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The Secret Life of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, we've just realized, is Walter Mitty.

He says he's a longtime hunter, but has been on only two trips, one as a 15-year-old when he hunted rabbits, and then last year, when he "hunted" quail in what sounds like one of those places where they keep the birds in a cage until the rich guy, having been driven to the spot in a jeep, is ready to fire. One of those Dick Cheney shoots-his-friend-in-the-face arrangements.

Here are some other Romney claims:

He is a longtime pilot. On many occasions he has manufactured, and tossed, paper airplanes while making appropriate sound effects.

He has spent many years as a submarine captain. He loves to command the ship to surface amid heavy suds, and then attack the hapless and unwitting rubber duck.

He has been an astronaut. Though he hated those long lines at Space Mountain.

You've heard of Bowdlerized literature. This is called Romneyized personal history.

Or maybe: The Walter Mitty Strategy for winning the presidency.

[Let's enjoy the top of the classic story by James Thurber:

"We're going through!" The Commander's voice was like thin ice breaking. He wore his full-dress uniform, with the heavily braided white cap pulled down rakishly over one cold gray eye. "We can't make it, sir. It's spoiling for a hurricane, if you ask me." "I'm not asking you, Lieutenant Berg," said the Commander. "Throw on the power lights! Rev her up to 8,500! We're going through!" The pounding of the cylinders increased: ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. The Commander stared at the ice forming on the pilot window. He walked over and twisted a row of complicated dials. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!" he shouted. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!" repeated Lieutenant Berg. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" shouted the Commander. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" The crew, bending to their various tasks in the huge, hurtling eight-engined Navy hydroplane, looked at each other and grinned. "The old man will get us through" they said to one another. "The Old Man ain't afraid of Hell!" . . .

"Not so fast! You're driving too fast!" said Mrs. Mitty. "What are you driving so fast for?"

"Hmm?" said Walter Mitty. He looked at his wife, in the seat beside him, with shocked astonishment. She seemed grossly unfamiliar, like a strange woman who had yelled at him in a crowd. "You were up to fifty-five," she said. "You know I don't like to go more than forty. You were up to fifty-five." Walter Mitty drove on toward Waterbury in silence, the roaring of the SN202 through the worst storm in twenty years of Navy flying fading in the remote, intimate airways of his mind. ]


Sports dept.

I gotta take Tiger against the field. It's a tough call, since, if you've ever played golf, you know that the ball usually refuses to do what it is supposed to do. In fact when I play I keep track not of the birdies and pars and bogeys, but of the injuries to bystanders and the damage to nearby houses. When I pull out the driver there's not a window or sliding glass door in the zip code that's safe. Probably I should try a different brand of driver (I use one called The Treefinder).

Anyway, even at the pro level, where the golfers are wizards, the results can be quirky. Yeah, Tiger is better -- but this is golf, and the very best players often wind up knee-deep in the gorse, trying to hack an errant ball back toward civilization. The Masters has a small field, but the foreign players often eat it up, and someone you've hardly ever heard of
might start draining putts from all over the place and play the par-5s in even-threes. But look at his record: Tiger owns Augusta. Remind me of the last person who matched his early hype? Nicklaus played with Woods when Woods was still an amateur, and said the kid could win 10 or 11 times here. Sounded crazy. Then. (How good is he? Over the past decade he's played the par-5 No. 13, the one where the creek snakes around the green, in 26 under par.)

In the Talking Points video with Mike Wilbon, Mr. Tony said he'd take the field. You should watch the video. With all due respect to the very smart folks who put together the printed sports section -- I am a big fan of all the new features, including the Sports Bog -- the puny little partial-transcript of the video that runs on page 2 doesn't do this hallway gabfest justice. Which is one of the things that Tony and Mike are harumphing about in the video.

Mike also has a fine tribute to Eddie Robinson. See also the obit by Eric Prisbell. Robinson received a great many honors in his lifetime, but, as Wilbon notes, he operated out of the sight of the mainstream media for much of his coaching career. He started coaching in 1941, but not until 1966 did he begin to get acclaim, and most of his honors came many years after that.

A line from the Wilbon piece jumped out at this reader:

"With Southeastern Conference schools unwilling to even recruit black players until the late 1960s, a great many (perhaps even most) of the best black ballplayers the first 70 years of the 20th century went to historically black colleges."

Jim Crow wasn't so long ago. I became a fan of the football Gators (I swear this is the last time I'll mention them for at least another week) in 1969, the year of super-sophomores John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez. The number of African American players on that team: Zero. Of course I didn't register that (we listened to games on the radio). Not until the next year, 1970, did the Gators field their first black player, Willie Jackson. If you were a black athlete in the Deep South prior to that point, you very likely would have played for someone like Eddie Robinson at Grambling.

Unless, of course, you were discouraged altogether by a society that told you, day in and day out, that you were a second-class citizen.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 5, 2007; 10:12 AM ET
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Next: Chris Buckley, Beatles, and the Bad Egg From Wyoming


I should also have added if you just want to see the time left add this to your favorites:

Posted by: frostbitten | April 5, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

oops, here by myself, back in a sec

Posted by: frostbitten | April 5, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Love the site, frosty. Only problem is that THERE ARE TOO MANY DAYS LEFT!!!

Posted by: Slyness | April 5, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Quail shooting in Georgia, at least, is a distinctly aristocratic/successful businessman sort of thing. The good news is that quail plantations preserved a few bits and pieces of upland longleaf pine/grassland vegetation. The grass and herb layer, maintained by frequent fires, is famous for the large number of plant species that will be crammed into a small plot, maybe a square meter or a few square meters. At this small scale, the vegetation is as species-rich as any, anywhere.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 5, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Maundy Maundy Maundy

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The top entries of my Belief-O-Matic results:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Secular Humanism (99%)
3. Neo-Pagan (94%)
4. Liberal Quakers (88%)
5. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (79%)

And, the bottom entries of my Bellief-O-Matic results:

23. Eastern Orthodox (39%)
24. Roman Catholic (39%)
25. Islam (35%)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (33%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (24%)

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 5, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

If Mitt Romney is really Walter Mitty, could he also be Elmer Fudd? Because reading the kit I had this sudden voice in my head talking about Mitt Womney hunting wabbits when he was 15, and then hunting quaiwl [OK, you try to spell "quail" in an Elmerfuddian dialect]. And then as a wongtime piwot, and then a submaween captain and astwonaut, and so I was pretty much gone, gone, gone after that. If I have to listen to the voice in my head going "Mitt Womney" for the next two years, I'm never gonna make it.

(And now I've given you guys the Voice cootie, too, haven't I?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of hunting, I once did a road trip with a University of Wyoming botanist who ran marathons to keep in shape for hunting plants. Wyoming's flora was well known, but lots of interesting places had never been visited, or needed revisiting. The online flora atlas of Wyoming has dots in unbelievably remote locations representing herbarium specimens. Running down little wild carrots in the raw early days of spring requires a different mind-set from deer, much less elk (I admire the guys who can transport an entire elk from some remote location to the freezer). This professor had tried deer hunting and, um, thought the whole thing was pretty lame.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 5, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I think I've just totally shot my entire day. I'm editing a long piece that has lots of mentions of "law enforcement phlebotomists," and all I can hear in my head is "waw enfawsement fwebotomists."

Maybe a mind isn't such a terrible thing to waste after all, when it works like mine does and won't shut the hell up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Mitt Womney. Vewy funny, Mudge. I particularly liked the submawine captain. Also, thanks, Joel, for the smidge of Mitty.

It sounds more like the Achenbach driver is the Glassfinder. Ivansdad is fond of golf. My learning to play was a condition of our marriage, many years ago, but he didn't say when. I'm holding out for later.

Grambling. It sounds so much like a word to me. Sorry, I can't come, I'm grambling that day. We grambled about that. The grambling was good over there by the rock. Watch out -- she's gonna gramble!

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon -- what in the name of heaven is a "law enforcement phlebotomists?" Oh, is it someone who draws blood from the perp who was driving backward on the freeway? That sort of job?

Posted by: nellie | April 5, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

A couple of quick items:

I can't take anyone called "Mitt" seriously. Makes some think of baseball, makes others think of Seinfeldian Manziers or Bros (regarding a vulgar euphemism for manmary glands). Granted, this is a failing on my part.

I heard a funny quote on the Diane Rehm show today (didn't catch who said it first), "Campaign fundraising is like sex; if you think it's evil, you're probably not very good at it."

Finally, I'd heard that Maryland is taking small steps to address the popular vote/electoral college question:

Broder does not care for it, but it does have a certain appeal for many people.


Posted by: bc | April 5, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Reports that the Boodle was killed by a secular phlebotomist are highly exaggerated.

Posted by: nellie | April 5, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Well, this is a little sad. When I first put trees on my lot, the rabbits ate them. During my short War of the Rabbits, I didn't find slaughtering them with a .22 was even challenging. Mostly I used a good air pistol. One pump, one shot. This guy needs a semi-automatic to kill a rabbit? What sort of escalation will he bring to Iraq? Clearly his frustration level is set on "1".

The dumb rabbits won our war, anyway. They must have had some kind of draft, because they always had new troops. In the Treaty of Surrender, I gave them all my land. Fortunately, they have a hard time with the concept of wire fencing. If it doesn't nudge out of the way, they give up. I'm glad I kept them around, it's so pathetic. Not that I enjoy the humilation of animals. But they won the War, after all.

Posted by: Geeb | April 5, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Nellie, that's it. Several western states have them for DUI testing.

I always thought "phlebotomist" and "phlebotomy" were ridiculous-sounding words anyway, even without the Elmer Fudd thing. I guess somewhere there's a foreign root word "phleb" or "phlebo," but I sure wouldn't brag about it. "I cut myself shaving this morning, and it wouldn't stop phlebbing." And of course Bela Lugosi murmuring, "Hold still, my dear; I van't to drrrrrink your phleb."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

And that great Errol Flynn movie, "Captain Phleb."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse says "phlebos" comes from way back in Latin and Greek and refers to bloodletting. Funny, I always thought that was an island where a lot of women lived who (phrase censored -- Hal)

Posted by: nellie | April 5, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, thanks a lot! Now I've got Elmer Fudd in my head.

--I'm widing in my caawww. I tuwn on the wadio...

Posted by: Raysmom | April 5, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there's the hot new flick, "Phleb Diamond," can't forget that...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 5, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I worked as phlebotomist in college. The word always made me think of the four humors, especially the phlegmatic personality, not to be mixed up with the sanguine personality.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 5, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, I assume you are referring to women like Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O'Donnell, who practice The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Phlebsbianism. If so, now we know why no one can speak its name. I can hardly even spell it.

Scotty, over the weekend AMC showed that old John Wayne movie where he captains a paddlewheeler escaping from the Red Chinese, called "Phleb Alley."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

>And that great Errol Flynn movie, "Captain Phleb."

An outstanding choice from 1935 with the great Michael Curtiz directing. (You may know him from a little pic called "Casablanca".)

The 2nd box set of the Signature edition is out BTW, featuring: The Charge of the Light Brigade / Gentleman Jim / The Adventures of Don Juan / The Dawn Patrol / Dive Bomber

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I think phlebo is for vein, from the greek phlebos. Tomos is greek for division, cutting, partitioning. A phlebo-tomos would be a vein cutting instrument, in my poor greek opinion.

Hey Padouk, that b@srtard Kim Jong Il, the Sanjaya of N-K, may have eaten the 12 giant rabbits meant to feed the country.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 5, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

And didn't that recent movie "Capote" talk about the brilliant piece of work, "In Cold Phleb?"

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 5, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

A phlebotome is a lancet apprently. sheesh, phlebotome is much better. The famous medical journal "The Phlebotome" sounds about right.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 5, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Aaahww, bwoody hewwa Mudge, see what you stawted...

Posted by: omni | April 5, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Phlebotomy is also not to be confused with the highly dangerous and mistake-prone medical operation known as the Flubotomy.

All this talk about Sanjaya (and Flubotomies) has me intrigued enought that I might have to actually watch an episode.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 5, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, thanks for Phlebsbianism. That and "Captain Phleb" have made my day.

Posted by: nellie | April 5, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

>highly dangerous and mistake-prone medical operation known as the Flubotomy.

Is that the Red Bull show where people try to fly home-made planes off a pier?

Or is that Phlug-Tag?

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

When anyone mentions Quail hunting I just have to throw this link in.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 5, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Phleby he11, Mudge, look at what you've started.

All of this reminds of one my favorite movies, "Phleb Simple."

Granted, not as good as Scotty's pull.

Phleb is thicker than water.


Posted by: bc | April 5, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

As a long-time Romney watcher, I`ll say it again: he would do absolutely ANYTHING for a shot at the Presidency. Anything.

The question is this. Why is Mitt Romney telling such stupid, obvious lies? Lies which anyone with an intelligence level above that of a gibbon would know were SURE to be quickly discovered?

My theory is twofold: Either Mitt is really that stupid (which is definitely a possibility), or else he thinks that he`s so handsome and has such wonderful hair that the majority of voters will simply ignore all his lies and flip-flops, charmed by his sheer beauty.

If that's the case, I pray that he's wrong. But given the voting history of the American public, he may just be right!

Posted by: Quasit | April 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Any one with an gram of brains knew shrub to be a liar, but the right wing wackos only care about...blah blah blah......

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

just so everyone knows- You cannot vote for Sanjaya, or anyone else, from the vote for the worst web site. The only way to vote is immediately after AI at the numbers they announce for each contestant. I will be happy to comment live and post numbers for everyone but I plead with you-do not vote for hair boy. He is simply too painful to watch. Lest anyone be tempted to continue this madness and actually support Sanjaya's AI pursuit, I have two words Danny Bonaducci. Do you really want to see the boy recycled in the fame machine in perpetuity careening from one misadventure to another? Yes I fell hard for Danny's red locks and sarcastic wit on the Partridge Family but regret it now. I say a vote for Sanjaya is a vote you will regret for a lifetime, even if there is a lunch box you can sell for big $ on e-bay.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 5, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Joel, they put you on the front page of the site with a bad link. You might make some subtle inquiries around the office about what that connotes regarding your future.

Or they could be just conserving electrons, saving some for peak summer demand.

Posted by: kindathinker | April 5, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, my poor little mind keeps looping "What's Opera, Doc?"

It is all your fault.

Though Bugs dressed as Brunhilde still makes me laugh.


Posted by: bc | April 5, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, your heart-rending appeal was well taken. I was especially moved by your confession with respect to Danny. He was the Bart Simpson of his day- all sass and attitude - except real, and sadly, prone to growing up. At a minimum, I will think twice before doing anything rash.

But isn't a vote for Sanjaya (assuming he's as bad as reported) the most effective critique of the AI phenomenon available to us mere mortals? With this click I strike at thee, Simon Cowell!

Besides, you have to think we'll be seeing Sanjaya on The Surreal Life or boxing Tonia Harding at some point in any event.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 5, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Quasit, are you suggesting that Womney is a phwip-phwopper?

(Oh, I can see I've certainly done enough damage for one day. Kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

A Phlebotomy indeed is when you labour in vein.

Phlebos probably arises from the same vague Indo-european origin as "blue" (see II).

This IE root in extended form also leads to Greek "phlegm" in a separate derivation (IV.)

Therefore this word is a distant cousin of flamingo, blaze, blond etc.

Ancient greek "color" words are pretty hard to translate.

My guess is abstract color was simply not what was meant, but analogy to more complex concepts.

After all, someday somebody will be wondering why support for war and hatred of abortion will be coupled under the same concept "conservative", which would seem to mean something different. People will be quibbling and finding far-fetched theories as to how can you conserve by war and still apply that definition to all the other policies also labelled "conservative."

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If Simon is to be smited I think it should be for his role in the Tele Tubby phenom.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 5, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

April 24! Liz Kelly just announced on her chat that Gene Weingarten will return on April 24!

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

There was one good thing about the teletubbies. Their vacuum-cleaner dog was *exactly* like the X-breed spaniel we had at the time, and it cracked me up every time it was on screen.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that's excellent news, thanks.


Posted by: bc | April 5, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm showing my ignorance of popular culture again, but what did Simon Cowell have to do with the Teletubbies (or, as we call them, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse)?

We saw a commercial for a new reality show, one of the contest variety, recently. I've blocked the details from my mind, but it gave me a new goal: I hereby vow never to watch a reality show. I've never seen one in its entirety yet, so I'm off to a good start.

To use a contradiction in terms, happy Maundy Thursday everyone.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but, Walter Mitty was doing his daydreaming in Waterbury, Connecticut. Where do you suppose in Massachusetts Romney [Mitt Mitty] is indulging in his flights of fancy?

Elton Hotel - Built in 1905, it was long considered one of New England's most elegant hotels. It once contained 170 rooms, a ballroom and 2 restaurants. Playwright James Thurber penned "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" while staying at the hotel. The lobby of the hotel was the play's backdrop.

President John F. Kennedy, on the eve of the 1960 election, was scheduled to arrive in Waterbury at 6 p.m. for a campaign stop. He was delayed and didn't arrive until 3 a.m. in the morning. Thirty thousand people waited all that time for him to arrive. The crowd was so deep on the Green that his entourage had to park five blocks away because they could not drive through the crowd. Kennedy made his speech from the balcony of the hotel. He vowed that he would end every future campaign in Waterbury.

Posted by: Loomis | April 5, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The dateline on this story is not to be found, but it's copyrighted 2007. Wonder of California voters will crown Romney or cream him in their February primary?

However, Utah, where 70 percent of the population are Mormon, far outdistanced all other states on a per capita basis. Romney collected 51 cents in Utah per citizen, compared to 30 cents in Massachusetts and four cents in California.

(Mudge, beginning to be thankful today for your bad memory. We shall say no more. At one point you still had Nani in Amarillo and Ivansmom in Kansas City. Grateful you can't recall some of the historical e-mail we exchanged. Shhhhh...)

Posted by: Loomis | April 5, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think it is clear to everyone here that to be elected, a republican need be neither smart nor honest.

Posted by: omni | April 5, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Romney's polygamist ancestry...of course, we could always talk about Obama's two grandmothers...

Posted by: Loomis | April 5, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Be fair now, omni. To be elected, no candidate of any party needs to be either smart or honest. In an ideal world this would not be true. From the candidtate's viewpoint it helps, of course, to be at least one or the other, as persons who are neither smart nor honest are frequently caught. Which isn't to say that you won't be caught being dishonest even if you're smart.

My head hurts. I'm going to meditate on Elmer Fudd fow a whiwe now.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking of gwb when I wrote that.

Me I'm going to go home and and not think at all for little while.

Posted by: omni | April 5, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Isn't two the normal number of grandmothers?

Ivansmom-Simon Cowell was the record producing genius behind such musical powerhouses as the WWF (before it was the WWE), Power Rangers, and the Teletubbies. I don't know what a Teletubbies recording sounds like, and I don't want to know.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 5, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Cowell produced that dastardly show Ivansmom. Yoki found some redeeming value to the four ideous creatures so she obviously has no 10-13 years old at home.

Off to a four day week-end. I see lots of painting in my future. Maybe a bit of cooking and some libations as well.
Have a good Easter/passover/whatever weekend ya'll.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 5, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It's just barely conceivable to me that there are readers of this blog who are not members of the DNRC and so did not receive the Dilbert newsletter today. If that is your case, you are in luck--follow the link below to read Scott Adams's account of his recent air travel adventure, sitting next to the World's Most Annoying Man. As well as the True Tales of In-duh-viduals, and lots of shameless merchandising of Dilbert paraphernalia.

"Dogbert's New Ruling Class boasts 480,000 members. Each one of you has so much crackling mental power that flight attendants ask you to reduce your thinking when the airplane is taking off or landing."

Posted by: kbertocci | April 5, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That's right, Shrieking. But I did at one time have a wee girl who loved to watch teletubbies after her bath, in her jams, cuddled with her mother in the big chair. There are worse things than that (like, say, Barney). She's now a big girl who likes to watch horror movies, after her bath, in her jams, cuddled with her mother in the big chair. There are worse things than that, too.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, think the horror movie fascination has anything to do with the Teletubbies :-) I am seeing a connection.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Hedonic adaptation helps to explain why even changes in major life circumstances--such as income, marriage, physical health and where we live--do so little to boost our overall happiness. Not only that, but studies of twins and adoptees have shown that about 50 percent of each person's happiness is determined from birth. This "genetic set point" alone makes the happiness glass look half empty, because any upward swing in happiness seems doomed to fall back to near your baseline."

More at

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Definitely, dmd.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Great news about Weingarten's return. We should do something to welcome him back. Like everyone send him the same post (although Liz would squash that). Ideas?

frosty, I share your fears about Sanjaya. Even if he were voted out next week, he could still become one of those famous-for-being-famous people. He could appear on a pseudo-celebrity show, such as Dancing With the Stars. Lucky thing all the game shows are gone. In past days, he'd reappear on Hollywood Squares or the Match Game. But then, he would have gotten his start on the Gong Show...

Posted by: Raysmom | April 5, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

At least the Gong show would have had the decency to Gong him.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If Jaye P Morgan would Gong Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, she'd Gong anyone.


Posted by: bc | April 5, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, dmd, they'd have been fighting over the gong!

He could have been on the Dating Game, too. "Bachelorette number 1, do you have any problems dating a guy with better hair than yours?"

Posted by: Raysmom | April 5, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually I am thinking he would have been a good candidate for either the Love Boat or Fantasy Island.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Raymom you have me laughing but if I remember in the 70's and 80's many guys had better hair than the women.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the vocab lesson, Wilbrod. Why is the "ph" or "phl" so funny looking? Reading this in my mind, tickles my funny bone.

Good to be easily pleased.

Who ever posted the SCIAM article on happiness and personal set point, thank you. I am glad that psychology is exploring this state, rather systematically.

I bird told me that one of my brothers would be on the Glen Beck show tonight. What is the take on Glen Beck show -- folksy, plain-speak opinion that is slightly right of center?

And Lou Dobbs is no longer an anchor or financial analyst --- he frames an opinion show....

Posted by: College Parkian | April 5, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I think we should each (men, too) today, mail him a brand-new still-wrapped pair of panties (or whatever men call them).

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it would be funnier (I think GW would agree) if absolutely everyone boycotted the chat and the poll the first day. He'd be sitting there for an hour, alone. And then we all flood Liz's chat on the Thursday afternoon. He neglects us for 5 months, what does he expect?

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

An enterprising Democrat (a big assumption there) will buy up remaindered John Kerry flip-flops and rename them Mitt-Flops. The problem with trick plays is that they only work once. Everybody gets to study game film.

Romney Season.
Rudy Season.
Romney Season!
Rudy Season!


Posted by: yellojkt | April 5, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Kbertocci, I loved this line from the Dilbert blog: "The finger drumming, like his snort-sniffing, was extra loud because he still had on the headphones. Those breadstick-fingers were banging louder than Paris Hilton locked in a steel drum with a hot robot. It bothered me so much that I lost my ability to make good analogies."

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

Thanks, kbertocci. I am not on that list and would otherwise have missed it. I'm always glad when someone else selflessly steps in for the rest of us, in this case taking the Annoying Seatmate award so we can travel in peace.

Wudy season.
Womney season.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for the opportunity to go to a Womney Wawwy, so we can all chant, "Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney! Womney!"

Yoki, re: your 4:54, I believe they are called "boxers," "briefs," "jockies," and/or "tighty whities." Or in the case of bc and myself, "thongs."

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

Hmmmm. My Dilbert Newsletter has not yet arrived...

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

I liked the comparsion to a horse with 'nads caught on a barbed wire fence

"If you have ever tried to take a nap when Mr. Clean on crack is gelding himself next to you, then you know it isn't easy."

Yoki, brilliant but people'll scab and try and suck up to Gene despite the boycott.

By the way, I so agree with you about the merits of Teletubbies versus Barney. I never understood why the teletubbies got smeared for their rampant sexual immorality by die-hard christian extremists. I mean, they're asexual alien babies. Duh.

On the other hand, Barney was clearly extolling the virtues of group love to his poor charges. At any moment while watching him, I expected him to pull out a bottle of Jack D's and explaining how to love it as he lit a cigarette.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is picking on poor Mitt. What about Rudy? Or Big John? Ain't no grovelin' low enough when it comes to The Base.

Belief-O-Matic is really, really truthy, and not just compared to Mitt, neither.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 5, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I vote for mailing Gene codpieces (salted cod optional). Why bother to be modern when it comes to flinging panties?

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

An unseasonable freeze is called for here in Carolina. My struggling little dogwood trees have already produced leaves (somewhat delayed from their more established and beautifully flowering cousins hereabouts)and already the evil cankerworms are eating the new foliage. If you don't have cankerworms eating your trees you are very, very lucky. I am now harboring very satisfying fantasies that the freeze will kill every cankerworm in the area. Join with me now and envision frozen little green worm bodies falling from the trees and tinkling like broken crystals as they shatter in the grass...

Posted by: Jumper | April 5, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

And thus the boodle dies, done in by fans slinging codpieces and/or cod en masse.

News at 11.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I like that vision. I hope it comes to pass around here, where the low Sunday morning is supposed to be 27. I worry for my hydrangeas, though.

Posted by: Slyness | April 5, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The Belief-O-Meter is truly interesting. Won't bore you with details, but here are some the surprised me:

Roman Catholic (74%)
Reform Judaism (70%)
Seventh Day Adventist (70%)
Islam (63%)
Orthodox Judaism (63%)
Jehovah's Witness (29%)

This means I agree with 29% of what the J-dubs teach? Yowsa.

'Course it did also peg me as 100% Mainline to Liberal Christain Protestant. Yup. Guilty.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 5, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I kinda think the codpieces could backfire...

He'd wear them all.

At one time.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 5, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Think his wife really would let him out of the house with that outfit, S'nuke?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I couldn't resist and took the Belief-o-Meter. My question is, does this mean Unitarian Universalism encompasses all these other things? I mean, you only be 100% of anything, so the other things must be a subset, no?

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Mahayana Buddhism (95%)
3. Liberal Quakers (92%)
4. Neo-Pagan (92%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (85%)
6. Hinduism (85%)
7. New Age (81%)
8. Taoism (76%)
9. Scientology (70%)
10. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (70%)
11. Secular Humanism (65%)
12. New Thought (64%)
13. Jainism (63%)
14. Sikhism (63%)
15. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (62%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (55%)
17. Bahá'í Faith (50%)
18. Reform Judaism (50%)
19. Nontheist (36%)
20. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (35%)
21. Seventh Day Adventist (32%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (28%)
23. Islam (27%)
24. Orthodox Judaism (27%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (22%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (19%)
27. Roman Catholic (19%)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

>Ok, I couldn't resist and took the Belief-o-Meter.

I was so surprised I forgot to sign...

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight, Achenblog. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 5, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Unitarian Universalist is kind of a "whatever" religion. It does celebrate many traditions in addition to Christanity. I heard from an interpreter who interpreted for an UU church, apparently you can count on seeing samples of diverse religious traditions. A friend of mine likes it, but does say it seems too wishy-washy for her taste, so she has decided to remain an adamant atheist who just happen to like church music.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I had a discussion last year with a friend who's spent some time over the years seeking a religious practice with which she feels comfortable. She didn't quite understand my amusement with the entire concept of that search. When we had a conversation recently, she was more in tune with my primary point, which had been something along the lines of, "No group out there holds what you're looking for, and when you find it, you'll be able to bring it to almost any group."

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Genetics has gone to the dogs, and that's actually kind of good news.

Now, to find if that yapping gene has a strong linkage with this "tiny" gene...

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. Go away fowr a few days and evwebody is going cwazy over this fellow Womney. I've been wenovating since wast Fwiday, demowishing the floor and weplacing it. The tongue and gwoove just doesn't go back in the way it came out. I had to use a warge wench and a bwock to snug some of joinewey. At least now I can sand and do the finish in shewack, two pound orwange, to be pwecise.

Posted by: jack | April 5, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

So does this mean all those teens with poor sleep habits are actually brain-damaged?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, today both Wilbrod and jack have posted! *Waving arms about like a blue furry muppet with no arm-joints but-obvious-hand-sticks-and-a-large grin*

Wilbrod, you had best email me at (or the other addy) and let me know how the interview went.

jack, how are the dogs?

Cassandra, I felt I might have killed the Boodle with my pants suggestions; glad to see it was not so.

I took the belief quiz/poll, and then figured everybody else had moved to the new kit. Do you think I can retake it and then post the results, which I thought were pretty accurate?

Pointy-people, I would much appreciate your looking at last week's Economist and telling me whether the journalistic interpretation of the South Pole climate-science is correct. Because if it is, it is stunning. I also loved this noun-phrase. "Divide-ice core." It could so easily become a revolutionary slogan. "Divide. Ice. Core."

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Not to worry Wilbrod. *All* teenagers manifest the symptoms of brain injury (all that remapping of neurons and neuroses, don'tcha know) and by the time they turn 22 or 23 or 35, they are all better. Except for Boodler-offspring, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Even worse news for insomniacs:

This is why granddad naps so much, I guess.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, now I know why I've been fantasizing about me and Ryan Seacrest. I just GOTTA get more sleep.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, do you mean Boodler offspring don't exhibit symptoms of brain injury, or don't get better? I hope for the former but fear the latter. I still have this to look forward to, you know.

And let me just say that although I thought I had unusually low expectations of the Administration, Arbusto's action in allowing Sam Fox to withdraw his name as Ambassador on the eve of the vote (since he stood no chance of Senate confirmation), then appointing him this week during recess, shocks me. He has no shame. I'm surprised that I'm surprised. Normally under such circumstances I would ask, "Where is his mother?" [meaning, of course, that he is acting against how he was raised, if he was raised right] but I won't go there. Even Womney is wooking good.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm appalled by that recess appointment too, especially after it was supposed to be such a victory for Kerry. Hey, where's Eurotrash? Maybe he could make Fox's Belgian stay miserable...

I took the quiz and came out a secular humanist, followed closely by liberal Quaker, which sounds about right. I have Quaker ancestors and have thought about attending a service here - but never had the courage (I thought it might be weird because of the silence). Judging from kb's experience, I think I was right.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 5, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I think I passed.
I love the Liberal/Mainline/Conservative Protestant split.
1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
3. Nontheist (77%)
4. Liberal Quakers (74%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (71%)
6. Neo-Pagan (61%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (58%)
8. New Age (45%)
9. Taoism (42%)
10. Reform Judaism (40%)
11. Mahayana Buddhism (36%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (33%)
13. Scientology (26%)
14. Sikhism (26%)
15. New Thought (25%)
16. Bahá'í Faith (23%)
17. Jainism (22%)
18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (21%)
19. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (17%)
20. Seventh Day Adventist (17%)
21. Hinduism (16%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (16%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (14%)
24. Islam (14%)
25. Orthodox Judaism (14%)
26. Roman Catholic (14%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (9%)

Posted by: Boko999 | April 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

And here's an intriguing squib from WSJ: "Skilled foreign workers can no longer apply for H-1B visas to the U.S. after the quota was filled in just one day, the government said."

Cassandra had it right: things are rotten on the street, and in the gummint too apparently. Feh. I should know better than to catch up on the news at night. Time to get the Boy to bed early.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 5, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Nothing especially fishy about the H1-B visa business. That was predicted last year, since it's an inevitable result of our taxation & immigration policies. We make it unattractive for businesses to train residents, and make it difficult for them to hire foreigners. Eeek!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "H-1B" is, of course, correct.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Note the no upper limit on illegal immigrants, either.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

One of the strange things about that Belief-o-matic test is, I have no earthly clue what the tenets of about a third of those religions and belief systems are: Therevada Buddhism? Beats the hell out of me. Jainism? Neo-Pagan? Nontheist? Mahayana Buddhist? New Thought? WTF is "New Thought"? I have enough trouble with the Old Thought. Never did have much of a handle on Baha'i, other than Seals and Crofts did it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - No reason (for the country as a whole) to give a crap about illegal immigration. Sure, it's a bummer for the communities which bear the bulk of the costs, but definitely a plus for the country as a whole. Just another example of wealth redistribution!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

>Mahayana Buddhist

Mudge, think Tibet. Would've thought you'd have known that from your trip with that Marco Polo guy!

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, immediately after posting that I knew I had mis-written. I meant (of course!) that the Boodler-offspring are not insane even as teenagers (and certainly #1 and #2 and the Boy and Thang 1 & 2 and TBG's good kids and dmd's young'uns...) display no symptoms of brain injury, no matter what age.

Though the recent research and my own observation tells us that many many teenagers do experience temporary insanity due to brain-reorganization (and hormones, and sports-injuries, and sleep- or appetite-disturbance) this has not at all been my experience living with my girls.

As a very old mother of middle-aged kids, I can read between your lines. The boy is not going to be difficult as a teenager. He will challenge your assumptions (as why should he not? that is his job, and ours is to pay attention), but I see no nightmare scenarios before you. If frightening stuff happens, both you and he will learn from it, without becoming fractured.

I don't really know how to articulate this, but bear with me. I know you not at all, but I *do* know from your writings that from the day the boy became your son he has been treated with respect as a full human-being (accounting for his ability); to me that seems to be the key to ongoing good relationships and life-navigation. He sounds a wonderful boy, whose parents love and manage him. He'll be fine.

I hesitate to say this often, because I have never been tested more than a little by the girls. But... I do believe if you know, from day one, that your kids are individuals with strengths and weaknesses and talents and deficits, and with no expectations that they will fit some mold you wished for yourself; if you can open your eyes to what they can be and ask them what they want to achieve, then things will go pretty smoothly.

When I was childless and then had babies, I heard from too many people that childbirth was killing, or "the twos" would be terrible. And when we'd gone past that, then that "teenaged girls will make you crazy." Well, neither nor. The girls are fine human beings, and always have been. They have never been less than the joy of my and Himself's heart.

We've seen our share of hard days, but hard years? No. Lots of fun. Tons of interesting zesty fascinating stuff. And I appreciate that they are *our* young ladies, stepping up to take their place in the world. It is fine. Just fine.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, you know I rescue dogs and cats and rabbits and ferrets. You maybe don't know that I trap bees in jars to remove them from my house, and spiders are lifted from inside to outside on a piece of paper. My family nickname is "Jane" because I am more like a Jain than not.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Utterly unconnected to anything we were discussing, here's an observation from one of America's gazillion medically uninsured:

The last time I had anything that most folks would consider "medical insurance" was the day I got out of the Air Force in 1992. Hmm... I'll amend that - it was the day I got divorced from my wife (who was still in the Air Force) in 1997. Since that time, I've had a variety (QUITE a variety, actually!) of jobs, some of which afforded the possibility to purchase insurance, but none of which included it as a standard benefit. On the average, the cost of a package for me (single, 45 yrs old at the moment, no particularly interesting or expensive health history) was $75-150 per month for benefits which might be even theoretically worth purchasing.

In the 17 years since 1990, the only medical encounters I've had (excluding the mandatory physical exam which I was given at the time of my discharge, and an AIDS test which I was given before joining my then-wife in Germany) are a few regular dental exams (cash cost: about $100 each) and a root canal and crown two years ago (cash cost, $850).

Given my medical history and likely expected usage of services, I'd have been some kind of fool to be willing to pony up the nearly $20,000 that would have been asked of me for insurance coverage at this point. Hey, I don't mind donating to charity, but then let's call it what it is! Tax me for services for the indigent. But don't rape me by charging what is predictably five to ten times the expected benefit for my cohort, and expect me to cheerfully kick it into the kitty!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, why jars for bees? I rather like catching honeybees with my bare hands and letting them buzz confusedly at the sudden darkness before they are released.

Of course, ever since I stepped on a bee by accident and gotten stung for the first time, I'm slightly more wary because bee allergies run in my family.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I think the way to deal with belief-o-meter is to reply NA more often -- even though you might think the environment is important, say NA when the Nature questions come up, because even though it's important, it's not impt in a "religious" way. That will weed out the minor religions -- I got something around 10% for Jehovas Witnesses even though all I ever do for them is close the door, and nearly 50% for some Eastern religions. I think it was RDP who turned in a relatively pure secular humanist scorecard, unblemished by non-God religions. Still, it's interesting that Catholicism should score so much lower than the various Protestant ones for most of the profiles posted here. I wouldn't think people today care about the theological arguments of the Reformation, but suspect that's part of the explanation.

There are large stretches of the world where church is a largely social event that people participate in on Sunday (or whatever day), not necessarily those people's personal belief system.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 5, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, you're just about to enter your mid-life crisis in which you will drive fast cars, make a fool out of yourself and wind up needing back surgery. Or something like that.

I agree, I'd rather donate the medical insurance money to the gummit rather than the pockets of fat insurance cats.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm with you on the dogs, cats, ferrets (although I hear medallion of ferret is delicious).

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

> "medical insurance"

Bob S. I lived that scenario for a couple of decades, but I'm really glad I've got insurance now.

'Cuz one day the doctor finds this thing and you rack up $17,500 in a week. Just to get started. I have no idea yet of what 6 weeks of radiation cost. The meds were $3k.

I'm guessing I'll be good for another $100k before I'm done.

Anyone out there balancing new car vs insurance, get the insurance.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod- : ) Yup, no doubt!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Flurries here today (Philadelphia), freeze warning tonight.

Any ideas for dinner guests tomorrow night? No meat, homemade macaroni and cheese will be fine for dinner, I was thinking asparagus, finishing up with chocolate covered strawberries and cheesecake brownies. Hors d'oeuvres?

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Error - I'm about to go full time with a company which will be insuring me, and I agree with you that I'll be glad to have it. But my point is that it would have made no sense whatsoever for me to purchase insurance up to this point in my life. My likely payoff would have been better than the state lottery, but noticeably worse than the blackjack tables at a casino.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

The jars for bees is because I was jane long before I was smart, and so scooped up wasps and hornets and humble-bees in my hands as readily as honey-bees. Honey-bees don't sting very readily or often or virulently. All the other bee-like species do. I learnt my lesson, and now put them outside not from my hands, or on a piece of paper, but in a jar with a bit of newsprint over the open end. Oh ya.

Bob S., I have to say... I have been unseemly strong and healthy all my life. Until shortly after my 49th birthday, when a bunch of latencies became manifest. In the last 6 weeks I have been very glad to have insurance. I have more than compensated for my paying-in for years, by all-of-a-now needing them to pay out. And they have. In spades.

I do believe there is a difference between 30 and 50. At 50, we neeeeed medical supervision or even intervention. It's sad, reely.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Do you have eggs or nuts, dbG?

Those can make nice hors d'oeuvres (devilled eggs, bowl of nuts).

If you have potatoes,milk, chives, black and red pepper, salt, and lots of sour cream, then twice-baked potatoes are often a hit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 5, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! The very person! Meatless (and unfortunately, fishless also) hors d'oeuvres?

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., do you have fire insurance? Who needs it, the house hasn't burned down yet.

IMHO you're lucky you haven't had a serious car accident (while uninsured, and let's assume you would be found liable for the accident) that left you with lifelong disabilities and hundreds of thousands of immediate medical expenses.

IMHO self-insuring for medical expenses is totally stupid. Get in a group, the largest one you can find so you won't be excluded by virture of some odd genes or prior conditions, and pay your dues. The largest group is of course the entire population of the country. Old people get most of the benefits for some conditions, but young men have more than their share of serious car accidents.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 5, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod. I was shying away from more starch, but devilled eggs and (spiced?) nuts sound good.

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

A glass of wine served with mixed olives and a bit of good bread (if you want to be pretentious, whisk some olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dip for the bread) for befores, dbG. You could even poach the mixed olives in a little olive-oil (Sweetpea!) and serve them warm.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

One of the few occasions where pretentious sounds good.

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, a dish of dry-roasted natural (with skins on) almonds (you need to roast them yourself) served with olives and bread and wine, is divine.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

dbG - Were you trying to eat healthy, or just meatless? I made a reasonable facsimile of an Outback-style "Bloomin' Onion" a while back that was pretty popular with the folks in attendance, but onion rings are less trouble. Some variation of bruschetta is usually popular unless folks have had so much of it recently that they're tired of it. And the "Seitan Satay" from the food chat last month sounded pretty intriguing. (I'll post it below, but no promises, I haven't made it yet.)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

> But my point is that it would have made no sense whatsoever for me to purchase insurance up to this point in my life.

Bob, you're preachin' to the choir bud. I went many years without. I never had anything at all wrong. Just regular visits to the dentist and chiro, way less than insurance payments.

And then... whooops. Perfect up until 47, then... damn.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA - Cute, but are you trying to be serious? If so, the math is quite different for fire insurance.

Oh, I get it... You were FLAMING me!!!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm all about the pretension!

So here is a genuine question for the Boodle.

I am expecting a visit from a very good old friend and her daughter, arriving on Monday (when both Himself and I must go to work) and staying until only very early Tuesday morning.

What can I give them for supper on Monday that a) I can make ahead; b) is wonderfully delicious and c) doesn't take long on Monday to finalize when I get home around 18:30?

I was thinking about making a befores of homemade pasta ravioli (ricotta and wild mushrooms in a white-wine reduction), and for dessert a pannecotta with fresh berry coulis. But the main course?

Braised short-ribs with polenta and wilted greens (Malbec);

Grilled salmon with dill-mustard sauce, wilted greens and roasted baby potatoes (sparkling Chardonnay);

Breaded baked Dijon chicken-breasts with roast asparagus (Pouily Fume)?

Something else?

Note that I am feeding 16 people a turkey-dinner for Easter on Saturday evening, and will have minimal left-over time/energy, but want my old friend and her daughter to know how much we value them.

Suggestions? Tips? Entire redirections?

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Late to comment as usual, but needed to put in my two cents about my former governor. Mitt (which I agree is a really dumb name) ran for the senate against Kennedy back in the 90's. I guess the Repubs thought they had a shot to beat Teddy. Then Mitt disappeared until the Olympics thing and then he ran for governor here and won despite lots of us thinking that he was really a resident of Utah, not Massachusetts. He was a venture capitalist, very wealthy but tried to play in politics here, which is not for the faint of heart. He spent the last two years of his term prepping his run for president and really achieved very little of note. Whether our healthcare plan will really be effective remains to be seen but it looks like the truly poor will still get no affordable coverage. He didn't leave office with a very good approval rating and his lieutenant governor was soundly beaten in her bid to take his place. I find him plastic and opportunistic and have been enjoying Doonesbury this week as G.T. takes him apart.

Bob S., I agree with Yoki and Error and others about health insurance. I'm paying a huge COBRA bill each month while praying that my temp job goes to permanent, but having had a few surgeries in my time, including a hip replacement three years ago, I wouldn't want to guess how much poorer I would have been without insurance. Even for the young who are careful drivers, sports injuries and the occasional serious illness can still devastate your bank account. Not worth the gamble. Most bankruptcies are a result of uninsured medical bills.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 5, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Dinner guests,practicing Catholics, Good Friday--no meat, they don't eat seafood, everything else is game (so to speak). I was going to make pierogi, but the 2 teenagers won't eat them. Mac & cheese, everyone will.

I've been thinking of bruschetta too, and maybe grape tomatoes sliced in half, and toothpicked together with mozzarella and basil, drizzled with extra-v olive oil and balsamic. Or veg/cheese antipasto. I like Wilbrod's and Yoki's ideas too.

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA - I'll take another tack at this:

I wasn't trying to speak from my personal experience, exactly. It is generally true that medical insurance for healthy (non-dangerous driving) young-ish men between 25-40 is typically priced far above their expected return. Their cohort is subsidizing others. I don't blame the industry for trying, but if it was a group of similar size which shared some different characteristic, the industry would have been crucified long before now.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I like the salmon menu.

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

dbG, how about a soup course? Try my Vidalia Onion Supreme, but instead of the beef base/beef boullion cubes, use vegetable stock/vegetable boullion cubes instead.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 5, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's that satay recipe (apologies, it's kinda long, I'm giving you the whole blog post 'cuz I didn't actually save the link):

Seitan Satay

Sunday, March 5, 2006

When my vegan friend Jennifer Scope suggested that I serve seitan, I wasn't sure what it was. Say what? Seitan (say-TAHN) is a vegetarian "wheat meat," derived from the protein portion of wheat, she explained. It comes packaged like tofu, and is sold at Whole Foods and other grocery stores. Seitan's chewy, "meaty" texture makes it such a convincing meat substitute that some vegetarians refuse to eat it. Its neutral flavor works well in stews and with marinades

I decided to put the "wheat meat" to the test by using it as a chicken substitute for a satay recipe adapted, ironically enough, from James McNair's "Chicken" cookbook. Of the two brands I tried, White Wave seitan was less inclined to break into pieces and thus easier to "skewer" than the Vegetarian Cuisine brand.

Seitan Satay

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup lime juice

2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed, or to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Three 8-ounce packages seitan

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except the seitan. Cut the seitan into 1- to 1 1/2 -inch chunks, and add to the marinade. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour. When done marinating, thread the seitan pieces onto bamboo skewers.

Place the skewers on a broiling rack, and broil on low for 5 minutes, or until the top of the seitan is brown but not burned. Turn the skewers, baste with the marinade and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the seitan is brown.

Makes 7-8 large skewers. Serve with Peanut Dipping Sauce.

Per serving (based on 8): 87 calories, 9 gm protein, 3 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 264 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons light brown sugar or molasses

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed, or to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. (If the sauce begins to boil, reduce heat.) Remove from heat, and puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until the sauce is smooth.

Per tablespoon: 213 calories, 5 gm protein, 10 gm carbohydrates, 19 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 gm saturated fat, 339 mg sodium, 2X gm dietary fiber.

Adapted from James McNair's "Chicken" cookbook (Chronicle Books, 1987). Recipe tested by Nicole M. Miller; e-mail questions to
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., my point was that medical risks can come from unexpected directions that have nothing to do with your age and general health (like a fire), and given the current medical industry, can be extremely expensive. I conclude that insurance is necessary.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 5, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, thanks for the Seitan Satay recipe. I'd eat it, but maybe I've just known these people too well for the past almost-40 years.

Mudge, do you have a copy handy?

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I can email you the most up-to-date of Mr. Curmudgeon's awesome Vidalia Onion Appetizer recipes. He sent it to me for the cookbook, so with his permission (and unless he's refined it since)...

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA - You are, of course, correct. The wisdom of carrying insurance is beyond dispute. I can't imagine when or where I gave you the impression that I think differently, but I humbly beg your forgiveness for the lack of precision in my presentation.

Now, back to the point I WAS trying to make about the fairness of pricing....

: )

Trust me, I'm exhausted with the conversation. Nobody's disagreed with me, and I doubt that anybody intends to do so, but if they should do so, then I hereby declare (in advance) that I was wrong, and you are correct in all general and particular details.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Yoki!

Posted by: dbG | April 5, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Mwahh! to Bob.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, serve Pouilly Fuisse, lots of it, then no matter what food you accompany it with - WHO CARES!

How about boeuf bourgogne, which should be served with Red Wine but I can't drink it so I only know white wine recommendations.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I really WAS grinning when I wrote that last bit!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching Jon Stewart interview Bill Richardson, and I'm very impressed.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 5, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

That is the best ever, dmd. If I serve lots of (corrected) Pouilly Fuisse with the ravioli (and possibly olives and almonds and NYT bread) first, no will care. And I can make boeuf bourgogne ahead of time. Excellent!

I too don't drink red wine (instant 4-day migraine -- though it is sad, I love red wine, and now I annoy my dining companions by asked them if I may *smell* their wine, and embarrass them by ordering one small glass of white with my duck breast).

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - My latest version of the 'mudgeonion is from about a year ago. Has he been tinkering with it?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Here is a good pre-dinner thing, for those of you with guests on the weekend --

Appetizer - Curried Walnuts

About one pound shelled walnut halves
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. chutney, put through a sieve

Heat oil, add all other ingredients and cook until hot and well mixed. Then spread nuts on brown paper in 300o oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Posted by: nellie | April 5, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

That is the reason I don't drink red as well Yoki, and sadly the same reason I had to give up beer (although for the beer it took me 20 years to finally realize the connection).

I am all about the comfort food, plus it is freezing here so that dinner came to mind.

Posted by: dmd | April 5, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

nellie - Sounds great! I already make roasted pecans that are similar-but-different, I think that the curried walnuts alongside will be fun.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 5, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

nellie! Hello! How wonderful. Would this work with other nuts, do you think? The walnuts and pecans we get up here are foully rancid; almonds, Brazils and hazelnuts are better.

Yes, Bob, he has been fooling around with it (and it is even better now -- that's saying something).

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

See, that is the thing, when you are infested with 'Mudge. You think you've got it nailed, and then he mutates. Feh.

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, Bob S., let's talk about the fairness of pricing -- a good topic. The essence of the view you present is that everyone constitutes a group of one. My view is that the best group is the entire population of the nation. Any group less than everyone is unfair in some way or ends up giving people less coverage than they may need. The exception to that is the large employers who cover all their employees, where the group is relatively random and represents "everyone" to a great extent. Any selective group (e.g., athletes age 28 to 33) is logically the same as a group of one. I think the way to think about this is through politics, not as an actuary, though. Is the US a society, or a bunch of individuals who just happen to live within some lines on a map? I grew up thinking the former perhaps as a result of WW2 where just about everybody participated in some way (even if only by doing without nylons), but during my lifetime there has been a move to frame citizenship the other way, which seems to be pretty popular.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 5, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Step away from the umbrage (while still holding to your line of argument, of course).

Posted by: Yoki | April 5, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone! Finally catching up tonight.

It's just too horrible that you can't get walnuts and pecans that aren't rancid, Yoki. That would bother me a lot. We can get good ones, and then I keep them in the freezer and just open up the bag and take what I need and put it back right away. We're lucky.

I have to say, I've been pouting and pondering on your 10:23, Yoki. Pouting because, as one who hasn't been quite as lucky, it *hurts* when someone who *is* lucky acts like it's easy. I'm dazzled by the similarity between Bob S., who has never needed health insurance and therefore can't really see why any male under 50 needs it, and you, who hasn't had a difficult child and reassures people that children aren't really so hard.

Speaking as someone who has *put* a child in her room, then held the door shut using all her strength with one hand, while phoning the child's psychologist with the other, while the *eight* year old does a full assault on the other side of the door with feet and toys and hands and head, I can assure you that it's not always so simple. My older child has always been a dream, docile and cooperative and sensitive. My younger one, not so. Since the day she was born, she's been different and fighting me tooth and nail. She's attached, luckily - needs me by to go to sleep, needs my hugs and comfort hourly. But she fights me and fights me. It's hard.

Kids are different. With the first one I didn't know this.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 5, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, I apologize. I am so so sorry. I did not mean to sound judgmental about the kids who really are difficult. And I meant no implication that the parenting of the hard kids was deficient. I am sorry. I am very sorry.

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

No, I'm sorry for being so pouty, Yoki. I do sometimes fall into the self-pity thing. Your life simply *can't* be as idyllic as it sounds. I don't think.

My younger child has a lot of good points, I'm not trying to put her down. She's just always been feisty and oppositional. In her defense, I must point out that she saves all her nastiness for me - she's wonderful with friends or company.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 6, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Siigghhh - OK, here's the deal: The group of "unmarried males aged 25-40 without previously existing existing medical conditions who are, in fact, paying for their insurance" pays VASTLY more in medical insurance insurance premiums than they (again, as a group) receive in benefits. It is, traditionally, a sucker bet for those folks unless they are getting lower than average rates (or, obviously, are among the few that rack up large medical bills). They pay a higher percentage of their collective medical bills in premiums than similar-sized cohorts sharing almost any other feature, and a good bit more than a randomized sample of policy-holders. That was my only point. Simple math stuff.

It wasn't to debate the philosophical implications of "free ridership" within the public/private insurance system, or to take on the notion of socialized medicine, which you seem to imply is the equivalent of large employer plans.

I was just making a point about pricing within the medical insurance industry. It is perhaps a bit disingenuous of you to claim shock that the industry might group policyholders by risk when assessing premiums, when virtually all insurers are required by law to do so with every other form of insurance.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 6, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, yes, my life is not so wonderful on all points. Exactly right. And bless your heart.

You must be tired out, sometimes (is this right? Am I following you?) by absorbing the child's rage. But I do believe, from what you've said, that she can use you that way because she can trust you. No-one else is as safe a place as you are.

But it is not your fault, you know? You didn't *do* anything that made her oppose you. Now I'm going back to #2's early days, but I believe some kids have a very strong warrior; I admire and love you that you put your arms around her when she is lost. If she didn't have you, she'd be alone (yes? no? getting some hint?).

And I apologize again for being blind-sounding. Not really blind, and not really addressing everyone, just I'M. Then. And that *was* insensitive of me, and I'm truly very sorry about it.

If you get a bit pouty sometimes, that is perfectly OK. How tired are you? It is a long row to walk. Is there anything I can do to lighten your load?

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Bob S. I thought you were advocating public policy, rather than pointing out the math -- that in large insurance groups some will pay more than they can be expected to get at certain points in their life, and at other points get more than they pay.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 6, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

You're fine, Yoki. My life is not really such a hard one, I'm OK. I mean, my God, I have two kids who get good grades and have friends and why am I complaining? I think my younger child will have a hard time, but she's got so much spirit I'm sure she'll do well in the end.

We're quite a ways past the spit-fire 8 year old, she's a budding adolescent now whose Myspace page was shut down by a mean evil Mommy because of way past suggestive pictures and comments by "friends." I'm becoming inured to the rage response. Occasionally I score - she can sometimes admit I was right not to let her go to the movies unsupervised with creepy people who later reveal themselves to be creeps. I treasure these moments. I hold her quite firmly to the rules, and I'm leaving my self-doubt behind. She's thriving with order and standards imposed, although it chafes - I was raised in a very laissez-faire way and am predisposed to raise my children that way. It simply won't work with her. But I'm learning.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 6, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy said:// I'm learning.

Me too.

#2 calls them "Creepers."

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Actually, as far as it concerns me personally, I just couldn't afford the premiums, rolled the dice and came up lucky. Trust me on this, I'd have bought the insurance if I could have payed for it!

For instance, as I've spent about four of the past seven years working for a temp agency: They offered insurance, but I'd have had to come up with a way to pay the premiums during the weeks when they didn't have any work for me, or the policies would have lapsed, and (as I understood it) wouldn't be reinstated unless I payed the back premiums. Given that I was living paycheck-to-paycheck most of that time, it seemed more rational for me to risk an unlikely medical bill than to guarantee a 15-20% decrease in my pay each week, with the fee ongoing even when I wasn't working.

And THAT's the sort of situation which leads to lots of uninsured folks, I think.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 6, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

And I was raised very strict; also an occasion of rebellion. I try to do the middle thing. Protect them until they've proven themselves trustworthy, and then loosen the reins a bit, until they need reining in.

I must say, Wheezy, that your #2 sounds like a world-beater, when she finds her feet. Good for her (and you)!

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Yoki? You want suggestions on cooking? For an easy make-ahead meal, I hope you have a slow cooker, because that will be perfect for chicken cacciatore.

I do suggest chopping and cooking the chicken until brown first with salt and pepper before putting in the slow cooker, but thats because I want that extra taste (and food safety, just in case).

But it's a dead easy recipe that's a hit with anybody who can tolerate tomato, chicken, onions, green peppers, garlic and mushrooms. And plenty of italian seasoning.
There are many recipes out there on the subject.
It turns out delicious everytime for me and you can slowcook it all day, basically, just add a little more water than usual.

It's my normal "company dish", because I hate ignoring my guests to cook in the kitchen.

Just cook rice when you come home and serve it on rice, maybe a salad to go with it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 6, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Bob S. Here's the comment that originally got me up on my hobby horse: "it would have made no sense whatsoever for me to purchase insurance up to this point in my life" -- i.e., all young, healthy people shouldn't purchase medical insurance, because the money goes to other, older people. (It's implict you were young and healthy at that point.) Now I get that what you really meant was, you had a specific need to choose where to spend your money, and took a bet -- and it paid off. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 6, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

I've been in the same situation, Bob, and I was also really lucky. Now, I buy cheap, high-deductible insurance, not trusting my luck. And I vote for anyone who speaks om favor of universal coverage, preferably one-payer.

Yoki, I'm afraid I'm giving the impression of the rather Teutonic high-discipline parent. That's pretty far from the mark. But when a child tests every limit and instantly claims the territory just outside that limit you learn that some children need firmness. It doesn't help that her best friend has *no* limits, can twist every "no" into a yes, and gets every expensive toy she asks for. That's making my life infinitely more complicated, but at least at this point child and friend both know and accept my rules without too much complaining. Though sometimes best friend says "are you sure?" when I say no. As in, Don't stick your arm out of the car window, Anna, it's not safe. And she says, with arm still waving out the window, "are you sure?" Aaarrgh!

Posted by: Wheezy | April 6, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

SCC - in, not om.

Night, all.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 6, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, I'd say "you know, I'm actually not sure, but I saw a smartmouthed kid do that exact thing once and then her arm hit a pole, and it got broken clear up to the shoulder, so what do you think? Are YOU sure it's safe?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 6, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

And this is why I should never be allowed to parent a child, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 6, 2007 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - You and me both! Most kids who try to take me on in the "Why?" game tire of it long before I do. But then, I generally know that eventually I'll be sleeping somewhere else.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 6, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

"Uncle Bob, why is the sky blue?"

"Because the onanastic tendencies of young males is to release liquid, which originates from their blue balls, at such velocities that it forms a miasmatic cloud which shrouds our view of the perfect heavens."

"But why are their balls blue?"

"Because the prismatic properties of testicular and prostatic secretions interfere in such a way as to result in a polarization of the otherwise disorganized sunlight, resulting in...."

Anyway, I can go (and have gone) on in this way for far longer than any child wished to keep at it.

When it doesn't end because the child is tired of it, it generally ends because some spoilsport adult is tired of it. It has never ended because I gave up!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 6, 2007 1:53 AM | Report abuse

If you're talking that blue to children, no wonder their parents snatch them away. LOL.

"Why is the sky blue?"

"Well, the sky used to be clear as glass, and it had no colors, but it so happened that CurmudgGod had a freshly painted blue bottom and he sat on the sky by accident, and that's why it's blue. Any further questions?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 6, 2007 2:07 AM | Report abuse


Wilbrod, you're lucky I'd finised my first cuppa coffee when I read that...

Morning all!! *Grover-ish-ness*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2007 4:59 AM | Report abuse

"That which does not kill Sanjaya only makes him stronger."



Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

And on a far less humorous note, anyone agree with me that the following comment is just a little disingenuous? *SIGH*

" 'This is supposed to be funny,' he said about the hunt. 'We're not trying to be confrontational. We're not going to be in anyone's face. People are welcome to reject what we say or think about it.' "

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2007 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Chilly last night and this morning but I don't think a freeze descended.

Here is a sad, odd story. I found a mole laid out on the walk this morning, next to two planters I filled with early tulips. One planter is blooming beautifully. The other one I planted features shriveled flower buds and anemic green leaves. Two days ago, I thought: looks like a mole is at the bulbs but moles don't live in planters.

Well, a dead mole is on the ground near the planter and the planter is dug up. Did a cat dislodge the mole in the planter? Did the mole come from the planter? No sign of cat-shredding on the fragile little body. The mole looks laid out as if tended by an undertaker. Moles-skin -- fur, actually -- carries such a sheen. Will have to have a funeral later today. Fitting, as this is Good Friday.


Posted by: College Parkian | April 6, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse


Holy mole-y, as it were.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, that was my favorite part:

"It bothered me so much that I lost my ability to make good analogies."

Had me laughing out loud.

Thanks kbertocci.

Posted by: omni | April 6, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. It is chilly here, but bright and sunny.

Wheezy, your number two sounds like the g-girl. She loves to play with friends or any kid, but can be a terror with me and her mother. Yet she sticks close, wants a lot of attention. My grandsons have her thinking she is a boy, so she tries everything they do, climbing poles, jumping off stuff, whatever. I can't really offer any advice, my thing has been to just love my grandchildren and let them know that, and be there for them. And that sounds like what you're doing.

I hope everyone's Easter holiday is good with lots of family and lots of love.

Martooni, hope everything is good.

The man that used to be sheriff of our county passed away yesterday. He was in the Guiness Book of Records for holding that job for so many years. He was 92 years old, I believe. A lot of history there.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 6, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, after reading the food choices for your guests, all I can say is: adopt me? Anyway, I vote for the salmon dish (although your pasta dish sounds like a fine meal in itself). And Mudge's soup sounds good, too. Can't wait for the cookbook!

Is the window closed on recipes? I have one for Catfood Chili that's super-simple and good. No actual catfood used or cats harmed in the preparation.

Wilbrod, I second Scotty's comment about coffee drinking.

CP, sad little mole story. Birds were laying low this morning. The chill must have them huddling wherever little birdies huddle.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 6, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone.

I must admit, I'm getting hungry while I'm catching up on the Boodle this AM.

Scotty, I'm with you on both of those links this AM.


Posted by: bc | April 6, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Catching up on the overnight thread it appears dbG asked for and received from Yoki my Vidalia onion recipe--but just in case (and because Bob S. seemed interested) here it is again, for anyone who didn't pick it up the last time around. (It hasn't been tinkered with since I sent it to Yoki in early December):

Curmudgeon's Baked Vidalia Onion

(appetizer, variant of French onion soup)

With Beer and/or Vegetarian Variants

Prep. time: 15 minutes (can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready for oven)

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients (per person/serving):

1 medium Vidalia onion (or 1 large Oso, Maya or Peru onion)
2 heaping teaspoons beef base (preferred: Redi-Base Beef Base, available at Safeway, or
Minor's Beef Base . Note: there is
a low-salt version of the Redi-Base available, but hard to find; it would be worth using it.) (Alternate: if beef base isn't available, use two Knorr's beef bullion cubes.)
1 tablespoon butter/margarine (about 3 restaurant "pats")
1 level teaspoon McCormack's Salad Supreme seasoning
ground black pepper to taste (about 3-4 grinds of a pepper mill)
1/4 cup Marsala wine or a sherry

This recipe is for one onion, which is one serving for one person. For six people get six onions, etc. A medium Vidalia onion will serve one person, and a large one could serve two. Other sweet onions may be used, such as Oso, Maya or Peru onions. These tend to be smaller than Vidalia; one medium Vidalia is usually equally to a large Oso, Maya or Peru.

Take one medium Vidalia onion, and cut a "flat" on the top and bottom, and peel off loose layers. With the root side facing up, core out the root and go down into the onion about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way down, creating a hole approx. the diameter and length of your thumb, or a little wider. Tear off two sheets of aluminum foil about a foot square each (long enough and wide enough to completely wrap the onion). Put one sheet on top of the other, and place the onion in the middle, with the cored hole facing up. Inside the hole drop in 2 heaping teaspoons of beef base. (If beef base is not available, use two beef bullion cubes. But the base is better in part because it holds the onion together for the next step.)

Then, about 2/3 the way down the side of the onion, cut a horizontal ring around it as though you were going to slice all the way through to the core hole, but don't; try to leave a bit (but if you do cut all the way through it won't hurt anything. With a knife, start cutting vertical slices in the onion from the hole outward, about every 3/8" or 1/2" or so, down to the horizontal ring, as though you were trying to make the equivalent of an Outback "Bloomin' Onion." While doing this, be careful to try to keep the onion still in its original shape; don't let it collapse apart. The aluminum foil should help, but be careful not to puncture it. When the cutting is complete, begin to cup the first sheet of foil around the onion, making it into a loose bowl around the onion.

Next, in the core hole or on top of it, put about a tablespoon (about 3 pats) of butter or margarine, I Can't Believe ... or any of the cookable synthetics. On top of this sprinkle a teaspoon of McCormack's Salad Supreme seasoning, and ground black pepper to taste (three grinds of a pepper mill is about right). Continue to cup the first layer of aluminum foil around the onion very loosely. At this point, pour into the foil on top of the onion 1/4 cup of Marsala wine or a good sherry. Finish enclosing the onion in the foil, making sure it doesn't leak. Wrap the second piece of aluminum foil around the onion as well, making sure to keep it "upright" and so nothing leaks out.
Bake the onion in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes (you can leave it in longer; it seems to be pretty tolerant of overcooking). It can also be cooked on an outdoor grill for 45 minutes to an hour, especially if placed to one side while you're cooking something else on the grill.

When cooked, remove from oven or grill and place in a soup bowl. Unwrap the foil around the top (being careful not to burn yourself from any escaping steam), and spread the top open, and serve.

If making up in advance, leave the addition of the wine or other liquid until right before cooking.

For vegetarians:

Omit the beef base and use vegetable base or vegetable bullion cubes. If you cannot for some reason use sherry or Marsala, at least use 1/4 cup of chicken stock, or even just water. The liquid is necessary. If Marsala or sherry aren't available, use a white wine or blush wine such as a white zinfandel or similar.)

Beer variant:

Instead of ¼ cup of Marsala, sherry or wine, use ¼ cup of beer or ale of choice.


Yoki, I didn't originally give you any attribution for this recipe. If you want, you can add this:

This recipte began life as something I saw on Paula Dean's TV show. But since I originally tried it I have tinkered with it very extensively, to the point that it is legitimately now my own version. Specifically, I changed the following elements: switched from one beef boullion cube to two teaspoons beef stock; created and tested the vegetarian alternative; added the McCormack's Salad Supreme seasoning; cut the onion differently; added the wine (Paula's had no extra liquid whatsoever), which I would regard as a major addition and upgrade; created and tested the beer variant. It is my belief that adding the McCormack's seasoning was a major step and improvement.


"CurmudgGod"? I wouldn't mess around with the Mighty Favog if I were you guys. Me, I can handle the ribbing, but I don't think Favog has much of a sense of humor. As it is, I've had to spend the last hour trying to calm him down by feeding him human sacrifices. As vengeful deities go, he's a handful.


Wheezy, we had the same trouble with one of our kids, so I know exactly what you're going through. Unfortunately I don't have any sage advice. Just hang in there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 6, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy-I know what it is like to live in fear that the light at the end of the girl raising tunnel is an oncoming train. I've had many days when going to work, and dealing with students who throw chairs and say "I'm not doing your f*&%$g work," was sweet relief from the home front. I'm pulling for you.

CP-One very grave disadvantage of having a yard that's become bald eagle central (15 this morning) is that the little critters think better of being out and about. Sure, the eagles are majestic and a thrill to see up close, but their call is not beautiful and they add new dimensions to the "don't eat yellow snow" warning. I'd rather return to the battle between squirrel and bird feeder.

Who has teens that won't eat pierogi? Are you sure they aren't really alien beings?

Posted by: frostbitten | April 6, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about the little varmint throwing in the tole.

Several years ago we had a vole in our garage during the coldest days of the winter (-45-ish); I hated knowing it was out there, but could not for the life of me actually locate it for eviction. And then on the fourth or fifth day, we found the wee timerous cowrin beatie dead (presumably of cold teamed with starvation - don't mouse-like beings have a speedy metabolism and need lots of calories to support it?), and then felt sorry for it.

Though because of the very high hanta virus infection rate in the rodent population around here, cleaning up the droppings was a huge production which took the shine off some of my compassion.

Himself was working out there one day last summer and magpie flew in through the open door. *That* was a laugh. Giant bird floundering around, Himself wielding a broom...

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Keeping way out of the spirit of things, curling round robin play is done. Canada on top, US second, Switzerland third, and a four way tie for fourth place. Germany and the Finns will play, and France and Sweden play, and then the winner of those two draws plays for the fourth spot. Curling uses the Paige playoff system,

It has been a blast being in close contact through the whole event. Seeing how they get there, understanding that though they are great curlers, all it takes is for 1 person to be off their game for a team to fall flat on their face. Seeing in realtime, the many many variables that make the game what it is. On any given day, any of these top teams could win. Its been an amazing ride.

Saturday and Sunday games are going to be carried on CBC for anyone who receives the signal.

Sorry about the lack of colour commentary, but recall how I spoke of the chill in the arena? It got me, I have a bad cold, and did not go at all yesterday and probably won't go today either. But I will catch the games tommorrow.

Posted by: dr | April 6, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, hope your city is healing. I saw some of the funeral, and other events on the television.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 6, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

My contribution today:

Frenchman Eduardo Kac thought it a laboratory lark,
To mutate a bunny's cells so she fluoresces in the dark.

In daylight, the bunny is a white albino hare.
By night, Alba's fur gives off an eery green glare.

Should we call the transgenic creature a cute Easter treat,
As she brings colorful eggs, hopping on glowing green feet?

Would children ooh and ahh at the freakish Frankenhare?
Would they stare, or would the lit-up lapin give them a ghoulish scare?

Based on the 2000 article:

Posted by: Loomis | April 6, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps I would edit it slightly:

Frenchman Eduardo Kac thought it a laboratory lark,
To mutate a bunny's cells so she fluoresces in the dark.

In daylight, the bunny looks like a white albino hare.
By night, Alba's fur gives off an eery green glare.

Should we call the transgenic creature a cute Easter treat,
As she brings colorful eggs, hopping on glowing green feet?

Would children ooh and ahh at the freakish Frankenhare?
Or would the lit-up lapin give them a ghoulish scare?

Posted by: Loomis | April 6, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Hehe, the Esther Bunny:

Posted by: omni | April 6, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone, and a very Good Friday to you. It is just cold here, no other word for it, and we are all not as thankful for the miracle of Nature as we should be. At least there is no precipitation.

All the food talk is making me hungry. Also, I'm disappointed, because I originally read dbG's post as an invitation to dinner, rather than a request for appetizer suggestions.

Thanks, Yoki, Wheezy & others for your comments on childrens. The Boy really does resemble Yoki's remarks, and I don't really worry about HIM as a teen, so much as guiding him through the minefield of everyone else. But that is part of parenting, so hey. Good for you about MySpace, Wheezy -- for professional reasons I am very leery of those sites and the Boy knows precisely why that isn't an option for him as a pre-teen and probably won't be until he's much MUCH older (by which time they'll all just have instant-communication brain implants or something).

Bob S. & Wilbrod, what makes you think it is inappropriate to speak bluntly to children? I would absolutely tell dear Anna that her arm might break right off. In fact, I'd probably stop the car until she complied. Just last night, I explained to a small boy (not my own) how he could very well break the Boy's arm by twisting it, because torque is more important than force. I always talk to children as people. Many like it, but some are bemused because apparently they don't get that at home.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 6, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom- I agree that telling it like it is is absolutely essential to raising critical thinkers. I am less in agreement with Bob S.'s method of filling their ears with bullhockey to get them to stop asking questions. I am on the other side of the question divide now, as I can't wait for my 20-month-old to start asking me some.

On the subject of health insurance: I abhor paying the $873 a month that I must to insure myself, the wife, and the boy (it would be over $1100, but my school district chips in $275 for me), but I know that as soon as I lapse, that will be the day that a meteorite lands on one of us, causing me to go into debt and bankrupcy and become a grizzled, bitter man sleeping on grates while the lawyers track me down for back child support.

Posted by: Gomer | April 6, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Me, I'm looking forward to the Ether Bunny.


Posted by: bc | April 6, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, BTW.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, just stay away from the Ester Bunny. He comes in a lot of flavors:

allyl hexanoate = pineapple
benzyl acetate = pear, strawberry, jasmine
bornyl acetate = pine tree flavor
butyl butyrate = pineapple
ethyl acetate = nail polish remover, model paint, model airplane glue
ethyl butyrate = banana, pineapple, strawberry
ethyl hexanoate = strawberry
ethyl cinnamate = cinnamon
ethyl formate = lemon, rum, strawberry
ethyl heptanoate = apricot, cherry, grape, raspberry
ethyl isovalerate = apple
ethyl lactate = grape
ethyl nonanoate = grape
ethyl valerate = apple
geranyl acetate = geranium
geranyl butyrate = cherry
geranyl pentanoate = apple
isobutyl acetate = cherry, raspberry, strawberry
isobutyl formate = raspberries
isopentyl acetate = pear, banana (flavoring in Pear Drops)
linalyl acetate = lavender, sage
linalyl butyrate = peach
linalyl formate = apple, peach
methyl acetate = peppermint
methyl anthranilate = grape, jasmine
methyl benzoate = fruity, ylang ylang
methyl benzyl acetate = cherry
methyl butyrate = pineapple, apple
methyl cinnamate = strawberry
methyl pentanoate = flowery
methyl phenyl acetate = honey
methyl salicylate = (oil of wintergreen) root beer, wintergreen
nonyl caprylate = orange
octyl acetate = fruity-orange
octyl butyrate = parsnip
pentyl acetate (amyl acetate) = apple, banana
pentyl butyrate (amyl butyrate) = apricot, pear, pineapple
pentyl hexanoate (amyl caproate) = apple, pineapple
pentyl pentanoate (amyl valerate) = apple
propyl ethanoate = pear
propyl isobutyrate = rum
terpenyl butyrate = cherry

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 6, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

In general, "The only dead vole is one who has left behind many (still living somewhere nearby) good voles!"

Posted by: Bob S. | April 7, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

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