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Two Years, 100,000 Comments and Counting

Happy Easter, everyone. May the Easter Bunny come hopping down your particular bunny trail.

Two years ago we turned on the Comments function and unleashed upon an unsuspecting world the phenomenon known as "the Boodle." For the etymology of "Boodle" and other FAQs regarding the A-blog, click here.

The Boodle disproves the allegation that the Internet is dominated by angry and uncivil and rancorous personages. Clearly, there remain many oases of intelligence and decency, where folks are thoughtful, have a sense of humor, are generous of spirit, and engage in obstreperousness and dyspepsia only in extreme emergencies.

As it happens, just a week or so ago we hit the 100,000-comment milestone. Preliminary data indicate that this was the 100,000th comment:

'DLD |The doc of the Forrestal fire is an amwzing film. However the reason the Zuni rocket fired is not provided in either of the links you posted and all the other sites that do give one site "an electrical surge."

'One site I can't find now said the launch occurred during a radar test.
I beleive this was the point Tim was speculating bout. Besides, Tim's post was too short to contain "numerous inaccuracies." He needs loads of space to rack up a score like that.

'Posted by: Boko999 | March 30, 2007 05:58 PM '

[The fact that it was part of the Anecdotal Presidential Campaigning kit, which sat on the site piling up comments for a couple of days, reminds me of Rich Gott's Copernican Principle: You would expect for the 100,000th comment to be on a kit that had a lot of comments. That doesn't sound the slightest bit profound until you apply the same principle to things like the future of the human species, or why we are sentient creatures and not dung-eating parasites swimming through a termite's hindgut.]


Now here's boodler bc with his own tribute to this momentous, um, moment (he is going to post this on his blog):

Today we celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the Boodle.

Well, we're celebrating it today even though a quick check shows that James the Ur-Boodler actually posted on April 7, 2005, at 4:10 PM (Somewhere along the line, I lost track of that date and time. But hold on to that thought, I'll present an excuse later.).

To wit:

'If I hit the "refresh" button on my browser a dozen times each time I visit the blog, would that help your page views?

Posted by: James | April 7, 2005 04:10 PM '

And with that comment to Joel's item "Blog Brainstorming Session", posted at 3:56 PM that very day, comments started trickling in, like grains of sand in an hourglass.

2 years, 100,000 comments.

Roughly 137 comments per day, 365 days a year.

One comment every 10 minutes on the average, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Here's an alarming thought: at just about any given point in time, someone is either thinking about or composing a

comment for the Boodle.

[Joel claims that this stands in stark contrast to the amount of time he spends composing and writing the Kits, but I suspect that he's underselling himself for the sake of his editors, who want him to do stuff like, for example, work.]

For the Boodle's one-year anniversary I wrote about the beginnings of the Boodle, and the End of Man.

This year I'm going to write about time, because that's something we spend a lot of in the Boodle. When many of us have extra or spare time, we use it up there.

Some would say that Boodling is a waste of time, but what exactly is time, anyway? Philosophers and artists and scientists and payroll departments have speculated and theorized and argued and measured and recorded its passing for thousands of years, but all they've been able to conclude is that no one ever gets enough of it.

Up until Einstein, there were two distinct schools of thought regarding time; the scientific perspective that time is simply a dimension for the sequences of events, everflowing, unchanging and can be measured by the apparent motion of bodies through the heavens or the movement of very precise mechanisms; and the philosopher's view that time is a mental construct humans employ to record information, a way of comparing and cataloging our observations.

But Einstein changed all that with his theories of Relativity, postulating that space and time are inseparable, and that experiential spacetime is influenced by mass, gravity, and relative velocity. In other words, your relative experience of time changes where you are and what you're doing. For example, time really does drag if you're having a heavy meal with people you don't like on a train moving from New York to Chicago at an average speed of 67 miles an hour. Or listening to this year's State of the Union Address. Agonizingly slow.

So, what does this mean for the Boodle?

Well, the Boodle's accelerated to 60,000 comments per year (up from 40,000 the previous), which is what we in the IT/Web business call "a pretty good clip." But the speed of the Boodle changes the relative experience of time when you're Boodling versus "real life." You may feel like you've been discussing the relative merits of legume preparations, lagomorphs, genetic engineering, politics, war, gardening, Illustrated Classics comic books, curling, gladiator movies and 60's TV shows for 10 or 15 minutes, but as the Boodle has been hurtling along (and you along with it), an hour and a half has passed in the "real world." You may have missed lunch entirely!

The question: Is this a problem? Like any good consultant, I'll tell you: it depends.

We Boodlers have relationships with each other that extend out of the Boodle into each other's minds and hearts. We empathize with each other's hurts, we celebrate each other's victories, we argue, we inform, we learn, we are charitable, we make each other laugh, we get upset at harsh words, we make time to visit and talk in person and online, we lift each other up when we're feeling down; we feel for each other.

So, back to the question of time - and, perhaps, an answer. Is time spent with your family - even your virtual second family - wasted?

I thank all of you for spending some of your valuable time with me.

-- bc

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 8, 2007; 8:01 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lost In New Hampshire
Next: Tony Grafton's Reading Wheel, etc.


Such an Easter present! Good work, bc.

Thanks JA,

Posted by: College Parkian | April 8, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone.

Oh, bother, now I have to spend the time to post this on my blog. Time I don't have!

Thank Berners-Lee for hyperlinks...


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

Happy Easter, everybody!

Two years. Wow!

As the guy said on April 11, 2005, this comment thing is just a phase that won't last.

Yeah, right. And we have the community to prove him wrong.

Posted by: Slyness | April 8, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Now I gotta go find my copy of "Einstein's Dreams". As if I have the time.

[reposted from previous Boodle...]

btw... maybe GPS isn't the answer to getting around New Hampshire (or anywhere else, for that matter)...

Intense Solar Flare Worries Scientists
Blast of Radio Waves Larger Than Thought Possible Caused GPS Disruptions

I guess what's got the pointy heads' knickers in a twist is that we're currently at the low point of the sun's 11 year when solar flares and sunspots are least frequent and powerful. When we hit the high point, they're afraid all hell's gonna break loose.

And aren't we due for a shift/reversal of the Earth's magnetic field soon? (which reminds me... gotta buy stock in compass manufacturing companies)

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter and Happy Boodle Birthday! The Easter Bunny (Beagle, Frostbitten? Snoopy?) has come, and it is almost time to hunt eggs. It is cold, but bracing. That's the word. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, you'll be celebrating the Boodle, so have a joyous day!

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 8, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter Everyone!!

Happy Birthday Boodle!!

Happy Happy Happy!!

Now back to the kitchen for a serious smackdown or should that be snackdown?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 8, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "11 year *cycle*"

(maybe I better nick a bit of Little Bean's chocolate stash and put on another pot of coffee)

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Well, I posted the item to my blog, added a little verbiage and a link back to the piece I wrote for the one-year anniversary.

martooni, if the earth's magnetic field flips, all you need to do is use a Sharpie to replace N with S, S with N, E with W, and W with E. Upside down, of course.
No problem. I'll bring the Sharpies.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I meant to add earlier: Happy Easter and Happy Boodleversary.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter and Boodleversary to all. Thank you BC for explaining boodleativity.

Sweet potato casserole is ready to go in the oven and the bunny brought me some garden pr0n-a Wayside catalogue- and gift certificate.

Overjoyed at your lucky 13 Martooni.
To all of you chilled believers I wish you well. Remember-
Many are cold, but few are frozen.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 8, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-Good catch. The Easter Beagle (Snoopy) traditionally, at Chez Frostbitten that is, brings underwear in unconventional "baskets." This year it was polka dot socks and panties in purple plastic storage bins for Frostdottir.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 8, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, frostbitten...

My pr0n is the weekly Home Depot and Lowe's circulars. Jesu forfend anyone should need to use my bathroom when the Rockler catalog shows up.

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Very nice, BC.

Happy Easter and Boodleversary everyone.

I am, regrettably, working today. It's very quiet so I've had time to peruse the Post. I was reading Weingarten's wonderful piece this morning and actually wondered if there were other Boodlers reading it at the same time.

We have an actual Easter beagle and he has brought lots of chocolate, flip flops, bathing suits and smoothie cafe gift certificates to my offspring in their Easter baskets. Trying to think warm on this very chilly day. The loyal beagle gets Pupperoni. It's a good day.

Posted by: Kim | April 8, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Nicely done bc!

Since I failed to adjust the VCR to account for Daylight Savings Time and have therefore recorded only HALF of the Malaysian GP I will have to wait until after dinner to watch the end, assuming I don't screw up recording the tape-delayed broadcast.

This is going to be an interesting application of relative time. As in, I'll be spending the time in-between with relatives wondering who won, and avoiding the news.

A very Happy Easter to all celebrating it, and a very happy day to everyone who isn't. It's good to be here - it's good to be anywhere.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 8, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

EF, I think I got the Malaysian GP, but I won't be able to watch it until tonight.

Speed is supposed to rebroadcast it today at 3:30 PM EST, so you're not completely out of luck. Unless you wanted to watch the Champ Car race at the same time...


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

>Speed is supposed to rebroadcast it today at 3:30 PM EST,

Yeah, that's why I was too lazy (and sleepy) to fix the VCR. Then I found out what time dinner is - 3pm, 25 miles away. *sigh*

They'll let me watch but in any case I'll be stuck on lap 23 for the next 6 hours, 'cuz that's about where the tape will run out!

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 8, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boodleversary to everyone! It feels good to be two and counting! bc... thanks for putting it so eloquently. I do enjoy spending quality time with all of you.

Now to immediately move to a previous-boodle topic: Last night, believe it or not, I found out the secret to deep-red Easter eggs: Use brown eggs.

Now I'm off to make my roasted potatoes (yesterday I made my "mock" Easter soup and dyed the eggs); we're off to my sister's house today to celebrate the rare Greek/American Easter on the same day!

Have a great day everyone, whether you celebrate Easter or not.

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter and Happy Boodleversary to all.

Hadn't watch TV for a couple of years now. Didn't know the Malaysian GP was on. Had to learn it from Error Flynn and bc on the other side of the globe. Shame on me!

Posted by: rain forest | April 8, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter and Boodleversary all!

martooni - rumor has it that solar flares may have already caused your secret world government serious pain.

The boodle is important to me because, frankly, I don't get out much. Neither my working environment nor domestic situation really allows a lot of socializing. So you folks must suffer my pendantic and pointless posts in order to help keep me reasonably sane. Consider it a civic responsibility.

For which I, and a grateful nation, sincerely thank you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of sports, is it just me or does that Tiger Woods fellow have, like, a serious potty mouth?

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Boko! BC, very nice. Above my kitchen sink hangs a sign that says, 'Time is precious, waste it wisely'.

The boodle continues to be an unexpected beauty and there is no one I'd rather waste my time with.

Congratulations to the boss and to WaPo for hosting THE nicest porch on the net.

Posted by: dr | April 8, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

RD, it is our pleasure. Truly. I find I also use this forum as a substitute for inflicting pointless pedantry on my colleagues, whose good will only goes so far.

Martooni, congratulations, and watch out for spinning Beans. The Boy gets more little toy-type things than candy in his Easter basket, which cuts down significantly on the sugar rush. There is a good chocolate bunny, however, for him to share with me. This year, he asked for duct tape in his Easter basket. I was so proud.

bc, thank you for assisting with the Boodle celebration. Well said.

Eggs were hunted, and found, and distributed (mercifully) unequally among the cousins. Otherwise, we'd be eating hardboiled eggs for months. Soon, church. Then, a lovely social gathering. Perhaps later I'll be able to see how y'alls day went ("y'all" being, of course, the collective "you").

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 8, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the boodleness of wide-ranging and thoughtfulness for ways similar to RDP: Like going out, while staying at home. For some of us, this marvelous bi-location helps us sane and home fires burning.

Martooni -- you are better, way better, than the Easter Poodle who comes our way with chocolate, playing cards, and socks. Socks, too, come from St. Nicholas on December 6th. The power behind the curtain is not that imaginative and socks are both practical and soulful. Pardon my most grievous pun, and my soul, so shriven lately too.

On the table today: buffet that will not overwhelm the college age/career gals in/out the house. Ham and turkey, sliced; small wheat rolls; three kinds of mustard; blueberries lightly cooked with lemon zest spooned into pastry shells; Swedish meatballs in the crockpot (thank you, Ikea); pinot grigio for the recently graduated to legal-age dottirs.

'Mudge -- tried so hard to make the cherry faux specialness you invented for us, but the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I think that we need a cherry-pie meet up when the sours come in season.

Hi SuperFrenchie. Good to see you.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 8, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Guests coming, gotta run. Have a great day, everyone.

I'll check in later.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boodleversary! What I want to know is, now that we are two, will we start throwing tantrums, etc.? Will will be *terrible?*

Posted by: Yoki | April 8, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

mostly, if I'd have known, I'd have worn a sign. They don't shoot our section often because we sit near opening end hack (foot thingies). There is usually far more interesting stuff happening down there.

I tell you, I am torn about who to cheer for today. Sure I should cheer for Canada, but the Germans worked harder for it. The energy, the focus, the intensity of the German team emanates in waves around the arena but all you have to do is look at Glenn Howard's eyes and the eyes of his teammates as they throw their rocks to see that same energy, that same intense desire. How can I pick between such teams, between such competitors?

No matter who wins today, mrdr and I have had a wonderful ride.

Posted by: dr | April 8, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I tried something last year that went over as a big hit. You know how when you get family together you have to take a picture of the whole group. But when you are older like we are, we all just look another year older. This year I am making everyone pick out a hat and we will take our pictures with our hats on.

The hats range from a Santa hat(complete with hair), a Witches hat(complete with broom). To head phones, a six pack cooler,
a tool belt, a bike helmet, a couple of fishing nets, a bee keepers hat and a cloth toilet seat cover(clean of course). Just a little something to spice up the Holiday and make the picture something unique.

Have a Great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 8, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I heartily second dr's comment:

"The boodle continues to be an unexpected beauty and there is no one I'd rather waste my time with. Congratulations to the boss and to WaPo for hosting THE nicest porch on the net. "

Posted by: nellie | April 8, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter to all, and Happy Ishtar too. Today I will refrain from posting my extremely dark Easter piece which I sent Joel a while back and which he wisely ignored and pretended he did not know me. And I will refrain from a similar tale, Part 2 of the Lucky the Dog saga. As well, we sacrificed no lambs this weekend and instead will be having, I think, creamed eggs.

Today I am going to lay out my Theory of Slack. Einsteinian in its scope, it should revolutionize both physics and economics. As Einstein united space and time into spacetime, Slack unites spacetime, money, and energy into one fundamental force. Note that the term "slacker" is mostly only tangential to its true meaning, although some so-called slackers have probably mastered the conceptual unification to which I refer.

Some examples: slack will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no slack. If you have slack, money is obtained at the most convenient time, which is soon. Convenience is the essence of Slack. Time, distance, and mechanical effort are the essence of convenience. Money = slack. Slack is fungible. Slack is quantifiable in the capitalist marketplace. Slack is created in socialist bureacracies, and then consumed. Slack is power.

The equations themselves are forthcoming.

Posted by: Jumper | April 8, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Mornin' boodle! Joel, great kit! Whether I actually post or not (and I'm *always* better off if it's a "not") the boodle is, and has been, a window into many different conversations of normalcy for me (no, really). My volunteer work with the down-'n-out, emotionally stressed, abused, traumatized and otherwise in-a-bad-place-right-now segment of the population (I tend rescue people as well as animals, it's a bad habit - at least I've stopped bringing the humans home!) doesn't allow me much of a glimpse into the mainstream. Given my somewhat horrifying daily view of humanity, I appreciate the chatty neighborly posts that wend their way between the scholarly and point-y discussion more than I can say. I seldom have anything to add, since my home life is vewy vewy qwiet (thank heaven) and my social life, such as it is, is rather boringly concentrated on music (keeps me sane. Mostly. . .)

Anyway, Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: sevenswans | April 8, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Happy Boodleversary! Hope everyone is having a lovely Easter. It's starting out nice here, but it's supposed to rain later. I should be out making the most of the sunny weather, but here I am boodling. bc, your piece had me all misty-eyed. You're the best imaginary friends I've ever had. Wonder if Boko will change his name to Boko100000?

dr said:
"if I'd have known, I'd have worn a sign. They don't shoot our section often because we sit near opening end hack (foot thingies)."
See, now you've lost me with curling terminology! I have no idea what the opening end hack is, or foot thingies. Sigh. You should have worn a Theron bow, or your crocheted mitts!

(Thanks, Joel, for the nice present and for putting up with the likes of us.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

If money=slack then how can slack get you through times of no money better than money can get you through times of no slack? If money = slack, then no money= no slack. However,I realize I'm asking this too early. Haven't seen those equations yet.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 8, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I'm so glad the 100,000th comment wasn't one of Mudge's when he was channeling Elmer Fudd! That would have been vewy, vewy Achenembawwassing.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "tend TO. . ." (oops)

Posted by: sevenswans | April 8, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jumper, I'm afraid The Rev. Ivan Stang has you beat by a couple decades. From The original Cheesy Pamphlet, some Orthodox SubGenius (tm) literature:


The Goal: Slack
The Method: The Casting Out of False Prophets
The Weapon: Time Control
The Motto: "Eff Them if They Can't Take A Joke"

"You'd PAY to know what you REALLY think." --Dobbs 1961

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 8, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, as somebody who went through "otherwise in-a-bad-place-right-now" times as a pup that I'd rather forget...
I'm very glad you're keeping your eye on the brighter side of life by participating here. Sometimes the best gift is just to bring a happy touch of peace into other's lives.

And, it sure is good to get out! I've been outside watching for Easter Bunnies, but nary a sniff.

I do so love hard-boiled eggs, so really, if that bunny'd just come by and unload a few eggs, he could get off without being chased for miles over forest and lawn.

I hope I haven't been lied to. Wilbrod says the petshop will be closed so I can't even see the bunnies there. And they call this a rabbit-centric holiday?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 8, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Happy Boodleversary to all! What I appreciate most about the Boodle is its ability to go from the pointy to the silly to the profound to the spiritual and to the coffee-spitting hilarious. And I'm sure my co-workers thank you all for helping to satisfy my need for the silly.

If you could all take a minute to say a prayer or send good thoughts to the FSM, a very tiny girl could use them. Good friends' first granddaughter was just born at 27 weeks. So far, so good, but she and her parents have a long road ahead.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 8, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, hope all goes well with that family.

To illustrate your very well-made point, as promised, the results of the Seattle Times Peeps contest:
The lovely young woman modeling the "Peep Couture" is the daughter of a colleague of mine (he's a computer whiz). Her mom is an artist whose usual medium is Etch-a-Sketch art.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

As usual I'm late to the weekend boodle, but Happy Boodleversary, everybody. Well done, bc. And I wanna second Nellie's seconding of dr: this is the best porch on the whole Internet.

In other matters, Happy Easter to those who indulge, Happy Passover and Good Yontif and may you find the afikomen, for worshippers of the Might Favog, please try not to make too much noise as he's sleeping, and to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his adherents, may your pasta always be al dente.

Cassandra, I've fax you some ham and au gratin potatoes for dinner.

Gotta go. She Who Must Be Obeyed is calling for me to go out into the cold, cold yard to do unspeakable things to bags of cedar mulch. Later, peeps. (Appropriate for Easter, doncha think?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* *faxing a lagomorph to Wilbrodog*

Remember, your species can't eat chocolate.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

So I keep getting told whenever I sniff at the chocolate-colored bunny at the shop. .

I'd settle for a rabbit made out of steak, plush, eggs, anything. I'm not fussy.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 8, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

In Elbonia, we are building a steak rabbit just for Wilbrodog. Please await FAX. Please await FAX without drooling if in house.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 8, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy! That better be steak, not stake rabbit.

By the way, here's a story about why it's the dog owners that are dangerous, not the dogs...

Especially Amish dog owners.

If you wonder why the auctions are causing such controversy, here's a sample of what goes on at puppy mill auctions:

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 8, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking- that peeps slideshow is very funny. I particularly like the peepiary. Now-that's talent! Forget the virtuoso violinist!

Posted by: Kim | April 8, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Creamed eggs", Jumper -- just today, as we were dividing the hard-boiled eggs, my aunt told us that her mother (who died before most of my generation was born) used to make creamed chopped eggs. She'd put chopped hardboiled eggs in cream gravy and serve it on toast. As we all murmured "Hmmm" the Aunt concluded, "And it was AWFUL!!" Of course, that was through the Depression and WWII, where a farm family with chickens ate a LOT of eggs and glad of it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 8, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

My friend's Indian egg curry recipe has chopped hardboiled eggs in tomato-onion curry base, turmeric, chili pepper, salt, and cream. The crumbled yolks are fully blended into the curry and only pieces of whites exist to form the lumps.

It's actually quite tasty, doesn't taste like eggs at all, but it's like taking cholesterol by the spoonful. (when you think about it, ice cream, custard, etc. is made with milk and eggs)

It is NOT served on toast, though, but on rice. Hardboiled eggs in plain cream doesn't appeal to me either.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 8, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So, which is worse--living in the hindgut of a termite while being sculled around by spirochetes, or living in a puppy mill? Who would want to grow up a modern Thankgiving or Christmas turkey? Any volunteers for spending life as a tube worm on a thermal vent? Happy Easter, you infinitely lucky souls! (FAX to follow)

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 8, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

A paean to spring, and to life:

(FAX will be there in a Friedman)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Anybody understand some of these bizarre references to the Boodle being "silly"? I swear I have no clue what you people could be referring to. bc? Scotty? Any idea? Yeah, yeah, you guys are a big help. I gotta do all the heavy intellectual lifting aroiund here. I'm seriously thionmking about working up some umbrage.

(Just taking a mulch break here.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Cedar mulch, Mudge? We have been advised that triple-milled hardwood mulch is the best. We only need 10 cubic yards.

C-c-c-oooldd in the Carolinas. The hydrangas look terrible, even though I covered them last night. Oh well, they will come out again. What we really need is rain.

I'm glad this Boodle thing has worked out well for Joel. If the move to Outlook is a promotion, I won't complain for him. That doesn't mean I will accept fewer kits, however...I do assume it means more political-type stories. A Renaissance reporter, that's our Joel!

Posted by: Slyness | April 8, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

That Mocha hamster is just riding the hand holding otter coat tails.

Posted by: beauregardebaconbottomandkissesII | April 8, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Frostpigs took control of the keyboard.

Yes,Outlook for JA. Would be a promotion one would think. Selfishly I've been more concerned with my Sunday morning routine. Try not to read the Sunday column until then, even when linked from the boodle by an early bird.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 8, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

My beloved Pistons just beat Cleveland. My Red Wings are all set for the playoffs, and I'm sure my Tigers will be getting their baseball legs under them soon. As for the Lions, well, I'd rather see them in Africa, as they tend to be a bit more active there.

So there. Carry on.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 8, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I seem to have killed the Boodle. Not intentional, I assure you . . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 8, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

We are all just stuffed with food and can't get off the couch.

I got stuck with the toilet seat cover as my hat.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 8, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I taught Ivan Stang everything he knows, but I didn't teach him everything I know.

He (and they) know Slack when they see it, but they are mere jokesters, and slackers of the more widely-known sort. Besides, Stang wants to be GIVEN slack. Slack is more properly earned.

Creamed eggs can be fine. After all, if you like eggs, that's pretty much the taste you are going to have.

We didn't have creamed eggs after all. Someone sacrificed a goat at the local Indian restaurant, so we had that.

Posted by: Jumper | April 8, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What a great day, celebrating Easter and the Boodleversary--now, isn't that strange, when everybody else wrote it it looked fine to me, but when I typed it, all I could see is the word "lever" in the middle and I want to write it Boodle-versary. Hummmm.

Anyway, the traditional 2nd anniversary gift is cotton, so I guess I'll just fax a cotton-tailed rabbit to everybody on the boodlelist (and an extra one to the COTR).

Did someone say "silly?" Why, I never.

Thanks for summing it up, bc.

And Joel, thanks for starting us off on the right foot and showing up regularly to set the tone and keep up the standards.

And to everybody, thanks for lots of laughs and other brain-stimulation.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 8, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

A quick check in (been lurking most of the last couple weeks) to say Happy Easter, and best wishes for the next year of Boodledom!

Posted by: Tangent | April 8, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

JA, the boodle is such a great idea. You did wonderful.

And to the boodle, Happy Anniversary, and hopefully many, many, more.

I am so glad I get to talk and listen to you folks. All of you brighten my day.

Thanks Mudge, for the food. I am so stuffed already, but will probably have room later.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 8, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm faxing you some pound cake, whipped cream, and blueberries.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

>Slack is more properly earned.

Well, some would say slack is more properly stolen, or found in the back of your utensil drawer, or stumbled upon in the course of cleaning your trunk. Or having someone ELSE clean your trunk.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 8, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

It's a good thing I wore my "fat" pants today. I literally had to let my belt out a notch after dinner. No strange or exciting new tastes to report -- just the typical ham, kielbasa, turkey breast and several casseroles straight from the Campbell's Soup can recipes. I've never met a less adventurous family when it comes to food.

Ended up on the couch (where else?) watching something or other about the pyramids on Discovery and trying not to doze off or emit any gases. Little Bean was extremely hyper at first, but the nice thing about sugar buzzes is that they burn out fast. Of course, now that we're home she's got her second wind and let her inner Tigger loose.

btw... anyone have any good leg-o-lamb recipes? I have a whole one in the freezer and was thinking of cubing it and making a curry, but I'm wide open to suggestions. Is Epicurmudgeon in the house?

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, martooni, but unfortunately not going to be of much help. Don't have any lamb recipes, and my family seldom eats it. Don't know why, but none of my relatives/forebearers do either.

Just watched a show on Nature about octopuses and the giant Humboldt squid. Just killing time until the Sporanos' seasoner opener at 9--I'm really psyched for this final season. I have this strange notion that by the bitter end, both Tny and Christopher are gonna get whacked, and you know who's gonna take over the family? Meadow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Leg-o-lamb? Just roast it, ideally on a rotisserie in the barbeque. That's a wonderful treat. If you don't have a rotisserie, just plain roasting should be fine. Be sure to stuff a lot of garlic slices into the meat.

A rotisserie has the wonderful quality of defeating gravity. Roasted meat dries out because the juice and melted fat are drawn by gravity and fall out the bottom. They can be captured in gravy, but that's not as good as leaving them in the meat. A rotisserie counters this by eliminating the bottom of the meat -- there is no bottom, it's always going back to the top. That's why the staff at the supermarket can produce tasty, moist rotisserie chickens without any necessary knowledge of cooking. It's not the cook, it's the rotisserie -- it does it for you.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 8, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-I'm with LTL-CA on the rotisserie for leg of lamb. Better yet if you have the time and patience to shave thin slices of the tasty outside bits just as the juices carmelize and give a bit of crunch. If you like doner kabob you might try liquifying some onion and marinating the leg of lamb overnight in the juice along with a sprinkling of paprika or black pepper.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 8, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Although I've become increasingly vegetarian over the years, I do fondly remember a leg of lamb. Think about cutting little notches over it and stick garlic slices into the notches. If you can get fresh rosemary, liberally sprinkle it over the leg (dried rosemary works fine, as well) and a little thyme and maybe some lemon grass. Roast it or rotisserie it. I do recall (it's been so long) that it was indeed yummy.

I just got around to reading about Joshua Bell at the L'Enfant Plaza metro station. Geez -- if I had been there, I would have parked myself in front of him (actually, against a wall, so my wobbly knees and equally wobbly back would have support) and been enthralled at his majestic prowess. I'm gonna go snap up his latest CD (which will make a fine BD present for a friend whose BD is looming towards the end of the month).

That's all folks.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 8, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

We are back from the multi-family Easterpalooza. Much champagne was consumed, daintily, with OJ (you can add champagne infinitely to a glass of orange juice). Many tasty foodstuffs were eaten. A large pack of children, several in their teens, exploded from the house to hunt candy-stuffed plastic eggs. The Boy spent approximately three of the last five hours on the trampoline. Tonight, we will sleep well. I hope the same for all of you. Happy Boodleversary, imaginary friends.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 8, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Happy Boodle Day *and* 100,000 posts? This is a most auspicious occasion, indeed. Shouldn't Boodle Day be the next national holiday? Or maybe, given this crowd, the first International holiday. Let me also compliment bc on his post. Nicely done.

Mom used to make leg of lamb. She'd put it in a covered roaster with potatoes and carrots. Then we'd go off to church. I still remember the wonderful smell we would get walking back into the house after being gone for a couple of hours. Make a quick salad, set the table, and dinner was ready. Good stuff.

Posted by: pj | April 8, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I've got several Joshua Bell CD's on order from the library. One is Appalachian Anthology - with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Alison Krauss, James Taylor, Edgar Meyer, as well as Yo Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor. The soundtrack to the Red Violin contains the Chaconne piece. I've listened to the clips included in Gene's article - they're not long enough! I will no doubt be adding some Bell to my collection.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Happy Boodle Day! I hope everyone has enjoyed their Easter/Passover/Vernal Equinox celebrations. See you during the week.

Posted by: CowTown | April 8, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi, pj!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Just swinging by to wish everyone a Happy Boodleversary.

Posted by: Dooley | April 8, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Hi, mostlylurking! I've been wickedly busy, so it's nice to come visit my imaginary friends again. The Bach Chaconne is an extraordinary piece. You can also check out a transcription of it for the guitar by Segovia. I'm not sure which is better. I heard the Segovia before I heard the original violin version, so I guess I lean toward the guitar.

That Appalachian Anthology sounds great. Anything with Sam Bush, O'Connor, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, and Alison Krauss on it has to be wonderful. Throw in Jerry Douglas and you'd have a touch of heaven.

Posted by: pj | April 8, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Yay, everybody's dropping by. Hi, Dooley.

CowTown, I saw this photo in the paper and thought of you.
Awwww - Guernseys (or maybe they're Jerseys) are so pretty.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Psst, CP, there's a picture of rhubarb with that article, too.

dr must still be celebrating.

Alison Krauss is going to play here in the summer - with Jerry Douglas - I will have to try to get tickets for that.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, Tiger Woods cusses a lot. Quite a few golfers do, not to mention other athletes. Woods might be a bit more audible because each shot he takes is either broadcast or taped for replay. So you'll see more of his shots that those of other golfers and therefore hear more of his soundtrack. But he does cuss a lot.

I recall Tom Watson telling a story about advice he got from, I think, Don January (a pretty famous and crusty golfer from the late '50s and 60's) about dealing with unsolicited advice from the gallery: Just tip your hat to the crowd, smile, say "[Ford] you very much," and keep walking.

Posted by: pj | April 8, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

It's been a week of Mondays here (shoot, who am I kidding? it's been a few months of Mondays), but at last the house is quiet.

A few notes...

Happy Boodleversary. It certainly is an interesting place. Great piece bc.

Raysmom, Thing 2 was very preemie (2 lbs, 2 oz.), and to look at her today, you'd never know it. She's beautiful, talented, very happy, and bright (valedictorian this June). There were a few issues to be addressed when she was younger, but those days are long gone..amazing what modern medicine can do. I will keep your friend's grandchild in my prayers, and I will keep her family and doctors there too.

Martooni. I think of you and the Bean often. It seems a corner has been turned. It really is such a beautiful thing.

As for lamb...combine 3 T parsley, 1 T basil, 1 1/2 t onion salt, 1 1/2 t crushed rosemary, couple turns of a pepper grinder. Mix well. Trim fat and fell from lamb. Make a few pockets with a sharp knife for garlic slivers. Rub lamb with lemon juice, then add garlic slivers, then coat *heavily* with herbs. Roast on a rack, fat side up, 325 degrees, 2-3 hours, depending on size.
For gravy...
Combine 1/2 c chopped celery, 1/2 c chopped scallion, 2 beef bouillon cubes, couple turns of the pepper grinder, and 1 1/2 c water. Bring to boil, then simmer 10 min. Strain. To 1 c of this, add a T or 2 of drippings from lamb. Set aside. Combine 2/3 c sour cream (or plain yogurt) with 2 T flour and 1 t dillweed. Add to liquid, stirring with whisk. Add some sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, til thickened. Cook 1 more minute. Yum.

Dear Child had a great day, didn't notice there were more tub toys than candy in her basket. She spent the day playing with Thing 2 and a few cousins. A very loud but happy day. SigO continues to recover (yet is way too thin IMO); another surgery is scheduled for next week. Hopefully, just minor follow-up stuff.

The boodle has been a great place for me. You make me think, laugh, sometimes giggle like a 5-year old. Some of you (and you know who you are) make my eyebrows jump, my eyes the size of saucers. Through it all, I've come to care an awful lot about the people here. The cyber-meeting of the minds is priceless.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 8, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Such nice words, everyone, thanks.

Those lamb recipies sound great. LiT, you hit me right in the stomach with that gravy. Leave the mint jelly in the fridge, don't need it, don't want it. Mmmmmm.

For those of you who are having health issues or have family members with health issues, I'm sending good thoughts your way.

pj, Dooley, thanks for dropping by today. We don't see you guys as much as we'd like.

I'm glad those who celebrated a holiday with friends and family had a nice time today.

It's been a good day, and a really interesting and fun couple of years.

I'd also like to thank Joel for being so good to us; letting us have a remarkable little corner of the internet here at

G'night, all.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Two artists gone this weekend...B.C. cartoonist Johnny Hart (note his controversial cartoons in his obit) and conceptualist Sol LeWitt (see his obit and colorful works at the NYT).

You might want to consider a Moroccan lamb tangine. I made one once--without the tomato sauce, as I recall, and most definitely with several threads of saffron--to rave reviews. For some reason, I don't see you as the kind of person to work with saffron, but you could be ful of surprises.

I'm too lazy to pull up the Moroccan cookbook I own and used for the dish at this time of night, but this recipe resembles it far more closely--especially the saffron, honey and couscous. Note that the dish is also spelled tagine.

My recipe called for basmati rice. It's not fair that I'm not sharing my recipe with you, but you cook the tangine over low heat so the rice forms a very pretty light brown crust on the bottom--it'll make make your a near-Moroccan. Exotic and a wonderful alternative to a leg of lamb--prepared in Mediterranean or Central California fashion.

Posted by: Loomis | April 8, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Do we all have a latent teenager inside our brain?

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 8, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

LiT... I like the sounds of that one -- sounds a lot like how they serve it at a little restaurant/bar I used to go to in Western PA. They didn't do the gravy, though -- just a monkey bowl of hot pepper rings and garlic cloves marinated in olive oil. Your gravy sounds like a tasty alternative.

btw... I make a mean hummus. Two or three dips with some fresh Syrian bread and you'll repel vampires for a week.

My curry recipe is just a wee bit on the nuclear side, so it pretty much wipes out the flavor of the lamb (not to mention I'd have to find it). This particular leg belonged to a lamb raised by a guy I know, so it's not all doped up with antibiotics and all the other stuff they use on the commercial farms -- basically it was a "free range" lamb -- so I want to do it up right.

I really wish I had a rotisserie. I suppose I could make one, but I have a tendency to overbuild things. Picture a Tim Allen "Home Improvement" version that hooks up to a dual-carb air-cooled VW motor with a Rube Goldberg series of gears and ramps and windmills that captures all the juices and then circulates them back to the top to auto-baste.

Speaking of air-cooled VWs... I recently learned that they use the same motor in zambonis. I think it had something to do with not wanting to chance getting anti-freeze anywhere near the ice.

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Yours sounds good, too, Loomis (actually, everyone's tips are sounding good to me right now).

But now that you've mentioned saffron, you've given me a tune cootie that I am now obliged to share with the rest of the class:

I'm just wild about Saffron,
Saffron's mad about me
I'm just mad about Saffron
She's just mad about me

They call me mellow yellow...
They call me mellow yellow...

Is Donovan even breathing these days?

He'd be a good one for that "live or dead?" celebrity game.

Posted by: martooni | April 8, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

martooni, Donovan is alive and well, at least as far as I know! It's hard to find his albums on CD - or maybe I just didn't want to pay top dollar for them. My library doesn't have them. Anyway, he's on a CD that Arlo Guthrie put together called Banjo Man - for a folk artist whose name is escaping me now - Darrell Adams? It's really good, and made me nostalgic for Donovan. His daughter is Ione Skye (actress) and he has an actor son who goes by the name Donovan Leitch. He (the son) was on Grey's Anatomy in one of the early episodes as a guest actor. I spent the whole time looking for Donovan, before I realized it was his son (who doesn't resemble him much, not the way he looked in the 60's, at any rate). I once saw Donovan in concert at the Kennedy Center - he was wonderful, all in white, unaccompanied, sitting cross-legged on piles of pillows.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Dahlia Lithwick's Washington Post op-ed today scares the bejeebers out of me--explaining the way Ashcroft and Gonzales have transformed DOJ and the connection between Ashcroft and Monica Goodling:

Posted by: Loomis | April 8, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Top Boodlers by count:

Count Boodler
_____ _______________________
236 Pixel
237 Gomer
242 Linda Loomis
249 bostonreader
250 sparks
253 Wheezy
255 nellie
256 Eurotrash
276 Videlicet
277 TA
301 byoolin
303 a bea c
303 greenwithenvy
334 LTL-CA
343 Reader
349 Raysmom
352 ebtnut
354 L.A. lurker
365 Pat
367 LostInThought
368 omnigood
370 Bad Sneakers
374 frostbitten
374 nelson
412 LB
448 Dooley
461 Dave of the Coonties
481 superfrenchie
509 dbG
526 Tim
616 pj
632 shiloh
668 LP
677 College Parkian
743 jack
753 martooni
768 Dolphin Michael
804 Shrieking Denizen
827 kurosawaguy
862 Dreamer
879 Bayou Self
936 Tom fan
944 Nani
1039 Ivansmom
1046 Bob S.
1050 Yoki
1148 ScienceTim
1162 Error Flynn
1175 Cassandra S
1246 omni
1264 Boko999
1271 kbertocci
1305 Sara
1430 CowTown
1497 slyness
1580 SonofCarl
1582 mostlylurking
1696 Achenbach
1711 Achenfan
1739 jw
1866 mo
2074 yellojkt
2144 dmd
2377 dr
2464 TBG
2742 Scottynuke
2933 Loomis
3316 RD Padouk
3803 Wilbrod
3988 Curmudgeon
4048 bc

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 8, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Here, it's time for the annual plea to adopt Easter lilies. They're native to the Ryuku Islands (Okinawa and vicinity) and seem to like Florida very much. Now that I have a nice pair of Satake palms from the Ryukus, I should find some space for orphaned lilies, too.

Adopted Christmas amaryllises should begin flowering in a couple of weeks.

The Joshua Bell story was fun. I recall squeezing into an auditorium at the University of North Florida, a state college in Jacksonville, where he'd done some educational work for a few days and was finishing off with a concert. The place was jammed. And he finished off with a few of those Kreisler pieces.

A 26 year old Venezuelan has just been appointed the new Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Gustavo Dudamel is a product of the country's remarkable music education system.

Curry? I'm experimenting with cans of curry paste from Thailand. Maesri's rather sugary Masaman is a little more tractable than some of the pastes with double the chili.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 9, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

You are all making me hungry with these lamb recipes. But I will be eating leftover ham, turkey and doing something with a lot of hard boiled eggs for probably several weeks.

I have enjoyed the boodle very much too, everyone makes you feel like family.

Like a boodleutopia

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 9, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boodleversary!

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 9, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

633: I have a lot of catching up to do.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 9, 2007 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. It is I, Mulch Man, sore, aching superhero and master of the realm of chipped wood byproducts and so impatient to move on to other things some people have said my bark is worse than my bide. The herb garden is mulched. The back berm is mulched. The far side of the garage driveway is mulched and the gigunda ornamental weed thingy is cut back (about 80% of the total mulchatudinous Curmudgeon estate). Still left: the bases of the trees out front, and the English garden.

At any rate, whilst mulching my brains out yesterday afternoon, it occured to me to ponder (as is my wont to do) whether any of the famous Loomis ancestry had anything to do with the creation of the mulch industry. In particular, I was wondering if ever there was a Loomis who combined his/her mulch processing industry with any French writers who had a sideline in the mashed chickpee business. If so, such a diversified firm might have been called Loomis & Dumas Humus and Hummus, Inc. (This only works if one deliberately mispronounces Dumas, which I am perpetually wont to do, especially after the 84th bag of mulch when I begin to question exactly who the Dumas in my yard might be.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 6:36 AM | Report abuse

We now see the sad effect of pondering whilst sniffing humus dust.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 9, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, Shiloh, indeed. It's very sad.

Hey, TBG, didja see Rita Wilson's (wife of Tom Hanks; she's famously Greek-descended) article on Greek Easter (versus "American Easter") at

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. BC, I can't remember if I complimented you on that piece in the kit, but in case I did not, it was great. Very nice.

Mudge, I'm with you on the sore back, and I haven't been outside that much. Mine is probably due to coffee and Coke.

It is Monday morning, and school is out this week. That means I get a break from the Center and the after-school program at church. But it also means that I have to face the "light" this week. Starting tomorrow, liquid diet. Just maybe I'll lose a couple of pounds. That would certainly be a step in the right direction, mind you a small step, but a step anyway.

Have a good day, folks. I hope your weekend was super. I can't believe the nice crowd of folks I fell into, thanks to all.

The g-girl and her mother are still here. I made the rounds yesterday, but was hurting so bad, came home and went to bed.

Martooni, you sound wonderful, keep praying, and so will I.

On the way to church yesterday, I asked the g-girl, where is your Easter basket? She looked at me, and said, at Wal-Mart. I said did your mother buy you an Easter basket at Wal-Mart and take it back? No, grandma. It was so cold, but when I pulled up in the church parking lot, I was still laughing. I asked her mother about the Easter basket. She said it's home, I was not going to fight with her about that candy. Luckily at church, her Sunday school class gave out Easter buckets. Of course, the battle was on with me and her, not about the candy. They also gave her the thing with the ball that one bounces back and forth, I can't remember the name of it, but she wanted to do that in church. It was a great day.(Please forgive the sentence structure, coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet.)

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 7:19 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Must increase post numbers.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Ha, Cassandra! No candy here, but I did have a bowl of French vanilla ice cream with fudge topping. Only because my daughter bought the ice cream...

I see Imus is still in trouble for his remark last week. Good!

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, you devil you.

Slyness, getting ready to read that link. Hope your weekend was great.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

OK, enough of that...

Happy Boodleversary plus one, all!! *interpretative Grover-waving and cavorting*

I blame my browser for not displaying this Kit when I posted yesterday in the previous Boodle.

Raysmom and LiT, many good thoughts heading to your respective loved ones.

Martooni, you sound great! *ongoing applause*

'Mudge, didn't company also dealt with North American wild big cats? Coulda sworn it was Loomis & Dumas Pumas, Humus and Hummus...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It is a known fact that latent anthrax and other evil microspores lurk in humus dust. One psychological condition attributed to snorting humum dust is Paranoid dyslexia: the feeling with absolute certainty that you are following somebody, but don't know who it is. 640

Posted by: Shiloh | April 9, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

*discreetly covering my horns and tucking my tail in*

Morning, Cassandra! *L*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Why, oh, why, do these folks run to Black radio or the leaders of African-Americans. Do they believe these folks can absolve(?) them of their hate. And lets us not daydream, it is hate. Would one say that about someone they love? I don't think so. Imus needs to apologize to every African-American female in America, and elsewhere. It was hateful and oh, so, disrespectful. He was surely talking about me, as well as every African-American female in America, and Black woman in the world.

This is a deeply rooted problem in America, and it will never get better until we come to terms with racial problems in this country we all love and cherish. We have to be able to talk to one another, and not let that stuff come out of our mouths, the way it rolls out so easily. And first we need to identify and admit we have a problem, all of us. Not some, but all.

People it a'int gonna work unless it is the truth. That is what God loves, nothing but truth.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Hi Cassandra -- We will talk about the language problem in class today, re Imus and others who think that crass and destructive speech is "OK."

Cassandra -- does your pastor or other church leaders take on the language problem with youth? Youth culture across all classes and races is notoriously awful: racist, sexist, homophobic, crude, laced with what RD called yesterday as "potty mouth."

The change must happen in hearts, neighborhoods, schools, youth groups, families, etc.

Language is still one of the most powerful weapons we have.

Ack! It will be a quick, brisk bike ride. Like 'Mudge says, cue the heroic music.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

We all sometimes say things we later regret. Imus apologized in the same venue as his inappropriate remark, but that seems not acceptable to those who would devolve even an apology into vitriol.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 9, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Playing catch-up today. A few thoughts.

Thanks pj for the info about Woods. I don't watch a lot of sports, so when his "colorful" language came out of my father-in-law's television, I was a bit shocked. Simple man that I am.

Am a bit embarrassed at the high number of my posts. I would suggest that these numbers are skewed towards those who submit frequent short posts. If one of you IT types want a challenge, figger out the ranking by number of words.

What the heck happened to George 104?

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 9, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

SCC: didn't that company also deal...

*staggering to cafe for coffee*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse


Didn't he become Number Six?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Like Padouk, I prefer the terse to the verbose and expect a word count would find Joel and Loomis in a dead heat with Curmudgeon taking the bronze.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 9, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Like RD I don't watch golf often, so I was particularly impressed by one shot Mr. Woods made yesterday. That would be the one that required, as part of his follow-through, his club to strike a rather large tree. How he was able to execute a normal swing in spite of the hand-smarting aftermath sure to come was impressive to me. So I'll forgive a bit of potty-mouth, I guess.

Some of the geese have paired up and are nesting along the ponds. Now I respect the need to share space with them, but one pair built their nest two feet from a public trail. And then the he-bird gets all uppity and hissy when people walk by. Location, location, location pal!


Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Good one bc. Keep on posting.
Padouk, use the ScienceTim/CulinaryTim/StorytellingTim/Tim stategy to reduce the number of post. You could use PedanticRDP/FunnyRDP/RabbittyRDP/TravellingRDP etc...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 9, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

CP... will "Ride of the Valkyries" do?

Cassandra... I'm still working on it, but I think I'm getting better at it (praying, that is). The last couple of weeks haven't been exactly easy and even though I'm trying to "work" the program, I'm still "fighting" it. Last night while meditating it hit me: Listen. Learn. Love. Live.

Curmulcheon... I'll trade you the mulch job for crawling around a small dirty attic running new electric (and no, I haven't reprised my "ceiling episode" stunt from Christmas Eve).

Posted by: martooni | April 9, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Martooni; here's my pan roasted leg o'lamb. It is the Eyetalian method, I believe.
(if frozen New-Zealand/Australian meat is used remove the tough membrane around the meat. Leabe it there if local lamb is used)
-Make 4 to 8 incisions in the meat and insert sliced garlic clove in the slits.
- Rub the meat with a mixture of rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat in 3-4 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan that can be covered. (The shank may be sawed-off to help the piece of meat fit in the pan).
- add half to one cup of dry white wine, let it boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Cover the pan but leave the cover slightly ajar.
- turn the meat around once in a while. Check the amount of liquid regularly, add a tablespoon of water if necessary. There should be about half a cup of liquid left at the end.
- cook for 2-2 1/2 hours until the meat comes off the bone.
- Slice the meat and pour the cooking juices on the slices. Serve on warmed-up plates.
There you go. We had a large roast Saturday night, the leftovers are scheduled for tomorrow. Yummy.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 9, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom... next time that goose acts up, wave a turkey baster and a fork at him. Sometimes a little reminder of who's higher than who on the food chain is useful.

I have a particular dislike for large birds for three reasons:

1. I was "treed" by the neighbor's rooster when I was about 3 years old. The tree was a scraggly little thing (think Charlie Brown Christmas Tree) and was bending under my weight as my feet dangled just out of the chicken's reach. I was saved by our collie even though she was tied up to her house -- she dragged that dog house behind her about 20 yards and proceeded to snap that mean old rooster's neck with one bite (dang I miss that dog).

2. I was attacked by a turkey at another neighbor's farm. He got a few nips in, but guess who we had for dinner? I ate that turkey with relish (well, cranberry sauce, actually).

3. When I was married, my ex and I lived near a small lake that was a regular stop for migrating Canadian geese. For whatever reason, the geese really liked our back yard (we were nowhere near the water) and any given morning you'd find a couple dozen of them out there honking and pooping all over the place. Needless to say, we always wore shoes when in the back yard.

Posted by: martooni | April 9, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... thanks so much for the Rita Wilson link. What a great description.

This year my nephew-in-law won the egg-hitting contest with an egg with such a hard shell that it still was intact after colliding with a plastic egg. I imagine he'll have a banner year (I can only hope so!). Of course, he still ate it; after all, an egg is still an egg.

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

Speaking of turkey basters, did you see that vets at the National Zoo are attempting to give Tai Shan a little brother?

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boodle-versary everyone. I see I just barely cracked the top 10 Boodlers by post count, if not substance. Sorry, mo. I'm even four spaces ahead of that Achenbach fellow.

I'm doing boodle catch-up since I was too busy recovering from a few days driving around Atlanta. As a driver that goes by the dead reckoning method I like cities like Boston, DC, and Atlanta that afford lots of ways to get lost.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 9, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

For another take on the passing of Johnny Hart, here is the Comics Curmudgeon (not ours) and his memorial:

We need some words from Weingarten. Make sure someone infiltrates the chat today.

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

I'm really not trying to increase my post-count. It's just that my major task this week is editing documents (aka turning Engineeringeze Gibberish into coherent human speech) and I'm procrastinating. Apologies to the obviously eloquent engineers in our midst. Mudge, could you fax me some commas and perhaps a bit of Prozac?

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

I would never stoop to using an alternate Boodle identity to lower my post numbers.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | April 9, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey all, back from walking in the cold. I think I'll keep my Cuddleduds on for a while.

Dave, or other biologist types, will you please identify this one for me? It visited us last week:

Also, a photo I took Saturday morning in the mountains. Yes, last Saturday morning!

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

Good grief, over 4000 posts in 2 years?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry, or continue to stare at my screen, ringent in disbelief.

If you total Achenfan/Tomfan/Dreamer, that's over 3500 posts, a very solid 4th place.

Thanks for the compliment, Cassandra.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Here ya go, Raysmom.

*faxing ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; (if you run out of commas, in an emergency you can put in a semicolon and use a letter-opener or staple-puller to pry off the period above the comma--it turns out they aren't soldered on very well)



#################### %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

***** ((((((((((())))))))))))


{{{{{{ }}}}}

+++++++++++++++++++ =================


and just in case of umbrage: !!!!!!!!!!

Also included: Prozac and a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling for morale-building and soul medication*

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

yellojkt, I did think of you when I heard Hart passed away yesterday.

I imagine that you'll post something on Foma about it soon? Love him or hate him (and plenty of people did), he did die rich.


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

Glad to see the fax machine is still working. Thanks Mudge--although I will hold off on the Riesling until tonight. (Do you ever have to suppress the urge to shake someone and ask "What in the world are you trying to say???")

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

Mudge, you're one prepared dude to be able to fax all that stuff over to Raysmom (turkey baster - ha!).

Were you even an Eagle Scout, or a member of the 1662 Trinity College JV It's Acedemic Team, or something?


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

Raysmom, I ask myself that question all the time.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse


The scary part is, they're usually trying to say EXACTLY what's on the page...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse


Count Boodler
_____ ______________________
5 Cmmrwllwelcrynmwsllwn
66 Cmmrbnd

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 9, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "Academic". And you wonder how I got to over 4000 posts?


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

An apology has to be a sincere effort, not something one does to appease bean counters, and the thing apologized about, not done again or real work done not to do it again. We're all human, and yes, we do all say things that we should not, but some that are spouting out these hateful sayings are very much public people using whatever as an avenue to do these horrible things.

And they seem to think they can just mouth an apology, and keep on doing what they do, not missing a beat, and their lives not changed one bit. It always helps to place one's self in the shoes of that one that is going through these things. Reverse the stuff, and see how you would feel. And if your soul is made of rock, mine isn't. It hurts. And I am not ashamed to say so, because to do so would be lying. I often apologize to people if I think I have offended someone, I do it here a lot. Yet I will tell you in a heartbeat if you hurt my feelings, I will tell you what bothers me, because I want to be as honest as possible with all of you.

And what is at the core of all of this? Trying, and perhaps not always reaching, just plain old truth.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful pictures Slyness. The snow in the mountains brings back memories. I was working in the San Francisco bay area for 2 years in the late 80s. Whenever I can, I go to Kirkwood to ski the bunny hills. The scenery there was simply beautiful.

Posted by: rain forest | April 9, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama struggles to find his identity in Hawaii? Aloha nui loa.

People in this motley state [of Hawaii], less a melting pot than a tossed salad, invented a host of slang terms for themselves. A pidgin English field guide would list buk-buks, pakes, buddaheads, katonks, mokes, titas, popolos, yobos, blalahs, haoles and portagees. ...

Being black isn't common in Hawaii, but being biracial is. ...

The multitudes that he contains -- Kenya, Kansas, Hawaii, Indonesia, Harvard, Illinois -- could have been arranged in infinite ways.

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm lousy at birds, but Slyness's visitor looks like a red-tailed hawk.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 9, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

About five times a day, Raysmom (re: trottling people).

bc, I was about as far away from being an Eagle Scout as one could get and still be in that organization and not have my epaulets torn off and my (five) merit badges revoked. If they'd only had merit badges for teenage lust, basement Gilbert-chemistry-set bomb-making, teenage angst, cigarette-smoking, stealing Dad's vermouth, writing parodies of teachers, making wisecracks in class, and wistful pining over the divine Miss MS, I coulda been a contender. I did learn to cook and camp out, though, so it wasn't a total waste.

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

>The scary part is, they're usually trying to say EXACTLY what's on the page...

The other scary part is they've probably ALREADY dumbed it down. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 9, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

SCC: throttling.

Question: do SCCs count against one's post total? Shouldn't they be zeroed out on the grounds of public service, or something? It doesn't seem fair to penalize someone because of their dexterity handicaps and/or posting before dawn when the coffee hasn't kicked in.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

My thought, too, on the red-tailed hawk. I e-mailed that link to a friend of mine who is a raptor expert. Expect to hear back from him shortly. If the raptos haven't got him.

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

Error, the dumbing-down is the easy part. What's tougher is making a logical, coherent argument out of something presented thusly:

Fact 1: Something that the reader should know in order to reach a conclusion on the topic at hand.
Fact 2: Something that, upon further inspection, is totally unrelated to Fact 1 or the topic at hand.
Fact 3: Essentially a reiteration of Fact 1.
Fact 4: A personal opinion of the writer about the decision that should be made, cleverly disguised as a "fact."
Fact 5: Yet another reiteration of Fact 1.
Analysis: A stream of numbers and text only peripherally related to the facts presented.
Conclusion: A restatement of "Fact" 4.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The 10:13 was me.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Has everyone seen this "Mad TV" bit about Apple Computers and "Irack"?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, for a second, I thought you wrote "rapture expert", and wondered who your friend was.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

For those of us who never get enough sunrises...

And I take a backseat to no one when it comes to dumbing-down.



Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! I'm glad to see the Anniversary Boodle going strong. Hey, Blog Stats, you're scaring me -- over a thousand posts and I've been hanging out less than a year. Well, I'm embarrassed. I would say I'll be quiet now, but we know it isn't true. Achenaddict. . . .

My sympathies, Raysmom et al. I often read briefs which I know were intended to be in English, but somehow lost the sense of the language. Yesterday I introduced the Boy to the classical logic fallacy: "Rodents are mammals. Monkeys are mammals. Therefore, monkeys are rodents." [Prompted by a quick reply as to why he couldn't have a monkey.] He was appalled. I told him there are people out there who think like that, and you must be prepared to catch them out.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter all.

Can't believe my number of posts, if only their quality matched their quantity :-)

Its a mellow day here at work, I have the ceremonies marking the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge on my computer at work, it is a very emotional event, made more so due to the death of six Canadian soldiers yesterday in Afganistan.

Posted by: dmd | April 9, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

If we're thinking today about race and Imus and Obama and Johnny Hart and what it means to live "B.C.," then I think this is as good a day as any to bring Spencer Wells and his National Geographic book, "Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project" into the conversation.

There are two startling (at least to me) assertions in his 2006 book.

This one paragraph, pp.101-102, sums it up pretty well, without a long analysis of haplotype groups, (and I can't help but think of Nate Philbrick's telling of the Violent confrontation between King Phillip and Caleb Cooke):

"What this tells us is that the ancestor of most western Europeans **and** Native Americans was a man who lived in Central Asia around 40,000 years ago. From here, his descendants moved westward into Europe and eastward until they encountered Beringia and ultimately the New World. It is poignant to consider that when Columbus encountered Native Americans in his 1492 voyage, he was reuniting two branches of the human family tree that shared the same great-, great-,...grandfather on the steppes of Asia 40,000 years ago."

[Crimeny...why don't they teach this in world history classes?]

Second, the following, pp. 226-227, from the appendix that explains the haplotype groups in detail, in this instance R2. Mudge mentioned musician Nicholas Reyes of the Gipsy Kings several days ago. I cannot shake from my brain the gypsy images from the old classic children's films "Lassie" and Russ Tamblyn's dance among the gypsies in the 1962 "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm."

Haplogroup R2
Ancestral line "Adam"...M168...M89...M9...M207...M124

About 25,000 years ago, a man from south central Asia first displayed the genetic marker M124. His descendants migrated to inhabit what is now Pakistan and also father east in modern India. Today they are found in northern India, Pakistan and south central Asia at frequencies of 5 to 10 percent. The R2 lineage also belonged to the second major human migration into India, long after the first large wave of African migrants 50,000 to 60,000 uears ago.

Members of the haplogroup R2 are also found in eastern Europe among the Gypsy populations. Their genes tie these wandering people back to their origins on the Indian subcontinent. These ancient migrations and the distribution of their genetic lineages still remain mysterious as scientists search for more data with which to uncover the history of this haplogroup.

[And to think newspapers pander to the public with splashy coverage with photos (local) about a 250-year-old passion play that draws 20,000 to the five blocks of closed city streets and (Washington Post's weekend coverage of) New Mexico's Sanctuario de Chimayo.]

Bah, fey. How will science ever advance in this atmosphere?

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I first heard of Vimy Ridge while watching Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. Even the military buff, Raysdad, had not heard of it. (Blame the American-centric education we both received.) Plans have been made to learn more, but if you have any good sources...

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The final curling report. Canada won, Germany was not quite at the top of their game. I ended up cheering for Germany, a very hard thing in a partisan crowd. A big venue hosting curling in Canada is probably the only place where you will hear 16,000 people moan at the same time. Curling audiences are made up of people who curl and remember missed shots for days. In the annals of sport, curling is the only one I know of where the cheers for the loser is as big as the cheer for the winner. Well darn close. The cheer for Germany was more sustained, while the cheer for Canada was louder. Much beverage was consumed by all.

Except for the R's who had a houseful of people coming for dinner, so we scooted off as soon as the event was done. On the way home we contemplated going to Grand Forks for next years spiel. Could a person sleep in a camper van in early April in Grand Forks and not feel like a popsicle?

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

dr, I am going to miss your curling reports you captured the sense of the competition so well.

Raysmom, here is a link the the Globe and Mails coverage of Vimy, it delves a little into some of the mythology that has built up around Vimy and explains the battle extra. You could also go to the website or the Ottawa Citizen both of which have very good special sections. The cbc site is currently showing the ceremony and didn't think I should provide a link.

Posted by: dmd | April 9, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Prairie Home Companion ran a song about Minnesotans eating outdoors in April, to the tune of "The Lion is Sleeping Tonight."

The Florida version, in August, involves being late enough in the afternoon so that a poor excuse for a sea breeze may have started, but not late enough for the mosquitos and no-see-ums to be out in full force. Maybe I should raise citronella (a grass) as a biofuel, throwing bundles of leaves on a fire at intervals. Wonder if lemongrass repels mosquitos, too?

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 9, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

[I tried to post this earlier but it was held. I suspect the culprit to be the word for which street walker is a euphemism, and with which Imus's comment rhymed.]

Regarding language and apologies, I agree that a sincere apology needs to be accepted, and that the logical place for the apology is in the venues where the folks to whom it is directed will see it. However, it is that "sincere" part which troubles me. Imus is just one example of many recent foot-in-mouth racial or ethnic celebrity insults. What does he say? He's not a bad person, he's a good person who said a bad thing. WHY do we have to know he's a good person? WHY is he compelled to say this? After all, an apology isn't supposed to be an excuse. To apologize is to say, I'm sorry, I was wrong, I shouldn't have said it. Why the focus on how he's not a bad person? Because this apology is about him, that's why, not about what he said.

Imus wants people to know he does a lot of good for black people, he just happened to gratuitously insult a group of young black women because, well, because his show is like that and some folks might find it funny and now he understands that you just can't make fun of people who don't find it funny.

I don't blame young college women (and, by extension, black women) for not being amused by being called ill-groomed street walkers. That isn't funny. It isn't clever. He was speaking of a group of women athletes who had just lost a championship game -- a genuine accomplishment to get that far -- as if they were crack-addict street walkers. And no, it wouldn't make it any better if he compared a group of mostly white women athletes to crank addicts or trailer trash. It shows a profound disrespect for the women in question, as women and as athletes. I am not convinced, from his apology, that Imus understands the problem.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think you have hit on the core issue, Ivansmom. Not just disrespect for black women, but disrespect for any group. When will we ever learn? It is an issue that concerns all of us.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

On further reflection, my premise itself makes no sense. As, apparently, profound disrespect is Imus's stock-in-trade, I shouldn't be surprised that he misses that as a reason for apology.

Loomis, I find the information on haplogroups interesting. I'm not sure I understand your complaint about the coverage of the local passion play, though. Why should commemoration of a religious holiday with an historical play affect the emerging understanding of, or popular interest in, research into the genetic origins of humankind?

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I see that when one adds up ScienceTim and Tim, I/we come in at 1674 comments (um, now 1675), just behind that Achenbach fellow. I am uncertain how to feel about this "achievement." I have posted under a few other pseudonyms, so I think that would get me up to about 1900. Of course, neither StorytellerTim, CulinaryTim, PhilosophyTim, HistoryTim, nor ConceptualTim seem to have made it into the bottom rung of the listed stats, so maybe they don't add up to all that much.

There is a rather steep increase at the top of the field...

Here's an interesting concept that would be difficult to execute a search for: how many posts related to the the content of the Kit?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, if Imus really means to apologize, he should go and do it in person to the Rutgers team, and look each young athlete in the eye as he apologizes to her personally.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I have no forgiveness for Don Imus; of course, I never was a part of his audience, so I doubt he would much care. When Michael Richards mouthed-off, I was ready to condemn him merely to purgatory, with an eventual possibility of redemption (I don't doubt that my feelings would be a tad different if I weren't a totally white-bread guy): he was in a high-pressure environment (on a stage), rattled by heckling, the guy is an actor, not a comic, and not well prepared for the situation, and he mistakenly imagined himself to be part of a group (comedians) who can be outrageous and use that word and be accepted. He was wrong.

Imus, on the other hand, was in his medium, doing what he does routinely, and given the luxury of choosing his words and his topic. I'm actually more bothered by the fact that his insult was directed to college students. If he had insulted a team of women who were fully-adult professional athletes, then they would be in a position to shoot back at whatever level of vile insult he threw. College students are still under society's wing and are understood to be learning to find their place in the world. His comments were vile, without a doubt, but at a level that an adult and a professional should be able to handle and reject, and a barely-adult shouldn't have to.

Posted by: Tim | April 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Imus' 'splaining had very little in common with the following, which could serve as a template for any suitable apology:

I am truly, very sorry to offend you.

I see how insensitive that phrase landed amidst all context.

You asked me to explain, yet apologies generally need more humility and less explaining.

I did not mean to hurt you, yet did. I am deeply sorry.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2007 03:40 PM

Indeed, he needs to deliver it face to face to the Rutgers women.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

My high number of posts is only because I have been around posting so long.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse


"Here's an interesting concept that would be difficult to execute a search for: how many posts related to the the content of the Kit?"

Talk about an imaginary number!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of imaginary numbers, Euler gets a write-up in WaPo today:

What's funny is that the online version of the article completely mangles his most famous formula.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 9, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

CP, at the Center where I work, we always talk to the children about their language, and for many, the habit of fighting in school. Behavior is very much the focus, sometimes so much so, the lessons get lost completely.

Ivansmom, the fact that the apology is sincere is certainly what I was trying to focus on, although you expressed it much better. And I, too, feel that Imus will not get that, but he is certainly not alone on that island. You think?

And yes, Slyness, eye to eye contact would not hurt at all.

The g-girl is off to find Easter eggs. Oh, for the little blessings in this world. God is good.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

A few thoughts.
The original Imus apology does not contain the word I.
Where's McGuirk's apology?
Did either McGuirk or Imus attend a family function over the weekend? Wonder what that dinner conversation was like?
How long will it be before Imus can eat in a restaurant without someone spitting in his food?
Any chance either of them sees a live naked woman this year?

Posted by: LostInThought | April 9, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

re Vimy Ridge: there's a stunning article in the Toronto Star about how Hitler posted Waffen SS troops to guard the monument there, described as his "favourite memorial from World War I", during the Second World War.

Posted by: byoolin | April 9, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim, FYI:

Count Boodler
_____ _____________________

6 ConceptualTim
9 HistoryTim
17 CulinaryTim
206 StorytellerTim
526 Tim 1148 ScienceTim

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 9, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Estimation, thy name is Tim: the total comes to 1912 comments, which sends me up to 11th place.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Not so imaginary, scotty. The answer is: 14. The other 99,986 posts were all off-topic.

dmd, you guys have a right to be proud of Vimy Ridge. I'm a bit surprised Canuckistanis pay it that much attention; there isn't a single WWI battle that very many Americans remember or know about, much less officially commemorate.

FYI, the well-known British armaments firm of Vickers commemorated the battle when they named their new bomber in 1918: the Vickers Vimy. (Alcock and Brown made the very first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in a modified Vimy Mark IV in 1919 from Newfoundland to crash-land in a bog in Connamarra, Ireland.) (They walked away without a scratch.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I'm getting "Comment Submission Errors" on what appears to be a fairly innocuous post.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's try that innocuous post again, using euphemisms that compel me to pun:

yellojkt, thanks for the alert on the article about Big Lenny E. It's guys like him that make me feel like, you know, a waste-consuming microbe in the hindgut of a termite. What an irrationally brilliant fellow. Except that he wasn't irrational, and he wasn't a (one-sllable word, rhymes with "berk", meaning unpleasant egotistical indvidual). He was a good man, and one of the towering intellects of human history.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so the offending word is one that refers to the consumption of solid waste, beginning with a 'c', used by Joel to refer to bacteria in a termite's nether gastric recesses. Who knew?

Because "consumer of solid waste" is such a common term in vulgar 'street' lingo: "Hey, you consumer of solid waste _______! Get away from my ______-_______ _______ , or I'll mess up your ______-_______ face!"

Or, perhaps "Wipe that solid waste-consuming grin off your face."

Yes, the WaPo has taken a stand against the vulgarization of public discourse.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if I can blog it this way: c o p r o p h a g o u s. There, now, that wasn't so bad.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 9, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to look it up in my dictionary but all those spaces are giving me a problem.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Tim, both Achenbach and Weingarten used that word in the Sunday magazine 5/14/06. But we are not allowed to use it in the comments section of the blog. Listen: don't complain. At least we have apostrophes. ('''''''''')

On the other hand, I was daydreaming that in our third year, maybe we'd get formatting. I'm not stopping at italics. I want expanded HTML capabilities, different font styles/colors/sizes, graphics, and so on. Imagine how pretty we could make this place! Or not.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, the reason for all the attention on Vimy has a lot to do with the sense that that battle was what started the sense of Canada as a nation. It was the first time our troops fought together as a nation. It has over time become one of those defining moments in nationhood.

The CBC did a nice video this morning on the sculptures on the memorial. There are various sculptures that line the memorial from top to bottom, signify (of what I remember), sacrafice, charity, justice, peace. The bottom statute is called Canada, is is a woman draped with her head down, mourning the loss of life it is simple and yet incredibly stirring.

Posted by: dmd | April 9, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

lostinthought, perish the idea about eating in a restaurant. My sister's ex-inlaws worked in an eatery many years ago, and customers that came in giving waitresses a hard time never saw it coming. I was shocked at some of the stuff these folks talked about. I worked in a fish camp as a dishwasher, one must always be nice to workers, especially if they're bringing you food. And I won't even go into that salad bar at most restaurants. Hot grease is the ticket, although it is not good for the arteries, but does those germs in every time.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

hey guys! happy boolde-versery! sorry i'm been out of the boodle for so long! new job and all, been very busy! but i promise not to be gone so long in the future... now, who the heck is blog stats and how are you getting those numbers??

and yes, i <3 the boodle, best bunch of ppl ever!

Posted by: mo | April 9, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

and yes you must always be nice to the person serving you food! i've worked in the food industry for several years - i have stories that would keep you from eating out for a while!

Posted by: mo | April 9, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

For non-Canadian military historians, Vimy (April, 1917) doesn't get on the radar because it was a local victory in yet another larger battle (Arras) with dubious strategic outcome. It captured the national imagination because it was the first time all four Canadian divisions in the Canadian Corps were involved in the same campaign, and Vimy Ridge was considered a significant obstacle that had been unsuccessfully assaulted on at least two occasions previously.

It also provided a rallying point for the memory of Canada's participation in WW I (which was very significant for its size). Canada's WW I war dead was about 66,500. This is in the context of a national population in 1918 of around 8 million. For ease of comparison, I note that Virginia's current population is around 7.5 million.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 9, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

About WWI battles.

My step-mother spoke often of the battle where her first husband was injured/gassed: Belle O'the Woods

Posted by: nellie | April 9, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

nellie, I was going to suggest Belleau Wood as the primary WW I battle involving the US:

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 9, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Happy boodle-versary, and well said bc.

Part of Vimy is owned by Canada and the Canadian government is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Vimy Memorial.

And I'm also curious about the identity of Blog Stats (martooni, is that you). And what my totals would be if all permutations of omni* were counted. Also if you add up Achenfan, Tom fan and Dreamer you get a respectable (or disrespectable, dependig on your views) 3509, putting her in fourth.

Posted by: omni | April 9, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Weingarten got a good chat going on the Joshua Bell piece...

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Belleau Wood, and the "Lost Battalion" episode (Meuse-Argonne Offensive). Reducing the St. Mihiel Salient was a big deal, but the problem is hardly anybody can pronounce it or remember how to spell it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Tim, there are pills you can buy at Pet Smart for that problem (see your 12:40).

I thought they were going to taste like Tums but they don't. They taste awful.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, who wants to claim the Weingarten question from "Stradiva, RI US?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 9, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This complaint made me laugh "tramline 3 smells of pee."

Posted by: omni | April 9, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Vimy was also the first time Canadian soldiers were under the command of a Canadian General, Arthur Currie. Previous to Vimy, Canadian troops were diviied to British commanders.

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Surely you refer to the Helsinki Complaint Choir video clip. Glad it made you laugh. UMD students are arranging one with environmental complaints.

To others: I tried to post four times about the language issues raised by the Imus Episode, but they were all denied by Hal.

The point was that young people often speak in crass talk -- including racial slurs, sexual slurs, and potty-mouth -- with apparent group-consent. Many in this cohort do not see much wrong with slur-speech among friends. Just a report, from the Young Adult frontlines. Sorry Hal ate the post with more detail.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Martooni -- Ride of the Valkyries is fab! I do have a bike basket, so one other tune might be the theme of Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I am not familiar with Joshau Bell(sp). Little wonder, I live in rural America, but it just surprises me not many paid this guy any attention. I believe if I were there, I would have stopped and tried to listen, because it just seems a little wierd a guy playing a violin(?) in such a public place. And I am sure that if I got any of the music, that alone would have compelled me to stay awhile, seeing that he wasn't playing rap?

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

More Peeps, this time from the Upper Midwest Heartland of Minnesota:

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm listening to the audio of Joshua Bell now. The music is fabulous but the background noise is driving me crazy. You can sure tell when a train unloads.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, the training camp in the beginning of Starship Troopers is called Camp Currie.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 9, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, when I worked in Toronto, the train/subway stop where I exited would have musicians in it about once a week. I loved to hear the music and in fact looked forward to it, but I never stopped to listen, just enjoyed it while I passed through.

If I were to do it over again, I would stop and listen.

Posted by: dmd | April 9, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the whole of WW1 of dubious strategic value?

TV likely plays a big part in the knowledge Canuckistanis have of WW1. There have been some seriously good documentaries about WW1 and Canada's role in it, and CBC regularly plays related programming prior to Remembrance Day. We also have the poppies on sale to mark the day. The visual reminder makes a difference.

It is a statutory Holiday, but because it is a date, rather than a Monday off, it sometimes gets short shrift, and I for one hope that people go back and properly give the day its due.

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

SoC, you're right about Camp Arthur Currie.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I agree that young people often use offensive insults in daily speech, but at least in some cases they appear to have no idea what they're saying. The Boy is in fifth grade; Ivansdad teaches college. In both pre-teen and college lingo, the word "retard" is used, as is the phrase "That's so gay." The Boy, of course, uses neither and knows why. Ivansdad has had to explain to his students that, since what they mean by the phrase is "that's bad" they should just say something is bad. Some of them, who don't necessarily think of "gay" as "bad", are startled to realize what they're saying.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

In the c o p r o p h a g o u s vein, I give you Pooping Barbie:

It made me laugh. Who knew little girls actually want to pick up dog poop? Mine certainly don't and have to be threatened with loss of allowance if they don't.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 9, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Ivansmom, what will the Boy do with the duct tape that the Easter Bunny brought him?

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ivansmom,

Some of your terms got through! I wanted to talk about that very example. One other translation for "gay" is "lame," a light sort of bad, clearly not cool. College students seem awfully dense about the meaning and slur.

Another word they need help with is the verb for babies and bottles. I tell them that this pejorative term is NOT professional speech, as in this assignment { }.

One serious problem in our local high schools concerned a Latino boy expelled for saying the en-word. I knew the boy and his family (rather newly arrived from Central America). He heard this word so often, including in black-to-black youth speak that he did not understand at all the context and freight.

The upshot? At this particular school, the en-word is often a topic of conversation in English class and home room. I am sad to report that many of the young people seem disengaged about the seriousness of language. One local pastor who tries to work on this in his congregation is known for saying, "Rosa Parks and Dr. King did not work so hard so that we can pass around the en-word like candy."

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

For those interested, Pooping Barbie is available at for $14.99.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my youngest used to use the "that's so gay" line and it drove me berserk. Attempts to forbid its use and to explain how awful it was were fruitless - Mom not liking something just makes it more attractive. I was lucky, though, I noticed that one of her friends, who is a lucky girl who is still allowed to have a Myspace page, had one of those little "likes/dislikes" surveys she had filled out, and one of the things she dislikes is "people who use the phrase 'that's so gay.'" All I had to do was point this out to my child and, miraculously, that phrase has left her vocabulary! I'm just glad she has intelligent friends.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 9, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I didn't ask. I'm not sure I want to know. He got silver duct tape, white duct tape, and a handful of rolls of brightly colored electical tape (just in case). He may have something in mind. He's seen me fix a lot of different unlikely things with duct tape. It could be he just needed his own duct tape, as of course do we all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Ivansmom!

I asked for a small toolbox one Christmas, got it, and boy, is it a handy item to have around. Much easier to delve into it in the laundry room than to go outside to the storage room to rummage through the tool chest and/or the workbench drawers for a simple screwdriver.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

There's this mystical bond between a boy and his duct tape, Ivansmom. I really can't explain it any further than that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my older daughter who is about your boys age recently returned from a birthday party where I discovered the latest in pre-teen accessorizing is - brightly coloured duct tape. It comes in pink, purple, green, red etc.

Posted by: dmd | April 9, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It was easy to convince The Boy not to use "That's so gay." We heard someone else use it before he ever had a chance, and could talk about it. Since he was very small The Boy has had lot of gay friends, including "aunts" and "uncles". He would never use a perjorative which would show disrespect for an entire class of persons, among whom are many friends. The same reasoning applies, a step removed, to "retard", as he doesn't personally know many mentally challenged people but would not make fun of them as a class through slang.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 9, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I've talked before about my son's duct tape tie and duct tape wallet. Much envied fashion accessories among his peer group.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 9, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

My son is also much chagrined at the way the word "special" has been co-opted as a slur.

"Isn't that special?" has a whole new subtext nowadays.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 9, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Good Morning all
Well it seems like morning when you work the late shift.

My take on a few things

First off, Imus should have to apologize to each of those young ladies in person. Then each one should be able to nail him with a basketball, I am sure that would make them and me feel a little better. It sure couldn't hurt his look. That man is scarey. Then fire his A$$.

I am not sure who Joshua Bell is either. I listened to Jon Luc Ponte yesterday, talk about playing. I am not sure what I enjoy more, hearing a violin or a fiddle?

Snuke, There is a cool sunrise puzzle on the Jigzone this morning, I mean today.

Finally, I am still drooling over those lamb recipes from yesterday.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 9, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

They've posted the entire audio performance of Josh Bell:
I recognized Ave Maria - because figure skaters have used it. It's really beautiful - I was humming along. And now he's doing another one - Mendolsohn (sp), I think - that I know. Again, from figure skating. Sigh.

The chat was very good. I love that Bell noticed mistakes and said Oops when he watched the video. My question didn't make it...Sigh. Of course, I wasn't clever enough to be Stradava, RI, US.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Weingarten chat was interesting--but I note that a small minority of the chatters essentially agreed with what I wrote yesterday. (For the record, I did not submit anything to the chat, so none of the posts were mine.) (And you'd have known if they were, beyond any doubt.) I guess the one that came closest to me was the chatter from Holyoke, MA, although he/she used the word "normative" a bit much for my taste.

Incidentally, I listened to the first three or four minutes of the Bell audio. Hated it, just hated it.

My friend the raptor expert has reported back:

"My first guess is a red-tail hawk (the white chest, mottled belly and rufous color of the wings) especially in the mid Atlantic region. Second guess is a light-morph Ferruginous Hawk, (a red tail cousin with same basic color patterns but legs are feathered to the feet. There's ususally a spalsh of yellow on its face between the beak and eye - They're more common in the west - but show up around here occasionally).

"Nice bird."

"I'm green with envy - The only things that land in my yard, with any regularity, are roof shingles."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, did the noise bother you? I recognized most of the melodies because I have them on some CD or another, but I'm sooo tempted to order a couple of his.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

But then, "Special Ed" in itself is a pretty insulting euphemism to the students in it. I don't think anybody feels special for having to be enrolled as a special ed student.

But then, educators often abuse the very language they are entrusted to teach.

Those students have SPECIFIC educational needs that cannot be met in a general education curriculum. What's with the "special" part?

Special means "excellent, noteworthy, unique, distinct, particular, distinguished from the ordinary or usual."

Both words (specific and special) come from species, meaning "type, form, regard", which also gave rise to "spice".

All those words ultimate arising from the verb spectare, meaning "to look".

So basically when you label a child a special ed student, you're basically begging people to "look! They're LEARRRNNNINGGGG!"

As a former "special ed" student myself, I would be happy to demand educators simply change the name.

In this way, part of the drive for the ironic use of "special" will remove.

However perjoration (and ameloriation) of words always happen.
For instance "that's BAADDD, dude." is an instance of ameloriation of the word "bad".

"Simple" once meant a fool.
"Nice" once meant "wanton". (Honestly!) It came from the latin Nescius, meaning "ignorant".
"Awful" once meant "awesome" (awe-ful).

"Queen" once had a sister term, "Quean" which meant ahem, lady of the evening. When their pronuncations became similar (vowel shift), the latter word and meaning dropped out of use.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 9, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the feedback, Mudge! This is a completely suburban area, so it's interesting that the hawk sticks around. I suppose there are enough field mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits to make the neighborhood congenial for him.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

dr-Grand Forks in April in a camper van, popsicle potential for sure. The Ralph (as in Ralph Engelstad Arena) is a very comfortable venue for ice sports, so you may actually go to the arena to warm up. I am so there in '08. We could make it a BPHspiel!

I agree with Ivansmom that Imus's coments are offensive on so many more levels than race alone. Cassandra has a good point as well about the reflex action to seek forgiveness from some black spokesperson. Has he found a female athlete from whom to seek absolution? How about the acknowledged leader of thinking people everywhere?

GW's piece on the Joshua Bell experiment has popped up on several Tampa area blogs. Interesting because I've been following the bloggers for some time with never a hint that they might even occasionally partake of WaPo.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 9, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, Slate's got a piece on the impact of fertility treatments on the risk of breast cancer:

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge if you put down bird seed and other stuff in your yard to attract the smaller birds and animals. The larger predators will be soon to follow.

My parents used to have a Peregrine Falcon that would visit their back yard for all sorts of small birds.

It may sound ghoolish, but the falcon would eat everything but the feet.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 9, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, yes, the noise is distracting. But then, I've gone to the Folk Festival here, where the music competes with people talking, traffic, airplanes, other music. You just want to say SHHHHH!

BTW, I use "lame" sometimes even though I know it's wrong. And I say "sucks" a lot - because I work with software.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

dr, read the piece by Rita Wilson on Greek Easter. No wonder TBG knew about red eggs! And now I understand what she was talking about regarding the cracking of eggs.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Do keep in mind that use of the word "special" as in "Isn't that special?" is not a sarcastic or ironic reference to special education, but is specifically a sarcastic undermining of the strict definition "excellent, noteworthy, unique, distinct, particular, distinguished from the ordinary or usual," derived from Dana Carvey's Church Lady bit on Saturday Night Live. It may have BECOME a reference to such terms as "special education," but that's not how it started, at least.

I haven't heard any references to "special forces" uttered in the same tone, for some reason.

"Special education" seems like about the least-loaded term I could imagine, so long as you feel that you need any particular term, at all. You got your general education, then you got your special education -- education programs that require some out-of-the-ordinary effort or resources. It's not like it's called "spectacle education." The problem with "special education" as a term is that it can be a euphemism for a darker meaning -- not because of the word itself, but because of the usage. If you had a color-coded system in which you had "beige" education for the majority of students, then "red," "blue," "green," etc. programs for students with specific needs, then soon enough you'd have casual insults like "Man, you are such a rainbow." The word is a label, and if you take away the label, the idea will get expressed using a different label. You need to work on the idea behind the label.

Posted by: Tim | April 9, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, we're as suburban as it gets, and we have hawks, too. Huge ones. And I agree with your suspicion of what draws them in. After I saw one nail a redpoll mid-flight last year, I stopped filling the birdfeeder until it moved on. No need to lure my little friends to the hawk buffet. If I could only get them to attack the geese instead.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

We get the occasional hawk here too, in the city. We know when it's around because all the little birdies scatter and hide.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, Raysmom, Canada geese were rare and we made field trips to see them. Nowadays, they are pests of the first order, pooping all over everything! So I certainly understand your point.

I saw a crow at my birdbath this afternoon. They must be hard up for water.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Exactly Tim, why not call a spade a spade and get it over with?

I do agree that the pejoration of the term "special" is likely strictly ironic. However, I've seen the phrasing... "is she... special?" to refer to the idea that said person may be a bit slow.

Likewise, "you're a bit...SPECIAL, aren't you?"

That one is directly from the "special needs/ special education" connotation. It could be worse, granted. This does get mixed in the normal sacrastic sense of pulverizing "special".

A word noting an extreme which is overused daily is going to be subject to sacrastic usage. I do think the overuse of "special education" has contributed to it. "Afterschool specials" too, maybe.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 9, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Pomp and bad grammar is afflicting me right now. I think it's teatime for me.
All, please avert your eyes when my pinky sticks out.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 9, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, we don't cotton to no pinky-wavin' in these here parts, Wilbrod. This here's Murica. Keep that thar pinkie holstered at all times, Earl Grey or no Earl Grey.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Nowadays few people use the term "special education." Instead they refer to "special services" or simply "services."

I believe that this is because the term "special ed" is strongly associated with mental retardation, while "special services" more accurately suggests the wide variety of children who don't do well without some extra assistance.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 9, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Spent part of the morning engaging in a swell little memo war with a "newbie" engineer who claims no gummint editor (me) is gonna make him take those two spaces off the end of his sentences after the period, 'cuz that's what he learned in graduate school, by gum.

If you think "Silence of the Lambs" and those soccer players trapped in that planewreck in the Andes eating each other for lunch was grisly, wait 'til this guy finds out what's what. He'll be PRAYING for some fava beans and a nice chianti when I'm done with him.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Use your iron-hand-in-a-velvet glove editor routine.

I use the witch-in-a-velvet-glove editing persona almost daily!

Do you have a digital copy? Do the spacing adjustment anyway. You will save the typesetter/DTP-er loads of grief.

BTW -- do you have any MSWord 7 woes to report? Work-arounds?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 9, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I work with folks who are stuck on the notion they were taught, that there are two spaces between a period and the next sentence and that's the way it is, forever and ever, 'til kingdom come, amen, halleluyah.

But... it's a computer, not a typewriter.

These are the same folks who still consider tabs to be interchangeable with putting in a bunch of blanks, depending which seems more convenient at the time. At least nobody still thinks that the numeral '1' and the lowercase letter 'l' are the same character. Even my mother learned that one (eventually).

Fortunately, I still have the power of global search-and-replace before the last version of a document is released.

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

MS Word has been the bane of my existence for, oh, the last 10 or 15 years. I was a WordPerfect guy back in the early days, I got to know and like it OK (having been an Aple person before that, and a user of Quark from version 2.0 onward in the SE-30).
Alas, I don't have very many good work-arounds--wish I did. I use the "track Changes" feature to do my editing. What bugs me is that people (especially amateurs) try to use it as a design program as well, doing brochures and stuff with it. I'd rather do design work with a piece of burnt characoal and stone tablets. (Come to think of it, back in the caves in France, I DID do a lot of design work that way. You should have seen my "Many Men Stabbing Bison." Considered VERY ahead-of-its-eon.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

You guys have me completely confused. You mean I'm not supposed to put two spaces at the end of a sentence anymore? Why didn't I get the memo?

I spent some (hard)time at Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School where I would have been stoned to death if I ever skipped that rule.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 9, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"it's a computer, not a typewriter." I must admit I use two spaces after a period, but know that it is because that was how I was taught to type, not edit. You don't need to go to grad school to learn to type.

I'm aghast that anyone would defend the two space convention when told one space is the company/agency/publisher/style book rule. Harboring a secret feeling that the two space rule is superior, or not being able to stop the automaticity of fingers, I can understand but consider character flaws. If only those were all I had in that department.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 9, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Out of the blue, another person cussing a two-spacer such as me. Okay, my former editor griped about the two spaces, I hear this, so I'm going to quit the two spaces. And practice. But it's really hard!

More on Slack:

Here's slacker mentality, a true story: my friend lying on the sofa, wanting to hear the messages on his land line phone, picks up his cell from the coffee table, dials his landline phone which is in the same room, and hits "play messages" so he does not have to get up and walk five steps to the answering machine.

Here's fungible Slack: Your boss offers you a choice between a small raise, or no longer requiring you to come to the office since you can work a lot at home from the computer. Your slack comes from the time saved from commuting, gasoline saved, fatigue from traffic. Your boss presumably loses something from your lack of daily presence in the office: intangibles such as you offering advice to less experienced workers around the water cooler, etc.

You choose the slack. Crucial to your decision is the realization that you don't have to pay taxes on slack, and neither does your boss. Slack becomes a measurable commodity.

Posted by: Jumper | April 9, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I've done it before: use "find and replace" on the computer, entering two spaces in the "find" field, and one for the "replace." I guess I will do it again.

Posted by: Jumper | April 9, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

To use semicolons properly, however, I must be paid!

Posted by: Jumper | April 9, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Are there still supposed to be two spaces after a colon?

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I didn't get to be the one to bring up the Joni Mitchell song, "For Free" in reference to Weingarten's feature story--he quoted it in full on today's chat. So I'll console myself with this one. I bet there aren't many Neil Diamond fans 'round here--I'm not one myself, particularly, but when I was a youngster I memorized a bunch of his songs. Something bc said reminded me of one of them.

//Some would say that Boodling is a waste of time, but what exactly is time, anyway? Philosophers and artists and scientists and payroll departments have speculated and theorized and argued and measured and recorded its passing for thousands of years, but all they've been able to conclude is that no one ever gets enough of it.// -bc

Written by Neil Diamond

Jesus Christ, Fanny Brice,
Wolfie Mozart and Humphrey Bogart and
Genghis Khan and
On to H. G. Wells.

Ho Chi Minh, Gunga Din
Henry Luce and John Wilkes Booth
And Alexanders
King and Graham Bell.

Ramar Krishna, Mama Whistler,
Patrice Lumumba and Russ Colombo,
Karl and Chico Marx,
Albert Camus.

E. A. Poe, Henri Rousseau,
Sholom Aleichem and Caryl Chessman,
Alan Freed and
Buster Keaton too

And each one there
Has one thing shared:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done

For bein' done too soon,
For bein' done too soon.
For bein' done.

1970 Prophet Music, Inc.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

On this day in 1928 Tom Lehrer was born. How can I pass up a chance to mention him? Here's a tip of the hat to the 79th birthday of man with a short but absolutely brilliant songwriting career.

Posted by: pj | April 9, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi all you birders out there I need some help identifying an unusual bird that came to our feeded yesterday. Feeder is just throwing bird seed amd chick scratch out our gravel driveway. 60 quail come daily (three covies of 30, 20 & 10)8 Steller Jays, 6 Scrub Jays, lots of Juncos, Sparrowsof various types, some Gold Finches,8 Mourning doves, an occasional turkey and even a mallard duck last week.
The bird in question was colored like a mourning dove but about four times as large with a yellow beak and yellow feet. It was pecking bird seed off the gravel and then flew up in a tree for a while and then flew away. We can't find any thing in the National AudubonSociety field guide to birds of the western region. We are in south western Oregon

Posted by: bh | April 9, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

>Here's slacker mentality

Slack is not money.

Slack is not sloth.

When you take the day off for a doctor's appt. and wait for hours and still don't see him because someone else is having a difficult time in OR, slack is NOT being the guy under the knife.

Peace out.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 9, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Error, that is the right attitude to have. Most things are better than being the one in OR or ER.

Mudge, I'm an old WordPerfect gal myself. Word drive me CRAZY. I suppose it would be okay if that's what I started with, but I've always found it not intuitive - which is what I liked about WordPerfect. Oh well. And I'm a one space after a period person; I learned that in a seminar someplace or another.

Speaking of Tom Lehrer, I've picked up The Story of English to read again. One of the authors is Robert MacNeil. The series was great, and I like the book. It's all about the connections that language makes.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

bh, about the closest thing I can find in "Birds of Seattle" is a band-tailed pigeon. It's got the yellow beak and feet - says it's a native pigeon here. May not be big enough, though, and is kind of purplish and dark. There's also a rock dove which is compared to a mourning dove, which is supposed to be more slender. The rock dove has orange feet.

kb, I wish I had thought of the Joni Mitchell song - one of my favorites of hers. Neil Diamond was very popular in my day, so I got pretty sick of him - but he wrote some good songs. I had never heard of the one you quoted - very good.

Of course, at first, I thought you were talking about Neil Young. I just got the Massey Hall CD that pj recommended - it's wonderful.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, I am not a one-space-is-right or two-spaces-are-right Nazi. The guy who was giving me an argument was mad because I wasn't putting two spaces IN like he did. I finally told him to leave the damn spaces alone, because justified type adjusts the space any damn way it pleases. I don't even waste my time doing search-replace to remove the spaces--because IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER on a computer. But of course I couldn't tell HIM that because, after all, he was an ENGINEER whereas I was just...who knows what he thought; he's a rookie. Then he hanged himself: he said he was representing the writers of the piece, and no editor was going to tell a writer what to do, nossiree Bob.

Oh I just love turf wars. And rookies who think they actually own turf. I suppose it's cruel, but I love to see them cry.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Back in the day I was a huge Neil Diamond fan, but I grew out of that. I now have a Neil Diamond toon cootie running in my head.

'love Brother Loves traveling salvation show,
pack up the babies and grab the old ladies...'.

I am hanging my head in shame. I checked my congratulation to the boodle post for spelling, but never checked for spacing. I know I am wrong because I always use two spaces. I'll try to do better. Really. BackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspaceBackspace 'period single space Really.

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten, A 'Rockin the Ralph' BpHSpeil would be a hoot.

We talked about going because we really did enjoy the whole event. So my question to you is would this be Canadian popsicle cold but its a dry cold or the Eastern popsicle lesser cold but its a damp cold? Maybe I should be hoping for an early spring next year?

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

dr, try some Neil Young:

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked
and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

mostly, have you ever heard Young sing that song on The Band's "The Last Waltz," when Joni Mitchell is off-stage singing backup to him? Incredible.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I'm rubbing my eyes over here at being mentioned in your comment with Weingarten, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Diamond. Thanks for making my day.

Mudge, you're making me laugh over here. Eventually writers learn that it's easier to try to get along with editors than to fight you. Er, I mean *them*.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm sure I have, but not for awhile. My sister's got The Last Waltz - will have to watch it when I'm visiting her soon. k.d. lang does a good version on Hymns of the 49th Parallel.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks bc, I knew I could count on the Boodle to have Heinlein on hand to check that. So there's some Vimy trivia for you SF fans: Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian General at Vimy, is immortalized by having the training camp in Starship Troopers named after him.

On another note, I'm glad to see the end result of the two vs one space issue is agreed as being overridden by justifying my text. (cue the Madonna song...)

For the record, I'm: a two spacer; sometimes two stepper; never two timer; not too taller nor too shorter; two car double garager; and usually a tonighter.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 9, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The beauty of Neil Young is his contrasting styles. I have been to a show where he sat in a chair with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a microphone and played all his sweet melodies.

Then I saw him with Crazy Horse after the Ragged Glory CD. 11 songs and three and a half hours later, we were all worn out. He just stood there wailing away on his guitar shaking his head like Garth on Wayne's world.

I like the second show with Crazy Horse the best.

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

Excuse me, but what's this about spaces before a period? Are you people mad? Have you no concern for the poor period, the least of printable things, a few pixels from nothingness, left on it's own in sea of white space? Would you deny it a friendly character to comfort it?

Someone to sit next to it on the Group W bench?

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 9, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

In my fall semester 1963 Typing I class Mrs. McGee would thump you with a ruler if you did not put two spaces after a period. Mrs. McGee had taught with my grandmother (my grandmother died in 1927), and I DON'T CARE WHAT THE KEYBOARD POLICE SAY, I'm going to put two spaces after a period.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 9, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. McGee once told me my grandmother was something of a rebel, too.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 9, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, AFTER a period.

-Best Gilda Radner(sp?) voice: NEVERMIND.-

Mudge, I went to Philly today and all I got was a hot dog. Dang.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 9, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse


The period may be a few pixels of nothingness, but that nothingness is its main strength. The beginning of a sentence requires the strong, dominant capital letter to let you know that a new thought is about to begin. The simple, subtle period just closes that thought as a noble benediction. The capital letter and the period are equally powerful and the new sentence following it realizes it needs to take an additional step away from the previous sentence to define itself.

To quote Tom Robbins: This sentence thinks it's pregnant because it missed its period

Posted by: pj | April 9, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Our style guide still calls for two spaces after a period, which sometimes creates confusion between my brain and my fingers. I catch myself using two spaces on the boodle or one space in work materials.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 9, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

>but that nothingness is its main strength.

Ah pj, I see it is so. Hit me again master. :-)

It only now dawns on me: I am a one-spacer. I never even thought of it. Is it too late to blame the nuns?

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 9, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Imus gets a slap on the wrist.....what a pity

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 9, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I thought you were right, but I didn't have my ancient green-covered copy of ST around (circa 1968 or so), I went to to verify the text.

greenwithenvy, I like the noisy Neil (w/Crazy Horse) a little better than the pensive acoustic Neil, though both are good. Heck, that pretty much sums up "Live Rust," right?


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to hearing what the Rutgers basketball stars have to say tomorrow. I still think Imus needs to apologize them personally.

Posted by: Slyness | April 9, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm just laughing my --- off over this whole thing. Medallion, hire a medium, have the medium contact Mrs. McGee in the Great Beyond, and tell her it doesn't matter if people type one space or two, because the computer is going to ignore however many spaces there are, and do whatever it darn well pleases. So the two-space fans can continue to double-space their lives away, and the one-space fans can save thousands of nanoseconds of time typing only one space. And the computers that ACTUALLY RUN THE WORLD will do their thang and no one will be the wiser.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Right bc it sure does.

Out the door and off to work

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 9, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, made me laugh-did you make the newbie cry? I just finished a book by the guy who hiked out of the Andes after the crash (the title and author are escape me at this moment) and it was very inspiring. It seemed so very boodle like that you referenced the story in your post. I think the boodle is like Seinfeld- the most random and singular subjects are brought up and then...Boom, a whole lot of people think, "Oh yeah, how 'bout that time..."

Also, Mudge, I was reading GW's chat and I was sure you were one of the questioners. Someone expressed almost the same points!

My first slow dance was to a Neil Diamond song-Sweet Caroline...jiminy, I still love that song.

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

Raysmom, use two spaces in the boodle if you like, but by the time your comment appears the two will have become one. Which is why it's not worth worrying about, as Mudge suggests -- the software will create the final layout, no matter what you type.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 9, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

MedallionsofFerret... I guess the two spaces you use after a period are the two you don't use in your handle.

Heres the rule: Two spaces when using a monospaced font (which the old typewriters used); one space if you're using a variable-width font (which you're likely seeing here, unless you've got your browser set to use Courier or another such monospaced font).

If you're using a monospaced font, you need that extra space to help guide your eye to see that there is a new sentence (even with the elegance of period and capital letter). But a variable-width font visually creates a teeny bit of extra space after the period. See it?

That's because in a monospaced font, all the letters take up the same amount of space; the period takes up the same amount of space that the letter "m" takes up. In a variable-width font, the period is close to the letter it follows.

Boy.. that's a lot of explanation for something so mundane. This could be why I rank 7th in Boodle Diarrhea.

Posted by: TBG | April 9, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC- the title and author escape me..

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

Patti Smith of all people does a pretty cool version of "Helpless" on her new covers record "Twelve." I always liked the liner note on "Decade," something to the effect that the original was recorded at 4:00 a.m. when everybody else had slowed down to Young's speed.

Posted by: bill everything | April 9, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it's funny that I remember the period on my old Olympia portable being a lot larger than the period on the boodle, at least the way I have it set up. So, with the old typewriter it was more visible and didn't really need an extra space to set it off, whereas in the boodle's Times Roman[?] it can be hard to see depending on what it follows.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 9, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that in my top three rock concert memories of all time is seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse on the "Rust Never Sleeps" tour in the old Chicago Stadium. If you ever went to a Blackhawks game there you would know that during the national anthem the crowd would start roaring and by the end you could not hear the anthem any longer, such were the echo effects of the crowd noise.

The first half was acoustic and it was great. The second half was with Crazy Horse with Young and Frank Sampedro blasting away on guitar with three chords and a cloud of dust. As Dick Enberg might say, "oh, my!"

Posted by: bill everything | April 9, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Re : Joshua Bell. I like classical music but I don't think I would stop (maybe walk slowly) to listen if I were at the Metro station because I usually get to office just in time to start work. I use to have a boss who would stand in front of his office, which had a view of the main entrance, at 8am just to see who was late.

Posted by: rain forest | April 9, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

No, Kim, I didn't make the newbie cry -- yet. I'm still savoring the moment. I think one of my colleagues is setting up a "meet" to introduce him to the facts of life, our department -- and me.

Nope, I didn't submit anything to the GW chat. But I admit I felt better reading a few other people thinking the same approximate way I was.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Big hey to Wilbrod. Regarding your comment about the Ravenswood el. Should have explained. As it gets closer to downtown it has to weave through neighborhoods and goes 90 degrees about every half mile until it hits the Loop. Like a REALLY slow roller coaster but still difficult to concentrate on anything but those zany Ziggy cartoons. No wonder I left Chicago for the placid waters of central Indiana.

Posted by: bill everything | April 9, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Error - I REALLY enjoyed your take on "slack" earlier. A nice bit of perspective!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 9, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, Thanks for the hint. There are a lot of rock doves down by Medford but I haven't seen any around here. We are 500 feet higher in elevation and no crops are grown around here. Just pines and firs. But maybe a bandtail would come that got off the beaten path. I looked it up in the guide and that looks like a match. But I remember when I was young in Northern Califorina they always used to fly in flocks. One by himself seems strange. When were deer hunting, and a flock would burst out of the trees, especially below you on a ridge, what a rush!
We have had a pair of mountain quail come by twice that we have seen. What a wonderful bird display they were.
Right now we have a pair of sparrows building a nest just outside the window in front of our computer. The male is bright red on his head and half way down his wings and chest. I can't find him in the field guide either. Any suggestions? The local audubon society phone number just gives a recording of where their meeting are which are not convient to us.

Posted by: bh | April 9, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Happy belated birthday boodle! Back to work tomorrow. Harumph. The restoration project/room swap is nearly complete.

bill e: I've seen Neil Young more than any other artist, but missed the Rust tour. I have a friend that saw the tour at the LA Shrine Aud. He said it was the loudest show he ever went to. I was fortunate enough to catch the Ragged Glory tour. The encore was Like a Hurricane and Neil raged until at least a couple of strings broke from his Black Beauty. I like the Ragged Glory collection best of all, but I have to skip F*%#in' Up when the kids are in the car. My 7 year old son is particularly fond of Farmer John and has been since he was about three. BTW, I'm a two spacer, doomed by the Royal I learned to type on.

Posted by: jack | April 9, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

...and be advised that my middle daughter is headed into DC Wednesday through Friday on a school sponsored trip. She'll be the short blonde with pink glasses that looks kind of like me, but more like my dear wife. Come to think of it, the only part like me is the glasses, except mine aren't pink.

Posted by: jack | April 9, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Personally, my favorite Neil Diamond song is "I'm a Believer."

Speaking of Neil Young's range, greenwithenvy - what was he thinking when he made the "Trans" album with that bizarre cover of "Mr. Soul?" Yeesh.

TBG, Mudge; I appreciated the explantions of electronic text spacing.

I agree that Imus should have to go apologize to the women's basketball team, directly to their faces.


Posted by: bc | April 9, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I pity the fool who says anything bad about Ragged Glory.

Also I didn't have the time to trace through the kerfuffle about sentence spacing but I know that, for me, my stately sentences demand a wide berth of two spaces.

*proudly wiping knuckles on the lapel of his crimson smoking jacket*

Posted by: bill everything | April 9, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

jack - We'll certainly keep an eye out for her! (And you... you look just like her, but totally different, right?)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 9, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

bh --- your sparrow with the red head is probably a House Finch.

There is a very fine bird book called "Sibley Guide to Birds" that came out in 2000. It covers birds from all over the United States, with wonderful illustations.

Posted by: nellie | April 9, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: instert an "r" in the right place there. Hard to type with a cat walking on your desk.

Posted by: nellie | April 9, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

bc, Trans is another gem, IMHO. When Neil cut that one, the rumor mill has it that he had two 'gendered' voice synthesizers, quite a rare commodity at the time. Kraftwerk had the other ones. Neil did the version of Mr. Soul you referred to as part of the Shocking Pinks tour. If you listen carefully to the guitar it is much like the original, but tweaked in a cryptic hint of what would eventually be attributed to the birth of grunge. I was part of the concert committee stage crew that night and met Joel Bernstein while I set up guitar stands and wheeled out a Fender DeVille amp onto the stage. We ended up about six feet from the stage, center. Dude.

Yeah, Bob. Like anyone would notice. Ha.

Posted by: jack | April 9, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

dr-best to hope for early spring, but Grand Forks has a dry and windy type of cold. It only took one winter there to understand how the dustbowl could drive a farm woman to kill herself after sending her children off to heaven. Other than that, it's a wonderful place.

Toodles. Off to Minneapolis tomorrow and I hope home in time to live comment the phone numbers to vote for worthy AI contestants, and hair boy too. However, I can promise nothing because there is a winter storm advisory out and if the roads are bad my feeble Stop Sanjaya campaign will be foiled.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 9, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

The Rita Wilson article on Greek Easter was really good, and I wish she had written it about 30 years ago when I had Greek friends --- who invited us to church, and I didn't go because I wasn't a church goer --- but I see now, that would have been quite wonderful.

Posted by: nellie | April 9, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I also agree that Imus should apologize to the team members in person. I frequently watch Imus in the a.m. I generally enjoy the people he interviews...McCain, Mitchell, Meacham, Russert, Kerry. I don't think I can watch him any longer...I really think he strayed into unforgivable land. An interview with that charlatan, Sharpton, won't change that.

Posted by: Kim | April 9, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

bh, maybe a house finch or a purple finch? They're sparrow-sized, my book tells me. I'm really a rank amateur at this, so probably don't know what I'm talking about. That's why I like my woodpeckers - very distinctive.

I've never seen Neil Young in concert - nice to hear all your memories. And both Neil Young and Neil Diamond are in The Last Waltz.

I had no problem adapting to one space. I only wish computers or even word processors had been around 20 years earlier - would have made my college term paper experience completely different. Or at least less messy.

Also, the developer of Word is a billionaire. I know this because he paid $20 million to go into space:

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Note - I posted before I read nellie's note, so glad to see she thinks it could be a house finch. Sibley's is a good book, but I don't have it. Must add it to the list.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

And obviously I know computers existed before the early 70's - I meant the word processing software for personal computers that replaced typewriters. Another example of my sloppy writing - a thousand apologies.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 10, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the Saskatchewan kind of cold, frostbitten. I will keep it in mind.

Actually, I am finding the disscussion on the periods, courier new, monospace fonts etc. deeply interesting. These are likely the phantom format issues that have plagued me for years moving between the boss' beloved WP 5.1, the new WP, and Word in all its intarnations. He is old fashioned and mildly rigid in his formatting (typing teacher was a nun), uses courier new, does not consider full justification a reasonable looking form for even the most mundane of tasks...this is a person who only stopped using WP 5.1 when his 286 died and the IT guy told him we could not get the old program onto his new computer (We lied.) I have been known to be responsible for opening and reformatting old things and restoring perfection no matter what format the result needs to be sent out in. These are things I might need to know.

Here is a piece of Canadian curiousity that even Canadians don't know. If you send a document digitally to certain sections of the federal government, you are required to send it in a WP format.

Posted by: dr | April 10, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Bill everything, thanks for the colorful description of the El out of Ravenwood. Such a ride sounds like one of the little-known treasure of Chicago. I must try it when I do visit.

Very little of the metro system in the DC area is actually elevated, and the ride tends to be fairly gentle.

However, the ride from College Park to Union Station tends to have a significant altitude change which does change my ear pressure slightly. Ditto for the train going under the Potomac out of Rosslyn-- that pressure change only affects my ears one way, not the other, though.

The real wild rides are the escalators in the DC metro. Some subway stops have escalators so long that I would hum "Stairway to Heaven" if I knew it. And when they're broken, that's the pits.

They built those old stations with only one friggin' elevator each, too. Some stops have elevators that are forever out of service except for brief periods between one repair and the next.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *contemplating a merging of Neil Young's guitar thrashing and Grover waves, followed by a visit to the ER*


Actually, some U.S. government agencies STILL rely on WP... *ahem*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Interesting day for science at the NY Times...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 4:57 AM | Report abuse


It is a wonder all those head bangers don't wear neck braces!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 10, 2007 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Jack, a solution to your F*%#in' problem. Not for work!

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2007 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I made the 100,000th comment and my birthday is April 9th. If I had been born only one day earlier....I got nothing.
Good night.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 10, 2007 5:46 AM | Report abuse

martooni, here's a page listing a bunch ofm leg of lamb recipes. I can't vouch for any particular recipe, but I can vouch for the outfit, Cook's Illustrated, whose recipes and information I use all the time. They are very, very good, and very useful. (Anybody out there a subscriber as I am?)

I have a hunch there's a major goof on the WaPo home page. The lead headline says "U.S. Troops Weary of Militia in Sadr City" but reading the story I get the impression they are wary (suspicious of)rather than weary (tired).

'Morning, Boodle. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. *long pleasurable sigh* That first sip of coffee. Nuthin quite like it (except maybe that first puff of a cigarette way back when I was a smoker several decades ago).

Gene Robinson has a column on Imus, which I'm gonna read now. But part of me is thinking, "OK, Imus is a [sphincter], he always was a [sphincter], and nothing anybody says will change him from being a [sphincter] into a bona fide human being, and maybe it's time to start ignoring him rather than continuing to keep him in the spotlight." But Robinson always has something worthwhile to say.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, great. Another new outrage from the Dept. of Justice and Aluminum Storm Door Replacement:

Six U.S. Attorneys Given 2nd Posting in Washington

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 10, 2007; A03

A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records.

Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, for example, has been effectively absent from his job as U.S. attorney in Montana for nearly two years -- prompting the chief federal judge in Billings to demand his removal and call Mercer's office "a mess."

Another U.S. attorney, Michael J. Sullivan of Boston, has been in Washington for the past six months as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He is awaiting confirmation to head the agency permanently while still juggling his responsibilities in Massachusetts.

The number of U.S. attorneys pulling double duty in Washington is the focus of growing concern from other prosecutors and from members of the federal bench, according to legal experts and government officials.

Mercer's been AWOL from Montana for two years. Jeez. Wonder where he learned that stunt? From the Texas Air National Guard?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2007 6:36 AM | Report abuse

scotty, there seems to be a common theme running through those three NYT links you posted at 4:57...

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

Of course there is, 'Mudge...


*paging Thomas Dolby and his Golden Age of Wireless*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Neil Young -- I have the Compleat Neal Young Oeve in my posession. His bad stuff is pretty ok. At least he did not sing the same stuff for 30 years like some people.

Sometimes, I thought that he, like Steve Nash, could use a good hair cut.

DR, as you know, he is from Sask., which is familiar with the cold of which Frosti speaks. The varieties of cold on the steppe that is meso North America build fierce people, if they don't die.

Frosti -- I have one or two of those stories of despair in relatives. You may know about the Children's Blizzard of 1888:

One family was involved in a murder-suicide or suicide-pact after all their children died in that blizzard.

Of course, you also know about the big fires in Eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin, particularly the Hinkley and Cloquet fires. Other relatives experienced that particular hell.

Fire and ice.

My, I am cheery this morning. Back to word-processing oddities: Occasionally, especially if you space or backspace near the word to be placed in quotes, quote marks, both single and double, HANG THE WRONG WAY! This produces in me the same effect as fingernails- -on- chalkboards.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2007 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Cp, as soon as I get to work this morning, I will send you an email. With all the curling, I forgot. I had half a mind once, but only once.

Posted by: dr | April 10, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Mudge, read Eugene Robinson this morning. I like it. I do believe Imus needs to apologize to the folks he talked about. The young people need to hear and see this man, and he most certainly needs to see and hear them. Two weeks, and he'll be back doing what he does. How many beats did he miss?

Still cold here. Daughter and g-girl left this morning at five thirty. And today I begin the liquid diet. I'm hungry already. This is going to be really tough.

A busy week ahead. Have much to do, and need to get started. I hope all of you have a great day, no matter the weather. I'm going to wrap up like crazy and try to stay warm.

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

Ivansmom, I so want to know what the boy is doing with duct tape. I find it really intriguing, I do. And I know duct tape has many uses, but I just want to know. (smile)

Martooni, thinking of you.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 10, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Today's comics have been mining the boodle. In Dennis The Menace, Margaret has been crushing on Joshua Bell. I hate it when cartoon first graders are more culturally savvy than me.

And Frazz makes a lutefisk joke:

We should be charging royalties.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I saw a bloodred sun this morning peaking over the horizon. That's seldom good.

Regarding Gene's experiment. I think one factor is the casual way we treat music. Next to medical care and variable width fonts, one of the greatest gifts of the modern age is the ubiquitousness of music. At this very moment I am wearing a very nice pair of Bose sound-cancelling headphones and listening to Vivaldi. And this hardly makes me, you know, special.

This stands in stark contrast to people years ago to whom music was rare and wondrous. Even the wealthy could only expect to hear a given piece of music a very few times in a lifetime. Sometimes only once.

So, I suggest, perhaps one explanation for Gene's observation is that people are so used to living in an ocean of music that even a "genius" like Bell simply doesn't get our attention. We take good music for granted.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Hi Raysmom,

Have you been on the MommyBlog lately. I heard colleagues talking about yesterday and am wondering. Today's topic concerns religion and parenting. Even if people have upped the civility there, I expect that today's posts could be ugly.

At the late yesterday, nearly frozen blackbirds in position but NO signing what so ever. Little swallows darting at the water, getting ready for insect season no doubt.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

CP, I still occasionally skim the MommyBlog, but haven't seen today's. Seems like On Parenting covered that topic a couple of weeks ago, though.

Scotty! WP indeed! *ahem* The boss loves it; to me, WP is to Word as technical jargon is to standard English. It's familiar enough that you think you understand it, but then it sucker-punches you.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, everyone. *waving*

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse


That's why I brute-force my way through documents and use either WP's or Word's "bells and whistles" as little as possible.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I believe Wheaton Metro has the longest escalator in the western hemisphere (230 ft). Forest geln is the deepest but has an elevator only exit. (how do you get out when that thing breaksdown.

I'm a two spacer by habit, but I also know in the modern age of computers/internet it does not matter. But in HTML    will force double spacing (non-breaking space).

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

umm:SCC:Forest Glen...(hangs head in shame)

And the double space in my post was forced by something called a general entity that I that wouldn't work as it did cause well we don't have anything else that work HTML

& nbsp ;

Remove the space after the ampersand and before the semi-colon.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

SCCCCCCCC:Arg, that second paragraph. Time for a walk.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Boko - happy birthday a day late!

And Hi, all. Happy Tuesday.

Posted by: Wheezy | April 10, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

My quotes of the day seemed to have been personalized for me!

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
- AA Milne
The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward.
- John Maynard Keynes
The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath.
- Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart

Posted by: dmd | April 10, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The sweetspot with Word was Version 6.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, me to. The simpler you keep the darn things, the saner one stays.

For all the parents of small children in the world everywhere and my mother,

I love dirt.

Posted by: dr | April 10, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Mornin', Boodle (and Joel, too)...

Neil Young has to be one of my favorite performers of all time. The Grandpappie of Grunge. No offense to CSN fans, but CSN without the "&Y" is just beer with no whiskey chaser.

Thanks, Cassandra... it must be working. Today will be 15 days.

Maybe it's the lack of a hangover, but I'm actually feeling ambitious today.

I called the local newspaper this morning to place a classified ad for my new handyman business ("Handy Hippie Remodeling & Handyman Service"). Think "Larry, Darryl & Darryl" all cleaned up and rolled into one person who actually knows what he's doing. Of course, this means I need to get my old VW Bus running soon. Handy Hippie can't be showing up on job sites in a nondescript forest green Ford Windstar minivan.

Speaking of doing... lots of doing to do today. Finished off one of the bedrooms yesterday and starting on the other today. The rental house from Hell is finally starting to shape up. The new electrical service passed inspection yesterday, so while I'm waiting for drywall compound to dry I'll be crawling around that dang attic again running wire.

Peace out, my friends...

Posted by: martooni | April 10, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I used to think the Peachtree Center MARTA escalator was mighty long at 190 feet, but it seems Wheaton has it beat. For some reason it doesn't seem as intimidating.

The Peachtree Center escalator was used as the gateway to heaven in 'The Heavenly Kid'.

We need to get Dreamer to chime in on the Hong Kong escalator systems.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ha. I think I have a copy of a WordStar manual around, and I am looking at a manual for Word Perfect - the McGraw-Hill College Version (circa 1986). With the 5 1/4" floppy formatted for DOS 2.1 tucked into a pocket in the rear cover.

Scotty, you and the NYT have springtime on your minds. Life-affirming, I'd say.


Posted by: bc | April 10, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

martooni - there are days when I really wish I had your job.

Just so long as I can keep my 401K.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

dr, that article about how good dirt is for you made me laugh. My mother was still sterilizing bottles for me and I was eating dirt. I've always said it contributed to my good health. Now evidence that it contributes to good mental health as well!

I love dirt too.

Posted by: Slyness | April 10, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy late b'day, boko and congrats on the 100k comment.

I had the two spaces argument with my wife a while ago. In her day she was a WP5.1 whiz doing highly formatted code language changes. She could use the F keys without an overlay.

I miss the days of reveal codes. Paragraph styles are so clunky and quirky. I nearly put my foot through the monitor every time Word decides to renumber paragraphs randomly.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

bc - Over the weekend I helped my father-in-law clean out his attic. We uncovered an AT clone circa 1987 that he had stored up there complete with WordPerfect, DOS, Lotus 1-2-3 and Tetris. All on 5 and 1/4 of course. I made the argument that these were all potentially valuable artifacts from an earlier age and should be preserved.

I was cruelly over-ruled.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse


Oh, what an eBay listing that would have been...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

YJ-- REVEAL CODES! O! I miss that option. At penultimate and blueline phases, MSWORD still results in fingerprints of code weirdness. I am glad to not at the end of the pipeline any more, in document crunching land.

RDP -- The MITH program at Maryland -- MD Inst. for Technology in the Humanities does keep such dinosaurs around, to look at programs and asses the ethnography of digital-land.

Martooni -- A lifeguard from Slovakia kept coming to the US on student Visas to 1) earn cash by handman work and 2) see the sights. We miss him so much for his charm, work ethic, and skill. He is now a full grown govmint man in the Czech Republic, and cannot get the student visa set up to come here. Your new biz fits such a market niche: handyman, rent-a-husband, fix-it guy, Mr. Green Jeans......You can come to DC with Bean and Mrs. M, and work up a storm here and vacation.......

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

RDP... I understand. I just turned my back on a 20+ year career in IT to do this. Hopefully, the experiment in "doing what you love" will work out.

Posted by: martooni | April 10, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Whoopies....How did that happen? As I was checking, I clicked by accident.

RDP -- MITH ASSESSES such programs and computers......

And other problems....

through my fault (x2) (and) my most grievous fault

Cue Wagner's Ride of the V... music as I am off to hold office hours that NO ONE shows up for......

Posted by: CP in SCC mode | April 10, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, around here, nobody doing construction and/or handyman services is hurting for work or money. When word gets around that you do good work for fair prices, you'll have as much to do as you want to, and then some.

Posted by: Slyness | April 10, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

yello, CP, the WP I use still has Reveal Codes, but I have no clue what they mean. At least when Word randomly renumbers, you can go in and brute-force it back to reality. In WP, I just sit here and whimper.

martooni, you are more fortunate than many because you *know* what you love to do. I would follow your path, except I doubt I can find anyone to pay me to lay in a hammock, reading and sipping Sauvignon Blanc.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

CP... have tools, but haven't regained my "travel bug" yet. When I do, I'll definitely let everyone know. I wonder what handyman work in the Keys pays.

Off to get dirty now.

Later, Boodle...

Posted by: martooni | April 10, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

RDP, I've been hanging on to various machines with old OS (Win NT 3.51 anyone?) and just can't seem to throw the stuff away. Something about the CD-ROM burner I paid $2K for in '96...

In other news, has Richard Cohen always been wrong on everything? I seem to remember a time when I read his column and got some insight, now it's just an exercise in how you can jump to the wrong conclusions consistently. I mean poor poor Monica Goodling... just scared into pleading the Fifth, huh?


Posted by: Error Flynn | April 10, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

For someone who adopts new technology as soon as it hits the ground, I am desperately holding on to WordPerfect 3.5 for the Mac, which hasn't been supported since around 1995 (really!). They haven't made a Mac version since then.

I love its simplicity and ease of use, but especially the macros I wrote way back when that do ALL my work for me. I must take Word documents and turn them into beautiful Quark XPress docs and my WP macros do all the turning for me.

The new Intel Macs don't support the old Classic Mac applications. There is someone out there who has developed a way to do such a thing and there's a huge Mac WP Yahoo user group that depends on his hard work and others' help to keep this great program alive.

I'm afraid that even if Corel were to develop a Mac version of WP again, it would be another huge frills-filled behemoth word-processing program.

Anyone remember XYwrite?

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

BTW... anyone think Joel is going for the second 100,000 on this kit alone?

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I used to hang onto an old 386 machine just so I could play a game called "El-Fish."

Alas, the machine died. And with it hundreds of beautiful little electronic fishies.

Excuse me. I need a moment alone now.

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

omni, you are the official boodle genius of the day, in my book. Your discovery makes it possible to create boodle art.

                ,     :     ,
          '.        :        ,`
      '-.   '.      :      ,`   ,-`
   "-.   '-.  '.    :    ,`  ,-`   ,-"
      "-.   '-. '.  :  ,` ,-`   ,-"
 '"--.   '"-.  '-.'  '  `.-`  ,-"`   ,--"`
      '"--.  '"-.   ...   ,-"`  ,--"`
           '"--.  .:::::.  ,--"`

(That's a sunset, and it's a stolen design. I have absolutely no creativity or talent. I should have been an engineer.)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 10, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

TBG, you goddess you! XYWrite was my first love....hey, a student is showing up...hey, does not look familiar....wants to know if he can make up work staring in January.....since he noticed that he was registered for the class.....ACKKK!!!!!

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Okay, we already knew the preview feature isn't perfect. And also: that just takes up space and doesn't really add anything to the boodle. Sorry. But it's a demonstration that with omni's non-breaking space, you can do graphic stuff, even if you won't be able to know ahead of time exactly what it will look like.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 10, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

...And don't hate me for that engineer crack. Some of my best friends and most-loved relatives are engineers. I don't mean it in a bad way. I live with artists, and I am not creative so sometimes that's how I feel. Am I making it worse? Great discussion today, I am enjoying reading all of it but don't have time to chime in--I have too many opinions about word processing, Neil Young, Imus, etc. and no time to put them into a coherent form.

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

Word's automated formatting is absolutely evil. The gall, the arrogance!
I would still use Lotus' Amipro 3.0 if it were possible. I think it was the only program that actually worked under the clunky Windows 3.1 interface-that pretended-to-be-an-OS.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 10, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

NBC's morning program covered the Imus fallout. We were watching on-and-off and listening all the time while moving about the kitchen. Since we don't talk in street slang, I asked Loomispouse what does "hos" mean? He took a quick guess, and I said that sounds right, and thanks to reading Eugene Robinson's column, Robinson confirmed it.

It wasn't until listening to Michele Moore of the National Urban League on NBC's Today show that the meaning of what Imus said began to sink in.

It was Moore was said that Imus' remark was as sexist as it is racist. Why didn't anyone call that out on the Boodle yesterday, I wonder? Why can we feel collectively outraged about "nappy-headed" but feel no sense of outrage at young women being called "hos"?

(My thinking cap is working at a snail's pace these days because of a hand problem and hand pain--which is related to my husband's ongoing foot problem.) So I thank Michele Moore for her appearance on the NBC show, her comment and the fact she raised awareness of the *dual* issue.

On another note related to racism:

I thought Mudge's Fractured History Fable of Henry the Navigator was a bit disingenuous, now that I've read that material in Reston's "Dogs of God"--which prompted me to go out and buy the biography about H the N. If I had realized at one time that Hank was the grandson of John at Gaunt--and therefore on the family tree, I had forgotten it when Mudge included it in his retelling.

In Reston's chapter that is titled "Spices and Black Gold," the reader learns that, yes, the Portuguese caravels were the fastest ships of the times with shallow draughts. And that Henry had a salon at Raposeira, where, in the 1450s, sea captains, geographers, astrologers, mathematicians and shipbuilders met, part of the decades of labor by the Portuguese to improve sea charts and navigation instruments.

And with improved maps and improved seafaring technology, what do the Portuguese do? They skip down to charted Africa and pick up peoples along the coast, and whisk them back to Portugal and Europe as slaves.

From Reston's book: "The search for the gold of Black Africa and the muscle of black slaves was always subsumed in the higher and more noble-sounding goal of Christianizing the infidel and attacking heretical Islam. ...In 1452, Pope Nicholas V had issued his bull**** which specifically authorized the King of Portugal to make war on the infidels, to conquer their lands, and to enslave their natives. ...Medieval observers could recoil at the suffering of blacks at the same time as they rejoiced at the prospect that black souls were being saved from eternal damnation."

So it would be interesting to query the descendants of slaves and, if they belong to a Christian church, ask them how they feel about their Christian religion and ask "Is it better to be a believer, a Christian, now given the past cost of having their families torn asunder and been taken into slavery?"

Posted by: Loomis | April 10, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

>I have absolutely no creativity or talent. I should have been an engineer.

>...And don't hate me for that engineer crack.

I was going to say without them you wouldn't have been a very good engineer.

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

Reveal codes lets you see the actual formatting codes in the text which work similar to HTML tags. The MSWord system is inpenetrable and non-hackable. Word like most M$ products gives you what it thinks you want, not what you actually tell it to do.

Quattro Pro had real 3-D spreadsheets, a feature Excel has avoided for over a decade. The battle does not always go to the swift or the strong...

ASCII art is a lost skill. Proportional spacing killed it along with the double space after periods.

Back in the 286 days, we had to continually retrain receptionists to not put hard returns in at the end of lines.

And kb, no umbrage taken. I am proud to be an engineer and accept all the baggage it comes with.

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

Howdy all. Actually, Loomis, several of us yesterday pointed out that Imus insulted the team both racially and as women. "Profound disrespect", I think, was my term.

I'd just like to say that I profoundly dislike Word. I am a two-spacer, I know better but my fingers move more quickly than my mind. I dislike Word because it is not set up for documents with a lot of footnotes. If you regularly write, say 50 or 100 footnotes, there are all kinds of placement problems. Word doesn't care either; you can complain to Microsoft all you want and they chuckle and count their money again.

kbertocci, thanks for the computer art!

Cassandra, I'd like to know what will happen with that duct tape too. As soon as I find out I'll announce it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

yello, way back I used a 3D spreadsheet called Javelin. Is that what you speak of?

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I just saw this article and am quite amazed, note to self do not get a traffic ticket in Georgia!

Posted by: dmd | April 10, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my sincere apology. I looked at your 10:54 and you phrased the argument extremely well.

I'm looking at Cohen's op-ed, as directed by RDP, and am wondering why would the reaction be if Cohen had written the following:

Mark Goodling is not my kind of guy. A graduate of two schools not known for partying (Messiah College and Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School), he [the 33-year-old attorney] would not be my ideal seatmate on a long airplane flight.

Posted by: Loomis | April 10, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Linda FYI - That was Error Flynn who pointed to the Cohen article, not me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, I think Cohen would use "he" and "him" a lot more in his article, but outside of that I don't see much of a difference.

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

Loomis, in my reminiscence about Henry the Navigator I specially mentioned that the sailors became capable of jumping around the prolematic North Africa area and went to Sengal and Sierra Leonne instead--and promptly started the slave trade, which I told Henry was a lousy idea.

In the discussion about the "nappy-headed hos" quote, I don't remember anyone specicially breaking it down into its parts--we were all pretty much offended by the totality of it, racial as well as sexist. I don't have a clue how one decides which half is more offensive than which other half. The "nappy-headed" part sounds to me like 19th century plantation talk, and got my hackles up right there, before Imus ever got to "hos." There is a certain amount of irony that "ho" came out of black gangsta street culture, which I've always found to be highly objectionable for its mysogyny and sexism, and I've never been able to figure out why its OK for rap music to have the content it does. Many people have remarked on its mysogony and racism--but no one seems outraged about it--until a white guy uses it. It's almost the same thing with the infamous "N" word. It was funny the first half a dozen times Richard Pryor used it--but to me it quickly wore itself out (and I love Richard Pryor. But enough's enough.) And then it became routine among "gangstas" (to me the whole "gangsta" thing is prima facie offensive) to use variants of the "N" word, and that got REAL old REAL fast, and was offensive to me from the git-go. But what can ya do. "Ho" is so wrong on about three or four levels it isn't even worth dissecting. And I never heard Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton so much as raise a finger in protest against it. It makes Bill Cosby livid--and good for him.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, all, just not at all with it the last few days...I'd better get on to my day.

Husband was home three days at the end of last week with jungle rot of the foot. For more than two weeks, including the trip to Philly, Loomispouse thought he had gout and treated it as such. He has now had blood tests and X-rays, and the PA thinks its a bacterial infection in that ball joint just south of one of his big toes. He was told not to wear shoes last Wed.-Fri. and to stay off of it.

His long hours, travel, and incapacitation for three weeks has meant that all the yard work is mine. I have raked, swept, pruned with broken hand shears that should have been replaced a year ago (solved that problem at Lowe's on Friday for $15) and raked and swept and pruned--to the point I have created carpal tunnel-like syndrome on my right hand. I have awakened now for the last week in the morning with two fingertips that are numb and with hand pain, similar to last year, but worse.

Don't believe anyone who tells you spring comes in pretty here. It comes with a tremendous amount of hard work attached. Live oak trees leaves predominate in the landscape and the leaves turn brown and tough and brittle. They fall off the trees over the course of about three weeks in March Your November, your fall, occurs in our March.

Once the live oak trees shed their leaves, the live oak tree tassles start to come out, lacy and lovely before the trees erupt in tender green leaves. This is pretty, but short-lived, as the tassles grow into long furry tails. Then they fall. If the rains hit them, the chemical compound in them will stain concrete a dark brown. To compound their nastiness and messines, they release poppy-like seeds by the thousands and yellow pollen. I cannot sit with a cup of coffee outside or a book when the tassels fall--both the book and the cup of coffee could be altered--for the worse--within moments.

We are now 6 inches above normal rainfall and the heavy rains have brought down, in turn, the leaves, and the tassels in huge quantity, all at once.

I think Loomispouse may (this is a guess)be silently taking on the stress of his layoff and expressing it physically, and I may be silently subverting my anger at him for not being able to do much except sit at a computer or in front of the televison for hours on end. But he does have an interview coming up with Wachovia for a senior stage position, so hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: Loomis | April 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, try loading it into an html document first, using your favorite text editor, but viewing in IE (or your favorite browser).

Now I have to say I am completely upset with TurboTax, as they have royally messed up my return, and the help file is completely useless  This piece of junk with no input from, me decided to fill out a DC Schedule U claiming I paid taxes to MD last year  Which of course I didn't  Now I have to file an amended return, which of course can't be done electronically  Stupid program  I need a walk.

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

Linda I most sincerely wish you and your husband the best in these stressful times. I have been in similar situations of uncertainty many times before.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Huh-what??? where did all my periods go.

Now I have to say I am completely upset with TurboTax, as they have royally messed up my return, and the help file is completely useless.  This piece of junk with no input from, me decided to fill out a DC Schedule U claiming I paid taxes to MD last year.  Which of course I didn't.  Now I have to file an amended return, which of course can't be done electronically.  Stupid program.  I need a walk.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

That's a little better, and do you see my double spacing after the period. I think I actually prefer single

double post tuesday strikes again...

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

That's a little better, and do you see my double spacing after the period. I think I actually prefer single

double post tuesday strikes again...

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

omni, either your & codes didn't work, or you're six months pregnant.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Raysmon - excuse my while I clean the coffee from my keyboard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC: RaysmoM

RaysmoN is his friend from Jamaica.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

re: Mudge's 10:52

And as Meredith Viera pointed out in her interview this morning with a panel of four commentators, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jackson had actually used a slur against the New York Jews in one of his earlier political campaigns. When Jackson heard that about-play, he looked quite uncomfortable, in my opinion.

Why do it? Those Hawaiian slang racial terms that I brouhgt over form the NYT--I hardly understand or can translate half of them. Haole--the slang term for white, I learned my first summer on the Big Island.

What Reston makes clear, without hesitation, is the rationale given by the Church for the Portuguese slave trade. I now own three of Reston's quartet and am lacking his biography of Galileo. Anyone read it and can comment?

Posted by: Loomis | April 10, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

My secret for easy tax preparation is to marry a mathematician.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

omni, did you use the Import feature on TurboTax?

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

Loomis, please take care of that hand. I messed up my elbow joint in February tying in fence and it still doesn't work right. We have the same problem here with live oaks, but a yard mess is better than a hand mess. Also, best of luck to you and Spouse.

My solution to tax preparation was to marry someone who used to work for the IRS troubleshooting returns. We're on a lifetime possible audit list (he knows the "secrets", I guess) but it is worth it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, 15 days is awesome. Good thoughts are coming your way. . . Everyone else in the world is probably aware of this, but the contractors who worked on my house were happy to pick up materials, etc., from HD and Lowe's, as long as I gave them a list of exactly what I wanted. I paid them for the time they spent doing that, and they received a discount on the materials, while they charged me full price. It was worth it to me. I agree with whomever said word of mouth will be priceless to you.

Kbert, no umbrage taken, but maybe good engineers are just the equivalent of world-class violinists. The general public lacks the background to truly appreciate us, so it's good we (engineers) appreciate each other's creativity, talent and logic! :-) (And non-aggressive tendencies--just came in to a note requesting mercy for someone whose process has beeped me at 4 a.m. each of the last 2 nights. Eh, it happens, now he knows what to fix).

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I wish your spouse the best of luck with both his health and his career.

I think Javelin escaped me. There are some very elegant technical ways that Quattro Pro and eventually Lotus 1-2-3 handled cells on multiple sheets. Quattro Pro also had way better charts than Excel has ever had. M$ instead decided to focus on pivot tables (which still baffle me to this day) and web integration.

These are now very mature products that are suffering feature bloat. The qwerty-like lock-in has occurred and there is very little chance of innovation ever happening to these product categories again.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

yello, I'm with you on Excel. I learned it after Lotus and Javelin and at best have merely come to terms with it.

And whyohwhyohwhy does Microsoft think that reorganizing the menus is an "improvement?" The big boss was showing me the new Excel the other day, and thought things were much easier to find. Yeah, if you use the program 2x a year, maybe. For us daily users, we're going to have to spend the next two months on productive endeavors such as finding where they hid the Subtotal function.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Oooh, Quattro Pro brings such nice memories. I never had a better nerdic laugh as when Excel tried to make a bar-graph out of impedance(in complex number) vs frequency data. Excel may be useful to shoe salepersons but a scientific tool it ain't. Cricketgraph anyone?
There is a flipping snowstorm outside. The weather guy sure didn't get the Spring memo yet. The crocuses and daffodils are just pining to bloom, they're still waiting for the pistol-blast starting signal of a warm day.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

TBG, you're onto me. We're going for the first 100,000-comment kit.

Actually I'll post a couple things soon. I'm wrasslin' with a long magazine story.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The medium ($143.75 plus tax) informs me that Mrs. McGee has indicated that those students who use computers with automatic kerning software should not expect to obtain credit for passing Typing I.

She also said that despite Prince Henry's involvement in the development of the slave trade he believes he is a nice guy.

Word Handler, a very early word processing program that required exiting from the "entry" module and booting an "edit" module in order to alter the text entries, was not nearly as aggravating to use as M$ Word.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"...despite Prince Henry's involvement in the development of the slave trade he believes he is a nice guy."

I'm LOL and cleaning my keyboard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

There you go. New kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 10, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: pohxduk nzmtswq | April 22, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: pfbzasr jgxuqysrf | April 22, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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