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Bring Me the Head of Sanjaya Malakar

Contrary to what the cynics say, some people on American Idol can actually sing. That gal Melinda Doolittle can sing the lights out. But the Sanjaya Malakar Era needs to come to an end. Tonight. This has become an urgent national priority. His performance last night should have ended with an arrest. Animals have perished with more harmonious death rattles. Chickens who have been captured and beheaded on stumps have showed better dance moves.

The deeper philosophical question: Can a person sing so badly as to ruin the original? Or has "You Really Got Me Now" been slimed forever?

The Post's Lisa de Moraes thought Sanjaya's was one of the better performances. This is the first time I've ever disagreed with Lisa about anything. My eldest says Sanjaya has made it this far thanks to support from the early-teen crowd. He's young. He's pretty. He's got sensational hair. Maybe he should be the host of the next Hair Olympics.

(OK, I just read his questionaire and he seems like a really nice kid. I'm a jerk.)


One out of four Americans don't eat vegetables.

This despite repeated directives from government nutritionists that we must eat more fruits and veggies.

"Approximately 62% did not consume any whole fruit servings and 25% of participants reported eating no daily vegetable servings. There was no improvement in American's fruit consumption during this period and there was a small decrease in vegetable intake."

Question: Do onion rings count as vegetables?

Speaking of what we eat: I know we're supposed to eat more fish. Like, twice a week. Though maybe not too many fish that might contain traces of mercury, such as the tasty but dangerous Mercuryfish (similar to a Silverfish, only a lot more....mercurial). In any case, National Geographic's latest issue has a three-part story on the ravaging of fisheries. Good companion reading to that Scuzzy Oceans series in the Los Angeles Times.

There's a fine paragraph by writer Fen Montaigne that touches on why we tolerate the destuction of marine ecosystems:

"Do we countenance such loss because fish live in a world we cannot see? Would it be different if, as one conservationist fantasized, the fish wailed as we lifted them out of the water in nets? If the giant bluefin lived on land, is size, speed, and epic migrations would ensure its legendary status, with tourists flocking to photograph it in national parks. But because it lives in the sea, its majesty -- comparable to that of a lion -- lies largely beyond comprehension."


It used to be that elections were decided by voters. Now they're decided by contributors. Or at least that's how the field gets winnowed. The money primary is nearing a milestone.

What's interesting is that, just as with a primary election, the campaigns are feverishly manipulating expectations. It's not about winning: It's about doing better than expected, then capitalizing on it (free media, more fundraisers, building the Big Mo).

Let's cut the voting part out of this thing altogether. Most money wins. Keep it simple.


Kos ranks the Dems.

More New Hampshire politics.

Media news:

Over at HH's blog, Dean Barnett thinks the Politico is skewing left.

Via Romenesko, here's a Boston Globe story revealing that NPR has discovered that young people find it boring. Solution: A new venture code-named Zack. (More evidence we live in the end of times.)


A new study says the future of biomedical research in America is threatened by the flat NIH budget. The press release says that "perennially flat funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has halted promising research in mid-stream, challenged seasoned researchers to continue to achieve scientific progress, and threatened the future of young investigators pursuing careers in academic research. And, if left unaddressed, these problems could undermine U.S. global leadership in biomedical research, the report warns."

Hold on. I am all for robust NIH funding. Would rather fund NIH than Bridges to Nowhere. But note that, just between 1998 and 2003, total funding for NIH doubled. Does that sound like "perennially flat funding"?

The only institution that's done better since 1998 than NIH is Google.

I've looked through the report. You could go blind trying to find any budget numbers in the thing. But I found one online: NIH got about $28.5 billion in 2006. Maybe that number should be higher. But it's not exactly chump change.


The Al Gore testimony today should be interesting and I'll try to post some of the transcript right here later in the day. Arch-denier Inhofe is champing at the bit to question Gore. Prediction: Gore will mop the floor with him.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 21, 2007; 10:03 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Campaign Trail
Next: Gore Testimony; Hillary as Big Brother


Sanjaya has quite a "vote for the worst" following. I should know, (he he he)

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I think people tend to get more bent out of shape over endangered ecosystems if the inhabitants are cute, fuzzy, and just as snuggly-wuggly as Sanjaya Malakar.

Fish, alas, are cold, wet and slimy.

You know, more like Simon.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Save Sanjaya, kill AI once and for all!!!

*heading to the bunker to escape the AI hordes*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Mercuryfish is just a quick Silverfish IMOO.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Might I say as an outside, Sanjaya being in the competition just doesn't look good, how did he get through before the public started voting, he can't sing, nor can many of the men who made it.

Melinda can sing.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Knowing of Joel's interest in NIAC if he has not seen this then he may be interested:

Posted by: clive beasley/cebe49/ | March 21, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Ironically, in my household only one out of four *does* eat vegetables, and then only if I don't microwave them 'cause I am told that that gets the kitchen all stinky.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

My little town is a kind of naturally occuring experiment with regard children's vegetable consumption. There are no fast food outlets and young children don't get to "town" very often. At school they may eat as much of the fruit and vegetable offerings as they want, and they want a lot. It is not unusual to see them eat watermelon for dessert with the same satisfaction my NoVA students reserved for cookies or ice cream.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Tut tut Mr. Padouk. Most fish are not slimy. Some are, sure, such as trouts and eels but most have either a scaly texture (bass, wallewye, sea bass, grouper etc) or a leathery one (ray, shark, monkfish, lamprey etc). But they are cold and wet, that is for sure.
I think that one of the thing that leads to the abuse of the resource is that the pelagic fish "belongs" to no nation, so every nation feels free to abuse it.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

You are quite right about the fish SD. But I still claim the adjective is correct when applied to Simon.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

This kit is all over the map. JA is taking the boodle tangential threads as a model. NO JA, NO. You present a topic, we behave like free-range chickens on steriods in Montana. Did you get the meme?

Now, this is not so amazing:
"He's young. He's pretty. He's got sensational hair."

Boys with sensational hair get all the attention. I know because I am mother to one lovely-locks lad who at 14, has better hair than most starlets. AND HE DOES NOT TRY! No creme rinse, no hair cuts save the semi-buzz for swimming due on or about Memorial day. Two of his laddie friends are similarly endowed: one copper penny red-head with the coif of Mel Gibson in Braveheart, the other a lustrous brunette who could be Penelope Cruz's baby brother. Son of CP is a yellow-towhead. Three Riders of the Perfect Hair....

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

clive, there is a lot I could say on the state of NASA funding. However, that would move into the realm of actual flat-out whining. Solves nothing and puts me in a bad light. Things are pretty much as you would expect under this administration and the "Vision." It used to be that I could enjoy my cynicism, because I was pleasantly surprised when I turned out to be wrong every time, and I could make a joke off my ludicrous wrongness. Unfortunately, these days I have been disconcertingly accurate. This worries me, in particular, because I have some especially paranoid bits of cynicism that haven't yet been tested. I always assumed these were just experiments in imagining extreme outcomes from an innocuous origin. Now, I wonder.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

People seem not to notice environmental destruction partly because they don't know what used to exist. No one's ever seen a large number of right whales, or regularly seen manatees in Chesapeake Bay (something that Capt John Smith supposedly noticed). And few have seen fields of terrestrial orchids in the grass beneath longleaf pines occupied by red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 21, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

More money doesn't necessarily translate into better research. When the gravy train opens there is a real temptation to spend research money on something, anything, lest it be recalled. I have seen this first hand.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Another try at that state forest link:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 21, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

CP, RD did a very nice job of showing how the stray threads of this kit are actually related.

And I was glad not to be consuming a beverage when reading this: "The only institution that's done better since 1998 than NIH is Google."

Sanjaya has to go. The sobbing pre-teen last night (multiple camera-shots) was the last straw. But so far he's been able to avoid the sharks by being the second-slowest swimmer.

Instead of being decided by $, perhaps (and this might increase voter turnout, too) the campaign could be decided by Candidate Idol. The various candidates appear, give a 90-second stump speech, three pundits give a review (nominations?), then America votes. Lowest vote-getter each week is gone. Any volunteers out there to play the part of Seacrest?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, the two NASA rocket scientists in my neighborhood think your thoughts exactly. Scary.

JA wrote about NPR and the chase for the elusive young audience. "More evidence we live in the end of times."

The theological words for this concept are
1) eschatology (study of end-times); and
2) teleological (of the end-times or last days).

Enjoy your words of the day.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

>Boys with sensational hair get all the attention.

CP, when I was 17 and in my first year of college I had a dishwashing job at a local Italian catering place. My hair was shoulder length and would fall in little ringlets with no assistance. All the little old Italian waittresses would come up to me, grab my hair and say "Your hair, it's beautiful - when you gonna get it cut!?"

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 21, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

CP so I am to understand that none of your offspring have hair that could be described as, well, "flyaway"?

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Error, what's the status of your ringlets these days?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

EF -- the two Italian grandmothers of a neighbor boy, came over to the house on "Little Frankie's" fifth birthday. They wore black, as per usual, and took lots of pictures. Frankie's hair curled in long sausages like Shirley T. He was to be walked down the street with Vinny and Paulie (I kid you KNOT) to the barber for the first time. Oh the weeping, the weeping, the weeping. I was about eight at this time. I asked my mom if something had happened to Papa Frankie who was serving in the AF (Vietnam). No, just the hair cut; baby Frankie, at five, was heartily sick of his curls. He came home and joined in a game of kick the can, like the rest of us.

RD -- the gals in the family inherited stick-straight Scandia hair. It does not fly away, not does it wave or curl. It stays put in modest usefulness. This is semi-fine for CP-dottirs. However, my sister-in-law suffered through the big-hair eighties to no end. She could not get that crispy halow-wreath of hair despite copious product. Years of therapy help assuage this deep wound.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom -- let's see who hears the blackbird mating calls first. Today is likely too cold, and I'll be at the BHP and not the lake.

The mocking birds are flitting around, looking anxious but no serious courting yet. But I think the wrens have been at it for a while....tell-tale rustles in the overgrown stuff I call nature preserve.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Stop drinking the American Idol Kool-Ade. It's bad enough Lisa de Moraes is practically a full time correspondent.

I think more column inches in the WaPo are devoted to Simon Colwell's S&M Karaoke Contest than Iraq, Walter Reed, and Alberto Gonzales combined.

Obviously you have some sort of Oprah's The Secret voodoo working in reverse. Get some New Age charlatans to do a seminar over there and soon NASA will be getting bigger budgets than useless roadwork projects.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

NPR listeners are created through long commutes to endless activities. Oh how the son wailed at having to listen to WE Sat on the way to hockey practice and daughter lobbied for a vehicle with built in DVD to avoid ATC. Then one day son came home from a long day at school and work and asked me if I'd heard about Devil in a Blue Dress, Derek McGinty had had the author on his old WAMU show. Within a week the daughter looked at me and asked "Where's that Heimer girl?" "You know, Linda Worth Heimer, she's usually on now."

True appreciation or Stockholm syndrome? It doesn't matter, they both have pledge drive premiums in their vehicle cup holders.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I read that depressing summary on the American not eating their vegetables. I bet we would get similar numbers in Canada. I suspect that one of the reasons is that not enough veggies are cooked in good olive oil. Because the silly nutritionist always recommends slightly steamed veggies, to keep all the goodness and not add any fat ya'know, they miss and opportunity to sell the veggies on their own merit. Steamed carrots, cauliflower and broccoli are OK but it gets tedious. In this day an age all kinds of vegetables are available all year around for very little money. There is no reason why not eat them braised in olive oil. I use to hate boiled collard, kale and other cow food; I would rather eat the cow I said. Boiled leafy vegetables such as the different types of endives (curled, frisée and escarole) are just a soggy, stringy, disgusting mess. The same plants sauteed in olive oil (start with the less bitter escarole and work your way up to the curled) are delicious and good looking. A little squirt of lemon juice may help the bitter-sensitive. Rappinis, collards, kale and kohlrabi braised in olive oil are all delicious. The best vegetable braised in olive oil is the finnochio, a.k.a. the fennel bulb. Thinly slice and cooked to a delicate crunchiness it is a thing of beauty. Stop the cooking earlier, add some parmigiano and finish cooking in a hot oven and you have something really special. OK, this is the end of lunchtime rant.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking, asparagus grilled for a few minutes in olive oil & lemon is great as well - took me a long time to appreciate asparagus - I now love it. That Finnchio sounds good.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The wife insisted that we start Little Gomer on veggies when he strted solid food and he continues to love his broccoli and asparagus. By the way, I do asparagus in the oven on a baking sheet with a little Pam, salt, and pepper for 12-14 minutes at 400 degrees (that's Fahrenheit!). Comes out great!

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, I agree with you completely. And for years I've thought nutritionists were basically the Devil's Spawn.

I find those stats pretty hard to believe, unless I see some definitions, explanations and footnotes. I can't believe, for instance, they are including potatoes, for instance. How can anybody (poverty notwithstanding) eat NO vegatables? At some point you'd develop some serious malnutrition.

(If part of that stat includes a high proportion of poverty cases, then I'd say the report was misleading. Granted, poverty and nutrition are major issues--but they are separate from what seems to be the intent of the report. It doesn't help to say poor people should eat more brussel sprouts.)

Posted by: Curmduegon | March 21, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

My second birthday present from my daughter was The Squash Lover's Cookbook. (She bought it in the gift shop at Mount Vernon.) It's going to be an interesting summer because yes, we do eat vegetables in this house. And lots of them.


Posted by: Slyness | March 21, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I enjoy a head of Sanjaya braised in extra virgin olive oil with black truffles and a hunk of Gorgonzola on the side (covers the bitterness with a stinky-feet flavor).

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Boodle has already provided the solution to increasing vegetable consumption:

Ranch dressing.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Sprinkle a little Monterey steak seasoning (McCormick's) on that aspargus when grilling it. Kicks it up a notch (hey, that would make a great catchphrase for somebody...).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Or sprinkle a little fresh-grated Parmesan on it (yeah, yeah, I know about the fat...)

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of saving wildlife (I figure that has to be on-topic somewhere in that pot pourri Joel gave us, right?) did anybody else see that report in England about the abandoned polar bear cub (cute as a button, of course; bordering on Tai Shan-replacement cute, actually)? Seems a zoo is raising this polar bear cub (did I mention it was cute?). A so-called animal rights group is protesting this, claiming that it would be much more humane to just kill the cub right now rather than let it grow up in a capitve zoo environment.

Jeez. Talk about an organization with its head up its own colon and desparately in need of a little PR counseling.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

>Error, what's the status of your ringlets these days?

Raysmom, it doesn't get quite long enough these days to go into full ringlet mode, so I'm not sure if they'd come back or not. It fluffs up to a point where huge waves start to appear and look like they're auditioning for a remake of The Flying Nun. I don't really have the time or inclination to spend much time wrestling with them so it usually gets cut before the waves coalesce into ringlets. I have mixed feelings about convertible weather. It's a lot easier to take care of short hair, but I kind of miss the mane-blowing-in-the-wind look.

Think in terms of Tom Baker's Doctor Who.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 21, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

RDP, I will agree with you that more money does not imply more and better science. Unfortunately, the converse is not true. 45% cuts imply less science and imply that the remaining scientists have to get more thin slices of more pies, instead of a thick slice of just one pie. Spread between multiple desserts (I would have said masters, but I have a metaphor going here), one can do none of them justice and the quality of science per scientist decreases along with the number of scientists. As with global warming, a new equilibrium eventually is reached, but the transition process always is painful -- by which I mean, the abilities of highly-trained people get squandered so that they have to look elsewhere for jobs. In such small fields as scientific specialties, that often means going to another country. 10 or 20 years later, folks look around and say "What's wrong with our scientists? Why do they let those other countries do all the innovating?" And the ex-pats shake their heads sadly and drink their quality foreign beers. It's what happened to England, except they had to leave the good beer behind. Now it's our turn.

Look forward, my brethren! All we have to lose is our Budweiser (and Tuborg Gold)! And the dream of growing up to be President. And our homeland. Well, easy come, easy go.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

That 'twas Germany, Mudge. Berlin Zoo is hand-raising the cub after the mother rejected it and its brother died.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sanajaya is the future of American mediocrati. He is only seventeen, he may leap into the winners circle of pop icon- dom.

Posted by: navin | March 21, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The German zoo haters obviously never saw "Klondike and Snow" on PBS.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The daughter is betting Sanjaya will survive tonight because:

1. He's obviously got the "vote for the worst" crowd.

2. Pre-teen girls do not have fully developed gaydar.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

This is about the third time this has happened in the last day, I read about something and a few minutes later the topic comes up here.

Mudge I read that article as well and kept trying to find out why it was more human to euthanize the bear, it is not like they are going to release it near Churchill, Manitoba where it could be a problem handing around town. It will always be a zoo animal correct - fed by humans? Am I missing something.

I will try the sauce on the asparagus - and maybe some cheese as well.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

While we are on the subject of asparagus, who here has the gene that makes your pee smell like asparagus after eating the spears? I don't. (Wife and Witches no. 1&2 do, Fungi don't. Is it gender related? Where's Loomis when we need her?)

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't watch American Idol but do subscribe to National Geographic and I've got a buck that says if fish deaths were really gruesome, Fox would make a prime-time series about it. Any takers? (PS: Can we just eat American Idol losers? PPS Memo to CBS suits: "Survivor -- Pelican Bay" 'Nuff said.)

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Tim, that massive cuts can be devastating, and for the same reason as massive funding increases. They mess up planning. I think a reasonably flat funding profile, preferably, of course, with a modest upward slope, is the best recipe for good research. Unfortunately, as many of us know, this isn't the way that Congress usually allocates money.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse


Didn't Fox already do a fish episode of "Hell's Kitchen?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

You called?

Apparently the jury is still out on this. The following is from the Boston Globe, but I see the dispute is at other web sites, too.

Scientists remain divided on why people have different urinary responses to eating asparagus. One camp thinks only about half of the population have a gene enabling us to break down the sulfurous amino acids in asparagus into their smellier components. Others think that everyone digests asparagus the same way, but only about half of us have a gene that enables us to smell the specific compounds formed in the digestion of asparagus [the latter theory is really interesting to me].

"There's something of a dispute," said Dr. David Stollar, chairman of biochemistry at Tufts University Medical School.

*Technically, I am out in the the yard planting giant colorful daisies, after ferrying Loomispouse waaaay too early to the airport. zzzzzz. Interesting evening last night with Mary Bomar, U.S. National Parks director.

As far as one of the Kit don't eat vegetables.

The highly processed food industry wins.
Madison Avenue, in particular, wins big time.
Kids lose, the nation loses.

Posted by: Loomis | March 21, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

It may be just a drop in the bucket but proposed legislation here may help Ontario's species at risk. This is a wide variety of species including the non-glamourous or cute ones.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I see I missed the best part of the Boston Globe article on asparagus:

Asparagus is filled with sulfur-containing amino acids that break down during digestion into six sulfur-containing compounds. These can impart a unique smell to urine as they are excreted. "It's the same sulfur group that makes skunks smell," said Barbara Hodges, a dietician with Boston University's nutrition clinic, the Evans Nutrition Group. [I didn't know the skunk odor was sulfur-like...And what group is that? Any chemists out there? I will have to pick up Lucca Turin's book and start reading.]

I know the word skunk came to us from the Algonquin language, but does anyone know skunk's range (no, not THAT range) around the world? Can they be found in South America, or Europe or Asia? Tossing out the next question to Dooley or Wilbrod or whomever has the answer.

Posted by: Loomis | March 21, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Audentes, I don't think even the evil geniuses at Fox could make a show out of "When Good Flounders Go Bad."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Linda. Should be simple enough to have positively identified asparagus scenting pee put to the nose of suspected producer of unscented peer. That could prove that they are non-perceiver of scented pee rather than producers of unscented pee. But with the budget of NIH staying virtually flat in the past few years the experiment will have to wait...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking that the blog hasn't made it above the fold for a while. Today is one of those times, appropriate for the time of year, that the blog is in full flower. If I said bloom, I'd be botanically remiss. The latter is the fungus that coats blueberries or algae gone wild.

Posted by: jack | March 21, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

My wife and children despise nearly all vegetables except tomatoes, green beans and corn. I use to attribute this to simple orneriness, but I think there may be some Science behind it.

Evidently, there are these chemicals called "glucosinolates" in many vegetables, especially the ones derived from cabbage. What makes this chemical interesting is that not everyone can taste it, and those who can describe it as being very bitter.

I am convinced that my wife and offspring can taste it, while I cannot. They invariably describe veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel's sprouts, as "bitter," while to me these veggies have a very delicate and sublime flavor.

And that's why whenever they are out of the house I break out my secret stash of frozen spinach.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

our North American Mephitis Mephitis spreads from Canada (seen then myself just south of 55 North) to Costa Rica. My personal experience is that the bigger ones are from the North, you get only really small ones down South. Three species in the new world and one in Asia apparently.
As for the scent I don't know. Been sprayed solidly once, misted 3-4 times (trying to save the dog(s)...). It is sulfurous but I don't know the chemicals.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten - "Klondike and Snow" was indeed an excellent show. My daughter decided then and there that when she grew up she wanted to raise baby polar bears.

Except, and I quote, "for the poopy stuff."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Then again, the death wails of fish might earn them a spot on American Idol. Not to mention the fact that fishing is already televised -- just how lazy do you have to be, to watch other people fish on TV? If only the winners used some of their prize money on dental work ...

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon: Don't underestimate the evil geniuses at Fox. After all, they managed to turn a redneck Norm Crosby wannabe into the 43rd president of the United States.

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

RD - I also keep frozen spinach and periodically go nuts cooking spinachy things, which no one else in my house will eat. It becomes almost a compulsion to eat it sometimes (vitamin deficiency, anyone?). Do you eat it plain, or in things? Personally don't like cooked spinach plain, though it is great in salads.

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm not a chemist (god knows), nor do I play one on television, but I do know that the chemical group in question is mercaptan (a.k.a. methanthiol, chemical formula CH4SH--basically you take a methane molecule and hang a big, honking sulphur atom onto it, or sulphur hydride, whatever the hell SH is). Anyway, the only reason I know this is because I once wrote a major paper on epoxies for the boatbuilding industry, and mercaptans are one class of epoxy hardeners, and yes, they smell stinky. (You can buy some kinds of epoxies at Lowe's and Home Depot, and if the hardner is awful and makes your eyes water, it's the mercaptan type.)

In the case of skunk perfume, the offending chemical is a combination of methyl mercaptan and butyl mercaptan.

Skumks are often called polecats because they are in the same family as European polecats, though whether those animals stink like skunks I don't know. Same family as weasels, ferrets and Ann Coulter, I believe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC: methanethiol.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I like to steam the heck out of veggies and them eat them with a bit of tangy hollandaise sauce.

As one of my personal idols, Alton Brown, would say:

"Good Eats."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I never noticed, but you are right. I once bought this epoxy at the hardware store, and I swear it smelled just like backroads of my home town after a saturday night.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Serious aside to Wheezy: Two of my freezer staples are frozen spinach and frozen shrimp (cooked and cleaned). Saute the spinach in garlic & olive oil, toss in a can of diced tomatoes and a handful of shrimp, season and serve over linguine.

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge. How dare you insult weasels, ferrets, and skunks in that manner. They, at least, are warm blooded.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

There are 11 species of skunks, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale (spotted skunks, two species), Mydaus (stink badgers, two species), and Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, five species). The two skunk species in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; all other skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America.

Skunks were formerly considered to be a subfamily of the Mustelidae family of weasels and related animals (where some taxonomists still place them), but recent genetic evidence shows that they are not as closely related to the Mustelidae as formerly thought.[1]

Skunks are sometimes called polecats because of their visual similarity to the European polecat (Mustela putorius), a member of the Mustelidae family.

Order Carnivora

-Family Mephitidae

--Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis
--Hooded Skunk, Mephitis macroura

--Western Spotted Skunk, Spilogale gracilis
--Channel Islands Spotted Skunk, Spilogale gracilis amphiala
--Eastern Spotted Skunk, Spilogale putorius
--Pygmy Spotted Skunk, Spilogale pygmaea

--Western Hog-nosed Skunk, Conepatus mesoleucus
--Eastern Hog-nosed Skunk, Conepatus leuconotus
--Striped Hog-nosed Skunk, Conepatus semistriatus
--Andes Skunk, Conepatus chinga
--Patagonian Skunk, Conepatus humboldtii

--Indonesian or Javan Stink Badger (Teledu), Mydaus javanensis
--Palawan Stink Badger, Mydaus marchei

The first eleven families range from Canada to South America, the last are found in the Philipines and Indonesia.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

You know, I really cut back on my red meat and potato consumption awhile back, started eating a lot more fish and fruit and veggies.

For all that, I'm going to die someday anyway.

I only caught a few AI performances in passing.

Sanjaya made me want to cry, too. My oldest teenage daughter commented, "Why is he doing 'You Really Got Me?' Everyone's going to mentally compare it to Van Halen's, and this isn't even close." That's my girl.

The lady who covered "Paint it Black." Great song, but not for this kind of a competition. If she had to pick a 60's era Stones tune, why not a sultry version of "Satisfaction?" [If K. McPhee were on the show this year she'd have been all over that.] Or "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "You Can't Allways Get What You Want", "Wild Horses", or a naughty version of "Under My Thumb." If I ever get on AI myself, I'm doing "Sympathy for the Devil." After all, I'm only going to get one song before I get the boot.

And I did see Melinda Doolittle there at the end. We have a winner.

All these comments regarding downstream impacts of asparagus consumption don't really pass my "sniff test."


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, about a decade or two ago I read an article in Psychology Today about people who have an extra taste bud that makes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel's sprouts taste extremely bitter; I have it myself. The article said about 10 percent of the population seem to have it. The upshot is, when two people eat the same vegatable, the person with that extra taste bud simply isn't tasting the same thing the other person is.

Don't know if there's some gene associated with this (I guess there'd have to be to produce a fifth kind of tatste bud different from the other four kinds). But that's where it comes from: the kind of tatste buds people have, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

As a kid, i used to wonder why, when others would copmplain about the smell of skunk. I loved it. Now, when I smell one, i look around for who is opening the fat sack-o-glaucoma meds and I wonder no more.

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, I just realized my last sentence is wrong and family should be species, but there is a lot more than that wrong with my post: The numbers don't add up.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

imagine a surgeon who specializes in bitter-bud removal surgery.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

As Mudge said, mercaptans are evil. A few ppb added for safety to propane and natural gas (both inodore) gives off the gassy smell. Someone spilled a small pail of liquid mercaptan (some are gaseous as well) on a concrete floor in a shop a couple of years ago in AB. After much cleaning they paid somebody to jackhammer away the part of the reinforced concrete floor that has been affected.
In detail:
Again for our own beloved striped skunk;
(thiols and thioacetates) 2-butene-1-thiol and 3-Methyl-1-butanethiol are apparently the major components but this is a soup. Other thiols and thioacetates will also show up. The smell of onion is a thioacetate by the way.
Read an interesting abstract here.

So that would leave:
(E)-2-butene-1-thiol, 3-methyl-1-butanethiol, S-(E)-2-butenyl thioacetate, S-3-methylbutenyl thioacetate, , 2-methylquinoline, and 2-quinolinemethanethiol. Minor
volatile components identified in this secretion, bis[(E)-2-butenyl], (E)-2-butenyl 3-methylbutyl disulfide, bis(3-methylbutyl) disulfide, and S-2-quinolinemethyl thioacetate.

It stinks.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

omni - I love those latin names. Now I can refer to someone as a "no-good low-down dirty Conepatus mesoleucus" and hope that the confusion will give me enough time to escape.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Audentes - that recipe is my kind of food, except I don't eat shrimp. I might try it with frozen chicken. I do love a recipe that can be made completely from pantry staples and things you can always keep on hand. Fresh is good but you need things around for the last two days of the week, too!

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

No offense, bc, but your use of the term "oldest teenage daughter" cracked me up. I remember when Van Halen mangled the Kinks, even sadder is that their version is seemingly the cultural reference point for a generation.

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

SD - Names like those are why I never went into chemistry.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Wheezy: Fool your family by calling any dish containing spinach "Florentine." (It's an old French word that means, "Like hell you're not going to eat spinach.")

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, gotta run lest I be late to my own 2:00 meeting, but I hope that everyone has a great time at the BPH!

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Just noted this from Wonkette - At Politics & Prose Coffeehouse, a reading by Andersen:

Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m.
HEYDAY (Random House, $26.95)
Benjamin Knowles, a young Englishman, is infatuated with America. Mostly, he's infatuated with Polly Lucking, part-time actress and part-time prostitute. When Polly heads west, Knowles sets off with her brother and a family friend to find her. Heyday is a novel of ideas, a love story, and an adventure, set against the backdrop of mid-nineteenth-century America.

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to keep going off topic, but I was late to the party and am playing catch-up by scrolling upwards. Is it possible that Ann Coulter meant to compare John Edwards to a ferret, as in "polecat" -- or perhaps an allusion to its Latin root word, "fur" (thief) -- and simply misspoke? Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, if you think those methane lakes on Titan stink now, just image how many orders of magnitude worse they'd smell if some sulphur got into them! Whewwww--you could smell Titan all the way out to Andromeda.

One other way you can often tell if an epoxy hardener is a mercaptan, Padouk, is by the ratio. The majority of hardeners are generally a 50-50 mix, but if the mix is say, 4 parts resin to 1 part hardener, the chances are excellent there's a mercaptan in it. (Curiously, the most commonly used hardner is a 50-50 type that has a very mild smell that is reminiscent of the smell of popcorn. When I was a boatbuilder we used to buy the stuff in 55-gallon drums from Reed Plastics in Rockville. Great stuff. In my day I was the Julia Child of boatbuilding epoxies. (Not that there was much call for that kind of talent. *sigh* Story of my life.)

When I was a kid my mother made spinach by boiling it, and my brother and I hated it (and rightfully so)--I suspect that's how spinach got such a horrible reputation that not even Popeye could alter. But after I got married my wife made creamed spinach, which I like a lot, and I love Staufer's spinach souffle, as well as spinach sald (with walnut vinaigrette dressing and strawberries). It's amazing what a "proper" recipe or a little flavoring can do to enhance something. Hated (and still do) steamed asparagus, but like it drizzled with EVOO, Monterey seasoning and grilled. Boiling seems to me just about the dumbest/worst thing one can do to a green vegetable, yet that's what what a gazillion housewives usually did during the 1950s and 60s. No idea why.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: Can you smell anything in space? I always thought it was a vacuum. (And does anyone know if they let astronauts eat asparagus in space?)

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

A rule of thumb is that "if don't have starrch in it, you don't ever boil it".

I just got from checking Animail Diversity Web and even their numbers don't add up.

This page says 11 species:

And this page names 12:

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Which substops/lines flank M&S?

I need a reminder.

Skunk cabbage smells very like three-day old skunk spray.

Most ferrety animals smell skunky....

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Farragut North (Red Line) and Farragut West (Blue) are the closest to M&S.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Omni and Mudge, good job, and I learned yet more about shellacking boats with skunky epoxy. Next time I'll know it's not the dead fish, it's the fishing boat.

I don't even have to contribute anything, other than..

Yes, there is an gene that influences the ability to smell asparagus pee. Whether people vary in their ability to produce it is still open to question (but possible).

Skunks are not native to Europe, although thanks to Pepe, some people actually introduced them to France as pets, and some went loose. The Wall Street Journal ran an article a few years ago about how feral skunks are definitely causing a stink in France nowadays.

Trivial pursuit time: Mercaptans for thiol-containing compounds get their name from "Merc (mercury) + captans (Capture) because sulfur compounds will bind to mercury. This is part of why mercury is toxic-- it will bind to the sulfur-containing components of our proteins and distort them.

Mercaptans can help detoxify from heavy mercury. Unfortunately they're also moderately toxic themselves.

However, keep lathering the garlic onto that mercury-laden fish, who knows, maybe it'll actually work.

If not, make friends with some skunks. The resulting fun will make you forget all about your mercury poisoning woes for a week or two.

Like Gomer, I don't actually react adversely to skunks... at first, anyway. I definitely do get to smell the rancid smell eventually.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: should have been shellacking sculls, like Mudge's friend Sally does by the seashore.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

CP, Farragut North and Farragut West.

Gotta run--got to go home early and put on my cummerbund, black tie (or maybe the red one) and white Bogartian dinner jacket for my wife's hoop-d-doo tonight. Really sorry I'm gonna miss Yoki and CP and all the gang. Somebody lift a caiprinha high in my honor.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

We have one of those aluminum folding vegetable steamer inserts. We mostly eat either green beans or broccoli. Occasionally, asparagus or fresh peas. We just steam with no butter or sauces. Why put fat on the healthiest food on the table?

My son makes a big production every time he catches me putting butter on rice. The Asian half of his heritage just balks at that. He calls it "contaminating your rice."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

CP, Farragut North and Farragut West are both close to M&S.

Audentes, you wouldn't ask if space stank if you'd ever been up on the old Mir.

I think that they had to deorbit and let it burn up in the atmosphere then let what was left fall into the deepest ocean just to get rid of the smell.


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hungarian Creamed spinach Sauce, a recipe learned from a dear Hungarian friend from Buda. Hello Clarye (Clara).

Great with any grilled meat or fried liver.

One to 3 onions, diced
Enough Butter and/or oil of your choice
¾- 1½ tbl Paprika (Hungarian hugely preferred, pick your favorite Scoville number)
10 oz/1lb pack of clean spinach
¾-1 ½ cup sour cream
Fry onions until translucent. Add paprika. Stir for a minute or so. Add spinach, let it wilt. Add sour cream. Heat through and enjoy with the meat AND one other vegetable. Serves about 4-5.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

In Taiwan, you can buy cans of asparagus juice.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 21, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

A little fat helps those fat-soluble vitamins go down more smoothly-- but if you got meat and other fatty dishes to eat them with, there's no need to grease them up.

I like stews, vegetable/meat soups, Indian curries, and gazpacho (can't wait for gazpacho season) for getting my quota of vegetables.

Unfortunately goopy food is hard to pack and eat on the run.

I am so glad that a school serves fruit and vegetables adlib to poor students.

I would eat watermelon with the same kind of relish reserved for ice cream if it was good, correctly ripe watermelon. Even Wilbrodog loves watermelon.

Mark Twain said: "The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart, and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented."

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Why put fat on the healthiest food on the table?"

So it no longer tastes like lawnmower clippings? In my vocabulary, "healthy" equals "yucky-tasting."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

They have found a burrowing dinosaur,

Paging Dooley!!

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt: Duh. Because fat is flavor.
bc: Touche. Never was on the old Mir, but presumably it had some sort of artificial atmosphere inside. (Obviously you never saw Stevie Ray Vaughn without a hat on.)

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Salad isn't food. Salad is what food eats." -- Dan Jenkins

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wildbrod: Ewww ... relish on ice cream? I reserve mine for burgers & dogs, and occasionally throw a half-teaspoon into tuna salad.

Posted by: Audentes | March 21, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Went back to ADW and reported the discrepancy. Now we wait.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I have had my share of skunks lately.

My all time favorite skunk has to be Pepe Le Pue.

I was surprised to see that this episode won an oscar.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-our school uses the "offer" method at breakfast and lunch. Children serve themselves everything except the entree which must be rationed for the lunch count, usually it is the meat/protein in the USDA requirement for school lunch programs. We don't have a lot of food waste because they don't take what they won't eat.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

>>> In Taiwan, you can buy cans of asparagus juice.

And do what with it?

Posted by: nellie | March 21, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Get yourself a nice thermos,then you can take all your "Goopy" food with you.

I hope everyone has a nice time at the BPH,Take plenty of Pictures Please.

Maybe one of these days I will have enough B...s to take on the DC traffic

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I actually like the smell of skunk. I think the key, as with most things, is moderation. I suspect I would find the smell of skunk much less pleasant if I were being sprayed by one. But as an atmospheric smell, if you will, it's kinda nice.

And despite their range, I've *never* smelled even a hint of one in the four years I've lived in SW PA/the Northern WV Panhandle. I have to drive back to North Bay just to get a sniff.

Posted by: byoolin | March 21, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Y'all know we're on the homepage, eh?

Posted by: byoolin | March 21, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course, but I'm just saying that people seem to be obsessed with sandwich or other "easy to carry food" when they get lunches at the office.

Greenwithenvy-- "I am ze locksmith of love,no?" is pretty priceless. I think BC puts that on his business cards.

And "Come, my little peanut of brittle."

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

On my way to a paint sale I found myself driving along the north shore of the mighty St. Lawrence river, which was a good thing because if I hadn't found myself there I would have been lost. Anyway, I glanced over and the it was. The United States of America! Did anyone notice me waving?
Back to the boodle top.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't look for taste in my greens, I go for texture. Our veggies have to be steamed to cooked but crisp. If I overcook the the green beans to a level that would still be considered raw by most cafeterias, I get whithering glances.

Spinach should never be boiled as much as dunked. It should be treated like vermouth in a very dry martini. Just passed through a room with a boiling pot.

Also, about half my meals are some variety of stirfry where vegetables get soaked by the sauce, so those aren't an issue.

If you are eating a mushy pile of unrecognizable chlorophyll, of course you need butter, hollandaise, ranch dressing, and catsup-mayo to disguise the taste or lack thereof.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess I can finally come out, I find the scent of skunk in the air on a summer's night rather pleasant.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Goopy food...boiled okra. No thanks.

Nellie, that 2:51 was a model of efficiency to make me laugh. Bravo.

dmd, didn't mention that those adult dinosaurs only burrowed far enough to get thir heads in (to keep an eye on the eggs, I suppose), and that didn't help much when the KT event happened? Proto-ostriches?


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

There are lots of smells that are worse than skunk, at least to me. But one thing about it, if you can smell, you can't miss it. Fortunately skunks tend to stay in rural areas; I think the most I've encountered the smell is along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I thought boiling vegetables to death was a Southern thing. One thinks of green beans reduced to mush, with bacon for flavor. We have asparagus pee, but it's worth it. My daughter's favorite way to fix: marinate fresh asparagus in red pepper Italian dressing, then roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Heavenly.

Have a good time tonight, folks! We want to see lots of pictures!

Now...back to writing a procedure on firefighter rehab to prevent heat and cold injuries...

Posted by: Slyness | March 21, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - butter on rice?? I understand different tastes and all that, but ... nope, can't wrap my head around it.

soy sauce on rice too - just ... wrong, somehow.

oh well, different strokes etc :)

Posted by: pd | March 21, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

More pleasant by far than the smell of a skunked dog in the bath with tomato juice being poured on her, that's for sure! Even then, still took me 5 minutes to really start to be disturbed by the smell and get to gagging slightly.
On the other hand, that was the first time I ever saw my old dog look eager to be bathed-- 3 times in a row.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

So, have we agreed on a "safe word" for the BPH tonight?

Gotta run.


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I'm with yello. If you don't have gravy, you gotta put butter on rice. How can you eat that bland stuff without something?

Again, a Southern thing.

Posted by: Slyness | March 21, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

It's "Skunked", I think, bc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I've always been partial to the term polecat....a stink by any other name would smell so sweet.....

Posted by: jack | March 21, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

bc, I didn't see a reference to burrowing only to the neck in the article I posted. It stated the parent and 2 children skeletons were found together/close proximity in their "den".

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you salt rice properly and eat it fully cooked in enough water so it's fluffy, soft and warm, and have a good drink handy. You don't HAVE to make it an alcoholic drink.

I however did grow up with soy sauce on rice, and in fact I tend to eat leftover rice with soy sauce.

There's also a thai sauce made with soy sauce (alone or mixed with fish sauce) and chopped thai chili peppers that is primo on leftover rice.

Also, I never say boo to cumin rice with peas, chicken rice, and many variants of flavored rice dishes. Rice alone has like zillions of recipes.

Heck, even Indian rice pudding (kheer) is pretty darn good, although I actually like the version with vermicelli a little better.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I grant you rice is good with other stuff, but sometimes, a few bites of just plain Thai rice, fresh from the rice cooker, with that lovely fragrant smell ... yum ...

i'm serious!

now how to get back on topic...

Posted by: pd | March 21, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Lone Mule wherever you are. I cannot believe you are missing this opportunity.

Please. A person just counts on some things to remain the same you know.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I know what you mean, PD. It's heresy to put soy sauce on perfectly cooked, fresh jasmine rice.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I have to say about Sanjaya is that after his performance they showed his sister wearing some sort of low cut body-conforming shirt which allowed for quite at bit of, um, harmonic motion as shee hopped up and down in excitement. I think the producures at that moment realized that they had definitely chosen the wrong Malakar.

Posted by: jw | March 21, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Arrggghhh! Right at the end of the first paragraph, which really is just one sentence: "...raising questions about the prevailing theory on how the giant lizards became extinct."

Lizards? Lizards? Dinosaurs and lizards had diverged by the early Triassic or late Permian, I believe (Dooley?), about 210 million years ago or so. Whatever dinosaurs were, they weren't lizards. Wrong number of holes in the head, for one thing.

I don't buy the argument that this really raises a significant issue about dinosaur extinction. After all, humans can take shelter, but not when a nuclear blast goes off before you get inside. Burn up most of the plant life on Earth and then initiate a nuclear winter -- its not enough to be able to burrow or take shelter, you need to be able to hibernate for a while or make some other adaptation to a drastically changed world. I think the researchers were reaching a bit to argue for a larger significance to their discovery, something they thought they could sell to know-nothings.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Totally off topic, but I might need to know. Did anyone ever get the feeling from someone they had a brief business dissucssion with, that this person could go postal? ANY signs to watch out for?

I had that happen to me this morning, and my spidey senses are tingling. THE other person hearing the disscussion felt the same. Its gone up the chain, but just curious if anyone knows of any signs to watch out for.

It never hurts to be informed. Did I tell you how much I like my new wall?

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

And no, unfortunately, I'm not drunk, as the post above would lead you to believe.

Posted by: jw | March 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

dr, if they come in to work tomorrow wearing a trenchcoat and it's not raining, then I would take that as a bad sign.

Posted by: jw | March 21, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, "reaching a bit to argue for a larger significance to their discovery, something they thought they could sell to know-nothings."

Rather snotty.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I think the Taiwanese asparagus juice is for drinking. Just like carambola juice or grapefruit juice. One of the vagaries of globalization was that at least some of their grapefruit juice comes from South Africa. Since I'm from a county that ships perfect grapefruit to Japan, I had to try it out.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 21, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Heading out to the BPH in a few minutes, hope to see many folks there!! Pictures to follow tomorrow, hopefully! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

We buy rice by the 25 pound bag at Asian grocery stores. Our current favorite brand has the logo of two goldfish on the bag. I bought the wrong brand once (I think it had an elephant on it) and it was a long two months as we ate that bag down.

A good rice cooker is essential. Once you get the rice/water ratio perfected to your taste, it's just measure and push a button. Our rice cooker will do 10 cups, but we rarely cook more than three at a time.

The rice we buy comes from Thailand. We used to do long grain, but have switched to jasmine. Vietnamese rice is mostly exported to Africa and isn't available in the US.

My wife will put soy sauce on plain rice. For dishes served over rice, she will spice it up with chili-garlic sauce (the brand with the rooster on it).

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Ha Joel! you are too funny. Are you up on the Sanjaya gig?

it's an internet conspiracy to drive us all nuts... check out

Melinda is the best, she should win.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 21, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. I used the contraction of "it is", but forgot the apostrophe. I'll burn for this, I know it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Dave of the Coonties, I really, really love asperagus (I stir fry bite size pieces in olive oil with just salt and pepper) but I can't get a mental "taste" of asperagus juice!

And jasmine rice is wonderful stuff, it actually has a flavor. The rice I grew up with certainly didn't. By the way, my dad ate rice with butter, and said as a child he ate rice with butter and sugar for breakfast. His grandmother was from Maine, and she was the one who cooked it for him.

Posted by: nellie | March 21, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Not that I'm against a tomato or cucumber fresh-picked from the garden, but vegetables are what food eats. We have canine teeth for a reason.

As for AI... I quit watching after the tryout episodes. Now it's just a popularity/beauty contest. That, and having spent 30-some years honing my own talent with no record contract in sight, I don't have much patience for puffed-up teenage primadonas who all look and sound the same.

As for elections... except for Obama, it's pretty much like watching AI to me -- everyone striving to be the best vanilla they can. I want a jalapeno candidate.

As for science/research funding... I would bet my right... um... "jewel"... that if the money spent on the Iraq war was funneled into science/research we would have a cure for cancer and 100 MPG cars.

Posted by: martooni | March 21, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

That article on the dinosaurs was awful. They didn't give the size, estimated weight or diet. Counting the discovery of a single species that may have denned as refuting the prevailing (traditional? please) hypothesis of extinction caused by the collapse of the food web from an impacting asteroid, which is supported by many lines of evidence, is silly.
CBC usually does a better job at science reporting. I think I'll cc this.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Florentine? I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it!

Posted by: Jumper | March 21, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Boko, got to National Geographic for the full article, at Nat Geo there is no reference to lizard.

Note hypothesis did not come from CBC but US & Brit PhD, don't blame the messenger.

The most important part what that they burrowed, a new fact for dinosaurs, whether or not it co-relates to the mass extinction theory is secondary and perhaps hits a little to close to home for some.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

dr, run, get *The Gift of Fear* by Gavin De Becker. Fascinating, and lots of validation for those spidey senses.

dmd, hope you're feeling better!

Favorite spinach recipe? Dump a bag of baby spinach in a pot of boiling chicken broth w/cooked tortellini or meatballs. As soon as the spinach wilts, serve with lots of grated parmesan. I don't know if it's the iron or Vitamin C, but this helps me get better when I'm sick.

Posted by: dbG | March 21, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

dmd has noted that I was rather snotty. I did not express myself well, for sure. I was not intending to say that the interested public is made of know-nothings who are not so wonderful as me. I sometimes say that out of sarcastic self-loathing, because I assume it is obvious that it is not true, but I never say it seriously. Anyway, I was involved with the cynicism of overselling a scientific discovery because of the expectation that the public is made of know-nothings that can be interested only by razzle-dazzle. The discovery is cool enough without embellishment, and certainly offers insight into dinosaur behaviors. It just seemed a little silly to try to connect this single new thing to the flashiest aspect of dinosaur history, an event that happened 30 million years after this creature's life.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Calm down. The "giant lizards" line was poetic license and not meant to be taxonomic. Save your umbrage for serious offenses against biology like Intelligent Design.

Have a good time and boodle-in-person safely.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Dr, just trust your gut.

It doesn't mean they will go postal, but generally if somebody seems to be particularly high adrenaline for reasons unrelated to your discussion, you should be nonconfrontational and maybe try and find out what's wrong.

Sometimes the person has just gotten really bad news and is trying to act like nothing's wrong. Needless to say, when a person seems to be marinating in adrenaline, that's not necessarily the ideal time to get in an argument or deliver hard assessments such as "hey, your work sucks, you need to shape up or ship out."

I had to talk a coworker down from faithhealing me when she was for some reason particularly on edge and had already grabbed my wrist, which I didn't like and told her so. Then I saw a real anger flare and I started talking her down; I was actually concerned if she got any more angry, I would be assaulted.

I refused to argue God's power and rather talked about God's will about my deafness. It resolved well, with some biblical discussion, and at the end she said she was so glad she could talk to me like this, and then told me that it was the last day at that place for her. Hugs all around but when she left I was like whooooeeeee.... just trying to deal with somebody on an adrealine high.

I didn't make the connection that she might have been let go rather abruptly to her mood for a long while. For all I knew, she probably really, really needed that temp job.

OTOH, if the person is unable to express any problem or goes really quiet, that's not good. If the person seems really unfocused or starts talking rapidly about nothing at all and generally acts nutty, then suspect drugs or a mental illness episode and call 911; they can help escort the person out.

Above all, I just recommend stopping to calm the person down whenever you see unusually brittle and adrenaline-laden responses to what you're saying.

Be careful about suggesting anything that can come across as an order "Please sit down." etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

You know, when the boys were young I used to sneak veggies into all kinds of things. Meatballs or spaghetti sauce filled with grated veggies were particular favourites. It was a chore to get them to eat anything but broccoli tress which they could chop down with their teeth.

They grew up and they love fresh vegetables and fruit. At first I thought it was their now grown up palette, but no. You don't have to cook or otherwise do anyhting to celery, apples, and other fruit.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

RD, interesting about the gene that causes a bitter taste to cabbage-like vegetables. Is there a similar gene related to root vegetables? 'Cuz to me, turnips, rutabegas, parsnips and their ilk are absolutely inedible. Tends to make me stay away from the Kim O'Donnel chat.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I like spinach. Lately I can't seem to get enough carrots. They are really good food. You can do hard work all day if you had a fair serving of carrots.

Posted by: Jumper | March 21, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

//"The traditional theory was that resulting changes in the planet's atmosphere killed many of the planet's large life forms, while smaller animals and reptiles survived by taking shelter."//
is a gross mischaracterization of the extinction theory (I wasn't sure it had been promoted).
My main objection remains, if they're going to report on the dicovery of a new species a bare bones description would be the least they could provide.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Boko, that was you waving across the St. Lawrence? Sure, I saw you -- but I didn't wave back (I'm Swedish, and we weren't properly introduced). But hell, if I'd a known that was you, I'da waved back.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

My favorite spinach treatment (can hardly call it a recipe) is to saute an onion in olive oil; when it's translucent, add fresh spinach. When the spinach is wilted, it's done.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Hell yeah, onion rings are vegetables! So is catsup, which is one of nature*s two perfect foods. It's on the school menus as such. Gee, why did you have to ask? This is America. Oh yeah, the other perfect food? Beer, of course. Cuts down on cholestrol from the onion rings smothered in catsup. Now you know.

Posted by: katman | March 21, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The same gene may be in play with your disdain for radishes, turnips, etc. Raysmom.

I can't stand them either. I can eat cooked broccoli, cabbage, etc. because I'm used to them and love the taste in spite of the bitterness (although brussels sprouts really need fancy cooking to get past me).

Generally, cooking helps destroy the bitter taste (sometimes you gotta do more than you think you do).

Raw watercress is a bit too bitter for me, although a little cream cheese or oil and bread in a sandwich certainly helps diffuse the bitter, but I love it stir-fried.

But raw radishes? Ewww... I don't like them at all. Never eaten a turnip in my life, I believe, and no desire to.

I did try a baked parsnip and it was ok-- slightly crunchy and sweet (and not very bitter). It was like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut in texture.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Gomer on Sanjaya. Maybe we could
use the left-overs to make head-cheese.

Posted by: J.Marley | March 21, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Nicely said SciTim, I missed the who lizard reference and went and looked around after you mentioned it - so thank you.

dBG, feeling a little better, it is all weather induced, this time of year is tough with so many swings in the barametric pressure - I am quite sensitive to it, thanks for asking.

dr, take care.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

dmd. Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Migraines? I'll use my indoor voice.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes 'Mudge that was me waving across the border. I would have used the GroverTM wave but I'm a little leery of upsetting the Customs folk. Although, I hear Syria is lovely this time of year.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt-huyong chili garlic sauce is good, but the paste like Lee Kum Kee makes a great sandwich spread.

At our house "sniffing the rice cooker" is the term used for a potential Darwin Award nominee. Doing just that is how the daughter discovered that steam is indeed hot enough to burn.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Chemists would use the term "sniffing the beaker" for the same thing, Frostbitten. I hope your daughter survives chemistry class.

Rule number one, never stick your nose over a beaker; always "waft" it with your hand. It's easier to heal burnt hands than burnt eyes.

Rule number two; never put anything back in the original container after you take it out. It creates risk of contamination since so many chemicals don't keep well if wet or exposed to air.

Rule number three: Plan for disaster. Always have good ventilation, hose, eyewash, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, and escape exits.

Although nobody really wants to admit that her cooking may require emergency procedures, this is invaluable advice for the kitchen as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Boko, your 5:11 was laugh out loud funny.

Does that make me a bad person?

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

no dr, it doesn't make you a bad person, Boko's 5:11 was very funny.

Thanks Boko not full migraines just lots of weather headaches that often never fully leave for days - common in my family. Advil migraine works wonders.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

With everyone at the BPH were could begin implementing the master plan. hehehe

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I used to know a lady from SOuthern ALberta who suffered when chinooks came. The change from low to high pressure (or is it the other way around) pretty felled her everytime.

dbg, thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to check with our intrepid receptionist to see if she has come across that book or material on the subject. Then on to design a "postal" safety routine or how to let the people in the back know there is trouble on the way, in the way, or just plain old call 911 time.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

dr, not that you were joking but it seems that real? Would there be information at a Workplace safety site?

Yes for me it is the change in the weather, normally once the transition goes through I am better if not recovered. The change from a high dry pressure system to a moist humid one is what sets it off the most, some years August seems unbearable with all the humidity, but I am almost always functionable (functionable for me that is), I can't complain too much.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Most important lesson I recall from high school chemistry:

Hydrochloric Acid will eat these little bitty holes in your brand-new Britannia Jeans.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Best lesson I learned in High School chemistry, let your lab partner do the pouring, offer to record the data :-).

RD, the pants afterwards are what you should have proudly pronounced were "fashion statements".

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, "acid washed jeans" only came into fashion a few years later.

Hey, I guess I was, like, a trend-setter!

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

dr |Only if you think the suspension of habeus corpus is funny.
I hope Yoki is safe and is able to make herself understood. American isn't her first language.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Strangely enough, yup it was that real. Thing is, now that I am aware of it, I would feel better for the people in the front if we had an emergency code in place. We had one for an occasional client who was being stalked, but that office, and that person are not in the buidling anymore. The office she was in had an outer door to sneak out of so that solution won't work for the front people. Good idea to check out the Workplace Safety sites, dmd.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

dr, I have worked in a couple of places, one had bomb threat procedures posted predominantly on the walls, I used to read them everytime I photocopied something, and another company where we received a bomb threat, it was the first time I ever experienced it and fortunately it has never occured again. Even though at the time I new that it was likely just a hoax that climb down 22 flights of stairs was unnerving, knowing what to do beforehand helped.

If nothing else an employee manual of procedures for fire, threats etc is a good idea, that is the ex-healthy and safety memeber in me talking.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Mea Culpa Boko. (I plead a sick sense of humour)

I actually don't find what happened to Mr. Arar funny at all. Sometimes I am deeply offended by what our governments do. I find the absolute opposite treatment of Mr. Black an utter crime. Mr. Arar, we allow to be sent to Syria, and then we drag our feet all the way getting him home, and Mr. Black who so famously threw his Canadian citizenship back in our faces, we forgive utterly.

When I read 'Vanity Fair', I wondered at first why the novel stayed so relevant with its old fashioned language, and phrasing. It didn't take too long before I realized that all one had to do was look to many examples of the book in government. There are a lot of cases of Becky Sharp behaviour out there, and none of them hold up well to the clear light of day.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

dr, did you see Rick Mercer's rant about Conrad Black? Very funny. Not sure who deserves more punishment Conrad or Barbara Amiel, not all Canadians have forgiven.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

dr, get the book too, but since the feeling was that strong, definitely heed it.

Set up the emergency procedures (great idea), asap, is it possible to curtail the person's access to your workplace or make sure security is around? Make at least a temporary rule that nobody deals with him/her alone for a while?

Posted by: dbG | March 21, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If Conrad goes to prison we should take up a collection to buy Barbara a bucket and squeegee.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Boko you are on a roll today, perhaps Barbara could was away the "vermin press" with the squeegee.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, ooh. Poetry day today and last night As It Happens featured haiku about Conrad Black. Can't remember one of them now that I'm trying to and I was going to impress with my fluent, for a second language speaker, knowledge of Canadian.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Hi All,
Been gone for a while because the weather has turned from cold to nice and sunny. Been running the dogs out in the woods and up by the lake.
But I have a serious question:
I have been reading about these grilling asparagus recipes. They sound good but: Out here grilling means putting something on a wire or slotted cast iron apparatus over a charcoal or gas heat to brown and sear. How does one keep the EVOO and sauce on the asparagus on the grill? Won't it just drip through and flare up?

What Martooni said.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I've always enjoyed Conrad's shenanigans even while deploring many of his actions and his attitude. Barbara Amiel was raised by people with a social concsience but spent her career excoriating the poor and working class. I put her on par with the spawn of the Barbara Frum.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse


Why our flag colors?
We're pretty darn white, yep.
But red snow? Nope.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 21, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The rice cooker is indeed a bit dangerous.

Less dangerous, but humbling anyway, is Thai curry paste. I'm experimenting with a small collection of cans from Maesri
I wonder how the Thais got by without chilis.

On an unrelated subject, Yale University Press will release "The Occupation of Iraq: winning the war, losing the peace" by Iraqi politician Ali A. Allawi on April 2. So for once, we'll have an analysis of the occupation by a well-placed Iraqi. I think I'll order a copy. Even if the competition at Princeton has a new, expensive technical book that I ought to get first.

Amazing how a Google search for YUP or PUP will lead to these presses. HUP and OUP work reasonably well, too.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 21, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

bh, we grill our asparagus in tin foil or on an aluminum plate on the grill (barbeque). I like it crunchy so we do not cook long, but everyone is different.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I once bought a drnk sized can of "Sweat" on the way out of town at the Shangahi airport. Didn't try it though.
Thanks, dmg. Explains a lot.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC: drink.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dmg, Where do you buy (get) tin foil? A long time ago we used to peel it off the back of gum wrappers but it wasn't big enough to grill asparagus.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry forgot to speak american, does google have a canadian-american translator?

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Well Canada does have a lot of minerals not available here in Oregon. Just asking.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I guess Vote For The Worst has worked. Sanjaya is not going home.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 21, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi, bh!

I heard the haiku on As It Happens - very funny. I just listened to it again - here's my favorite:

I'm from the U S
Who the heck is Conrad Black?

My thoughts exactly! So, I wiki'd him, and none other than Patrick Fitzgerald is prosecuting him in Chicago - criminal fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice (look out, Conrad!). And the trial started (wait for it) on March 14 - Pi Day!

Must be quite a BPH...

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm feeling bad about the awfulness that is Sanjaya. He's from the "Seattle area" (so is Blake). A thousand apologies.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand, how could he not get voted out, didn't watch.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod writes colors
Imput into Translator
What comes out? Colours..

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Where is he going Joel?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

My most sincere apologies for the Sanjaya mess. I will not vote for the worst, ever, ever, ever again.

Where were Sanjaya's parents when he went to the Seattle auditions? You'd think they could see the train wreck that is coming.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Joel, AI hasn't been on here yet. But I don't watch it. I'm watching Scaborough right now.

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

But Scarborough is giving us a big hint. Afer sayin I'm not give the folks on the west coast the results. heg?

Posted by: bh | March 21, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Like a zombie from "Dawn of the Dead," it appears that Rose Mary Woods is back:

I had not seen a picture of Kyle Sampson before. That dude has one serious forehead. He could easily do a Conehead at Halloween.

Posted by: bill everything | March 21, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Favourites breakfast of a lot of Malaysians and Bruneians : rice cook in coconut milk. Eat it with deep fried anchovies, toasted peanuts and chilli paste. It's called nasi lemak.

Posted by: rain forest | March 21, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Sampson looks like Rove's offspring though Karl doesn't have any. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Over on Huffpo someone pointed out that Tony Snow claimed that Bush wasn't consulted about the firings so no executive priviledge was established.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Karl Rove does have offspring. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Boko, indeed! Twin evil spawn of different mothers.

Posted by: bill everything | March 21, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Boko, as to your 9:53, Froomkin also had this to note today:

"Here's pre-press secretary Tony Snow in an op-ed headlined "Executive Privilege is a Dodge" in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on March 29, 1998:

'Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

'Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

'One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold -- the rule of law.'"

Posted by: bill everything | March 21, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, bill everything, the cynicism of this White House apparently renders it immune to irony.

Posted by: Tim | March 21, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I find it (can't decide on the appropriate metaphor, I'll go with "telling") that Ken Starr, special prosecutor extraordinaire in rooting out the evils of oral sex in the White House is now before the U.S. Supreme Court making sure high school students can't have signs saying "Bong Hits for Jesus" across the street during a ceremony.

Is this guy short on work? I thought his deanship at Pepperdine would finally mean I don't have to hear about him again.

Dahlia Lithwick has a typically hilarious account of the oral argument at

Posted by: bill everything | March 21, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

That must be a smoking BPH, nobody's staggered back online to say what a good time they had. I'm so jealous I'm going to bed right now.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 22, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree,maybe everyone went out for something flapjacks.....
Can't wait to see the pictures

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 22, 2007 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Flapjacks is a wonderful word. My IL-MN parents used it to mean pancakes, but looking it up, apparently that's not right, and it means other things.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 22, 2007 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Anything that can be spoken here?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 22, 2007 3:20 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. Yes, I'm waiting on pins and needles to hear about the BPH and see some pix, too. I'm aware of (and participated in acquiring part of) a "surprise" for the BPH, and am dying to see/hear about it. But I don't want to spoil it--I just know you guys will get a kick out of it.

IMHO, there's VERY big news this morning out of the Justice Department (sort of) that will surely be the final nail in Gonzo's coffin, beyond any doubt. It's this bombshell:

Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2007; A01

"The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.

"Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.

"She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.

"The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said," Eubanks said. "And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public."

"Eubanks, who served for 22 years as a lawyer at Justice, said three political appointees were responsible for the last-minute shifts in the government's tobacco case in June 2005: then-Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and Keisler's deputy at the time, Dan Meron.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 22, 2007 5:42 AM | Report abuse

RIP to Calvin Deforest, a.k.a. Larry Bud Melman on the David Letterman show for 20 years.

And it looks like there's going to be bad/sad news from the John Edwards campaign today: it's looking like he may withdraw from the race because of a recurrence of his wife's breast cancer.

Meanwhile, the gummint has issued a report saying that its reconstruction efforts in Iraq weren't very good. Gee, maybe a Wash Post reporter oughta write a book about that. ...oh, wait, he did.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 22, 2007 6:18 AM | Report abuse

RIP Calvin...

Morning all!!! *the whole Grover thing, especially for Dear Little One*

Ah, quite the night last night! 'Mudge, we couldn't quite infiltrate the kitchen to use the toothpick flags, but the ladies DID try and work them into their hairstyles. You and *Tim were sorely missed. I won't spoil the OTHER surprise, but there was much jealously at the table. Yoki is simply delightful, and (through her American interpreter, TBG) very much appreciated the plethora of Candaian flaggage. She even managed to smile after suffering through a mangling of "O, Canada." She was also far too kind in bringing some north of the border swag for the BPH crew. bc, Raysmom, omni, College Parkian, mo, MaggieO'D, Annie (who's doing very well, she wants all to know) and LostInThought rounded out the festivities. Oh yeah, me too. :-)

The group provided Annie with a small token of our deep appreciation for a certain yearly event she celebrates, in part by leaving the BPH WAY too soon. :-)

Here's the photographic proof:

Have a great day, all!

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 22, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Great pictures Scottynuke.

Posted by: dmd | March 22, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Indeed! Nice suit, Yoki! And I love the fact that there were all those flags and no international incidents.

Posted by: dbG | March 22, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Ooooh, I am sooo jealous! I wanted to be there!

Great pics, S'nuke. Thanks for sharing.

What does one have to do to obtain a BPH sticker?

Posted by: Slyness | March 22, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Morning, friends. Scotty the pictures are great. It looks like fun was had by all. If I ever get to an event, I know I'm going to feel like a fly in buttermilk, which probably won't be bad at all.

RD, loved the poem. And the comment you and Mudge made regarding Coutlter was too funny for words.

dmd, hope you're feeling much better. headaches can be really bad.

dr, a little worried about you, be careful if you think this person has a serious problem. wilbrod's advice sounds good.

I don't watch American Idol, never have. I don't care for it. I'd rather watch a movie I've seen twenty times than to watch that show. For me, it hurts too bad, and not from the sound, but the body language.

Loomis, I agree the kids do lose in the battle of the food. I like vegetables, but don't eat enough of them. And the vegetables that people find bitter are my favourites. Of course, I like most vegetables, and onions are right at the top of the list. Onion rings or any other way is good with me. As children we ate more vegetable than meat because my mother had the garden. That was good because the meat was pork, not good. Okra, I love any way, even boiled, but not to death.

And both of my grandsons love rice. One wants it with nothing on it, and the other one wants butter on it. These kids can eat all the rice you got. No gravy, nothing, plain rice. Of course, french fries all day. I'm always trying to encourage them to eat other vegetables. And that is a serious fight.

Have a good day, friends. I'm off from the center for today, and next week. But will still go to the church for that one. Have much cleaning to do today. I am not walking to the lake yet, but do walk at the church parking lot one day a week. Every time I attempt to get started something comes up, but with the weather warming up, I will eventually start back.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Scotty and all *waving*.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 22, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Morning! Scotty is correct in his assessment of the evening. Yoki was so kind to bring Canadian mementoes of the occasion, and the BPH stickers are terrific. He did leave out one key piece of information we learned last night--the Achenwaitress' childhood nickname is Boodle!

Posted by: Raysmom | March 22, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, my dad says he's been watching Presidents since Roosevelt or maybe earlier, and he says this is one of the worst. He cannot believe some of the stuff that goes on with this administration. He watches television and the news all day, and it worries him. He lived during the depression and he thinks this country is heading in that direction. I tell him not to watch that stuff. He does try to get out more.

And it does sound as if the news is not good from the Edward's camp. I hope not, don't wish sickness on anyone.

Error, you make me laugh. Your comments regarding the ringlets are something else.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 22, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone read Robt Novak? I can't figure out which planet Novak is living on. Clearly, his analysis is taken from somewhere else. Seeing that he is SOOOO connected with what is happening with my own eyes, it is truly beyond belief (at least to me, little Dolphy)

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 22, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Nice pix, Scotty. All those flags compel me to mention the Great Canadians whose birthday is today:

William Shatner (76)
Dave Keon (67)
Elvis Stojko (35)

And on this date in 1894, The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association won the first-ever Stanley Cup championship.

And let's have a moment of silence for Marcel Marceau, who is 84 today. At this very moment he is pretending to blow out imaginary candles on an imaginary cake, but his wacky mime friends have replaced them with joke candles that keep reigniting.

Posted by: byoolin | March 22, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

byoolin have to thank you for mentioning that it was Bobby Orr's birthday the other day, I was able to stump my husband (huge Bobby Orr fan).

Posted by: dmd | March 22, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Never mind any of this --- the new Volvo S 80 has a heartbeat monitor!!! so you can tell if someone is lurking in your car!!!

Star Trek has finally arrived

Posted by: JBM | March 22, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

No, Marceau isn't Canadian, but we like to mock mimes like everybody else.

Posted by: byoolin | March 22, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, I hope there aren't any imaginary candles in there, I think I just saw him stuck in a glass box.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 22, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

dmd, my wife thinks it's funny that whenever I say the words "Bobby Orr" I put my hand over my heart.

Posted by: byoolin | March 22, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

DM - I am really laughing here!!!!!

Posted by: byoolin | March 22, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, since the kids learned to talk my husband has quizzed them on three important lessons in life, greatest hockey player, baseball player, football player (his choices). When they would forget Bobby Orr he would take them to the office to see the mounted poster of Bobby, a poster my husband's mom had saved from when he was a kid, when we received it we had it dry mounted.

Posted by: dmd | March 22, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

BPH looks like it was fun!

I have to admit that I'm pretty bad about eating fruits and vegetables, but it's really hard to get all those servings in! According to the "My Pyramid" website, I should be eating 4 cups of vegetables and 2.5 cups of fruits each day. That seems like a lot. Plus, no where is there anything that says how that translates into real world measurements. How may if I eat one orange and one apple, is that 2.5 cups? Is it more? Less? If I have a glass of cranberry juice (I drink the 100% juice stuff, not the cocktail) what does that equal--does one cup of fruit juice equal one cup of fruit? Does the tomato on my sandwich count towards my fruits or my vegetables? I'm so confused!

Posted by: jw | March 22, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I am wearing an Alberta pin and will place my boodle sticker on the car. Boodle waitress, named Boodle by her softie-daddy, now has a boodle sticker too. So, either you mark one in the synchonicity column or perhaps the great Boodler-in-the-Sky arranged that perfection.

Fun is good. I propose we invite the crabbiest world leaders to a BPH. Moods improve. Laughter commences. Anthems are sung in earnest. World peace might follow.

Yoki is not Japanese -- although there is nothing wrong with that -- scratch a Canadian and they come up partly Irish.

Other Canadians, come on down. Yoki survived.

Raysmom admitted that winning two prizes for Pie obligates her to perhaps making pie for a mid summer boodle event. KickA$$Raspberry Pie.

Other things I learned:

Scottynuke is not afraid of color;
Mo is considering green to accent her penchant for colors darker than black;
Lost in Thought knits in between raising accomplished children;
BC is not a physics major;
TBG is related to a famous person;
Maggie OD's voice is one part silk,one part Lauren Bacall;
Omni really did read Omni mags back in the day;
Annie is lovely in person and online;
"Boodle" the waitress just finished her master's degree.

Last scene: Two young ladies at the bar kept sneaking peaks at us. (We don't fit the lobbyist-agent of K Street power profiles, nor are we Gen-Xers trolling for fun and love.) When Yoki stood up to stretch -- did I say she is admirably tall? -- one of the bar ladies pointed at the Canadian flag with curiousity on her face. I did not hear the answer. But in the next instant, Yoki was hugging them both and "gifting" them with Canadian flags. They left whirling the flags, and smiling.

Hey, the Canadian flag is prettier than ours, with the maple leaf and all.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 22, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Best Boodle Pictures Ever.

So sad I missed Yoki. Looks like everybody had a good time.

Novak's column was a masterpiece of misdirection and half-truth. Even by his standards.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 22, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Is the boodle waitress the sameone from back in the day? And is her nickname really boodle?!? That's just weird.

Posted by: jw | March 22, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

jw, if I am not incorrect one glass of cranberry juice (100%) is one serving, one apple/orange probably a little more than a serving unless they are small.

Posted by: dmd | March 22, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Senior Jkt!

I was thinking that maybe it was I and not some wierd stuff that was just appearing amidst Novak's column. I think that there are not a whole lot of really attractive people in that group of players, but "my goodness" when I read his piece today, all I could think of was "The Plane, boss, the plane!"

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 22, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I missed the BPH, but many thanks to College Parkian, Yoki and frostbitten for filling the Error household with all manner of coconutty confections!

(With an Honorable mention to FedEx!)

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 22, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank God someone agrees with me about Sanjaya Malakar. I was beginning to think I had lost it completely. I can understand (vaguely) why pre-adolescent girls keep his Idol life alive, but what accounts for the benign comments of the panel--including, omigosh, Simon. It's enough to make one think seriously about a rigged Idol. That the fix is in. I can see the producers coming to Simon, Paula, Randy, and saying, *Look, this guy is a total loser as a singer and performer, but he's young, he's pretty, he appeals to a large audience of perfect idiots, especially female. In short, he does wonders for our ratings. Do what you can to help his survival, knowing that in the end, wiser heads will prevail, and he'll eventually get voted off. But let's all milk him for what he's worh for now.* And Randy, Paula, and Simon, knowing what side their bread is buttered on, bowed their heads and said *Yes, oh profit line.*

Posted by: SouthernBoy | March 22, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

JBW says, "... the new Volvo S 80 has a heartbeat monitor!!!"

So as we drive, we monitor our heart beat to avoid having a big attack while driving?

No, wait, the monitor feed is broadcast to Washington Hospital Center and cardiologists assess our every lub dub, lubity dub?

Safety is Volvo's middle name. But, when will they bring back the excellent and spare 240 series?

Posted by: College Parkian | March 22, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Thank God someone agrees with me about Sanjaya Malakar. I was beginning to think I had lost it completely. I can understand (vaguely) why pre-adolescent girls keep his Idol life alive, but what accounts for the benign comments of the panel--including, omigosh, Simon. It's enough to make one think seriously about a rigged Idol. That the fix is in. I can see the producers coming to Simon, Paula, Randy, and saying, *Look, this guy is a total loser as a singer and performer, but he's young, he's pretty, he appeals to a large audience of perfect idiots, especially female. In short, he does wonders for our ratings. Do what you can to help his survival, knowing that in the end, wiser heads will prevail, and he'll eventually get voted off. But let's all milk him for what he's worh for now.* And Randy, Paula, and Simon, knowing what side their bread is buttered on, bowed their heads and said *Yes, oh profit line.*

Posted by: SouthernBoy | March 22, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Joel got quoted unattributed in a comment on a Defamer post about AI.

I set the record straight. Always trying to get the word out.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 22, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Confidential to kb:
You make "flogging the foma" sound so dirty.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 22, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

New kit.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 22, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

New Kit !

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 22, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

New Kit.

Posted by: dr | March 22, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, If that's your idea of a confidential message, I don't want to see how you proclaim something to the world.

This is my idea of confidential: the shadows at the bottom of the boodle after the new kit is posted. (We have to stop meeting like this...)

Posted by: kbertocci | March 22, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I came back from the new kit to get you guys but I see.... grumble grumble grumble

Posted by: Boko999 | March 22, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"I've looked through the report. You could go blind trying to find any budget numbers in the thing. But I found one online: NIH got about $28.5 billion in 2006. Maybe that number should be higher. But it's not exactly chump change."

Oh, but it's never enough. When your research program is dedicated to studying problems and not solving them money is the fuel that allows you to go on forever.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 22, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: ruslik | April 10, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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