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More Oscar Madness, etc.

Every year I eagerly await the Booth-Stuever Oscar-party story, and here it is, better than ever. This is the stuff you can't teach. The immaculate pacing. The you-are-there cinema verite roving-eye narrative. The brief hint of antonomasia ("a bulk of tux turns" -- perhaps to be antonomasia proper the character would have to then become "Bulk of Tux said to me, etc."), the tactile, groping, lurching, exsqueeze-me-darlin' journey of the reporter to the belly of the beast -- a classic narrative structure that forces the reader to turn the page, make the jump, and/or click the Next button:

"...Trip over something short and up-past-bedtime and hope against hope it isn't cute little Abigail Breslin, or Jaden Smith, or a wee documentarian. Bypass even our one shot to buttonhole Leo DiCaprio and figure out once and for all if he's just bad at chitchat or really is, as one wag remarked, 'a human rain delay.' Back to the farthest corner of the farthest room . . .

"Feel the air get sharper?

"Friend, you have entered the Oprahsphere."

Wow. Makes me want to be a writer when I grow up.

Note also that Vanity Fair has its own VF Oscar Party blog. That's when you know your party is cookin'. Did Gilbert's party have its own blog? Don't think so.

More fun: Here's boodler yellojkt's "Separated At Birth: Oscar Edition" blog item.


Science Dept.:

If you haven't seen it, check out Phil Plait's excellent blog, Bad Astronomy. He fights the good fight on behalf of reason and sanity, which apparently is not always easy.

This just in: Scientists say invasive species have tricks for evolving into something even worse than your average weed. (Another data point in our inexorable transformation into a Planet Of Weeds.)

And now a report estimating that 23,000 African elephants were poached for their ivory in a single year. Organized crime involved.


Great column by Gene Robinson this morning. I particularly liked the details about Sharpton's grandfather, who was a preacher and owned a country store in Liberty County, Fla. That's a panhandle county, very rural, very Deep South. To this day it has less than 10,000 people.


David Remnick on Al Gore and how he might emerge as the Democratic nominee:

"...The campaign may get nasty quickly. Clinton's Iraq position may prove untenable in any of its iterations. Obama's youthful charisma may look like inexperience after prolonged exposure to electoral gamesmanship. David Geffen might grow claws. A year is a very long time in politics, especially in the circular shooting contests that the Democrats so often convene. There will still be Gore, patient and untrammelled."

Could be. ("Undamaged" might be the right word there at the end of the excerpted graph -- "untrammelled" to my ear means unconfined.)


Why did our stock market tank today? Because of some kind of law enforcement or regulatory action in Shanghai. Globalization, anyone?

"The drop in Shanghai was triggered by local concern that Chinese authorities were preparing to crack down on a stock market that has doubled in value in the past year and which many consider to be overinflated. In particular, authorities were considering steps such as banning the purchase of stock with borrowed money, a practice that has helped push Chinese stock values to record levels."

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 27, 2007; 6:38 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Oscar Fever! Plus D-Day for TV
Next: Why the Harvest Mouse Is So Popular, etc.


A year in the political world is a long time. Particularly if some of your Tinseltown friends make drinking jokes about you. I think that the Dems chances would be best in the general election if they field a candidate with as little baggage as possible. I wonder if that isn't the appeal that Sen. Obama has at this moment. dI saw VP Gore speak at a rally in Charlotte during the '95/'96 campaign. He didn't raise the hairs on the back of your neck with a firey oratory.

Posted by: jack | February 27, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I...spastic left hand

Posted by: jack | February 27, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget, you can always Vote For Error in '08.

Besides, now I'll have a compelling personal story. First act: Lance Armstrong to lead the Department of Health.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 27, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Untrampled," methinks.

Posted by: Zach | February 27, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

In reference to something bc said in the Uber Boodle, my son was once called upon to give the eulogy for Captain Obvious in an improv-comedy competition...

Captain Obvious is [dramatic pause]..... dead.

Posted by: TBG | February 27, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

As always the Stuever/Booth party wrap-up was hilarious. I did found the Ryan Gosling lapdance fantasy just a little unseemly. And I hope that is Hank's contribution or else Bill has some 'splainin' to do.

Not that I am unfamiliar with unobtainable objects of affection. I did a blogpost this morning with separated-at-birth photos of Oscar attendees and their famous dopplegangers. Three of the subjects are Melissa Etheridge, Jodie Foster, and Ellen Degeneres, any of whom I would be more than glad to aid with any procreation plans that may require some male input.

I assume the mere fact that Hank is lusting after Ryan indicates that Mr. Gosling is not available because we know Hank would never out someone against their wishes, even in jest.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 27, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

More Oscar madness AND more Britney madness. Now she's attacking photographers and cars with large green umbrellas.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I would love an opportunity to vote for Al again.

I always get a kick out of the Booth-Stuever party pieces - and I usually don't even know who most of the people are.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes yello - Hank was just a little more unambiguous in this year's report than in some. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Especially since he always throws in a large number of appreciative comments about the female guests as well.

[Love the separated at birth pics.]

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

yello - loved that last pairing of pix...

Posted by: byoolin | February 27, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you do our gender proud, buddy.

Hey, TBG, I was just wearing the cape, not the whole cowl. CO's valiant struggle to remain dead continues undaunted.

I can't believe I missed the Ellen/Willy Wonka suit bit.


Posted by: bc | February 27, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Yello - but you missed the obvious pairing of Jack Nicholson and Britney.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I like this comment in this kit
*a human rain delay*

It reminded me of the game where Rick Dempsy of the O's,stuffed a couple of pillows under his uniform and did his Babe Ruth impersonation.Calling "his shot" and running the bases on the tarp with it all culminating in a head first dive and 30 foot slide into Home plate.

Opening day is just a little over a month away.

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

Good morning, all. I loved that story link -- had not read them before. Between the Kits, the Boodle, that story, and the NYTimes on-line red carpet pictures, it was better than watching the show itself. Also much less time-consuming.

Britney attacking photographers and cars with large green umbrellas -- well of course. Cars shouldn't carry umbrellas at all, much less large green ones. They'll be mistaken for the woods of Dunsinane.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 27, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The most offensive part of any awards show to me is the oh-so-scripted dialogue between presenters. The Oscars have gotten so tiresome that I didn't even Tivo it this year. I can get all of my updates in the paper the next day.

All this celebritology reminds me of the Simpsons episode where all of the advertisements (billboards, Bob's Big Boy, etc.) came alive and started rampaging. Lisa figured out that if we would just ignore them, they would all lose their power and stop bothering us. Maybe the same would happen to the glitterati if we would turn off E, CNN, Access (or is it Excess?) Hoolywood, Insider, and all of their other media outlets.

I just like a good film. I couldn't care less about the personal lives of these people.

Posted by: Gomer | February 27, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hoolywood should be spelled Hollywood, of course.

But I kind of like Hoolywood better.

How do you get a new spelling into Webster's, through common usage, or is there a vetting process?

Posted by: Gomer | February 27, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Gomer, how about "Hollyweird"?
An oldie, but a goodie.


Posted by: bc | February 27, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Gomer, you're thinking of Random House, the "up-to-date" dictionary which adds trendy words for no apparent reason. I think for Webster's you have to make a special trip to the afterlife to get Himself's permission.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 27, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I think "untrammelled" works fine in relation to Al Gore. No one saw the real Al Gore in the 2000 election. It seemed to me he was confined by consultants who convinced him that he needed to be cautious, to be all things to all people and above all, never say what he really thought. If he's untrammelled now, I think he could have a shot. And perhaps he could start by getting Geffen on his bandwagon.

Posted by: Kim | February 27, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Gomer! Thank the Gods for Hollywood and Hollywood entertainment processes. Without them we might be tempted to deal with the real issues of the current world. What if we actually addressed Clinton and Obama's concepts of government, rather than staffer's wars over campaign contributors?

Posted by: WhatMeWorry? | February 27, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Thirty years ago, I was a college student in North Carolina, where everyone seemed to be a distant cousin of everyone else (I fit in by having family from southwestern Virginia). Family legacies of slavery were there to be appreciated, if you looked.

I very much appreciate Al Sharpton's comments quoted by Robinson.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 27, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The Jack/Britney comparison was too low hanging of a fruit. It had been made plenty of other places. I did see a Melissa/Hillary snark one place, but I had thought of my own already. I sympathize with professional joke writers that have to keep coming up with fresh angles on material everybody is using.

Rumor has it that Jack is playing a cancer victim in an upcoming comedy (cancer is always a yuckfest) and has the head shaved for the role, not to emulate self-destructing pop stars.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 27, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

yello - your point is well taken. I actually only thought of the Jack/Britney comparison when I saw the pic of Britney hitting a car with an umbrella. I guess she couldn't find any golf clubs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Film or Oscar factoid: British actor Michael Sheen played two important roles this past year: first as Prime Minister Tony Blair in "The Queen," second, as the dastardly diamond dealer in "B1ood Diamond."

Really, I don't quite comprehend the snit about Brit and the fears about Spears' hair going away. I shaved my head on New Year's Eve 1999--leaving my hair about 1/4 inch long all over--a protest to my husband about his (our) move to Louisville. It got his attention.

Hair is just protein after all. I suggest everyone lighten up about Brittany Spears and leave her be.

Posted by: Loomis | February 27, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

SNOW CROCUS UP IN THE YARD! FOUR silvery purple blooms make my heart glad.

Spring is coming. Crocus trump ground hog prognostication.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 27, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Loomis-an excellent point. When Shannon what's her name was finally admitted to the Citadel there was much discussion about whether female cadets should have to shave their heads. Ah, to be allowed to shave one's head. I went through army Officer Candidate School (OCS) with the shortest hair allowed without appearing as the regs said "unfeminine or trendy." Well, it may have been more feminine than a shaved head, but it put me at a grave disadvantage. Appearing in formation with wet hair was not allowed, but time to dry one's hair after a post PT shower was also not allowed. (Catch 22 was a documentary it seems.)

These many years later I still say it's just hair. BFD if anyone, famous or not, decides to shave it all off.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 27, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

We watched "Crash" on Oscar night, which should give you an idea of just how up on movies we are at our house. I'm stunningly apathetic about Hollywood, its inhabitants, and its products. Not that I don't enjoy a good film, but I tend toward more interactive pastimes.

Posted by: PiXeL | February 27, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday I made a big deal about not watching commercials so today I'll report that I did fast-forward through all the "station breaks" as we used to call them, only to find that the Academy Awards show itself functioned as a 4-hour commercial for the honored films and movie stars. Several movies that had failed to catch my interest heretofore are now on my "must-see" list, including Children of Men and Babel; not to mention The Queen, and since my husband likes the genre we'll doubtless see The Departed when it becomes available at the local video rental. So, boring or not, it was "mission accomplished" for the Academy, at least as far as this viewer was concerned.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 27, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You got it CP, Spring is coming here too. Even though it was -14C/7F this morning the male cardinals have started to vocalize their desire to pass on their genetic heritage. And I got my T-4.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | February 27, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I also recorded the show so I could skip the commercials. Turns out my VCR ate my tape. But I thought I'll perform a little open door surgery and scotch it back together. Turns out the tape I had there was at the end and it was something I had recorded earlier. So lucky me I get to miss the show. bummer. I need to buy a new VCR. One with less of an appetite, and doesn't eject my tape a dozen times every time I put it in before accepting.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It's time to store away the VCR with your 8-track tape player omni. VCRs are so 2cd millenium.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | February 27, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'll have to replace it with one of those new fangled DVD-RW devices. My luck: it will be obsolete before I get it out of the box.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, omni, VCRs are too old school. I'm all about my DVR. Changed the way I watch TV, and my boy always has plenty of Sesame Street to watch, as that is the only show he is allowed.

Posted by: Gomer | February 27, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I've got a combination VCR/DVD-R device and I rarely use the DVD-R half because the thing is very tempermental. I haven't broken down and gotten the DVR yet because I keep hearing rumors that Comcast will eventually OEM a Tivo. Besides my cable bill is high enough as it is already.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 27, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I just sent a colleague an e-mail that I noticed had a typo the very second I hit send. My first thought was SCC. d'oh, I obviously boodle too much.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

yello, what do you mean by 'OEM a Tivo'. I know what the initials stand for but not in this context.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

wait, I think I get it.

Posted by: omni | February 27, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I'm adding some links to the kit, including yellojkt's Separated At Birth item.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 27, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Stock market dropped 500 points, currently down about 363 last time I looked. But I have every confidence that our president will step in and carefully and wisely guide our economy.

OK, I've been heavily drinking and I'm off my meds.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 27, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I listen to a bunch of tech podcasts just to feel stupid and one continually complains about the lameness of the Comcast supplied DVRs. They like Tivos, but that requires a cable card and a separate subscription to Tivo. I hear the Tivo-3 which is HD compatible is very sweet but it costs $800 before the subscription.

Supposedly, Comcast is trying to license Tivo to replace their current POS DVRs, but the programming hurdles to make a Tivo compatible with the Comcast backend PPV server are daunting.

I am sure I got most of that wrong and I deliberately didn't explain all the acronyms because I don't think I can.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 27, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel. That warms my little blog-pimping heart. I will put in a kind word for you next chance I get, but since the overlap between my readership and serious boodlers is very large, the effect would be minimal.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 27, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

When I saw this headline I thought it was a baseball metaphor...

Base Hit During Cheney Visit

Posted by: TBG | February 27, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

yello.. hold out for the real thing. Once you've gone Tivo, you can't use another DVR. It's that much better.

Regarding the stock market... you may say "crash" or even "correction" but I call it "buying opportunity."

Posted by: TBG | February 27, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

CP, no crocuses yet, but saw my first robin on Saturday evening (yes, right before the snow). And yes, those horndog cardinals are singing up a storm.

We have DVR through Dish Network--slight additional monthly charge, but no TiVO subscription fee. Let's just say I'm a fan. The day we turned in our Cox boxes, Raysdad did a Snoopydance in the Cox parking lot.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 27, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The auto-censor is now blocking the name of Mary Tyler Moore's co-star in the old 60's sitcom... and it's all my fault.

Posted by: Jumper | February 27, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I've been stewing over that Cheney bomb story all day and there's a few things I want to know:

1) How the blazes did the bad guys know he was there? That speaks volumes about our crack security. Of course, the possibility exists that the leak came from the Karzai camp, which tells us what anyone would suspect anyway: that Karzai's admin. has been infiltrated. Big surprise there.

2) Assuming word somehow got out to the Taliban, why wouldn't they attack the base? (From their point of view, a perfectly predictable thing to do. What did we think, they'd give Cheney a free ride?)

3) Is it not entirely possible that the suicide bomb was completely unrelated to Cheney's visit? Maybe they DIDN'T know he was there, but happened to attack the main gate. It's not like they don't do that from time to time anyway.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 27, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

TBG was that your buying that brought the Dow up 100 points before close? Tough day on our markets too, down 370 - guess I won't be retiring soon!

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it was coincidence.

Even when I heard the "breaking news" this morning that they were claiming they had attempted to kill Cheney (and we're supposed to feel what?), I assumed it was a lucky coincidence for them that he happened to be there when the bomb went off.

Posted by: TBG | February 27, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

First of all:

Joel, Hal must be beside himself with your update rate and the linkiness you've been showing lately. And I mean that in a good way.

Gimme a beat, Mudge!

I, too, was not surprised
that Karzai's admin has been compromised.

Some people think that Cheney's da bomb
Now they're proving they ain't too far wrong

Arbusto's folks hitting middle east hot spots
Encouraging bad guys to start takin' pot shots

It ain't safe there, this ain't no game
And if you die there, who you gonna blame?

Willie S said 'it's a dark matter for the king'
I wonder now if they'll listen to anything.


Posted by: bc | February 27, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, my mad freestyle skillz are a Boodle killer.

Ah, well. So much for pushing my limits as an artist.


Posted by: bc | February 27, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It's just restin'

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think we're just speechless, dude.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 27, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The final drop on the Dow is more than 415 points. Let's see, consulting the vast Curmudgeon Fortune, that means that in one single day I've lost ... carry the 9...divide by the square root...apply Bernoulli's constant...subtract for windage...approximately nothing. It'd be nice to be rich enough to have to worry about that sort of thing. I kinda like to think I'm "recession-proof."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 27, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, I have all my money invested in T-shirts and nuclear weapons.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

hahaha "recession-proof" you and me both my dear mudge - you and me both...

Posted by: mo | February 27, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the cereal boxes RD

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

the 12:45 post really speaks to me.

I didn't watch the Oscars, nor did I feel the slightest inclination to. I like movies, don't get me wrong. It just seems kind of hypocritical for these stars to be talking about global warming, the blood diamond trade, racism, and all other kinds of serious problems while wearing thousands of dollars worth of fabric and "bling." I love movies, both as entertainment and an educational medium; I'm just not a fan of the intense idolatry that's perpetuated in Hollywood generally, and the Oscars specifically.

I cannot pretend to know anything about economics, but I'm a little worried about how reliant the U.S. seems to be on China. I know it's part and parcel of the whole globalization bit, but if the market can tank 400+ points in 1 day based largely on conjecture that the Chinese are about to become more stringent and less open, there might be something larger that we need to pay attention to.

Posted by: Tangent | February 27, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Tangent, it is hard to be a "self sufficient country" no matter how large you are. Ironically our downturn today was caused in part from China and in part conerns about the US economy as I am sure were other major markets. IMO restricted trade has just as many drawbacks.

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, bc, I got to see a hydrogen cell vehicle this afternoon. It was a Mercedes-Benz pimped up to be a fleet vehicle for the Sacramento FD (Read: red, with appropriate decals). To me, it looked like a four-seater Smartcar. The sales guy said this one had a range of about 50 miles but they are working on some with ranges in 250-350 miles. No engine, so I'm clueless about the technology. It will be veddy interesting to see how this technology develops.

The stock market had a bad day? News travels slowly here on the Left Coast. I never pay too much attention, I might get too involved. The Yness fortune is entrusted to a group of financial planners who have done quite well, so I only look at the bottom line when the monthly statement comes. After losing a third of the value of my 457 account in 2001, I've learned to ignore.

Posted by: Slyness | February 27, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry if someone already brought this up:

Students confess UNC breakup was staged

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- The Valentine's Day breakup of two North Carolina college students that featured singers, hundreds of spectators and a profanity-laced tirade was a hoax after all.

Ryan Burke confessed Monday that the confrontation, which became an instant hit on, was all a stunt to show the power of Internet communities and the amount of money that companies make from them. The pair weren't even dating.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but the cereal boxes are going to pay for my son's college education. At least that's my plan.

I found that article on "Planet of Weeds" fascinating. (Although that "church of euthanasia" website is a bit weird.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Slyness that is very interesting, I was reading an article the other day about the Netherlands developing hydrogen cell boats for transit in Amsterdam, but I do not have the link handy.

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link for the hydrogen boat (planned).,1602,8753,00.html

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

And from Duke, a beer launching fridge:

Posted by: dbG | February 27, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of alternative thinking, I've taken quite a shine to this fellow:

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 27, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, when my spouse sent me the YouTube link for that event just after it happened, he opined that it was staged. He was right!

I STILL say no woman with sense will ever look at him!

Posted by: Slyness | February 27, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

dbG if that launchers refrigerates the beer as well my husband would love it.

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

>And speaking of alternative thinking, I've taken quite a shine to this fellow:

Wow. What a guy...

From an "altitude of three stories and 100 miles" indeed.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 27, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for letting me get that out. I really hate government forms. One more day.....

Posted by: dr | February 27, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

According to the text, it's both a fridge and launcher.

My ? is, since someone has to do the launch coordinates, what happens with those MillerMissiles when eye/hand coordination degenerates?

Sudden tie-in with the lady who McMissiled a cup of ice from her car. What if people had these on their car? There are days!

Posted by: dbG | February 27, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I get all bent out of shape when I go down 10 bucks playing online poker. Some guy cuts one in China and I lose a years income.
Anyone wanna buy a bad attitude?

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

And welcome home, dmd!

Are you and Nelson the official pi tasters?

Posted by: dbG | February 27, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

dbG, only at Dook! That's hilarious!

RD, he's the kinda guy who will save us from ourselves. Thank heavens for him!

dr, we feel your pain. We're only six weeks away from it ourselves.

Posted by: Slyness | February 27, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I too am recession and stock market-correction proof. Isn't there an aphorism (sorry, can't remember attribution), "I started out with nothing and still have most of it left?"

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boko - well, I DID warn you this morning before the markets opened that today was going to be a bad day. Is it really my fault if you were driving yourself to work or something besides just listening to me?

My sources indicate it will only get worse tomorrow - Asia getting worse tonight.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Boko - by my calculations you have $1 Million invested, and earn $30K a year. Can this be true? Will you marry me?

Course I'd probably want you to try to find a better job.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I am thinking that the loss of hand eye coordination that would result after a while would greatly amuse me, the husband not so much but since he could watch hockey without lifting his butt from the chair he would take the lumps.

Boko my retirement plan pretty much is to rely on the "kindness of strangers", whatever I had put away probably took a beating today, and just when I was recovering from the last beating.

dr, do you still have to fill out an even more annoying form when you destroy the original form, my T-4 days were pre-computer filling the forms by hand, I truly feel your pain and frustration.

Posted by: dmd | February 27, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I feel in the mood to discuss some questions I have about dark energy and astrophysics and I think to myself, "I'll head out to the Achenblog."

And we're discussing look-alike movie stars, beer launchers, and the Oscars.

I so hate to interrupt disturbingly on-topic commentary, but I was watching this stuff about dark energy and it doesn't answer the real question: if dark matter and energy is everywhere....

Why isn't it in our solar system and rigging our gravity the same way as in all those galaxies?

All those computer models, to me, prove is that if you input in the correct mass figures for galaxies to hold together, they will.

I also had the second thought-- if we ever send out a probe especially for interstellar space-- a mission that would take 30 years at least (Voyager will hit interstellar space by 2015)-- what should we load on it to look at a whole lot of nuffin'?

After all, obviously Something Is Out There that's not around here. Maybe the FSM knows.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 27, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Tangent, thank you for bringing up the subject of hypocrisy at the Oscars. I think it's more like self-delusion. When they did that whole spiel about the Academy Awards having "gone green" I honestly was waiting for the punchline, because that is a huge joke. Those are some of the richest people on the planet and the ONLY way to be both rich and "green" is to be incredibly eccentric. Those stars have heated swimming pools (more than one, in most cases). They fly on jets all over the world, they wear clothes once and then throw them away, they have huge houses and garages full of cars. I think artists who make a lot of money are in a better moral position than capitalists who get rich off of the workers they exploit, and I'm happy to see our Hollywood icons advocating conservation--it can't hurt--but really, I don't know how they keep a straight face sometimes.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 27, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Kb, they're actors. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 27, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I wish. When I quit smoking I cut my monthly expenses in half.
It looks like I'll have to go back to work or improve my poker game.
I can't believe the Chinese allowed so much speculation with borrowed money.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Boko - Those deuced Chinese - so irresponsible. No good 'Murrican (or Canook) capitalist would ever buy stock with borrowed money, right?

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse


You can let your husband know that the third season of Rockford Files was released today. The fourth season is due out in May, I think.

Posted by: pj | February 27, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

When I say that the Hollywood folks are delusional, I realize that they are no more prisoners of their own point of view than the rest of us. It reminds me of a passage I just read which demonstrates how different the world looks depending on where you come from:

One of the tactical disadvantages of being a six five, 350-pound black kid in a school built for white kids is that other people tend to recall their encounters with you in far more vivid detail than you do. The main thing Michael Oher would remember of his first few weeks at the Briarcrest Christian School was his own terror and confusion. All white kids looked alike; and they were all bizarrely enthusiastic and friendly. "Everyone was exactly the same," he said. "For three or four weeks, every time I turned the corner I'd see some white kid shouting hello to me and I'd think: I just saw you!"

...The other thing he remembered about those first frightful days was his hunger. The free food had been the main reason he bothered to go to the public school as often as he had. These Christians didn't give you lunch, and that shocked him.

Hunger and confusion did not prevent him from noting significant details about white people. He'd had no interaction with them before this. Now as he studied them he judged them ill-designed for survival. Astonishingly prone to exaggerating the severity of the most trivial illness or injury, they were forever racing off to doctors and hospitals, as if they were about to die. "They'd get a twisted ankle or something and they're walking around school with a boot!" Michael said. "I was like, 'What are y'all doing? You got to just walk it off!'"

In addition to their pathological friendliness, and their constant need for medical attention, they exhibited a bizarre tendency to leave their most valuable possessions unattended..."

Michael Lewis, "The Blind Side," pp. 276-77


I have to say two things about this book. (One) It's well-written and interesting, and by no means a waste of time.
(Two) The fact that I just read a book about FOOTBALL (!) is the most concrete evidence so far that Achenblog is warping my life. The phrase "pernicious influence" comes to mind.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 27, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy | That's Canuck. A Canook is a fish. I think.
I see where I misled you. I call the pittance I take out and spend my income.
You can see why I almost drove my accounting teacher to suicide.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I too am intrigued by the idea of dark matter. I'm also fascinated by so-called junk DNA, and by the alleged 90 to 95 percent of human brain capacity that we don't use. And sometimes I wonder, are all these things related?

Posted by: Dreamer | February 27, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, SciAm has an article on Dark Energy, and it says:

"Whatever the location -- be it in your kitchen or in intergalactic space -- it has the same density, about [10 to the minus 26] kilogram per cubic meter, equivalent to a handful of hydrogen atoms. All the dark energy in our solar system amounts to the mass of a small asteroid, making it an utterly inconsequential player in the dance of the planets. Its effects stand out only when viewed over vast distances and spans of time."

Posted by: Achenbach | February 27, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

We use all our brains, just not all at the same time, just like we can see London, Paris, and your underwear, but not all at the same time.

Junk DNA is not actually junk; they help provide key structure for transcription factors to shut genes on and off. We also have some fossil retroviruses buried in our genome which might provide a form of recognition of viruses inside the cell.

We have now found that we indeed use bits of RNA and DNA to help recognize and neutralize viruses inside cells... kind of like anti-virus code. We are learning plenty about non-coding RNA (NcRNA) and RNAzymes-- RNA that combine with protein or go solo to act like enzymes to drive reactions.

SO basically, there's not that much useless DNA as we thought, it just DNA that didn't code directly for the building blocks of proteins.

It's not a big surprise you wouldn't have heard about all this-- it's a really complex field of biochemistry that I spent years learning as the research evolved. I find it hard to explain first go because, shoot, hands up who can explain how to build an atomic bomb in conversation? Genetic expression is even more complex.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 27, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

A dark galaxy

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach, but then they say dark matter takes up 21% of the universe, and that would be much more than the 4% that is made up by atomic matter.

If you assume even distribution of dark, nonatomic matter, then why would gravitional pull be influenced when atomic matter clump up?

I'm not disputing that there are abnormalities in the results, I just disagree that we should stop at a mysterous deus ex cosmologica to explain it, without carefully questioning precisely how this interacts with what we can and do measure.

I do not think we have entirely ruled out the possibility that the "dark matter" is actually something we already know about, such as electromagnetism, that we haven't been able to model properly in interstellar space.

We have unified electromagnetism with the weak force as the electroweak force, and explained all forces except gravity. All efforts to really identify what gravity is has failed.

I would caution against such blithe assumptions about missing matter when in fact, we really do not really understand gravity fully, and we are also missing some levels of understanding of atomic matter itself.

After all, the "mysterious ether" is not really a new argument in science history. Before we understood that light was both wave-like and particle-like in its properties, AND could propagate in a vaccum just fine...

Scientists postulated a mysterious ether that would explain how light could travel in space from the sun to the Earth.

It sounds like the same thing is being proposed all over again, only for gravity.

One thing that occured to me is that gravity might simply travel in long waves, which would cause a short-distance dramatic acceleration, but long-distance flattening of general force and speed.

This might be a little too simplistic, but it would go with Einstein's "rubber sheet" model of gravity. NASA has telescopes launching that will attempt to measure for gravitional waves out in deep space.

I would add that we are continually getting new results from NASA instruments that don't jibe with what we thought the universe was, and this theoretical stuff is all patchwork, and new results may change the picture completely in the next few years.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 27, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, and please only CP, visit my blog at and tell me what you think about 'the rules'. And then email me at to discuss.

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Boko -

Dear Sir, Taking into consideration your misleading statements, which have given rise to a false view on my part of your circumstances, I must, sir, withdraw my affections and any possibility of our forming a marriage contract. I am,

Yours truly,

etc. etc.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, thank you. That posting was a thing of beauty. I mean that most sincerely.

Posted by: Kim | February 27, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Academy Awards were started to publicize the movies - I guess they were on to something - it seems to work. What I thought was funny about the "green" business was that Gore tried to explain and uttered some phrase that meant absolutely nothing to me - please, Al, don't run! (I like Al, I voted for Al, but he turns ponderous so easily.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 27, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

But mostlylurking, that's the trammelled Al! If he's untrammelled, you just never know what could happen!

Posted by: Kim | February 27, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 - The chinese stock market history is fairly recent compared to stock markets of other parts of the world. I don't think they have well written banking and accounting rules. Whatever rules they have, they are not strictly complied. If China is like some countries I know, whatever banking rules are no good if they can be bend by the some VIP of the country.

Posted by: rain forest | February 27, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I was surfing the Weeb and was surprised that the Shanghai SE is only 17 years old.
I'm not too heavy in equities and they're mainly small caps.
PBS Frontline is showing the WaPo offices. Will I see Joel?

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Just finished watching Frontline and the impending "end" of newspaper journalism. No fly away hair to be found. :-(

I think, seriously, that the story lost the fact that, compared with 35-40 years ago, we have a more activist society that will counterbalance the loss of mainstream investigative journalism. I think this is a case of some good and some bad and, like everything else in life, we will have to see how it plays out.

I'm cool as long as the Boodle lives, in any case.

Posted by: bill everything | February 27, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Surfing the Weeb? That sounds kind of dirty.

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not too heavy into equities neither (or neqities eether).

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Careful Yoki I may visit your blog and comment on your rules. Now that Wheezy's gone I have a loose end.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I dare you. (But please leave a comment when you go there.)

Wheezy's gone?! Noooo!

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boko - If one wants to get technical, I may have neglected to mention my two difficult adolescent daughters and 7 household pets during our courtship. So, hey, let's call it even and forget about it, OK?

Seriously, all, if you can find the stupid PIN number and get online with your IRA or 401(k) people, now would be a really really good time to reallocate to treasuries, government bonds, anything labelled "guaranteed" fixed income. Really.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

trammelled and untrammelled: that's a poser, for sure.

For more fun with English-language stormy petrels, try

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

If the NYSE were Macy's we'd be calling today's "correction" a "sale."

Posted by: frostbitten | February 27, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Hello Wheezy! *Waving* Whew!

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki! I've been really busy today, but your clafouti sounds wonderful! The only pies I usually ever make are these weird potato/carmelized onion quiches I make, and cheesecakes which I make in pie pans. I have vegetarian issues to deal with, which is why I don't make normal bacon quiches.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Sounds tres tres francais, to me. I just love a good potato omelet, so your quiche might be even better.

You should enter the contest!

Posted by: Yoki | February 27, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy | As a popper, though gentleman, I must respect your promis-sorry note.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten - if Macy's jacked prices up approxmately 300% and then slashed them to normal and called it a sale, they'd be in trouble with the government. When the stock market does it, it's called a correction.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Good night to the west.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 27, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I'm sorry. I was curt. Should try not to be curt. Here's a snapshot of what's going on in Asia, where most of the markets have only been open an hour or two: (don't know if this cut/paste will line up)

Nikkei Stock Average 225 View Report 23:34 PM 17,532.49 -587.43 -3.24%
.HSI Hang Seng Index View Report 22:54 PM 19,531.34 -616.53 -3.06%
.AORD ASX All Ordinaries Index View Report 23:34 PM 5,830.30 -147.30 -2.46%
.KS11 KOSPI Index 23:34 PM 1,407.53 -47.07 -3.24%
.KLSE KLSE Composite Index 23:30 PM 1,162.91 -74.17 -6.00%
.STI Straits Times Index View Report 23:30 PM 3,051.93 -180.09 -5.57%
.SETI SET Composite Index 23:38 PM 665.32 -18.63 -2.72%
.JKSE Jakarta Composite 23:43 PM 1,707.48 -56.52 -3.20%
.PSI PSE Composite Index 23:11 PM 3,067.45 -263.84 -7.92%
.KSE Karachi SE 100 Index 23:54 PM 11,196.84 -181.18 -1.59%
.SSEC Shanghai Composite Index 22:30 PM 2,778.67 +6.88 +0.25%
All quotes delayed by at least 15 minutes.

Africa/Middle East
Symb Index Mkt Report Time (ET) Last Chg Chg %
.JALSH JSE FTSE All Share Index 2/27/2007
19:00 PM 26,078.30 -853.85 -3.17%
.TA100 TA 100 Index 12:03 PM 974.81 -21.67 -2.17%
.XU100 ISE National 100 Index 10:55 AM 41,773.98 -1,962.80 -4.49%
All quotes delayed by at least 15 minutes.

It's from Reuters (under "other indices") if you want to see it properly.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 27, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I thought standard practice was to introduce everything at an inflated price and hold sort of a reverse auction, dropping the prices until the stuff sells. By 75% off, there's real bargains. 75% off + an extra 30% is truly impressive, except males never seem to know when that's going to happen.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 28, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I wish I were around to discuss your 7:59 question. I think you might be getting a little confused there, understandably.

Dark energy and dark matter are not the same thing.

Dark matter is a halo of invisible matter that seems to clump around galaxies, and in fact, may help hold them together (since the observeable matter in galaxies don't appear to be enough to do so). That's what makes up roughly 22% of the universe, as far as the latest theories go (such as the Standard Model of cosmology) backed up with some indirect observational evidence of gravitaional effects. In other words, it acts like plain old everyday baryonic matter from a gravitational standpoint, we just can't see it directly so far.

Dark energy appears to be an aspect of spacetime, not *in* space itself, like a rock or myself. DE apears to make up roughly 70% of the 'verse's total energy/matter budget, and a it's very big deal since we know next to nothing about it, other than we see effects that tlook like there's an anti-gravity-like effect
(aka "negative pressure") on matter over large distances. Joel's 9:11 PM comment looks accurate to me, and even naughty boy Albert Einstein had some inkling it existed by having to incorporate a "cosmological constant" fudge factor into some of his work to accont for its effects (he was so embarassed by this inexplicable factor that he later recanted using the CC saying it was a big mistake. But he never did come up with another explanation, either). It appears to be constant across space at the rate JA's quote describes; the anti-gravity acceleration is not readily measurable except on intergalactic cosmological scales.

If dark matter were related to dark energy, you'd expect that dark energy effects (aka negative pressure) would be greater where there were more dark matter, such as the halos around galaxies. In fact, the reverse appears to be true; the dark matter clumps exert gravitic effects similar to regular matter in the surrounding space (including effects on nearby regular matter). In other words, more dark matter, more gravity.

Dark energy appears to be working consistently across the cosmos, as if it were an aspect of spacetime itself, but the main effects we *can* see are on the stuff we can see most readily, matter.

I hope this helps, I'm tired and going to bed now.

There's so much we can see of this universe, and so little we're eqipped to understand and explain. To your point Wilbrod, we can't explain the mechanism of gravity (gravitons? little angels tugging on stuff?), yet we can describe and predict effects quite well.

More tomorrow, if folks want to discuss.

I love this stuff.


Posted by: bc | February 28, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, that sounds like normal practice for those shady furniture outlets that open up, announce sales at decidedly non-bargain rates, then skip town in a month or two.

Just reading "the stormy petrels" has made me resolve to talk about sway-necked horses dogs, etc. that flatten their hackles when they see me with some frequency.

And of course, there's always the snub-uddered heifers.

And you can lose headway, not just make headway. I call fowl on that!

And I'll be happy to have my head thrown aback after slaying that stormy petrel.

I'll also avail others to mete out rewards for the first one to disabuse others of their fancies and whims.

Lesson: not every cliche awing in the air is a stormy petrel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 28, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, thanks for giving me another reason not to sleep.

Just kidding, but that is a little disconcerting.

Maybe the NYSE will counter the Asian markets with a rebound tomorrow.


Posted by: bc | February 28, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I haven't had a chance to follow the "stormy petrel" link yet - but I'm getting an idea from your post.

I've got to get to bed now. I saw Wilbroddog's pictures today - cool wall painting! It's good you can brighten up your space like that. 'nite.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 28, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but I addressed myself mainly to dark matter, throwing in that one about the cosmological jerk as an aside.

Dark matter addresses the issue of why galaxies don't fly apart as would be expected from the visible matter as predicted-- even allowing for planets, cosmic dust, and everything that doesn't twinkle. The equations balance, according to some modellers. If you assume there is a lot of mass not seen-- hence "dark".

The hypothesis that this matter is nonatomic and distributed equally throughout the universe as the scientific american article says, presumably in the form of neutralinos (whatever happened to neutrinos?) because hey, we can't find it-- that's rather a large assumption from there.

That's where we are embarking on the revival of the mysterious ether yet again to explain gravitional abnormalities.

Einstein won his nobel prize because his theory explained (and was proved by) the irregularities in Mercury's orbit. Before that, it was not explainable by Newton's laws except by postulating additional, hidden mass.

So this is not the first time people have gotten confused by gravity's effects.

Yes, you are correct about the dark energy possibly being equalivent to c (cosmological constant). Einstein himself put a cosmological constant in and then threw it out.

Newton's law of gravity described things pretty well on earth, allowing for friction, air resistance, etc-- and in the solar system except for some things.

It may be that Einstein's equations have hit the same roadblock when attempting to describe galaxy-wide gravitional effects-- which are mindbogglingly big, and visible only from thousands or millions of light-years in the past.

In fact, when you think of it, none of the stars we are seeing in those galaxies at any given time are probably in the exact position as we are viewing them.

I'm open to education on this issue. I attended some NASA lectures on the latest research and enjoyed it a lot.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 28, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wheezy, for the advice. I'll probably just cross my fingers and ride it out and hope there's something left for when I retire, too many years from now.

An opinion piece by Angelina Jolie:

Neil Degrasse Tyson was on C-SPAN2 over the weekend, talking about his book called Death by Black Hole. It's a collection of his columns, which I have not read. He was very interesting and entertaining, at least to me. Anyone have an opinion on him?

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 28, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Error, if you still around! Just remembered I wanted to tell you "ha!" about Lance Armstrong in your cabinet. Hope you're doing well this week.

Sorry to trouble your sleep, bc. It may all blow over - usually does.

Now really going to bed.

Posted by: Wheezy | February 28, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

SCC: you = you're

Posted by: Wheezy | February 28, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Well, it seems people with money may be wringing their hands another day. One assumes those with money just think about play, yesterday shows that is not always the case. Perhaps today will be better.

I read the story of the young guy in Md dying from a bad tooth. That was just too sad for words. He needed a tooth extraction and ended up having brain surgery because of the bacteria and germs from the tooth, and now he's dead. Someone needs to answer for that. I didn't sit in a dentist's chair until I was in high school, and a teacher took me then. And the dentist worked on my mouth without pain killer. Lovely experience.

Also read Jolie's take on Darfur, and that was just as sad. We will be judged harshly for what is going on in Darfur, all of us. People are dying there, and the world moves right on. I applaud the aid workers that are trying to help, and Jolie for going there. I also agree with her answer for the situation.

Can someone explain to me how the stock market situation will affect us poor folks. I know it has to have some impact, just not sure what. If the rich are getting knocked down, I'm sure the poor among us will get rolled over.

Busy day today. Still feeling a little sluggish. I am hoping today will be good, and hoping your day is good also in spite of the stock market. If any of you took a hit yesterday, just remember there's more where that came from, money, I mean.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace. And that never changes.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 28, 2007 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Did I kill the boodle? Where is everyone?

Hope you guys are okay.

google ad-- what's your credit score? like someone is going to sell me something once they've read my credit score. I don't think so. And don't really want to know that piece of information.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 28, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I am up Cassandra, Just gotta go get ready for work. I read the Jolie Peice, and it is sad. As SoC said a year or two ago, its Rwanda's troubles, they just moved it across the borders. We did nothing little there till it was so late in the game, and we do little in Darfur now and it is already late in the game there. Hurts my heart because you know that somewhere out there there is someone getting some monetary value out of the continued strife.

The really bad thing about all the govt paperwork I do is that in April I get to do it all over again for myself. I have a personal theory that dark matter and government papaerwork are the same thing.

Posted by: dr | February 28, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Cassandra. You are not a boodle killer!

Wheezy-you were no more curt than I was flip. I still don't think there's ever a time to totally get out of stocks any more than I'll ever quit buying plain old savings bonds. Then again, I'm not all that risk averse. Al Gore says our house in Florida may be under water soon after the mortgage is paid off.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 28, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

dr - Here in the hyper-efficient part of the United States Government we have moved beyond primitive paper. We have most of our important forms in electronic form on the computer. This works wonderfully assuming that the forms can be located on the system, that the forms will actually load on one's individual workstation, that the form will not crash the system the instant it is actually filled out, and that the form will not be consumed by the system never to be seen again.

On those rare occasions when none of these problems occur, this process works great.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 28, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

That's the fun thing about stormy petrels, isn't it? And the site owner is always glad to have them exploded.

Posted by: Yoki | February 28, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who didn't see a China-led correction coming deserved what they got. Most of our trade deficit is exacerbated by Chinese monetary policy A policy which Walmart is an unindicted co-conspirator in perpetuating. Those chickens are bound to come home to roost. Metaphors about capitalism and rope-selling come to mind.

Fortunately, all my money is tied up in consumer electronics. CompUSA had a sale on SD memory chips, so I got a 2GB one for my new camera. Now I can take 1500 pictures before downloading rather than just 750.

We also are replacing all our power strips with power squids, because you daisy chain those enough to give a fire marshal a coronary.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 28, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Checking in very late *and* on-topic. I didn't care much for the post Oscar party story you linked to, Joel. I much preferred the sharp analysis of this year's top picture winner in this NYT piece titled, "Old-Line Hollywood Takes Back the Night."

Some grafs:

It was less poignant than telling that these four men [Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola], Mr. Scorsese included, were onstage together, having become what they once assailed. They are the establishment, and they are not ready to cede the field to a moshed-up world of indies and global filmmakers. "The Departed" was put together by Brad Grey, who now runs a studio (Paramount), was pushed through by Graham King, a master of the nexus between talent and studio, and included many of the marquee names in the business: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon chief among them.

So, in a way, the fix was in. The absence of "Dreamgirls," a strong studio film that went to the wall early on Oscar ambitions and got clobbered, left "The Departed" as the only film that was conceived, executed and marketed out of a big corner office, in this case, the one belonging to Alan F. Horn of Warner Brothers.

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Cassandra, and everyone.

Don't worry, I won't start in with any of my patented Boodle-killing freestyle.

Jolie's piece was good. She's a much better than what I've seen on Britney's and Lohan's blogs.

I've seen some of Tyson, I think he's still at U MD, though he is becoming a media star. He hosts PBS programs like Nova occasionally, deservedly so. He's an excellent advocate for science, and his passion for the mysteries of the universe in general (and black holes in particular) is irrpressible. Cool guy.

Not philisophical as Sagan or Gould, but more accessible, I think.

Wilbrod, you're right. Dark energy and dark matter are simply explanations for holes in the mathematical models that describe how we Observe the universe behaving. We've observed some evidence for these things, and have theories that fit, but we don't really *know*. Philisophical questions: will we ever really know it all? And if we did, what would we do? What would we be?

Fiat Lux?


Posted by: bc | February 28, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Rd, I'm getting a very bad feeling about this. Proof, proof I tell ya, that dark matter exists.

The process you describe is exactly the source of my problems. For 15 years it all worked seemlessly, on actual paper. Now that stuff has gone digital, virtual, paperless, paperwork is becoming a real nightmare.

Posted by: dr | February 28, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

SCC paper, because I seem to keep typing a second errant letter a. My pinky has a twitch when I type that word.

Posted by: dr | February 28, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

So darkness (matter/energy) leads to light? I thought conventional wisdom was to stay away from the light.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 28, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Just to expand the yellojkt media empire a little, I found a new blog-type site designed for the folks that find a full powered blog too daunting and places like MySpace too visually busy.

One of my first hit-and-run posts is a tasteless snarky comment on a picture of Helen Mirren.

One downside I've noticed so far: No comments allowed. This could be useful for boodlers that just want a place to post pictures and links.

Have at it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 28, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Fiat Lux bc?
Is that from the "A Canticle For Leibowitz"
A friend recommended that book for me and I enjoyed it very much.

My signs of spring here in WV.I went for a hike yesterday along and above the river.I was standing at my favorite overlook about 300 feet above the river and watched a sheet of ice 20 yards by 40 yards race down river and slam into another large piece.It was quite a sight.Most of the river is still frozen about 14 inches thick,but with recent rain and melting snow,It should break up in the next few days.An ice flow is an awesome sight,swift and powerful and very loud.I recommend viewing it to everyone.I took some Great pictures of it and all of the winter beauty yesterday...It was a very good day.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 28, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

LiT, that light might be an oncoming train engineered by our future selves. Or by...

Plus, if matter/energy didn't lead to light, Scottynuke would be out of a job, and so would the Coppertone company. I'd be typing this in the dark.

Well, even more in the dark than I already am.


Posted by: bc | February 28, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Wikipedia is a nerd's best friend. the "fiat lux" entry has references to Walter Miller, Robert Heinlein (again with the Heinlein) and Asimov.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 28, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle! *waving*

I watched Bob Woodruff, the ABC news anchor, recount his experience last night. I turned it off when the position of the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs and that of the veterans with traumatic brain injuries began to radically diverge. Somehow the quality of care provided by VA hospitals that the Secretary percieves and that being recieved by the veterans in need are two very different things. Hopefully the DOD and Congress will act quickly to rectify this situation.

On the bright side, we have early spring flowers in what passes for flower beds at the front of the house.

Posted by: jack | February 28, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

My wife's step-father died in a VA hospital about four years ago. In a sad way, she's glad it happened back then rather than now as overloaded as they are getting. Between this special and the WaPo expose on Walter Reed, this may be the wedge issue to turn the US against our ill-conceived and ill-fated oil adventurism.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 28, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

bc: I thought of you while reading this month's C&D last night. There's a great article about two race cars, a '73 Mazda RX-2 and a '74 Pinto, that the engineering department modified and campaigned at places like Lime Rock and the old road course an CMS. Find a copy and enjoy.

Posted by: jack | February 28, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the update on the ABC program on Woodruff. As I Boodled here before, Woodruff got his start in broadcast journalism in Redding, Calif., just over the coastal range from Humboldt State.

It was on my agenda to see last night's progam--for many reasons. My husband ended up watching the Woodruff program by himself since the program was in its last minute when I came through the front door.

But it was also on my agenda to see and hear former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder speak last night at Trunity University.

Had Schroder's entourage, including his translator and four Secret Service types, not cut directly in front of my path as I was leaving, I would not have followed them. They swung around the outside corridor encircling most of the auditorium and exited the building, then walked briskly across the campus grounds--I assumed on their way to waiting vehicles.

I followed and caught up with them at that point, taking long strides to match their brisk pace, and begged an autograph from Schroder in the book I happened to be carrying (so that I could read it for 20 minutes before Schroder took the stage).

As it happened, the entourage and a coterie of followers--only a small percentage of the audience--marched to a campus building where a lovely reception had been set up. Since I was famished and had had no dinner, my most immediate need was to eat some crudite--while closely watching Schroder work the reception line. I joined the line at the tail end, spoke a bit with Shroder auf Deutsch, and had my picture taken with him--as did the university patrons who greeted him minutes before.

I may Boodle a bit later about Schroder. I will say that he took my joke while he was on stage quite well. (Note to Frank Rich: The microphones were returned to the floor so audience members could ask questions. The 3x5 notecards, used during your Q&A, were gone. Howard Kurtz in the past week linked to a story in our local paper about another Trinity media-celebrity breakfast where the audience-control measure of the notecards was also more recently used.)

I have many reasons to like Schroder immensely.

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

As a Springfield resident once said during Sideshow Bob's trial for the attempted murder of Bart:

Anyone who speaks German can't be bad!

Posted by: byoolin | February 28, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Hear, hear, yello. At the risk of being repetitive, the Iraqi government has approved an arrangement by which foreign oil concerns may recover the resources in selected Iraqi oil fields. This is part of a law that details how oil national oil revenues will be distributed among Iraq's provinces.

Posted by: jack | February 28, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

SCC...typed oil in the wrong place. What a geek.

Posted by: jack | February 28, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy, I saw a similar ice event happen in NYC.

They had roped off the entire block surrounding the Empire State Building because of ice buildup on its "roof." While we stood a safe distance away, we watched huge sheets of ice come crashing down onto Fifth Ave.

It was spectacular.

Posted by: TBG | February 28, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Grafs from a story today at by David Brown:

More than one-third of American women are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), which in rare cases can lead to cervical cancer, by the time they are 24 years old, according to a study being published today.

There are dozens of strains of HPV, but only some can lead to cancer. Two -- HPV-16 and HPV-18 -- are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. The Merck vaccine protects against both, as well as two other strains that cause genital warts.

From the lede graf in our local paper, the story by Eric Berger reprinted from the Houston Chronicle:

More than quarter of U.S. women are infected with a sexua11y transmitted virus that can sometimes cause cervical cancer, health reserchers say.

Didn't Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News last night say 50 percent? What is the correct percentage?

And from the book that I own, Ann Fettner's 1990 "Science of Viruses: What They Are, Why They Make Us Sick, and How They Will Change the Future," pp. 79-80

The unfolding saga of this common pathogen is a classic example of the recognition of a virus that participates in the genesis of cancer. Papillomavirus was identified in the 1930s, but has not yet been grown in the laboratory, so little was known about it until recently, when modern techniques made it possible to grow the virus's DNA.

Identification of different strains of the papillomavirus have accumulated since the late 1970s, and today more than 53 are recognized, with more likely to be found. Types 1, 2, and 4 cause warts on the hands or the soles of feet; strains 6 and 7 produce warts in the larnyx. Infected women may pass on strains 6 and 11 to their newborn infants, infrequently causing juvenile-onset respiratory papillomavirus, in which warts on the child's vocal chords must be removed, sometimes again and again. ...

Some studies show that nearly all women under age fifty are infected with pailloma 16 and in the United States about 7,000 die each year from cervical cancer. ...

[Interestingly] Papilloma is also implicated in the skin cancers of the persons who have had kidney transplants. ...

In the test tube, scientists have shown that proteins of papillomavirus type 16 (as well as simian virus 40 [this particular virus found in ealy polio vaccines--simian virologist and Helotes Mayor Jon me?!] and the adenoviruses, which cause tumors in rodents) can block the activities of p105-rb--a regulatory gene product--which may then fail to control the groth of infected cells in much the same way that the protein is found to be blocked in the cancers mentioned earlier in this chapter.

As far as the percentages or rates on infection, I remain confused. Is there more science now about the simian 40 virus?

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I am not confused by this however...

This story by Terry Allen titled "HPV Vaccine: Betting on a Merky Record" was passed along to me yesterday morning by my friends at Texas-based PROVE (Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education.) Since these friends provided the link to the article, I shall provide it as well for you:

The following two grafs were shocking to me--that we are outsourcing overseas some of our vaccine trials [and the risks to poor countries and very poor individuals] and that the groups, the CROs are paid only after the drug is approved:

It also takes time to assess whether data are comprehensive and reliable, and mirror real-world conditions. Merck outsourced some [how often? what percentage?] of its Gardasil trials to Contract Research Organizations (CROs) in the developing world, including JayaJan Pharmaceutical Research in India. CROs are part of a $14 billion industry that recruits subjects and runs trials for Big Pharma. Conflicts of interest can arise when CROs are paid royalties only after a drug is approved rather than getting a set fee independent of results, or when CROs believe favorable findings will lead to future contracts. Merck spokesperson Amy Rose refused to specify how, or even if, the company oversees CROs. {Do I smell a story here?]

The FDA -- hobbled by underfunding, politicization and dependence on Big Pharma money -- has few resources to assess foreign trials and relies on drug companies. Even U.S. studies are subject to manipulation, as when researchers simply exclude unfavorable trials from those submitted to the FDA.

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Gw/E: Ice scrubs as you described are very important to the health of river ecosystems. In the absence of such events, succession of plants and animals occurs, on the riverbanks and in the river itself, that greatly impacts the ecosystem.

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

SCC--to be precise:

Simian 40 virus was inadvertently and mistakenly introduced to the human population through early polio vaccines--the inactivated polio virus and sugar cube versions since the virus was first grown (in the early days of viral vaccine production) in monkey kidney substrates.

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

bc and Wilbrod, thank you for all the high-falutin' naval-gazing above. I have only two questions: are dark matter and dark energy related to dark chocolate? Can we not see either dark matter or dark energy because they are hiding behind the dark side of the moon?

All right, make that four questions: if we light up the dark side of the moon, even with energy-saving flourescents, won't that still increase our carbon hoofprints? And could we not use indigenous moonbeams instead?

Just trying to hold up my end of the conversation.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 28, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The Winter '07 Loomis Chaffee magazine profiled two grads in its main feature story--one who is deceased and was a very close friend of Robert Aalto, also covered in the story.

Aalto travels the world studying rivers and currently teaches geology at the University of Washington, Seattle. His dad came on board as a geology teacher at Humboldt State in '74. Yes, we have exchanged a wee bit of e-mail recently given our common backgrounds--he having grown up around Big Lagoon, north of Trinidad.

I wish there were a link to the story by Becky Purdy as it's a great, great read--especially the portions about the river research.

Posted by: Loomis | February 28, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

TGB that does sound awesome,I can imagine how loud that was falling to the ground and crashing on the street.It probably made some nasty potholes.

I was looking for a place to post my pictures online,but I am being called into work early.....perhaps after I get home around midnight

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 28, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, as I said before, I'm as in the dark about those things as anyone else on this mudball. What kind of navel-gazing is it when you have to look up to see it? Whose navel am I gazing into then?

Fiat navel.

Thanks for the heads up, jack. I considered racing a Pinto some years ago (there's a good GT Pinto class local to DC), and I was SORELY temped to buy a nifty white RX-2 SP about a year ago for $300. Complete and straight, but just too East Coast rusty. I didn't have time or the spare cash to make it right, but I wanted to. If it were an RX-3 SP, I might have done it. The RX-3s are just a little nicer in my book.

greenwithenvy, if you can, video those floes, I'd love to see that.


Posted by: bc | February 28, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I posted a micro-kit. Please feel free to repost comments ...

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