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Survived New Hampshire. Survived the big Nor'easter. Survived the campaign trail. Got a chance to see Obama, Dodd and McCain in action, or at least people who were doing a great impersonation of them. I won't pretend that I've become particularly close to any of these folks, except for maybe Chris.

I had fun hanging out with Mike Litwin of the Rocky Mountain News. Mike has a new blog and the other day he posted his first link. The crowd roars its approval. (At one point during the snowstorm I began to worry that Litwin, several miles behind me on I-89, might have perished. He didn't answer his cell. There are people who have the aura of someone who might any day be taken out by a freak natural disaster. But he survived to blog another day.)

Obama, Dodd and McCain all performed well on the stump. Dodd has been particularly good in the forums and is terrific on the stump -- a guy who really likes being a politician and looks like he's having fun. Bill Richardson is another old-school pol who likes to shake hands and mix it up. Hillary, as has been written several times on this blog, is looking very strong. On the GOP side, McCain looked to me this weekend like a man with plenty of energy and determination to become president, even if he is, what, 137 years old?

I agree with Anna Quindlen that this is a huge election coming up and we're lucky, as a nation, that there's a lot of political talent willing to run for office.

This Sharon Begley piece on human origins in Newsweek is fascinating.

"The source of such structural changes must come, like every aspect of our physiology, from genes. Combing the genome for genes that emerged just when language, art, culture and other products of higher intelligence did, researchers have found three with the right timing.

"The first, called FOXP2, plays a role in human speech and language, but it must do something else in other species, because the decidedly nonverbal mouse has a version of it. Using the standard molecular-clock tactic, Svante Paabo and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute estimate that the human version of FOXP2 appeared less than 200,000 years ago--about when anatomically modern humans stepped onto the world stage--and maybe as recently as 50,000. If so, then it is only humans as modern as those in the last diaspora out of Africa who developed advanced, spoken language. Another gene with interesting timing is microcephalin, which affects brain size. It carries a time stamp of 37,000 years ago, again when symbolic thinking was taking hold in our most recent ancestors. The third, called ASPM and also involved in brain size, clocks in at 5,800 years. That was just before people established the first cities in the Near East and is well after Homo sapiens attained their modern form. It therefore suggests that we are still evolving."

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 20, 2007; 8:19 AM ET
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Next: Bring Me the Head of Sanjaya Malakar


So the Old Nutmegger does well on the stump, eh?

Posted by: Loomis | March 20, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Evolving??? This group??

And someone from Colorado had trouble on dinky little I-89 in the LOW part of the White Mountains?? InconCEIVEable!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

PASCAL???? triple oy...

Actually, an ok language for a professional, but never blossomed IMHO because of the disconnect with the hardware and peripherals.

Actually, I purchased one of the original Pascal Microengines. (western Digital).

APL could become totally illegible. PhD was needed to understand what was up with some code. Long time ago, some big egg heads started a company called Scientific Time Sharing that finally morphed into Manugistics and then somewhat fizzled out in a cloud of Java, I guess.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 20, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Joel, FOXP2... as few as 50,000 years old? Wait, what about the world only being 6,000 years old? What's going on?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 20, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

He doesn't mention you at all. You'd think that, with all the boodlers that are going to check uot his blog, he could at least thank/blame you.

In other news, the co-inventor of the Backus-Naur Form has died. Naturally, the Newspaper of record hasx the obit that the Post doesn't:

Posted by: wiredog | March 20, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Many of the comments on the very cool Sharon Begley piece are of a similar vein, but this is my favorite one touting Creation Science Evangelism:


Keep an open mine. So maybe those CSE folks can fall right in!

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Joel, was the time stamp on that microcephalin gene an hour behind, like the boodle time stamps? 'Cuz if Hal has anything to do with our genetic evolution, I'd start to worry about where our species is headed.

And please tell me Rupert Murdoch has nothing to do with the FOXP2 gene.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If we're still evolving, there's still hope for a compassion/empathy gene.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge!!!!


Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 20, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Yes, DM? (And whatever happened to Run, and C?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Bishop Ussher, who placed Creation at 4004 BC might have been intrigued by the notion that a crucial bit of new human genetics popped up 5,800 years ago.

I kind of doubt that Mayans, or east Asians, would be impressed that ASPM is somehow related to the development of elaborate civilizations.

Meanwhile, in the political world, Romney seems to have the money and the professional political operatives.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 20, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I used punch cards in highschool algebra and hated it. In college I learned FORTRAN before I learned Basic (long story). I mostly use PERL and OmniMark these days, but have dabbled in Basic, Quick Basic, Assmebler (IBM and DEC flavors), PL1, Visual Basic, C, C++, Visual C++, Java, Visual Java, SQL, and Python (And a few others that nobady has ever heard of probably). PERL is my fave.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have never been a C fan. Used to be unstructured to the point that it made me gittery. When people were busy with C in Business, I was trying to go Borland Delphi Direction (OOP Pascal, plus).

Now, I see everything leaving to Open Source solutions.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 20, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

If our local paper, at the end of last week, touted Hillary as coming to town on Saturday, there was no coverage after the fact--in she indeed stumped here. Instead, on Sunday, the paper reported her at events in Houston on Saturday. Perhaps her fundraising stop here in Alamo City was cancelled? If it's matter of money--and raising it, Houston is the place to be, not San Antonio.

Bill Richardson was here last night. The story of interest in our local paper yesterday, before Richardson's stop, was by politial reporter Jaime Castillo, who wrote (yet another story) about former Clinton cabinet member and HUD secretary Henry Cisneros' support of Richardson. The new angle or twist in Castillo's story was that in Cisneros' eagerness to support Hispanics of all political stripes, Cisneros also endorsed San Antonio's Alberto Gonzales for his current position of U.S. Attorney General. Oops.

Mary Bomar, head of the National Park Service, will be in town tonight in a idea-gathering public forum in San Antion City Council chambers. Most people, I suspect, will want to talk about the local missions--I'm not sure if they're part of the national park system, or proposed to be.

I want to talk to Bomar about Castle Williams on Governor's Island, where Gustavus Loomis was commander of the prison within the fort during the Civil War. A young woman in New York has badly misled actors such as Ralph Fiennes, Al Pacino, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman into believing that this national treasure, this hugely historic fort that dates from the War of 1812, would be an ideal spot to situate a Globe Theater. Would you put a theater in Alcatraz? Abu Ghraib?

Then I would also like to talk with Ms. Bomar about parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

Posted by: Loomis | March 20, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I think they teamed up with DM and put out a few albums.

LiT, going back a couple of days, would Godiva be a decent substiute for a Dove Bar?


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

something weird just happened: I clicked submit and the screen seemed to refresh, but my comments didn't appear in the boodle, but were still in the comments box. So I hit F5 and the comments box went blank and my comments appeared in the boodle. What's going on here now? HAL???

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Oops, forgot to mention COBOL and RPGII (RPGII IMO techically isn't a programming language at all)

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse


That is also probably the first opinion expressed in the boodle about RPG.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 20, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about LiT, but Godiva is always a great substitute!

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

My fave is Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I remember Bishop Ussher (1581-1656)--what a kidder that guy was! (He was just "Jimmy the Kidder" to those of us who knew him at Trinity College in Dublin--Go, Mighty Fighting Hammers of God!) Bit of a precocious type: got is B.A. at age 17 and his master's at 19 or 20. Became Professor of Theological Controversies and then got his Doctor of Divinity. And despite the title "Bishop" he was a Protestant--married a gal named Phoebe, as I recollect. Oh, yes, Phoebe and the Jimster cut quite a swath about town back then.

Of course, the Jiminator had a pretty weak stomach: he was watching the beheading of Charles I from the roof of a friends house, but fainted before the crucial moment. (I was out of town at the time on assignment, and missed the fun. And anyway Cromwell and I never did get along. Guy was way too bossy.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, talk about evolution -- you're way up the chain. A man of class and distinction. Yes, Godiva is an acceptable substitute. I was putting the bar much lower, so that more men would be able to reach it.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

My bro and I would trick our little bro into thinking that Baker's Chocolate was a Chunky. It worked once...I feel bad for contributing to the deliquency of a minor. BTW, I think something is up with the system...flashing rectangles keep coming and going. And, Slyness, if this is truly your birth anniverasry, many happy returns on the occasion of your eternal 39th.

Posted by: jack | March 20, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

omni, have you tried Ghardellis, squares with the carmel inside, so good and worthy competition to Godiva.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Poor Dr. Dino is in jail. He defrauded the government, if you can believe that. Maybe we could send him some reading material and extra impenetratable Asto-diapers.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm quite partial to Lindt Truffles and the cornucopia of Ritter Sport varieties.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I would have to vote for the Dove bar,It stays around a little longer then the chocolate.

Cute point LiT about lowering the "bar" I just got it.

Plus after the Dove bar is gone you still have something left......a stick...which is good for many uses.

You can build a number of things with dove bar/popsicle sticks.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Omni, how sweet of you to remember! It is indeed my natal day. Thank you, jack, for your kind words.

I had to get up early to go to a 7:30 meeting at church, where the committee I'm a member of agreed to spend money for a new boiler, asbestos removal and a new AC compressor, to replace the 1949 model that we seem to have gotten our money's worth from.

My husband has to work late tonight, but he took me to dinner at a nice place Saturday evening. My daughters are going to make supper for me. The weather is lovely, high to be 73 but maybe rain this evening, so it will be a very nice day for a birthday.

Yes, I remember punch cards. The first fire station location model I worked with was based on two trays of cards, representing a street network. What an ordeal when you had to find and replace just one! I was sooo relieved when we could look at the data on a terminal and use the find function...that was around, oh, 1988.

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Slyness!!! *confetti and applause*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Re-posted from last boodle:

>yellojkt, tell your son that we are all still trying to recover from the disaster that is C.

Dophin Michael with all due respect, I say "piffle". We'd all be submitting jobs with JCL without Messr. Ritchie and Kernighan and their little C-based OS, Unix. There *is* a way to do it correctly, even if it's more observed in the breach. Of course I may be biased as I've been writing in it for 25 years, and I much prefer C++ at this point.

But still, the structure is in your head. I wrote an air pollution control system in about 120k lines in C with about 50 threads. When I learned C++ I realized the whole thing would map perfectly to C++ classes. That was 15 years ago, and I believe they're still selling it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

It's a little unclear to me if the timely emergence of these genes indicates true evolution. I can buy the notion that this development enabled certain interesting behaviors in portions of the population, but I do not see much evidence that said behaviors offered a significant reproductive environment.

I mean, do artsy and creative guys really get *that* many more women?

And I certainly don't see a whole lot of natural selection going on in the modern world. (For which I am eternally grateful.) At least I don't see the continuous slow selection of classic Darwinian evolution. I think we are moving into a period of significant genetic drift, like during the Precambrian.

The only type of true adaptive evolution I can envision in our future is punctuated equilibrium brought on by some rapid and massive change in the environment.

You know, something like a new disease that favors people with type A blood and a propensity for modern jazz.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Slyness, enjoy your day.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"Scharfenberger Dark" Uber Alles.

Happy Birthday Slyness!

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse


Would that disease grandfather fusion devotees into the "modern jazz" category?


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"It therefore suggests that we are still evolving."

Well, I don't know about other folks, but I believe this still applies to me. I think perhaps I come from a slow family tree, but we hope to catch up to the rest of you in another generation or two.

On the other hand, the peculiarities of my hand structure suggest that with a bit of careful selection, it might be possible in relatively short order to breed a brand of human possessing a second opposable digit on either hand. Any of you ladies out there who (a) possess an exceptionally broad range of pinky rotation and (b) interested in an experiment? For science, of course. Purely for science. Sacrifices must be made, you know, for the betterment of all mankind.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 20, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse


You sound a bit like the evil count in _The Princess Bride_ as he begins the pain trials on Wesley.

Must science always hurt so?

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Not the way I do it, sweetie...

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 20, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

*faxing SciTim the mad scientist goggles and the finger shears*

Posted by: jack | March 20, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Which is not to say that I'm not evil! Please, I have to keep my street cred... um, lab cred... with the other "mad" scientists.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 20, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I just noticed... the time stamps are correct.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 20, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Ha, slow family...

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bishop Ussher, if you think Evolution causes Biblical literalists heartburn; consider the implications of genetic determinism.

The Bible is pretty darn hard on gay folks, which forces conscientious literalists into the conclusion that homosexuality must, therefore, be a choice. For the alternative would be for the infallible Bible to condemn people for something over which they have no control - a truly abhorrent conclusion to all but the most unredeemable of bigots

This explains why any suggestion that there is a "gay gene" is met with such hysterical condemnation.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

That's it SciTim. Either you work on your maniacal cackling or it's before The Committee with you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Slyness.

I can tell you for a fact we're still evolving:

My kids are smarter than I am, and they have smaller pinkie fingers and toes.

I haven't checked on their appendixes (appendices?) yet, though.

They happen to like dark chocolate, too.

On an evolutionary chart, I think I'm one step down, knuckles dragging to try to scrape the hair off of the backs of my hands. Sign me up for a Geico commerical.


Posted by: bc | March 20, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, for the record mostlylurking noticed first I think at 10:05 St. Paddy's night (must not of been drinking any green beer, poor soul)

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"I mean, do artsy and creative guys really get *that* many more women?"

From observance of same, I'd say Yes, but not permanently or even monogamously - but the genes do seem to get passed on. It's a little bit cuckoo (heh) but while most women don't tend to keep them - too much d*mn work, creative guys are high maintenance to the nth degree - creative men in general have no trouble attracting female attention, even if they don't want it. The "poet singing meets Belushi" scene in Animal House was a fantasy I'm sure most guys long to indulge in (Belushi, not the poet).

Creative women, on the other hand, aren't considered "all that" by most men. Dunno if it's the spirit of competition or the assumed lack of domestic ability, or (best guess) that the concentration on the creative endeavor instead of on the male is a turn-off. Unless they're lesbian, which is a whole 'nother ball game (so to speak).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

the 10:50 was me (sorry)

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I guess it depends on what is meant by "Creative Women."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Pleasantries first: Happy birthday, slyness. Enjoy the good weather you seemed to have brought with you.

In college I was an undergrad TA and one of the assignments was to write a FORTRAN program to predict heat loss from an extended fin. I gave the students the option to use this brand-new program the department had bought called Lotus 1-2-3. No one attempted the spreadsheet. Nowadays, I wouldn't bother with anything I can't write an Excel formula for.

Joel, You need to get Hal to take some training from those Rocky Mountain High webmasters. Their commenters have bold and italics, and, I nearly faint from shock, hyperlinks.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if creative intelligent women really have a reproductive disadvantage. I can't think of a single man who wants to marry a dull stupid woman.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Well perhaps dull stupid men, might be interested RD (they exist in droves - trust me).

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I do think that very smart and creative people of either gender tend to do a lot of self-selection to favor people like themselves. The argument could be made that this leads to an "improvement" of the species.

OC course this argument, I assert, would be tragically wrong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse


DrDino must not want us to fall into an open mine gap.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

My point is, if everyone is trying to breed with the "best" choices out there, the system leads naturally to "like" ending up with "like." I think there is something in game theory that deals with this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

RD, to your point the self-selection is probably based subjectively, what may be dull to many is interesting to others. How you define "smart" is also very subjective, to me it goes far beyond a persons degrees and includes personality traits and demeanour. In this I separate intelligence from "smart" two very different qualities in my mind.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

RD, I was thinking of the artists, musicians and fiction writers of my acquaintance, of both sexes, and their relationships, both with each other and with non-artist/-musician/-writers.

Hollywood actors are a different species altogether. While I have understanding of the lure of performance for musicians on stage, I have no idea why anyone would *ever* want a 24/7 spotlight with fame, buzz and paparazzi.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

All this talk of selection reminds of a terrific movie: Idiocracy, Starring: Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph.

Hilariously scary look into the future.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the good wishes!

RD, I think you're right about the high maintenance of creative types. Male or female, the human cost can be high, although worth it for the rest of us.

On the Bible and homosexuality, the issue was going forth and multiplying. Having enough people was important. Anything that precluded that was condemned. It would be interesting to know which was more abhorrent to Hebrew culture, homosexuality or infertility.

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

dmd - excellent point. It is all subjective.

And sevenswans, your point is also well taken.

Heck, what do I know? I married a mathematician. And, as I have pointed out on an occasion or two, it was *her* idea...

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry abrupt change of topic, but saw this and thought what a great comedy skit it could be,;_ylt=AgxIyLa9hAek6TrjsqCGwu_MWM0F

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Re smartness: I see a fair share of smartie pants-iness in both colleagues and students. Hey, when you reward people constantly for having brains or beauty (sometimes both) you may miss the point of being human.

And that would be? We can develop virtures like kindness, humility, generosity, patience, vision, altruism....etc. I am much more interested in the evolution of more humanity and less inhumanity than say, if the last blonde on the planet will be born in Finland circa 2050 (not true, I think.)

I like my students, really. But at this phase in their lives part of what is missing is this true chestnut: smartness is not the be-all and end-all.

One amazing thing about Dr. John Mather is his ordinary kindness. I studied with Tom Schelling -- is big brother listening? -- well, you don't notice his niceness very much.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

RD, dull stupid women have a tremendous reproductive advantage if they (1) vaguely resemble Anna Nicole Smith and/or (2) are "reproductively willing" (to put it discreetly). However, I was referring to long-term relationships that nurture a household and lead to well-adjusted offspring. In my experience, the type of male that is able and willing to enter into those relationships, very intelligently seeks the type of female that is willing to provide the basics of domesticity, and vice versa. Intelligent women that want a family don't tend to stay with narcissistic, muse-driven men to do so, no matter how attractive and exciting the guy may be. Household talents are imperative to the survival of the species, after all. Creative types occasionally happily end up with each other, but it's unlikely that they will produce and raise children unless one or both of them makes that a priority over their muse.

I've always considered creativity to be a sport mutation in humans, showing up randomly in the gene pool and eluding attempts to lock it into a bloodline. Whether or not I'm correct is something for the geneticists to figure out, and I'm patiently waiting to see!

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Amazingly, I continue on topic here with my question about Bill Richardson. I wonder if not having his mother's Latino name hurts him.

I like him for a number of reasons, including watching in the Energy Czar position for a few years. Besides, ain't it time we had a Western pres again?

Speaking of westerners, I also like watching Jan Napolitano, but she doesn't look like the national arena type.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Like I have said before, intelligence isn't a virtue. It's more like a power. And with great Power comes great Responsibility.

No wait. That's Spiderman.

Anyway, I like that line in the song "Hands" by Jewel:

"In the end, only kindness matters."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Slyness. I'd take you to NY, buy you a bauble, etc., but...ya know how it ...certain people I'm married to would object. Vociferously.

Besides, I'm tapped out from the last field trip. But happy birthday anyway.

I can't factually answer your question about early Hebrew culture, but I can hazard a guess: I think they were much more concerned with infertility than homosexuality, by a significant margin, IMO. One of the early goddesses was Astarte, goddess of fertility. Fertility questions over who was barren and who wasn't crop up repeatedly in OT literature. So they were thinking about, talking aboput, and writing about it all the time. By contrast, homosexuality gets only two lines (and throw-away lines at that) buried in the laws; no stories or anecdotes or cautionary tales: zip, nada. Which indicates to me that it wasn't on their radar screen very much. Considering all the fire and brimstone being tossed around, if they thought it was a big deal I think it would have gotten more attention than that.

Padouk, on the evolutionary question of creativity, I would think creative people would by definition be good/better problem-solvers, be more empathetic, and would think "outside of the box" ("I know we've ALWAYS tried to stab mastodons with sharp sticks, but what if we tried attaching sharp flint arrowheads to the sticks? Guys? Whaddaya think?"). Creativity may (or may not) allow them to see problems from other people's points of view, or to consider a wider range of alternatives. To whatever extent any of this might be true, I would think it have an advantage in survival and selection. And women like a guy who can paint a bison on a cave wall--it's that whole "bad boy" thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

CP, point well taken. Kindness, generosity and altruism may not be useful for survival, but without them, humans are just large vicious primates with strong technological expertise.

On the other hand, just because a person is society-approved "beautiful" does not mean that they are *not* kind, altruistic, gentle and generous. Anna Nicole was actually a nice person. I was just pointing out that to most men, her personality was irrelevant.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Talk about an "ooooooooooooooooooooops..."

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't know that I want to evolve anymore myself, either. I think I'd look pretty weird with a big veiny hairless throbbing cranium, and wearing those shiny robes and slippers.

Hey all, I blogged a bit about the Gonzales situation, and some possible reaction to it from the man himself:

And tip 'o the hat to Mudge for helping me polish it.


Posted by: bc | March 20, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
And women like a guy who can paint a bison on a cave wall--it's that whole "bad boy" thing.

You're closer to Dr. Spencer Wells thinking--he, of National Geographic--than you realize, at least the first portion before the em-dash. Perhaps I can delve into this--and two pieces of genetic evidence that floored me--when I have more time, when Loomispouse is in Philly.

Posted by: Loomis | March 20, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

omni, that movie is absolutely a copy of the plot of the short story "The Marching Morons," by C. M. Kornbluth, published back in1951, with the exception that the protagonist in Kornbluth's book is a shady real estate broker who is inadvertently put into suspended animation by an unlikely accident in the dentist's chair. Also, no prostitutes are involved. He is revived centuries later by a member of the semi-secret cabal of smart people who are trying to figure out what to do with/to all the dumb people. He suggests selling them real estate on Mars and Venus, then shipping them off to space in rockets, which crash into the Sun. No one objects to the moral implications. After all, the majority of humanity have by now been bred for stupidity, which is a cardinal moral failing in the world of many hard science fiction authors (although I think that Kornbluth was just having fun with an extreme idea of his day). The previous odds-on favorite plan was to incite a global nuclear war, but the smart people didn't want to deal with all the bodies after emerging from their bunkers. Pragmatic, above all else. "Honest" John Barlow himself is tricked onto the very last rocket to the Sun, since this new world of only-the-smart people has no need for the genes for dishonesty, treachery, and greed.

This plot line has many failings, the most obvious being that complex human behaviors can be assigned to a genetic cause that can be bred into distinct strains within just a few generations of casual self-selection. Smart people breed with smart people, segregating "smart" genes from the general population, but generally choosing to produce few children. Meanwhile, dumb people in the general population breed like rabbits. I was shocked to discover that there are still pockets of otherwise-smart people who think this idea has intellectual merit; who see it, even, as a profound and clarifying truth. In fact, a general increase in standard of living correlates with a sharp decrease in birth rate within a society within a generation or two, regardless of whether the "breeding" individuals are at the top or bottom within that society; however, the higher one is on the social and financial ladder, the less likely one is to have a large family. Smart people continue to emerge from shocking poverty, negating a principle prediction of the "marching morons" thesis. And of course, extreme financial and social success famously produces in-breeding of undesirable traits by limiting the class of acceptable mates to include only a very small population. With forcible mate-selection like that, it is indeed possible to breed for certain traits. The track record for such inadvertent breeding programs has not historically favored a genetic endowment that leaves the progeny with superior mental or physical gifts. One need look no further than the frequency of hemophilia within European royalty at the end of the 19th century. Or, in these modern times, Paris and Nicky Hilton.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | March 20, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Slyness!

Scotty, I'm picturing that story done in the Get Smart style: "Would you believe..."

Mudge, contrary to popular (male) belief, that whole "bad boy" thing gets really old, really fast.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 20, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Cave art may have been teen graffiti.
Singing Neanderthals
Lets speculate like it's 25,000 BCE

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear it, Raysmom. I never understood that phenomenon, and never liked it. Hell, I don't even understand why the "Sawyer" look (long, greasy, unkempt hair, four-day growth of beard, etc.) is supposed to be so hot.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you are SUCH a tease. But thanks anyway! I'd like to see MY husband take me to NYC and buy me a bauble at Tiffany's. Heck, he could take me to Tiffany's here, but I bet he won't!

Yeah, I think infertility was a bigger issue for the Hebrews than homosexuality.

I think stupidity is inherent in all of us. Even smart people do stupid things...Of course, my perspective is that of a civil servant whose whole career was dedicated to serving people who do stupid things...

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Do people make breeding choices according to todays cultural values or older instincts. An aggressive badboy with a switch-spear was probably better able to deal with a cavebear than a poet wishing to get in touch with the bear's inner being.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

From a student note a few minutes ago: "I want to thank you for your useful input (adding Star Trek to my statement) toward my medical school application."

Own your nerdiness; let your nerdiness reveal your humanity; tell them something real about yourself. Others may insert [knitting, raising peanuts, cave painting, old boat lore, etc}

I am glad he took the risk.

And another student sent cell-phone images of three signs that MISUSE the apostrophe. She wrote: "I see this everywhere now since your class. What is wrong with people!?"

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

// Anna Nicole was actually a nice person. I was just pointing out that to most men, her personality was irrelevant.//

I get a little sick of crap like that. Especially after being subjected to female Teen Magazines and middle aged women mooning over Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

My calendar says it's the first day of spring. Why did I think it was the 21st? Oh, well. Happy Spring everyone!

Posted by: Raysmom | March 20, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Geez, you show up four hours late for a boodle and it's practically full.

Sharon Begley seems to be channelling William Hurt (57 years old today!) as Nick in "The Big Chill", who said:

"I'm evolving. I'm *still* evolving."

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Not so fast, Raysmom: it doesn't get here until 1:26 p.m. EDST. We've got 36 minutes of winter left.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I will amend my phrase to "most men that downloaded her picture" or "most men that fantasized about her", but other than that, I'll stand by the statement (the free umbrage drawer is on the right, behind the hatstand).

Raysmom, my calendar says March 21 is still the first day of spring, but Happy Spring to you, too!

I vote for Godiva truffles.

. ..and Happy Birthday Slyness! Sorry to be behind the crowd - hope it's a very birthdayish sort of day!

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

happy spring right back at ya Raysmom. I've been meaning to post that all day, but kept getting distracted bby stray thoughts. Which brings up this:

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Oops, wait a minute. 1:26 p.m. was last year. I'm still trying to find this year...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Fortran was my favorite programming language, hands down. Cobol (in my youthful opinion) was stodgy and uncool, and Pascal was such a new kid on the block at the time, I only took one class in it (switched majors by the time they offered C+, but I should've gone for it, I know, I know).

Am I on topic yet? (Bueller?)

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

For Emma DiVito:

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

My original point was just that I wasn't sure if there was a good mechanism for how the genes Joel mentioned (Not to be confused with the joels Gene mentioned) gave a reproductive advantage. Mudge, as is his custom, gave a really good hypothesis, but this might be one of those questions for which Science has no good answer.

As to the Anna Nicole Smith and the like. There is what is called the cocktail party phenomenon. You see a person of the appropriate gender. Based upon visual clues you may approach with your ganglia twitching. But it takes just a moment or two for the lack of intelligence or dullness of personality to dispel the attraction. So looks aren't enough.

But maybe there is a person standing there that you didn't notice before, who is brave enough to interject a clever comment or two into the conversation. You take notice. You listen. You laugh. And suddenly that person starts to become amazingly attractive to you.

And this is how the species survives.

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

Is this the *real* sign that Alberto is about to go?

Bush Affirms Support for Gonzales

President Bush reaffirmed his "strong backing and support" for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in a telephone conversation with him this morning, an endorsement that came amid wide speculation about Gonzales's future in the administration...

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

RD... that's your "feminine side" talking. I think that might be more true for women than men.

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, TBG, truth is I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

But you are right, TBG. It might be more a female thing. After all, it's the only way I ever got any dates.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

RD, you just described how I met my husband, not the person I noticed on first glance, but the one who caught my attention with conversation (OK not bad looking either), the looks alone were not enough.

Thanks for the post for Emma DiVito, a very sad loss.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

RD - your 10.39 commented reminded me that last week an article in the Post about Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who wrote in his blog that the evidence is growing that there is "some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals."

Mohler gets into some fine rhetorical gymnastics: "The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior.... We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation.... Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation."

The David Crary article is here:

Albert Mohler's blog post is here:

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

And RD, by Mohler's logic, if your 1.17 statement that you are "a lesbian trapped in a man's body" is true, then you are a SINNER.

REPENT lest the Eternal Imaginary Fires Of Heck consume you, etc., etc..

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC - "commented" shuddabin "comment", obviously.

Happy B-Day, Slyness. And Bobby Orr. And my brother.

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

RDP, lesbain in a mans body, hhmmm. Damded if you go either way as I see it.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Happy B'day Slyness!

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

>you may approach with your ganglia twitching

"Ah, but it does make the ganglia twitch"

Dr. Emilio Lazardo at Trenton Psych in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension"

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

NCAA Renames March Madness 'March Bipolar Disorder'

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

RD, LOL for ". . .the genes Joel mentioned (Not to be confused with the joels Gene mentioned)"

Please don't let my innate cynicism spoil the truth of the matter (as shown by the boodle, in this and previous threads): That intelligent, kind men and kind, intelligent women tend to be romantic, and definite "keepers" in the reproductive and evolutionary stakes. Therefore, I hold a lot of hope for humanity's eventual improvement.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Perfect Tommy: Emilio Lizardo. Wasn't he on TV once?

Buckaroo Banzai: You're thinking of Mr. Wizard.

Reno: Emilio Lizardo is a top scientist, dummkopf.

Perfect Tommy: So was Mr. Wizard.

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

(Error - I knew I could count on you to catch that.)

Regarding the notion that "homosexuality is a choice." The thing is, I just don't find the idea, you know, all that tempting. Perhaps it is just me, but I can't help but wonder why, given the risk of familial and social ostracism, the social injustice inherent in our present laws, and the existence of Scarlett Johansson, any man would "choose" to become gay if he wasn't hardwired that way to begin with.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I believe Spring commences shortly after 8 p.m. tonight.

And Emma DeVito is indeed a great loss. Again, my condolences.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Emma DiVito

Mega mea culpa.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Bad news, Raysmom: the Vernal Equinox comes at 7:07 p.m. tonight. That means 5 1/2 more hours of suffering through winter.

Back to the major subject at hand: sex. I'm not convinced that people chose their mates based on reproductive questions at all. At least, in the modern age, and speaking for my own gender (not my favorite gender, to be sure, but the only one I know from the inside out), I don't think it enters the picture at all, ever.

Now, the ladies are free to argue (or not) that they often consider child-rearing questions in sizing up men (my guess is some, but very, very little compared to other considerations, but I don't put that forward as a fact).

Whether it was always thus is another question, and there is always that mysterious layer of uncertainty whenever somebody raises the question of what our genes and hormones and pheremones are telling us below the level of conscious decision-making and/or horniness. But I'm pretty darn sure that for guys, especially in their teens and going through puberty, would be pretty much happy to hop on just about anything that moves and would hammer a picket fence if it held still long enough. I don't believe that at ANY level they are thinking about offspring and the genetic future of their bloodline; they just wanna do BettyLou so bad it hurts. And I don't think their hormones or genes or anything else is directing them in certain ways favorable to evolution.

Now, what the ladies' side of that discussion is I cannot say. But given the statistics on divorce in modern society, I don't think anybody seems to be making very many long-term decisions very well.

Whether people 5,000 or 10,000 years ago thought the same way I can't say. But it seems to me that social customs play such a large role in deciding who marries who that genetic drives and instincts would play an extremely low or even non-existent role. I'll grant that "selection" is going on, but what kind?

Here's another question: at what point in history did the woman's point of view become an active consideration? What I mean is, we have this image of the woman thinking to herself, "Hmmm. That guy looks like he might make a good provider and father for my children someday." But at what point in development of society did her thoughts count for anything? When did she have anough power to get her way or have a say? Women were treated as chattel for centuries if not millenia; marriages were bought and sold and made for political and tribal reasons and a thousand other reasons that must have played havoc with "natural" selection. At what point in our evolution did our natural selction stop being natural? I'll bet it was back when those couple of genes -- FOXPC2 and microcephalin and ASPD came around. I'm hypothosizing we evolved into a species that suddenly developed a cultural overlay that took it out of the realm of Darwinian processes. If that makes any sense.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mudge, as to "When did she have anough power to get her way or have a say?" one can safely bound the question to late July 1987.

On this I am quite confident.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Man, is it the Vernal Equinox already?

Where *did* I put my ceremonial robes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

From Mudge's post.

"Back to the major subject at hand: sex."

And to think that some people wonder why proper punctuation is so important.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge in many parts of the world women still do not have a say, in the world we know sometime in the early 20th century?

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

There ya go.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I am ready for Vernal Equinox.

The wood has been piled and hopefully enough will dry out in time for tomorrow's fire.

Surprisingly the 4 inches of snow either washed away or melted last night.

Ashes are also very good fertilizer too!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I tried to google a before and after image of April Scott (Daisy Duke) from 'The Dukes of Hazard: The Beginning'. Why? The before makeover April Scott is pretty and the glasses give her a teacher/librarian look. Someone I would totally feel comfortable striking up a conversation with. After the makeover: Totally out of me league is the first thing to pop into my head.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification on spring, Mudge. It appears I have a defective calendar.

Regarding attractiveness vs. personality, thought you might enjoy this:

Posted by: Raysmom | March 20, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... both my sets of grandparents had arranged marriages. Here in the U.S., no less. My one grandmother had no say (she was 19; he was 36). My other grandmother was able to reject their first pick.

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This just in:;_ylt=AudIzL9YiEC938ogD_V0Psis0NUE
"The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to end the Bush administration's ability to unilaterally fill U.S. attorney vacancies as a backlash to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors."

Looks also to be the first dismantling of the Patriot Act executive authority provisions.

Beware the Ides of March. . .

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

'Choosing men based on reproductive questions' Taking that as a broad subject area, remeber: we try on shoes before we buy them. If it's not a good fit, or if we don't like the style, we don't buy them.

Having said that, it's not tequila that makes her clothes come off, it's intelligence and humor.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The Dark One is heading for the hospital, again.
He's just back from his Deep Vein Thrombosis surgery. "He had six hours of surgery on his legs in 2005 to repair a kind of aneurysm, a ballooning weak spot in an artery that can burst if left untreated. He has had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant a special pacemaker in his chest." Should we open a pool on the likelyhood of DC to make it to Jan 09?

bc, the bit on your blog about Deadeye's breathing just for show cracked me up.

Mother Russia got on the receiving end of a not-so-funny property of methane, the total loss of life in the recent Siberia methane explosion accident will be well above a 100. That is about the weekly average in the Worker's Paradise (a.k.a. People's Republic of China), but still.

Geoff Green, a local educator and explorer, was at the "Explorers Club gala in New York City, where he received a Citation of Merit for his educational work on the environment. The test came when the appetizers were served at a pre-dinner cocktail reception: deep-fried tarantula, chocolate-covered maggots and flavoured scorpions.
"The tarantula tasted like deep-fried shrimp, crunchy, a little bit hairy, and the legs still had hair on them," "
I wonder when Ghirardelli will come up with chocolate-covered maggots.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 20, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

OK maybe this will work, look at first image and try to imagine her in a flannel shirt, pony tail, no make up, and plastic rimmed glasses.

Then there's this after makeover image:

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, why I believe I'll have Mr. Geoff Green cater my next party. Eeeewww!

Posted by: Raysmom | March 20, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

>Where *did* I put my ceremonial robes.

Good grief, I forgot the clear the snow off the sacrificial circle. So much to do, so little time.

>Having said that, it's not tequila that makes her clothes come off, it's intelligence and humor.

LiT, that's good news. But I'm keeping the tequila around just in case.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

LiT.. I really hate to say this, but sometimes it IS the tequila.

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, RD, do we celebrate the Equinox, besides it being my birthday? I thought the Summer Solstice was the main holiday.

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I think the celebration involves tequila.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, I wish you ladies would make up your minds about this, and let us know one way or the other. We guys have a lot riding on the answer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

RD: concerning homosexuality.
Here's a theory that makes sense, at least from my perspective, especially in many Christian circles. In contemporary Evangelicalism, there is this ideal of manhood: the protector, head of the family, "wild at heart", warrior/leader/hunter/builder etc. It's more manly to play football than sing in the choir, type mentality. So, what if a young boy is interested in art or music, rather than the NCAA? After being exposed to enough chest-beating experiences, he could wonder, "wow, that's not me at all. i might be gay." So, you have a situation where because a male does not fit the archetype of "maleness" that his [sub] culture sets up, there is only one alternative: that he assumes he is a homosexual.
I'm not saying that this is the only reason, or even a common reason, it's just an interesting idea, (that I probably didn't articulate very well.)

Posted by: Tangent | March 20, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Make up our minds Mudge! We are fickle by nature why would we want to give that up.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The Women's Rules

1. The female always makes the rules
2. The rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification.
3. No male can possibly know all the rules.
4. If the female suspects the MALE know all the rules, she must immediately change some or all of the rules.
5. The female is never wrong.
6. If the female is wrong, it is due to a misunderstanding which was a result of something the male did or said wrong.
7. The male must apologize immediately for causing said misunderstanding.
8. The female may change her mind at any time.
9. The male must never change his mind without the express written consent of the female.
10. The female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
11. The male must remain calm at all times unless the female wants him to be angry or upset.
12. The female must, under no circumstances, let the male know whether or not she wants him to be angry and/or upset.
13. The male is expected to mind read at all times.
14. Any attempt to document the rules could result in bodily harm.
15. If the female has PMS, all the rules are null and void.
16. The female is ready when she is ready.
17. The male must be ready at all time.
18. The male who doesn't abide by the rules can't take the heat, lacks backbone, and is a wimp.

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, from a quick search I found that the spring equinox has as one of its names Lady Day, that alone is reason to celebrate.

A whole cross section of info here on how the equinox and start of spring affect just about any religion you can think of.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Humans have not been a part of natural selection at least since the advent of language, probably earlier. I can't give an exact date, as I wasn't there, nor am I a geneticist who studies these things, merely a pointy science type who likes to cogitate. I saw a thing once (Discovery channel) which was talking about dogs and how they evolved from wolves. This theory suggested that tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago, certain wolves figured out that humans' trash piles were a good place to scavenge for a living. The natural selection here was for those wolves who were more comfortable around the inevitable humans who came to the trash heap (the "tamer" wolves). These tame creatures would mate with each other (dogs will be dogs), thereby selecting for even tamer animals. These dogs would then start to hang out directly with the humans and mate with others who did the same, thereby becoming even tamer. With the tameness came a host of other genes that resulted in the many shapes and sizes and traits which humans started to select and control, forming the over 400 "breeds" of dog that are now recognized. 400 breeds, but still one species, canis domesticus. A doctor in Russia, I think, decided to replicate this in the lab using foxes as the breeding stock. He found that some foxes tolerated himan contact more than others. These were the tame foxes that he bred together. Within a few generations, the foxes began to exhibit vast differences in color, ear shape, tail shape and length, etc. By selecting for "tameness", the doctor was able to initiate all manner of other interesting genetic traits.

Long story short (too late, I know), perhaps the same happened with humans. When our social nature gave rise to the necessary parts for communcation, we took ourselves out of natural selection into the realm of artificial selection. As Mendel proved, it doesn't take long to instigate some very interesting genetic differences when we put our minds (read here -big brains-) to the task. So natural selection in humans died when communcation and artificial selection came about.


Open to interpretation.

Oh, by the way, hi everybody! Just got back from Spring Break. I didn't go anywhere, but I tried not to look at a computer the whole time.

Posted by: Gomer | March 20, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

welcome back Gomer. And good to see Tangent again. I suspect any minute there will be copious amounts of grover waving...

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

*copious amounts of Grover waving*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

You are right, of course, dmd. I should have known. (I DID know. But I seem to have forgotten.) Gotta keep us on our toes, keep us always guessing.

And then of course there's the rules omni posted.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ha, two minutes...

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Tangent, I believe there is a classic Murphy Brown episode that addresses Just Such An Occurrence.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Any of you ladies interested in a shot of tequilla?

OK, forget I asked. My bad. I don't know what I must hae been thinking. Lousy idea. Shame on me, shame shame shame. Oops. Hey, gotta go edit some gummint documents or something.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

No tequila, Mudge... but you got a funny joke to tell?

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Tangent - I can only speak for myself. As a kid I hated sports. I loved art and music. I was probably about as far from the "manly" ideal as you could get. And yes, I felt weird about this sometimes. But at no point did I ever wonder if I were secretly gay any more than I wondered if I were secretly Asian.

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I assert that the dichotomy between traditional "manliness" and wanting to get naked with another guy is simply false.

But, like I said, perhaps that is just me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse


Keep in mind that some of the "manliest" endeavors around involve getting naked around other guys (locker rooms) and even rolling around on the floor with other guys (Greco-Roman wrestling), if I may paraphrase a modern classic.

Posted by: Gomer | March 20, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I wonder when the next Greco-Roman wrestling match is coming to my town. *This* I gotta see.-+

Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Just wait till it's in season at the local high school, if that's yer thang.

Posted by: Gomer | March 20, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh no. Thanks. Not into teenage boys, unless we're talking about yardwork.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse


I'm sure M&S could clear out some floor space at the BPH, but then us guys would have to figure out our weight classes and stuff... 'Mudge already has a singlet in that cummberbund, of course.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of weight classes, I remember the wrestling guys in high school used to be soooo concerned about their weight. Kinda girly to be that worried about a tenth of a pound.

I probably just ticked off a bunch of people -Tee Hee!-

Posted by: Gomer | March 20, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should mention that cummerbund, scotty; I have to wear it tomorrow night. It's my wife's black-tie $50-a-plate awards banquet (which means I'm gonna miss the BPH and meetinging Yoki). Rather be with you folks, but what's a spouse to do?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

As to whether Hebrews were vigorously opposed to homosexuality: at the time that the Torah, the Books of Moses, were promulgated, there still was a Temple and the Hebrews had their own King, and he was a Hebrew and from the House of David and all that. The Torah says little about homosexuality. The Tanakh says little about homosexuality (Torah plus Prophets and Judges and Kings and all that anecdotal-history stuff). However, in later times Judea was over-run by another culture that put a lot of stock in social cohesiveness created by manly men being "manly" together, if you will. Hellenistic culture. Greeks. The results of Alexander's conquest of practically everybody (militarily, at least).

In Hellenistic Judea, social-climbing Hebrews affected Hellenistic styles of clothing, speech, art, and, yes, social interaction. Hanging out at the gymnasium and the bath, talking business, engaging in a little dominance-submissive stuff. Business. After all, golf hadn't been invented yet. Anyway, when the Maccabaean revolt got going, they evinced a pure loathing for Hellenized Hebrews and everything associated with them. This sort of righteous fire contributed to their eventual success and the founding of a harsh and brutal dynasty that became much worse than the casual social stratification practiced under the Seleucids. This may be the time in which a social antipathy to homosexuality got seriously under way, combined with acceptance of the most horrible of punishments for this "crime" against God. For a modern analog, look no further than Russia, where the virulent anti-Semitism of the USSR is carried on today within post-Communist society, even though you would think there would be a rejection of all things descending from that government. Christianity is descended from one sect of Judean culture and quickly spread to overtake the whole Mediterranean. It's entirely possible that the homophobia of post-Maccabaean Hebrew culture could have pushed aside the differing sexual mores of the Greeks elsewhere around the Mediterranean as they adopted Christianity and the culture of the Christian proselytizers. Really, though, I don't know much about the history of anti-homosexual persecution. I can only speculate.

Posted by: HistoryTim | March 20, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry missed wishing you a Happy Birthday, Slyness. Allow me to make it up with a song sung by a co celebrant, Vera Lynn, who is 90 years young today.

This killed 'em on Fire Island
*Adjusting wig and bosum*

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through, just the way you used to do
Till the blue skies chase the dark clouds far away

Now, won't you please say "Hello" to the folks that I know
Tell 'em it won't be long
'cause they'd be happy to know that when you saw me go
I was singing this song

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day

MONOLOGUE: Yes, we'll meet again. Darlin', I don't know where and I don't know when. But
I KNOW we'll meet again one of these good ole sunshiny days. Ya know, darlin', all ya gotta
do is just keep on smilin' through you know just like you ALWAYS do, until the blue skies
chase the dark clouds far, far, far away. I wantcha to do me a favor, please say "Hello" to
the folks that I know. Well, just tell 'em it won't be long. They'd be happy to know that when
you saw me go, I was standin' right here, singin' this song.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I'll take that shot of tequilla,better make it a double!!

But you wouldn't want to see me with my clothes off.

But I do live in West(by god) so i guess it is alright

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Grant your 4:12, Tim, but I think the larger point would be that the OT was largely written and pretty much canonized by the time the Jews came into long-standing contact with the Greeks and Helennization. The Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, about the time the Greeks were still fighting the Persians and hadn't spread into the Middle East (post-Alexander). So the Greeks had virtually zero effect on the Torah itself. The next section, the books of the Prophets, were indeed canonized circa 200 BCE, more than 100 years post-Alexander, and as you point out, sufficient to influence Jewish culture and mores of the period--but I submit still too late to influence the texts themselves, which were still much older than their canonization. You are quite correct about the influence of Hellenization; I would just argue that the Hellenization (and rejection of it) all came after the majority of the OT was set in stone. Everything that happened afterward and in the NT--you're absolutely right.

At the risk of being flamed and burned at the stake, I'd also assert that Hellenization and the Greeks' ambivalence (to put it mildly) toward institutionalized homosexuality had a very great effect on the homoeroticism that permeates the New Testament and Christianity in general--and that's also where the abhorence of it comes from.

Pretty much I'd say leave the Jews out of the whole discussion of the early roots of homosexuality/antihomosexuality. The Jews had little or nothing to do with it; it was a Greco-Christian thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It's my impression from reading Russian history and "The Russians" that anti-semitism was even worse pre-revolution.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Here I am, naked, covered in olive oil (except for the fig leaf mask), expecting some naked Pagan ritual, Gladiator party or Summer Fistivus. Er, I mean, Festivus.

[I slay me sometimes.]

Where *is* everybody?


SD, I'm glad you liked that Cheney bit.


Posted by: bc | March 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Darn, sorry. Stalin used Trotsky's Jewish heritage as a weapon against him. Smearing all other Bolshevics of Jewish descent was just happy collateral damage.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you are generally correct: as bad as antisemitism was post-Revolution, it was even worse before the Revolution. That's when the majority of the pogroms were held and that whole "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" forgery was created. And to some extent Soviet antisemitism was masked by the Soviets' general campaign against ALL religions, so the Jews just became one more group the State/Lenin/Stalin went after. And the presence of so many Jews within the Revolution has always been problematic, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

bc, put your clothes back on. It may be spring, but it's not that warm yet, and you are no spring chicken.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

...uh...would that be extra virgin olive oil? Kind of an irony there, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 20, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

bc | You're not supposed to slay with yourself.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Of course Extra Virgin OO, Mudge.

Irony free of charge.

I may not be a spring chicken (ha!), but I can hold my own, buddy boy.

Speaking of which, I'm going to hold off putting my clothes back on until you get my James Brown Signature sequined cape and drape it over my shoulders and try to lead me offstage.

Then I'll toss the cape off and sing "Get Up Offa That Thang" for my encore (then the cape thing one last time).

Meantime, I'm over here having my Cold Sweat Equinox celebration, shakin' everythang my momma gave me.


Posted by: bc | March 20, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

bc, LOL! You make me glad it's my birthday!

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Mudge, I think I'm agreeing with you already, or you with me. The Tanakh says nothing much about homosexuality because our ancient Hebraic brothers didn't much care; at least, not until much later. There is plenty of room for competing theories as to why later Christian culture ended up being anti-homosexual. You make a good point about ambivalence toward institutionalized homosexuality. After all, just as a modern American homosexual man may be forced into an effectively heterosexual role that he despises, a strongly-identifying heterosexual man might revolt against social pressure to engage in homosexual activity. The larger middle ground probably doesn't care all that much, but everybody loves a good rabble-rousin' and an opportunity to gain definitive social preference over SOMEbody. I have no idea whether Greek ambivalence to institutionalized homosexuality blossomed on its own to become homophobia, or if it just provided favorable conditions for active hostility transplanted from elsewhere.

Surely there must be documentary evidence from somewhere to describe the history of homophobia. Surely someone has approached this as a scholarly subject. There must be some ancient texts that complain "Oi moi! Those wretched Christ-cultists vandalized my favorite gymnasium last night. This has really cut into my ability to entertain the clients from Sparta. I fear I may lose the contract for selling Lacedaemonian extra-virgin olive oil pressed by the butt-cheeks of all the extra virgins they could find (hah! a little oil-business in-joke)."

I'm sure it would be funnier in Greek.

Posted by: HistoryTim | March 20, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I'll certainly grant you the even greater anti-Semitism pre-Revolution. I'm just thinking that a decent first-order assumption (if you were imagining rational behavior among humans) would be that a Revolution would invite casting-aside all manner of features from the previous regime. Especially, you would think that persons who were vilified under the previous regime should now be elevated, since they clearly were most-opposed to that repugnant bunch (whoever they were). In practice, nothing much changes for the better, but it's easy to change things for the worse.

Posted by: Tim | March 20, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

You crack me up dude,that must be some swingin office you work in.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

So much to catch up on. I will say I am no expert on human evolution in spite of my readings-- not that I think ANYBODY is.

Gomer, RD-- natural selection does still persist; the addition of different selection pressures that sometimes works against natural selection doesn't make it invalid.

Natural selection basically means that those who survive and succeed at breeding get to multiply and mix their traits, while those who die young from disease or lack of dating success don't.

Now for sexual selection, which is a part of natural selection but can conflict with fitness.
RD's observation that humans do tend to marry like is very correct. Most animals with relatively complex nervous system learn their mating preferences from the individuals they were exposed to when young-- imprinting, and that influences their view of the "ideal."
(The animals that don't, like cuckoos, have very inflexible mating patterns in response to very specific stimuli, and don't pair-bond at all.)

So, they wind up picking mates "like" them-- or at least like their mother/families, only better.

This can show up in the oddest of ways; Stallions tend to show preference for collecting mares that resemble their mothers in coloration and markings.

There is some research that indicates that animals are attracted to extreme versions of the traits their parents had, which accounts for runaway sexual selection such as peacocks' tails.

Now about arranged marriage-- studies of cultures with arranged marriages show that arranged marriages have a higher risk of extra-martial affairs. Research also indicates a married woman is also much more likely to beget children by her lover than a husband in those cases, as well.

Research also shows that couples that have been married since childhood have very low fertility overall.

Of course, this really doesn't explain why India has over 1 billion people, except that maybe many parents often pick better for their kids than expected.

As to brains--navigating the complexities of social life takes considerable brainpower, and that may well be part of the "smarts" a woman can display.
Just imagine getting a husband to raise 10 kids by your lover and keeping a marriage solid, while making networks to benefit your kids-- not easy.

And for those who believe creativity (in a degree) is not prized in women, just look at the traditional education of women in finishing schools in England and in Asia, and heck, think about the whole gender roles that are traditional in most societies.

Women have traditionally been the ones to do everything related to clothing from gathering, spinning, weaving, to knitting, crotcheting, or sewing clothes. They have good fine finger coordination, and they are much less color-blind than men as a whole. They also would cook food, and make many items such as soap, ink, and paint, etc. for the household.

Their creativity and artistic expression has always been channeled towards the necessities of survival and being fit to marry.
Therefore, they get a lot of social feedback and criticism from elders to hone their crafts, and the ability to teach their skills to their daughters also is valuable as well.

Men on the other hand, tend to use their talents primarily to impress others, since that scores them money, patrons and chicks. They're not under pressure to be the perfect wife; they're under hormonal pressure to score with chicks and gain status among their peers.

So you will see a drive towards more flamboyant use of creativity on a larger scale, not necessarily related to usefulness -- Christo anybody?, but very much related to social status-seeking and risk-taking in pursuit of being THE hot guy around in spite of their physical appearance or health.

Sex-biased expression of traits is very common in nature, and culture can ride and intensify that.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Happy equinoctial birthday, Slyness. You may consider yourself Goddess for the day. Speaking of Easter, the name itself is related to Oester, female fecundity. Which is also Ishtar, or Astarte. So an early happy Ishtar to everyone as well. After the next full moon.

Neitzche noted that whatever society you live in, the current elite is strongly descended from the last successful (genome of) barbarian conquerers in your area. Lending weight to the theory that our "highest" people are not so superior. Just stronger and more brutal. Suggesting evolution does not work exactly as we wish it might.

Regarding who loves whom, perhaps the developing human fixates on whoever is nearest when the oxytocin squirts in the child's mind. A form of imprinting like baby ducks. Perhaps no "gay gene" exists, and it's all a matter of circumstance related to the increase of oxytocin caused by the oxytocin gene mentioned in the article. It's not yet resolved, I'm sure.

I developed a hypothesis a while back that the artist serves as an agent to create a circular pecking order. The artist is often poor, often poorer than almost anyone in society. The low income classes tend to despise the artist for his intellectualism, incomprehensibility, and perceived uselessness. He is truly at the bottom. Yet in a crowd of the elites, the businessmen and women who support the arts, the artist is the king of the gathering. The elites bow before his hipness and cutting-edginess. They essentially grovel.

Posted by: Jumper | March 20, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Nifty hypothesis about the artist, Jumper.

However, gays often say they've known they were gay since they were really little.

Research indicates it might be down to the masculinization of the brain during pregnancy, that there may be a stage in neural development where an "oops" can lead to gender attraction disorder. Or gender-identity dysmorpha, although that seems to be separate to a degree.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

A female friend of mine was going through one of my family albums when she started laughing. She had come across a photo of my mother at 14. She observed that my "type" was explained. I like women with like hair Kathern Hepburn and the face of Catherine Deneauve.
My father retained his sight until his natural death.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Darn. Darn. Darn.
You know what I mean.
Is there any way to reduce the size of the Submit button?

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

And my early-but-not-genetic hypothesis suggests that the imprinting event that might lead to same-sex bonding might occur around age two. Too early for later memory to be reliable in any way. But it's just a hypothesis. And it may not really matter in the final analysis. Kindness is the meta-issue.

Posted by: Jumper | March 20, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

The question of contemporary natural selection really comes down to definition. I assert that just about anyone who wants to breed can do so. And the only other organisms we need to compete with are bacteria and viruses.

The comment about "like" marrying "like" had nothing to do with imprinting, but was just a very sloppy way of me saying that if everyone is trying to marry "the best" simple game theory shows that you will end up marrying someone equivalent to yourself.

Of course, that implies that everyone agrees what "the best" is. This is the weakness to my argument, which I freely admit makes it only marginally valid.

Of course, the fact that nobody can agree what "the best" is supports my assertion that classic natural selection, per se, isn't operating on humans.

At least not yet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: "Women have traditionally been the ones to do everything related to clothing from gathering, spinning, weaving, to knitting, crotcheting, or sewing clothes."

That's why I clarified my "creativity" definition to be the same for women as for "creative men", i.e., music, dance, art, sculpture, and fiction writing. The pursuit of beauty is highly individual, and requires solitude, quiet, and long stretches of time where the mind is engaged in a semi-trance state. The result satisfies the artist but is completely useless for survival purposes. That's why I theorized that women with those traits would not be perceived by men to be good mates. Men, children, homes, family and community require attention to thrive. While many women will self-sacrificingly create an optimal environment for an artist male, it's fairly rare for the reverse to occur.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

What about the fact that you will wind up marrying someone handy, as in close proximity not actually good with tools, I didn't mean...sheesh. You can't mate with him/her if you don't meet him/her.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 20, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

So much of what has been talked about today is shrouded in mystery. We know so little, really, and still we plant seeds, push paper, pay taxes, and celebrate rites like Pi day and the Spring Equinox. Ah yes, we fall in love and raise children,hoping that they will be smart, artistic, winning, coordinated, and of course, kind.

Little blue squill up in the yard -- the most perfect and deep Russian blue tone ever, and seldom found in flowers. Only the gentian and some larkspur/delphinium species achieve this improbable blue.

Off to look at the lake. Red-winged blackbirds are there but I have not heard one sing, 'konk ker RHEEEE.' This means, "I am beautiful; mate with me; I have a nice 401K plan; Tuscany beckons in retirement; and of course, I'll respect you in the morning."

As for tequila, my granny said, "There is a reason they call it 'Tee KILL ya.' Stay with good whiskey." She prefered Jamesons. Bushmills, however fine, is ahem, "protestant" whiskey.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps art often serves like pure mathematics. Sought for pure beauty, the results are not productive until someone stumbles on a problem a generation or century later, and says "Aha! This is in fact perfectly explained by Ramanujan (or Picasso), who did not clearly realize it at that time!" Is that knot possible?

Posted by: Jumper | March 20, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Frostie -- I am laughing so hard. Yes, they must be in our universe, the one we know. So, the GPS points must align more than the stairs.

Think of all the possible worlds of possible spouses! Boggles the mind. After the lake, I will lie down with some Jamesons and contemplate my alternate universe pair-bonding options.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 20, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten - that's a great point. Proximity matters a huge amount in who we marry.

Wilbrod - careful about those assertions. I can think of one or two husbands who might question the claim that they are not under any pressure to be perfect.

sevenswans - I acknowledge your point, but there are exceptions. For example, as a young man I would have readily stayed home to create a supportive environment for Pat Benatar. I would have greeted her after a long day at the studio with a nice martini. Yet, the fates were cruel and it never came to be.

Probably, as frostbitten points out, simply because we never met.

Yeah, that's it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

And I can think of one woman whose creativity with these computer graphic thingies just makes me go all whoozy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

//studies of cultures with arranged marriages show that arranged marriages have a higher risk of extra-martial affairs.//
The notion of romantic love arose among the European classes that practised arranged marrige. I'm sure a lot of those liasons got quite sweaty.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

What is it with men and the Pat Benetar/Stevie Nicks devotion :-).

Posted by: dnd | March 20, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised there's any issue of whether there is such a thing as contemporary natural selection - of course there is. I think it just manifests itself most observably in things like disease resistance.

The elephant in the room in any discussion of natural selection or evolution since recorded times, of course, is the tendency for people to have ideas on what to do about it.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 20, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

It's that sultry voice. Once a young man has hear Ms. Benatar sing "In the Heat of the Night" his soul is lost for all eternity.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mud wrestling?
Camille Paglia/Bay Buchanan

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

RD, your idea that we pick the "best" and the "best" is us reminds me of all those folks out there whose dogs look just like them.

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl - 100 years ago I would have agreed with your point about disease resistance, but right now I don't see the kind of winnowing by disease that is characteristic of natural selection. At least not here in the industrialized nations. But, as I pointed out earlier, that may change one day in a nasty, nasty, way.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

TBG you just made me look at my dog and start laughing.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

RD: There are always exceptions, otherwise the universe would be a very dull place full of inflexible rules and predetermined fates. *insert government work joke here*

Jumper, since the premise of art/beauty is the ability to evoke a sense of joy, wonder, awe or even grief in the beholder, the results are societally useful only if society wants the same thing as the artist - which may explain the disconnect of centuries before some works are appreciated.

Such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring!
Happy Vernal Equinox everyone! :-)

Posted by: sevenswans | March 20, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Since when do I look like a gnome?

BTW, RD--"I assert that just about anyone who wants to breed can do so."

Way to go to hurt a neuter's feelings there, RD. And the puppies that never grew up old enough to make the Choice, too.

I'm not bitter about The Operation, though. Compared to getting out of the pound, it was a small price to pay.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Ooh gosh. They're starting the dance without me. Happy Vernal Equinox y'all!

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I've been off computer almost all day and I catch something about natural selection, mud wrestling and owners whose dogs look like them, and I admit to full blown out loud laughter. I'm scared to go back much further.

Please give yoki a big hug when you see her at BPH for me would ya.

Posted by: dr | March 20, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I would have to say I'm relatively immune from the Pat Benatar/Stevie Nicks thing. Now, in that Olde Tyme Music category, I do recall spending an inordinately long period of time staring at the back of the record cover for one of Heart's albums.

Back to natural selection - I meant contemporary in the broad sense, but I suppose that point still applies everywhere that has population growth.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 20, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm glad to know I'm only 100 years out of date. Grade 9 science was the hardest four years of my life, you know.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 20, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

RD, I will agree that natural selection for disease resistance may have been relaxed temporarily since the advent of antibiotics and lots of other stuff.

It's not gone completely, tho', unless we start specializing in breeding only the sickest to the sickest like we do with some dog breeds, or out in Silicon Valley ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl - Ann and Nancy Wilson. I wouldn't have minded being supportive to either of them. Or both. Whatever.

And my fear is that 100 years from now humanity shall have once more been shaped by disease. The last 70 years may have just been a breather.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

>The result satisfies the artist but is completely useless for survival purposes.

Oh, I dunno. I'm guessing an ability to keep others amused and entertained would be very useful in a place with no movies, DVDs, etc. Think about being the best comic on the B ark, or the funniest guy in the cave. When you're sick they might think twice about leaving you behind. Hence, you survive.

I'm inclined to agree with RD as to homosexuality not being a choice. Having recently been through a lifetime of anal exams in 2 months, and given the social issues, I cannot imagine anyone would choose this as a lifestyle if not compelled to do so.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and for what it's worth I heard Pat Benatar's "Because The Night" yesterday, and wanted her bad.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that could well be true, RD; hopefully we will vaccine some common diseases out of existence. Malaria is tops on my list, but since there are so many variants of malaria also affecting animals, the extinction might not last more than a few centuries.

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

Ditto for me with Yoki.I wish I could send down a pie for the festivities.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

RD, what about AIDS? Even here they are finding some people who display the antibodies who seem be immune to the virus after exposure. I seem to remember reading about that a couple of years ago. If my remebory is correct, that is.

There are so few really massive pandemics any more. A good thing to be sure, but every so often I wonder if we have not tampered with the balance of the living systems of the earth more than we should have with our very beneficial ability to adapt.

Posted by: dr | March 20, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"What is it with men and the Pat Benetar/Stevie Nicks devotion :-)."

Okay, I'm fairly immune to Pat Benatar. But have you LOOKED at Stevie Nicks? Is this hard to understand?

Men are not entirely superficial. But, we are superficial before we get to know you, and I have never met Ms. Nicks. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect me to be superficial regarding an appreciation of her charms. If I got to know her, I would have to revise my opinions based on things like whether she has anything interesting to talk about. In the meantime, I can paint my own fantasy ideals upon an attractively-prepared canvas.

Posted by: Tim | March 20, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Tim.

When what you see is all you see, you might as well enjoy what you see.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Tim it was said in a laughing manner, RD's comment reminded me of my husbands addition for Stevie Nick and then not long ago being the car with my oldest brother, we were listening to music when a Stevie Nick song came on, his respone "best song ever". I just laughed.

I certainly remember the posters of men I dreamed about when I was in high school. There was my Peter Frampton stage :-)

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

>There was my Peter Frampton stage :-)

Have you seen him lately? I hope it wasn't the hair you liked!

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

RE: Stevie Nick I used to look at her everyday as there was a framed photo on the wall of our office at home for about 10 years.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

If you are talking about dreamboats, Davy Jones, grade 4 and the I got off the bus when the show was half over. Oh the angst, Oh the sorrow. And what about Little Joe Cartwright?

Posted by: dr | March 20, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

You know Error it is a funny thing, if I think back about the crushes I had none of them were lasting, perhaps that it what I don't understand about the Benatar/Nicks fascination - it continues.

dr, I tended for off the wall choices, going more with the funny secondary characters - which in part explains my ultimate choice. I am a sucker for someone with a sense of humour, add in intelligence and looks and I am lost.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

dr - Unfortunately, acquired resistance to disease is not passed on to our children. For AIDS to have an evolutionary effect it would have to kill off a lot of children with a genetic susceptibility before they grow up and have children, while allow those without a susceptibility to reproduce. I am not sure if that is the dominate scenario now, but it certainly could be.

And I agree, we are in a game of chicken with disease. Either we manage to develop more and better broad-range antibiotics and anti-viral agents, or the earth will strike back.

Joel once wrote about a provocative theory that the whole purpose for human existence is to be a food supply for germs.


Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I once saw a tour dubbed Beauty and the Beast.

Stevie Nicks was the Beauty,Joe Walsh was the Beast

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Be my valentine, Dmd? I got it all. Woof!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Tequila makes me stupid, but in another life it was one of my favorite beverages. Freed of inhibitions, and with a throat made slightly raspy from the old worm, I could do a fair imitation of Stevie. I looked like her too, if my date drank enough tequila.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 20, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Not that off the wall Wilbrodog.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I've always considered Stevie Nicks as the musicological adaptation of Janis Joplin and part of an evolutionary music episode.

Adaptation of a specie, ala Darwin's finches, should be of contemporary interest in an era of global warming. Rising tides and a "waterworld" scenario could potentially give credence to reversal variants of Haeckels's discredited ontogeny recapitualtes phylogeny theory.

Posted by: Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA | March 20, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I haven't seen Stevie lately but the last shot I saw of Pat Benatar (I think it was at the recent Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame) she was still hot. And she's a real rocker.

By the way, I would be remiss in not mentioning that Discovery HD has a visually delicious documentary of the GoodWood Festival which is vintage racing at it's finest. They do the whole thing in period costume, recreate interiors and garages, wear the outfits, etc. and it's in HD no less. Sweet.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

What, not even if I like long, romantic walks on the beach and cuddling?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

>reversal variants of Haeckels's discredited ontogeny recapitualtes phylogeny theory

Man, they sure talk funny down there in Otter Creek. I'd need a dawg to track down all that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Error: That dog don't hunt.

Posted by: Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA | March 20, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm game Wilbrodog!

Posted by: dmddog | March 20, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

>Error: That dog don't hunt.

I've heard that too. Maybe we can get Wilbrodog after it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog will be sniffing after dmddog, he's "game."

Posted by: Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA | March 20, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

A bio teacher of mine once had a T-shirt that said "Ontology recapitulates phylogeny." It is the idea that a fetus will go through all the stages of the evolutionary tree (phylogeny) during development (ontology). It isn't really true, but there are stages in fetal development when we have a tail and gills.

I think Shiloh was saying that if things get too wet we could always look into reclaiming those gills.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 20, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse


I knew a photographer of dubious repute (was he really thrown out of Princeton for... no, better not say here) who made that his signature word. With appropriae inflection it works in a surprising number of situations.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

>I think Shiloh was saying that if things get too wet we could always look into reclaiming those gills.

Thanks for the translation. I think I'll stick with boats. I have enough wardrobe trouble without bringing gills and fins into it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 20, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

RD, that's exactly what i was saying in more obtuse language that generated hunt packs.

Posted by: Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA | March 20, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Great to sniff you, dmddog! Shall it be a game of chase or wrestle?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Wrestle, too big to be fast.

Posted by: dmddog | March 20, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

How big? I knew a Great Dane that could outrun me in a snap, but he tired quickly.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I am fine in straigt aways but I loss them on the corners. Small shepherd size.

Posted by: dmddog | March 20, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Uh, ER, I don't think Pat Benatar ever recorded "Because the Night." I guess I could be wrong about this. Bruce Springsteen, remember him, wrote the song (it's on his mid-eighties live album) and, because he was writing great songs about every other day in 1978-79 (even songs like "Fire" which became a hit for the Pointer Sisters), he gave Patti Smith co-writing credit on this song which was on her Easter album and was on the radio often that year (later lamely covered by Natalie Merchant in her last recording with 10,000 Maniacs on MTV Unplugged).

Now, if we are going to talk about Pat Benatar then we have to talk about "Shadows of the Night" which is truly awe inspiring over-produced rock but which, not denying a guilty pleasure, I crank up every time I hear it. Also love the over-the-top MTV video "Love Is A Battlefield."

Also, Stevie Nicks was never better than on her first Fleetwood Mac album. We all know about "Rhiannon," but her approach to the songs "Landslide" and "Crystal" created, say, a yearning in a sixteen year-old boy.

But fantasized about either? No, no, too immersed in studies.

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Gomer wrote,
"Humans have not been a part of natural selection at least since the advent of language . . . . When our social nature gave rise to the necessary parts for communication, we took ourselves out of natural selection into the realm of artificial selection."

Interesting idea. I have a slight variation: What if civilization (i.e., the way humans have lived for the past 10,000 years -- a mere blink of an eyelid in the grander scheme of things) has all but put the brakes on our evolution? In a sense, we've taken ourselves out of nature (or tried to) -- could that have restricted the natural processes of evolution? Perhaps we're no longer adapting to our natural environment as such, but, rather, adapting to a man-made one. Maybe that's a whole different kettle of fish. (But, as has been pointed out here today, drastic environmental changes associated with global warming may force us to adapt to more than our own artificial creations in the near future.)

None of this necessarily contradicts the statement "we are still evolving." We could have stopped evolving 10,000 years ago only to resume evolving next week, and as far as the long-term record of human life on this planet was concerned, evolution would be moving along nicely.

[I should add that, like Gomer, I'm not a geneticist -- and unlike Gomer, I'm not even a pointy science type. But I do like to cogitate.]


"There is no one right way for people to live. . . .
There is no one right way for ANYTHING to live.
No one right way to hinge a jaw.
No one right way to build a nest.
No one right way to design an eye.
No one right way to move underwater.
No one right way to breed.
No one right way to bear young.
No one right way to shape a wing.
No one right way to attack your prey.
No one right way to defend yourself against attack.

"This is how we humans got from there to here, by enacting this story, and it worked senssationally well until about ten thousand years ago, when one *very* odd culture sprang into being obsessed with the notion that there must be a single right way for people to live -- and indeed a single right way to do almost anything."

-- from "Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure," by Daniel Quinn

Posted by: Dreamer | March 20, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh don't worry about corners, I got some lessons in not cornering too hard after a female jack russel flipped herself over trying to corner with me. I'll do what you like doing, really.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say Peter Frampton has held up pretty well, even if he doesn't have the curls anymore. He was on Soundstage not long ago - and I have a treasured VHS tape of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, when Frampton, Jack Bruce and Gary Brooker were in it (and the drummer from Free) - really good. There's something about a musician, lads...Oh, and Peter Noone is on American Idol tonight - I may have to tape it, as figure skating is on at the same time...

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I remember the Buckingham Nicks album - Lindsey and Stevie before they joined Fleetwood Mac (and before she was so blond). Very good - she was nekked on the cover, I believe. I looked for it on CD awhile ago and couldn't find it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 20, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that Pat Benatar's birth name is Patricia Andrzejewski. As a Slovak, I know these eastern european names are hard to pronounce but I don't know how you get "Benatar" from that.

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

mostly I just finshed flipping between Idol, figure skating and House, quite an odd threesome and Noonan has held up well.

Bill Landslide was a great song, I must have played that album over and over in the day. Rumours? was the album.

Posted by: dmd | March 20, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I recommend "the Beak of the Finch" as an insight in how natural selection works... and it's also gorgeous, lyrical writing about the Galapagos. It won awards.

You have a point-- but sometimes natural selection can lead to a general stasis in species properties because the environment is not that stable, as "the Beak of the Finch" shows-- one year it's a flood, next year, drought, and the adaptions needed to survive are pretty opposite.

Culture in a way helps us level out those extreme adaption necessities; we can sew clothing, we don't need to grow big pelts for winter, and so on.

But in its place, it imposes extreme need for social adaption skills, and for us to engineer our cultures to adapt to prevailing realities.
Cultures have died out because they prevented people from adopting ideas and ways necessary to change. Jared Diamond speculates that the early Greenland Norse settlements died out due to cultural issues.

Likewise, the early settlers of North America from Europe did not come with the cultural tools necessary to survive here.

The first 18 colonial settlements failed, including the Lost Colony in Roanoke. Jamestown nearly failed as well.

Thanksgiving celebrates the fact that the Indians basically gave the Pilgrims tips on survival.

But I guess since we are always warring, we will probably never evolve past certain psychological variations useful for war but deleterious to peacetime cooperation. That would be a shame.

Sometimes I think the only thing we've evolved is better ways to kill each other.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there are also those Indigo Children to consider, which confuses the issue even further . . .

Posted by: Dreamer | March 20, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Kust in case someone didn't get the message, natural selection is still hard at work on the human species. Humans are no more in control of natural selection than are peacocks or bower birds.

I know that's a little hard on the 'ol ego, but it may be true that those who produce foeti with longer-lasting gills may have an enormous reproductive advantage in 200 years. Those who have a natural immunity to HIV also have a advantage.

Also, the hints about selecting for brains. I struggle to find any reproductive advantage for those who make a living programing in PERL over those who, say, play professional basketball. Wilt Chamberlin alone claimed sexual liaisons with 30,000 willing females, and it is entirely possible that several of his (unknown) offspring are now
workin' hard at being a chip of the 'ol block. How may groupies do the best of PERL programmers attract? In our society, how many colleges and universities attempt to recruit future PERL programmers (or Nobel laureates) with anywhere near the tenacity they do male basketball players?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Bonnie Tyler
'nuff said.

I saw Anne Wilson get hit in the hooters with an errant frisbee and not miss a note. That girl can play.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, had a friend in the dorm who had the Buckingham/Nicks record. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood were very savvy to see how their approach would fit into what they were looking for.

Fleetwood Mac got a lot of crap for being "corporate rock" but, to me, Buckingham is a recording/arranging genius that made something very difficult seem simple.

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

My thanks to all my Boodle friends for your good wishes today! I have had a lovely birthday, in large measure due to a great day on the Boodle.

Of course, it helps that the elder daughter made dinner and she and her sister gave me an iPod Shuffle...wonder how many Beethoven symphonies it will hold?

G'night all!

Posted by: Slyness | March 20, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

dmd, Landslide is on the "eponymous" (no other way to describe it) "Fleetwood Mac" album. The b/w one with an elongated Fleetwood and a stunted McVie in a doorway.

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Slyness!

Bill, I hope your friend hung on to the album - it's worth quite a bit now (I just looked on Amazon). Rock on--gold dust woman...

Now I must go get the dishes done and the VCR set up.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 20, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, trying to catch up with the boodle today was a trip in and of itself. I have to say, the 6:39 through 6:49 posts got me laughing the most.
CP, I'm wondering if we had the same grandma!
Frostie, geez, I think my husband is the greatest...surely, if I had worked in an Irish bar that employed Eric Bana or Daniel Day-Lewis, I would still feel the same..?

Although then, RD's 7:27 brought me down!
But since he usually cracks me up, I won't hold it against him....I'll just hope and pray that he and other pointy headed science types deliver us...(not my phrase-I'm a pointy science head groupie)

Posted by: Kim | March 20, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Gotta give a tip o' the cap to BC today and others. Many snorts.

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh and "Landslide" is one of the best pop songs ever...not just for 16 yr old boys.

SCC-I meant pointy head science type groupie.

Posted by: Kim | March 20, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think that evolution is what works on our behalf -- well, on the species' behalf -- when pointy-headed science types fail to come up with effective solutions in a timely manner, or fail to get dunder-headed dynastic placeholder nitwits to put them into action in time.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 20, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Every time I read the headline, "Bush Warns Democrats To Accept Interviews" it makes me think of a spoiled child who has finally been given limits.

Good night all! Slyness... so glad you had a happy birthday. You'll love your iPod shuffle. Is it one of the cool colors?

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I just learned more about spiders' love and family lives than I wanted to know.

They need to come out with a new warning system for that stuff.

But speaking of live fast, score chicks, and die young: it's the testesterone, man.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

One more thing... funny Google ads. I love the quotes around "Seattle Area."

You make your own conclusion...

Parasites in Humans
Find out why every second American is chronically ill. Get well now!

Hillary Clinton in 2008?
Do you think Hillary Clinton would be a good choice for US President?

Personnel Management Sys
A complete HR department for small businesses in the "Seattle area".

Posted by: TBG | March 20, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Kim, "Landslide" is a great song whether you are 16 or 64 (not saying that I'm that old mind you!)

Posted by: bill everything | March 20, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Just looked up the lyrics to "Landslide". Pretty.
How would you describe the music behind the lyrics? I can see a few different ways to interpret this song.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Pat Benatar - "Hell is for Children" is a, well, hell of a song.

yellojkt - Bonnie Tyler? Don't make me repost that video of Hurra Torpedo's cover of "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

A good day in the Boodle, I think.

Good night, all.


Posted by: bc | March 20, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Have you all got your chapstick?

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

My musical education continues.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 20, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Just read dreamer's link on "Indigo Children." Funky auras notwithstanding, they sound like your regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill brats. I sincerely hope that they are not the next rung on our evolutionary ladder. Imagine a whole society of self-righteous twits who think everybody else owes them something. I shudder to think that these will be my caretakers when I hit nursing home age.

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I am owed a better sunset than that.

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Landslide is a quiet, pretty song - simple melody, usually done with acoustic guitar. Kind of sad, yearning, changing.


I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 1:24 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I think the "Seattle area" includes Wenatchee, Yakima, and Vancouver, WA. Maybe even Walla Walla.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Some higher hills in the "Seattle area" welcomed spring with an inch of snow(!) tonight. Sigh.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, until Mostly posted those lyrics I had no idea what song "Landslide" was. That's a great song! It's sort of country, the Reba McIntyre sort of woman beginning to assert herself and feeling blue kind of country. The lyrics are smoother when sung - version I'm familiar with sounds more like "well the landslide bring it down." And the version I know makes it "even children get older," which I like.

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I really like Sarah by Fleetwood mac too,a few other softer ballads that I can't remember their names right now.....Great harmonies on all of their songs....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I just Googled that one, green, but couldn't find a site that would play it for me. Lyrics don't ring a bell, but I do probably know it, too. I'm kinda sorta "slow" about pop music - well, actually, about all music - recognize everything and love it, but don't know artists' names and song names for anything. It's mostly just laziness, I think. Lived with a walking encyclopedia of music for 25 years and never felt the need to remember these things myself!

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 1:53 AM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia, Benatar was Patricia Mae Andrzejewski's first husband's last name. She's a year younger than I am. (Always thought she was much younger.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 21, 2007 1:55 AM | Report abuse

re: "evolution"

If artsiness, or big muscles, or creativity, or stupidity, or ugliness, or brutality, or blond hair, or blue eyes, or belief in [insert dogma] ... were tremendously important to reproduction, then they'd be noticeably more (or less) prevalent in the population than is currently the case. Ergo, they're not. (Or, more precisely, their importance is much more subtle than directly influencing the reproductive prospects of individuals)

Posted by: Bob S. | March 21, 2007 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Of course, the previous remark makes some assumptions about the heritability of some traits which may not be entirely valid.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 21, 2007 2:01 AM | Report abuse

But people who make assumptions like that wouldn't be around if it negatively affected their reproduction, right?

Posted by: Bob S. | March 21, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

It might be Sara,Wheezy or something else

Good point Bob S,that their relevance is much more subtle,or could it possibly be we as humans are much more critical of how things are "supposed" to be by our own perception.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Just visiting for the first time since 12 or more hours ago. What an interesting day I missed! By the 80s I had (alas) stopped glaucoma meds and mostly returned to classical music, so I don't have much to say about the performers under discussion. extend that thought, given proper chemical assistance, the best musical experiences come from the classical side, in my experience.

CU tomorrow, y'all.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 21, 2007 2:29 AM | Report abuse

I found the lyrics on

I can't copy and paste here at work or I would give you the url.

It starts out

Wait a minute baby
Stay with me awhile

and it is Sara

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Green, yeah, I found the lyrics, but I can't recall the song from them, so I probably don't know it well. Would probably recognize it, though. Thanks anyway.

Gotta get some sleep. Completely cleaned the youngest's room tonight (she's away) and am working through 4 loads of laundry I found there. I'm raising slobs!

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Morning, friends. bc, I laughed so hard at your olive oil comment, I woke the g-girl up. And tbg, that comment about people looking like their dogs, woke her up again. You guys need your own stand-up routine. You need an agent. You can be a contender.

Happy, happy, birthday, Slyness, and I hope you have many more, all good.

We're still evolving? Into what?

As to natural selection, the woman's point of view, ................

the first husband was chosen because he was tall, lanky, guy. crazy about tall men. i guess because i'm so short.

second husband could talk, and was a pretty smart guy until the drugs started to rule. those were my choices. neither wanted to be a family guy.

can't sleep, and have to study. a long day today. enjoy yours. mudge your post regarding selection makes a valid point concerning women and choice, but women always find a way to get what they want regardless of the chains. in some parts of the world i suspect women still wear those chains.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 21, 2007 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Cassandra
Sorry to hear about your long day,but I suspect that you will make everyone you meet today smile.It seems like one of your many gifts.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Gomer -- Ha! Yeah, I'd have to agree with you re. the Indigo Children, especially the part about the sense of entitlement and "feeling of royalty."

On the other hand, maybe a *real* Indigo Child would be more down-to-earth and selfless than that. Unfortunately, as with psychics, fortune tellers, and other gifted individuals, there is the problem of how to sort the (rare) genuine article from the multitude of frauds and wannabes. I can just imagine a majority of parents claiming that their children are Indigos, with a wave of brattiness ensuing.


Re. glaucoma meds, cave paintings, and the birth of art, religion, and culture:

"Arguably art and religion are our two most prized cultural institutions, the saving human graces from which have arisen many of the most noble virtues and glorious achievements of our species. But if [David] Lewis-Williams is right, we need to be brutally honest about where the first incarnations of these institutions came from. Their birth was not assisted by the operation of any of the faculties that we admire in the twenty-first century -- such as reason, intelligence, the scientific application of logic, sensitivity to nature, or even consciously driven creativity. Instead it seems that art and religion were bestowed upon us like secret and invisible powers, by inner mental realms that our societies now despise and legislate against -- the realms of altered states of consciousness, most commonly entered (by us and by our predecessors) through the consumption of potent hallucinogenic drugs.

"If Lewis-Williams is right, in other words, then sooner or later we must ask ourselves whether we are wise today to censor and ferociously repress the very kinds of shamanistic explorations of consciousness that brought art and religion into being at the dawn of the modern human story. Above all else, we who say that we are 'free' in the economically advanced and democratic nations of the world, and who arrogantly set up our societies as models for others to follow, need to pause and reflect. What do we have to preach about where freedom is concerned, when we as individuals are not even free to exercise that basic sovereignty over our own consciousness that our ancestors claimed as their birthright? And on what authority do we portray our kind of 'freedom' as a universal example, or claim to possess great and useful knowledge about the human condition, when we ourselves are denied the freedom that is still granted today to any peasant-farmer or hunter-gatherer drinking ayahuasca in jungle clearings in the Amazon -- namely the freedom to investigate the mysterious depths of our own minds?"

-- from "Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind," by Graham Hancock


Posted by: Dreamer | March 21, 2007 4:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody! Happy belated birthday, Slyness. I missed yesterday's free-for-all too and enjoyed reading it last night and this morning--thanks everybody for the deep thoughts and so on.

Best wishes to all the boodlers who get to go to the BPH today (be sure to post details again for last minute deciders). I will try not to be bitter about my geographical outsider status. I'm sure I'll be able to rationalize it, given enough sunshine and fresh air today.

Two items of interest in this morning's Miami Herald:

Ana Menendez thinks newspapers are still important in the age of the internet, and doesn't approve of the "distributed journalism" model. Unfortunately, in order to make her point, she compares newspaper reporting to brain surgery...

...and for Loomis: Florida lawmakers considered requiring 6th grade girls to get that cervical cancer vaccine but it was defeated in the legislature this week:

Finally, I have published my informal review of Kurt Andersen's book, "Heyday," on my blog.

And that's all the links I'm allowed to post, I guess. (Wouldn't want to put any strain on the WaPo servers, knowing how delicate they are...what time is it, again?)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

duh. forgot to sign again...

Posted by: kbertocci | March 21, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Morning Cassandra, everyone! *waving like winter wheat in the breeze*


Eight hours to BPH!


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Nice review, KB. I always like hearing Kurt Anderson on the NPR "360 Degrees" show. I am usually tooling around with children, so the content is a blessing, not that that kidlings aren't......

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Nine hours. I blame Windows inability to handle the new DST.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Spring is sprung.
The grass is ris.
I wonder where there birdies is.

Posted by: byoolin | March 21, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

French Easter Carol, translated from the chorus:

Now the green blade rises
from the buried grain,
Seed that in the earth
Many days has lain

Love comes again
Like wheat arising green

Sung every year in French and English, with the Canadian nuns....perfect in Montana because the wheat fields are just like the Amber Waves in the song.

ScottyN traded in a Grover wave for a horticultural wave.....such a good morning.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 21, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Well hey, CP, it IS Spring, so a vegetative metaphor is called for, mais non?


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, was your wave a simile (it was my daughters homework last night).

Spring has arrived here, next week will be above normal temps, of course that comes with lots of rain but the last of the snow will be washed away so I do not care.

Have fun tonight all.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Happy B-day Annie, on this first full day of Spring.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Eeeep! Thanks, dmd!!

SCC: a vegetative simile


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

SCC: there = the

Happy International Poetry Day, everyone

In honour of which I stole this from

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy-come to kill us all-
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

Posted by: byoolin | March 21, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

But Dreamer, [David] Lewis-Williams isn't right.

'Morning, boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

International Poetry Day? Cool. Here's a delightful little poem, sent courtesy of youngest sister, to brighten your morning.

Morning Poem

I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still,
When suddenly a tiny bird,
Perched on my window sill.

He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles,
Began to slip away.

He sang of far-off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his very trilling
brought up the morning sun.

I stirred beneath the covers,
Crept slowly out of bed,
Then gently shut the window
And crushed his fording head.

I'm not a morning person.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 21, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' LiT a barrel of coffee*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

*adding half-and-half, a couple packets of Splenda, and a croissant to scotty's fax to LiT*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse



Glad that's settled.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 21, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Thank you. Years ago, I learned to fake being a morning person out of fear that the kids would learn by example. (Recently I found Dear Child sitting in the middle of the kitchen table, wearing nothing but Cinderella panties, proudly fingerpainting herself with peanut butter. A morning person can see that and laugh.)

Posted by: LostInThought | March 21, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

For some inexplicable reason, I can't make comments to Blogger from work, so if I don't get by later, kb, here is my review of your review:

I love the old Spy magazine and Kurt Andersen, but I have lost my taste for these research packed historical novels. Perhaps it was too much bad Michener in my youth, but I spend all my time wondering how the author knew that and what his sources were.

I prefer to read novels of that time and marvel at the things that get taken for granted and accepted as perfectly normal. Updike's Rabbit novels are amazing pop-cultural time capsules because they were written as contemporary novels,even if he does get some of the details wrong.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

You know, it has just occurred to me that peanut butter is missing in my life. Please tell dear child thank you for the reminder, LiT.

Coffee is on, and then I must vacuum up from all the construction. We are done, and now I am going to have to remember just what it is that I do.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

LiT, this morning I was definitely not a morning person, woke up in an ugly mood, your poem and story of the little one has changed that - Thanks.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

CP, I loved your description of the red-winged blackbird! Good thing no coffee was being ingested at the time. I've not heard that sound from them yet, either. Although the geese seem to be pairing off already.

The Equinox arrived last night as I was walking the dog. At that exact moment, a nasty northwest wind blew in on an otherwise balmy (for March) evening. Sort of like winter getting its last word in.

TBG, I laughed at the idea the people look like their dog. If true, I should expect to turn into a werewolf.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 21, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Stevie Nicks. When I was a young lad I had the biggest crush on Ann Wilson, but all the other boys in the neighborhood had a thing for Stevie. One day I had enough of their going on and on and on about her and I lost it. I said 'She's a b1tch!' Then one of my friends, a rather coarse pompous a$$ said, "Yeah, but you wouldn't kick her out of bed." And of course me being the smart aleck that I was said "Yes I would," (pause for affect), "after".

But I do declare I love that song Landslide.

And wheezy, I too have the same problem, but what I usually do is go to amazon dot com and find the song and play a sample to jog my memory.

It's the 13th track and the sample starts with the second verse.

Drowning in the sea of love
Where everyone would love to drown
And now its gone
It doesnt matter

Funny thing is though, Landslide isn't on their Greatest Hits album.

Posted by: omni | March 21, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the funny thing about Landslide is that to me it sounds more like a waterfall than a landslide.

Does that make sense? Sung slow with an almost trickling melody.

It was only now that I realize I was hearing the word "Landslide" but thinking "Waterfall."

Posted by: TBG | March 21, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

BPH Details:

Tonight, 5:00 til ?
McCormick & Schmick's
1652 K Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

We'll be the ones with the Canadian at the table.

Posted by: TBG | March 21, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

TBG that is a very good description of landslide, out west some of the waterfalls look like silk as they descend over the crests, the song is too pretty to think of in terms of a landslide.

That will be one lucky table. Yoki will have to treat the table to Ceasars or Virgin Ceasars for those who do not drink.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Re. Landslide, a great song but I think more people have heard the Smashing Pumpkins' cover.

It's good too, though.

LiT, that poem reminded me of the Bambi vs. Godzilla short film from back in the day... a good laugh.

Cassandra, I'm very glad that I gave you a laugh.


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Or another Canadian? drink - the B-52, silly skit about it here.

Posted by: dmd | March 21, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but how can you tell that TBG? Remember, as a nation we Canadians are sneaky, insidious even.

This could be part of our evil plot. Maybe you'd better think about intense interrogation while you have the chance.

Whillickers, my is sticky today. The l is postiviely gooey. Must have been that owners and dogs comment and associated flying beverage.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Scc, my keyboard is sticky. I gooped up a whole word there.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Dixie Chicks did a very faithful cover of "Landslide" recently. Gives you another reason to love them or hate them, depending upon your predisposition.

Somebody in New Dehli followed the link in my comment on your Gonzales resignation to my site. The internet is an amazing machine.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

LOL, LiT! I am a morning person, but I can sympathize. Had too much birthday yesterday, it was hard to get out of bed this morning. And I forgot to close the windows I opened in the afternoon, so it was cool and humid in the house when I finally stirred...

You all have a good time tonight. *Sigh* If I left now, I could be there...oh well, one of these days...

Posted by: Slyness | March 21, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

That's cool, yellojkt.

I've always wanted to open a Deli there.
The New Dehli Deli.

The Internet is amazing. Which is why it will probably be the end of Western civilization as we know it. Blogging while Rome burns.


Posted by: bc | March 21, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Mornin all,Happy Spring but Brrrrrrrrr

Off to bed

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This is my favorite mornng poem:

Morning breaks into my sleep
and drags me from a warmth so deep
where I rule, and all are kind
and nothing matters but my mind
I walk into the bathroom glare
and at my sallow face I stare
the eyes look back, but do not see
that person is a mystery
I blink my eyes and fill the sink
and find it easy not to think
as I start myself to clean
a mindless morning male machine
time slips by as in a daze
I move throughout the misty haze
Soon I'm in a suit and tie
and to my dog I say goodbye
I drive and drink my hot caffeine
and wonder what it all might mean

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

>Uh, ER, I don't think Pat Benatar ever recorded "Because the Night." I

bill everything, I sit corrected. Must've been the wine.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 21, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

'Mornig all.
If your New Dehli Deli burns down bc you should rebuild it and call it the New New Dehli Deli.
I'm not exactly a bright eyed and bushy tail type in the morning either but an early dose of caffeine usually ensures I didn't slap one of the kids or kick the dog before leaving.
Somebody didn't get the memo about about the coming of Spring, it's -15C/5F out here. Hello up there? Somebody's home?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 21, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

kim - didn't mean to bring you down! I just recognize that the future will hold many, many challenges - especially disease. But I am an optimist. I think we are a pretty sharp species, and will figure it all out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, did you read that item about the deli fire in the Ranjapur delicatessen association's trade newspaper? It's called the New New Dehli Deli Daily.

I'm told it's a dilly. There may be a few issues left on the newsstand if you don't dally.

(Which brings us back to doily. Ah, the Great Wheel of Life duly comes full circle, doesn't it?)

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

I think I may have hurt myself with that one. Gotta do those stretching exercises first.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

error, you are not alone. At the mention of Heart I was going to wax poetic about singing in the shower at OCS. The acoustics and the a cappella voices of a dozen warrior women made "I'm gonna harden my heart, I'm gonna swallow my tears, I'm gonna turn..and..leave you here" quite the warning for our male compatriots. But it was Quarterflash not Heart who sang it. How long should I feel like an idiot for getting that confused for 25 years?

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Memo about srping? What memo? I never get the #@%&* memos.

Today is my sister Kathy Mary Jones' birthday. This is an in-joke in the family, and I am not entirely sure that I have forgiven my parents for using our paternal surname instead of Jones.

Posted by: dr | March 21, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Omni, thanks for that link. I do recognize "Sara" but not as much as "Landslide."

Posted by: Wheezy | March 21, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, if you're optimistic RD, then I'm optimistic.
Have a great time, BPH partakers (that's probably not a word, but pressed for time)
Somebody hoist a Bombay and tonic for me, would you?
Slyness, Happy belated birthday! Be like my daughter and have a living just goes on and on.

Definitely not a morning person, but the little girl in Cinderella panties story is priceless. I tried to fake it like LiT, so that my children would be cheery, but it didn't work. The only thing they respond to in a passably cheerful manner is the faithful beagle.

Posted by: Kim | March 21, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I hope you're ok, Curmudgeon. That really was funny. It can't be easy.

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

Duly noted, Mudge.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

My favorite poem by Shel Silverstein:

I'd rather play soccer than go to the doctor,

I'd rather play tennis than go to the dentist,

I'd rather play hurk than go to work.

Hurk? What's hurk?

I don't know, but it's gotta be better than work.

Posted by: Gomer | March 21, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

>But it was Quarterflash not Heart

frostbitten, I know what you mean about Quarterflash! They're one of those bands that had some well-known songs but somehow get forgotten in name.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 21, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Frosty, that image you created of a dozen named women all in the shower together and singing Heart has pretty much ruined my morning, if not my entire day. Please try not to do that again.

I may be old, but I'm not dead. But I will be if you keep that up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

SCC: naked, not named. Jeez, see what you've done?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, do they deliver those papers each morning on a dolly? Cause then you would have the Dehli Deli Daily Dolly.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what happened to Valerie from Art School.

(This has been your obscure 80's rock reference for the day.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I loved Quarterflash. Only "Men at Work" used the saxophone to better effect.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 21, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Valerie is probably living in a Big Country.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Overly linky new kit posted.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 21, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

And before anybody asks, "Twelve Naked Women Warriors" is NOT, repeat NOT, available as a boodle handle, I don't care how much scotty whines and pleads and begs.

However, as the name of a rock group it just may have some small apeal to the immature juvenile male mind, although I can't think why. (But you have NO idea how disappointed I was the first time I heard/saw Bare Naked Ladies singing.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 21, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Those were polite requests, I tell you.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow SD. You must be inside. it's freezing where I am :-)
Thank you 'Mudge.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

New kit, comments about bands and singers will now be on topic.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 21, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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