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Einstein and Tulips

Just got back from hearing Walter Isaacson talk about his Einstein book at the Aspen Institute. Free food! I used the air conditioning unit as a window seat and had a great view of Dupont Circle, if, sadly, a slightly obstructed view of Walter. The cheap seats! But it was a full house, and the guy right next to me on the air conditioning unit was a former CIA director. I am pretty sure the gentleman came and went via a secret door disguised as a bookcase. (Or did he go out the window and rappel seven stories to the ground??)

In any case, Walter had a nifty slide show. He explained Special Relativity, but after all these years I still don't quite understand WHY the speed of light is constant irrespective of the velocity of the source of the light. Why DOESN'T the light speed up when the train accelerates? (That's a Tom's Dumb Question if I ever heard one.)

Maybe the universe is just that way.

The account of Einstein's death was particularly moving -- the way the old man was desperately trying to work out his Unified Field Theory to the bitter end. One last page of equations. Ran out of space at the bottom of the page -- and ran out of time.

Walter got a big laugh when he showed the headline in The New York Times when scientists verified Einstein's general relativity. This was back (Walter said) when newspaper folks knew how to write a headline. The reporter was actually the golfing writer!


Men of Science More or Less
Agog Over Results of Eclipse


Stars Not Where They Seemed
or Were Calculated to be,
but Nobody Need Worry


Bulletin: Spring is here.

Soon as I get a chance I'll go to the Tulip Library. Note this nice historical detail:

"Its introduction into Europe dates back to 1554 and is attributed to a Flemish diplomat who, after visiting the court of Sultan Soliman, The Magnificent, dispatched bulbs to Vienna."

Was that the Sultan's legal name? Was he Mr. Soliman or Mr. Magnificent? Or would you call him "Sultan Magnificent"?

When I get home tonight I am going to change my legal name to Dad, The Magnificent.

You can find a picture of the Tulip Library here.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 20, 2007; 2:25 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Should Cho Have the Last Word?
Next: Boris Yeltsin


Thank you. It's time to resume life.

And I'm #1!

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the Tulip Library are those dang overdue fees.

And the constant shushing. The "No Talking" fetish. Makes me wanna scream sometimes.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 20, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Sultan Magnificent lost, three falls to two, to Gorgeous George, IIRC.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 20, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Why I do declare! I had no idea about the tulip library here, in our fair city.

BPH-Lunch meet up at the Tulip Library?

Frosti, Mostlylurking, Nelson! Other dotty-for-flowers peeps....Oh, I wish you were here!

JA!, JA!...I don't think Henry Mitchell mentioned this gem! I am so happy. Thank you.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Almost everything I know about tulips, I learned from Johnny Fever while slumming on "Head of the Class."

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow this is like my dream kit. It mentions Einstein and free food!

Joel, if the speed of light were not constant then the symmetry of the electroweak force would be violated. And this would be bad.

Plus, magnets wouldn't work right. This would be bad too.

But you knew this.

What you are asking is not what would happen if this weren't the case, but, rather, why it is the case at all.

This is a toughie that not even Al could fully answer. My guess is that those universes in which this wasn't the case didn't stick around very long.

Or, in other words, the universe is just made that way.

Thanks for starting my weekend on such a great note.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm always up for a lunchtime BPH.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian,
//Why I do declare! I had no idea about the tulip library here, in our fair city.//

Everyone knows that "ahh fayah city is Cambridge, MA.

says Click and Clack, who have been saying it for over 30 years.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

From the last kit snippet:
(No Einstein tulips that I know of, besides, daffies increase and resist deer.)

A bulb catalog came early this year. Wow. But I guess we should think about buying daffodils and tulips while they bloom, to be ready. Achenbuddies may like to know that we can buy a tall, Class II daffodil, named "Professor Einstein." Entering the market in 1946, this daffy sports a huge red-orange center cup and paper-white collar.

See him in bloom:!OpenDocument

Posted by: College Tulipian | April 20, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I planted pink tulips next to orange ones. I really wish I hadn't.

Posted by: Jumper | April 20, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How that DCI ended up disguised as a bookcase I'll never know.

Posted by: Groucho | April 20, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, it won't last long, I promise. Then you can try again with, say, impatiens.

Posted by: Slyness | April 20, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure that the fomer Director in question was not George H. W. Bush. He would have simply used a parachute.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

JA, if you make that name change you can probably expect to receive some Phlemish diplomats as well.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 20, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm oot th' door and off to the BPH...

As always, photos to follow!

Have a great weekend, all! *waving*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 20, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"More or less agog" would be a good boodle handle

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 20, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this lovely, thoughtiness, Spring-like kit!

Reposting from last Boodle:

Alas. My brief but productive tenure as shop steward must end prematurely. This afternoon I travel to a lovely state resort (truly, this place is gorgeous) for a weekend of sport and debauchery. Okay, you caught me. How about a weekend of discussion, consideration, poetry, and hiking? Plus wine. At any rate, there's not good Internet access, so I'll be away from the Boodle. I hope Cassandra shows up, and good luck Martooni.

Raysmom, please step in for the remainder of Friday. And remember folks, the puppies 'n butterflies aren't my fault.

AND, to fall in with the spirit of the Kit, a repeat of another comment: I just ran across this Einstein quote yesterday, and if it is apocryphal don't tell me: [On being shown his infant sister] "Yes, but where are the wheels?"

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 20, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Could gardening and flower-observing boodlers far and wide give an occasional bee report? Last article I saw on the bee shortage stated that the US east coast had lost 70% of the bee population, and they were researching whether cell phones were the cause (apparently bees won't re-enter a hive if a cell phone is placed near it, which is a good indicator that they're right).

I spotted a lone bumblebee two weeks ago, but the nearest (wild) hive I know of was dead last year, there are no bees out in the yard right now, and I'm getting worried. The redbud and peach trees bloomed without even one lone buzzing exploration. I hope it's just that my area has been cold and rainy for a week or so - but they should be out there now, and they aren't.

Posted by: sevenswans | April 20, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

More Or Less Agog : MOLA

Hum, I see people leaving this building that weren't around when I came in at 07:30. Time to hop on the bus and go enjoy a refreshing beverage on the patio.

dr, SoC and Yoki: you're paying the poetic price for the warming brought about by the tar sands operations. Don't despair, spring will come, eventually.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 20, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

...and thus, da birds post about da bees (and the flowers and the trees)


Posted by: sevenswans | April 20, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I recall reading about declining bee populations when we were still farming. A quick google search seems to tell me that wild bee populations are down by 90 %. Trust me it ain't cell phones. The ones you are hearing about now are the commercial hives.

The problem probably is pesticides. You can't kill a harmful bug without doing something to its relatives and its predators.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I posted to quickly. Someone else posted about this a while ago. Mo, was it you? Anyway, its fibre and yarn and I don't forget these things.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, the loss of bees is a concern in my region as well, the Niagara area has many wineries and orchards, here's a link to a recent article.

Personal report saw a large bee, perhaps the queen dead on a deck box in my yard yesterday. It is the only one I have seen so far, but until yesterday too cold for them to be out.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Now there's a gunman inside NASA in Houston. Shots fired, building evacuated. Maybe it's something in the water.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

OK, here is something I learned a couple of years ago and never had the opportunity to bore others with, until Joel's kit.

Did you know that the world's stock exchanges are called that because the first such speculative market was on the tulip bulbs (stocks) traded and sold in the Netherlands and Vienna and Spain in, tah dah, the mid-1550s? And that the first speculation in the market was on what colour the blooms from said stocks would be (obviously the bulbs were shipped dormant, so nobody really knew)

And further, did you know that the reason stock exchanges are measured in points rather than currencies of whatever sort is based on Spanish dubloons and ducats? A sort of base-8 system, IIRC.

It looks as though I introduced this as a joke without a punchline, but it is all true. Cool, in a geeky historical/botanical way, I've always thought.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that's interesting! Chances are they knew the parent color for each crate of bulbs, but never knew exactly which other bulb provided the cross-pollination, so colors were always a big surprise. Sort of like the people who create hybrids in their backyards now, and CONSTANTLY post pictures of the neat new colors they have achieved.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, dmd, that's exactly what I was thinking of.

dr, I hope it isn't cell signals, but I also hope they do find out why and what. Although the loss of wild bees seems (to me) to be more important a factor than commercial apiaries. (Where's the boodle's biologist? Wilbrod? Help?)

Flies, we got. Also gnats.

*swats, then goes out to look at the flowers again*

Posted by: sevenswans | April 20, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

A lot of us have wondered about that speed of light thing. When I took Physics 101 in 1947, our text--published prior to WWII-- plainly stated that the Michelson-Morley experiment was inconclusive. A little further on that author was telling us that, while he acknowledged the existence of the "New Physics", it would never be of any practical use--for building bridges and that sort of thing.

Since, I've drifted to the view that we live in a very funny world. God's little jokes are everywhere. If we think we understand, we don't understand. Thank you Richard Feynman.

I don't think that the light speed constancy thing has ever been proved. It's just that accepting it makes more things simply describable. Much like heliocentricity in that respect.

Posted by: lowen | April 20, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall doing a "mola" limerick, in response to the challenge to do a joke about Panama.

Anyway, since Ottawa summers ain't all that either, here's my ode to SD (Camptown Races):

Civil servants sing this song, doo-da, doo-da
Bytown summer, two weeks long, oh de doo-da day

Going to sweat all night
Swat mosquitoes all day
I wish I was in Alberta now
Somebody find me a way

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 20, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, Sevenswans just went outside and found another dead bee in the same spot, I know its not the other one as it is now on the ground - I presume they are wild.

Keeping fingers crossed that everything is OK at NASA in Houston.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

That is very funny SoC.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

When you mentioned flies and gnats, Sevenswans, I started thinking about other creatures who can pollinate plants instead of bees, and I realized that in the last few years I have seen *so* many more hummingbirds - more than I have ever seen in my life before this. Perhaps it's global warming and they like this place more now, or perhaps their population has increased to fill the niche partially vacated by wild bees. Though I have to say we still do see an awful lot of bees here in the Midwest.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

lowen, the speed-of-light-is-a-constant thing is (so far) as well-proven as pretty much anything in physics. Meaning, you can't prove it, but you can show that every proposed alternative is inconsistent with experiment. LOTS of experiments. Maxwell's Equations are relativistically invariant (don't ask me to show it, however -- that was a math problem that always threw me) and they do a good job of describing lots of phenomena. Quantum Electrodynamics depends on that relativity stuff, and it is widely reputed to be the most well-demonstrated theory in physics. Time-dilation has been used in practical engineering projects. The entire GPS system would fail within about a half-hour (so I'm told) if it did not include corrections for General Relativity, in which the constancy of the speed of light is a fundamental postulate.

Your textbook author was what bicyclists call a retro-grouch ("back in my day, we had only 10 speeds, and that was 3 more than I needed"). Relativity was completely accepted by all sensible physicists, well before WWII.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Dr, it's parasites-- that's why they were mixing African bees (which are immune to honeybee mites) in with the domestic honeybee, hoping to get the immunity of one and the sweeter disposition of the other.

Instead we have africanized killer bees invading America.

But colony collapsing disorder is real, and it indeed could be related to the proliferation and use of cell phones in foraging habitats.

Although it sounds like the bees are losing their appetite and not eating near the end, which would seem extreme for directional confusion-- do flying bugs get nauseous by anything?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Regarding c (and gravity, of course), we're not smart enough to know Why Things Are, REALLY.

We're barely smart enough to grasp "It is what it is."

To those of you enjoyng the Falls Church BPH, have fun, and hoist one for me.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from reading Walter Isaacson's writing in his Einstein book at Costco. Free food! I didn't use the air conditioning unit but rolled down the window since there was a nice breeze and had a great view of the circle of green hills, if, sadly, a slightly obstructed view of I-10. The cheap eats. But it was a full house, and the gal behind me in the checkout line was a former (fill in the job of your choice) and buying a towering chocolate cake.

It's "Solly," by golly.

You can find a picture of Daffodil Hill near California's Volcano (city) here.

*Spring has made me silly. That'll be the day when Wally ever comes *here*. But I was at Costco and glanced at the book for far less time than I would have liked and it certainly is thick (much to my surprise)! The sun is out in full and it's probably in the low 80s. What to do in the next 10 days--which parades, which art and craft shows, what music to listen to, and what food to eat, whose head should I break a cascarone over?

Posted by: Loomis | April 20, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm stopping at costco on the way home. I hope they have that book in but I'd bet not.

further to yoki's tidbit, the first stock market crash? Also tulips. The European tulip stock got a kind of bug/virus/fungus, and showed much striping and odd multi colours. After a couple seasons from the onset of colourations the bulbs died.

Which ties in really neatly with the bee information.

Wilbord, the bee mites? I recall that now. Sevenswans, it is possible that cell signals do interfere, but its happening in places where signals are not a big factor too. Cell signals, TV, these are all radio signals of one kind or another. (Ok, I only think I know this. Please correct me if I am wrong and they are different waves). Its probably more than just signals.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Since I'm surprised nobody else brought up the natural link between Einstein and tulips... (please forgive me, Tiny Tim)

Speed of light is keeping
my heart valves flapping
Other physicists are sleeping
Silver stars are gleaming
All alone I'm scheming
Scheming to get you out here, my dear, come
Come on out and (see) light
Come o Relativity
Tease me and calculate life for me
Let me Romeo you, I just want to show you
How much I'm willing to do for you, come

Tip toe into my math, by that old math
That is where I'll be, come
Tip toe thru the tulips with me
Tip toe from mystery
To the shadow of history now
And tip toe thru the tulips with me

Knee deep in flowers we'll stray
We'll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden
through the moonlight, please energize me
Come tip toe thru the tulips with me

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Well since the boodle is quiet, I have a chance to ask a question that has been on my mind all day.

If you are serving a salmon wellington accompanied by wild rice for dinner, what would you serve for desert?

Obviously the table center piece will be tulips and daffodils.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

'It's dead Jim'

I am posting this because immediately after posting this, someone else invariably shows up and posts. Obviously everyone but me has snuck out early, and I am calling you on it. 4:58 and counting.....

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

dr - that sounds lovely. What *is* a salmon wellington?

I usually serve a richer dessert with lighter meals, and vice versa. Not knowing what your entree entails, I couldn't help.

Personally I'm probably going to hit McD's in between painting the orange wall and the lime green wall in my daughter's room. I'll save the two yellow walls for later. Did I mention I had no say in the color scheme?

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the cranny.
I hold you here, root and all,
And all in all
I know what God and man is.

Well, something like that. c may be constant, but memories are like whatever Barbara said they were (I've also disremembered that).

There's no beesiness
Like show beesiness
Now there's no beesiness
at all.

I apologize to those who take the bee disease seriously. But, c'mon--it's just another ecological disaster, after all. Can't you take these things in stride yet?

Spring fever spring fever spring fever spring

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 20, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh, honey...


(it had to bee said)

Posted by: sevenswans | April 20, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse


Its a salmon filet topped with a cream cheese and herbed mix, wrapped in phyllo pastry and baked. It says to serve it with dill, but I don't care for dill except in pickles, so something creamy saucy. Possibly rich, but I don't know. Its a recipe from one of my cookbooks books (I have 60 and NEVER use them for cooking from, just reading). I am going to unknown territory in several ways here. My cooking disasters are legendary and the world should be worried. I know I am.

So maybe a lighter desert. Maybe a lime or lemon granita?

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Granita would also be an unknown territory.

I am aiming for complete and total failure, obviously. Making a new entre, and a new desert?


Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

dr, I love lemon desserts, I used to make a lemon type mouse, lemon pudding with egg whites folded in, very light and tasty.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

dr, I'm with you - I *believe* I know what a granita is (quiescently frozen fruit juice and fruit concotion?) - sounds too fancy for my family. The salmon sounds good - I really like dill, add it to scalloped potatoes because I like the flavor. Sorry this is all over the place - I was just cleaning brushes and roller from one color to get ready for another color.

How about a chocolate mousse - they're easy and fun and light (usually!)?

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC that would be lemon mousse, because a lemon mouse would just be wrong :-)

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The salmon entree sounds wonderful, but I thought granita was a Mediterranean dance... (...that a Ford car was named after in the 70s, right?)

My cooking is limited (for the purposes of safety and sanity) to throwing a random group of ingredients all at once into a single pan, pot or cauldron, turning on the heat and putting on the lid. This works great for beer, chili, stew and soup. Anything else, not so much.

Posted by: sevenswans | April 20, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Beer is cooked in a pot?

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Well I have just seen my official welcome to spring, the city truck is currently washing down our streets, no more crap left over from the salting and sanding. Unfortunately my joy is tempered by the dog who is going insane with the truck going up and down the road.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I got to Tim's 12:47 on the previous boodle. That's my point, the ridiculous video that was so important to Mr. Curmudgeon wasn't the story; how this poor lost soul got to this point was.

As a society, bullying and intolerance still exists in schools at a level that is totally inappropriate. I know there is only so much parents and educators can do but it is like a sort of cultural disease (i.e., don't be different, don't kiss up, don't try too hard, and don't accept anyone who doesn't follow the prior three rules). No wonder we have the education system we have. We are an intolerant nation led by an intolerant man.

Sorry for this further rant.

Posted by: bill everything | April 20, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I just googled "ScienceTim." The third hit is in Korean -- the translated page appears to have nothing to do with me. The fifth hit is a reference to Tim Berners-Lee. The sixth hit is in Chinese, it seems, but a translated page is not offered. The seventh link is to a page of comments about a pro wrestler (Lex Luger). That page has several homophobic and racist comments. Still not me, thank you.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Just saw the headlines from Houston, sad.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that the other hits are me -- right here on the Achenblog. StorytellerTim also is mostly me, except for a few references to Tim Burton.

I don't mind appearing in lists of Google hits with either Tim Burton or Tim Berners-Lee. Not bad company.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

bill, I would go one further it is not just bullying that can hurt children simple teasing can be difficult as well, some children are affected by it more than others and if not taught coping skills they can have difficulty dealing with it, just get over it, is not an appropriate coping skill to teach a child.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

dmd, agreed. I think of teasing as just verbal bullying.

Posted by: bill everything | April 20, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

dr, I think it depends on the side-dishes you serve with the Wellington. The salmon is light, but the puff-pastry is not. So think in terms of light/heavy/light/heavy/light.

If your main cover is salmon-wellington (maybe served with a nice mustard-dill sauce?), asparagus, and no starch other than the pastry, you could get away with a beautiful apple pie/cheddar slice/creme freshe/a la mode dessert with coffee.

If your main is s/w, with a green and another starch, you might want to reflect and mirror the main by having a light lemon sorbet with a berry coulis (and perhaps a wee puff-pastry hat, about 1/4 inch square).

If I did that, I think I would encourage my guests to come into the family room by the fire and have a snifter of brandy and chocolate petit four after clearing the table.

Or, you could serve the s/w, a green, and a starch, and then serve a small green salad with a light vinegrette, which would allow you to go back to the apple pie dessert.

Balance and reflection. In any of those three ways, that is a fantastic meal.

OK, I spend way too much time thinking about menus. Prolly your guests are going to have a wonderful time no matter what you feed them, because you are funny and warm and wonderful.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - bowing to the master!

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

And whilst I was composing that very boring treatise, dr said she doesn't like dill. Say goodnight, Yoki. Goodnight Yoki.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Have I mentioned that I love dmd?

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Yoki- you ARE the culinary master as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Kim | April 20, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Kim, thanks.

Have I also mentioned how glad I am that Kim posts here?

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Love you all!

I'd go with some homemade lemon bars on a green plate, surrounded by chocolate covered strawberries or homemade truffles. Of course, this is a far simpler dessert than the dinner! Perhaps Yoki is right.

Posted by: dbG | April 20, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

OK, confession time. I've had to give up actually eating all this wonderful food I used to actually produce, because of health concerns.

So I find myself *dreaming* about perfect menus, perfectly served. *Imaginary food*


Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dbG, can I come to your house for dinner? Lemon bars on a green plate, the red of strawberries and the dark of chocolate, and truffles.


Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely. Weren't you talking about coming to Philadelphia anyway?

Posted by: dbG | April 20, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Error can join us. He's not all that far away.

Posted by: dbG | April 20, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

dr, I too have many cookbooks. I too love to read them but seldom cook anything fancy. I have one big one which feels the need to instruct in how to cook *anything* - from a newly killed rabbit (ugh) - it tells you how to gut and skin it - to caviar, to pickling and canning your own produce. My kids are vegetarian, and I have a hard time getting excited about building meals around beans or tofu.

Yoki, you sound like you're the consummate hostess! If you're dieting how can you think about food - I can't do that. I have to pretend I'm a medieval nun to diet - I think only of higher things. Course, it never lasts long, either ...

I've finished the orange and green walls (and the ceiling) and the room looks hideous! It's no fun to paint when you don't like the results. Tired now - going to vegetate.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Orange and green? Do tell Wheezy.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I gave the ghastly details of this brainchild of my youngest up above. One orange wall, one lime green, two yellow. I didn't mention above that her (new) curtains have a wide hot pink border, and the material is red, yellow and green polka dots on white. It's going to require sunglasses. I tried to convince her to tone it down, but I decided it wasn't worth a battle royale. She'll learn.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Had to back skim to catch that. It must have been a Freudian thing to absorb your menu advice heavy main/light dessert and miss that color scheme. Or as they say, "It's not a color scheme, it's a conspiracy."

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It could be worse, Wheezy. YOU could have to live in that room!

Posted by: dbG | April 20, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

It's a wonderful gift you are giving her self esteem though Wheezy. Its lime green and purple in our house, I live in fear of what the younger one will pick, her outfit to play with the neighbours the other day (first warm day), t-shirt, flowered skirt, lime green socks, white dress shoes old and scuffed, pink polar fleece housecoat - it was quite the look, she was skipping with joy.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Dr--I don't like dill either-- parsley or something low-key would be a fine substitute.

I wouldn't be too adventurous and go overboard by using too much of a strong-tasting spice, since you don't want to smother the salmon.

Although I happen to have the firm belief that Italian seasoning can't harm any recipe, I would go light in this case.

Wild rice, salmon, sounds tres north country, and it makes me think of fruit-- blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or because it is the season--strawberries
I can think of a few dessert options that can be done without cooking.

Strawberry shortcake
Store-brought strudel
Cheesecake (bought from store)-- especially glazed with some fruit goop and covered with real fruit.
Plain fruit, tons of 'em.
Ice cream, italian ice, etc.

I've learned that I prefer to entertain with as little time in the kitchen as possible.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing is this child (my difficult one) has always had a very keen fashion and interior design sense. I think maybe I've complimented her *too* much on her good taste. Now she thinks anything she can conceive of is gold.

dmd - that outfit sounds like about 5-6 years old? I remember when the old pink patent leather shoes with a bow were worn with shorts, jeans, everything!

dbG, I wouldn't live in that room for a pile of money! I'm going to have to convince her to keep her door shut, I fear.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

This in my e-mail from Prince William County schools. I'm beginning to have more than theoretical concern about copy cats.

"Manassas, VA....A suspect in the Gar-Field High School bomb threat this morning has been
apprehended and arrested by the Prince William County Police. The announcement was made by
the police and Schools Superintendent Steven L. Walts at the school moments after students
were given clearance to re-enter the building. Police evacuated Gar-Field High School about
10:30 a.m. after officials received a bomb threat. The bomb search was completed and
students began safely entering the building shortly before 1 p.m. today. Classroom
instruction has resumed.
Earlier this morning Hylton High School also had been evacuated because of a bomb threat.
Students returned to class after a police team searched the building. An active
investigation by police is continuing.
School Division officials have kept parents and the community informed through email,
telephone, and Web announcements. Parents of the students at the two schools were informed
of the situation by telephone. In addition, parents who are subscribers to text message and
email service were also informed."

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes 6, if only we could maintain the joie de vive/creativity throughout life. She is also normally outside the house in nice weather selling something, last week she wanted to sell kool-aid for $4.00 a glass, I mentioned it might be a tad expensive. In the end only her sister and I bought some, and her sister only did it because I requested it.

I hate to say this but for a girls room your daughters colours sound like it could work for me, perhaps the cheery colours will help her mood?

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

>Maybe Error can join us. He's not all that far away.

Indeed. I'll be in town Monday. Gonna stop by South Street and get a cheese steak for Mudge.

Philly is really a great town, I don't get there enough. I suspect that may change.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 20, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, maybe the orange isn't the right kind of orange-- too dark-- if it's clashing with the lime-green. That said, orange doesn't normally go with hot pink.

Oh well, it's her room. She may have in mind adding yellow borders and other items that will split up and balance the colors a little more.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

It is very interesting to me to hear you all talk. I grew up with just brothers, and never explored my own femininity until I was an adult.

Being the mother of girls was/is a revelation. I love seeing them dress each other, and then stand up for themselves and each other, and be strong. And then do each other's hair. And then cuddle the cat, and then tell their boyfriends where to get off and get over themselves.

I don't take credit, but I feel it a privilege to witness these young women who know what they know, and also what they don't know. They're just fine.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I actually thought this color scheme might work, but the actual colors on the wall are too dark. I'm afraid she's going to be disappointed - lighter would have been better. If she's upset I'm going to suggest sponging on some white paint, which she can do herself. A thin layer of thinned white might help a lot. She's at a sleepover and won't see it till tomorrow.

How did you convince your older child to spend $4 on kool-aid? Did you give it to her? Come to think of it, my youngest used to love to set up stands to sell things. Occasionally a neighbor would come and buy something - I was not as kind as you are. The drinks, yes, but I refused to buy an old headband or a doll from her which I had purchased for her in the first place!

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

A very late good evening, friends. My computer was messing up this morning, and I could not get online. I hope you did not worry too much. It could not be helped. I am just getting in from a Women's Conference and will not talk long, just too tired. If I can't get on, I will try to make contact from the library. I have that test with the light Monday, so I am on a liquid diet starting tomorrow. I have a banquet to attend tomorrow evening, and I know that is going to be torture. Sheer torture.

Martooni, I hope you're okay, and thanks folks for looking out for me. I really do appreciate all of your efforts.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 20, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I think she's planning even further changes to this room, yes. She plots and calculates and looks up websites with decorating ideas for hours. It'll work out.

G'nite all. I'm going to crash.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 20, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Cassandra is here. Sleep well, dear one.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

'night, Wheezy.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

She hasn't thought of selling toys yet, usually just food and drinks from our home, we did not pay $4.00, she is not fully aware of money yet so any type of coin works (sometimes our 1.00 and 2.00 coins are a blessing).

Frosti those copy cat threats are scary, even if false they must cause so much fear in the school, very sad.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that sounds exactly like what I wore to work today! Great minds . . . of course, my version was cleverly disguised as a grey suit.

Posted by: dbG | April 20, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Sponging with white AND more orange (mixed with yellow for a brighter color) sounds good to me. Maybe thats what she had planned. Oh well, nice of you to let her pick and fix the colors how she wants.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse


frostbitten, that was hilarious.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Good article on pet food recall and why it should not be forgotten by Dr. Fox.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I must be channeling you. I picked up asparagus for the meal. Its a go except for the dill. I never thought before about the light heavy light. I know how to start, but never feel I quite get it right when I put things together. I think I start at rich tastes, and cannot get beyond that. Masterful madame, simply masterful.

wheezy, I know of a house decorated by a bunch of guys that went with at least one wall of primary colour in every room but the kitchen. The sunset red walls of the living room work with the deep blue and orange of the bathroom and the orange and yellow hallway walls. Wait till its all together. I'd bet it's going to be young and fresh, and entirely her. think of it as a box of crayons. they look just Fine together in a box, and so will this.

My personal colour is green. I am convinced that all greens work together at some level. Not really, but I think its the tone of the colour that matters. If the tones are of the same family, you can do almost anything.

Which is why the pink of hello kitty is just right with the blue walls in the office. Is Mudge back Sunday? Do you think we should tell him the slipcovers are reversible to a very manly plaid and leather? And that on the backside of the Kincaids is Bateman?

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra so good to see you. Martooni has been thinking of you, and mentioned really appreciating your prayers. He popped by earlier today.

You said something about mercy and forgiveness a long time ago, that I have never forgotten. I've thought a lot about that in the course of the last few days.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

With Cassandra's permission, I have a plan for the conn tomorrow.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

G'night, all.

Thos of you lucky enough to do the BPH, I hope you had a good time, and I hope there are good (and repeatable in the Boodle) stories to tell.

Walter Issacson's been everywhere lately, hasn't he? The Daily Show, NPR, features in the MSM...

A quick thought about the speed of light.
Spacetime is a medium through which light travels. One could say that light (aka photons "wavicles") only goes a certain speed in "normal" or "relative" spacetime, but that light is subject to all aspects of spacetime as well. Where spacetime is warped by something with significant mass and gravity like a star, light rides the warped space around the star's gravity well and changes direction, just like anything else would. As an interesting side note, the reference frames for warped space near a high-mass high-gravity object is slower than "flat" spacetime, though anyone within that warped spacetime would measure c and time as if it were flat spacetime.

My point, or rather, Einstein's: it all looks relatively the same from your little corner of spacetime. We're all stuck in it like ants in amber. Even light.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

bc, thanks for that on spacetime and speed of light.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 21, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Chocolate Mousse may have a chalky undertaste - especially with Salmon Wellington. Rosemary,instead of dill, baby.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 21, 2007 12:46 AM | Report abuse

On topic, the Strobe Constant may explain why the train is always late.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 21, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

A chalky undertaste! Ha!

"As long as she ate the mouse she can't see nor hear, now sing!"

La la la la la la la la la la la la . . .

Posted by: Dreamer | April 21, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

IN other words, sometimes light sprints, and sometimes it tiptoes through the tulips, bc?


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Bumble bees can really drill. I have a little extension at the back of the house. The bees have drilled a dozen holes on one of the 2 x 4s. I've tried spraying insecticide on the wood to discourage them but it didn't work. I have contemplated plugging the hole but was afraid I might suffocate the bee if it is inside. So I did nothing more and just hoping they'll stop the drilling. Sure hate it if the roof collapses on me.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *waving*

I must apologize, no BPH pics this time. *hanging head*

'Twas a somewhat subdued affair, although we were honored to have mostlylurking and sisterofmostlylurking grace us with their presence. It seems Friday evenings aren't the best for porching. TBG met the ladies at the Four Provinces (which we all recommend highly!), and I wandered in a short time later. pj joined us, and the usual BPH cameraderie ensued. We also did our poor best to honor Liviu Librescu and the other VT victims with a toast.

We were WONDERING where you were, mo!!! *HUGS* mostlylurking and sis had to get over to the State Theater by 7 for the Leon Russell show, so we wrapped up around 6:30. You work too much, mo!!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 21, 2007 5:31 AM | Report abuse

No pics?!?!? InconCEIVable!!!!

Posted by: Tom fan | April 21, 2007 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Well, I'm on it, and hopefully I can stay on it. Starting out with coffee, that's always good. I do hope all of you have a lovely weekend. The weather looks really good here, bright and sunny, but a tad chilly.

Last night I met a minister that prayed for me, and my loss of hearing. She advised me to say that I am healed, and not to think or say otherwise. I heard her sermon after she prayed for me. God is good.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal. We can't live with or in hate. Hate destroys. We are human beings, and when we act other than humane, it is not a good fit. Look around, and one does not have to look far to see what happens when man acts as the beast. Oh, the hurt we bring on ourselves and others when we don't love one another, and love Him that made us.

It has been a rough week, and still rough, but I have prayed for you my friends here, and for our country. God is good, He answers prayers and we will heal.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Scotty, and all.*waving* Martooni, thinking of you.

Have a good weekend. Give God some of your time, show your family you love them, and try to get some rest. God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 21, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Sounds like the BPH went off well. But no pics? Scotty, Scotty, Scotty... tsk, tsk, tsk. How am I supposed to live vicariously through all you party animals without pics?

Stella the Bus update: I almost had her running yesterday -- new plugs, points, condensor, cap & rotor and even a new battery -- but no go. Finally got her to start, but then Mrs. M. asked whether oil was supposed to be squirting out all over the driveway. A leak of massive proportions in a spot that will probably require pulling the motor to repair. Grrrrr... Maybe it's time to pass Stella on to a younger person with more patience and time on their hands.

The day wasn't a complete loss, though. Mrs. M's mom agreed to buy me a power washer and paint sprayer if I paint the exterior of her rental house I've been renovating the past several months. I'll do just about anything for power tools. (I wonder if there's a 12 step program for that?)

Cassandra... glad to hear it was only technical difficulties keeping you away. Missed ya.

(btw... made my little slashy tic mark in my notebook last night, so that makes 25 miracles in a row -- not counting all the other ones, big and small, that have been coming my way lately. Life ain't easy, but it's good.)

Peace, my friends...

Posted by: martooni | April 21, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Quiet boodle porching is nice, I expect. Were plants spoken of?

Good morning Cassandra. I hear birds everywhere. I think that the warmed air makes their spring duties easier. A pair of cardinals moved into the upper Holly Condo. Last time cardinals occupied this apartment, crows in the white oak out back dined on their nestlings. A murder of crows! The crows are making a come back, after the West Nile dip in numbers. I am of mixed feelings, but nature is nature. So it goes.

Rain forest: could that bee be a carpenter bee? The live solo, in wood.

All that food talk last night, courtesy Yoki and buddies, was so delish. Have had asparagus, a spring treat, but have not yet sighted rhubarb. Any day now.

Will drink coffee and look at the the lady tulips. Today, I expect most tulips will open their faces full to the sun. Hey, Martooni, fairies sleep cupped in tulips. I will need a door for their winter abode.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Truly a delightful morning out there! The very picture of spring, as luck would have it! *L*

CP, I believe plants were spoken of.

Tom Fan, martooni, I abjectly apologize.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 21, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

rain forest... those are carpenter bees. The only non-lethal way to keep them away is to paint the wood -- they'll bore into any exposed wood (even pressure-treated lumber). If you want to keep the wood exposed, there are several products you can spray or dust the area with that will kill the ones who've already taken up residence and keep new ones away. Here's one:

Posted by: martooni | April 21, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

You are right,CP. It's a carpenter bee. Now you know why I'm not a entomologist.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

SCC: an entomologist

Posted by: r | April 21, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

the 8:18am was me. I'm deliberately making mistakes so that I can correct and increase my post count.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

CP... I hope to get to building magic doors soon but there's a Jackson Pollack Adirondack chair that needs to be finished first.

Posted by: martooni | April 21, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Much more very welcome rain last night. Spring's "green wave" of tree leaves will find its way to Minneapolis this weekend. Traveling north at about 17 miles a day it will be here in two weeks. Dandelions are on the advance party so many bouquets went home from the school playground yesterday. I bought a bare root peony (Shirley Temple) yesterday and am ready to pot up my tomato, basil, and flax seedlings.

Signs of life in the shade garden. Native sedum up, as well as leaves of a plant I wasn't able to identify last year. Whatever it is, it tolerates transplanting and appears to be a vigorous spreader. When I do make an ID I'll probably also find the warning- INVASIVE, plant in a concrete trough.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

You are right martooni. They all look somewhat alike to me - hairy and alittle overweight.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, the fairies will be fine until the doors appear. They can take up in a carpenter bee hole....glad you are doing so well. Ain't ordinary good?

Rain Forest: So when Martooni gets to Indonesia, he can fix up your place and tour the

Eventually, we boodlers will enjoy a pic of the wildly-decorated JP chair in a deer-free lawn, with the fins of a red Caddy in the background.

I expect Little Bean will be spring-frisky soon. The sap is fully arisen here -- finally! I submit this improbable scene: Saturday before 10 and three 14-year dudes are skate boarding, by choice, rather than sleeping. We have waiting so long for such sun and soft air. I would love to haul a tarp to the front yard (the back is damp and shady), roll up in a quilt, and bath in the sun till my bones unhinge from winter. But, I am already a bit of a character, and my son is starting to wish to be transported, say to Martooni's house in Ohio. Last night, he said, "Mom, can you not sing your show tunes in the car? Whatda' I have to do to trade."

I am contemplating a response. He does his laundry, the trash, dishwasher, etc. His room is already an allergen-free zone. He cannot mow the grass due to pollen-problems. 'Mudge, Yoki? Can I send him to food-boot-camp? I would love a personal chef. Besides, a boy who plays guitar, sports Breck-girl hair, does laundry AND cooks? Such a catch, that man.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, thanks for the link. Can't get those products here. Have to call pest control.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Would someone who researches the origin of insect names be an entomological etymologist?

I came close to making the BPH, but the schedule thing didn't quite work out. Am still up for a lunchtime BPH at the Tulip Library or elsewhere. Perhaps someplace that serves salmon with asparagus and dill. I hear that rocks.

Today I shall be celebrating spring with yard work. I always start the season filled with giddy optimism as I anticipate the many compliments I will soon receive from envious neighbors over the pristine state of my property.

I suspect pollen makes me delusional.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Frosti -- blue flax, the thin stalks with improbable blue tiny flowers...that dance in the wild?

A field of flax is the most beautiful sight. Some winter wheat fields in MT, back in the day, would be fallowed with such a crop. I had a plant here, but it waned due to heat after two years. I could start one today, plant it the summer and hope for next year! Thank you.

The painted fern croziers are done but the bracken is starting. I don't think they are safe to eat. I better not die this I won't try them. Rhubarb, o where art thou?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Delighted to hear from Cassandra, and Martooni. 25 days! Would you have imagined, six month ago, how that feels?

And a power washer! I bought one for Himself's Father's Day present two years ago (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it -- it belongs to Himself!). What a fabulous tool. However, it is still too cold to use the outdoor taps, so my power-washing jones goes unsatisfied. The windows are desperate for a good blast, the garage floor is filthy, and my car too. Happy days will soon be here. When we first got it, #2 decided she wanted to power wash for a living.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I was appalled when I entered the command post this morning. Ivansmom and Raysmom did good service trying to haul out all the figurines and doilies, but that Hello Kitty wall hanging is really the limit, and the beaded curtain hanging over the door is over the top.

Because my design sensibility runs more to wood/leather/glass/stainless steel, I've ordered up a little surprise for 'Mudge for when he gets back. The van will soon be here with a large plasma screen HD television, a complete boxed set of all the 007 movies on DVD, a new beer fridge and a leather recliner. Oh, and there is a big pot of chili in the fridge, ready to go into the slow-cooker when Cassandra turns off the lights tomorrow evening. Cassandra, can you remember to start the chili on low?

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I heard that Bali in Indonesia is a nice place to visit. I've never been there and don't know if it is safe. After martooni visits Indonesia, he can come to Brunei and fix up my place. I can show him around. If he is the foresty type, I can show him where he could go. Me? The edge of the forest is the furthest I'll go. Not a fan of mosquitoes and creepy crawlies.

Posted by: rain forest | April 21, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse


You were thought of at the BPH, never fear.


You still have time to replace the Bond DVDs with nautical derring-do (Das Boot, Midway, Sink the Bismark!, The Enemy Below, etc.), yanno. I kinda think 'Mudge would prefer those.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 21, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Too right, Scottynuke. Consider it done.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Because their current queen was born in Ottawa and Canadian troops liberated Holland during WWII the Dutch so love Canada that every year they send thousands of tulip bulbs. I'm not sure whether someone decided to plant the tulips near a beer tent or whether the beer tent was raised next to the plantings but when these two elements were brought together the Canadian Tulip Festival was born.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 21, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

CP-it is the delicate blue flowered flax I've started. Even here it is relatively short lived, but self seeds freely. I have a sunny well drained spot which I have named the prairie garden.

I miss winter wheat. The forest is fine but golden wheat dancing in the wind with cloud shadows racing from west to east-that is a thing of beauty. Thank you for reminding me to stop by the Seed and Feed. They will laugh when I only want a handful of this and that-wheat, oats, barley.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Scotty, do you think Mudge would appreciate the complete DVD box sets of "McHale's Navy" and "Petticoat Junction?"


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "Operation Petticoat." Dang me.


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, I think Mudge would secretly love to have the DVD set of Petticoat Junction. He always had a thing for Meredith MacCrae.

Posted by: TBG | April 21, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Would *Waterworld* be considered a nautical film?

I always wanted to have gills and webbed feet.

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

The Falls Church BPH was great. mostlylurking and her sister are delightful and were excited about seeing their beloved Leon later that evening. mostly's sister has a few boodles of her own, so she was quite at home meeting imaginary friends in a bar in a town far from home.

On a sadder note, have you read the Cho family's statement? It is just heartbreaking. His sister actually names every victim, bringing a completely personal and sincere feel to the apology. I just can't imagine what that poor family is going through and will live with for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: TBG | April 21, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, nice shelves. Solid wood, too. I put my incomplete set of paperback Patrick O'Brian _Master and Commander_ series. Do I make ammends for my fipperies and swags, eyelets and shears, pleated chintzes and stenciled geese, etc.

EF -- are the Rita Hay flicks in B/W? How can you tell she is auburn? Remember the first colorized Maureen O Hara flicks? The hair nearly leapt off the screen.

Am digging and trimming, etc. My neighbors wish I was a little more focused on shrubs shapes, etc. Very nice people who dip sans clothing into their hot tub, YET prefer perfect geometrical shrubbery shapes. Perhaps, the hum of the electric trimmer shall commence soon.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

That is an excellent point about the Cho family's apology, TBG. It is heartbreaking and sincere. I can't remember ever seeing a family's apology, afterwards, that named everyone.

Posted by: dbG | April 21, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So much to catch up on, so little time...

Petticoat Junction? Gag. Operation Petticoat? Sure. Always had a thing for pink submarines. Scotty and bc know my tatstes very well.

dr, I'm probably way too late on the recipe problem, but I'd recommend a simple lemon sorbet with two Milano or Mint Milano cookies per serving.

Alternatively, if you want to get your guests nicely blitzed, try a Sgroppino (one per guest, rinse and repeat). In a tall fluted glass place a melon-ball-sized scoop (or two scoops) of lemon sorbet. Add half a shot of vodka. Fill to top with Prosecco (sparkling Italian wine similar to champagne or Asti Spumante--which will also work).

Dave Barry's speech last night was nothing short of hilarious, which of course is what everyone expected and he delivered in his typical consumate fashion. Since this was a room full of 400 editors, he addressed them from the point of view of the writer, with the preliminary remark, "My speech isn't done yet. I'll get it to you in about an hour." It was of course downhill from that.

Then he told the editors there was a classic joke about editors that all reports knew but editors didn't. It went like this: "An editor and a reporter were lost in the desert and had run out of water. They were crawling across the sands dunes, dehydrated and almost dead of thirst. Suddenly on the horizon they see an oasis with palm trees and a pool of cool water. They make it to the oasis and the report jumps in the pool, splashes water in his face, drinks, etc. Suddenly he notices the editor isn't also in the pool. He looks up to see the editor standing at the edge of the pool and urinating into it. "What are you doing?" the reporter exclaims to the editor. 'I'm making it better,' the editor replies."

This pretty much explains the reporter/writer's view of the editor, Barry said.

He talked a lot about Miami and Florida, and was very funny. Of interest to us on the boodle was the large part of his speech that described how he had first come to the Miami herald to work for its then-editor, now our own beloved Gene Weingarten, as many of you already know. Dave told the infamous story of what happened on the day that the new Knight-Ridder executives went to the Miami Herald for a tour. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can tell the rest of the story on this boodle due to nature of the central punchline. Suffice it to say it brought the house down.

He also told the anecdote of his now infamous column when he wrote a throw-away line about how Neil Diamond's lyrics ("and no one there...except the chair," etc.) might not have been the world's best. He got a storm of protest letters, which led to a second column and a storm of counter-reaction from people who hated Neil Diamond, and this led to the creation of his book on awful song lyrics.

Prior to Barry's speech, the conference had a day-long silent auction. I bid on a copy of one of Barry's books, with the intention of having him autograph it for me, but I was outbid on it. However, I did win an autographed copy of Carl Hiaasen's "Nature Girl," so asked Dave to autograph it for me, which he very kindly did. In the inscription he wrote: "I did not write this. Dave Barry." Needless to say, a very emotional moment for me. An now I own a book autographed by both Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen. Maybe I can get both Joel and Gene to sign it, too.

Hey, gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 21, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

TBG, DBG -- I felt similarly about the apology. In todays' print WaPo, the word autism was mentioned early in the article. I had flashed on that, as had two friends familiar with Asperger's and the autism spectrum disorders. Now those families cringe about that condition named in the mix.

I hate to use the metaphor, however, perhaps a perfect storm of illness, family stresses, isolation, school pressures, transition to young adulthood, cracks between law enforcement/mental health criteria, tensions between rights and risks, boundaries between privacy and one factor is to blame.

Perhaps our definitions of adulthood will shift. Perhaps colleges will reconsider the in loco parentis stance that used to guide how we interacted with young adults.

I pray for the safety and comfort of Cho's family.

I am reminded of the embrace of the Amish for the family of the man who shattered their lives.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate gets it right -- by which I mean, she gets around to agreeing with me on the interpretation of the Gonzales testimony that I formed the instant I heard him speak on Thursday. Far from proving that Gonzales is an incompetent dolt, Gonzales proved that he is willing to placidly accept any amount of abuse and insult in order to protect the Bush administration's internal machinations from interference by Congressional oversight.

I am amused by the contention during the hearings that this shows that Gonzales really is an incompetent and dimwitted manager, rather than a scheming hack. If that were true, then he might actually have the good grace to appear a bit sheepish in repeating his mantra, "I don't recall." No, he recognizes that you can't be charged with perjury for being stupid, but you can be so willfully stupid that you can obstruct investigation. Every scrap of circumstantial evidence, testimony (by Kyle Sampson), and refusal to testify (Monica Goodling taking the Fifth) points toward the conclusion that the firing of the 8 US Attorneys was absolutely and only a petty act of political payback for insufficient willingness to abuse legal power for political gain. These people have no shame. They are scum. I look forward to January 20, 2009.

Posted by: Tim | April 21, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Very sad, CP. He obviously did not get properly diagnosed for the full extent of his problems until 2005, if even that.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

And Tim... the blatant corruption that is known as No Child Left Behind is another reason to look forward to the end of the Bush era.

The horrible thing is how many children have suffered under poor policy because these folks wanted to make money.

Worse than claiming to be a born-again Christian just to be elected president is to claim to be looking out for our children, only to really just help your friends increase their financial worth.

Posted by: TBG | April 21, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

January 20, 2009 feels TOO LONG for me. I say impeach 'em all and move up the elections-- heck, everybody's already running.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

>He always had a thing for Meredith MacCrae.
Well I sure did. :-)

CP, the Rita Hayworth pic (the first one at least) was in glorious Technicolor. I really did buy the poster too!

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 21, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

CP, make no amends for the fripperies. We cleaned out the fridge. What's a few fripperies and a little mould between friends I always say.

I found a copy of the Shipping News in the slightly upscale homeless book store on Thursday, and finished it this morning. I freely admit to being entranced. So many people I know have opined that the movie is better than the book, but they are twin sons from different mothers to me.

There is still snow on the deck and the sun is hidden behind some heavy gray clouds. I'll go back to sweater making, warm and heavy, for those cool summer nights and for fall. Home is thankfully, a doily free zone.

Posted by: dr | April 21, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey all, just got in from outside, had to stop as I had hit the wall. Raking completed, some new plants in, got the first garden store visit in, and have spent most of the morning and afternoon outside in the sunshine and warmth. Noticed the first forsythia blooming today.

I must now sit before I fall over, what ever you weather may be hope you are having a great Saturday.

Posted by: dmd | April 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea what "fripperies" were, so I did a Google search.

Oh my.

I fear the red blush on my cheeks is not due solely from working in the sun.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know (don't *want* to know) what sites you went to for "frippery", RD, but here's Webster's:

Main Entry: frip·pery
Pronunciation: 'fri-p(&-)rE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -per·ies
Etymology: Middle French friperie, alteration of Old French freperie, from frepe old garment
1 obsolete a : cast-off clothes b archaic : a place where old clothes are sold
2 a : FINERY; also : an elegant or showy garment b : something showy, frivolous, or nonessential c : OSTENTATION; especially : something foolish or affectedly elegant

Nothing to make one blush, unless one blushes with shame for bad taste! 2b is the most commonly used meaning.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 21, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

dmd, sounds like a wonderful day. I'm happy you had it!

Posted by: dbG | April 21, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I've done the math - it turns out that "mass murderer" is not a viable niche!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I know how you feel dmd, a few days ago it was blowing about 25, the thermometer was stuck in the 30's and the rain was coming down sideways. I assumed all the plants would be late to bloom. I cannot believe what happened today. It was as if the rotten weather had somehow energized everything so that the minute the temperature went above 60 and the sun came out, everything burst into leaf or full bud. I thought I was watching a nature show with the time-lapse cameras. "S" has the yard raked and we bought two new shrubs, my daffodils are starting to bloom, just a glorious day. The granddaughters are coming for an overnight visit and we will cook out and eat on the porch.

Martooni, I am so pleased to see how well you're doing. I think of you often and you are in my prayers as well.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 21, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

re: "After Adopting Term Limits, States Lose Female Legislators"

Well, to slightly misquote Lady Bracknell -- To lose one female legislator is unfortunate. To lose several smacks of incompetence!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

My apologies - I don't usually do long quotes, but I really DO like Oscar Wilde:


I have a country house with some land, of course, attached to it, about fifteen hundred acres, I believe; but I don't depend on that for my real income. In fact, as far as I can make out, the poachers are the only people who make anything out of it.

A country house! How many bedrooms? Well, that point can be cleared up afterwards. You have a town house, I hope? A girl with a simple, unspoiled nature, like Gwendolen, could hardly be expected to reside in the country.

Well, I own a house in Belgrave Square, but it is let by the year to Lady Bloxham. Of course, I can get it back whenever I like, at six months' notice.

Lady Bloxham? I don't know her.

Oh, she goes about very little. She is a lady considerably advanced in years.

Ah, nowadays that is no guarantee of respectability of character. What number in Belgrave Square?


[Shaking her head.] The unfashionable side. I thought there was something. However, that could easily be altered.

Do you mean the fashion, or the side?

[Sternly.] Both, if necessary, I presume. What are your polities?

Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Liberal Unionist.

Oh, they count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening, at any rate. Now to minor matters. Are your parents living?

I have lost both my parents.

To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Who was your father? He was evidently a man of some wealth. Was he born in what the Radical papers call the purple of commerce, or did he rise from the ranks of the aristocracy?

I am afraid I really don't know. The fact is, Lady Bracknell, I said I had lost my parents. It would be nearer the truth to say that my parents seem to have lost me . . . I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was . . . well, I was found.


The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentleman of a very charitable and kindly disposition, found me, and gave me the name of Worthing, because he happened to have a first-class ticket for Worthing in his pocket at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It is a seaside resort.

Where did the charitable gentleman who had a first-class ticket for this seaside resort find you?

[Gravely.] In a hand-bag.

A hand-bag?

[Very seriously.] Yes, Lady Bracknell. I was in a hand-bag - a somewhat large, black leather hand-bag, with handles to it - an ordinary hand-bag in fact.

In what locality did this Mr. James, or Thomas, Cardew come across this ordinary hand-bag?

In the cloak-room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own.

The cloak-room at Victoria Station?

Yes. The Brighton line.

The line is immaterial. Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality in which the hand-bag was found, a cloak-room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion - has probably, indeed, been used for that purpose before now-but it could hardly be regarded as an assured basis for a recognised position in good society.

May I ask you then what you would advise me to do? I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to ensure Gwendolen's happiness.

I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Since nobody's paying attention anyway, I feel compelled to give you the last two lines of that scene.


Well, I don't see how I could possibly manage to do that. I can produce the hand-bag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home. I really think that should satisfy you, Lady Bracknell.

Me, sir! What has it to do with me? You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter - a girl brought up with the utmost care - to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel? Good morning, Mr. Worthing!

[LADY BRACKNELL sweeps out in majestic indignation.]

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

>I had no idea what "fripperies" were, so I did a Google search.

Robert Fripp?

Bob S. that was great. Thanks.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 21, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I promise, I'm finished now!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Error - I definitely remember Mr. Fripp and a certain red-hued "King"!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I picked up a few of the King Crimson albums last year - well worth it.

20th Century Schizoid Man... In the Court of The Crimson King... they've kept their power across all these years.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 21, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the Wilde quote, Bob S. The problem quoting "Earnest" is that once you start it's hard to find a place to stop!

Last afternoon's BPH with TBG and Scottynuke representing the regulars was most enjoyable. As usual, we had good food, good drinks, and good company. It was great to meet mostlylurking and her sister and I hope they enjoyed the Leon Russell show and sightseeing in DC today. They had great weather for their trip.

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

When I googled "cripperies" a site for fancy women's unmentionables called "fripperies limited" came up at the top of the list. So, naturally I assumed that you ladies were leaving exotic lingerie around the bunker.

Not that Mudge would necessarily mind.

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

SCC "FRIPPERIES" sheesh. I don't even want to know what cripperies are....

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

RD, I'm with you. I'll leave "cripperies" to the younger (and more energetic) folk.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Rd, Cripperies are fripperies for chaps.

Scottynuke had quite a few catalogs of those lying around before we cleaned the place out.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Likewise "blooderies".

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

fripperies/Fripp is a great catch. Thanks.

Those King Crimson records are great, Error. There's also a box set from them that was released at least a dozen years ago that was excellent. Don't know if it is still in print.

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

cripperies - crossdressing members of a gang in L.A.?

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Herein is a mother's love, that I spent the first nice Saturday of spring peeling wallpaper off the bathroom walls at my elder daughter's condo.

Yes, peeling. With my fingernails. This stuff is definitely not strippable. The good news is that it's a small room; the bad news is that the ceiling is nine feet high.

Posted by: Slyness | April 21, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Slyness - Amongst my many occupations of the past decade-and-a-half, I was a residential house painting kinda guy. "What to do?" with old wallpaper came up from time to time. As you point out, sometimes, it just isn't strippable.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"The Helvetica Medium lower-case 'a' ... is the most beautiful two-dimensional form ever designed. Its luxurious sensual curves are balanced by points of crisp tension. Its lovely counter makes me think of Mozart."

Why is Helvetica praised like this? Certainly no one is singing from the rooftops about Times New Roman. But Helvetica is more than simply a popular typeface. Many consider it the official typeface of the 20th century.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 21, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

pj, I'm so glad you were able to go and meet mostlylurking -- I think of the two of you as the boodle's music buffs, so it was great that you had the opportunity to chat face to face and give m.l. a good send-off before the Leon Russell gig.

Plus, I'm Achenjealous that you NoVa BPHers now all know what mostlylurking looks like and I don't. I'd been so looking forward to getting a look at her gorgeous mug! (I'm sure she looks FABulous, though.)

[Sorry Scotty -- I don't *really* want to make you feel bad.]

Posted by: Dreamer | April 21, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

This article indicates how you can identify Arial from Helvetica.

Now that they show it, that "R" IS familiar.

In the bottom examples of "Rates" you additionally can also see that the Helvetica typeface has the e hook absolutely level with the bottom hook of the s, and the other typefaces don't. Arial looks like the e and s hooks are concave, while Grotesque has them uneven.

I guess the point is that one typeface is designed for simple graphic display with as much symmetry and balance as possible, while the computer typefaces are not.

I use Arial for its blocky clarity at low font sizes, but I much prefer New Times Roman for general appearance.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Fripperies really struck an chord. I also like the word "furbelow':

Word of the Day Archive
Saturday February 9, 2002
furbelow \FUR-buh-low\, noun:
1. A pleated or gathered flounce on a woman's garment; a ruffle.
2. Something showy or superfluous; a bit of showy ornamentation.
Gilt. Red velvet. Brocade. Flocked wallpaper. Swags, frills, furbelows and ornamentation beyond comprehension. We're talking rococo loco.
-- Liz Braun, "Time Flies When You're Having Fun", Ottawa Sun, April 3, 2000

I first encountered the word in the 8th grade musical _Oliver_ I sang the part of Bet, who sang this verse of "It's A Fine Life" (with Nancy, the heroine)

No flounces, no feathers
No frills and furbelows
All winds and all weathers
Ain't good for fancy clo'es

I am looking around the locker, lounge, and office. So we have a Scandinavian sleek style going? Yoki, you really nabbed some fine pieces. You are ahead of the curve, retro-wise. I hung a non-floral Marimeko wall treatment over 'Mudge's sofa, moving the stuffed moosehead (bc, I think) to the locker room. Last I checked, some silly had placed Rocky-the-Squirrel pilot googles on the thing you know people will be imitating Boris and Natasha, and referring to 'Mudge behind his back as "Fearless leader."

DR and others: I donated the doilies and assorted fripperies to the activities room at RiderWood Assisted Living. The little ladies and gents look at home amid the Rococo Loco.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Slyness - You are such a good person. I, like, feel your pain. I too have engaged in mortal combat with uncooperative wallpaper. It's like trying to remove a sticky label from a glass jar. And if you choose to paint it becomes even worse. For even the most minuscule remnant of paint will have unholy repercussions.

Your walls will look like they have an infectious skin disease.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

CP, thanks for your donation to Riderwood. My aunt and uncle live there. They are quite elderly but it would be a hoot if they saw your handiwork.

Dreamer, it was nice to meet another music lover. Unfortunately, as these things happen, we didn't talk about music! That's okay, though. We can share notes (so to speak) here.

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Our last house was 130 years old and its 80 year old bathroom had unstrippable wallpaper. I finally rented a steamer to get it off. Only to find that underneath was old chipped paint and MORE WALLPAPER under that. At first I decided to paint right over the old chipped (firmly adhered) paint. After a few weeks of "name that continent" on the bathroom walls, I couldn't stand it and put on some thick, textured wallpaper which covered it up quite nicely. But really, it looked like a relief map of a different planet, and it was fun, if odd, for a few weeks.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 21, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I would Google "furbelow" but after the "fripperies" experience I am kind of nervous.

I mean, we have children in the house.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse


I can sympathize with the wallpaper. Before my parents sold their house, my dad and I removed the wallpaper from their dining room. It took us much longer to remove the paper than it did to put it up about 25 years earlier. And that's even after someone lent us a steamer to help us get it off. That was such a pain.

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

PJ -- So many of my friends' parents and aunties/uncles live at Riderwood. My dottirs' dear old piano teacher lives there and plays in the activity room, piano that is.

One dear lady is now in the "double play pen," meaning the ward with two fences on the outside. She has dementia and is an escape artist. For years, she was the excellent secretary/girl Friday for Bobby Kennedy. She constantly talks about his schedule. She types on a typewriter many days, his memos and letters, you know.

I don't see how I will have money to live thusly. I hope I can pull off what my granny and grandda did: mid 90s in their tiny rambler. He exited by stroke, she by heart attack. Quicklike.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

A neighbor who is a shuttle-parts chief engineer is sick about the NASA shooting. The man who was killed was Dave Beverly. Among many things said about Mr. Berverly what that he was able to talk to everyone: managers in suits, machinists,astronauts, engineers, cosmologists, starry-eyed kids on tour....he also survived a horrific motorcycle accident a few years back, rehabilitating himself back to work in three months, when docs predicted six or more.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Someone has coined a word for when you goodle two words and get just one result. I have on rare occasions "scored" under 100. Frippery furbelow = 945. Darn those online thesauruses, thesauri?

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

By the way: Sometimes the answer is, "Paint over it!" Sometimes the answer is, "Steam, scrape, chisel, then refill, then start again!" Sometimes the answer is, "More wallpaper!" And occasionally the answer has to be, "You know, it's time for a new wall" and the semi-serious deconstruction begins!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse


My folks are in a similar place to Riderwood. There are people with great stories, like Kennedy's secretary. Many of them are still in good shape mentally, but some of them, unfortunately, are like the dear lady you mention.

I'm with you regarding your last paragraph.

Posted by: pj | April 21, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, A package arrived today, unmarked by sender, that included three Lily speciosum, var. rubrum bulbs. I planted them in a good spot overrun by Vinca minor. I believe they will poke through and be themselves.

A friend walked by with a little red wagon full of Aquilegia babies. Fun to adopt.

RD -- and how are the moonflowers going?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, can you put drywall or plaster over wallpaper? There has to be something short of knocking the pre-existing wall out...

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

RD, a furbelow is that skin drape an overweight cat or bunny has below the torso.

You are probably wise not to google the term.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod! I am so dense but is that true? It should be!

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - Absolutely, you can drywall or plaster over the existing wall. But throwing up new drywall is actually pretty cheap and quick, and tearing down a wall doesn't take very long with people who are enjoying their work!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

We will make it true if it's not already true, CP. But I did find a reference (probably joking) to a similar definition.

Also, "Fanny Furbelow" is a feline character in this Midnight Louie novel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

CP - I have five of them in little pots. They have all sprouted. I am attempting not to worry them to death. I have a spot by my picket fence cleared of weeds and ready to receive new residents. Based upon your earlier posts, I have penciled in Mother's Day for transplant.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I boodled a while ago about how hard it is to have your parent's get old. Fortunately, dementia does not run in my family (insert jokes about my posts here), but I am still dreading what is to come.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: spurious apostrophe use on parent's. I'm tired. My aging muscles are sore from yardwork. And the Nats are losing.

Time to sleep and dream of fripperies.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Both sides of my family tend to be rather long in the tooth, and the occasional dementia hasn't surfaced until late-80's/early-to-mid-90's for those that got that far (which is a bunch of folks!)

Alas, I haven't treated myself well, and I also fear what's to come.

Posted by: Bob S, | April 21, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

And for those who caught the brief conversation a couple of weeks ago:

Beginning this coming Thursday, I'll have medical insurance!!

('Nuff said!!)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

CP-Lilies with a vinca minor understory. I will steal your idea and execute it with lamium standing in for the vinca. Queen Anne's Lace has broken out of hibernation. Love those umbelliferous plants. (Umbelliferous furbelow = 81 google results BTW)

Wilbrod-My first thought about furbelow was that it does seem like an appropriate term for what we call feline udders here at Chez Frostbitten North. All of our cats look a bit bovine in the tummy.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Bob. As in very, very, very good for you.

Yes, RD, worry about parents is very real. Especially on opposite coasts. My dad is hale so far but now tends to fish in isolated places and does not tell us when and where. And, he who championed the buddy-system for the wild places! But given how my mom died -- lupus crisis that went on for six months -- if he has a heart attack while fishing and coyotes spread his bones, well, there are worse things. I say this, but when the time comes, such hard work or sudden loss.

Wilbrod: great on the word capture. You are funny, funny, funny.

Check on the moon before bed everyone, as Venus is under a horned the moon is furry with reflected light....foglike but I am sure that is not technically correct....poetically, right on.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

"furbelow fatcat" = 39 hits.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

You're seeing a moonbow, CP? Or a halo? Will go look for the moon. Back to the show about what Earth would be like without a moon to anchor its moods. (Answer: not very good- maybe like Mars or Venus).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Frosti - funny,funny on the kittie ventrals. Laminum -- someone here (about 76) calls that Sweet Nancy, which she likes to plant with Busy Lizzie, aka impatience. In the morning, when I am not so bleary, I will type out a love poem about Queen Anne's Lace, and the beauty of imperfect skin....William Carlos Williams....some ibuprofen and bed.

Bob S. -- start now to take care. Yoki would prescibe good food, in small portions. You know the drill. But, enjoy something simple and free every day....nature fits perfectly.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I left out an answer:

Sometimes, you get to working with a mechanical sander, ya' grinds everything down real smooth, then you start over!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

C. Park - Without much conscious volition, my food tastes have started veering toward the healthy over the past decade or so.

Now, I gotta work on a couple of other bad habits!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about fripperies. It's one of those words grandmothers use. A lovely elegant old fashioned way of saying show off.

Posted by: dr | April 21, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Ma Frostbitten, fatalist Finn that she is, wants to be "put out on an ice floe." I have chosen to interpret this as a metaphor. This is the woman who was being taken away from work on a Friday in an ambulance and directing Frostdaddy to fed-ex theater tickets to her cousins she was supposed to meet in NYC. Monday she was back at work with pacemaker installed. I'll start worrying when she no longer remembers more poetry than I've read. I'll say this, she has sisu.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

dr - Just last week, I was feeling just a bit highfalutin', apparently, and used the following in a conversation with some co-workers:

"The sheer effrontery of this a**hole leaves me just a tad slack-jawed!"

The response was mixed, and I definitely left a couple of people convinced that I make it up as I go along.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-been there. Use flummox and nonplussed on the same day and people will start avoiding you.

sisu furbelow= 3 My lowest score ever!! The boodle rocks for yet another reason.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

To follow up on a post by Tim earlier, I have this vision of Republican legislators desperately trying to rid their necks of the desperate grip of the Bush administration as it slowly sinks in the quicksand:

"Bush expressed "full confidence" in Gonzales through a spokeswoman and praised his "fantastic" service, in hopes of quashing speculation that the attorney general would be pushed out. But a wide array of Republicans described Gonzales with phrases such as "dead man walking," and even some White House aides privately voiced hope that he will step down on his own."

"Dead man walking" probably ought to stay off the resume. Maybe Bush was being sarcastic in his use of "fantastic;" as in "unbelievable." You think?

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Slack-jawed hicks who use high-falutin' words like "effrontery" do tend to get a tad of that reaction, Bob S.

And I love the word "tad". It doesn't get used enough in social intercourse.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

ok, a first star to the dude to the right of Fripp.

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: who identifies the dude to the right of Fripp

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

How do you tell someone how much gravy you want on your mashed potatoes if you don't use tad? Just a tad. I'll have a tad of that please. Tad late, aren't we? (most effective with an eyebrow raise).

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Check out the photo attached. Might explain why Fripp's first foray as a rock star failed:,|GILES|AND|FRIP

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I too am a big fan of "tad," but I think the best word to use for how much gravy you want on your mashed potatoes is "skerrick." Just a skerrick.

Posted by: Tom fan | April 21, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

bill everything - I'm starting to recall why I normally claim that "I don't recall" the 70's. Darn you!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse


I'm not touching that...

A gentleman does not speak of such things in pubic.


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

[But I agree that "tad" is the best word in relation to lateness. And if someone put *too much* gravy on my mashed potatoes, I'd probably think to myself, "that's a tad too much." (I wouldn't say it out loud, of course, because that would be a tad rude.)]

Posted by: Tom fan | April 21, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Would you believe, "public?"

I didn't think so.


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, no, bc; no I wouldn't. Not even for a second.

Posted by: Tom fan | April 21, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Bob S: I had no idea so I thought I could get some Fripp cred vicariously!

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I didn't think so, Tom fan.

Would you believe...oh, never mind, I'm not that Smart.

Please excuse me as I retire to my Cone of Silence for the evening.

'night, all.

I think it's pretty clear what AG AG is doing. He's doing what he's expected to do.
I suppose someone somewhere other than the Daily Show writers are compiling stats from AG's testimony...


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

NYT's Frank Rich is writing brilliantly on Bush, Gonzales, and Wolfowitz. In the middle of Rich's op-ed for tomorrow's paper, he writes of two scandals--the first is AG AG and Kerik, the second Wolfie, his romantic partner and SAIC, the defense contractor.

But Rich provides a summary paragraph before he delves into both Gonzales and Wolfowitz:

Yet each man's [Gonzales and Wolfowitz]latest infractions, however serious, are mere misdemeanors next to their roles in the Iraq war. What's being lost in the Beltway uproar is the extent to which the lying, cronyism and arrogance showcased by the current scandals are of a piece with the lying, cronyism and arrogance that led to all the military funerals that Mr. Bush dares not attend [the first graph of the op-ed...I'll paste it in next]. Having slept through the fraudulent selling of the war, Washington is still having trouble confronting the big picture of the Bush White House. Its dense web of deceit is the deliberate product of its amoral culture, not a haphazard potpourri of individual blunders.

PRESIDENT BUSH has skipped the funerals of the troops he sent to Iraq. He took his sweet time to get to Katrina-devastated New Orleans. But last week he raced to Virginia Tech with an alacrity not seen since he hustled from Crawford to Washington to sign a bill interfering in Terri Schiavo's end-of-life medical care. Mr. Bush assumes the role of mourner in chief on a selective basis, and, as usual with the decider, the decisive factor is politics. Let Walter Reed erupt in scandal, and he'll take six weeks to show his face -- and on a Friday at that, to hide the story in the Saturday papers. The heinous slaughter in Blacksburg, Va., by contrast, was a rare opportunity for him to ostentatiously feel the pain of families whose suffering cannot be blamed on the administration.

Just a note, NYT has a very long story tonight on Cho's youth--how he was sullen since childhood.

Posted by: Loomis | April 21, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link (What of the parents of these bullies?):

Classmates recall some teasing and bullying over his taciturn nature. The few times he was required to speak for a class assignment, students mocked his poor English and deep-throated voice.

Posted by: Loomis | April 21, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Gee Mudge, thanks for that unbelievable tale of your encounter with a humor writer. Whew, I'm wiping the sweat from my brow.

I am really impressed. You rock dude.

Posted by: bill everything | April 21, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I would (respectfully, and tentatively) submit that even the Iraq war issue is small 'taters compared to the larger issue of trivializing political actions to mean nothing more than "getting our way, as long as we can get away with it, for whatever reasons we deem."

Talk about bullies!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight boodle. Mr. F heads to Iraq tomorrow, but just for a week. As we say in MN, "could be worse."

Posted by: frostbitten | April 21, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

frosty - As a guy even more southern than me (!) once said... "This ain't Friday night in N'Orleans, but at least it ain't Monday mornin' in New York!"

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to Mr. F, Frosti.

Impeachability dragees = 4 hits

I've never tried this before, it's fun!

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Update: My youngest came home tonight (long sleepover!) and pronounced her green/orange/yellow room "awesome!" At least all that painting made someone happy.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why you'd want to search for it, but:

"fanball bush stick dog jack man right or fish pez purple zing fact 54463"

yields precisely one Google hit, at the moment. (Presumably, this post will eventually raise the total.)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

If (for whatever strange reason, you wierdo!) you choose to Google-search the above phrase, leave out the quotation marks if you want to hit the target.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Anon at 12:26 (or Forgetful at 12:26), a rule of the game is to use only two words and achieve one Google hit. Also think they can't be proper names, but I'm not sure.

Night, all.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Cute! Pretty easy if you work backwards though. - junkie scabulation - will get a single hit.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

So does: perambulatory nerdishness

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

"protofactual justification" is a kinda cool one-hit wonder!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

I offer "phenomenology bullcraps", and I'm outta here. Good night, all!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes to Mr F and everyone else in Iraq.

The Tulip Library in Washington sounds neat. In Portland, Oregon, I found that smallish narcissi (little daffodils) made great spring plants. In Wyoming, many tulips seemingly thought they were at home in central Asia. I got the impression that they'd be perfect for a spot that received a bit of irrigation in the spring, then could be left dry all summer. Maybe someone else from the region can comment.

I'm back from the Florida Native Plant Society's annual conference at UF, across the street from the butterfly exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The place is looking lush, with at least one Florida native plant among the tropical flowers: a royal palm. There's plenty of butterflies (all reared abroad and shipped as pupae). Joel should arrange to talk to the staff.

I returned with about ten pounds of books, at least ten pounds of rice from the next-door Asian grocery (run by a PhD ecologist!), and enough Florida plants to require another bed. Cute little native yuccas, a Nolina (yucca-ish, and endangered) spider lilies, daisies, tropical sage, an interesting small-leaved, upright stopper bush that would be perfect as a hedge plant, except that the propagator finds that cuttings don't root well. And three coonties. Of course. The little cycads even have cones already. I could have lots of seedlings in a year's time.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 22, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Dave - I lost a little of my awe of "Asian" rice (which I had come by honestly during my several years in Japan as a callow youth) when I came to the realization that virtually every Japanese business traveller was taking back the full duty-free allowance (two kilos, I think) of Sacramento rice every time they came to California.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Just for giggles - " froggie spermatocyte " is another one-hitter. Now, I'm REALLY signing off!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 22, 2007 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Bob S. - Perfectly good rice is grown in the Everglades Agricultural Area, usually between sugar cane crops. It doesn't need fertilizer. Florida's caladium growers use the hulls to cushion the bulbs in shipping. Not to mention that most supermarkets here sell "Arroz Rico" brand rice from Puerto Rico.

What I picked up in Gainesville was black and red rice. The former is from China, rather short-grained, and turns an interesting purple color when cooked. The latter is an interesting shade of red and comes from Thailand, neatly vacuum-packed. I don't know how it'll look when cooked. I suspect both must be fashionable with the health-food folks.

My clumsy Western taste meant I wasn't terribly impressed by freshly-harvested Akita Prefecture rice, served probably within fifty miles of where it was harvested. Rice really is wildly expensive in Japan!

On the side, a recent report found that US rice tends to be rather rich in arsenic, usually from insecticides applied to cotton grown on the same fields. The lowest-arsenic rice was from Egypt. It's been years since I bought Egyptian rice, but I recall it being just like expensive Italian rice, but vastly cheaper.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 22, 2007 2:39 AM | Report abuse

To Mr. F : Good luck and keep safe.

Posted by: rain forest | April 22, 2007 3:15 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Can't sleep, so I'm up. The banquet was fine, and it really wasn't hard not to eat, but the questions concerning why I wasn't eating were awful. I left early, after explaining. It was a Human Relations Council banquet celebrating diversity. There were lots of people and every one was smiling and on good behavior. In looking around, I thought it would be so nice if we could act nice all the time. I even saw my doctor there, and he came over and talked for awhile. And I don't know two words he said. That is thing that makes these functions so difficult. Difficult for those trying to engage in conversation. It makes them feel ill at ease, and uncomfortable. As for me, I'm already uncomfortable because I am shy, and the hearing impairment is yet another hurdle to climb over. I participate despite these obstacles because it is good for me, and good for those around me. We get to know that there are others in this world and we are not all alike, but yet so very much alike in what we need, and that is each other.

Yoki, will do, and can I get someone to fax me some food after the procedure Monday? Thanks.

Bless you, Martooni. Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Scotty, and all.*waving*

I am going to attempt Sunday school, and services this morning. Just feel really sleepy and a little sore and stiff. I hope your weekend is going good.

Fingers swollen something awful this morning, so I will not chat long. I suspect some of you may be hoping the weekend would last longer, but I am hoping for Monday morning. I am ready to get this over with. Pray for me.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 22, 2007 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm Salmon Wellington. This was one of my mother's signature dish so it's bringing back lots of memory. It's rich. Go for a light dessert.

Fripes: common name names for clothes in French. I would translate it "threads". Friperies are simply (used?) clothing store. Funny to see the double p in English.
SoC, I got my first mosquito bite Friday night. I'll take that over snow any day between Dec 20th and March first.
Another beautiful day today. Spring is great.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 22, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Take care Cassandra. Monday will come and pass. You are not alone. Here's hoping for good news.

Gorgeous day. I hope the sun shines for all.

Cycads -- amazing. No one will walk by with a wagon load of those to adopt, I expect. Better through some Cosmos seed in all the right places.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 22, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Cassandra-wishing you well, and a comfortable rest of the day.

Bob S.- It's a silly game, but "scabulation" is not allowed as slang. In truth, my own three hit using "sisu" would be thrown out because it is Finn that hasn't found widespread use in English (unlike the oft mispronounced sauna). Despite this quibble, I am in awe of your quick rise to expert status.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 22, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

OK-who is going to give me my boodle laugh out loud moment today? RDP had the honors on Friday, BC yesterday. I'm all atwitter...

Re: Tim's post about AGAG and the current administration- There is nothing they won't do or stoop to in order to increase their political power. There was an article the other day (I'm going to FORCE my daughter to show me how to include links) in the Politico about an anonymous letter sent by purported career lawyers at Justice to Congress. In the letter they accused the powers that be of deliberately excluding law grads that had clerked for Democratic congressman or judges deemed *too liberal* by a cabal at Justice. However, lots of Regent University grads are being hired at Justice. I hope this is exposed more fully.

I will be very glad when that day in January 2009 arrives. If someone had told me 20 years ago that a day would come when I would look back with something like longing at the Reagan administration, I would not have believed it!

Posted by: Kim | April 22, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh and Cassandra, good luck and you are in my prayers, for sure.

Posted by: Kim | April 22, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

A sad task, of sorts, awaits me today. I need to disassemble and remove the wooden swingset that sits in my back yard. It is getting nearly as rickety as am I. Besides, nobody who lives here wants to use it anymore.

How quickly the years can pass with children.

I blame Einstein.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 22, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"If someone had told me 20 years ago that a day would come when I would look back with something like longing at the Reagan administration, I would not have believed it!"

Exactly how I feel. I wasted a minute yesterday watching the backwards bush countdown clock at

A minute passes way too slowly when counted down in tenths of a second.

Kim-perhaps someone else has a better technique for links but I just open my browser in another window, copy the url, then paste here.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 22, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

RDP, can you hang a porch swing from set? Too rickety.

I did this last year -- hangng, actually, a porch swing from my ancestral home -- but CeePee Boy & Co, ASKED FOR THE SWINGS BACK. I plan to do this today, casually, and hope they don't ask for the swings. The swings were only chairs for them, as they would park the behinds in the slings and barely move. "Wadda ya wanna do?" "Nufin." They might trot toware the house to play indolent video games but three households here occasionally make back-boodly type calls to cut that action off at the pass. "Go West, young men, and see the country!"

These same boys often simply balance on their skate boards, at the level-end of the block. One dad calls the boards, "rather expensive platforms to stand still on."

More plant action today. Will take ibuprofen profilactically (sp?). Will also make Frogmore stew in the crockpot for eating outside, on newspapers, in the setting sun.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 22, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

On such a beautiful day as this it is difficult to post sad news, but this morning at dawn my father passed away. We had been called to his beside late yesterday evening, he had developed yet further complications in his attempt to recover from the heart attack and strokes. He remained unconscious all night and slowly and peacefully slipped away.

It was so fitting that he should pass at sunrise as he was always an early riser and taught me the beauty of the morning. A few minutes after he passed I went outside the hospital and there in the sky was a lovely orange sunrise to start off a beautiful day. The drive home was full of sorrow but also of beauty the soft sun rays on the winter wheat, the trillium in bloom in the trees, the light through the remaining stalks of tall grasses and the endless blue sky.

Posted by: dmd | April 22, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

dmd-I have no words. So sorry.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 22, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

dmd, my condolences.

Posted by: dr | April 22, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, DMD, I am so sad with you. Your family had the rarity of speed coupled with moments to be together. Everything I do in the yard today, I offer for your father and family. I hope the gentleness of spring comforts you.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 22, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Geez- what did I say??

Posted by: Kim | April 22, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Kim, no worries, my Dad had wicked dry sense of humour and could make me laugh in the most difficult situations.

Thanks all, I should be sleeping but not tired yet.

Posted by: dmd | April 22, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I am sorry. I'm glad you were able to be with him, and to remember the beauty of the morning. My condolences. I'll be over at that other place if you want to reminisce and share stories of your wonderful father.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I am so sorry. I'll be thinking of you, dmdspouse and your children.

Posted by: dbG | April 22, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

My 9:45 was because I had posted my 8:45 rant an hour earlier and then nothing was showing up for that whole hour, so I thought I killed the boodle...I don't know what that was about.

dmd - I'm glad you could be with your dad in the end. Even though he was unconscious, I believe that he felt your presence and it made him happy. I hope that your happy memories bring you comfort.

Posted by: Kim | April 22, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

dmd... I'm so sorry to hear this sad news. Please know we're all with you and are giving you a big boodle hug.


Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

dmd, sympathy to you and your family.

A wise woman once said this here in the boodle:

" celebrate a life you celebrate what that life meant to you, what it brought into your life, that may be laughter, joy, or security, the loss the those things does bring sorrow, hopefully the pain in coping with a loss of one we love so deeply is eased by the elements they brought into our lives and how it made our lives better. What we gained as a person and the way that person improved our lives or ourselves aids in coping with the grief."

Posted by: kbertocci | April 22, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Wow kbertocci, I oouldn't have said it better myself, and I will pick up my spirits because if I do not celebrate my dads life I think he will ocme back and haunt me.

Posted by: dmd | April 22, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

dmd.. We'll be celebrating your dad's life today at the G house.

Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm very sorry to hear of your dad's passing. Please accept my condolences.

I'll hold you and your family in my thoughts today and in the coming days, as I know so many Boodlers will.

And if we happen to meet sometime soon, I hope you'll accept a hug in person, and not just a virtual *hug*.


Posted by: bc | April 22, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm very sorry to hear that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 22, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I am so very sorry.

Posted by: nellie | April 22, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of you and your dad, dmd. It's good your family was there. I think that matters, whether he was conscious or not, as someone said up above.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I add my condolences, dmd. I was with my mother in the elevator going up to my dad's hospital room when he died, and I was not with my mother (very regrettably) when she died. But I gave the eulogy at her funeral -- it's been just shy of 12 years -- I found a copy of it several months ago. When I started reading it again, I remember the tears flowing down my cheeks, even after so long.

I hope that the warmth of your memories, like the warmth of the sun, embraces you and your family through your sorrow. And, please, don't forget to laugh now and again. Grieving includes every emotion, as well it should.

You are clearly seeing the embraces from the boodlesphere. My thoughts are with you.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 22, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

My sympathies to you and your family, dmd.

Posted by: pj | April 22, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

*way behind on many things*

dmd, I am so very sorry to hear that, but it's good you could be there. *HUGSSS*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 22, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

dmd, even when a parent's death is expected and even desired (my father faded away an extended period), it takes an extended period to mourn. Best wishes.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 22, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

San Antonio Express-News cartoonist John Branch took some heat on Saturday on the Opinion page for this cartoon that he drew in the past week expressing his condolences for the victims at Virginia Tech.

As you can see, the cartoon is comprised of nothing more than the Virginia Tech logo and two rows of 18 crosses each.

The Express-News reader who wrote in, a Mr. Aaron, complained that the religious symbol for Liviu Librescu, should have been displayed, appropriately, as the Star of David, since Librescu was Jewish and practiced Judaism.

I would like to take Aaron's concern or complaint one step further.

Minal Panchal's fellow students in India held a memorial service during which they read the Quran.

Professor G.V. Loganathan's family held a service for him stateside at a mandir, which would make him an Indian Sikh.

Waleed Muhamed Shaalan came from Egypt and was a Muslim.

Partani Lumbantoruan hailed from Indonesia. His religious affiliation is unclear, but a quick Google search will reveal that almost 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim.

Ross Abdallah Alameddine from Massachusetts and Reema Samaha from Virginia have non-European names, and through Googling, I have been unable to determine their reigious affiliations, if any. Reema performed a belly dance routine in her high school talent show.

I am extremely disappointed that John Branch chose to represent all of these individuals slain in last Monday's Virgina Tech rampage under Christian crosses. What if there had been an atheist among the slain? And where are our cultural sensitivities? Branch's (he a Presbyterian--I went to a presentation in Branch's own church) cartoon says a lot about where they aren't--his use of one religious symbol to fit all.

Posted by: Loomis | April 22, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Partahi

Posted by: Loomis | April 22, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

While I agree Mr. Branch could have been more sensitive, I'm curious. How could he have indicated an atheist? A little sign with "Hell no, I won't go" painted on it?

Posted by: dbG | April 22, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I am so sorry. My prayers are with you and your family. I, also, am glad that you got the chance to be with your father. Please know that we love you and send a great big boodle hug your way.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 22, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Carpool shift and I am off to the DC waterfront to drop off CeePeeBoy & Co. They will board the Spirit of Washington for an afternoon tea dance cruise. Then, these boys of glorious, spontaneous coifs will be done with cotillion duties. I hope the manners stick.

I will try to swing by the Tulip Garden. I had proposed a noon, walk-by boodle browse, but I do not see easy Metro access. More on this later. If our warm temps continue, the tulips will be splayed open sunbathing, at mid day. Early in the morn or twilight would mean the tulips are, well, tulip-shaped. More on this later. If we scared JA away from his private tulip moments, we (I) apologize. Don't worry,I won't approach you. (Me, in the huge hat and black cat eye sunglasses....with rhinestones in the corners.)I like becoming a character, caring little for fashion dos and donts.

However, Yoki etc. I will NEVER do that red hat/purple dress thing...or is that purple hat/red dress? No. No. No.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 22, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

dmd... sorry to hear about your dad's passing. Sending hippie prayers and peace vibes your way.

Posted by: martooni | April 22, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Linda, I guess I'm with dbG on this one, too.

Sure, Branch and the SAE-N could have taken a little more time and thought into the symbolism, but I guess I'm more concerned with the spirit and intent of the cartoon, which was for readers to take a moment and think about those terrible events and the victims, whose lives are equally valuable and the losses equally tragic under whatever belief system you happen to have.


Seems to me that there

Posted by: bc | April 22, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Please ignore that last incomplete thought at 2:44.

I'd add that if there were some large scale-disaster to befall where I lived (aside from the GW Bush Presidency), I'd gladly accept help from the Red Crescent or the Red Cross.


Posted by: bc | April 22, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I counted sixtenn lower case letter t crosses in Mr. Branch's editorial cartoon representing "techies," perhaps, and not necessarily a religious symbol. The large lower case t could represent the gunman. If he had used a capitalized T for each victim and the shooter, someone would no doubt complain about the religious symbolism of the Tau (Tao) - that's the way viewpoints differ.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 22, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Linda, I see your point. In fact, it shows us what is so special about this apparently random group of people who studied and worked and lived together: their diversity.

I've given that Branch cartoon a good amount of thought today and my first conclusion was that it was just a lame cartoon. But then I realized that the poor guy still had to put out a cartoon, even if there wasn't anything funny to say.

So I guess he represented how he felt and where he prayed for the victims. Just like he wouldn't need to travel to a mosque to adequately pray for Waleed Muhamed Shaalan or a Sikh temple to pray for Professor Loganathan, he drew a representation of his own prayers--not the prayers of others.

Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It is nearly time for Cassandra to surrender the conn.

Cassandra, what sort of food do you like best? I'll fire up the fax.

I'm keeping good thoughts for you and your test.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Branch's cartoon isn't exactly the Virginia Tech logo. He changed the 'T' to a lower case 't' or cross. Which means there are 33 of them and that includes the shooter. When I first read Linda's comment that the cartoon was controversial, I thought that might have been what she was referring to.

My view is that he was making a visual pun in paying honor to those killed rather than trying to suggest that they were all Christian. He was using the cross as a generic cultural symbol of a grave marker rather than specifically suggesting they were all Christian. It may be a bit lame but I don't think it was intended to convert the victims. I wonder what the paper's ombudsman will have to say.

Posted by: pj | April 22, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this just shows how difficult cartooning is. Here are two efforts by the great Ben Sargent of the Austin American-Statesman about Virginia Tech:!218115589&UrAuth=`N]NUOaNVUbTTUWUXUVUZTZUbUWU^U\UZUaU]UcTYWYWZV&urcm=y

Click on the 4/17/2007 link to see the other one.

They are both okay but not much more.

By the way, I am just so grateful for the massive outpouring of support the school has gotten during the past week. I thought it was great that the Washington Nationals wore Virginia Tech caps during a game this week. Some PGA players are also wearing them this week. The vigils hosted by other colleges all across the country were very touching. I hope the people in Blacksburg know that they are not alone in this. They have lots of friends.

Posted by: pj | April 22, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

You could put the symbols of every religion in the world on my @ss if they'd save it.

Good question about symbols for atheists though. A slash across the fish?

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 22, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: if they'd save it from a random shooting.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 22, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Breathing *MUCH* easier now. Turns out I didn't have to completely reinstall my Windows XP after all. I simply found an actually competent (italics and boldfaced) person at Dell who helped me. In gratitude I sent him a picture I took in Africa of a cheetah mother and one of her four cubs leaning against a termite mound, looking straight at me.

And now my computer works (shhh -- I didn't mean to say that out loud -- never mind. I don't want to spook things).

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 22, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to you and your family dmd. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Aloha | April 22, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, firsttimeblogger! I actually had to use the restore disks and reinstall XP this past week on my old, virus-infested computer. It worked like a charm and in about two hours I had (have) a good working machine again. This time I set it up for automatic updates from the axis of evil, though, so it will only be vulnerable to new viruses every two weeks or so, instead of every day!

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Error - I liked your first version better!

I must go check out your blog again, haven't been there in ages.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 22, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this supposed to be a day of rest?

CP - That porch swing idea is clever, but I am afraid the swing set might not have been up to the challenge. Although it has served us well, it has had a hard life.

Many summer evenings have been spent watching my children climb, swing, and slide on it. I recall a little boy pretending to sell us ice cream from its platform - and charging rather exorbitant prices. And I will never forget the smile of boundless joy on a little girl's face as she finally figured out how to swing all by herself.

But those wee children are now a lanky young man and a painfully self-conscious young lady, neither who have much interest in such things.

dmd - I am very sorry for your loss. I hope you can find some solace in the fact that your father passed away peacefully and in the company of love.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 22, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Atheists have been seeking symbolism as well.

Bah. For agnostics...

Now, we need to seriously raise the issue of believing in more than one religion. I recommend "Polygnostic."
(NOT polytheist, that's believing in many gods).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 22, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Dmd, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's nice, though, that you have many lovely memories of him. May you remember that the loss you feel is rarely less than what his presence meant in your life.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 22, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

As I went about my day today, keeping dmd's dad in my heart and thoughts, it occurred to me that it's a testament to the comforting effects of the boodle that when she got home after spending the night at her father's side, dmd sat down to tell us about her loss before she went to bed.

I'll say it again: I love this place.



Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I am so sorry about your father, dmd. Good memories of him will comfort you in the weeks and months to come. You are in my prayers.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 22, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Well actually TBG still haven't gone to bed short nap a while ago is about it. Not possible to want to go to sleep on such a beautiful day, did a few errands but spent much of it just reflecting on the details of the day.

All your comments are so very kind and correct, my father was a huge addition to my life, so many wonderful memories I cherish.

Posted by: dmd | April 22, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry for your loss dmd.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 22, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Busy weekend, just got a chance to backskim through the weekend's comments.

dmd: My hearfelt condolences. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Heading off to Columbia, SC tomorrow for a luncheon in honor of the Lt. Gov's writng contest award winnres. My daughter is a adistrict winner. See you tomorrow.

Posted by: jack | April 22, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations jack! Tell your daughter we're proud of her.

Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Jack congratulations to your daughter and thanks.

Posted by: dmd | April 22, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Great work!
[url=]My homepage[/url] | [url=]Cool site[/url]

Posted by: Austin | April 22, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice site! |

Posted by: Kevin | April 22, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd, you've been in my heart every minute today.

TBG is a wise woman. A wisewoman.

I faxed Cassandra a dish of oven-baked breaded chicken breast and stir-fried greens today, but with strict instructions that it not be delivered until after the test. It won't be up to her usual standard, but might fill the 48-hour hole.

jack, your girl is fantastic. I think I know how you feel.

RD Padouk, I remember when we put away the paddling pool, and then the swing-set, and then the climbing gym, and then the 1000-piece puzzles. I was a little sad in my heart, because my girls were women. The joy comes later, when you see them treating the world as a globe they can take on. Well done, girls. And well done Yoki and Himself. We raised children who feel competent in the world. Oh yes.

(But I saved the Playmobil tools and the garden digger and the puzzles and Jenga for future grandchildren should I be so blessed {blessed enough to have my girls be my girls} [and #2 says she might not have a baby, but get a baby; fine with me] -- just hedging my parental bets, don't you know).

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to you and your family dmd.

Posted by: rain forest | April 22, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, do I have a yes to my earlier e-mail?

Posted by: dbG | April 22, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I sent a reply. I hope it is acceptable. I find myself in a moral cleft-stick, from which I see only one egress.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

On mature reflection, dgB, Yes!

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: dbG, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks! Appreciate and share your reasoning, replied.

Posted by: dbG | April 22, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The Canadians seem to be communicating in code again. Should we be worried?

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 22, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I certainly hope to see my offspring take on the world. I just worry that it is the world that will take on them.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 22, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Also, Yoki, it is good you are keeping toys for potential grandchildren. My grandparents had an impressive stash of Legos that kept me so entertained that I sometimes forgot why I had driven over.

However I must quibble with your implication that Jenga is a children's game. It is my experience that Jenga can be a delightful game for adults as well. Especially after a few glasses of wine.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 22, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

>The Canadians seem to be communicating in code again. Should we be worried?

As long as they send food and are not linked to the groundhogs I'm going to look the other way. That's always how it starts, though.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 22, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Error, it was theorized that it started with the deceptively innocuous advance force--labrador retrievers, but your way makes more sense since the labs would have followed the food.

Posted by: dbG | April 22, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse


RD Padouk, when I play Jenga, I *scream.* Very entertaining, especially for me, as I am a very reserved Presbyterian Canadian, most of the time. Jenga is a game for everyone! (But I love playing it with small children, because they've mostly never seen an adult *scream.*)

I'm pretty sure your children will take on the world; they've had a wonderful Dad, after all.

The terrible thing is, is, that you can't tell until they become adults. I was on tenterhooks! But they turned out just fine.

Just fine.

Good young people abound!

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

It is part of the invasion plan.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Tonite's On The Media ( of course discussed VT, and in their analysis of NBC's decision to show Cho's media package I didn't hear mention of Mudge's point that it's simply news. The discussion was all much more nuanced, and seemed to be based more on concepts like ratings. (I was in and out of the room and may have missed that.) FAIR's weekly radio show Counterspin began by saying that this wasn't the largest massacre in American history, which to me was starting off on the wrong foot, even if it's technically correct, e.g., Bath school in MI. (

OTM also pointed out that Thursday was bicycle day, which I had forgotten. So a belated happy Bicycle Day to all.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 22, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, no Rough Draft; we made it through the weekend somehow. I will post the link to Terry Shine's blog again because he could really use some commenters over there (last time I tried to drum up business for him the comments were out of order, but they're working now.) Here's an excerpt from his weekly Timeline:


"Tiara is distraught about her future and says she has given up all hope. Hope isn't for people like us anyway, I tell her. Hope is only for finalists, when the odds really get narrowed down to your favor. Like when you make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament or say you have a cousin who dies and has left his money to either you or one of your two brothers. Then, at least you have a shot. Otherwise, hope is an illusion."


He also has a little mini-story at the end--this week it's a particularly good one.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 22, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci... thanks for the TM Shine link. I love his stuff.

That song quoted in the beginning of his April 19 Timeline is the same song that gave our Yoki her current boodle handle!

Posted by: TBG | April 22, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Happy World Book Day!

Posted by: Tom fan | April 23, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *waving*

*sending up a flare so Joel or Hal or someone can zap the double blogspam @ 8:22 and 8:23*

Doncha hate it when the power goes out for about 5/8 of a second and it STILL resets most everything PC-related in the house?? *SIGHHH*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 4:39 AM | Report abuse

The week's off to a particularly unauspicious start...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 4:44 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Morning, Cassandra. Morning, scotty, I seer you're up and about already.

I haven't read the kits and boodles for a couple of days so I have no clue what's going on. I'll catch up after I get to work. Right now before I go in I've got to stop by the shop steward's office and pick up my gummint ID badge I left on my desk last week. We got in from the airport at 12:30 last night, so I'm a little short on sleep. Even so, ther

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 5:38 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 5:39 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 5:40 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 5:41 AM | Report abuse

scotty, can you get over here right away? There's been...

there's been...

we've been...


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 5:42 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Furbelowed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 6:06 AM | Report abuse

It's gone. My black velvet painting of "Dogs Playing Poker." Gone.

And there's a note next to an urn on the mantelpiece. The note says the painting has been burned, and its ashes are in the urn.

There's a... a.... window treatment over my old couch.'s not exactly my old's been reupholstered. Or something. And then...and then... Slyness, can you send me your best EMTS? 'Cuz I think I need some oxygen, and I may be having a stroke...somebody had the couch covered with one of those heavy transparent plastic slipcover protector things, so you feel like your sitting on a giant slippery ziplock baggie.

The walls....the walls have been...wallpapered. There are ghastly magnolias everywhere.

It's been vacuumed. And dusted. And "straightened." Straightened to within an inch of its life.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I don't know how to break this to you. There's no easy way, so I'll just say it. Remember your collection of Victoria's Secret catalogs? Especially your treasured and somewhat tattered and dog-eared favorite issue, the 1997 "Let's Have a Pajama Party!" Autumn Roundup issue?


And my favorite, the 2003 Christmas issue with the "Santa, I've been naughty but nice" theme.


O the horror, the horror.

The bathroom. I can't begin to describe the bathroom. For one thing, the seat is down. That seat hasn't been down in four years, to the best of my recollection. And it's not only has been ... covered. Some kind slipcover thing.


In pink.

Matching towels. With little embroidered flowers on them.

And the word "Hers" on one.

And, uh, "Hers" on the other.

I can't talk about the refrigerator just yet. I'm too verklempt.

I need a moment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Mudge, I am laughing at you, and so glad you're back. Yoki, thanks so much for the prayers and I am certainly looking forward to the food. Kim, thank you for the prayers. And thanks to all for the kind words and thoughts.

dmd, good thoughts your way.

Time to hit the showers, and get ready for the big day. I will try to post later, if my eyes will focus, if not, catch you later.

Martooni, hope your day is a blessing in more ways than one.

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

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 23, 2007 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, Boodle blessings and boodle power to you. We will rest easier after hearing from you, but we also know you may be both busy and exhausted today.

(Psst: finish up with the paint-by-number poker painting quick.)

Posted by: College Parkian | April 23, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse


I tried, I really did...

*still trying to get the marks from the doily stampede off my forehead*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

dmd, my thoughts and prayers are with you in the loss of your dad.

Just catching up, too much going on yesterday to have time to boodle.

Mudge, I do hope you like the red velvet curtains and Elvis portrait in the breakroom. I mean, I tried to find something to your taste!

The condo is coming along nicely. Elder child and her boyfriend finished the painting yesterday, so all the pale pink is gone. I made progress in peeling the bathroom wallpaper; it shouldn't take but a couple more sessions to finish the job. Her dad installed new light fixtures, and tonight we move the stuff that's been in my husband's cargo trailer since mid-February into the place. Yay, we may get this done yet!

Got to leave in a little while to go to the airport and pick up said husband. His flight home from Indianapolis was cancelled yesterday morning. At least USAirways paid for a hotel room, although no food. He's written the letter to complain.

Cassandra, will be thinking about you and hoping for good news!

Later, folks!

Posted by: Slyness | April 23, 2007 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra-holding a good thought for you all day.

Welcome back Mudge. Sounds like you're having a real "Trading Spaces" nightmare. Too bad we ran out of time for the polymer clay diorama. It would've made the urn look good.

Morning CP, S'Nuke, everybody.

I am off to a community leadership retreat until Friday with intermittent access to dial up. Dial up!!! I will suffer mightily, or escape in the evenings to the nearest Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop. My map recon says it's a mere 15 miles.

Re Scotty's 4:44-at least Arnold will have to call a special election and it's a heavily Dem. district. (Am rationalizing my callous first thought by thinking Congresswoman Millender-MacDonald would not want the sadness of her death compounded by having her seat taken by a Rep.)

Peace out Boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 23, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra I too will be thinking of you today, after woods enjoy your favorite meal. God Bless you.

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse


I kinda think 'Mudge would have preferred a "Trading Spaces" moment that included Paige Davis.

But that's just speculation.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Michael Pollan had an important article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine. Think, why is obesity more of a problem for poor people than for rich people? He makes a compelling argument (not new, but worth repeating until it sinks in) that it's a result of government policies.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

As a rule, processed foods are more "energy dense" than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them "junk." Drewnowski concluded that the rules of the food game in America are organized in such a way that if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly -- and get fat.

This perverse state of affairs is not, as you might think, the inevitable result of the free market.


Posted by: kbertocci | April 23, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci - that is a fascinating article, and I think the author makes a compelling argument for change.

Yet I wonder if this will actually do much for the obesity epidemic. I question his basic assumption that poor people consume more "junk" food mostly because it is cheaper that "healthy" food.

It seems to me that another significant economic driver is that when you are poor, decadent junk food may be one of the only luxuries you can afford.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

It's a beautiful, sunny day here, temps are supposed well up into the 80s (that's Fahrenheit, you Canadian people you - Global Warming isn't that extreme yet) today, sun is shining.

Mudge, howzabout I come over there and we have a couple of stogies, knock back some drinks, and figure out where to put the 62" HD flatscreen?


Posted by: bc | April 23, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' everybody...

Good luck with the doc today, Cassandra (and thanks for the blessing). Sending long-haired leaping gnome blessings your way.

Closing in on that one month coin. As long as I don't get caught up in the gravitational pull of any bars or taverns, today makes 27 days.

Mudge... glad you made it back in one piece. May I suggest we immediately cover the floor of the bunker with sawdust and peanut shells? I could also rig up a spring on the toilet seat so that it immediately returns to the upright position after each use.

Busy "Handy Hippie" day today. Two estimates to deliver, a drywall patch to finish off, then over to the rental house from Hell to prime and paint, hang crown moulding and install some recessed lights. If this keeps up, I may need to get one of those Homer Simpson "cloning hammocks" to make a few more of me.

Another beautiful day here (currently 63F with sunshine and blue skies). I'm either dreaming or N.E. Ohio has been secretly transported to Florida. I'm not holding my breath though -- chances are it will snow or something (I think the state's tourism motto is "Enjoy the seasons in Ohio -- all four of them in one afternoon!").

Gotta run... 9:30 "Friends of Bill W." meeting, then off to the races.


Posted by: martooni | April 23, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

RD, I agree with you. I think that even though Pollan is really on to something important, and that he is right about the need to change the farm subsidy structure, he's not exactly right about the idea that "if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly -- and get fat." If you are really following a rational economic stategy, you will factor in the cost of obesity, in terms of medical expense, loss of income and quality of life. I think there's a lot of anxiety involved in not being secure about food, never being sure that there will be money to buy food next week or next month, and that combines with the "affordable luxury" factor that you mention, and the barrage of advertising doesn't help, either.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 23, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I imagine the advertising doesn't help. Yet, ironically, when I saw that BK was coming out with a Triple-Whopper, I actually lost my appetite.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

dmd so sorry about your Dad. I hope you finally got some rest.

What a weekend -- almost painfully glorious outside. Did a hike on the river. Two barbecues. I marked Earth Day by turning off a television that no one was watching. The least I could do.

Weeding is my life. I should mention that.

Saturday got drafted to be the referee in soccer and realized that after all these years I still hadn't learned the difference between the inner and outer goalie boxes. Or even what they're called.

Gradually stapling together a new kit but not sure when it'll be done. I am supposed to take a couple of meetings this morning. Do people still "take" meetings? I'm not really the meeting type. I'm the can't-be-found, must-be-in-the-coffee-shop type.

Mudge, please water the geraniums in the new flower box outside the kitchen window.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 23, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

pj writes at 4 p.m.:
My view is that he was making a visual pun in paying honor to those killed rather than trying to suggest that they were all Christian. [I don't think cartoonist John Branch was making a visual pun on a subject so serious nor do I think Branch was trying to suggest they were all Christian. I think this middle-aged WASP cartoonist is just culturally insensitive.]

He was using the cross as a generic cultural symbol of a grave marker rather than specifically suggesting they were all Christian. [Yes, Branch was using the WESTERN CHRISTIAN cross as a far too generic cultural symbol of a grave marker.]

It may be a bit lame but I don't think it was intended to convert the victims. I wonder what the paper's ombudsman will have to say. [pj, he wasn't trying to "convert" the deceased. I sent the comments I posted here at the Achenblog to the Letters to the Editor at the San Antonio Express-News. It will be interesting to see if there is any response to my letter?]

Here are appropriate emblems of belief for various religions:

and here (last page: for example, Muslims the 5-pointed Muslim star or the crescent and star):

Better yet, see the excellent reporting in today's Washington Post about the various religious ceremonies being held around the world for the foreign victims or those who had family roots overseas.

Posted by: Loomis | April 23, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Joel, yes finally went to sleep.

bc, even up in the frozen north temps were well into mid 70's yesterday and the same for today, then back to more normal temps.

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The moment I mention the excellent reporting by the Washington Post (notice the name of the lead reporter, in addition to all those Washington Post staff members who contributed), the story seems to have been removed from the home page. Here's the link, above.

Posted by: Loomis | April 23, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Something strange happened yesterday in my kitchen. Someone went in and cooked a really great meal, someone who was channeling a mix of Yoki, Mudge, Nigella Lawson and a whole bunch of others. The only hiccup was that my assistant who wrote up the grocery list, wrote up the list for a different recipe than the wellington, so we had seafood in pastry instead. Salmon, shrimp, and crab in a white wine sauce, baked in phyllo, with asparagus, garlic and rosemary baby potatoes, spinach salad, and a desert of custard and angel food cakes topped with fresh strawberries. Thank you all for your input, it was nice to finally get the mix right.

Mudge, trust me you really didn't want the green stuff from the back of the fridge, and if you want to get the moose sized doily out of there, I'm pretty sure it could be cut up and used for lace bedspreads. Waste not want not.

Posted by: dr | April 23, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Weeding. Don't talk to me about weeding. It turns out that a particularly aggressive variety of weed with territorial ambitions has attacked my yard. This noxious groundcover has totally enveloped the open areas around my trees and along the picket fence and is conducting a coordinated attack on the lawn proper. I spent part of Saturday afternoon on my knees engaged in hand-to-vine combat with this stuff. I do not know what it is, but I could hear it growing. Although I try to resist chemical warfare, I fear I may be forced to break out the broad-leaved herbicide. But let's hope it doesn't come to this.

Let's pray for no spray.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

A new term for our lexicons? The Imus virus? Great trouble at a precinct in Brooklyn today--as told by Bob Herbert at the NYT, in his op-ed titled "Words as Weapons":

last graf:
The Queens narcotics sergeant is also likely to face disciplinary action by the department, which has been infected, like other organizations around the country, with what Ms. Zelman calls the "Imus virus."

First two grafs:
Just days after Don Imus was taken off the air for a slur hurled at members of the Rutgers women's basketball team, a police sergeant conducting a roll call at a precinct in Brooklyn is reported to have called the three female officers in the room "hos" as he gave them an order to stand up.

The women, two of whom are black and one a Latina, refused to stand.

Posted by: Loomis | April 23, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Mudge's geraniums sound like something out of Woodward's communications with Deep Throat.

How is it that I'm not sore from lugging around 20" square concrete pavers? The mini-patio is taking shape.

The usual garden-center herbicide breaks down pretty rapidly and is safe if used according to instructions. Unfortunately, I tend to plant multi-species thickets and let the cultivated plants fight it out. If weeds get involved in the free-for-all, they have to be sidelined by hand.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 23, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The secret to meeting avoidance is to have multiple bosses. When "Richard" asks for a meeting tell him you would love to, but you already have one scheduled with "Lois." Then when "Lois" requests your presence, you do the opposite. It works great unless "Richard" and "Lois" ever happen to speak to each other. Then it's safest to just feign amnesia.

Works for me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

RD, I do not use a lot of chemicals, if weeks are in the grass as long as there are green I do not fight much. I do try to smother them with overseeding the lawn.

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

And I haven't heard the term "take a meeting" used anywhere but movies. Around here people are asked to "sit in on a meeting." Which, depending on the meeting, can be dangerous because some of the stuff you end up sitting in is hard to wash out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, glad you're back! I was wondering if we could have a Dylan update?

Kbertocci, the nutrition article was interesting. This sentence gave me pause, however:

The fact that the bill is deeply encrusted with incomprehensible jargon and prehensile programs dating back to the 1930s makes it almost impossible for the average legislator to understand the bill should he or she try to, much less the average citizen.

Is it just me, or is this weird? What the heck is a "prehensile" program? I thought prehensile meant that you could pick things up with it, like your fingers.

Sorry - it just struck me funny.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 23, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

dmd - if it were up to me I would allow my lawn to become a Darwinian playground of herbaceous diversity. In fact, I would probably plow the entire yard up and create a restful Zen garden with a few bubbling Koi ponds.

Alas, my wife resists this concept.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, thanks for the link to that article. It was a beautiful illustration of what's wonderful about the Virginia Tech community--and the communities at most colleges and universities.

Growing up in Northern Virginia (we moved from DC when I was three years old), I was the most ethnic person I knew because my grandparents came from another country--all four from the same country.

But one reason I stayed and wanted to raise my kids here is because that's no longer even close to being true. We live among such a wonderful, diverse mix of people and religions and cultures.

What's the best part? The food, of course!

Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University ( ). He also writes about ethnic food in the area; we use the restaurant reviews on his website ( ) often.

But he has a great way of tying ethnic food to economics, as shown here in a Washington Post column from last fall:

Posted by: TBG | April 23, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Prehensile" can also mean "greedy," but I agree that the use of the term in that phrase seems odd. Perhaps the author simply succumbed to the seduction of spurious alliteration. I hear it happens.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse


That's absolutely absurd, complete claptrap.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Authors ought to opine less with high-octane options?

Posted by: Wheezy | April 23, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

And now we have to wait for the third departure from the political community...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

On the economics of obesity -- some years ago, I read an article about the food stamp program. I'm not clear whether there still is a food stamp program, but that may be beside the point: we eat what we grew up to think of as food, and there WAS a food stamp program for a long time. Change is unlikely without strong motivation.

The food stamp program was created by folks with cultural blinders on. The expectation was that poor people at risk of starving, or suffering a humiliating inability to keep up with the improving standard of living in the rest of the country, would be rural. They would be growing gardens, with carrots and tomatoes and other good stuff. What these folks needed was a little luxury. So the food stamps program provided for a price break on things like potato chips, and beef, and cookies, and other high-fat foods that the poor supposedly could not afford, while leaving them free to grow their own healthful foods. Which may have worked fine, when the poor were mostly rural subsistence farmers. Today, farms are giant agribusinesses (mostly) and the poor are mostly urban or suburban, with no land on which to grow a significant private crop, no traditions or training in how to grow it, and no tradition of eating such foods.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 23, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

RD sorry you can't have a pond as we now have about 100 orphan koi at my Dad's house, provided the hawks, heron and raccoons have not been treating the pond as a 24 hour buffet.

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Spending weeks in the grass is a good way to get off the chemicals.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The extremely wonderful storyteller Elizabeth Ellis ( ) has an extremely wonderful story about Freckle Cream, in which she describes going out into the fields of the family farm with her hoe to hoe tobacco. She says she's had to change how she tells that story, because kids have no idea what a "hoe" is, or how to "hoe", but even little kids these days know about "ho'ing," so they start to giggle when she tells the story.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 23, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The extremely wonderful storyteller Elizabeth Ellis ( ) has an extremely wonderful story about Freckle Cream, in which she describes going out into the fields of the family farm with her hoe to hoe tobacco. She says she's had to change how she tells that story, because kids have no idea what a "hoe" is, or how to "hoe", but even little kids these days know about "ho'ing," so they start to giggle when she tells the story.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 23, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

How did I manage to double post?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 23, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

It's Monday, *Tim, what else do you need?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The obesity issue is an area where on of my brothers has been doing some work lately. In various trips up to visit Dad we have discussed the topic and what he has learned about it since starting work.

It is a complicated situation, junk food only plays a part in the problem.

Here is a timely article on gastric surgery which is often the last resort to help people. I like the last few paragraphs, work on preventative measures, a multi discipline approach to help people.

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Gastric surgery seems to be booming. I was rather surprised by this item at Bandolier, an Oxford website for evidence-based medicine.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 23, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

My favorite form of Gastric Bypass is to bypass the leftover muffins in the conference room.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

TBG - Thanks for those food links! Time to try China Star again.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 23, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: dmd | April 23, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

76 e-mails. That's what I had in my inbox this morning. 76. At least seven of them were work-related. I hate like hell having my inbox clogged up with work-related stuff like that. Didn't those seven people already know I was out? Yes. Yes, they did. Some people just have no consideration. I'm a busy man--I have personal correspondence and blogging to do. Do people think I just sit here all day and work?

I just don't know what some people are thinking half the time.

Wheezy, Dylan is fine, thanks for asking. We haven't seen him in a month or more, and my wife called up our daughter the other day and left a message that we were going through severe grandkid withdrawl.

Geraniums. Red velvet curtains.

Martooni, thanks for the suggestion about the peanut shells on the floor. But that's exactly what we HAD on the floor...until last week.

Yes, bc, we could put up the 72-inch flat screen, I suppose. But I have bad news for you about your daughter's science fair experiment we had going in the refrigerator. It's gone. Missing. Presumably trashed. For her science far project, she was going to study the various mold products we had growing in there, and had been carefully monitoring them for several months. We had an 8-month old half of a Subway tuna melt that had turned the most incredible shade of puce. Gone. There was a thing of jello fruit cocktail, and I suppose the jello was very similar to agar, and provided the most excellent culture medium for the embedded grapes and peach cubes and the one lone marichino cheery. The cheery had swollen and expanded to nearlt twice its original volume, and kinda looked like a black truffle. The peach cubes are a lovel shade of turquoise. And the grapes looked rather like an interesting Montrechat '97 from the southeastern slope of Mt. St. Helen. All gone now. And the highlight of the collect: a tupperware containing several tablespoons of three-bean salad that we've been nursing for three years. The spoor mold had of course climbed out of the tupperware and was inching slowly across the refrigerator grating toward the tuna melt; we used very delicate GPS tracking system to monitor its progress. And we think it may have been a previous unknown species of refrigerator mold, since it was bioluminescent. It kinda reminded me of a Portugeuse Man-of-War that had devoured a couple pounds of blue cheese and a Humboldt squid, and was flashing distress signals. Somebody threw it out. That thing alone might have been an entire episode of the Discovery Channel. Personally, I think it was on the cusp of learning how to vocalize. Just a hunch, nothing more.

I'm so sorry, bc. Tell your daughter it wasn't her fault. I know she and "Wolfowitz" were very close. (That's what we named the mold creature.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 23, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Joel, when you figure out the Speed of Light, then switch to Hull Speed. Maybe, there is a relationship?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 24, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

4/25/2007 8:52:01 PM
Addiction Treatment

Posted by: Addiction Treatment | April 25, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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5/8/2007 6:46:48 AM
Addiction Treatment

Posted by: Addiction Treatment | May 8, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

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