. "The tests show that the rocks in Quebec are roughly 3.75 billion years old, about the same as the West Greenland rocks."

The landscape of the Hudson Bay region under study today, marked by hills of grassland and marsh peppered by lakes, streams and craggy outcroppings, is much different from the alien Earth of 3.8 billion years ago, said Mojzsis. In much earlier times, a dense atmosphere of CO2 would have given the sky a reddish cast, and a greenish-blue ocean of iron-rich water would have lapped onto beaches, he said.

While scientists have been concerned that the limited sample of Earth's oldest known rocks from West Greenland provided a biased view of early Earth, the Hudson Bay discovery essentially doubles the known amount of extremely ancient rocks, and there appear to be a number of similar, ancient outcrops in the vicinity. "We are now finding Earth's oldest rocks are not as rare as we once thought," Mojzsis said.


The ongoing research effort by Mojzsis and his group has been funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the NASA Exobiology Program and the National Science Foundation. For more information online go to

The two journal articles can be accessed at

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

CowTown: tee hee. Thanks.

My word: befuddle. Second choice: bemused.

To all who commented kindly on my remembrance of Dad--thanks. You made my day.

On multiplication: my fourth-grade teacher had us learn up through 12x12. She quizzed us privately on each table (1s, 2s, 3s). Each one we passed, we got to move a little airplane forward on the board. Don't suppose this type of competition is smiled upon these days...

Posted by: Raysmom | February 6, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

since someone already claimed "defenestration", my word is going to be "anthropic".

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The part in the rocks story that surprised me was the statement that the sun was 25% dimmer millions of years ago. Kind of reminded me of going through puberty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

CU-Boulder's geological sciences department. Kinda incestuous ain't it?
Oh, Colorado. Let me pray on it.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I bet NASA uses that hi-tech pepper spray.You know the one where it can take care of any alien they come across.

1 note on the budget,I was really relieved that it wasn't over 3 TRILLION!!!

2.9 trillion and fitty cents

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 6, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The Lovely Mrs. byoolin was voted Miss Anthropic one year in college. The party looked like that scene in "Carrie."

Posted by: byoolin | February 6, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

There was some mention of zircon being used as an indicator of the presence of the earliest life. Something about the proportion of one isotope or the other. I can't find it but remember being impressed. The time frame 'Mudge mentioned is suggestive. OH OH

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge said "The part in the rocks story that surprised me was the statement that the sun was 25% dimmer millions of years ago."

Is the sun still in the process of becoming brighter? Or has that stopped? (Particularly today.)

Posted by: Raysmom | February 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth I added another graph to the kit about the love-crazed astronaut.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 6, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

And we reached the 90,000-comment milestone.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 6, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And the next ten days the temperature is supposed to be below normal.

Posted by: omni | February 6, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Only 90,000 comments? How about gross comment verbiage? That's gotta be a couple million, easy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 6, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

just ignore me, I'm not making any sense.

Posted by: omni | February 6, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

ghost whisperer

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Most impressive. Has that been confirmed by kbertucci

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Now that is a milestone that counts for something boss.

I am verklempt.

I think I will go with phenumenuminal. did we ever give the boodle a song. Because in honour of the 90,000, I vote for 'that' song.

Posted by: dr | February 6, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

um, feb 19, 2006

Posted by: omni | February 6, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sheri Lewis and Lambchop. The song that never ends.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Thought you might find this interesting, of little value, but interesting.

Posted by: dr | February 6, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree this Nowak charade is too sad for her family. A good possible reason for wearing diapers on such a trip is to maintain anonymity. Most service stations (where she would likely have to stop for fuel) have cameras that film your image if you go inside the facility or to the washrooms, or even if you step outside your car. However, with the diapers, you may be able to stay in your car, have gas pumped into your car at the "full-service" station, pay and then leave without being recorded. The effort to maintain anonymity is also a good reason for not flying, but rather driving all that way, despite the time constraints.
This should be a fascinating legal story, albeit an awful personal one.

Posted by: uphere | February 6, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

There's not much relevance in the fact that CO2 levels were so much higher before the anthropic era. It's like stating that at one time mold was the dominant lifeform on earth; so I feel insouciant about leaving my clothes in the washer for three days before drying them. I feel like defenestrating the whole issue to tell you the truth.

Posted by: Dave | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

At 100,000, does confetti come out of your screen, someone gives you a giant check? (Would be kinda cool, no?)

Posted by: LostInThought | February 6, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

My word? Nonplused. And I'm sticking with it.

Posted by: TBG | February 6, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I liked this bit in the Orlando Sentinel article Joel linked:

"She found out Oefelein was involved with Shipman and planned a trip to Orlando to talk to Shipman about their relationships with Oefelein, reports show. She also told police the BB gun 'was going to be used to entice Ms. Shipman to talk with her.'"

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

If you like full service, steal a truck.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory for why Democrats hardly ever run for the Presidency twice, and are never taken seriously the second time around. I believe the assumption is that Democratic policies are so sound and good, only a complete and utter waste of skin could manage to lose on such a platform. There is some evidence to support the accuracy of this notion:

(1) As some boodler has previously noted, liberals (who currently are represented by the Democrats) have historically been on the right side of a wide array of social issues: civil rights, racial integration, abolition of slavery, welfare, the creation of social security, universal health care (which we are slowly coming to accept, although we're not there yet), women's suffrage, immigration, universal education, parental leave, the 40-hour work week, workers' rights, environmental protection, and on and on. Basically, if there is a principled liberal policy on an issue that differs from a conservative policy on that issue, the historical record suggests that the liberal policy ultimately will be accepted as the only morally and ethically right policy. Why wait?

(2) Kerry vs. Bush. Gore vs. Bush. Dukakis vs. Bush. McGovern vs. Nixon (a real war hero vs. a conniving villain, and the war hero is painted as a vacillating coward compared to a hard-nosed realist. Sound familiar?).

One is allowed some wiggle room at the primary level, but not much. John Edwards seems like the only Democrat of recent years who could run a serious primary campaign in more than one year (much less, in successive elections). But Kucinich? Biden? I don't think so. Maybe Biden could be a credible veep, but he has no real constituency that would be won over by his presence on the ticket.

There. Have I managed to draw us away from Shari Lewis and Lambchop?

Posted by: Tim | February 6, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

This astronaut chic was clearly manic (in the psychiatric sense). Displaying classic signs of mania. It is cruel the focus on it leading the major newspapers when she is clearly having an episode of mental illness.

Posted by: DC | February 6, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

SciTim: Dukakis vs. Bush?

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

From: .....

Lisa Nowak is quoted as follows:

"She is mindful that her family will be concerned about her safety during the flight, especially on launch and landing. But Nowak says they understand her desire to leave Earth - which is just part of being human.
"We can sit in one place and never go anywhere or do anything, but that's not what people are about," she said. "We have a drive to go and do things...You can't go explore and do things without taking some risk'."

..... You think?

Posted by: uphere | February 6, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I love this quote from one of your comments above...

//My children had problems also, but not the violent kind, because I pretty much lived at the school house. And that is what parents have to do. Don't send your children where you don't go. You love your children, the world does not.//

I think this is a key component for a child's success in school: not just parent involvement at home but at the school itself.

And working full time is no excuse. Some of the most-involved parents at my kids' school have very demanding full-time jobs.

Posted by: TBG | February 6, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Umm, let's see, who was it who lost against Bush I... It was Dukakis, I'm sure of it. I remember the "card-carrying member of the ACLU" business, which is why I (and many others, I am told) ran out to join the ACLU.

Posted by: Tim | February 6, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Cruel? I don't think so. Astronauts are public figures by any traditional definition. She is charged with attempted murder. It's a big story and if I ran the paper (speaking of extreme hypotheticals) I'd front-page it tomorrow without a second thought. The fact that she was having a psychiatric episode (in all likelihood) does not make it something that we are supposed to ignore. Is mental illness so special a category of ailment that collectively we're obliged to look away? Yes, this is a sad and tragic story -- as noted in both the item and in many of the comments.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 6, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I didn't realize that Lambchop was a facsist.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Joel. Also, let's be a bit leery of guessed diagnoses.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's right for a person of one country to try to influence the elections of another. That's why I only give money to Planned Parenthood and PBS in the States.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Will there be some sort of celebration to award you with your Gold Mouse at 100,000 comments, Joel?

90,000 comments is pretty friggin' impressive.

Love may be a many splendored thing, but it's also all you need. Love stinks (yeah, yeah). Can't buy me love. We are creatures of love. You can learn to live with love or without it, but there ain't no cure.

I don't know anyone who can rationally and objectively discuss love, it's such an amazing manifestion and condition of humanity. Love is wonderful and crazy and stupid and every other aspect of human behavior and psychology. At our cores, I guess love what we are all about; giving it, getting it, wanting it from others and from ourselves. We use a simple four letter word (in English) for love; you'd think we'd have many many words for it, like Inuit have words for snow, as someone reminded me recently. Similar to the word "God", one little word means so many things to people. We are willng to pay the ultimate prices for love; we live for it and die for it.

We define ourselves by it, in our relationships with each other, and curiously, our relationships with everything, including the Infinte.

There's nothing that would suprise me about what a human would do in the name of love. Love may be what we humans are best at. I choose to think so.


PS. If you want a giggle after all that, cut and paste the above text into an editor, and replace the word "hate" for "love".

Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't trying to be snarky with the question of Dukakis v. Bush I; I was just wondering how they fit in "real war hero vs. a conniving villain". Bush I's service record was pretty exemplary, wasn't it?

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps she should have just done what the girls in my high school used to do to their romantic rivals. Cover their homes with toilet paper.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

is it ethical

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

to drive up the count?

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Clearly this is a misunderstanding. This tragic incident also underscores the need for increases in mental health funding, and the outrageous assault upon the freedom of women under the Bush "neocon" administration.

Whether it is the outing of Plame, or this "labeling" of a female pioneer in Naval aviation, the Cheney-Rove-Bush conspiracy is clear.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been dispatched to aid this woman in crisis, along with Bennett Esq.

Clearly, Ms. Nowak merely intended to "Let the Conversation Begin" with CPT Shipman, who by the way has a "history" you fine MSM folks need to check. As we noted, the gun replica was merely intended to "break the ice."

I recall distinctly in this blog how we pointed out the outrageous police misconduct in Florida in the unwarranted execution of a felon, who merely had killed a police officer, later wounded a second, and was holding a loaded gun.

Yet again, the jackbooted thugs of law enforcement have "over-reached" in dealing with women and minorities.

In this matter, CPT Nowak merely approached a fellow service member to engage in witty repartee and seek a consensus in this difficult time.

As we all know, due to the Bush policies, the number of married females in America is on the decline, and Ms. Nowak views marriage as an impediment upon her reproductive freedom.

In truth, Ms. Nowak had purchased the steel mallet to serve as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in the devastated New Orleans area. The lack of funds flowing to New Orleans, coupled with the "Heckuva Job, Brownie" attitude of the incompetent Bush Administration, has led to this unfortunate incident.

The rubber gloves, garbage bags, and rubber tubing were used by Ms. Nowak in nursing sick Katrina kittens and feeding the immigrants struggling to make it to the land of opportunity under the draconian measures allowed by the Republicans along our borders.

Finally, let me say that this is an opportunity to, finally, engage in constructive dialogue about a new America, one of hope and opportunity for all Americans.

Let the Conversation Begin.

Signed, H

Posted by: Dem Adviser | February 6, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Think its possible that extended space travel can cause psychiatric disorders that weren't present prior to NASA's space program acceptance?

ie, you get crazy only after extended trips?

Posted by: crazyastronaut | February 6, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that the Astro-Chick had factored in all of her X, Y, and Z (and triple-checked her results before getting into the soccer-mom SUV) -- shaving a few minutes off her ETA is irrelevant, considering that she also had the directions to The Other Woman's home!

Here's my little theory on the diapers -- props for her eventual temporary insanity plea.

Posted by: LemonDrop | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

McGovern was a bomber pilot, like Bush I, I think.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Extended trips of any kind, but I think that only happens if the kids are along for the trip. All that "are we there yet", and "she's on my side" are what does me in.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 6, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I just read your Beavis laugh post from hours ago, and I've decided I must be your friend. Every time (and I do mean EVERY time) I pass a dam, I say to my wife, kid, strangers near me, "Is that a God dam? You know, Goddam... (Beavis laugh)"

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, SoC, now I understand. I meant for the war hero vs. villain thing to apply specifically to McGovern vs. Nixon, and to suggest its resonance with the way Bush II ran against Kerry (and the way whoever-it-was won against Max Cleland, and the way the neocons try to undermine Murtha -- not that Murtha doesn't have other problems that are more real, but they mainly try to make him look like a wuss). I respect Bush I, for the most part, even though I don't agree with him. I think he should have shown a little more guts and loudly decried Kerry's and Cleland's Swift-boating, just out of solidarity of one veteran with another. I know if one of my kids were part of wrongly attacking a person in public that way, I'd have no qualms about a public scolding. You have to stand up for what's right, or you stand for nothing.

Posted by: Tim | February 6, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

crazyastronaut, OJ Simpson *did* fly on Capricorn One, didn't he?


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I like the word "supercritical." It sounds like it's really important, but it's just a little liquid CO2.

My students would probably go half and half with the words "cleavage" and "hardness." We just studied minerals.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Tim, your comment "You have to stand up for what's right, or you stand for nothing",

I could not agree more.

Posted by: dnd | February 6, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I used to have respect for Bush I, but I no longer do.

He can send all the buddies he wants to help his boy, but at some point he's just got to tell him, "Enough is enough. You're running our country into the ground. Now stop it."

Like Colin Powell, he gave up his chance to do the right thing.

Posted by: TBG | February 6, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, I recall a friend who taught seventh grade science. She asked one day "What do jellyfish dangle in the water to catch prey?"
Yep, Testicles. Hard to keep a straight face.

Then, Mrs. Dick arrived as Principal.

The student's questions upon hearing this?

Of course, is she hard?

You can't make this stuff up.

Surely, the Gods have blessed Letterman and Leno. I can't wait.

Posted by: Sgt Carter | February 6, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "Capricorn 1" call out. I think this story needs Telly Sevalas and Elliot Gould in a crop duster just to make it a little more looney.

Since diapers are involved, we could call this version "Crapicorn One".

Posted by: yellojkt | February 6, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Extended space travel leading to psychiatric disorders? Absolutely. Haven't you seen Alien? Rod Serling had a number of programs on that topic. Don't you remember Dr. Smith from Lost in Space? He was an MD for god's sake.

Posted by: Dave | February 6, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Quite agree. Listening to Band of Gypsies. Mad Quite Mad.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Why Seargent, is that you? Surprise, surprise, surprise!

My principal when I was in high school was named Ms. Bates, and yes, we all called her Master Bates.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

On the Hillary/humor front:

It's way overreaching to say ambitious women have to rein in their sense of humor, don't you think? This case presents an exception and the columnist is trying to prove the rule with it. The facts are, Hillary has a hard time cracking wise when she's in a formal setting with a podium -- or at least she hasn't tried it much. And when she does, she happens to choose a joke that's very easily translatable to her own experience with Bill. I would suggest she lighten up more often and with different subject matter and people will warm up to her.

But what about Ann Richards, Molly, Amy Poehler, anyone? (Couldn't resist.) I just find it very hard to think of many men I know who are threatened by a woman with a good sense of humor. In fact, it's the opposite.

Anyone agree?

Posted by: Patrick | February 6, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if Nowak spent an "extended" period of time in space, but the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronauts complained of seeing flashes in their visual fields, even with eyes closed. The eggheads figured out that it was most likely high-energy solar particles tearing through the astronauts' brains. There's more risk in space tarvel than the obvious ones of launch and reentry mishaps.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course I meant "space travel", not space tarvel. Space Tarvel was the ruler of the space Bulgars at the beginning of the 8th space century.

According to Wikipedia, anyway.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I, of course, don't think being an astronaut caused this woman's obvious mental problems. (I sure as heck wouldn't climb into one of them there rocket-thingies.) Yet I do wonder if being an astronaut may have led her to delay getting the help she needed.

And as far as covering this story being "cruel?" Oh for goodness sakes. This woman is being charged with attempted murder. Whether or not her name appears in the paper is the least of her worries. And if the media were to limit its coverage to people without a suspected mental disorder our Government would get no coverage at all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go soon (I mean leave. Get your mind out of the toilet).

But first:

(1) Sen. Clinton was making a joke, and the idiot questions about it are, yes, idiotic. But she needs to work on her setup, timing, and delivery. It wasn't very smooth.

(2) McGovern was a bomber pilot. Bush I was a carrier-based fighter pilot. Both of them were multiply-decorated IIRC. There is no question that both men showed vast personal courage in combat. I have my doubts about Bush I's moral courage, which is a different matter.

Posted by: Tim | February 6, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry your Grandma is dying.
Is she still a b1tch?

Posted by: Awol999 | February 6, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This is like a much more action-oriented remake of The Astronaut's Wife:

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Bush flew the Devestator (sic) which was such a lousy torpedo platform it was relegated to dive-bombing. I may have that backwards. Anyway it was not a fighter.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Joel... I'm with you on your 4:07, particularly "The fact that she was having a psychiatric episode (in all likelihood) does not make it something that we are supposed to ignore."

Jeffrey Dahmer had a few psychiatric "issues", too.

In fact, I think almost every front page story can be boiled down (couldn't resist with the Dahmer mention) to psychiatric disorders of some sort or another.

We've got Bush and his Oedipus Complex.

We've got Cheney with Dementia.

And then there's the majority of the "MSM" who have exhibited the classic symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome for the past 6 years.

I think the common ailment here on the boodle would probably be ADHD (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Posted by: martooni | February 6, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

McGovern's wartime experience is the subject of The Wild Blue, written by Stephen Ambrose (author of Band of Brothers). Interesting book.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 6, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

SCC: meant to include the Democratic Party in the Stockholm Syndrome bit.

Posted by: martooni | February 6, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Being genuinely funny is not one of Hillary's few attributes. As a matter of fact genuineness is not her forte at all. Ambition for power is what she yearns for. She will do anything to acquire it.

Posted by: mhr | February 6, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear H: Please tell me you aren't really some sort of adviser to any prominent members of the Democratic Party, or the party itself as your boodle handle suggests?

"Clearly this is a misunderstanding." ?????

"Jackbooted thugs of law enforcement"??????

"In this matter, CPT Nowak merely approached a fellow service member to engage in witty repartee and seek a consensus in this difficult time."

"As we all know, due to the Bush policies, the number of married females in America is on the decline, and Ms. Nowak views marriage as an impediment upon her reproductive freedom."

Methinks we are being had here, folks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

martooni - To imply that anyone on this boodle suffers from attention deficit is to imply that we would get easily distr

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

RD... not implying anything, just an observa... I like warm pants. Warm pants fresh from the dryer on a cold day are like... um... So who won the Super Bowl, anyway?

Posted by: martooni | February 6, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

IIRC Bush flew a Grumman TBM Avenger. There's quite a lot about him and the various planes in the book "Flyboys".

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 6, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

You know this story's completely out of control when Wilbon and Kornheiser spend time on it with their ESPN gig...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LTL-CA | February 6, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Today I taught a class for new officers. Some of the newbies were discussing the Nowak case and the need to honestly deal with mental problems among coworkers. I agreed. Except, of course, for ADHD. Which in the lab where I work, is practically a job requirement.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 6, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The rubber tubing could have been inspired by the graphic novel/movie "Sin City," wherein surgical tubing is used to make tourniquets; said tourniquets keeping the victim alive as his limbs are cut off. This plan would also explain the garbage bags. The only problem with this theory is that Nowak didn't bring a saw or any big knives.

Posted by: FrankMiller Fan | February 6, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

RD... if it weren't for ADHD, I'd never be able to start so many projects.

Posted by: martooni | February 6, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Bush flew 58 missions in the Douglas Avenger, which was, yes, a pretty lousy torpedo bomber. He was the youngest pilot in the Navy at the time. His two crew were killed when he was shot down. (The Devastotor was also a lousy torpedo bomber; just not Bush's kind of torpedo bomber.)

McGovern was the pilot(and ship commander) of a B-24 Liberator bomber, one of the most difficult-to-fly planes of the war (but it was also the most widely produced bomber, about 18,000 of them, IIRC--more than the B-17). He flew 35 missions and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the last fifteen months, McGovern's group had flown 252 combat missions, lost 118 B-24s and suffered nearly 1,000 casualties-killed, wounded, missing or taken prisoner. (Critics like to claim McGovern himself flew "milk runs" late in the war and was never seriously threatened by German fighters. The alleged "relevance" of this escapes me. I guess he didn't try hard enough to get killed, unlike the 1,000 or so casualties who seemed to get shot down on these "milk runs.") Other B-24 pilots or crew: Jimmy Stewart (also failed to get killed), Jack Palance (pilot-in-training), Walter Matthau (radioman/gunner), Senators/Cabinet members Mo Udall and Lloyd Bentsen (gunner and pilot)(also failed to get killed); film director Robert Altman (copilot); Fuldullfya Iggles legendary Chuck Bednarik (gunner); Speaker of the House Jim Wright (bombardier), and Russell Johnson, the "Professor" on Gilligans Island (shot down, got the Purple Heart). The reason soooo many famous people flew in B-24s is that they built 18,000 of the damn things. And they were pretty rugged planes, so you had a fairly good chance of coming back.

(Actor Robert Cummings was a captain and B-24 flight instructor (as were George Gobel and Ray Milland); in the famous Twilight Episode "King Nine Will Not Return," Cummings played the pilot of a B-24 that crashed in the Libyan desert (based on a true story of a B-24 called the "Lady Be Godd," crashed and discovered many years after the war was over)(Rod Sirling script, natch).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Vaughn Bode. It's an old story.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Bacon pt. courtesy of Mudge:

My grandfather delivered Geo McG. long ago and far away....delivered as drove a Model T to the McGovern place and slapped dear Georgie into the world. McGov's grandfather helped my gr.father's father prove his claim on a quarter section of land near Mitchell, SD.

Amen. So, like Cassandra I am connected to greatness. I met G. McGov. at a party and he said, "Dr. F's grand daughter? Well I'll be. Your mother and her sisters were the prettiest girls in town."

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

That is so cool Parkian. George McGovern represented what the Democratic Party could be instead of Republican Lite which it became during the Clinton years.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Chuck Colson "On Faith"????

Is this "The Onion" day at WaPo?

Posted by: bill everything | February 6, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, it was discovered that my mother had that about two months before she died. My father didn't tell my sister and I about it until my mother had passed. There was nothing to do about it because her heart was so weak, and she had kidney failure.

RD, I laughed at your comment about the government and mental health issues. I do believe I agree with you on that one.

yello, violence should never be condoned at school, and most schools have a strict policy concerning violence on school campuses. It does happen sometimes.

TBG, I've always believed that anywhere my children went, I, as their parent, most certainly could show up and visit. School personnel in some places tell parents that they cannot come or enquire about their children, and some parents believe that, I never have. They don't come out and out and say these things, but it is put another way, and parents are not encouraged to come.

I've talked with the young girl in question, and she is a bright student. A-B honor roll student, and has a job. Many more people are getting involved. This young girl has been at this school exactly two weeks, and does not have a record of school violence. It is said that the other young girl is related to the principal, I don't know how true that is. She is missing so much time from school, that's my worry.

Thanks for the advice, Ivansmom and Mudge.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 6, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Saw snippets of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's State of the State address on our local 6 p.m. TV newscast. Perry saying (I hope to read later tonight via computer his entire speech or address today) that he wants to protect Texas (female) citizens against cancer (an oblique reference to his executive order issued Friday to inoculate all sixth grade girls within Texas' borders against the human papilloma virus).

Helloooo. Anybody home? How about issuing an executive order to stop the sale of ALL tobacco products within Texas? Hmmm?

I also heard snippets of the same speech on the noon TV broadcast, our blow-dry gov saying that he wants to help cure cancer in Texas, which would help to bring more cancer research to the state. Perhaps Perry just doesn't pick up a newspaper? The San Antonio Express-News reported in the last month that the top tier of cancer researchers at San Antonio's Texas Research Park, just beyond the westernmost border of our city, are leaving en masse. I'll see if I can locate the article and provide the link.

Posted by: Loomis | February 6, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Somebody said something?

On the other extreme, you have helicopter parents, which are being extremely stressful to teachers.

I think parents should straighten their kids out at home and keep abreast of academic and behavior problems and take necessary steps at home to remedy them.

But does that mean parents MUST be at the school? Or stepping in for every grade or little complaint the kid has about school?

Being from a large family, rather than a cosseted only or even second child, I can remember my parents coming to some school plays and missing others, and very rarely riding me about school unless I really was not doing fine.

And I can guarantee you that I got through 16 years of high school without being in a fight, except when I was jumped by 2 classmmates thanks to a teacher who was neglectful, defended myself.

The teacher basically b*** to cover herself-- (she was the one teacher I disliked the most ever, and it was returned.), so I wound up suspended. This in fact occured during 'class time', on a return trip from the school library.

She lagged behind and ducked off to chat with another person. I don't know that parental involvement at school can replace lack of effective supervision and discipline of harrassment of other students.
I was bullied quite often at that school, by that teacher included. The boy who grabbed me was the 'teacher's pet'.

Anyway, like I said, 16 years but no heavy combat experience overall. I had a girl challenge me to a fight once, but somehow my reaction of shock and disbelief was correct because she dropped the idea right away.
(Thank goodness, she had 1 foot on me.)

Kids should be too busy to fight in school, is my opinion.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 6, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Some of us were lamenting the other day that we didn't have jetpacks yet. Imagine my surprise when I opened my new issue of Discover magazine and found a picture of this guy:

In the magazine, he has four engines, so this must be an older article.

What a bada$$.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

>Actor Robert Cummings was a captain and B-24 flight instructor

So when he told Annette Funicello that in "Beach Party" he was for real?


Posted by: Jolly Roger | February 6, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I *love* the word "bada$$" -- maybe even more than I love the word "donned" (which, to me, conjures up the image of someone taking joyous delight in what he or she is wearing).

[I've noticed that the press has now toned down the diaper statement to "she *wore* adult diapers" -- thereby saving "donned" for the wig and trench coat.]

[Donned. Heh . . . heh heh heh . . . heh heh.]

Posted by: Tom fan | February 6, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Fights, either in school or out, go back to what we learn at home. If your parents teach you that physical violence is the way to take care of differences and difficulties, then that is how you will deal with it, whether you started the fight or not. If your parents preach nonviolence, you can be a little Gandhi from the get-go.

I'm proud to say that I've never been in a fight. I got b1tch-slapped by a guy I kicked out of a pool I managed once, but didn't fight back and haven't had any other physical altercations since. I tell that proudly to my students who try to argue the point. I tell them there is no argument, that violence is NEVER the answer. I'd be a crappy soldier.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

[I also like "sported," e.g., She sported a lime-green feather boa and ski boots.]

Posted by: Tom fan | February 6, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I donned my sphincter plug and rode the bada$$ to town. We staggered into the saloon and quaffed a few brewskis. I checked my dipstick, gave the beer wench a fecal 'stache (a Hitler, to South Park fans) and made my way home, by way of the local Starbux. I love hot cocoa with lashed cream.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Ghandi from the get-go" would make a great 'boodle handle.

Posted by: Dreamer | February 6, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

The story of the Helotes brush fire is moving faster than a hot prairie grass fire.

Today, Plan B for fighting the fire was supposed to have begun.

This morning, the San Antonio Water System decided it would not supply the millions of gallons needed for the newly dug, clay-lined sluice pit and announced same so that this breaking news was broadcast by Jessie Degollado of the local ABC affiliate station. I learned of the development by reading the close captioning of the story at a Chinese restaurant after having finished a very long appointment at the allergist's office. The results of my allergy panel are interesting, including being moderately allergic reactive to cockroaches. La cucaracha! I have more testing to undergo, as well as some charting I have to complete.

I drove straight from the Golden Wok to Helotes City Hall, the administrative staff getting the news by phone at exactly the same time that I was verbally relating it to them and asking the staff if there would be yet another town hall meeting before the end of this week, given the major change in the plan.

In some respects I regret having missed the town hall forum last night in council chambers at Helotes City Hall. Frank Rich's presentation at Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium was deeply disappointing in several respects--and I don't know iof the reason belongs to Rich himself or Trinity University. My beating heart no longer needs to be stilled, I'm afraid. I hope to Boodle about this in the morning as it's really an important story.

SAWS had run a water line under Farm to Market Road 1560 in order to fight the fire burning in the mountain of debris, at a cost of approximately $30,000. Now, in effect, SAWS has cancelled its promise of water for fear that the next stage in the firefighting effort may contaminate the huge aquifer that sits under the south Texas area.

However, another local water company has ofered to provide water. The Bexar Metropolitan Water District has offered to provide the wet stuff, but its closest pumping station is located about five miles from the burning brush dump. The latest twist is the plan under consideration is for the water from Bexar Met's closest well to be brought to Harry Zumwalt's property and his fire by my tanker truck, or a brigade of tanker trucks.

Our local paper had front page, A-1 coverage this morning about the possible contamination of the aquifer and related issues if fire fighting by using water to douse the flames were to continue.

Dr. Paul Ratner, the allergist whom I consulted this morning, thinks the local press is really underplaying the enormity of this story.

Posted by: Loomis | February 6, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Loomis- You are absolutely correct about the local news services dropping the story. I live in Pflugerville, north of Austin, and the most I hear about this conflagration (love that word!) is the info you post. Keep it up, and don't breathe too heavily.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

BIG local oil bucks to pay for local cancer research

06:17 PM CST on Thursday, January 18, 2007
Associated Press as printed in the Dallas Morning News

SAN ANTONIO - The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has received $25 million for cancer research and scholarships from the Greehey Family Foundation, which is chaired by Valero Energy Corp. [whose HQ is just up the road from us] Chairman Bill Greehey.

The donation announced Thursday is the largest-ever private gift to the health science center and one of the biggest cash contributions ever to the University of Texas System, according to the health science center.

The center said it will rename its north campus and the Children's Cancer Research Institute after Greehey. The north campus will be called the Greehey Academic and Research Campus and the research institute will be named the Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute.

Nearly half of the money, $12 million, will be used to build 50,000 square feet of cancer research laboratories, also named after Greehey. The labs will be in the health science center's planned South Texas Research Facility, which will connect to what will become the Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute.

The other $13 million will fund the Greehey President's Endowment for Excellence in Children's Health Sciences.

Local cancer researchers leave San Antonio's Texas Research Park:

A prestigious San Antonio research program that for years has offered cancer patients from around the world their first chance anywhere to receive a number of experimental new drugs was shaken by the resignation of its senior staff this week.
Dr. Anthony Tolcher, the John E. Freeman chair of clinical research at the Institute for Drug Development; and Dr. Chris Takimoto, director of pharmacology; along with two other clinical researchers, resigned Monday.

Here's the gotcha:

Curiel, recruited from Tulane University in New Orleans to restore the joint cancer program to its previous glory, told the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board he had demanded researchers design more of their own studies that can win federal funding on their own merits, and rely less on studies sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. (RELY LESS ON STUDIES SPONSORED BY THE PHARMACEUTICAL case you missed it).

The changes, he said, were demanded by the National Cancer Institute as one of many steps to win back its federal designation as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The local cancer program had such a designation but lost it four years ago. It now holds the still-prestigious but second-tier designation of NCI Cancer Center.

Posted by: Loomis | February 6, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Pallets of cash to Iraq:

Thank goodness we are in such great control of things or that money could have gotten into the wrong hands . . . .

Posted by: bill everything | February 6, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

When you're one of the biggest kids in school, and you're quiet, studious, and not a bully, you become the person that the bullies start a fight with to prove how tough they are. My last fight was in the ninth grade--broke my hand in that one after being sucker-punched. The other boy got expelled a few months later after he was in 3 more fights with other kids.

Posted by: Dooley | February 6, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much! I always wondered where you are in Texas. I have stories I am sitting on (which I hope to tell with some humor), but won't reveal them because well, you know...

Stephen Gladstone, regional liaison officer with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, cancelled his 2 p.m. appointment with me at 9 a.m. this morning, seconds before I stepped out the door on my way to my allergist's appointment. Gladstone said that he needed to make an emergency trip to his dentist's office.

You may recall Gladstone offered a straight-from-the-hip response to any question I was going to lay upon his table, so to speak. We have tentatively rescheduled for tomorrow--same time, same location.

Posted by: Loomis | February 6, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The latest twist is the plan under consideration is for the water from Bexar Met's closest well to be brought to Harry Zumwalt's property and his fire by my tanker truck, or a brigade of tanker trucks.

SCC: typo...just want to make it clear that I don't own a tanker truck

Should tanker truck.

Posted by: Loomis | February 6, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Pflugerville? PFLUGERVILLE??!?

C'mon, there is no such place as Pflugerville.

Is there? (Sounds like the kinda place Mitzi Fleeberhoven would grow up in.)

Pflugerville. My new favorite place.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 6, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Straight-from-the-hip equals one of two things:

1. He's heard your questions many times before and is really that ready to answer (I doubt that, having read your posts for a while)

2. He doesn't give a flip and just wants you out of his face as soon as possible (far more likely)

Good luck tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, "Houston, we have a problem" would make Dave Barry proud. Cowtown also made me snort with the "clinic."

Posted by: bill everything | February 6, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Mudge, you know about all them German Texans, doncha? Lots of wierd named towns down here, with equally odd pronunciations:

Boerne= Burn-ee
Gruene= Green
Amarillo= rhymes with Armadillo

Wait, that ain't German...

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope there's a Pflugerville, or else I'm stuck in the Twilight Zone.

Come to think of it, I can't find a road that leads me anywhere but back into town. The only real contact I have with the outside world is through this boodle.

You ARE all real people, aren't you? I'm feeling a little odd now... time to go pick up some astrodiapers, knives, rubber tubing, trash bags, and Doritos.

Mmmmmm, Doritos...

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, be lucky you were slapped, not grabbed at by two kids bigger than you.

I would hope you wouldn't recommend girls act like little Gandhi to boys trying to sexually assault them.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 6, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that a bit of a red herring?

Posted by: Tom fan | February 6, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it is.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, when we say parents should be in the schools regularly, we don't mean on top of the teachers, but in some sort of working or volunteer capacity. It's just the *being there* that's good for the kids.

If I feel at home at a school, or feel welcome to come in and help out or work behind the scenes, then I feel good sending my kids there. Of course, that stops at college, I know, but I think it's almost more important in high school than elementary school.

My kids like knowing that I'm at the school every once in a while. They tell me they're proud of the work I do there. And when some problem does come up, I'm already known. I'm not going to meet the principal or the administrators for the first time when they call me to tell me there's a problem (which, thank goodness, hasn't happened so far).

Teachers? Do you notice which kids have parents who are involved? Does it make a difference to you?

I guess the more important question is, do you see a difference in the kids whose parents are involved in PTA or other school organizations?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: TBG | February 6, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

On to something completely different, I see that is publishing a serialized version of David Hilzenrath's novel, "Jezebel's Tomb".

I find it very interesting that the WaPo Co. is publishing fiction online through the portal. I find it encouraging, although nobody has really figured out how to make money publishing fiction online yet.

To be fair, Hilzenrath's book has been published in paper form, and there's a link in the WaPo pages to purchase copies.

Opinions about the Post delving into publishing online fiction, aside from [insert your least favorite WaPo columnist's name here]?


Posted by: bc | February 6, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh goodness. Being "in the school."

When #2 was in Grade 6, she had a fabulous teacher who (though Caucasian) was married to a Japanese man. Mrs. Tokimoto did a Japanese cooking morning with each of her sixth grade classes. I volunteered, and took several yukata and my good filleting knife with me (which #2 assured me would be deeply embarrassing to her), *not* because I was so very anxious to volunteer, but because I knew we would be preparing, cooking and eating 1) a whole octopus and 2) many many squid. And I was good with that!

Of course, the kids loved wearing the yukata (we had to institute a round-robin schedule of ten minutes each) and I adored filleting the squid at my station: it totally grossed-out some kids (they *squealed* and *shuddered*), and others showed a genuine interest in either butchering or cooking.

Such a fun day! And #2 still remembers what a hit it all was.

Yup, to the extend possible, and when we have something to offer, we should be in our kids' schools.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Driving back from a lovely visit with friends I was listening to Johnny Winters and Muddy Waters which reminded me of Cassandra and the last time a Canadian government called the troops out into the streets to put down an apprehended insurrection. They're sneakier when cuffed. Oh those were the days.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, Wilbrod. Methinks me sense some bitterness there. Actually, in my slappin' situation, there were three guys to my one, but I got out of it okay, without resorting to violence. As for sexual assault, there is an exception to every rule. I also recognize I only know what I know, and I don't want to try to wax eloquent about something so painful to so many.

But as for the perpetrators of such horrors, there is something in the nurture of them that went waaaay wrong. Perhaps more involved and caring parents might have helped to raise more virtuous members of society. Perhaps I am talking out of my rear again. I've been known to do that.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Interesting question, bc. Don't forget that up until the 1930's, the first place for new fiction writers (or new works of established authors) to be published was in newspapers (in serialized format).

I completely support the publishing of new fiction; how else are new (or young) writers to find readers?

I have become concerned with the financial plight of well-established magazines, which are now the only periodicals in which fiction is regularly published (The New Yorker, Walrus, Harpers, etc.). Because their financial position is so perilous, they can't afford to take huge risks; so when it comes to stories they publish mostly well-established authors. Well, sadly, those authors will get a book-deal anyway.

What I think magazines and newspapers are *for* (from a writer's perspective) is publishing new works by new artists. And it just doesn't happen anymore.

So if WAPO will publish a work by a new fiction-writer from time to time, either serialized or not, I'm very happy.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Something I forgot to say.

bc:// although nobody has really figured out how to make money publishing fiction online yet.

I think it might do to go back to old British model: The Times originally because popular because its circulation *could not wait* to get its hands on the next installment of "Jane Eyre" or "Little Dorrit."

If WAPO published really wonderful new authors, serialized, even I would subscribe to a paid service. And that is saying someting.

Posted by: Yoki | February 6, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

bet he says reach around

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

my word for the day: humdinger

bc, i'd always prefer to buy the actual book, if it's available.
but i'm all for wapo trying new things.

all i can say about the nowak situation is that i feel sorry for the kids.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 6, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Do you get the New Yorker, Yoki? I have been getting it since I was 16, except for a brief hiatus when they published a *horrific* Halloween story by Joyce Carol Oates and I cancelled for a couple of years. While I think you're right, for quite a while there they did glom onto the "standard" writers, I think you'd be surprised at what I'm seeing in the last couple of years - stories by Russian, African, Hungarian and Israeli writers, stories by new, young writers. They do intersperse with generous doses of the regulars.

I have to admit, though, I am pretty unsophisticated about it - don't always even look at the author's name, at least at first. I've just recently started getting Harper's again, and don't have much of an opinion about it, except to curse myself for looking at that DAM* puzzle at the back again. I have NEVER been able to do a single one. And I remember when they started the stoopid thing.

It may well be that the authors whom I consider new are really the new status quo, whom I just don't know/recognize.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 6, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Jon Stewart led with Ted Haggard.
I was so sure.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, not reacting aggressively was probably the best thing overall in your situation, as those guys were intent on trying to provoke you to fight.

I am very nonviolent in my beliefs, but when I'm hurt or restrained painfully, especially by accident, I don't "take it."

When younger, others didn't always realize their roughhousing was painful for me unless I yelled and break free before they finished hurting me.

I never had to tell anybody even once not to do (whatever) to me ever again.

The 7th grade incident, I was not proud of because I was trying to break free AND I happened to have had an umbrella in my hand. The classmate wound up bleeding from the head, which shook me.

It's just a reminder how easily a simple defensive maneveur can become injurious to another.

So yeah, if I had to do it all over again, I'd have liked a different outcome. I just don't know how else I could have reacted. Really.

And yes, that is what kids need to learn-- how to react nonviolently-- not just that nonviolence is the better course of action.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 6, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

"Tough times in the O'Neal house", eh? Looks like tough times in the ARKIN house, pal. Just an amazing thing to watch that guy run and hide from the MEDIA. Irony everywhere. This guy deserves what he gets.

Posted by: ArkinWatch | February 6, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I never dug the roughhousing, either. I mean, there's a time and a place, like on the rugby pitch. But I had some buddies who, when drunk, loved to wrestle. I was somehow able to get across to them (even while they were drunk!) that they were not to play that game with me. Which takes me back to nonviolence. I'm a pretty big guy, bigger than most (but not all) of my peers, and I must admit it was easier for me than some to not get picked on. Therefore, it was probably easier for me to be a pacifist than some.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

boko999, re your 2:38 p.m. comment,
thank you so much for encouraging my ultra-achen-nerd characteristics. I think.

Anyway, I did run the numbers via Boodlepop (thank you, Pat) and it counted 87,740 comments--I can only speculate that maybe I don't have all the comments loaded, but I thought I did... The word count on the 87,740 comments is 3,505,540. Whew. Take a break, people, you deserve it! Me, I'm going to bed NOW.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 6, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Stewart led with Haggard? I gotta go check the DVR. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the children fight.

Posted by: Gomer | February 6, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

One more near-brush with the famous I forgot. When I was ~10 my Little League baseball coach was Fred MacMurray -- so the family went to see Caine Mutiny even though my parents almost never went to movies. And then I played amateur baseball all through my 40s with ex-pro players through the league including a former Dodger on my team, but that's a who cares IMO. The Dodger was traded, and decided going to school would work out better in the long run; later we worked at Litton together in aerospace.

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 6, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci | I am lost in admiration I assure you. I like a nice spreadsheet as much as the next fellow.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 6, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

It was bad enough when harbinger was taken so quickly, but flummoxed and nonplused too?

CP-really admire how you didn't whip out the McGovern connection when various brushes with greatness were first posted. I tried to volunteer for his presidential campaign, but they must have figured Nixon had VA wrapped up. I did win the 7th grade mock debate for him, but he still lost our mock election.

Multiplicationthoughts-absolute necessity to have these facts down to succeed in Algebra and nothing beats drills. Unfortunately Pre-algebra classes often don't focus on prerequisite skills. Instead they teach a watered down Algebra I curriculum. One promising approach is to have 8th graders who aren't adequately prepared for Algebra I take a double block of math. This way the teacher can take time to teach the multiplication/division/fraction skills they missed.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

In this disturbing article about a "conventional bomb" test in Utah, Orrin Hatch uses the word "discombobulated".

I'm sticking with "kerflooey", at least this week.

I feel compelled to confess that I changed my voting status to permanent absentee - and I forgot to get my ballot in the mail by the deadline. Sigh. This election was for a couple of school levys, which I hope will pass. I guess it's no worse than the couple of times I've forgotten to go to the polling place. Things just went kerflooey on me.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 7, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

SCC - forgot the link to the article:

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 7, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I recall that what most terrified my cohort about algebra or just about any math beyond algebra, was "word problems." They knew the equations, but had difficulty reducing problems to them. I never found that hard, BTW, and for example in physics would deal with simple harmonic motion by deriving trig from the original circular motion, which meant I wouldn't get the "right" answer from the wrong equation, which was the problem a lot of other kids had. My errors were more likely arithmetic rather than structural which the teacher would count less. Is this still the case today, that the issue is the process of framing a problem as an equation, rather than solving the equation? Those are somewhat different mental skills, it seems to me. (I'm talking about 45+ years ago.)

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

kb, i'm impressed. maybe the difference is the number of comments eaten by the bot? but probably more have been eaten than that.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 7, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I lived by the St. Lawrence River at the height of the cigarette smuggling boom.
Flashing lights, roaring zodiacs and automatic gunfire.
It's just as whacky up here, just more organized.
Just in case you're feeling a little over whelmed.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I missed on Jon Stewart but I nailed the Nowak thing. They were going to let her walk! Rubber tubing and giant garbage bags indeed.
I've got the missing tooth all I've got to is learn how to knit and cackle.
Move over Nancy Grace.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Drunk guys... LOL, Gomer. I'm sure simple is better in that case. Drunks are pretty easy to distract.

There once was this big drunk slob tottering towards me with arms wide for a slump-hug(slumphug?). I wagged my finger (tsk tsk) in his face and he changed direction. My companion cracked up.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

That comma should have been mine

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Those Arkin responses are pretty amazing.

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different, does anyone remember the term[s] for "dropout" in the 50s and 60s before dropout swept the field?

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Maybe flunkouts?

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

razzlefrakenrazzlefrak is still open.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2007 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Slumphugging strange drunks. Sloppy Senators explaining oral sex to children at the Superbowl.
I don't know what this world is coming to.

Posted by: Shocked999 | February 7, 2007 1:06 AM | Report abuse

this sounds pretty much like one of those typical hollywood movies where police is trying to frame someone!! Otherwise, she is a human being and can do foolish stuff. I just hope she has not been screwed because of something els...

Posted by: homi | February 7, 2007 3:45 AM | Report abuse

I was watching CNN a little while ago....sshhhhh.....I am not supposed to be watching TV,during my late shift.

Anyway Larry King was talking with Buzz Aldren,who still looks great,They said Nasa types are just prone for this type of scrutiny.And they were surprised that no one else has *cracked* yet.

They are also now saying,that the attempted murder charges probably will not stick.

Again Love has a way of driving even the most disciplined people crazy and Yes it was a full moon last week.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 7, 2007 4:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I'm up so very early, and it is a busy day for me. Have much to do, and all while caring for the g-girl. I will have someone to talk to, although using the words, stop, don't do that, and such, much of the time.

I feel like I haven't been to sleep at all, like perhaps I missed the night. Don't know where that's coming from.

Slyness, I hope you did not take my comment the wrong way, it was not meant to be mean, perhaps a bit passionate.

There are too many of our kids walking the street just waiting for trouble. And it will surely find them or they find it, and the results will be more of our men behind bars. I believe that Christ can turn their lives around, and staying in school is better than any new trinket on the market. In the long run, education is going to make their life so much better, and one's faith is going to enhance everything, including that good education.

I may as well get started. Have a good day, folks. It's still cold here, is it cold where you are? The sun came out yesterday, bright and sunny, but so cold. Have not started back walking yet, just can't face the cold in the morning. I know I would feel so much better if I walked, I've had the experience. Everday a new excuse. Now my legs are cramping.

KB, that's a lot of comments, and I wonder also if the ones eaten were counted too.

Mudge, I forgot to tell you yesterday, I loved that "Houston, we have a problem". And I know we shouldn't make fun of this woman's problems, but that comment reminded me of the times when younger, friends used to say about someone high, "beam me up scotty." I'm still saying the woman gave out signals that there was a problem, and no one noticed or pretended not to notice. We do that so much of the time.

Many times it is the hand of God touching us on the shoulders, but we disregard it. We're busy. Going where? To the grave.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 7, 2007 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Cassandra.

We have about 2 inches of light, fluffy snow, real Rockies-style powder.

Easy to shovel that stuff off the drive this AM, plows came by at about 6:15. Now for a shower and off to work.

It's a beautiful day Winter's day here in DC.


Posted by: bc | February 7, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse

And every school system in the region is paralyzed, bc... *L*

They DO have school days that "must" be used, but really now.

Morning everyone! *waving*


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

goodmorning everybody. Last night's snow has given me a twinge of excitement this morning. My youngest son looked out the window, "It knowed, Daddy, It knowed!"

Tell me if I'm crazy or not, but:
1. Being a computer person, the most common computational error I make is adding 1 and 1 and getting 10.
2. Astronaut Lisa Nowak has made my top 3 list of people I would like to have lunch with.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Snow day!

But, I'll see you at the Corker, this evening.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 7, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC: SNOW days, obviously...

*RME and reaching for more coffee*


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

It's going to take so long to drive to work this morning that I am going to wear a diaper. ... you gotta pick up tricks from whereever.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | February 7, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I agree that Nowak would be interesting to talk to, but I would most certainly be a bit leary to carry it further. I am not sure I could deal with someone with a checklist taped to her arm as she attempts to reach climax.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | February 7, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tim! ltns.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | February 7, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you don't have a mean cell in your body. Why would I take something wrong?

Hope everybody enjoys the snow today. It needs to be gone by Friday, when the spouse and I drive to southern Maryland to get the older kid's stuff to bring home. She's transferring back here...

Posted by: Slyness | February 7, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

HoCo puts all their snow days at the end of the year and only uses them if necessary. It's when snow days drag into 6 or 7 that things get really dicey.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

There's only a light dusting of snow here, but Ffx Cty covers such a wide area, if anyone has snow, no one has school. It's too cold for the girls to play outside for very long. By 10, someone will be moaning about being bored. Looking forward to the Corcoran outing will get me through the day.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 7, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA Word problems scare kids long before Algebra. I'm not a Math Teacher, but teaching in alternative programs has given me plenty of opportunities to work on early reading and math skills with kids who are in middle and high school.

Some students simply don't understand what they're reading. It can be a pure decoding issue (edspeak for sounding out), or a background vocabulary issue. It can be a math vocab issue (perimeter=police tape around the scene of the crime area=the astroturf covering the football field usually clears up a lot). However, I have seen that the larger problem is not being able to translate the words into a picture of what you know, what you don't know, and what you need to find out. (will forego obvious joke about high level political appointees).

A popular technique in elementary schools is to have kids look for key words and then use the operation suggested. Thus, "more" suggests addition. "You have 5 crayons, Sally gives you 2 more, how many do you have?" Student thinks "More means add, the answer is 7." This creates an enormous problem when the question becomes "You have 5 crayons, Sally has 2, how many more crayons do you have than Sally?" Students who struggle don't think "I have more crayons, I can match them one to one and see the difference" or "I can see the difference by subtracting" no they think "More means add, the answer is 7 again."

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I vividly recall spending snowy mornings sitting in front of an open electric stove with my brothers. We would listen breathlessly to the radio to see if school had been cancelled. It seemed to take forever for the ponderously slow announcer to work his way alphabetically to "Puyallup." Loud and long were the cheers when this sweet tension was finally relieved through the magical word "closed."

Nowadays all we do is click on the FCPS website.

Plus, *I* still hafta go to work.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

There really isn't a snow day there today is there?

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I hear what you are saying, a child has to understand what is being asked of him before he can solve the problem.

Back in my day, word problems were easy, when the subject was addition, we would scan the text for numbers and add them together to get the answer. When my kids bring home word problems, they begin like: 5 year old Sally has 7 crayons... or better yet 8 yeard old Tom has a dozen chocolate chips... The age of the subjects have nothing to do with the final result.

It's getting tougher on kids nowadays.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

A couple of my favorite quotes from Armageddon:

Rockhound: You know we're sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it?


Dr. Banks: [going through the roughnecks' medical reports] Fail. Fail. Impressively fail! One toxicology analysis revealed ketamin, that is a very powerful sedative!
Harry: Sedatives are used all the time, doctor.
Dr. Banks: Well this one's used on horses.
Harry: Some of these guys are pretty big.
Dr. Banks: [to Truman] I mean it'd normally take 18 months to train pre-screened, viable subjects for space travel!
Dan: Can they *physically* survive the trip? That's all I need to know here, okay?
Dr. Banks: Personally, I don't know how they survived the tests.

Posted by: omni | February 7, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I must be different in regards to the times table algebra thing, cause I never learned my times table and aced algebra. The hardest thing for me was memorizing equations. But fortunately I had this uncanny ability to figure out how to solve the problem the hard way, without the equation. The result was that I now had the needed equation, which I could then use on all subsequent problems on a test or quiz that needed said equation. Amazingly enough I was usually one of the firsts to finish the test.

Posted by: omni | February 7, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Pat-Scenarios like yours bedevil kids. I like to start at the end of the problem and have students decide how they'll be able to tell if their answer make sense. Will it be a name? This answers "Who is older?" Will you need to figure out one answer first to get THE answer? This happens with "How many crayons does the older person have?" Just what is a dozen anyway? Not easy if the only eggs you've ever seen were on your breakfast muffins at school.

Oh, that's my word-bedevil, and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

And does anyone remember the trick algebra problem where the result is 2 = 1. The Fallacies based on division by zero problem. I figured that out in about fifteen seconds and my teacher didn't believe me when I said division by zero in the third step (she figured I already knew, posibly having worked it out the night before).

Posted by: omni | February 7, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

omni-I think you are different in being able to figure things out the hard way. You seem to have innate ability in this area. The times table memorization helps the rest of us overcome our lack of that ability.

Your bring out an excellent point, which always irks me in the reading wars. There is no one best way to teach all kids how to do anything. We need to pay more attention to what research tells us about learning, but teachers also need to be prepared to adjust.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

click on the link and search fallacies (or page down about three times, depending on browser window size)..

Posted by: omni | February 7, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Cassandra. I agree with you that Nowak was probably giving off signals, but the problem is, what does anybody do about it? Apparently several weeks ago she separated from her husband (don't know who kept the kids). "Outsiders" observing a family break-up might be aware that "something" was going, and some might even be aware that there was an affair going on with Oefelein, etc. But how (and why?) would someone intervene? What wopuld a friend say or do? And in the high-stakes world of NASA (or any similar high-profile profession), a "friend" would be very loathe to step in and perform some sort of overt "intervention," know that you could be playing with somebody's career. That's one of the tragedies of the situation: maybe you can "see" a trainwreck coming, but how do you stop it? At what point do you jump in? It's a terrible dilemma in any situation like that.

The other problem is, how do you know when a person is going to "snap"? Almost by definition, a "snap" isn't predictable. Most people who get fired and stomp off in a rage cool down or deal with it more or less rationally; only one in a thousand comes back with a Mac-10 and goes "Postal." And amongst the class of people we'd least expect to snap would be an astronaut/test pilot. These aren't the kinds of people we perceive as "likely to snap." Yet one of them did. Was it preventable or foreseeable? My totally uninformed useless opinion is "No."

I do feel sorry for her, and for everyone involved--Oefelein, SHipman, the families and kids, etc. And I agree with Pat--yes, I'd like to have lunch with her and try to get into her mind.

(Curiously, if I hadn't switched jobs 2 1/2 years ago, there's a very good chance I'd have interviewed both Nowak and Oefelin. I did attempt to interview Nowak about 3 years ago, but she was in training and unavailable the week I was working on the project I needed to interview her about--women test pilots. I got to about 8 or 10 others, but not her, and wrote my story without her.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 7, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

dmd - Schools in Fairfax Virginia are indeed closed. Fairfax County Schools are notoriously finky when it comes to frozen precipitation. The area has an abundance of potentially icy roads along which reside an abundance of potentially litigious parents.
This is a bad mix.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

My word is "dang" and I am also reserving its variant, "dangit".

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"bedevil" - good word that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Just found out Lisa de Moraes has a blog:

Posted by: omni | February 7, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

martooni, don't go forgetting "dagnabit," now...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - The other point is that people in such a position may, themselves, be loath to admit that a problem exists.

I mean, if one of my coworkers were to seek psychiatric treatment of any kind he or she is legally required to report it. It's a "Catch 22" situation because the threat to one's employment of not reporting it can, in certain cases, be exceeded by the threat if one does.

So there is a temptation to ignore those scary voices and just hope they will go away.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Scotty... I didn't want to be a word hoarder. That, and "dagnabit" would probably sound more natural coming from Mudge, as in "Dagnabit! You kids get the heck off my blue bottom!"

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Word of the day: nastic, as in thigmonasty or thigmonastic. It's a plant's response to touch.

We're in the throes of an algebra crisis with our 8th grader. Since both my wife and I teach, handling this one is difficult. Our conundrum is compounded by the fact that the community is rather small and closed, so any thing adverse we do or say can and will be held against us. Thus, we have tried to be proactive by explaining the value of the honours credit our daughter will earn if she scores a B or above, how high achievement translates into scholarship stipends, and have had her choose a couple of tutors. I'm quite proud that she was the one to ask for a tutor. Thus, one tutor is here in the school community where she hangs out during our staff meetings, and one is in town. We have collectively decided that what could be percieved as a confrontational stance is a sleeping dog that's better left to sleep. We will intervene and get her over the hump.

*heh-heh...he said hump...*

Have a nice snow day.

Posted by: jack | February 7, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

RD... I've learned to embrace the voices. Unfortunately, there are quite a few of them and not a one agrees with another.

Maybe that's why I vote Democratic.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Janet Jackson have a hit in the 1980's called "Nastic Girl"?

No wait, that was different.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The astronaut angle aside, Nowak is a 43yo CPT in the navy. Next to the entertainment industry, nothing makes a 43yo feel old like being in the military. Whether it's an affair or an obsession, many of her rank and achievement level have done some awfully stupid things. They would do well to listen to Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck "Don't sh*t where you eat." Don't, don't, don't, pursue that single guy in your unit, or the spouse of.... Don't drive cross country in a diaper.

An offshoot to the age theory above is the "too busy achieving to mature emotionally theory." This is why I counsel the daughter to never ever date a USMA grad until after his first divorce.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I thought the reason for Fairfax County closing schools on such little snowfall was the high concentration of lawyers in the area.

And I heard my wife cheer this morning when she click on the FCPS website. That means the girl scout meeting, of which she is the leader, is canceled this evening. We sign our kids up for activities, then rejoice when they get canceled.

A memory bubble from calculus class keeps popping into my head:
Let z = tan(x)
Whoever came up with this one is bedeviling me at this moment in time.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

>RD... I've learned to embrace the voices.

It's not the voices that bother me, it's the incessant laughing.

"notoriously finky" should be added to your list of available handles.

Posted by: Jolly Roger | February 7, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

I love the FCPS. When they close the schools, it means I can get to the train station unimpeded by the legions of high school kids driving to school. Purely selfish on my part, I know...

Posted by: Raysmom | February 7, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Some of my wife's fellow teachers make a good side income tutoring in the afternoons. The ethics of the situation look askance at tutoring students from your own school, but other than that, it's fair game.

I tutor the freshman daughter of my son's saxophone teacher. We keep it on a cash basis since the number and length of sessions varies between our kids, but it seems mutually beneficial. She's getting a B in geometry and my son is first chair.

My son is tutoring at least one kid weekly after school and is wanting to expand. He charges an hourly rate about equal to my salary. Of course, I'm working 39 more hours a week than him.

Many local National Honor Societies around here organize tutoring as service hours.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

the constant laughing in my head I find as a source of comfort.

My voice software program pronounces the Astronaut's name as Leesa NoWhack. (snicker, snicker), but if somebody that has seen a picture of her, I would sure appreciate a detailed description. (I hate asking my wife for favors like this, the good parts get omitted.)

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

According to figures thrown out during the last round of debate about light rail in Tampa- 20-25% of rush hour traffic on local streets is attributable to the school commute. (Not just the HS students driving, but parents dropping kids off who would have walked back in the day, and the bus picking up the kids who live nearby but don't have any safe walking routes.)

Posted by: Raysmom | February 7, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

My word for the day: benighted

(def: 1. ignorant or unenlightened 2. (archaic) unable to travel further because darkness has fallen. OED)

Posted by: Slyness | February 7, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

10:33 should have been mine, to Raysmom.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 7, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Pat, "we sign our kids up for activities, then rejoice when they get canceled" -- I love it. Me too. The Boy really doesn't have a continuing activity other than fencing (okay, chess club, but it is at school) but even so, that dispensation to stay home is precious. Of course, I often feel the same way about my activities, and I like them. Really I do.

I'll venture a tentative dissent to the emerging idea that Nowak must have a mental illness. People plan and commit crimes for what seem to them good reasons all the time, and are not actually mentally ill. Nowak saw a problem - a potential rival for an apparently potential romantic entanglement. She make some choices to resolve that problem. They were elaborate, bad choices, but nothing overtly diagnosable. Also apparently, in order to get here Nowak had to develop an infatuation for the prospective beloved and leave her husband. Again, happens all the time. The number of Americans who leave their spouse while interested in another would probably reach to the moon. Usually, we don't determine that these people have any diagnosable mental illness. There was a lovely story recently in NYT proposing that some people are just mean and/or bad, and psychiatry can't help them. I think that is also true of self-centeredness, infatuation, etc. Just because someone has outstandingly bad or bizarre problem-solving skills doesn't make them (to use the vernacular) crazy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Off topic - but I am increasingly convinced that Ignatius does some of the clearest thinking about Iraq of anyone on the planet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"Snow day in DC" Pshaw! Weaklings! Milquetoast! In my little baronie in FlyOverLand, it's a balmy 6 degrees F. Ice fishermen are in a state of rare ecstacy (their wives are probably doubly glad to have them out of the house). The air smells like nothing. That's why our housing prices are a little lower than on the coasts. That, and the mosquitos.

Posted by: CowTown | February 7, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

RD, laughing at "litigious parents", we have similar issues here it is the reason the kids cannot play on the grass playground at school when the grass is damp, wet, dew covered, frost covered, a little icy etc. One of my pet peeves.

Here the last few days have been indoor recess due to the extreme cold another day and my children will have so much energy bottled up they will be snapping. Thank god for hockey practise Monday and Tuesday it at least got some energy out.

If the roads are icy drive carefully.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Pat, her NASA photo or her mug shot?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 7, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - you make out an amazingly profound point. Where does one draw the line between mentally normal and mentally sick? The implications for society of going too far in either direction are almost as scary as some of those voices people hear.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "you make a" Whether or not "you make out" is no one's business.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

SCC "You make an."

Oh I give up.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse


I did not want to say anything, but...what Cowtown said.

Its a little colder here than 6, but I'd send the fellas out ice fishing anyway, just so long as they have done their chores.

Posted by: dr | February 7, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

These random acts of mindless emotionally driven rage happen all the time. I was summoned for jury duty for a trial where a middle-aged guy waited in the bushes for his estranged wife to leave for work. He then jumped out and whacked her several times with a machete. I didn't get called for the jury, but he did get convicted of attempted murder. This story barely made the inside of the metro section because:

1. He was not an astronaut.
2. He didn't drive 900 miles in a diaper to do it.

The legal definitions of insane or mentally incompetent have to do with knowing right from wrong. Clearly our NASA stalker here knows these things. Everything points to premeditation. She had plenty of time on the drive to think things over.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

That's okay, RD, the cold temporarily paralyzed your grammar monitor. I understand. Those lizards have a hard time with cold weather.

Our cold snap came but I can still gloat because today will be in the forties (F). As the temperature drops throughout the week alas my gloating must cease.

One thing my career path has taught me is that people who commit crimes frequently have a different viewpoint than you and I (I'm being generous here, I know), but that doesn't make them crazy. They just disregard the niceties of the law and social convention to solve a problem, or get what they want.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Very good Roy Bean impression, yello.


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

>>They just disregard the niceties of the law and social convention to solve a problem, or get what they want.

Sounds like my redneck neighbor. He *knows* there are laws against unregistered guns, shooting rifles in a neighborhood, and hunting out of season and without a license while drunk.

He just doesn't care. But he's very proud that he always wears a tie while painting houses.

Posted by: Jolly Roger | February 7, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

An exchange between one of my relatives and her psychiatrist:

Psychiatrist: Do you hear voices that bother you?

Patient: No, they don't bother me.

Posted by: Dooley | February 7, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

LostInThought, anything, long hair, short? blonde, brunette, red? curley, eye color, freckles? eyebrows thick? smile, dimple?

Yellish, you do realize that you just disqualified yourself from jury duty on this one.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I was going for Mark Slackmeyer.

And yes, Pat, that was part of the goal. I do not need to be on this crazy (in the non-legal, but self-evident way) flygal's trial for driving nearly a thousand miles to pepper-spray a fellow bimbo. And while the entertainment value is top-notch, there are more serious crimes out there than transcontinental NASA catfights.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Pat, in her NASA photo, she has shoulder length brownish red hair (more brown than red) with bangs. (Her hairstyle is a little outdated, but who am I to talk?). She has a lighter complexion, nice smile. Beautiful skin, not a wrinkle to be seen. Obviously, she's physically fit. Beyond that, the NASA jumpsuit doesn't really allow that much of an interpretation. But definitely, pretty woman.
In her mug shot, her hair is mouse brown and hasn't seen a comb in a while. It's pulled back off of her face, but not with any thought to appearance, more functionally. She's not smiling, so she has more of a crack-addict thin look than the all-American open-faced girl look. It looks like she had mascara on at some point, but very little is left on her lashes, and is smudged beneath her eyes instead. It contributes to the gaunt look.
In short, the NASA woman is someone you'd ask out for lunch, the mug shot woman you'd avoid in an alley.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 7, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The best advice I have ever heard was on the show Malcolm In The Middle. Malcolm's older brother warned the young Dewey:

"Let me give you a little advice. You've got to ignore the voices, they're not on your side. And you never tell anyone about them. Especially your teachers. They get all panicky for no reason."

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Neurotics build castles in the sky. Psychotics live in them. I'm the cleaning lady.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 7, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse


Very good...

Posted by: Slyness | February 7, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

As a rule, frosty, that is the best quote of them all. Words to live by that most of us violate and rue the day.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | February 7, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

yellish, you just put it in perspective for me.

thanks for the description. right now, I'm feeling sorry for the girl. Gots to get my compassion under control.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Here's some light reading for those interested: Supreme Court of Canada case (R. v. Jacquard) involving intent and mental disorders. This particular fellow was convicted, and the SCC dismissed his appeal.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 7, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Light?? I think I pulled a retina going over that...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Pat, her mug shot makes her look like a 43 year old waitress that's been hitting a few too many drinks.

Her NASA photo of her in an orange astronaut outfit with a grey rimmed steel collar is much more flattering.

Her shoulder-length hair is brushed in this picture and appears to be more of a frisky auburn. Her long-cheeked lean face is shown off to much better advantage as she is smiling in her NASA shot. Her cheekbones look kind of rounded to me, and her chin is relatively well-shaped, but not at all masculine.

On the other hand, in her mug shot her hair comes off as greasy, flattened, uncombed medium brown. Her makeup is nonexistent, she looks like she needs sleep, and she has furrows in her rounded forehead.

You can tell she's had a long, very bad day or two. Which I guess being arrested does qualify as.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, there were so many caveats on putting that out there I thought I'd just add my sarcastic "light" and leave it at that. The most important thing is to know whether you're reading the majority decision (also known as the law) or the dissenting opinion (not the law). Dissents are interesting for smart people like ivansmom because they give clues on what might happen if the facts were slightly different or if justice so-and-so was to meet an untimely demise. If you want the Answer, you read the majority.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 7, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Do we have a topic today? If not some foolishness.

Posted by: dr | February 7, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Lost in thought's description is pretty good, although I wouldn't go as far as "crack addict."

But yes, after a couple days in a diaper and being arrested, she looks only slightly more groomed than your average homeless person in an alley.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

more foolishness for my DC neighbors:

You know you're from northern virginia when:

1. Speed limits are just suggestions
2. You take a major highway to school (95, 66,28, etc)
3. You constantly complain about there being nothing to do, even though you are right next to DC
4. You have at least 2 friends who have no idea what their parents do because its "top secret" government work
5. 50% of your senior class plans on going either to Mason, JMU, Tech or UVA
6. When people ask where you're from, you tell them DC because its easier to explain
7. You've never told someone you're from Virginia without putting "northern" in front of it
8. When you and your friends get bored you all whip out your cell phones and start playing with them
9. Its not actually tailgating unless your bumper is touching the car in front of you.
10. A yellow light means at least 5 more cars can get through.
11. A red light means 2 more can.
12. It takes you 30 minutes to drive 10 miles
13. Your local news is national news
14. If you hear the word "sniper" one more time you're going to slap someone
15. You actually know what the black boxes at stoplights are for
16. Even if your high school is only a year old, its already overcrowded
17. You have over 500 students in your graduating class
18. Despite the fact that Virginia fought for the south in the Civil War, you are NOT, under ANY circumstances, a "southerner"
19. You are friends with people from at least 2 other high schools
20. You know at least 2 people who drive a mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.
21. The cars in the student parking lot are woth 3x those in the teacher parking lot.
22. You are amused by visiting relatives who are actually excited to see Washington DC
23. You are amazed when you go out of town and the people at McDonalds speak english
24. You can cross 4 lanes of traffic in under 30 seconds
25. There are at least 3 malls within 20 minutes of your house
26. There are at least 6 Starbucks within 20 minutes of your house
27. You or someone in your family has a Smart Tag
28. Homework/Extra credit for a class has been to visit a museum in DC
29. When traveling, you have your choice of 3 airports
30. You don't actually like the Redskins/Wizards (except when Jordan was playing)
31. An inch of snow and you miss 3 days of school
32. All the potholes just add a little excitement to your driving experience
33. Stop signs mean slow down a little, but only if you feel like it
34. A rich white kid driving a BMW while blasting rap music is a common occurance
35. You call things "ghetto" even though in most of the rest of the country it'd be high class
36. You or most of your friends have a 3 car garage
37. You don't actually keep your cars in it.
38. When you were driving on the beltway at 2:13am on a Tuesday there was still traffic
39. Crown Victoria = undercover cop
40. A slow driver is someone who isn't going at least 10mph over the speed limit
41. You understand the meaning of "If you don't get it, you don't get it"
42. Subway is a fast food place. The transportation system is known as Metro, and only Metro
43. You've taken a wrong turn somewhere late at night and ended up in a bad part of DC(ex. anacostia)
44. Most of Loudoun County is the "middle of nowhere"
45. They just tore down the old farm house across the street and put 12 new houses in its place
46. The word Hfstival actually means something to you
47. Someone has honked at you because you didn't peal out the second the light turned green.
48. You've honked at someone because they didn't peal out the second the light turned green.
49. Rush hour lasts all day
50. For the cost of your house, you could own a small town in Iowa
51. Helicopters and airplanes flying above your neighborhood is a normal occurance.
52. 9:30 isnt just a time, its a place.

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse


Good to see ya!


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Why I Will Always Remember My Evening with NYT Op-ed Columnist Frank Rich

Subtitle: Pretty Much the Same Reason I'll Always Remember My Evening with Former Weapons Inspector David Kay

Part I: The Lighter Side of the Story

Frank Rich, opinion-editorial columnist for the New York Times, spoke at San Antonio's Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium this past Monday, as part of the college's annual distinguished lecture series. Former weapons inspector David Kay, who, with a team of like-trained scientists, scoured Iraq for weapons of mass destruction after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, addressed local residents as a guest lecturer at Trinity University on Feb. 11, 2004.

As far as I'm involved, their visits and lectures will be forever linked.

Let me make one thing clear from the outset. My husband drove us to the college for the David Kay lecture in 2004. I drove us to the Frank Rich lecture on Monday night, my husband making it home from work early enough so that he could accompany me.

On the evening of Feb. 11, 2004, I challenged David Kay from the floor at the front of the great hall at the one of two microphones set up for questions and answers with the guest lecturer following his or her talk. I reminded Kay that cousin Alfred Lee Loomis had quite a heavy, particularly financial hand in the development of the atomic bomb.

I also scolded Kay for his former top-level affiliation with the San Diego-based Scientific Applications International Corp., specifically the firm's foray in Iraq to set up a media network, an enterprise with which SAIC had had no prior experience, and which subsequently was yet another fiasco in the story of post-invasion Iraq. I remember quite vividly being booed by the audience for presenting this inconvenient fact. For more coverage of the Kay and SAIC connection and story, consult the book "Life in the Emerald City," a National Book award nonfiction nominee last year, written by Washington Post assistant managing editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

Because I was so angry with Kay, I inadvertently forgot to pick up my purse, which I has tucked deeply under my front row seat. Long story short, when my husband and I arrived home, we discovered that I was purseless. So we called Trinity University's campus police and told them of my left-behind handbag. An officer trotted over to the auditorium, located my purse in the location where I told him it was to be found, and the officer called back shortly thereafter to say that they had my purse in their custody.

Because I needed to use my vehicle the next morning, my husband and I drove the 40-mile round trip to replace my errant leather-tooled purse, which held my car keys. After locating the campus police building, I was given my purse, but not before signing for it, and reading the list of my purse's contents that campus police had prepared in the interim, down to the coins in my wallet and credit cards. I was so glad to have their assistance in retrieving my bag, that the extremely thorough recordkeeping done by them was a very minor issue.

When my husband and I got home around 10 p.m. this past Monday night, I looked in my rear view mirror before stepping out of the car. I immediately saw that I was missing the earring that had been in my left ear. This pair of $80 small dangle earrings, both 14K white and yellow gold, had been this year's Christmas gift from my husband, and I had picked them out. Unfortunately for me, this earring has the fish hook construction, rather than the more secure post and clutch, and I had lost the earring on a previous occasion on my master bedroom bathroom carpet--easy enough to retrieve.

We searched my car thoroughly and the driveway for the missing earring, to no avail. I knew the drill, so I called Trinity University's campus police, told them the story of the missing earring and its extremely brief history along with a description. I said I was going to drive the 40-mile roundtrip as soon as I hung up the phone in an attempt to locate and retrieve the earring before anyone possibly drove over it, stepped on it, or decided to keep it, or turn it in. The police officer agreed to let me into the empty auditorium to search for the earring if need be.

I thought my husband would trundle off to bed, but he decided to accompany me on my return trip to the university campus. We put fresh batteries in two flashlights that we own. We got to the parking lot and parked away from where we originally parked so as not to drive over the earring if it were on the pavement. With our two flashlights, we began to visually inspect and scour the asphalt. In less than a minute, it was my husband who located my missing earring because it gave off a glint that caught his eye. I vowed to him that I would never wear this pair of earrings again until I had them covereted to a post and clutch backing.

We got on the freeway home, Highway 281, to find that the northern lanes had been completely shut down for construction, with traffic backing and stacking up. We tried to avoid the traffic pileup, but we took the first available exit, which led us on a tour and detour, making loop through the heart of the San Antonio International Airport for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. By the time, we arrived home, it was midnight and we were deeply tired.

I will never forget my evening at Trinity University with Frank Rich for this reason, beyond having a very brief conversation with him. But there is another, darker reason why I will never forget my evening with this intelligent, witty, and funny culture critic who writes for the NYT. I hope to tell this story later today.

Posted by: Loomis | February 7, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, this is exactly why Mr. Loomis never takes you anywhere. :-)

Posted by: byoolin | February 7, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC--and full title:

"Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone," Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.

Posted by: Loomis | February 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

nice to be seen snuke! (sorry i was awol for a cpl days - i had a nasty cold fri and over the weekend and it took me till now to catch up on the boodle! i swear, you guys make it impossible to take the weekends off of here!) esp nice to be seen since i almost crashed into the potomac today! i part in a facility right next to the river and when i went to make the turn on the driveways that had no salt or dirt (just very packed snow) my car starting sliding sideways towards the river (ok, i'm being dramatic, there's a two lane highway i woulda had to cross over to get to the river) it stopped before any damage was had but BOY did THAT wake me up!

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I qualify on items 2, 4, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29, 31, 38, 40, 41, 43, 45, 47, 51.

Does that mean I don't have to pay my Maryland income tax this year?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse


Closer to the truth than you know...;-)

If he thinks I'm going to be "political" I have the freedom to go by myself and "be me." YES!

Posted by: Loomis | February 7, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Loomis is my birth name, and Loomispouse lives with that, too. Poor man.

Posted by: Loomis | February 7, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

scc part = park
and various others...

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

In my 20s, I once witnessed a very close family member during a psychotic episode. this 45 year old woman was suddenly acting like a 5 year old, pleasantly playing like a little child. Her voice sounded like that of a innocent 15 year old, and 25 years had been taken off her looks. She had no wrinkles and awarm smile that I hadn't seen in a decade. I liked her much better that way. and yes, just like the Astronaut, my mom and dad had separated a few days before.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Mo, those answers remain true even when you're a NoVa expatriate. I think I only missed 2-4 questions on that.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

We just pulled our bright, accomplished, confident daughter out of Honors Math 7 at HER request* (and the suggestion of the teacher, it turns out). I think she'd rather be successful at a slower pace and make sure she's really GOT it before moving onto Algebra, possibly next year. So far she's not complaining that they're learning the stuff she did in 5th grade.

The problem with moving into Algebra next year is that at her school (and I think all of FCPS) the only Algebra class available in 8th grade is Honors Algebra.

Yes, that's right: the 8th grade Algebra class is HARDER than 9th grade Algebra.

Since she's got the same teacher now for Math 7 that she had in the first half of the year in Honors Math 7, I'll let him recommend whether she move into Algebra next year.

I might also ask if she can walk over to the 9th grade to take it, since the school includes both middle school and high school in the same building. Not sure if they'll let her do that, but that's how they accommodate the kids who take Geometry in 8th grade.

*Better word might be "begging."

Posted by: TBG | February 7, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Holy Toledo! I just read all 320 some comments in the boodle. I'm stunned at how everyone stayed mostly on-topic. gotta be a record.

dmd -- when I first moved from Colorado to DC I was stunned when everything shut down for what seemed to me just a dusting of snow. But that's the way it is --

I'd love to see some real snow -- powder of the kind bc mentioned a few hours ago.

It's been cold down here, but no snow. The high yeserday was about 28. Pretty cold for SE Virginia. But the humidity was only 20% -- so it felt good.

I got nothing to add to the Nowak adventure. Everyone has done a fine job of dissecting this incident, from the rubber tubing to the diapers.

I can speak about voices though -- the morphine I was given in the hospital after I was intubated caused me to have audio hallucinations for 48 hours. Dirge-like chants -- first of epic-heroic poetry about Abe Lincoln and John Henry.

We then moved into religious territory (a lot about the kingdom of the lord). There were some pretty scary ones too -- angry, harsh voices wanting to do serious damage to others. Running from demons and fighting for prey.

At first it was kind of fun. I knew I was hallucinating. But at the end it got really bad -- with 4 or 5 different chants vying loudly for my attention at once. The nurses were great. They actually responded to my request to be moved from the demon-haunted room into one that had only one chant. One nurse actually took me outside the hospital -- in the dead of night -- twice -- at my request. I needed to be assured that the chants were only in the hospital. And indeed, there were no chants outside.

Now that I'm at a safe remove from the chants, I'm interested in the genesis of these types of hallucinations -- anyone know anything about voices?

Posted by: nelson | February 7, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi mo!

Crown Vics are undercover cops everywhere in the continental US. Count on it. The day you assume it is just a rich geezer (probably a geezette) is the day you get a ticket.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, the morphine can indeed bring on strange systems, mom went through some terrible hallucinations from the drug. She would see things, develop all kinds of conspiracy theories, have conversations with relatives who long ago passed away. I do not know anything of the causes but it was an unnerving experience to witness.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse


You are smart to follow your daughter's request. I doubt Honors Algebra is truly harder than High School Algebra. They are just making the distinction of it as an Honors class because it is being taught one year ahead so that those kids can get to Calculus.

The typical college prep math sequence is:
9th: Algebra
10th: Geometry
11th: Algebra 2
12th: Trig/Functions/Whatever they call it nowadays.

The only advantage to taking Algebra in 8th grade is the opportunity to have Calculus as a senior. If she is not going into a highly technical field, Calc at the HS level is just not necessary.

Her school (and most colleges) probably requires three years of HS math and it definitely helps to have trig. You have to keep the end game in mind.

I would just wonder what they teach in Math 8 that she needs for Algebra if she doesn't jump into Honors Algebra. Remember, the Honors Algebra class will be at least 50% kids expecting to get to Calculus. The other half will wash out somewhere else along the way.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

mo! Glad to see you're back! And you've proved to me that I'm obviously from elsewhere, 'cuz I think yellojkt got more of them than I did.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 7, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

That's odd that changing locations actually made your hallucinations better. Maybe it had something to do with how warm the rooms or outdoors were?

It's not uncommon for overheating to cause hallucinations to become worse-- lots of people become delusional with high fevers.
Also, crystal meth/LSD/morphine etc. also causes high body temperature AND hallucinations at high doses.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - you and i were both raised here - you can take the girl outta nova but unfortunately, even surgery won't get nova outta the girl... trust me... i've tried!

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - most of the hallucinations that are caused by crystal meth are from sleep deprivation - users have a tendency to stay awake/high for several days - after approx 3 days without sleep the hallucinations start... 5-6 days awake are not uncommon amoung serious meth users...

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

nelson, the morphine-hallucinated chanting (I'm assuming it was rhythmic?) sounds like the (fevered) brain's interpretation of the background "white noise" and humming of the hospital's generators and systems, with a side of traffic vibration thrown in (if near a major thruway). Old wives' advice for fever hallucinations of voices is to take the sufferer downstairs or outdoors onto solid ground.

In my experience, autoimmune sufferers tend to be more sensitive to subsonic vibration, electrical systems, and microwave emissions (as well as weather patterns) than the usual, but that's anecdotal - I don't know if anyone has actually studied it.

Posted by: sevenswans | February 7, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I've seen something similiar, Pat. One of mrdr's aunts more or less tuned the world out and would not look at the floor when she was at the bottom of her manic cycle or whatever it was. Truly sad.

However, I can also personally attest that sometimes you have to laugh at some of those things which you'd really like to change (like mrdr's moms Alzheimers), because you have cried enough.

Maybe that is the edge over which you pass to momentary irrationality. Maybe when you lose it, you lose the perspective that sometimes you might as well laugh through you tears.

Posted by: dr | February 7, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse


I first knew my marriage would have issues when my ex suggested that we get a Crown Vic as a second car.

I told her that we would never get anywhere when we pull onto the Beltway and everyone suddenly slows to 55. Get into one of those cars and all at once all roads turn into Bethesda Avenue.

Posted by: Dolphin Cop | February 7, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod -- I think the hallucinations were a result of my brain making patterns out of the sounds of ventilation or moving machinery. My temp was never above 100 or so during this period.

The IV machine was a big source for the chants -- as were any area where air met matter. The window was screaming at me.

I know it doesn't make any sense. I should have been an equal opportunity hallucinator. The chants had built up to such a level in the first room that it was overwhelming. Even in the hallway around the first room --

But I did hear christmas carols in the hallways, down in x-ray, etc. I think I first got the attention of my surgeon when I complained to his nurse about the lousy muzak in the hallways!! :-)

The nite the nurse was taking me outside though, most of the hospital was a chant-free zone. Only the fifth floor, which was my floor, was flooded with chants.

dmd -- so sorry your mother went through morphine hell. That must have been very frightening for you to watch. Did she realize she was hallucinating? Doesn't sound like it.

I was joking with my own mother about the chants during the first 16 or so hours -- before that second nite when things got so bad.

I had other problems too -- my skin turned a vivid, dark brown and became incredibly sensitive -- I couldn't string two thoughts together -- my short-term-memory disappeared. I was beginning to see patterns in the laminated flooring of the hospital bathroom -- etc.

It was so bad they actually thought they would have to keep me in the hospital even longer than the physical complications from surgery necessitated. I couldn't be left alone.

It all cleared up before I got physically well enough to go home though.

I do wish the whole mess in Iraq was just a hallucination. Ignatius is right, of course. Until someone in power grasps this concept (ain't gonna happen) we're bound, literally, to the current desctructive policy.

Posted by: nelson | February 7, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

bethesda avenue! HAH!

i wonder which is worse torture - enduring bethesda avenue (or the mixing bowl) or waterboarding

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

sevenswans -- your post didn't show up until after I'd posted my response. Yes, you hit the nail on the head. And rhythmic is an excellent way to describe the chants. Although they differed in keys and melody (really, they did).

But no fever. As for auto-immune -- I don't think anyone has figured out yet if Fibromyalgia is autoimmune or more CNS disorder -- I'd go with CNS.

But if I do have some autoimmune "issues" perhaps this fired up the old rhythmic pattern finder in my brain.

Posted by: nelson | February 7, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to add that the white-noise effect/explanation doesn't preclude paranormal sensitivity, since ghosts have traditionally used whatever white noise (wind, for one - fire crackling, another - long before we had the constant modern urban accompaniment) available to speak to the sensitive. . .

(but who ya gonna call?)

Posted by: sevenswans | February 7, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

nelson, your response to my response showed up while writing another response (is that a BOO? I get confused. . .) The window "screaming" is fascinating - sound waves or vibrations through glass produce a very high pitch (not to mention the hissing whine of the air through the edges).

Posted by: sevenswans | February 7, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

For those of us heading to the Corcoran this evening, I composed a ditty:

Well, I'll claim it for my own, in the name of Bad Information.
I'm not apologizing for any tune cooties I'm planting here.

Bad Information

I ain't got a virus
got an Internet disease
It'll take more than Mo Dowd
for this to make some sense to me
I got lots of links
but they aren't what I need
Gonna take more than the MSM
to spin the truth for me
I got all my facts here,
count 'em, 1, 2, 3

First I browse
[That's what I do when I'm wondering why]
Then I read what you espouse
[Just enough to make me cry]
Now I won't leave my house
[That's what I get, for believing what I see]
And now this boy's addicted
'cause your site is truth to me

Your blog is like bad information
Bad information is what I need
Shake it up, it's just bad information
There ain't no journo that can
Cure my disease

Bad, bad information
Bad, bad information

I don't check your facts
'cause that would kill the thrill
And I sure don't want no figures
When it's time to take my pills
I got lots of friends here
And we (almost) always think alike
I like information that's unfounded
Ain't no monkey on my back

There aint no moderation
Unbelievers we attack

When I read
[That's the start of my sin]
Then I need
[I'll believe all you can spin]
I'm up off my knees
[I get out what I put in]
Internet information
is what passes for love
Now I'm addicted
and your blog is the drug

Your site is like bad information
Bad information is what I need
Make it up, just like bad information
So let's play webmaster, baby
So you can whip my disease

Bad, bad information
Bad, bad information


Need a new translation plugin,
for some amazing Russian site
They swear they tell the truth there,
and I comment there all night
When you find secret information
you got to take what you can get
Cause if there's something better baby, well I haven't seen it yet

Your blog is like bad information
Bad information is what I need
Shake it up, just like bad information
Don't want no editor
To tell the truth to me

[Once more, IN ALL CAPS!]


Bad, bad information
Bad, bad information

PS, Now, off to meetings.

Posted by: bc | February 7, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse


Via CNN: Three former Army Reserve officers and two civilians indicted with conspiracy, money laundering and bribery in probe of alleged fraudelent use of millions of U.S. dollars in Iraq.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

BOn Jovi's "Bad Medicine" would go nicely with those lyrics, if you wanted to set them to music, BTW.


Posted by: bc | February 7, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I tried "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" but it just wouldn't scan...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking of Bad Company.

Posted by: nelson | February 7, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse


Why would that make you think of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock?


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Mo, one of the major effects of sleep deprivation is hyperthermia-- high body temperature. Another is also a switch to high blood sugar. High blood sugar also can raise protein kinase C level (PKC), an substance that is elevated in mania and which is believed to be responsible for maniac symptoms.

By the way, I found this politics-dream connection... Sounds like one for the investigative science reporter because I wonder how scientific this one is.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Over the past few days, I have noticed a disturbing amount of long-distance diagnosing of astronaut Nowak. We are all entitled to our opinions, but it makes me think of Dr. Bill Frist diagnosing Ms. Terri Schiavo as coherent upon a couple of seconds of video footage. None of us has met the lady, most of us aren't psychiatrists, so we really have no business saying whether or not she's loony.

That said, in my opinion, her actions are those of an individual who has begun to come unglued.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

My favorite word for today has gone from "supercritical" to "hypocritical."

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, if someone is sleep deprived their blood sugar level would rise, did I interpret that correctly. I ask as we still have several issues with my Dad and one currently is still sleep deprivation, possible diabetes, and confusion. Due to how slow he is recovering sorting it all out is tough.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, sleep deprivation will cause blood sugar levels to rise. The same goes for lack of any exercise altogether (aka bed rest) for over 24 hours, dmd.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wilbrod

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, no fair!

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

C'mon guys. I'm sleep-deprived, diabetic, my bood sugar's high, and I'm always confused. Yet here I am, editing important documents for the feral gummint. Don't even ASK about the voices.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 7, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge your issues are they a disadvantage or and advantage to editing those federal documents. :-)

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, thank you for that. The many times I've done an all-nighter (thus usually 36 hours straight) at work, I've always felt that I was burning up, and I never knew why. I thought it was just me. I feel reassured. I wonder what the purpose of sleep-deprivation elevated temp is, though?

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay S'nuke -- I gotta admit I don't get the hopkins-rock tie-in to Bad Company.

What am I missing here?


Posted by: nelson | February 7, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse


'Twas an excerable "ordinary guy whose twin happens to be a CIA superagent and has to take his place, becoming buddies with the grizzled veteran operative" movie.

Gold star awarded if you can guess which actor played which character.


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 7, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, when you sleep, there's a stage where your metabolism switches down to coldblooded levels, around 3 or 4 AM.

With sleep deprivation, this stage doesn't happen. Also, when your body temperature is at a high or at a low, that's when your sleepiness is most apt to occur-- during the siesta hours of 1 PM-3 PM, or the cold hours of 3 AM.

This is why cold exposure tends to make people sleepy and why it is so dangerous to go to sleep with hypothermia.

This article is interesting.

I'm not sure if the overheating is caused by the effort to stay awake using caffeine or stimulants, or by sleep deprivation itself.
I think either or both.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of elevated temps, I just read something somewhere about the need for a fever as the body fights an illness. Normally, when we have fevers, we take a drug to reduce it, but new studies show (no links, sorry) that we are actually impairing the body's natural immune response (fever) when we take something to lower it. Counterintuitive, but it seems logical.

I like that word, too. Counterintuitive.

Actually, any word that has "ui" in it is pretty cool.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Gomer I had heard that before I think from the kids doctor, I generally try to let their bodies fight minor illness with as little medication as possible. I have also been warned against cough medicines (OTC) for a similar reason.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, correct. You should only treat fever when it is dangerously high, something like over 101 F.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

OMG... TV-commercial sensibility?

Yesterday evening my daughter and I saw a TV ad for the "new and improved " Clearblue pregnancy test. The deep-voiced announcer declared it was "the most sophisticated piece of technology you will ever pee on."

Today, the commercial says "... you will ever... AHEM."

Posted by: TBG | February 7, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm not an expert on hallucinations (audio, visual or otherwise) in any official or formal capacity, but let's just say I've had a few of them.

Hospital "trips" (and I don't mean the ambulance ride) are definitely not fun. I remember a particular incident from about 10 years ago where I had a similar auditory episode in the hospital, but mine was brought on while detoxing -- they don't call them the "delirium tremens" for nothing. Being tied down to the gurney may have also contributed, but I distinctly remember "coming to" and finding myself in a heated argument with one of those beeping vital sign monitors. I also learned that the reason I was tied down was because I somehow managed to escape my bed earlier, ripped the IV out of my arm, and proceeded to bleed all over everything in the ER while politely asking everyone whether they'd seen my keys or where I parked my car (I didn't even own a car at the time).

My favorite auditory "event" happened back when I was still in high school. My friends and I had acquired what are commonly known as "micro dots". After taking them, we went down to the amphitheater next to the lake at Westminster College (guitars in hand, of course). It was the dead of winter (kinda like now) and the lake (more of an overgrown pond) was frozen solid and the ice was cracking and popping. All those cracks and pops were ... um... amplified... by the amphitheater and because of the cold, our guitars wouldn't hold tune (not that that ever stopped us from playing them), but all the noise had a cumulative effect, so to speak. Echoes over echoes over echoes until you could almost see the sound waves. It was like Phish in a blender set to "slow".

There goes any chance I had to work for the FBI.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG I have seen that commercial and it said pee on, now I will have to look to see if it is changed here as well.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

>101F is high for an adult, so why the difference for infants? Little Gomer had a 104F fever and when we called the pediadoc, they said, "Eh, if he still has the fever 4 days from now, bring him in." I was flummoxed, but don't know any better because he's our first. It seemed a little extreme to me, though.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I found some information on why 104F fever might be shrugged off by pedidocs if the child isn't seizuring or anything like that.

Still, I gotta wonder if 104F fevers can cause hearing loss or it takes a bit more.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Any idea how to trigger some good hallucinations without the use of illicits or a religious experience? I loved the ones I got from the illicits in the past, but I'm a responsible adult now, and not turned on by jail time. Also an atheist, so church doesn't do it for me, and I never got the good feelings from a hard workout. Just got tired. Hallucinogens always worked for me, but they're kind of unsafe.

Oh, the fungi, but oh, the prison time. -sigh-

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

tbg - that's funny cuz i always heard the commercial as "ahem" and i've seen it a cpl times...

btw - what's everyone's fav superbowl commercial?

mine is the taco bell one with the lions... "carne asada" "no, you have to say it sexy like ricardo montalban - carrrrrrnnnneeee asada"... it kills me everytime i see it!

Posted by: mo | February 7, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Gomer... I once fasted for a week and experienced some pretty interesting effects (actually, I was flat broke and couldn't even afford Ramen Noodles, let alone *food*).

Last I heard, toads are still legal. But even I in my most desperate state would not be inclined to lick one.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod, that was a much better explanation than the kid's doc gave.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, young children do have higher temps, can't give you any medical background just mom experience. Best tests I used for when to worry or not was the childs behaviour, a child with a fever of 102+ that is still pretty content etc, worried only a little, it was when they became listless, wouldn't drink/eat that I would panic. That is when I would use Tempra if their behaviour remained unchanged - off to the doctor.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Martooni, I'm not into toad-licking either. Did you see the Simpsons where Homer was a missionary and got into toads? When he licked it, his pupils got all huge and black. Fuuuuuunny.

There was a Family Guy episode where son Chris got into toads, too. Don't remember the pupils from that one, though.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I saw the 'pee on' version last night. I'll watch tonight to see whether it's changed.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Gomer... speaking of the Simpsons and hallucinating, how about the one where Bart and Lisa OD'd on chocolate while the family was visiting London?

Then there was the "legalize it" episode where everyone was too high to remember when to go vote.

The scariest thing about the Simpsons is that I somehow identify with every single character -- even Comic Book Guy.

Most. Disturbing. Thought. Evar.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

mo, my favorite was the CareerBuilder:

"HERE'S your positive reinforcement!" (followed by atomic wedgie)

Posted by: Raysmom | February 7, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I also liked the one where Lisa fell into the water on the ride at Duffworld and tripped out a la Jim Morrison:

"I am the lizard queen, I can do anything!"

Or the one when something was in the water that made Marge see the walls and curtains dripping.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The one where Homer ate the hottest chili in the universe and the coyote with Johnny Cash's voice talked to him.

Posted by: byoolin | February 7, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

You don't suppose those Simpson's writers are smoking anything illegal, eh?

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, fasting and sleep deprivation probably will get you to surreal-land.

However, the safest hallucinations might be hypnagogic hallucinations... or dreams.

While you're killing time in bed waiting for this all to happen somehow, I suggest you try and stimulate rapid eye movement (REM) while still awake.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Lariam, a medicine given to prevent against malaria is called "crazy medicine".

It can cause hallucinations in some people and for a subset the hallucinations are permanent-- the person becomes irreversibly psychotic.

I refuse to take it, personally, after hearing a friends' account of her very interesting experiences on Lariam.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Martooni's right-hospital trips are not fun, for anyone! I was an RN at a nova hospital taking care of the sweetest 65-70ish grandma type who was an alcoholic and NO ONE knew it. She was post-op and DT's came on ever so stealthily but whoa-it was unbelievable how strong she was and heartbreaking to watch her in the grips of the hallucinations. Almost as bad was seeing her family realize what was happening. Lesson for the day, always be truthful on your pre-op history.

Posted by: Kim | February 7, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "eh?" should have been just "?"

This is what happens when we let down our guard on the northern border. Next thing you know, we'll be overrun by Labradors who want you to think they just want to play "fetch" (they're really just trying to wear us down so Bob and Doug can more easily replace our "beer" with the real stuff).

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Error's Rules of Tripping

1) Have a non-tripping safety person.

2) Create a safe place devoid of sharp objects and mechanical bits where you won't meet people not tripping, except for #1.

3) Stay out of public places and keep the number of people down to a handful. This applies especially to concerts.

4) Do not surf through TV channels to avoid bumming out on medical operations and violence.

5) Keep plenty of liquids around.

6) Keep plenty of "glaucoma meds" around.

7) Keep entertainment light, i.e. Twister. You might want to pass on "Snakes and Ladders".

8) Do NOT look in a mirror when going to the bathroom.

9) Stay out of flourescent lighting, everyone looks terrible.

10) Remember that no matter what it will eventually end, even if it seems that time itself has started to loop and you will be stuck forever in one particular moment.

And remember: I AM The Great Mahout, the Elephant Boy, and they will do my bidding.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 7, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

my peak time to hallucinate is in the evening, after work, after working out, relaxing to hip-hop music, low blood sugar, half asleep.

Or at a meeting that goes over 1 hour.

I like to encourage these brightly colored images, usually criss-cross patterns like laundry baskets, shoelaces, plad, and rug designs to twist and turn in 3d in front of the darkness I normally experience. Strange though, when I try to look closer at these images, they go away. sometimes I see text that I can almost read like they were from a book I read long ago. Requires both concentration and deep meditation.

For auditory hallucinations, nothing whispers better than a fan.

NyQuil, though I haven't had any for years, works well too, takes about 6 hours and several times I've woken up early in the morning thinking I can see again.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

//"the most sophisticated piece of technology you will ever pee on."//

Those of us who work in IT are clear exceptions to this statement.

Posted by: dbG | February 7, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn, I am having laughing flashbacks. Thank you. Thank you.

Posted by: CoWToWn | February 7, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the Clearblue pregnancy test ad for its audacity and clever use of irony. At least, I think it's ironic.

Posted by: CowTown | February 7, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Pat, how could I forget sensory deprivation hallucinations?! Good of you to pitch in that one side benefit of sensory loss.

Bad on me, but then, my auditory hallucinations mostly suck-- ringing in my ears, constant droning, etc. I just never had enough decent hearing to put down good memories.

About the only memory I can "hear" as I recall it is the sound of my voice counting, and I expect that to fade eventually as I haven't been able to hear my own voice for 10 years.

I find visual hallucinations more interesting (before bed, usually, when I am in pretty much extreme sensory deprivation).

At least you got more visual memory to recall than I have auditory.

But then, would I really want only tune cooties playing in my ears for the rest of my life?

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Error... sounds like a great plan on paper, and I sort of remember having some similar plan worked out way back when (even last week). However, my experience has been that the "non-tripper" always gets bored (or overwhelmed) with the situation and either jumps right in with the rest or goes home.

I agree 1000% that glaucoma meds are always good to have on hand. Even if you're not planning on a trip to some alternative dimension.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "alternate" (not that there's anything wrong with "alternative" dimensions)

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

bc & co,
looking forward to a good bad information report.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 7, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

dbG said, re "tech to pee on": "Those of us who work in IT are clear exceptions to this statement."

I thought that's why we get paid the big bucks (*cough-cough-cough*) and why we are so respected (*cough-cough-cough*) and loved (*cough-cough-cough*) by our "users".

Honestly, I think non-IT-type persons should gladly offer up their premium parking spaces and provide us with an unlimited supply of green M&Ms, champagne, glaucoma meds, hookers (or whatever else we want or can dream of). Especially after they've hosed (and rudely demanded we fix) the accounting system that repeatedly asked them "Are you sure you want to delete ALL records? (Y/N)".

Just sayin'...

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I went to a Phish show about ten years back with a group of about 8 folks who had driven into town in a big van owned and chauffered by a guy that none of them knew ell. He had a big van, which was why he was invited. We all got loaded up on parking lot goodies and proceeded into the venue. At this point "Dylan" the driver, who had consuned a few choice substances, wandered off somewhere, keys in hand. Flash forward, after the show we were all gathered by the van except for two who had gone off to look for Dylan, as he had not returned. The yellowjackets were b1tching at those of us gathered around the van to leave, but we had no keys. The searchers were walking the now empty lots screaming, "Dylan!" From across the lot, one of them hears a frantic cry, "Hello!? I'm Dylan, is anybody looking for me?"

A very fun time...

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Error- Love the rules, and they are pretty much as I would have put them, especially #2, about the safe place. No need to travel in altered states.

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, silly question, do you hear in your dreams?

I love to dream, and i've developed the ability to dream while I'm still conscience. sometimes I go in and out, sort of like channel flipping, since the start of each dream usually has nothing to do with the one before.

Posted by: Pat | February 7, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

He 1 1, I've even caught (and pitched) a baseball game. The first ball, which is brighter than the ones following it, is the one to catch or hit.

Pitcher into stretch. Looks to first. "Hey, there's a runner there." Looks to second. "There's another one there, too. Where did they come from?"

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The trippiest experience I ever had was walking along an railroad track.

Get it? Trippy?

I have led *such* an unadventurous life.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

a, an, whatever it takes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I've taken Lariam, and I did not *technically* hallucinate, but did have very vivid dreams while asleep (that were kind of enjoyable, like being in a technicolor movie.

I knew before I took it that it had the capacity to push some people into psychosis, so popped the first few when I was still at home with the family, so that they could get me to emerg. quickly if need be.

However, I did not know at the time that you have to be vigilant every time you start; one good experience doesn't guarantee subsequent ones.

However, when travelling in the DRC and Sierra Leone, I had rather take the best anti-malerial going than risk the disease in failed states.

For India, Philippines, Pakistan or Indonesia (and similarly advanced developing countries) I give it a pass now and take one of the alternatives.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I used chloroquinone in India-- (an antibiotic)-- it still works there and I'd rather have my rear leak rather than my brains leak.

In any case, both trips I was not bitten by one mosquito.

Travel tip: always travel with somebody that is much tastier to skeeters than you and naturally immune to malaria anyway (such as a native guide). Alas, in Africa you are pretty limited in your choices of what to take.

Pat, I very rarely hear in my dreams.

In fact, the first time my ears ever started ringing was during a dream where I was dreaming of a fire alarm with flashing lights that I somehow could hear (?!) too.

I woke up with my ears feeling like the Philadelphia bell was ringing the New Year in and it lasted for a good few minutes.

I'd rather not hear in my dreams again, at least not in a manner I remember.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I can just imagine the scene at the Corcoran tonight. The paparazzi. The endless lines of limousines. The sober-looking gentlemen with earpieces and subtly disguised weaponry. The searchlights. The throngs of enthusiastic fans all chanting "Joel! Joel!" And finally, accompanied by a flourish of trumpets and wearing a glittering cape of gold: the guest speaker himself.

I mean, who needs hallucinogenics when one can conjure up a scene like this?

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Most enjoyable Super Bowl commercial (though I only saw about three): Robert Goulet for some nuts. Laugh-out-loud. The Boy knows Goulet from The Simpsons (he's watched since infancy).

I am Lisa.

I can fly in my dreams. I'll stop there.

RD, I got Aristotle's Children! It is before me on the table and I am about to start it even as we speak (figuratively speaking). I'll let you know tomorrow where I get. With rehearsal, supervising bed with the ill Boy, dragging him out of bed for school (I hope) and the day to begin, I'll be lucky to finish the Preface. It's a start.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I read an article a while back about ibogaine. I'm not sure about its legal status, probably illegal since people are going abroad for it. The hallucinations are intense--I mean really intense--but when they're over, opiate addicts find they no longer are addicted.

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

RD, lovely imagery. Those lucky DC-area-ers, to see and hear Joel in the flesh. If indeed he is flesh, and not literary pixels. "A glittering cape of gold": I repeat - the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold and his cohorts were gleaming in crimson [purple? I've been corrected on this before] and gold.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Dave, Hunter S. Thompson has an Ibogaine reference somewhere, more than once I think but almost certainly in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Rumor (reporting? it was a long time ago) had it that Justice Rhenquist used Ibogaine way back when for back pain.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Mental Illness can happen without any rhyme or reason. I hope her family is getting help as I am sure they are experiencing a terrifying sense of despair and disbelief. I do hope she gets the help she needs. It is senseless and cruel making jokes about this person's very sad condition. Some sense of compassion and discretion is needed and less cruelty.

Posted by: Rsmith | February 7, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Dave... if that stuff works for drunks, I'd definitely be interested. One last blast and then no more cravings?

Have credit cards, will travel.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It's been so long since I read Fear and Loathing. All I can remember are the bats, the huge black bats swooping down on that red shark of a convertible.

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse


"You took too much...took too much."

Posted by: Gomer | February 7, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

RD: 1st paragraph proper - "an unsuspecting discoverer uncovers buried tablets while digging in a field" - Joseph Smith & Mormon? Golly.

I gave a cousin Fear & Loathing LV when he was 18 - a sign he was "grown up".

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-- Here's a quote from the link: "Research also suggests that ibogaine may be useful in treating dependence to other substances such as alcohol, methamphetamine, and nicotine, and may affect compulsive behavioral patterns not involving substance abuse or chemical dependence. Ibogaine has been used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by Claudio Naranjo some of whose work was published in The Healing Journey.[11]"

I hope you enjoy the trip.

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

As Mario is wont to say, Here we go!

"Nonetheless ALD-52 turned out to be ten or twenty times more psychedelic than LSD. That is, its effects lay far more in the direction of Ibogaine than a mere "fishbowl effect," the "apprehension of the oneness of experience" often referred to as "seeing God."

Philip K. Dick, writing about his own celebrated religious or Near-Death Experience (NDE) in early 1974, described the phenomena of "laminate personality," of being several personalities millennia apart at the same time. Aron Kay, who took the ALD also, confirms that he had flashes of the same thing, the definite sensation of co-existing at several points of time simultaneously: 2,000 years ago, in the present, and some time up ahead in the future. It was Beal's second vision:

"As we came down to the river," says Dana, "it was like this other personality was in my mind with me, a dominant personality, who looked at the water, saw the twentieth-century pollution, and thought: `The water in this river is totally unacceptable f or performing Baptisms.' And this other person was kind of daydreaming, not even conscious of the me there, until I looked at the litter along the streambank and thought--`But of course, they didn't have non-biodegradable plastics back then.'--and the other personality kind of noticed I was there, and who I was, and thought: `Oh, a Baptist (I had attended Baptist Sunday School)...well, just make sure you don't get your head cut off this time!'"

After puzzling it out ("Who was that masked man?"), Dana decided this meant he was supposed to avoid taking any unnecessary risks, until his mission, up in the unknowable future, was accomplished. Aron says they sat looking at that river for ho urs.

Dana consulted with Lotsof when he got back to New York. "Ibogaine was more psychedelic than that?"

"On Ibogaine, you would have visualized the other personality as sitting there talking to you," was Howard's cryptic reply."

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Rsmith... as a certified (as in "I have papers") lunatic I both agree and disagree with your post.

I agree that mental illness is a terrible thing and should be treated/considered seriously -- losing control of one's bladder is nothing when compared to losing one's mind. One's mental state should also be taken into consideration when one does something stupid or irrational -- that would be the compassionate/empathetic thing to do.

On the other hand, the "press" has a very limited sense of compassion or empathy when it comes to people who try to kill/maim/intimidate... and for good reason. If someone straps on a diaper, goes out and buys rubber tubing, a knife, garbage bags and a BB gun, then sets off on a 900 mile roadtrip to "meet" a potential love rival at an airport... sorry, but as insane as it sounds, it's very much news. Just because the diaper-wearing suspect is a NASA astronaut does not require that we give any special treatment.

She was nuts (temporarily or permanently so, I'm sure Dr. Phil and Oprah will figure it out and make more millions in the process). That said, she was a real threat. She's semi-famous, so her actions made Page One.

Yes, it's sad. But as they say on the intarwebs... WTF? OMG!!!1! LOL! ORLY? HAHA! And as I said in an earlier post, Jeffrey Dahmer had a few issues too. Maybe if he was an astronaut, public opinion might be more accepting of people cooking people.

Posted by: martooni | February 7, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Rsmith, I know plenty of people who would be categorized as having mental health problems.

The diaper detail is relatively sane and logical given the assumption she was trying not to be caught enroute to Texas.

Many people have mental health problems without EVER attempting murder or driving 900 miles to accost a stranger-- or being caught at it.

Let's face it, if she had conceiveably in fact intended what is claimed, and succeeded at it, we might not even know who or why this woman was killed. This woman was careful as possible not to link herself to the crime scene as possible.

That is not funny. In fact, it's scary, no? Should we pity her because she went unhinged due to emotional stress?

Or realize that this "mental illness" is all too common in stalkers who ultimately kill their loved ones?

I'd rather laugh, because it didn't happen and both women are okay and the consequence for Nowak is extremely unintended public humilation at the very least.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I believe that BBQ long pork would simply be out of this world.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm lovin' this hallucinations/dreams/bending-of-the-space-time-continuum thread.

"the definite sensation of co-existing at several points of time simultaneously: 2,000 years ago, in the present, and some time up ahead in the future."

AWEsome. Puts me in mind of "Many Lives, Many Masters," by Brian Weiss:

Posted by: Dreamer | February 7, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Thompson accussed Muskie of being on ibogaine during the '72 primaries.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The good doctor originally denounced Muskie's ibogaine use in Rolling Stone. Thompson gathered The Stone articles on the '72 race into the book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
Columnists, especially 'humourous ones' ,often use this recyle dodge to screw more cash out of their readership.
Writers most prone to this scam have a serious drug habit or kids in college.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - I hope I haven't oversold the book. I might not be the most sophisticated consumer. Yet I found it absolutely engrossing. The kind of book you have to read more than once.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I have been pondering (thanks so much, Joel) the coverage and fates of female alleged criminals, and I have a (not entirely rhetorical) question. I am truly not trying to start a storm, but to receive some considered replies.

A couple of people on this blog, and many others elsewhere in media both MS and new, have expressed sympathy or empathy for the (for the lack of a better description) "love-broken high-functioning astronaut-potential-murderer."

And yet, in the truly tragic cases of Andrea Yates and other similarly oppressed, depressed, demonstrably psychotic women who have killed either their husbands or children in the grip of delusions (think the wife of the minister, last summer - can't remember the name), the tabloid press, bloggers and even some MSM members have reviled those whom I see as at least an equal victim as the victim(s), as *monsters.*

Because I was doing some work with women coming out of abusive cult marriages (you Canadians, remember Bountiful) at the time the Andrea Yates case made headlines, I am particularly sensitive to this.

So why is it that a woman who is clearly sufficiently in her right mind to demonstrate *mens rea* garners our sympathy and screeds are written about how her potential didn't let anybody see the signs of instability, but women who have been oppressed by authoritarian structures and had 6 children in 7 years and were clearly demonstrating mental illness (such as post-partum depression/psychosis) for *years,* and were offered no help by their husbands, families or communities, are demonized?

I do truly think that if the allegations against Nowak (because she is intelligent, educated and was free to do anything she liked) are proved in a court of law, she is *more culpable* than any woman married young into a patriarchal closed society and provided no options for how she was to live, and no care when she became ill.

Is it simply that we (Boomers) have an exaggerated romantic attachment to astronauts as heros? Or does it say something about how in our society justice for the celebrated is not equal to the justice for the obscure?

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Existence is not fair or rational. Attractive persons are lauded, unattractive people are scorned. Yellow hair, black kinky hair--society has definite favorites.

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Yoki you bring up an interesting point, I remember a tragic situation with a female doctor in Toronto, who allegedly killed her child in a post partum psychosis. While people were horrified at what happened there was similar sympathy due to her job.

Perhaps it hits too close to home, I cannot begin to understand what someone what Andrea Yates life was like, but a busy career mom a have a better understanding and perhaps would be more inclined to have more sympathy.

What troubles me in those situations is I wonder how the women cope after, when full realization of what their actions have caused sets in.

That said, unless I missed something this women was dealing with regular stresses in life (an was supposedly through testing found thought to be able to handle extrodinary stress). I do not have much sympathy for her actions, as an intelligent women she would know that life doesn't always work out the way you want and that does not allow us the right to hurt others just to get our way.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, Error, I can't help but laugh at your comments. And Pat, yours was good too, and I have to admit I laughed.

I hope Joel enjoys himself tonight. Have a good time all.

Ivansmom, we talked a little about the astronaut tonight at Bible study. Many of our members did not know what to make of it. I think sometimes we allow "brainy types and smart people" a certain amount of space, in that we expect them to be slightly loopy about certain things in life. Many of my people face the justice system day in and day out, but that is considered the norm, but when someone like the astronaut does that, people wonder what happened. My heart goes out to anyone that gets crossed up, that is led down the primrose path, that takes the wrong turn, because it can happen to any of us, no matter our race, status, money, brains, smartness, whatever. I'm so glad I believe in God through Christ,and that mercy and grace that we all need. I just wish everyone did.

Will someone tell me what Joel talks about at this event? Just a summary would be nice.

Tired and sleepy, going to bed now. Good night everyone.

Loomis, I'm glad you found your earring.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 7, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmd.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - I think it has to do with the ease of empathy. I assert that most people have felt some sort of irrational anger at a romantic rival, so the emotional step towards actually taking action does not seem incomprehensibly vast.

I further assert (with great hope) that few of us can begin to comprehend the feelings that could lead one to chase down and drown one's own children. The leap seems vastly greater to the average person, and hence easier to condemn.

This is, of course, the implicit conundrum of the insanity plea. The more truly insane the actions, the less liable they are to illicit any kind of true pity.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

yoki, i haven't felt that much sympathy for nowak because of some of the things you mentioned. i basically have no opinion at this point since not enough is known about her mental condition. maybe there is a higher degree of sympathy for professionally accomplished people because you think why would they ruin their lives when they seem to have a lot going for them.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 7, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Funnily RD, your first paragraph about most people being able to relate to heartbreak in a relationship is why I have so little sympathy in this case. I understand anger but acting on anger is a completely different situation particularly when it is not a spur of the moment situation, were it me I would hope somewhere in that 900 mile journey I would have thought about the consequences of my actions.

Posted by: dmd | February 7, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Another factor to consider re. Andrea Yates vs. the astronaut case (although not the only factor, of course) is that the victims were children. I think that has a *huge* impact on how much sympathy people are willing to give the offender -- if children are involved, all bets are off. (Another example is the Susan Smith case.)

Posted by: Dreamer | February 7, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I think people distance themselves from the horrific circumstances of abusive marriages.

I think people have a difficult time empathizing with the circumstances that would allow a woman to STAY in such a situation causing such suffering.

I once met an abused woman who was basically ready to jump into her third abusive relationship in a row.

A mutal friend of ours finally got her son in foster care because she was not able to protect her son from being abused by her father or others, in fact she didn't even have a job and clearly had issues of her own that drove her abusive relationships.

Not all abused women are like that; a large majority in fact do not know the signs of an abuser before it's too late and they're ensnared in a cycle of hope and abuse.

Unfortunately those women who DO have their own issues--mental health, anger, etc. are rather hard to like or help because they don't seem to have the skills to help themselves.

This can be hard for most people who blithely believe in "pull up by your own bootstraps" and "Never give up" and other such expression of drive to succeed in spite of all obstacles and have a poor understanding of PTSD and abuse issues.

The US criminal system does tend to have some sympathy in sentencing abused women who finally snapped, but it does vary by area.

The big difference between Nowak and Yates is that Yates succeeded in killing her kids, unfortunately, while Nowak succeeded as an astronaut but not as a murderess...for now.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom and RD, you made me curious about "Aristotle's Children," so I looked it up on amazon and discovered its subtitle: "How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages" [or "Middle Ages"? -- it seems there are two versions].

Wouldn't Richard Dawkins have a field day with *that*! :)

[I know, I know -- he'd probably have several field days with "Many Lives, Many Masters."]

Posted by: Dreamer | February 7, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I think the astronaut story has an element of comedy - the diapers, the checklist - and she didn't murder anyone. Most people I have heard or read comments from are ridiculing her, not empathizing with her at all.

Andrea Yates seemed to me to be out of her mind. Part of why she was convicted was that some planning seemed to go into her actions the day she killed her children. But I was glad that the conviction was overturned (or something) - she should be in a mental hospital, not a prison. It is hard to imagine murdering children, especially your own - I suppose that's why some people have a hard time sympathizing with her.

Mistrial at the Watada court martial.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 7, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The ancient wisdom being mentioned is Aristotelian Rationality. The book is about how the philosophical foundation of modern scientific thought owes far more to the religious thinkers of the middle ages than most realize. And that these thinkers might have something to teach us still.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 7, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, the point you made about "justice for the celebrated" is a good one. Going back to Ryan O'Neal - if his daughter, Tatum, is to be believed, he should have been locked up for child abuse and neglect (not to mention drug possession) long ago. I suppose it's because he's a celebrity that he hasn't been.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 7, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

And on a lighter note - found this recipe for capirinhas in the local paper (by way of Ft Worth):

Error, very good rules. Somehow I never managed to follow them. I remember being in a VW van, looking for a nice park to play in (just a few blocks away!), but we couldn't *find* it! Which means we must have broken Rule Number 1.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 7, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

i think it's great that wapo has posted the grand jury tapes of libby's testimony online the same day they were released. not that i have time to listen, but props to them for making it available.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 7, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling out Wilbord, dmd, LTL-CA, RD Padouk (*waving*), Dreamer, Cassandra, (and everyone else) who replied to my genuine querie. I think it does make a difference in the public eye if the victim is child.

But... if we accept that all the living are valuable (and I am being completely rhetorical here, because if anyone messed with one of my kids, they'd have *me* to deal with [pitilessly]), why is ending one human life worse than ending, say, an endagnered sea-bird's life?

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

>Error, very good rules. Somehow I never managed to follow them.

I think I only followed them all once - the last time. That's how I discovered them. We had a grand time that night.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 7, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I have deeply troubled thoughts about the "child-killers," i.e., Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, and a local one, the Hamm woman who with her boyfriend drove her car with three young children into a lake.

When my oldest was just a week or two old I was giving her a bath and found myself thinking "she's not ready to be out yet, she should just go back in." Luckily the logistics of this proposition gave me pause, and I could acknowledge how disturbed my thinking was. She was 3 weeks premature, and I was basically not sleeping at all, spending all her sleeping time watching her to make sure she breathed. Once I was convinced she had sleep apnea and I built an incline board construction to elevate her head to help her breathe, at about 4 a.m. My husband was seriously worried that I was insane, and I probably was. I had been on medication during the pregnancy for high blood pressure, and was told to stop taking it once she was born. I found out later that abrupt cessation of this medication can cause "mania." It does.

So, I survived, the baby survived, the next one was much easier (no meds needed during the pregnancy) - but I still remember that moment. The odd illogical logic of the idea - she needs to go back inside. And so when I hear about other new moms who do awful things, I feel revulsion, sympathy, and some understanding.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 7, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my dear Wheezy. My heart goes out to you, with understanding.

When my #1 was born, I went through a very *strange* time of loving her, and being obsessed with her, and also feeling oppressed by the demands, and being frightened by my own thoughts. I was mindless for a good three months. It was only later than I learned this paralysis was a symptom of post-partum depression. I had days when I wanted to (in my terms) "send her back."

When #2 was born, I had learned enough about myself to recognize the symptoms and ask for help. I was equally depressed, but better able to compensate for it.

My heart entirely goes out to you; and did these dear beloved children not turn out *just fine?*

I am close to both my girls; they are a daily blessing. Sometimes, when you've walked headfirst into a storm (the way of the buffalo), you see the sunshine early.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - thank you. Yes, my girls are turning out to be amazing and wonderful. Those first few months are He1l, though, aren't they?

Posted by: Wheezy | February 7, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Sleep deprivation does do horrible things to new parents, Wheezy. Andrea Yates, though, killed her kids when they were a bit beyond the infant stage.

I remember the Shannon Smith case. I had a coworker later who was a single mother and we talked about it once and she said she just cried when she heard she had killed her kids.

She said when she had her baby she was finishing up college and working full-time and she was just taking her baby everywhere and that some days she just wanted to jump off a bridge and take her baby with her.

It used to be in Victorian times that post-partum depression (psychosis) was often treated with a year in a sanitarium.

Post-partum depression has many causes, but it is worth mentioning it's not a defense for Nowak.

Although someday I do expect to see "Post-divorce psychosis" as an attempted legal defense.

Yates is less certain, what we do know is that she sent out clear signs for years before she committed the deed.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I do realize that the women I sympathized with did not act during the crazy, sleep-deprived time when their children were newborns. Still, I think I was realizing that if I could think crazy thoughts, then others might have the same thing, only worse and longer. After all, I was one of the *lucky* ones with: a wanted baby, a supportive spouse, plenty of money, etc.

What if I hadn't had those things. It reminds me of the first time I saw the hookers gathered around the PATH Station in New York late at night as I slid past in a car. My thought, as a very young woman newly sprung from her home, was "If I had made just one or two wrong choices, that would be me." When you're sorta scared at being on your own and having to rely on yourself, you can see that more clearly.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 7, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Pure unadulterated h311, for about 6 months, for some of us.

And then (from time to time, and then more often) pure paradise, knowing how wonderfully strong they and we are, having have the strength and commitment to make it through no matter how hard it is.

And also, I think, we have a very clear concept that our children are individuals worthy of respect. Unlike some (but only a very few!) parents of easy babies, I never thought my two were reflections of me. From day 1 they were separate and individual. That turned out to be good for all of us.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

My basic response to the Nowak incident is that even though she did some nutty stuff, for the most part *nothing happened*. The other "participants" were largely untouched. The other woman was intruded upon serverely, but AFAI can tell came out of it pretty much the same way she went in. So I think a charge of attempted murder is senseless. Something more like "attempted craziness", focusing on what actually happened to the other woman rather than fantasies about what might have happened ("attempted craziness with consequences and every potential consequence no matter how unlikely will be included") is more in order. The laws probably aren't written like that, though.

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I like that caiprinhas recipe. What kind of rum? White? Dark?

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 7, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm more in the corporate law world, but from what I know of Canadian criminal law, circumstantial evidence can be definitive.

If someone assaulted *me* with pepper spray and a beebee gun, and had to hand all the makings of dismemberment and disposal, I would hope that would be taken into account on severity grounds, at least. Just because someone doesn't succeed in a plan doesn't mean there wasn't a plan.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Yoki there.

Anti-stalker laws are very difficult to enforce as it is, without people shrugging off circumstanical evidence as "craziness".

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 7, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on that one, Yoki. One thing I don't understand completely, though, the victim in this case asserted that she had never met the perpetrator until the incident. So how did she know to run and lock herself in her car when she saw the perpetrator following her - from her pictures?

Good thing she did, I guess.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 7, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Who knows? But from what I read as reported, Shipman(?) heard running footsteps and saw a shadow behind her just after 4:00 am, and sensed danger, so ran quickly to and locked herself into her car. Very quick off the alarm-mark, to my mind. Very rational.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I've got to go to sleep now - good night Yoki, Wilbrod, and LTL.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 7, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

G'night Wheezy.

Posted by: Yoki | February 7, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

if i were in an airport garage in the middle of the night by myself,
i'd be watching my surroundings pretty carefully.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 8, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I realize I'm overstating the innocence side, but as far as I can tell, what happened was some pepper spray thru the window. Then, some other stuff was found in Nowak's possession, none of which was actually used in Nowak-vs-Shipman. I would hate to have my house searched if I could be accused of attempting to do the worst possible act with every thing. I have a meat cleaver, for example. And a chain saw. My point is that the authorities can charge and prove plenty about what actually happened. The rest might have been in Nowak's mind, but IMHO wasn't practical, and wouldn't have happened, whatever she might have fantasized. But then I am not a woman, and generally don't feel at risk among strangers.
I also understood that the two women would have known (recognized) each other. Did Shipman not recognize her, and treat her as a generic robber?

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 8, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

From on of the stories about Nowak:
"Nowak was armed with a steel mallet, a buck knife and a BB gun that resembled a real 9mm semiautomatic handgun. The BB gun was loaded with pellets and was set to fire, according to the affidavit."

She was carrying those things, she was disguised so Shipman would not recognize her, she had checked into a motel under an assumed name. She pepper sprayed Shipman - that's assault, at least - surely not just "wanting to talk", as her lawyer said.

You know, maybe there's another side to the story, but she seems to have been caught red-handed...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 8, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

That's well said, but my initial impression was the stuff she was "armed with" was in the car, not on her person. Maybe I'm wrong on that. Not the first time I've been wrong about something.

Posted by: LTL-CA | February 8, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm back from the intersection of the worlds. A good time was had by all. Many of the details remain hazy in my mind... sensory overload. I remember pointlessly arguing with Joel about the details of Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift while he (Joel) was just trying to answer a perfectly rational and decent question about how to distinguish false-but-accepted-by-consensus information from maverick-but-true information. Later, there were pictures taken. Some bunny-ears may have been made. Books were signed.

And, subtly, I remain the Nexus of the Universe. But I shan't explain further. I just want to exude an aura of mystery.

This is what an aura is supposed to smell like, isn't it?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 8, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

RD, that sounds like an interesting book.
I just might give it a whirl myself.

SciTim, glad to hear the Achenlecture was a success -- wish I could have been there! Must have been like a BPH squared.

Posted by: Dreamer | February 8, 2007 2:37 AM | Report abuse

"This is what an aura is supposed to smell like, isn't it?"

Umm... SciDude... that ain't "aura" and it ain't "teen spirit" either.

Did you step in one of Wilbrodog's "presents"?

Posted by: martooni | February 8, 2007 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Interesting conversation after I went to bed by Yoki and Wheezy. I remember when my son was born, my mother practically claimed him from day one. There was a lot of stress in that situation because I was his mother, yet no one seemed to notice. I was not able to take care of myself, yet I had strong feelings about my baby. I couldn't fight, so I let my mother have her way.

When my daughter was born years later, I cried when I found out I was pregnant, and literally cried the whole time after. I realize now it was probably depression, but I wasn't on any medication. I remember the first day I went back to work after having my daughter, I had to drive sixteen miles to work, and the whole time I cried. I wanted to turn around and go back and get her. You can imagine what kind of day that was at work.

Women are strong, but having children can be stressful for some. And the care of children, no one has ever said that job is easy. I've always maintained that young mothers with babies should be treated very tenderly. Mothers with babies are in fight and die mode because of the babies. They will take on a bear or the most vicious of humans. We should really be careful around mothers, and we should try to help when there is a problem.

Math and reading today. Yesterday the g-girl and I helped at the center. We did math and homework. When time to leave the kids got all of my gum. I'm going to get a big bag of bubble gum so I'll be prepared when I have bunch of them. I'm going back today, and then will go to the church to do ours.

Have a good day folks. I prayed this morning, and I cried too. There are so many not good things going on in this world. I just don't know how people make it without prayer. I cannot go into details, but my family has been hit hard this week. There is ugliness in this world, and so much of the time, it is right next door. Oh, won't you pray for me.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 8, 2007 6:31 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. 'Morning, Cassandra.

First, a desperately needed correction: mostlylurking, that caipirinha recipe left out a vital ingredient: about 6 ounces of club soda. As given in that article, it is pretty much undrinkable.

LTL, use light rum. Bacardi's Key Lime rum (with only half the calories) is especially good. But any light rum.

OK, last evening. Well...I got home at 11 45 p.m., if that tells you anything. There were 10 of us at the pre-lecture M&S session, including two guests of boodlers: scottynuke brought his April, and Pixel brought a friend of hers. Annie later joined us in the Official Boodle Cheering Section on the 50-yard line of the Corcoran auditorium. At one point Joel asked boodlers to identify themselves, so we held our hands up--and so did some guy on the other side of the room (so somebody said; I didn't see him). So apparently there was a Mystery Boodler there, but we don't know who he was. Mystery Boodler, care to identify yourself?

Joel's talk was quite good, full of anecdotes and humor (what a surprise). Afterward, he signed and handed out copies of his book, Why Things Are II (aka Son of WTA). Afterward, six of us repaired back to M&S, where we re-occupied our now Officially Staked Out Boodle Tables in the front window. Mara, the Official Achenwaitress who usually waits on us, was just going off-duty, so we were waited on by a different waitress.

And next thing ya know, it's after 10:30, so...

(Allow me to rave over the seafood and corn chowder soup. TBG had the Maryland crab soup, and she said that was excellent, too.)

Got go do morning stuff and run for the bus. More later, I'm sure.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 8, 2007 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Sky report: Treetops in the winter sky look like an etching or theater scrim for a Grimm Fairy story.

Ground report: I have discovered that eBay carries plants that the shippers will hold until spring. Prices are all over the map, yet you can find plants that Lowes and Home Depot will never carry. Reading seed catalogues is a winter ritual. I buy only a flea-freckle of the array before me. But I like to dream. Coming to me this spring are two tiny clematis. For about the price or two packs of cigarettes, I will have and plant Clematis montana and Clematis wilsonii: one purported to smell like vanilla, the other chocolate. These plants are tiny-flowered, nothing like their regal, big-blossomed cousins.

Nelson: I read about a blue sharkskin agave you can grow in the southland. Amazing.

Pat: Can you share your math facts program? Will it run on older computers? Perhaps Cassandra could use this? I would be interested for my son but mostly for a tutoring program near to my heart. If a family has an old computer, many of the new programs either do not run or run so quickly that it does not work properly.
(Pat, everyone in your family would like the combination-smell of the plants mentioned above.)

To the others who comment on young people and math-ability as a threshold, thank you for your thoughts. I think one huge misstep in education, including all the standards-based stuff now, is that the focus on math UNDERSTANDING is overemphasized. I believe that many students can be supported in ways that can and will lead to understanding.

First, they need to know how to "solve" problems or "get the answer."

Second, they need wonder and awe about the stuff of math.

I did not understand math, truly, until glimmers in analytic geometry in high school, and a full-blown aHA experience at the end of calculus in college. My instructor must have seen something on my face because he asked me after class if I was OK. My beautific vision of about 7 minutes might have looked like temporary insanity to him.

When my children had problems with the exercises directed purely at understanding, say base systems or sets, etc. I would often say, "You don't always have to understand to solve the problem. Write down what you know."

If we as a culture INSIST on understanding every math moment starting in say kindergarden, well, we leave so many fine people behind. Many algorithms -- steps to solve a problem -- are short enough and repeat enough that we can teach them.

If children gain true confidence from completing problems, in a supported environment that also contains some dare I say it -- whimsy and wonder -- then wonderful things can happen.

Stop me, I am math-fantasizing again, and me, an English teacher and all...

Enjoy the day. Read something. Solve a word problem or two.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 8, 2007 7:07 AM | Report abuse

It's really hard to keep up with the boodle right now, the new job being quite intense with much to learn.Before I forget, welcome back Error, so glad you're here.

I don't know what to think about Nowak, but I feel for her. Stresses in life can pile on and take a terrible toll on us. Twice in my life I've been overwhelmed. When I had my second daughter I spent three months sleep deprived and almost manic about making everything perfect, the house and laundry and babies and me. About ten years ago I was going through a divorce, my mom was in a nursing home deep into Alzheimer's, I was moving from a house I had just finished building and starting to build another one. My daughter was getting married and I was faced with working full-time for the first time in my life. Without some very good friends, an equally good therapist and AA meetings, I would have been lost.

I will never forget how my friends all rallied around me to support me in that awful time. And I hurt for anyone who doesn't have some good friends to lean on when they need strength and hope, encouragement and acceptance. I'd like to think that Nowak can find those qualities in someone to help her now. It's a shame that her situation has become such fodder for ridicule (not that I haven't laughed at some of the jokes at her expense, but I feel bad for doing so).

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 8, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Photos of last night will appear...



Morning all! *waving*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 8, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh good, the people from the talk are back. Perhaps you can settle a point of disputation. Was Joel's glittery cape solely gold, or was it, in fact, both gold and crimson?

Thanks for helping us clear this up.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 8, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

RDP, silly man. JA's cape is whatever color you need it to be. How about midnight blue velvet, lined with silk shot taffeta in a lighter blue threaded with silver-teal stars.......

Posted by: College Parkian | February 8, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody! Hey Cassandra, are you walking? I'm going out shortly myself. Amazing the difference moving one's backside makes.

I remember being lonely after my first daughter's birth, with little support and no neighbors I was close to. It was disorienting, because I grew up in a neighborhood that was also a close community. The neighbors were friends, and the kids were in and out of houses all day long. The new place wasn't like that, probably because there weren't that many children around.

I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures from last night and hearing all your accounts!

Now, off to walk...

Posted by: Slyness | February 8, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I had hormone-induced fantasies after my daughter was born, but they were mostly along the lines of, what would I do if someone broke into the house and tried to hurt her--what could I use for a weapon, would that lamp be good for hitting someone with, and on and on like that. I felt like somebody else was inside my head making those thoughts happen, because that is NOT my normal thought pattern, it had no rational basis and it was repetitive, obsessive. Sleep deprivation, yes, that has effects too. At the end of the baby's first year, when my life was really nice, I would sometimes think, "Why do I feel so bad?" and then I would remember, oh, yeah, it's been over a year since I had more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep. That will do it.

Scotty, I'm looking forward to seeing the photos. Thanks for doing that! <3

Cassandra, I'll be thinking of you and I'll mention you in my "knee-mail" today. (ha, ha, a little religion/boodle humor there, just for you, Cassandra...)

Posted by: kbertocci | February 8, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

It was great to see the boodlers last night. Thanks for coming!!! And bc finally unloaded the WTA books he'd been hauling around in his trunk. Win-win all around.

ScienceTim's point was that Wegener made specific predictions/explanations about how continents could move, and that these notions were clearly false, thus casting into disrepute the broader concept of Continental Drift. My point was that he got the biggest point right, which is that they do move (or, more exactly, plates of crust move, carrying continents with them). Which is why I think most people say Wegener was "right." But maybe ScienceTim can tell us more, since everything I know on this topic has just now been typed into this comment box. I'll post a new kit in a little bit.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 8, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

In Simon Winchester's book about Krakatoa, he presents a digression on Wegener that describes him as a vilified prophet of geology who never lived to see his ideas vindicated. I didn't realize that there was any other interpretation.

I gues I view Wegener as kind of like Darwin. Both presented radically new interpretation of observable facts without fully comprehended the underlying mechanisms. And both paid a price.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 8, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I am going to stop boodling for a while until I complete my correspondance course on grammer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 8, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I've never completely understand what for is grammar needed.

Posted by: martooni | February 8, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps I overshot my goal. I was rising to the defense of the many important and knowledgeable past science-geeks who contributed nothing fundamentally new to the field that became plate tectonics and whose names, thus, have not gottne into the public consciousness. Wegener's mistake was that he larded-up his fundamental insight with a load of specifics. The specifics, however, provided tests that were do-able with the geology of the time, and they were all wrong, even though the insight was right. Wegener was right about the continents having once been stuck together, and he was right about there being geological provinces that could be found across continental boundaries. But he was wrong about the continents sliding around on top of the ocean floor like giant hockey pucks. Roger Revelle (sp?), he's the guy who really revolutionized things.

Everything I know (or think I know) on this subject, I read from a downloadable brochure from USGS whose URL I don't recall right now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 8, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

martooni reminds me of the immortal words of Ralph Wiggum:

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Posted by: byoolin | February 8, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes, last night was another rousing Boodle success! My GF's even still on speaking terms with me! *happy dance* :-)

I didn't see the Mystery Boodler raise a hand @ the Corcoran, so I'm no help there... Not that I ever am or anything.

And yes, 'twas a fine speech on Bad Information, something I could bore you all to tears on. Not that I don't do that anyway, but...

And here are the pics:


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 8, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Free Sci-trivia factoid:

One of the colleges at UC San Diego was named for Roger Revelle.

A friend from high school of Italian vintage thought she was going to ra-VEL-lie College, rather than the Frenchi accented ra VELL College.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 8, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse


Joel's robe was mostly gold, with a small, detailed, crimson border (that may be where the confusion comes from) that tapered at the neck into a delicate tassel on either side.

But the dotted swiss lining was really the pièce de résistance.

Posted by: TBG | February 8, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I posted a new kit...just an excerpt from the talk last night.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 8, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Plate tectonics is unusual among scientific revolutions in that no single person or working group can really be credited with its discovery. A whole lot of different, unrelated lines of evidence had been building up over a period of 50 years or so (geography, biogeographic distributions, geologic terraines, volcanic and earthquake distributions, accurate radiometric dating of seafloor rocks, paleomagnetic data). In the 1960s, the increase in paleomagnetic studies served as a kind of trigger, and all the accumulated evidence fell into place. Tectonics went from a new proposal to almost universal acceptance in less than 5 years.

It's amusing to look at scientific papers and textbooks from the early 1950's and see the (in hindsight) desperate attemts to explain things like fossil distributions, or equatorial glaciers. Lots of people could tell that they were missing something, but no one could quite put their finger on it.

While Wagener deserves recognition, I don't think he can really be considered as the originator of plate tectonics, because his contribution was only one of many significant ones.

Posted by: Dooley | February 8, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

RE the math-learning discussion, the commenters seem to assume that math is all of a piece. Not in my experience. As an elementary student, I was an absolute whiz at math. We would have timed competitions at the blackboard (which was actually black, in those days)and I would beat anyone and everyone doing long division, complex multiplication problems, etc.

But high school-level algebra and geometry were a true challenge for me, and I quickly became only a so-so student of mathematics. The more advanced stuff (beginning with college algebra) was truly difficult for me, even though, in all other academic areas, I continued to be an excellent student.

So my question is, is math really all just math, or are the advanced versions a horse of a completely different color?

Posted by: Jerome | February 8, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Re Nowak (and Anna Nicole Smith):

Someone here is declaring that the obsession with those stories proves the War on Terror is over. Wha?

Posted by: chicagoperson | February 8, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The Obama/Clinton mud wrestling shouts for a way to vote if the voter is convinced one is unworty. The current yes only ballot does not provide for that. The ballot needs a no column and the highest net yes wins. That would reduce the mud fights, produce a result that more honestly reflected voter sentiment and likely return many voters to the ballot who have refused to vote while holding the nose...with a lesser of evils vote indicating support that doesn't exist.

Posted by: Valjean | February 22, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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