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Gainesville the Best City?

USA Today reports that a new book lists G'ville as the best city in America. This shocks me, since both the Pizza Palace and Skeeter's have long since been closed. As well as the What-a-Burger. And that head shop called the Subterranean Circus, with the ZAP comics up front and the black light posters in back. The cultural devastation has been horrible. The only landmark left is Joe's Deli. Well, and the university, I guess. And the springs. But otherwise it's not the "All-American City" of its salad days (also known as the Bean Sprout Era).

Could this latest ranking be due, in part, to the many mentions in this blog of Hogtown? Or is this ancillary glory from the recent efflorescence of the Gators? Or is this merely the latest manifestation of a societal compulsion, bordering on a pathology, to rank everything in a vain effort to impose order on the chaos of modern life?

Here's what I know: Just a little while back they were selling an acre back in the woods behind my house (where I grew up) for 60K. Shoulda grabbed it! And the Litchfield place went for a song, and it's 10 acres!

Others celebrate Gainesville's triumph: I see missed real estate opportunities.

("The golden opportunity I conceive is past," wrote George Washington to his brother, "and I own it has been a matter of astonishment to me that all of you should have been so inattentive to it...where does my most valuable property lye? Berkeley -- what did it originally cost about -- years ago? Nothing, or that which is as near to it as possible." [The Grand Idea, p. 56] Buy early and abundantly in the sticks, watch the value rise as wilderness turns to civilization. But by 1784 it was already too late. And now???? Fuggedaboutit.)

From USAToday:

'Gainesville (up from No. 56 ) benefits from "a strong concentration of young people and active retirees." With a population of 248,000, its only drawbacks are hot, sticky summers and a relatively high violent crime rate, most of it drug-related.'

Violent crime and uninhabitable climate: A rounding error is what we call that.

Speaking of real estate fantasies, that was the topic of a blog entry that I filed a couple of years ago from the unnamed Paso Robles , which, combined with San Luis Obispo, is number 9 on the list:

'Traveling in California is dangerous, because you start having real estate investment fantasies. Something about the air, the light, the golden hills, it makes you turn your face to the sun, take a deep breath, and think: I could make some money here.

'Like, maybe you'll invest in this cute little wine-country town in the Central Coast, the one that's pre-Starbucks, that doesn't feel fully discovered, that's so sleepy you could pitch a tent on Main Street after 9 p.m. The one with the old drive-in root beer stand where the waitress hangs a tray on your car window and you feel like you're in American Graffiti. There are dozens of wineries in the surrounding vales, new vines everywhere. (At a winery you can pull right in, sidle up to a counter, and sample six wines for three bucks. At one winery there's a sign over the exit that says "Who's the Skipper?" Apparently that is a reference to the driver, who should be someone who hasn't overtasted the grapes, but it is simply impossible to avoid thinking "Alan Hale.")

'Yes, invest now, park some big money here in wine country and watch it double in a decade. Every day you wait, you're letting opportunity erode. Eventually this place will be ruined like every other place, totally overbuilt, congested, a parody of itself, and if you don't join in the ruination right this second you're an idiot.'

. I can sniff 'em out.

--

Boodle mining:

Due to logistical complications the comments about today's item were posted prior to the actual writing and publication of the item. This is possible on this blog in large part because no one cares what I have to say, anyway. But just fyi, here are a couple of comments from this morning:

yellojkt: 'There seems to be a factor in the ranking that gives an advantage to college towns. College towns often ride the coat tails of the local university when it comes to factors like cultural events, public spaces, educational quality. Often these facilities and amenities are not always used by or accessible to townies.

1. Gainesville, Fla. University of Florida.
4. Colorado Springs -Air Force Academy
5. Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan
15. Durham, N.C. - Duke
17. Charlottesville, Va. -University of Virginia
29. Athens-Clarke County, Ga. - University of Georgia
36. Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio State University
49. State College, Pa. - Penn State

Not that I have anything against these towns, but these are the open field colleges I made a point of avoiding. Not my idea of best places to live.'

Loomis: 'Modesto, Calif. may be on the bottom of the USA Today list Joel linked to because it has high crime and expensive housing--but it has a fantastic farmers' market and easy access to the Sierra and outdoor recreation--Tahoe, the 49er Highway, and Yosemite, as well as relatively easy access to the Bay Area.'

--

Latest movie promotion stunt.

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 8, 2007; 10:31 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Farmer's Almanac
Next: Student Drivers, Cafe Society, Wild Corn and Farmed Salmon

Comments

First repost!

---

For those who think watching paint dry is just a little too titillating...

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/internet/05/08/cheese.site/index.html

Posted by: martooni | May 8, 2007 01:20 PM

Posted by: martooni | May 8, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone, I'm busy and can only pop in for a moment.

Gainesville the best city in America?

I've spent plenty of time there, and I have to say - I don't think so. It is far far from the worst, though.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 8, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

And here I was hoping to retire to Crawford, Texas.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

At least the State managed to buy San Felasco Hammock when it was affordable. By way of explanation, it's a hardwood forest (sort of a rarity in Florida) named for a non-existent saint.

I hear the latest retirement fad is to check into a unversity-related retirement community with some kind of special relationship to a university. In the case of UF, maybe such a retirement community could house a few classrooms and invite in real UF courses that can't find a place to meet on a campus that hasn't kept up with enrollments. A biology teaching lab would be even better.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 8, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The worst city in America is Terre Haute, Indiana. I will accept no quibbles on this, really.

First of all, there's the smell, which creeps 5 miles in all directions and is half industrial, half skunky/manure-y. Then there's the abysmal boredom of the place. And the fact that the entire area is anonymous low-end suburban sprawl. Of course, the weekend I was there it rained all the time and the highlights of the trip were visiting Eugene Debs's house and his gravesite. With two small, bored children. Good times.

Posted by: Wheezy | May 8, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Joel wrote;
The one with the old drive-in root beer stand where the waitress hangs a tray on your car window and you feel like you're in American Graffiti.

Uh, that'd be George Lucas' hometown of Modesto--that same city that was at the bottom of the USA Today list.

Posted by: Loomis | May 8, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
And here I was hoping to retire to Crawford, Texas.

Mmmm, I think if you asked nicely, Cindy Sheehan might let you live in her treehouse? Since you'd be leaving your job on The Dark Side, you could start up a new Republican-friendly newpaper to replace the Crawford Iconoclast that folded several years ago when the weekly make the social fax pas of endorsing the tall guy from Mass., although the publisher and my reporter friend young Nate Diebenow are still printing just up the road, northerly in... (the town is so small I've forgotten its name).

As far as the lay of the land--the trees, the wildflowers including Indian blankets--to the north of Crawford, you couldn't do better as far as Central Texas. Hey, you might be able to get a part-time job clearing brush on some big-acre spreads around there.

Posted by: Loomis | May 8, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I was in Baltimore just this weekend and painted on the front of the park benches there are the words "The Best City In America."

Which leads to two questions:

1: Do the backs of said benches say, "So SUCK IT, Gainesville"?

2: And why do the garbage/recycling bins says "BELIEVE"? Some kind of fundy trash miracle network?

Posted by: byoolin | May 8, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'd rather go quail-hunting with Dick Cheney, or otherwise put a large-caliber bullet into my brainpan than live in Crawford, Texas.

More seriously, here's a general question for everybody: Think of all the places you have ever lived in your life since relative adulthood (excluding college or military, where the choice was kind of forced on you) and calculate how many years in your life you have lived in a place YOU wanted to live. In other words, you had pretty much a "free" choice not dictated by your job, your spouse, your income (or lack of it).

I ask, because I've been aware for quite some time that in my own life (the last 38 years, since college), I have not lived where I wanted to for one single moment. Not ever. (And I take this to be pretty common for many of you, too.) Anybody?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

(P.S. I didn't mean someplace totally unrealistic, like in a New York penthouse, or Paris, or the Riviera. I meant someplace reasonable and "doable" [except for income].)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Wait, didn't we already discuss this? I think Joel needs to tell us what tomorrow's topic is going to be, so we can be appropriately off-topic today.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 8, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the mention in the kit. I spent my lunch hour contemplating exactly what is a college town. The most important criteria in my mind is the student enrollment to population ratio. According to Wikipedia, the following places have very high percentages.

Gainesville: 49,700 students:95,400 population - 0.52
Athens, GA: 34,000 students:100,200 population - 0.34
Iowa City: 30,000 students:62,200 population - 0.48
San Luis Obispo: 18,475 students: 44,147 population - 0.42

In the towns I thought of as college towns, the biggest surprising were:

Columbus, OH: 51,818 students:730,657 population - 0.07
Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill: 70,643 (UNC/Duke/NC State):1,079,000 - 0.06

Chapel Hill on it's own is a very college-townish 0.56.

I'm not sure I want to live where for every married couple townie, there is a drunken college student willing to urinate on my lawn.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, in answer to your question, not a single solitary nanosecond. I guess maybe you could count weekends at the mountain house, but that's more like visiting.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 8, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hello achenbloggers. I have been too busy to post lately but I must comment on Colorado Springs as the number 4th best city. The Springs is not just where the religious right live (you'd be surprised but in a recent study is was acknowledged that the majority of citizens here don't belong to a house of worship). Colorado Springs is a beautiful small city at the base of the majestic Pikes Peak. The Olympic traing center is here plus a lot of thin people who love the outdoors. Joel, while your brother's view of Longs Peak is nice I'm sure Pikes Peak is much closer and an easier climb. Plus, you can drive to the top in the good weather...breathtaking (literally) views. The cost of living here is still reasonable and the weather...well, except this past winter and spring...is moderate. Most commutes, including mine are 20 mins or less. Having lived in the DC area for over 20 years, this fact was amazing when I first arrived here nearly 6 years ago. OK...commercial over. Thank you! And Joel, when will we see you in print again?

Posted by: Random Commenter | May 8, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Strange Things I Have Learned From Joel Achenbach:
Water migrates through Gators leaving mineral deposits.
There is a Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 8, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Interesting calculations, yellojkt.

The Gainesville ratio should properly include the huge Santa Fe Community College, which has sort of a symbiotic relation with UF.

In Athens, one of the Lumpkin Street fraternities had a tradition of carpeting their front lawn with beer cans. Regrettably, the Greek bakery a couple of blocks north in downtown evidently long since disappeared.

As for Chapel Hill, it, like Boulder, is far too expensive for students. Somehow, "University of North Carolina at Carrboro" doesn't sound right.

Some Florida developer needs to import a prestigious but financially troubled liberal arts college, build a lovely Provencal campus (red brick is out, Tuscan is wearing thin, so I pick Provence as the next style)--and invite the retirees. The formula sort of works for Winter Park, an old Orlando suburb.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 8, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Joel mentioned Subterranean Circus, so head shops are on-topic. No college town worth its salt is without one. College Park used to have two until the locals cracked down.

Mudge,
In 1993, my wife and I decided we wanted to leave Florida at all costs. Every week we searched out of town papers for engineering positions (Monster.com, et. al. didn't exist yet). We were looking anywhere between Atlanta and Filthy-delfia. After months of looking, I had offers in Atlanta and Baltimore.

Once in Baltimore, my wife went back for a masters degree in teaching. After a year of interning there, my wife decided she wanted our kid to go to Howard County schools and she wanted to work in the same system our kid attended. That was a decade ago. I'm sure there are other places I would enjoy living, but Columbia has been good to me and I more or less had a choice.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

That's a good question Mudge. I loved the Pacific Northwest, and have sometimes fantasized about moving back. Yet I had good reasons for leaving the place, and fear that there might still be ghosts hiding among the evergreen trees.

And I truly love Northern Virginia. It is dynamic, diverse, and close to everything.

My fear is that when I retire my wife will insist that we move away to some boring old-person region with beaches, golf courses, and all-you-can-eat buffets.

Which is one of the reasons I plan on expiring at my desk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Interesting survey. Durham has the highest property taxes in North Carolina, even higher than Charlotte. I wonder if they took that into consideration? My younger child spent two years in Durham and, frankly, I wouldn't want to live there myself. However, the Book Exchange is an awesome used bookstore, a fire waiting to happen, but a great place to browse.

Mudge, I will admit to living exactly where I want to, but I'm a native and biased. When I get too old for the suburban lawn, I'd like to have a condo close to uptown.

Posted by: Slyness | May 8, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Yells; you may be overthinking it a bit. There are a ton of little towns that are college towns, such as Gettysburg, Millersville, Stroudsberg, West Chester, and Kutztown (to name just five Penna. towns I'm familiar with) that all have a college-towny flavor, yet are barely on the map and would never make it as a "city" by any definition. And New York City has about a thousand colleges in it, yet isn't a "college town" by anybody's measure. I think the answer is probably more a subjective thing the "mood" and atmosphere of the town and its relationship to its college(s), rather than any mathematical formula. I think college towns "know who they are."

I love Annapolis, and it has both the Naval Academy and St. Johns, but I don't think of it as a college town, per se. Yes, Annapolis loves its Middies, but I don't get the sense there's much town-and-gown interaction there; you don't just wander onto campus (beautiful as it is) to attend a concert or a lecture, or whatever.

(Look at Washington: how many colleges have we got? But it's hardly a college town by any means.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

And to pseudo-repost. I think any evaluation based on adding up scores is flawed. People are not at all shy about rejecting something based upon a single criterion, even if all others are glowing.

Think of it like a blind date. I assert it does not matter how attractive, intelligent, and charming your companion is if, during dinner, you discover that he or she is actually a she or he.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Unless, of course, that's what you were going for.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What a sad result. If I've been an adult (relatively) for 31 years, I've spent 23 of them living where I really wanted to (Montreal, Calgary, London). That is pretty good, I think. The only place I've ever lived where I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming and loathed it throughout my tenure and never stopped planning escape, was the interior of BC, and that only lasted 3 years. The rest of the time I've lived places where I didn't really mind either way, so no suffering was involved. Interesting.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

slyness,

Book Exchange is huge, but the that part of downtown is rather dingy, or at least it was several years ago.

Regulator Books and Cafe is much smaller but has that great hippie independent bookstore vibe. Have I ever mentioned I visit bookstores on vacation? At least often enough to know of two in Durham despite never having lived there.

Baltimore itself has been compared unfavorably with Baghdad.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2007/01/bawlmer-better-than-baghdad.html

The "Believe" slogan was part of a rather oblique anti-drug campaign.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I checked over at gainesville.com to see how they're taking the good news, but the front page is dominated by reports of a 16,000 acre brush fire and the annual Zucchini Festival.

http://gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Posted by: kbertocci | May 8, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Silly me...

28. Rockingham County-Strafford County, N.H

University of Nude Hampsters is there, of course!

And HOW could they not include Boston?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 8, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, you went all the way to Terre Haute and didn't go see the federal penitentiary? It has housed some famous folks (McVeigh, Manson). It perfectly rounds out the entire Terre Haute experience. No wonder you had a miserable time. I hope you got some of those square doughnuts at least.

All along I-70 west from Indianapolis to Terre Haute there are billboards touting all the things there are to do there. I shall never see one without thinking of your description of your visit.

Posted by: bill everything | May 8, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Ahem...

Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton are Keynote Speakers at the University of New Hampshire's 137th Commencement May 19

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 8, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Colorado Springs is nice, as I recall. Hate Florida, or almost anywhere south of the Virginia/NC border unless maybe its Ashville. Pittsburgh is threadbare around the edges, but as a rule the folks out there are way more friendly and helpful than most around DC. I could deal with Durango, CO, or Portland, OR. I consider West Chester a suburb of Philly (speaking of places comparing "favorably" with Bahgdad). Kutztown is rather nice, though it is still within the "Amish Tourist Trap" around Lancaster.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 8, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Don't feel badly about passing up on those great real-estate opportunities. in 1987 I sold a plot of land in the Pacific Northwest for $45K, thus making a hefty 10% profit.

If I had held onto it until now I could have easily used the profits to pay the expected cost of my son's college education.

All twelve years of it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Boston truly is a college town: BU, BC, Tufts, etc. Cambridge even much more so. In a stroke of marketing disingenuity up there with "The Best City In America", Baltimore is the Google I Feel Lucky hit for "collegetown"

http://www.baltimorecollegetown.org/asp/home.asp

Except for a couple of miles along and near Charles Avenue, you would never think Bawlmer had high school grads let alone world renowned colleges.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

bill everything,

Last summer I drove I-70 from Baltimore to Utah and never thought of stopping in Terre Haute. I even got off in Columbus to see the first Wendy's. I did have some great barbeque in Kansas City, but I took the bypass around Indianapolis.

Now I'll have to go back and hit the lovely spots I missed.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I can be happy anywhere. Here is what makes me happy:

being able to bike and walk most places
knowing my neighbors
admiring nature (inside the Beltway!)
growing something
plying my trade
shopping/eating atMom & Pop biz-es
watching earnest local sports
living near artists and artisans
living near working class people

College Park fits the bill, nicely.

However I adored my childhood, I watched my entire mining community thrown into unemployment, dispair, and out-migration. Not being able to work is serious stuff. I cannot make a living, near the old home place.

I am with Omni: we are ALIVE. Much is possible with that springboard.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, then, next question: if you could live anywhere in the U.S. (or Canada, if so inclined), where would you like to live? (No filthy rich choices like Rodeo Drive or NY penthouse, etc., but something realistic.)

There's a couple places I've always wanted to live:

1) In a small town (Grovers Corners-like) in New England, preferably not too far from the ocean/water. One of those picturebook towns you drive through on your way to watch the leaves turn in the fall. (I have a "New England" soul. Don't know how I got it, but I've always had it.) It has to have a town square you can walk around, and the stereotypical town coffeeshop/handout/general store. (Where the Gilmore Girls live? Could be.)

2. In a funky coastal beach town that has a stereotypically tacky main drag parallell to the ocean with lots of neon, bars, seafood restaurants, tourist trap stores selling crappy stuff and suntan oil, etc. Just about any New Jersey resrot town would do, from Manasquan or Asbury Park in the north all the way down to Cape May (Atlantic City excepted) would do, or the west coast of Florida along Madiera Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Tarpon Springs, even St. Pete Beach, etc. I don't know why; it's completely irrational--just always wanted to live in one.

3.) I'd go back to living in a city again, if it was the right part of town. I actually like living in cities and "city life," insofar as there's reasonable public transportation. Like yello, I could live on the 23rd floor of a condo on Connecticut Ave. I've lived the vast majority of my life in "suburbs," and I can do without them just fine. I'd live in San Francisco in a heartbeat. Ditto Chicago (except in the winter), Boston, Philly, DC, Seattle, Vancouver, maybe Montreal or Quebec. NOT: LA, Miami, San Diego, any place in Texas or the Gulf coast or any southern state unless within five miles of the Atlantic Ocean.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

bill everything - Terre Haute has a penitentiary, too? And we missed it? Now *that* would have been a weekend!

Posted by: Wheezy | May 8, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Mudge love your choices, think my pick would be for a quaint town (but reasonably close to civilization). Something like Niagara-on-the-Lake. Real estate prices there will preclude that choice.

Posted by: dmd | May 8, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I kinda like it here. It's a nice neighborhood. Although if Scarlett Johansson where to move next door I could live with that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I like the new question better. If I had my way, I would lead an entirely urban life. The whole thing; small but functional apartment or condo would be just fine with me in #1 New York (I'm torn between downtown or mid-town Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights); and then in no particular order Montreal, Chicago, Rome, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, London, Dublin. Because I hate humid hot summers, I guess I would go for some of those over others, but I'd be happy in any case.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Repeating from the pre-Kit Boodle: if the Top 50 list takes cost of housing into account, I am not their target audience. Thanks to LTL-CA, who knew the current numbers, I can say that the median price of a house in Santa Barbara is over $800,000 and it is about $600,000 in Ventura County. Santa Maria is 70 miles from Santa Barbara (I used to commute between the two) and a sleepy cowtown with strawberries and vineyards, but no beaches. SB, a college town (UCSB, a flagship of the UC system), is beautiful and fun but boy is it expensive. While Ventura is beautiful, Oxnard is not, at least not by SoCal standards.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 8, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Try Minnesota, Mudge. It's awfully cold, but you can find rural really easily right out of Minneapolis/St. Paul. You don't have the oceans but you have thousands of lakes.

And it's easy enough to buy places near water where you can walk right down and fish (or boat). Also, it's where the Missisippi starts, so you can probably boat down to the Gulf of Mexico for winter. I had a cousin that used to have a houseboat, sail it down and winter in California (I assume he used the Panama canal?) and come right back up. Of course, he had a lot more money than I'll ever see.


Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I like the tacky-beach admission.

I would like to be walking distance to water. I would like the water access to be public. That would be nice.

1965-1977 I lived walking distance to the Great Falls of the Missouri River, near where Lewis and Clark and Co portaged (and struggled mightily).

1977-1982 I lived biking distance to the snowmelt Three River area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (SUMMER). During the school year, I lived biking distance to the very marshy bottom of the San Francisco Bay -- Alviso Wetlands.

1983-Present: I live biking and walking distance to these creeks:

Paint Branch
College Creek
Sligo Creek
NW Branch
NE Branch
Lake Artemisa
(Unnamed criklit in Greebelt Pk)
Bladensburg Marina.

Lovely to be near water.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In answer to Mudge's first question, I'm lucky. Every move I've made was in response to an outside influence: job, school, housing. However, I've enjoyed living everywhere I went, even Houston for college (though I got pretty tired of the bugs). I liked living in urban Boston (okay, Somerville, blue-collar Boston) and in a big pre-war apartment building in DC (ah, public transportation and walking to shop). I liked beautiful Southern California, though our apartment left MUCH to be desired. My initial goal was to get out of Oklahoma, but by the time I came back I was ready to enjoy living here. After years in apartments I like not having any close neighbors.

Left to myself, and assuming there was water there, I'd move somewhere in northern New Mexico. Ivansdad is not eager to retire there. That's okay, since like RD, I plan to expire at my desk. Sometime in the future.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 8, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

We have a small creek near the property. Many turtles live there, which is a key criterion for me. Also, I very much love the sound of running water.

Just as long as it isn't coming from the livingroom ceiling.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Back in my Navy days I was visiting Victoria B.C. a few times a year and dreamed about moving out there. Unfortunately about 100 000 people just did that since then and the place in now unaffordable. We would need both pension checks, a salary from my old outfit and the mrs. would have to find something at UVic to afford a house and a boat. And I hear the roads are congested with cars crawling along at 20 clicks below the speed limit with their blinkers on. I think we'll stay in old Ottawa, just move out to the more rural area.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 8, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The thing about urban life is, when I watch a TV show like "Friends" or any other show like that, where people live in apartments, I always have the same handful of thoughts:

What do these people do on weekends? They have no grass to cut, no garage to straighten/fix/paint. No attic, no basement. No exterior maintenance of ANY kind: zip, zero, none. Virtually no interior maintenance. They can clean their entire domicile in 90 minutes--and that's being compulsive about it.

What they do is read the Sunday paper (I'd kill to have three hours to read the Sunday paper. I'd effing KILL for that option.) They go to plays. They go to the Bergman Film Festival, or go see "8 1/2" for the 6th time. They go to all sorts of funky ethnic restaurants, bars and clubs. They go to museums. They drop in on each other. They go for a walk in the park. (They often don't own cars.)

Where I live, I can do none of that, not without getting in the car and actively "going" somewhere, and somewhere is usually 45 minutes to an hour away. I haven't seen a "foreign film" in 30 years that wasn't on cassette or DVD--and it ain't the same thing as a movie theater.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

My lottery fantasy is to buy modest apartments in the following locations:

Upper West Side Manhattan
Aforementioned Connecticut Avenue in DC
Somewhere along the California coast between San Diego and Malibu
Seventh Arrondissement in Paris (just to keep my wife happy)

I would then spend a few months each year at a time in each location.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I also wouldn't mind a small cabin in the San Juan Islands.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

When people have a chance, please check out Woodward's chat on Tenet.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/05/04/DI2007050401815.html?hpid=topnews

I am especially fond of the following quote:

Bob Woodward: Tenet and his C.I.A. got the WMD question in Iraq absolutely wrong. He's accepted reponsbility for that and said in his book that it was one of the lowest moments. The big problem here is an unwillingness by C.I.A. directors, politicians and journalists to acknowledge that at times they cannot provide firm anwers to hard questions. Tenet and the C.I.A. should've said the hardest thing for human beings in institutions to say: "We don't know."

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

yello, I have the same lotto fantasy, well except for some different places. Mine tend to depend a lot on weather, so it's seasonal homes.

Posted by: omni | May 8, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I have prided myself in having never set foot in Florida -- never (*never*) had any desire to go there. I even have relatives there (cousins, I think), whom I've never met (can't even tell you their names). Although, I do have friends who live (part time and full time) in Sarasota, which I'm told is quite the place to be.

That said, I find myself following the song "wherever I hang my hat is home" quite a bit. I pretty much feel at home wherever I am, regardless of culture and language differences (in fact, I thrive under those circumstances). I'm set to go to Zambia in July of next year, and I fully expect to feel right at home once I'm there. I'm even learning one of the tribal languages.

Home, like life, is what you make of it. I hate my condo-from-hell, but it is what it is for the time being. I'm still going to make plenty of money on it when I sell, and that's the benchmark for me right now.

Ok, folks -- off to the gym. And for those who have not yet heard me on the subject:

*GO RED WINGS!!!*
*GO PISTONS!!!*

That is all. Carry on with what you were doing.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 8, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Minneapolis a couple times, Wilbrod, and have a close friend who lives there. But I could never hack it--I'm just not a cold-weather person under any circumstances, and getting "worse" the older I get. And while lakes are "OK," that's all they are to me. When I talk about water, I'm talking about major hydration-- a bay like the Chesapeake or Long Island Sound, or the ocean itself. Gotta have salt, if at all possible. The water's gotta have "fetch." There has to be a zillion boats nearby, preferably sailboats (none of those things you got in Minnesota count for much, to me--if you can tow it on a trailer I'm not much interested.) It's got to have "weather"--thuinderheads building up in the summer, squalls, nor-easters, offshore breezes, the smell of dead fish and salt flats, the whole "ocean" package. Mountain brooks just don't do it for me, pleasant as they are for an hour or two. But by the end of the second hour by a stream or a creek, I'm usually thinking, hmmm, I wonder if you can navigate to Portugal from here? But that's just me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I like it right where I am, so I think I am in the same place as Omni and CP. After so many years of mrdr being away to work to keep the darn farm, I found that I'd have lived in a cave just so long as I didn't have to go on day to day alone, taking care of the little guys, with mrdr home for 2 days out of 20. Home is not a place for me. Home is family, not place and not walls.

All the places we have lived have had their own brand of beauty. The farm had light and the smell of fresh mown hay, Hanna had hills, and wide wide open spaces, Calgary had baseball, and the goosey park a couple blocks away, and the best darn needlework store anywhere, and here I am hidden in the middle of the forest. The next place will surely be as good.

Posted by: dr | May 8, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

dr, your description of "home" was fantastic.

Posted by: dmd | May 8, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there's a really big fire northeast of Gainesville, between and to the east of Waldo and Starke. The Gainesville Sun reports a pall of smoke.

By the way, the Best Places website persistently thinks I should live in San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, L.A., Washington, New York, despite my efforts to emphasize affordability.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | May 8, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd be very happy if I could just live where I am for another 5 years.

Actually, live anywhere another 5 years.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 8, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Pardon this needlewoman-to-another interruption.

DR -- I may have found a pattern for lacey, knitted fingerless mits. Let's email a bit on this....a certain someone could use some wardrobe adornment. Besides, summer is perfect for a small, light-weight knitty-project.

Here is a clue to my email:

mb**** at toad dot net

**** is the name of a famous stadium in NYC AND the "butter" ingredient in lotions these days.

Got it?

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Peace bulletin: Northern Ireland embarks on a new phase.

I will watch with great interest for the next marching season (July), as I have cousins living in Dunloy, Antrim: this is a flash point, with hideous vendettas still afoot. And, I know of cousins who are blood-related, yet live at odds with each other -- let alone the rest of the area -- in the uneasy and reactionary hornet's nest of tribal strife.

I admire Ian Paisley for working hard against his deep feelings of distrust. His flexibility is very important and notable. Whatever his inner wishes, he moved forward based in part on politics. He used to call himself the "hammer of Sinn Fein."

May others who suffer violent religious-ethnic-class strife find a way to political struggle. The blood-for-blood culture is dark and not of our better angels.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, you're the one to decide, Mudge, whether salt air and high blood pressure is an ideal mix or not.

Each to their own-- I personally think oceans are overrated.
Tsumanis, poisonous jellyfish and sea snakes, floods, storms, that persistent smell of dead fish, etc.

If I have to live near water, I want it to be theoretically drinkable if I have to boil it, not have things in it that could drink me alive. Yeah, I'm a wuss. I love the sea stories, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

While I have no desire to *live* in Florida, we've been on birdwatching excursions there twice. Great place for a winter birding trip. (The fact that it's warmer than North Carolina in December is just a side benefit.) I recall driving home through Gainesville and not being much impressed, though we likely didn't see the good parts.

My lottery fantasy involves almost perpetual travel, not settling down anywhere. That's hard to accomplish even with expansive resources, though.

Posted by: bigcranky | May 8, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

dr's remarks on home were spot on. However, I still think 'Mudge was asking, not "where is home?" but "if you had your choice, where you you make your home?" which is surely not opposed to dr's vision.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

CP and Ivansmom made me think I need to clarify my point. Not a since time in my life have I chosen where to live absent job, school, spousal situations. But I've always found something to like in every place I've lived. My ideal location would be in the country, so I can enjoy scenery, horses, fresh air, but close enough to a city to have good dining and cultural activities. So far I've decided that means outside of Charlottesville

Posted by: Raysmom | May 8, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Zackly right, Yoki.

Gee, I have this sickly feeling coming over me...like another onset of scurvey...feeling weak...dizzy...I think I have to shut down my computer now and go out into the world in search of antiscorbutics.

Later, dudes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, isn't there a BPH tonight? Y'all have fun, y'hear.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 8, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I love your questions Mudge, it's something that I think about all the time. Unlike many of the Boodlers, I've only lived in two places, SoCal and Hawaii (Honolulu). Living in L.A. was my choice but it was driven by employment and wasn't the city of my dreams. When I first moved there all I could think of was how fast I could find a job somewhere else and move. That didn't happen though, I ended up living there for 8 years, happily as a matter of fact. I moved back to Honolulu mostly because of family issues.

My dream places to live:

Like Mudge, I have a New England soul, I love the small coastal towns on the water with the Victorian cottages. Would love to have a home there to stay in the summer and fall. I always fancy myself being some kind of This Old House person.

Washington, DC. My dream place to live because I am a huge, huge history person and a political junky. It's one of the reasons I read this blog, I love the life in our nation's capital. When Alohaspouse and I were ready to leave L.A. the DC area was the #1 choice. Unfortunately, it was an election year and no one was hiring in my field until they knew who the POTUS was going to be. Maybe it's good we didn't make it out there yet. Our back-up plan is to wait until Alohakids are in college and then rent our house out and spend a couple of years working in DC.

Posted by: Aloha | May 8, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"What they do is read the Sunday paper (I'd kill to have three hours to read the Sunday paper. I'd effing KILL for that option.) They go to plays. They go to the Bergman Film Festival, or go see "8 1/2" for the 6th time. They go to all sorts of funky ethnic restaurants, bars and clubs. They go to museums. They drop in on each other. They go for a walk in the park. (They often don't own cars.)"

Sigh, this is just how Himself and I lived in downtown Montreal, BK and BD. I loved every minute of it.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm late for a BPH...

InconCEIVEable!!!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 8, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Two international BPHs in a row! Remarkable. Hope you all have a wonderful time.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Here here, hoist one for us Scotty!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 8, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

And another reason I'd love to live in the DC area, to attend a BPH at least once in my lifetime!

Posted by: Aloha | May 8, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

dr - I have to agree on you there. Except for Calgary, I didn't really like it there too much, though having the park nearby was nice.

Myself, I have always been of the mind that where I am doesn't matter so long as I have access to family, friends and a golf course I am where I want to be. Maybe thats why I didn't like Calgary, nobody that I could truly call a good friend.

Further south would be much nicer for me, if only for the extended golfing season.

Posted by: Kerric | May 8, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

A true meeting of the minds, CP. I have found string.

Posted by: dr | May 8, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It was a crying shame that some mother or other was forever telling you no you could not take your clubs up on Nose Hill to hit a few, Kerric.

A price was paid for all that moving after we left the farm. 4 moves in 4 years was a lot. My sorrow is that though we all were glad to live under one roof, there were things we missed too.

Posted by: dr | May 8, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The best things about Gainesville are the fairly strict development rules there, and the people. Okay, apparently the Achenbachs have all moved away. But I was in a bookstore there while visiting and Harry Crews was behind me in line while I was buying a book by -- Harry Crews! The clerk, almost surely knowing that was Harry, asked me if I knew Harry Crews. Rascals. I recognized that unmistakable face on the way out.

Seriously, the best city to live in - the one I am going to move to when I can - well, I'm not going to tell you.

Posted by: Jumper | May 8, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

When visiting Florida, please follow the rubber lines for your comfort and safety. Thank you.

Posted by: Jumper | May 8, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of riding a hobby-horse yet again... melamine has been fed to farmed fish. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070508/ap_on_he_me/food_contamination;_ylt=AvnIo.0BBCHo_3B44A9xBxOKOrgF

The risk to human health is considered low, but just FYI; this food has been fed to hogs, chickens, and now fish that are intended for human consumption, not just furry housemates.

http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_272613137.shtml

I'm ready to buy only US-produced food myself. Wilbrodog right now is on homemade.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/01/AR2007050101918.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Ten or so years ago I lived for one year in W. Falmouth, MA. The postmaster knew my name within two weeks and the library was wonderful for such a small place. I spent some time in Woods Hole that winter, mostly at AA meetings (Cape Cod has a lot of wondeful ones). The two main restaurants took turns being closed, as aside from the people at WHOI, there wasn't anyone in town. Hard to find any place around these parts now that is quite that dead in the winter, maybe Provincetown, but it's bigger and more places stay open so not really. I very much like where we live now. We can walk to the beach and our little street is so old fashioned that I expect to see Wally and the Beav go by on their bikes at any moment. But we are within a short drive of pretty much everything we need on a regular basis and there is a commuter rail to Boston if we get the urge to go there.
 
It's been a stressful few weeks. I learned that my job will not have a future. The company does not hire full-time the people who do my job, this is my last week. Wish I'd known that in the beginning. So I've been feeling a bit down.
 
Then over the weekend, a very good friend called to tell me that she was having surgery for ovarian cancer on Monday.  They got it all, as far as they know, but she's got chemotherapy to deal with and the uncertainty of the outcome. She had no symptoms, it was discovered when she went for a routine colonoscopy. She is the second person I know who has recently been diagnosed with cancer when they went to the doctor for something else entirely. She is a sweet, kind and gentle person and I don't like to think about her not being here. I am heartsick just thinking about all she has to go through. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for her.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 8, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I rather like suburban tasks. I enjoy building sheds and planting 'maters and fighting weeds. I groove on the smell of cut grass and the feel of dirt. There is something eternal and primal and satisfying about it all.

I just wish I had more time to really do the place right. You know, build the ornate fountain and intricate hedge maze that any proper yard should have. Design and install the stained glass windows for which the upstairs bedroom is just screaming out.

Of course, I might feel differently in 15 years. But for now I'm digging the 'burbs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Sad news Bad Sneakers. I am sending you and your friend all the good thoughts and wishes I can muster.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I am so inclined Bad Sneakers. I will keep her in my thoughts.

Posted by: dr | May 8, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wheezy. The reason for homesickness? After having spent almost all of my adult life in the DC Metro area, I decided to move to Scottsdale, AZ for my job - which links to the question Curmudgeon asked. When a job opportunity opened up, I chose to move out here. I love seeing the mountains pretty much everywhere I go. There are a lot of things I miss about "home" though - my entire family is back in MD. And the Sunday Wash Post. I can read it online but it's not quite the same.

As for where home is - I still think home is wherever my parents live.

Posted by: AZbluehen | May 8, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, quite a chat Gene Weingarten hosted. I must give the guy major credit. I can only imagine what some of the comments he *didn't* choose to put out there were like.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd hear a good thing said about Ian Paisley from anyone outside the wackier members of my family.
You really are too good to be true CP.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 8, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

And the nice thing about the 'burbs for one of Italian extraction-- you can keep a lot of bags of concrete on hand "just in case."

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

AZbluehen-Mr. F gets to travel to DC fairly often for work and has learned that there is no greater gift in my eyes than the WaPo dead tree edition.

San Luis/Paso??? Pa Frost-in-law is ready to pull up stakes after a lifetime in the cattle business there. He was ok with the vintners showing up but the city folks with no real ties to the land drive him bonkers. Not so bonkers he won't take their money and run though.

Fargo in the top 50?! Now it is a fine place, and the abode of Frostson, but I can think of way more than 48 more liveable cities.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 8, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

>You know, build the ornate fountain and intricate hedge maze that any proper yard should have.

Ah, RD I'll bet that's straight from yer grandpappy in the old country.

Sounds good to me.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 8, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I would very much like to be introduced to AZbluehen. You are welcome here, by me. I'm trying to decode the handle, and only get an Arizona resident who speaks German about fowl. Probably so off-the-mark you will scoff. But I think I would like to say "hello" whilst *waving arms about like Grover.*

I keep looking at the clock here in the MDST-zone, and thinking, "even as we speak, there is a BPH either on-going or recently-dispersed." As I think dmd is one of the Boodle treasures(like Cassandra, 'Mudge, 'Snuke, TBG, (oh, for pity's sake, I'm going to forget someone, so will stop much before I'm ready), I'm delighted she is Porching in DC.

When searching for 'my breed' (which is of course the Bernese Mountain Dog (and/or Rough Collie)) I considered the B(a)(s)(s)et Hound. I cracked up when the President of the B(a)(s)(s)et Hound Club of Canada sent me an informative email responding to my inquiry, with the signature tag-line "A B(a)(s)(s)et is an A(s)(s)et." When Himself came to investigate why I was LOL, he remarked, "It is a good thing the breed is not B(a)(s)(s)(h)ole Hound." And then he needed to bring me a glass of water.

The bizarre circumlocutions arise because my "comment was held for review by the moderator."

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Testing...

Bass fisherman

bass guitar

base metals
brass medals
bass pedals

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Interesting.

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Basset hound

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, you are clearly exempt from the usual rules. I swear I didn't say anything untoward except putting too many a's next to too many s's.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I reckon that wasn't it!

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Yoki, LOTS of folks have (long since) stopped applying the usual rules to me!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course, it could be that the electronic border between Canada and the US is being strictly monitored, given that we Canadians encourage radicals with our weak immigration laws and border control (or so I am told, without evidence to back up the statements).

Or perhaps the NSC is worried that I am using an "ethnic" handle that doesn't match my actual profile. Who knows?

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Can you believe what I just heard on Countdown that Dick Norris said on Fox Noise that it is beter to send US troops to Iraq to be shot at there than on wall street here!!!!!!!!!

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

I seem to recall that Farley Mowat (of "Never Cry Wolf" fame) was properly branded a danger to the peaceable society of the U.S.

Darned trouble-making Canadians!

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Boko -- If Ian Paisley can (finally) consider the irony of his position-- minister/preacher!!! -- and see the face of Christ in his enemy, than it is easy for me to say, this is good. Cassandra and others here will understand what I mean about seeing God and the dignity of each precious being.

(This is not to say that the humanist position is less valid. But, IP was at the same time, virulenty anti Catholic and a professing Christian (Minister to boot!).

I am surprised and actually quite hopeful that hardened hearts can yield. A cousin sent me an email saying that mystery-word on the street is that Palestinian and Israeli moderates are in Antrim NOW: Watching and taking notes. The Irish question is at least 800 years old. Hope for the world, this move to intense and sometimes ugly political struggle rather than terrorism.

'Tis a peace of exhaustion. I am contemplating this carefully: that extreme fatique could yield peace.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

bh - Some folks just LOVE pissing other folks off. Sounds like our boy Dick is numbered amongst them.

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The peace of exhaustion indeed, CP. People around there seem to have grown weary of the men with the guns. They no longer are quite so keen to keep the hatred of their ancestors alive.

I hope it is catching.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 8, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

C.P. - What has taken some of these folks a good while to realize is that the "Irish question" in its current form is only about ten years old. The growing Irish economy, and the bombing at Omagh (and the unwillingness of Irish women to countenance such a thing any longer) changed everything.

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"Peace of extreme fatigue"

I like it!

Posted by: Bob S. | May 8, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing that AZbluehen is an alumnus of the University of Delaware not far from that Top 50 city of Wilmington aka the place with two ways to bypass it.

Weingarten's chat today covered abortion, gun control, and whether or not there is a God. If he could have somehow dragged in homosexuality and the war in Iraq he could have built the perfect Rovestorm.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Testing:

Basset asset

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The answer to the Irish question is "Why yes, I will have another beer."

The answer to the Irish riddle is "A potato and a six pack."

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I tested - it's b.a.s.s.hole that won't go through. That was hilarious, Yoki.

Posted by: Wheezy | May 8, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, folks. I have returned from the BPH, and yes indeed, we were international once again. In fact, our DMD was the very first one there, sitting at a front table. I came in next, and was looking around, and this attractive woman sitting there by herself said, "Now there's a face I recognize."

How can I put this delicately? It's been quite a while since an attractive woman sitting alone at a bar has said anything to me other than, "If you don't go away I'll call the police," or, "This is pepper spray and I know how to use it, buster!"

So it was with great relief that she smiled (something the others failed to do) and introduced herself (Ibid), and sure enough, it was DMD. There was a row of open tables toward the back (our "usual" and original BPH environs), and there we repaired to hold down the fort until the rest of the gang arrived. I believe I may have forced myself to quafe a caipirinha for purely medicinal reasons, while DMD introduced herself to the wonders of the legendary M & S $1.95 gigunda cheeseburger platter. Let's see, on hand for the festivities were Raysmom, Scotty, Omni, bc, QuadripolarTim, TBG, and mo, and LostinThought was expected momentarily when I had to leave to catch my &^%$#@ bus. I'm sure others will report in shortly or tomorrow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 8, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

That is a wonderful report, Mr. Curmudgeon. I just *knew* dmd is beautiful. Now I'm bouncing in my seat with happiness.

Wheezy, I'm glad you enjoyed Himself's funny; I think it and similar stuff is the reason we've been married for nearly 26 years.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The big money starts to realize global warming will have winners and losers:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2007/05/08/PM200705081.html

New term I hadn't heard before: "greenwashing," i.e., throwing some money at global warming to give the appearance to give a Sam.

Posted by: bill everything | May 8, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

bill everything, wouldn't that be "give a Subaru?"

Posted by: Wheezy | May 8, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy: Yup

Posted by: bill everything | May 8, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Best place to live, eh? How about Connecticut?

I mean, who doesn't want to live in Mianus?

Posted by: TBG | May 8, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good BPH! *waving at dmd in the US!*

Yoki, that's a funny story.

I see Seattle is not on the list, probably because of high housing prices and the infernal traffic. That's ok by me. My husband and I spent a lot of time moving when we were younger. Mostly out to rural MD and VA when we were in the DC area - then clear across the country, to Seattle, then back to VA, then Montana, then Houston (where we had friends, after depleting our savings in Montana), then back to Seattle where we've been for 20 years now. We finally came to the same conclusion that dr did, that it didn't matter so much where we were. But given that, I'd rather be here than most other places (especially Houston). I'd love to live way out in the country somewhere, or in a beach town. I haven't lived in the suburbs much, because usually we can't afford them, and they don't appeal to us (maybe it's a sour grapes thing). DC, San Francisco are so big - I don't think I could live in either place now.

RD, does your wife not like our 3D weather (dark, damp, dismal)? You should bring her in August, when it's glorious - go to the San Juans, see some whales - maybe she'd relent.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 8, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The BPH was fabulous, of course. Once again I meet a boodler and feel like I've known her forever. Always good to see the BPHers and share good times and commiserate over bad.

The achenwaitress had to serve another station, but she made sure to teach our waitress The Ways of the BPH. Separate checks for all!

On the way home Raysmom and I discovered that our wacky hairdressers are one and the same wacky hairdresser! Another boodle connection made. Is this world great or what?

Posted by: TBG | May 8, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I don't want to live in Mianus. Take the Conn, will you?

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Gotta get to bed but wanted to leave you with news of incompetent:

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070508/LOCAL/705080456

Posted by: bill everything | May 8, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "the incompetent." Sheesh, I even previewed it.

Posted by: bill everything | May 8, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Ha, bill e! That was LOL funny.

Sleep well.

Posted by: Slyness | May 8, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, sorry to hear about your job and your friend. Keeping you both in my thoughts.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 8, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon asked, in paraphrase, [Where have you lived since college that you've wanted to?]

Interpreting "since college" as "post-bachelor's", then for me it's

Tucson, AZ (5 years)
McLean, VA (25 years)
El Paso, TX (1.25 years)
Harlingen, TX (6 years)
San Antonio, TX (to date)

I can't say that any of them were bad; to the contrary, I have fondish memories of them all. There were things to like and things that one might have changed in an ideal world.

In the end we were glad to get away from the DC area because of the traffic and the increasingly not-fun work culture, but the area in general has much to offer.

Harlingen (we went there because of family) was a welcome chance to decompress from D.C. and it's not a bad smallish city. But after a few years we missed the bigger city life, moved to San Antonio and love it here.

I guess you do what looks good and take it from there.

Posted by: Mission Trace | May 8, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Somebody I know wants a rose-gold engagement ring, wouldn't mind Celtic style and inset stones are a must.

I have no clue whatsoever about jewelry, let alone jeweling in the DC area. Any suggestions regarding price, quality, satisfaction...

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, I'm keeping your friend in my thoughts.

Posted by: Yoki | May 8, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Turlock, CA, the other town in Stanislaus County besides Modesto and in most respects a lot like Modesto, is the site of Cal State University Stanislaus. And the next town south of that, also similar, Merced, is the home of the newest UC campus. In the railway days, Merced proclaimed itself a gateway to Yosemite.

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 8, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers: very sorry on both accounts. You have my prayers. Your friend has you for comfort, laundry, gallows humor, and whatever else works.

Wilbrod: Black Hills gold vendors have the rosie-pinkie stuff your friend might want. Trouble is, unless they have progressed, the design requires a tiny grape cluster, etc. Celtic knots or cladaugh plus vinter-fruit: well, I guess it works if you are contemplating an Irish-Italian merger.

Very old gold, say from the twenties, is this rose-shade. I am lucky to have wedding tokens from the teens and twenties. The rose cast is warm. I don't like the yellow-ey metal near as much.

(A math professor buddy and his artist wife have mobious strip rings: nifty. And, they report, "they don't hurt at all!")

Glad the Porching hour was so fun. Raysmom and TBG have very different hair textures, right? So funny that they are coiffed by the same gentle mad man. Too bad he is in the foreign land that is Virginia....I need a clipping and the last one looked like garden shears at work.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 8, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

griffith park has a nasty brush fire - there are some stunning shots of the observatory against a sea of orange. hope they get that thing out.

we've had about 2 inches of rain this winter, and fire season has come four months early this year. not good. not good at all.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 8, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I can understand that. I like yellow or red gold more than I like white gold myself, because it fits my complexion better.

However, rose gold is appealing-- it's basically a red gold alloy with 4% silver. If they could just do it with a more peachy tint, I'd be sold.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

bad sneaks, positive thoughts your way.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 8, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope you'll be able to be a good friend for your friend, Bad Sneakers.

Since she'll have chemo to go through, she'll have days of weakness and fatigue after every chemo treatment. She will indeed be very much here for a while, but it won't be easy.

Sometimes the best way to do it is just not to think about loss until it does come.

I have known a few people who got cancer, some died, some didn't. Those who died certainly fit the description "The good die young." (Young being in their 50's)



Posted by: Wilbrod | May 8, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

USA Today points out that there are three places in Utah in the top 15. And then it says they are there until the crush arrives and ruins it. The problem is that once the place is 'noticed' it loses the things that made it stand out. A little more pollution along the Wasatch, and the beauty won't be something to behold, except after storms. Southern Utah, untouched ten years ago, now has the fastest growth in the country. Tucson and Santa Fe (Santa Fake) lost their charms eons ago. In the end, every town will be the same, and every town will be number 40 in the survey. The top will be rounded over, brought back to the mean. In every sense of the word.

I guess a town should fake a lot of crime, add ten degrees to the summer high, and rough up 'best city reviewers' as they stand in the rental car line at the airport.

Posted by: George Sears | May 8, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the Griffith Park fire in L.A. is still burning out of control. It's so close to homes, historic sites, the zoo, the Autry Museum, the freeway, it's just amazing how huge the flames are. You're right L.A. Lurker, this is so not good.

Posted by: Aloha | May 9, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

i didn't know about the fire. it started in the afternoon and was looking like it would be contained by evening. i got on the freeway heading in the downtown direction around 8pm and this was basically what i saw (although it was more like dusk at the time):

http://yourscene.latimes.com/PHOTOS/LATM/1UserPhotos/65896E.jpg

i immediately got off the freeway and went back home (since traffic was not going anywhere) to find out what on earth was going on.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 9, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Before I go to sleep and then head out home, I want to say what a pleasure it was to meet the boodlers I did. It is rare in life to have people live up to the expectations you place on them but they all did, wonderful, intelligent and fun people - I had a great time am so glad I attended.

Mudge I recognized you because you were so distinguished!

Bad Sneakers I will keep your friend in my thoughts.

Night all way to tired to continue.

Posted by: dmd | May 9, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Error, almost forgot saw your post earlier about hoping for five years in your current location - I just hope that is just the start.

Posted by: dmd | May 9, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Reading where others have lived I realized that the only places I have ever moved to by my own choice, rather than the Army's, are Grand Forks ND for school, Lawton OK to work in a tire factory (quite fun actually), and Charlottesville, VA also for school (but going "home" to NoVA at every opportunity). That's 3 out of 38 addresses, 27 as an adult.

In the grand scheme of things I'd say the Army does just as good a job as I do, maybe better. I certainly wouldn't have chosen Honolulu, NoVA, or Tampa but love them all. This makes the selection of a permanent residence when Mr. F retires from the Army next year very scary. Who will we blame when Chez Frostbitten North turns out to be too north, too remote, too whatever?

Posted by: frostbitten | May 9, 2007 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Before I forget yet again, keeping a good thought for your friend bad sneakers.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 9, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

As we boodle, LAT is blogging on housing costs, specifically LA vs other places....

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laland/2007/05/the_225kayear_a.html

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 9, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Bad sneakers, good thoughts your way, so sorry about your friend and the loss of your job, but will keep you and friend in prayers.

I've only lived in two places, here and WashDC. I don't like living in the city, love small towns, and not necessarily this one.

Glad every one had a great time at the BHP, and Mudge I laughed at your account at meeting dmd.

Slyness, I noticed your city did not make the list, but Asheville and the Greensboro area did. The incident I talked about in the other kit, the woman beating the child, happened in Raleigh. When I was young, I used to get off my job at three o'clock in the morning and drive to your city, Slyness, just to eat at an all night place and see the sun rise there.

Error, my hope is that no matter where you are in this world, that your life is long and filled with much joy.

Have a good day my friends. I'm up so early, just woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. This is my busy day. The children are getting restless because it almost the end of school, and they face the "test". I guess some of it is wearing off on me.

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

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 3:58 AM | Report abuse

I have an idea that Superman grew up in Gainsville and that the houses have white picket fences.

Posted by: Robert James | May 9, 2007 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of it. Does it exist in real life?

Posted by: Bob Semaj | May 9, 2007 4:28 AM | Report abuse

On the home page here at the Post, there is a picture of Vice-President Cheney greeting the general in Iraq. He made a surprise visit there. I keep wondering, and this could clearly be off the wall, and just my not understanding things, no surprise there, but is Cheney really our President? Could there be an agreement somewhere that Cheney is the real President, and President Bush is just the figure of the President? Perhaps this was the plan since the Vice-President had health issues and more than likely could not run for President? I need another cup of coffee.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Sounds pretty much right on the mark to me about Cheney, Cassandra. (Good morning, BTW. Good morning, Boodle.)

If I were Hillary's speechwriter, my next speech for her would open with: "Hello, I'm Hillary Clinton, and I'm running for Commander Gal."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 6:15 AM | Report abuse

LOL, Mudge.

Oh, good morning, everybody! Hey, Cassandra. I will try not to be offended that you came my way and never looked me up. *wink*

I woke up early too, but that's okay. I've got plenty to do today, so I might as well get a move on.

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Ohmigosh, how hilarious is this? She has a wicked sense of humor!

Hours before the queen ended her visit, it was time for her to give President Bush a sly payback. On Monday, he had made a faux pas, suggesting while welcoming her that she had been a witness to American independence in 1776. At a dinner at the British ambassador's residence last night, she wondered aloud whether she should start her toast by saying, "When I was here in 1776. . . . " Elizabeth ruled, and mirth and laughter reigned.

-- Martin Weil

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Funny, funny! Slyness, I know Martin Weil. Small world.

Re NASA visit my neighbor said the color of her ensemble was electric spring green! My friend caught her eye and received a bit of a chin dip....and of course the special and distinctive wave.

Last. Day. of. Classes. Rescue office hours all this week and next. Let the games begin.

Cassandra -- your brain works pretty darn good so early in the morning.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *post-BPH-excitement Grover waves* :-)

Sneaks, you and your friend are in my thoughts.

I have no idea how, but somehow the BPH got started without me. I also have no idea how, but the BPHers managed to carry on without disturbing the very heavy necking going on a couple tables away. We considered asking the Achenwaitress to hose the lovers down, but she said they were good tippers.

dmd is indeed a delightful and lovely lady, and carried on in the Canuckian BPH tradition. And it really WAS all about *Tim's... breadth of experience. :-) *Grover waves* were had, much hilarity ensued, and this tired Boodler's soul was much refreshed. Pictures to follow this evening, I promise!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to all for the good wishes for my friend. I've been fortunate up to now in never having a friend with a life threatening illness so this has hit me hard. Add the prospect of job hunting again to the mix and I am filled with anxiety. My friend and her husband have a summer home near me and they are in the process of remodeling it for full time use. I was excited to have her so close by with visions of more visits and fun. She is planning to be down here as soon as she is able, which at least gives me the opportunity to be more useful to her. She was very supportive and helpful to me when I needed her, I pray I can do the same for her.I am trying to stay positive about all of this. It does make me realize how precious every day is and how quickly things can change.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 9, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Aren't modern psychotropic drugs wonderful? The GOP has a new campaign chairman who thinks the GOP can take back the House in 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/08/AR2007050801924.html?hpid=topnews Of course, he does acknowledge that if things don't improve in Iraq, it could be a tough year for the Republicans. Ya think? "For us to lose more seats, it's going to take a catastrophic presidential election," he says. Well, fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy ride. (He might be your congressman, ivansmom--his name's Cole.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, indeed, during July and August the Pacific Northwest is breathtaking. (For DC locals, the weather we have been having the last few days is typical of Seattle in the summer.)

It should be on everyone's list of "things to do before you die" to take the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.

The San Juans are amazing. Where else can you see Orcas and be blessed by Franciscan Sisters all in the same day?

http://www.fsecommunity.org/centers/shaw.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

The dead "mouse" orbital sander has been laid to rest. Bean and I had a little ceremony and said a few Words before dumping it in the trash and sprinkling it with fresh sawdust. I wanted to play Barber's "Adagio for Strings" for the send off, but the CD player in the shop is on the fritz so we settled for Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" on the radio.

The circle of life goes on. The other tools thought it was a bit soon ("Mousy's plug is still warm!"), but I went to Home Depot and bought a replacement anyway -- a brand new model with an ergonomic gel grip and much quieter motor. I'm sure the other tools will warm up to the "new" Mouse eventually.

Anyway, yesterday was also the magical and significant "42" on my sobriety calendar. No sign of Ford Prefect, but I think I did see a Vogon at the post office filling out an insurance form in quadruplicate.

Regarding Mudge's ideal place to live question: I've always wanted to live in Middle Earth (particularly Tom Bombadil's house), but a little stone cottage in the Irish countryside would do.

Hope you all have a great day...

Peace.

Posted by: martooni | May 9, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Salaam, martooni.

*smiling quite broadly*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

There is never any heavy groping at the few BPHs I have made it too. I must be the human wet blanket.

Bad Sneakers, I hope everything continues to get better.

Martooni: Don't Panic.

The San Juan Islands are amazing. I need to get my pictures from my trip to the Pacific Northwest posted someday.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Lovely evening out for the BPH. I got there third and had a great time. It was nice meeting dmd. Ate way to much and had to leave early. I suspect mo is beginning to suspect something, as this is I think the third time I left just after her arrival. But I swear mo, it's just that three of my favorite shows are on at the same time on Tuesdays at 8.

Bad Sneakers, my thoughts are with you and friend. You too Error and martooni. You all hang in there best as you can.

Posted by: omni | May 9, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

yello maybe we need to take some pictures next time, just so we have photo proof that we're not making this stuff up...

Posted by: omni | May 9, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I see on the news where OJ Simpson was refused service in a restaurant somewhere in this country. Didn't get the name. And the owner of the establishment said he was applauded for doing this act.

I don't uphold domestic violence or any violence for that matter, and I am not fond of killing, period. Yet I feel the OJ thing will never go away, and if we aren't careful it will be the thing that sets us on fire. No one, absolutely no one, wants their loved one abused, harmed, killed in any form or fashion, and that speaks to both races. If we go back trying to pick up old debts, there are too many, and they are all too, too, ugly. Let us not go there, but move forward with grace, kindness, and most of all love to each other.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I've never met you, but on the boodle you sound like one stand up guy. Peace to you and to your lovely family. Don't try to keep that demon, you can never please him, give it to God through Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Someone wants an engagement ring, Wilbrod? Are you trying to tell us some news?

I would check out the Tiny Jewel Box, 1147 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Neat store with vintage and new jewelry. A lot of stuff you don't see elsewhere (like, for example, in the TWENTY-ONE jewelry stores in Tysons Corner mall).

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

On my way to the shower. Have to get started, there is much to do. Feel a little sad today, don't know why. Perhaps the things around me are at fault, but I suspect it's just me. I truly hope all of you feel fine, and that joy rules in your heart, and that your family is your comfort. God truly is good. Forgive my indulging your friendships, but it is a comfort in my life, and on this road I travel. Moving forward is never easy because we get attached to "our familiars", but we must, and I must.

Ivansmom, hope you and family are okay, and any that are being touched by this weather or fires.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Garrison Keillor has a nice piece on Obama, Thoreau and conformity in Salon at
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/05/09/keillor/print.html

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Royal protocol - Most people here don't know what the protocol is when greeting the royalties. For the muslims, they just follow the local tradition. For the non-muslims, they just stick their hand out for a hand shake and bend at the waist. Every year after the Muslim fasting month ended, the Sultan will open his palace to the public for 2 days. He and the male family members would greet the male visitors and his wife and female members of his family will greet the female visitors.

Couple of years back, I decided to go for the experience. We started on the ground floor which is level 5 to the palace people. There are 4 more levels below ground and that's were the royal family lives. The first thing they did when we got to the palace was feed us - buffet style, lots to eat. Then we were herded into a large hall to wait. And then we queue in 1 long line and wait some more. It's like being on an assembly line waiting to be processed. Nobody briefed us on what we should do or say. When I got nearer to the royal family I saw that some visitors didn't say anything. They just touched their hands and moved on. When my turn came, the sultan's wife already had her hand (ungloved) out so I just toke it and greeted her "Selamat Hari Raya". She thanked me. During the withdrawal of my hand and she extending her hand to the next visitor (did I say assembly line?) I hit the "rock" on her finger. It was a big "rock"! And she had too much makeup. On our way out we were given a box of assorted candies. The newspaper had pictures of the royal family shaking hands with the public. Their children had the looks on their faces that said "I don't want to be here!" I feel sorry for them. Sure isn't easy shaking hands with a couple of thousand people a day and for 2 days.

Posted by: rain forest | May 9, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

SCC : couple of hundred thousand people a day ..

Posted by: rain forest | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

BPH was great fun. We even got treated to a bit of Storyteller Tim. So good to see so many again. bc, next time you'll have to share some Richard Petty and David Pearson stories.

And it was hilarious to learn that TBG and I have the same hair stylist. And just last week I suggested this to her in jest! TBG, let's both ask her about global warming the next time we see her. Bet it's good entertainment.

Sneakers, I'm praying for your friend and for a new opportunity to open up for you.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

rain forest, I would have sore hands and wrists the next day, for sure! But at least you got fed.

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, that Keillor piece was painful for me to read. I revere Garrison and Thoreau both, as artists who have visions and the ability to articulate them. I believe that when society is insane, to the extent that it is wrong, alienation is the appropriate stance. When Thoreau was in jail for refusing to pay taxes that would support an unjust war, his friend said, "What are you doing in there, Henry," and he replied, "What are YOU doing Out There?" Marching to the dominant drummer reminds me of Hitler, or Mao. But I understand what Keillor means, we benefit from a sense of our commonalities, and without that we don't have community. I just don't think we have to denigrate the rebels in order to celebrate our common cause.

=========
"My Aunt Maria asked me to read the life of Dr. Chalmers, which, however, I did not promise to do. Yesterday, Sunday, she was heard through the partition shouting to my Aunt Jane, who is deaf, 'Think of it! He stood half an hour today to hear the frogs croak, and he wouldn't read the life of Chalmers.'"
--H.D. Thoreau, from the Journal (March 28, 1853)

Posted by: kbertocci | May 9, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The San Juans, like Victoria, are conductive to nutty efforts to grow more or less tropical plants outdoors.

I'm still grouchy over missing an opportunity to spend a week at Friday Harbor. Looked like you could get there from Seattle airport without renting a car!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 9, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, all.


'Sneaks: I will keep you and your friend in my thoughts, as well. How's the restoration going? We'll never be done.

Martooni: When you wrote of the untimely demise of the Mouse, I thought of my circular saw. I keep trying to slice the power cord, as I'm not as careful as I should be when I put it down. The cord is butt spliced together in two places until I can get to Charlotte and visit the Porter Cable repair store. BTW, their profile sander is something if you have a need to sand older pieces that have eccentric geometry.

Slyness: Did you ever peruse Dilworth Books? I became acquiainted with the owner through his daughter, who was a friend of a friend of mine that was a DJ at WGSP, back when it was a R&R station. I miss that store.

Posted by: jack | May 9, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Have you ever been to the Butchart Gardens DotC? I think I visited them 6 times. It's interesting all year long and much less crowded in early spring or in the fall. Most beautiful quarry I know of.
http://www.butchartgardens.com/main.php

Another quarry that turned up all right are the Reford Garden/Jardin de Métis in Métis-sur-Mer on the St-Lawrence River's south shore near Rimouski.
http://www.jardinsmetis.com/english/index.htm This one is for summer viewing though.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 9, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Let's see...if I were taking the quinnitukqut (the Conn), the last places I would want to sail would be the city that abuts the north coast of Panama, Colon (at the top of the G.I. "tract" that is the Canal). Nor would I have any interest in hopping the pond to tour the Bay of Salamis in Grease.

Posted by: Loomis | May 9, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

DotC, the other stupendous garden that is a hidden must when you go to Vancouver Island is Ronnings Garden, which is being recovered from the forest after being almost lost after Bernt Ronnings death in the late 60's.

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1501873293041101657Uuxwfz

This very protected landscape on the northern island made it possible for these monkey puzzle trees to grow and give seed for decades without much care.

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

SD, I first salivated over those poppies a decade or so ago. Its on the list if we ever travel east by land. One day when we have accumulated 6 weeks vacation...yeah like that will happen, but one day we are going to take off and do it.

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Howdy everyone. The rain has stopped for now and we are all in one piece and unflooded. However, I did lose a large elm tree. It was unbalanced anyway, and despite constant drastic pruning gravity overcame its instinct to stay in the waterlogged ground. The trunk cracked at the base yesterday and it just fell over. Ivansdad is spending many hours with the saws taking it apart to get it out of the yard. It was old, full of insects, and every year we wondered if it would last, but it was a good shade tree and I'm sorry to see it go. We lost the other elm to disease several years ago, so it is pretty exclusively oak varieties and one sugar maple now.

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

Bill Powers on how newspapers need a good publicist:

http://nationaljournal.com/members/buzz/2007/offmessage/030907.htm

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

FYI, I'm trying to finish my first Outlook story. I need to go back into the text and insert words like "notwithstanding" and "incontrovertibly." I need at least one reference to the Balkans and/or the Treaty of Ghent. This is pressure. I will try to post a new kit later in the day.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

*snort*

Loomis said "abut."

:)

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

dr, DotC,
a hidden gem is the 4-Winds Garden near La Malbaie in the Charlevoix region. It is one of the largest private garden in Canada. In the pre-AC era the Charlevoix region was popular with rich Americans wishing to escape the heat of NYC, Boston or Washington for a few weeks. For exemple, President Taft's family had a cottage in Charlevoix. The garden was created by Francis Cabot in the 20's and 30's. The Cabots, a rich Yankee family, still owns it but they open their garden to the public a few weekends every year. All the places are taken for 2007 but they are taking reservations for 2008. I visited this very whimsical garden many years ago when it was still possible to buy tickets at the gate.
Virtual tour:
http://www.etpanorama.com/Cabot_Garden_demo/Cabot_Garden_Intro.html
Reservations: (Can't find an English site)
http://www.cepas.qc.ca/jardin.php

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 9, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A wonderful BPH, as usual.

dmd, it was a pleasure to meet you; you're and a good sport for putting up with the ribbing we were giving you all evening. And you gave some of the guff right back to us, deservedly so. I hope you're having a safe trip home.

*Tim, after you mentioned your fascination with Yoopers and their lifestyles and accents, I'd been wracking my brain since last night to remember the movie "Escanaba in da Moonlight." The "Jeff" I recalled as the star of the film (such as it is) is in fact, Jeff Daniels (who also wrote and directed, as it turns out):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180679/

While somewhat uneven and simply bad in spots, it does have a couple of hysterically funny sequences, and a real affection for the UP. Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend it for no other reason than to indulge yourself and have a couple of laughs.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Joel... don't forget "nontheless" and "eschew."

When my husband was in grad school, we attended a lecture by a semi-well-known psychologist (husband's field of study).

When the guy walked in the room decked out in full psychologist costume (tweed jacket with leather elbow patches), MrG turned to me and said, "The first time he says 'as it were' we're outta here."

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Joel - so "bodacious" isn't suitable for Outlook?

Or a reference to Evel Knievel's attempted rocketcycle jump over the Snake River Canyon?

Sheesh.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

You know, Bertooch, I was a little surprised Keillor came out so strongly for conformity myself. And I'm not sure Obama represents conformity but rather unconformity. (I tend to favor noncoformity my own self, as I suspect you do, too.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

LOL! My Mum and Dad were good friends for years with an art professor at the University of Alberta, and his wife. Some years after the prof retired, he and his wife actually foiled a bank robbery, and were written up in the Journal. As the prof later wrote to us,

"I was standing at the table filling out a deposit slip when I noticed a thin nervous man dressed in a black turtleneck and a grey tweed jacket. I immediately thought, 'this guy is a bank robber, or perhaps a philosophy professor.'"

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten - what an awesome idea! I think I will ask for that whenever folks from back east visit me.

Yoki - Hi! *waving both arms* My chosen handle:
AZ - since I am now a resident of the Valley of the Sun
Bluehen - I am a proud alumna (us?) of the University of Delaware, home of the Fighting Blue Hens

Posted by: AZbluehen | May 9, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

A newspaper's publicity (Word of mouth? Need for a publicist or spinmeister?) will take care of itself if the paper has credibility, built on a healthy dose of skepticism and transparency. These were the themes of the NYT's public editor and ombudsman Byron Calame in his farewell column last Sunday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/opinion/06pubed.html

Skepticism, something I've found too often missing, needs to be nurtured and kept healthier at all levels of editing. While I have not been able to observe firsthand the culture of Times news meetings, it's my sense that department heads seldom challenge or question the enterprise stories pitched for Page 1 by their peers in charge of other sections. To the extent that this is accurate, encouraging editors at the meetings to feel freer to question or comment on the enterprise stories proposed by fellow department heads might make it harder for the next "too good to be true" story to land on the front page.

Transparency -- explaining the newsroom process and how specific decisions were made -- can engage readers and offers accountability that can build credibility.

Posted by: Loomis | May 9, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I have no doubt your Outlook debut will be brilliant. My only concern is that people will see your byline and automatically assume that your thoughts will be full of wimsy. You need a wimsy free byline. Unfortunately, you are cursed with one of those names that do not have a serious analog. That is, there is no "formal" form of Joel. Perhaps initials? Maybe J.L. Achenbach?

Or, more sensibly, people will just have to learn that you are a man of many facets.

Best of luck!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Woops - just saw comment by yellojkt. He's right (and thanks for showing me the proper term to use).

I can think of only one way to bypass Wilmington. But I can understand why there are more ways than one to do so. I think the only reasons I ever went there was to volunteer at the Salvation Army and go to the Big Kahuna.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I had quite an adventure over at the National Journal website. They only let members read the articles, but you can sign up for a "Free Trial Membership" and they want a lot of information in return for that privilege. I filled it all out, trying in vain to leave a blank where it asked for "organization." I'm really not that organized, but they insisted that I fill in the blank. Also in detail WHY I wanted to have a trial membership. I suspect it would be easier to join the Masons. Of course, for $25 I could get a "day pass" that would afford me all kinds of privileges for the next 24 hours, but I'm not rich enough to think that's a good deal. Anyway, after I filled out all the information, I didn't get a trial membership after all, just a promise that someone would contact me soon (No! That's the last thing I want...) So now I'm all nervous, straightening up my email inbox, trying to look professional. I'm sure if they have any standards at all, I do not qualify to view their articles.

Joel, you flatter us by imagining we might be worthy to read the Powers article.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 9, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Stopped a few minutes ago to look out upon the birdbath, which I moved close to the house so I could observe activity.

My attention was attracted by a crow that flew up with what appeared to be a dead mouse in its beak. It dropped the meat into the water and drank, then swished the meat around. A second crow flew up and showed interest in the meat, so the first gathered it up and flew away. Second crow then bathed in and drank the water. Now I gotta go tip it all out and put fresh water in...

I remember Dilworth Books, Jack, but it wasn't on my beaten path. There's still an indie bookstore at Park Road Shopping Center, but I have to be judicious in going there, lest I bankrupt myself.

Bad Sneakers, good thoughts and prayers for your friend.

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I've never been into Canada, apart from a week at the UBC campus in Vancouver, with a foray into Victoria, including an uncrowded Butchart. A revisit is due.

I've never been into eastern Canada, despite three years as a little kid at Oscoda in the upper lower peninsula of Michigan, on Lake Huron. I've never gotten rid of the local accent.

Over the weekend, I did get to talk with a local guy who, being detailed to Newfoundland for his job, took surfboard and wetsuit and had a fine time.

We still have the pall of smoke AND a tropical storm to our north. Good morning, Andrea.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 9, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The second hurricane of the season, Barry, should hit Florida especially hard.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 9, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dave, we are just trying to titillate you with tales of gardens north. See, we sneaky Canucks don't just send you interesting people like Celine Dion, and Conrad Balck, we try to trick you into coming north by speaking of mountains and fauna and dinosaurs.

We've been to Florida 3 times, but haven't gotten to much beyond keeping kids entertained. Our next southern vacation isn't going to be to Mexico, but Florida again, where we hope to get down to the keys, and explore a little further than the highway connecting the coasts between St. Petersburg, and Cocoa Beach.

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. That link didn't work?? Hmmmmmm....

Let me find out whut's up with that.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the best place to see the Keys is to fly to Andros Town, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. I haven't been, but visiting biologists from south Florida are impressed. Abaco, too.

Years ago, I was delighted to find that asiatic hybrid lilies thrived in Wyoming, along with tulips and the native yellow columbines, which were far more vigorous than anything from the horticultural world.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 9, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

TBG, unfortunately the "friend" is really a friend, not as it were, a figment of my imagination to protect my delicate ego.

You see, I'm still getting used to being asked for input on clothes, and then WHAM she throws the jewelry thing at me, saying her boyfriend is asking her ring questions.

I'm scarcely a fashion plate wearing tons of jewelry, so I suspect she just likes to talk about this stuff, and I needed to fish for something intelligent and non-geeky to say-- fast.

I mean, I was this close to suggesting her boyfriend go to "Gollum's My Preciousss Ring Shoppe."

Then I reminded myself she was talking about real rings, not Lord of the Rings stuff. (BTW, I hold the copyright on that name, okay? If I ever open a jewelry store, I want that name.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you can have it! I don't expect any sane person would touch that name...

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

Wilbrod, you gotta go with your strengths. Suggest that she ask for a custom-made ring in the form of Kekulé's snake devouring its own tail (the day's first Ouroborosian reference!), reminiscent of the (toxic) organic molecule that most perfectly expresses the nature of carbon, the molecule that makes life possible and which is the basic ingredient of the typical engagement-related rock. She could get 6 minuscule diamonds on the outside, representing the hydrogen atoms, but that might be overkill -- not to mention, it would become an uncomfortable and bristly thing to wear. She'll either be overwhelmed by your cleverness, or resolve never to ask you such a question again. Score!

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 9, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Wilbrod, Rule #6 dictates that the Washington Post now owns that name (or at least exclusive right to use it).

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

But, TBG, if the boodle can create its own universe (try and stop us) in our reality

"There is NO . . . Rule Six!"

Posted by: kbertocci | May 9, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

And Bruce is in charge of the sheep dip...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

They can have it, just as long as nobody ever opens one up in real life. You just know that all the rings in that shop would cost far more than an arm or leg.
It'd costm more like 8 giant, hairy spider legs....


Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know what the L. middle initial in Joel's name stands for? Because he needs it for his Outlook article byline:

J. Lawrence Achenbach
J. Livingston Achenbach
J. Levingood Achenbach
J. Loomis Achenbach
J. Lattimore Achenbach
J. Livonius Achenbach
J. Linthicum Achenbach
J. Livermore Achenbach
J. Llewellyn Achenbach
J. Lackawanna Achenbach

And we need to work on the tagline desriptor at the end of the article (and here's where we REALLY need that damn italics):

"Dr. J. Livermore Achenbach III is Distinguished Professor of Scientific Explanatology and Blogography. He holds the Donald G. Herbert Chair in Mister Wizardry and is the author of numerous books and weighty tomes now out-of-print. He attended Princeton and the West Virginia Institute of Mining, and served a summer internship at the DeVry Institute learning television repair. He wears tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows, smokes a Meershaum pipe, and his hobbies include drinking coffee in his car at scenic overlooks."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, as Joel has freely admitted, the "L" is for LeRoy.

I am a little scared that I know this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you're overlooking the obvious.

It's Ludwig, Lyman, or Lloyd, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

And just to be fair, I will reveal that in real life my complete and legal middle name is "F."

It's a long story.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. J. LeRoy Achenbach. I dunno, just doesn't do it for me. I think we'll need to go with J. Livermore Achenbach instead. Has more "gravitas." Nobody named LeRoy should be allowed to write Outlook pieces.

See, "LeRoy" puts me immediately into a Todd Rungren tune cootie, which has some unfortunate lyrics, to whit:
"Leroy, boy, is that you?
I thought your post-hangin days were through..."

[Post hanging days? See? We can't tell him his Post days are through. And then it gets even worse:]

"We gotta get you a woman,
Its like nothin else to make you feel sure you're alive.
We gotta get you a woman,
We better get walkin', were wastin' time talkin' now."

[No way. I'm not getting him a woman. No sir. He can get his own women. Anyway, he's already married to one. How many does he want? See, this song is hazardous to his marital well-being. So "LeRoy" just ain't gonna cut it. Sorry, Joel. You'll have to get a better middle name.]

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

RD, my grandfather's middle name was M. I know how it happens.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 9, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

J. LeRoy Achenbach is a much better byline for Outlook.

And what? It's really RD F Padouk?

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Poor RD's been F'ed from the beginning.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

J. Ludwig Achenbach? I *really* don't think so Wilbrod. Sounds waaaaay too much like somebody who writes operettas about Metternick or something.

But I can live with J. Lyman Achenbach, or J. Lloyd Achenbach.

Should we just go ahead and pick one, or should we let Joel have some input?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Got a few minutes to come up for air. My grandfather was Floyd R Dyer. No period after the R, that was it. Note: Harry S. Truman--just the S. When I was in the service we heard stories about guys who got stuck with something like John NMN Doe, because the clerks insisted there had to be something in that space (NMN stands for "no middle name"). Gotta run. Another meeting to sleep through!

Posted by: ebtnut | May 9, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you left out Joel's stints at the Diesel Mechanic's Institute and the Bartender's Academy (under the great Wayne Dobsky).

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

J. Lothario Achenbach has class.
J. Laefertin Achenbach may be a little too celtic.
(I know a Laefertin btw *roll his eyes*)
J. Lafayette Achenbach sounds good but it may be too French or too revolutionary.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 9, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that's the deal. My middle name is "F" with no period. Although I usually slap one on just to be sociable.

And indeed, it's just been one F-ing thing after another.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

RD, my dad's middle name was D. Something about wanting to honor relatives but not wanting anything to do with the actual names, which began with D. In the Army he was firstname D-no-middle-name lastname.

"Lyman" sounds distinguished. There was probably a Lyman professor somewhere I went to school, or something. The first Google reference was to rifle sights. I'm afraid they might think he made "Livingston" up. I think "LeRoy" will work, if there's something in the bio about Acadian French royalty.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 9, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Oooh!
Joel "The King" Achenbach.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 9, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, a scary fire in Griffith Park is threatening the old Griffith Observatory, among a lot of other things:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070509/ap_on_re_us/wildfires

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

There is a famous physicist named "Lyman" for whom the characteristic spectral lines of hydrogen are named. Naturally I assumed this is the one to which Mudge was referring

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

dmd, Cassandra, thanks so much. Cassandra I'm afraid you're just going to have to accept that every day is Cassandra Appreciation Day.

Spent the day in the hospital getting a bit bionic to reduce further poking. (Can't wait until I try to go through an airport security line.)

I must shamelessly plug the people at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton NJ. Along with so many boodlers and supportive friends they are absolutely some of the nicest people in the world. If I knew I'd get that much female attention I'd have made something up to complain about years ago.

By the way, it's Nurse Day! Go find a nurse and hug her or buy her flowers or something.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 9, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Saddening bc, though perhaps Dante's View is a more suitable name for the park now as a bunrt out area than it was as a terraced garden.

I'm just sayin'....

Posted by: Kerric | May 9, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think we've been down this road before:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/2006/03/sopranos_a_dangerous_gig.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yep, those nurses are a sweet lot. My sister is one. Just don't get them riled up.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: burnt

Posted by: Kerric | May 9, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Lyman was the now-deceased roommate of Jon Arbuckle in the comic strip Garfield. He had flyaway black hair and a mustache worthy of an adult entertainer.

Scroll down to the bottom of this Czech Garfield tribute page for a picture of Lyman in all his glory.

http://garfield.rulez.cz/garfieldova%20parta/garfieldovaparta.htm

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Have Great Uncle whose illiterate parents (that would be my g.g grandparents) took what the priest wrote as gospel: Franciscus X.

The priest was using Latin for Francis and X was shorthand for Xavier. (Francis Xavier is a very common Irish handle). He was known in life as Frank X. A few cohort cousins that sport this combo, are referred to as FX, as in special effects. One was called Fax, long before the facsimile machine SN is so fond of was in vented.

His brother, known as Billy sported this Latinized William: Guglielmus. He could have been known as Gug.

---
Lyman is the name of the main character in Wallace Stegner's fabulous novel of the West, _Angle of Repose_.

If Joel's middle name starts with 'L,' then the sound of 'L' in 'Joel' ellides with the opening 'L' in said middle name.

'El' sounds are lyrical and luscious. The word 'ellide' is particularly pleasing.


Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the LAFD has the Griffith Park fire at least 50% contained. They think they'll have the whole thing under control by tonight. Cross your fingers everyone.

Posted by: Aloha | May 9, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: wedding rings. For our 20th, I found one of these to give my lovely bride:

http://www.artisanweddingrings.com/celtic-wedding-rings.php

Not sure how I found them originally, but we had an actual printed catalog. We got the "Heartstrings" ring, and it's just stunning. Heavy and detailed and deeply cut. This one is available in rose gold.

I was somewhat nervous ordering a gold ring sight unseen from a catalog, but the end result was very nice.

Posted by: bigcranky | May 9, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The FUSE spacecraft (Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer) was renamed in flight as Lyman-FUSE. This was supposedly to honor Theodore Lyman (I think it was Theodore), after whom the ultraviolet transition series of atomic hydrogen is named (transitions between the ground state and excited states), but really to honor Lyman Spitzer. Spitzer is the one after whom the Spitzer infrared observatory (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infared Telescope Facility) is named. Lyman Spitzer had very little to do with the infrared, but he had a tremendous amount to do with the investigation of the interstellar medium (one of FUSE's target areas) and he is the fellow who formulated the first coherent analysis of the benefits of a space-based telescope. He lived to see both Hubble and FUSE launched, which is why neither one could be formally named after him.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 9, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Wildfire in California. I'm shocked. Stop the presses. Isn't one of the definitions of "news" things that don't happen all the time? Do they even bother sending film crews out there anymore or just run stock footage from some fire/mudslide/riot/earthquake in the 1970s? Ya know, there's a pretty good reason God put California all the way out there on the wrong side of the country, then threw a few thousand miles of desert, canyon, mountains, forest, rivers, savages and wild animals between it and places Man was meant to inhabit. You pay your dime and you takes your chances, people.

Posted by: Audentes | May 9, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only reason the fire is getting much press is because Griffith Park is so well-known, even beyond LA. There is a lot of "stuff" in the park, not just the observatory.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 9, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'll send some of the 4 DEGREES CELSIUS we have today south to the coast ok. That should help some. The joke round the office today is that yesterdays weather was summer. I'm not laughing.

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

dr, would it help if I said at least you don't have our smog?

big cranky those rings are lovely, what a wonderful gift.

Posted by: dmd | May 9, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

L is 5 times better'n X
I like Linus. I think it carries a nice scientific weight balanced by just the right touch of whimsy.

My parents gave me Dad's first name but were merciful and didn't award me his middle name which was Larke.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 9, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

J. Leviticus Achenbach has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Young Lymans are as numerous up here as Joshuas and Jacobs (#s 3 and 1 respectively on the Soc. Sec. Administration's most popular male baby names list of '05). It is hard to see Lyman as a dignified middle name when you've spent a day saying "Lyman sweetie, boogers aren't food."

Posted by: frostbitten | May 9, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I've made the official announcement at Outlook that I can't use the word "incontrovertibly." The editors accepted this. Still. We'll see.


My grandfather was Lyman Achenbach, the Universalist minister. Just fyi.

Also, in case anyone is into big telescopes, there's a mockup of the Webb that's been built on the mall outside the Air & Space Museum. It's kind of ... unwieldly looking.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh sure, Leviticus sounds cool. But dem rules!

Posted by: Boko999 | May 9, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

J. Linus Achenbach? Hmm. Kindy nerdy. I like it.

Both Linus and Lyman were were usedin Ocean's 11/12: MattDamon was named Linus, and Carl Reiner's character adopted the pseudonym Lyman Zerka.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

J. Leviticus is cool. Has an Atticus Finch ring to it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Count your blessings, Joel: at least you don't have to walk around town all day dressed in 17th century clothes like Kelley's doing. (It's not every day a crack Washington Post reporter gets to wear a codpiece.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Leviticus 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Not much levity in Leviticus, eh?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Someone, faced with a demand to name the baby "Lyman" will prefer "LeMans" instead, in honor of the French equivalent to NASCAR.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | May 9, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I left Gainesville about 30 years ago. It was one of the most racist, segregated cities one could imagine. The public schools were as bad as most in Florida. The restaurants were horrible. The culture in the town was mostly football frenzy and fraternity beer parties. The quality of the university was mediocre at best.

Posted by: socprof | May 9, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I need to learn how to use the word "abomination" more freely. It's such a good word. As in, "Gainesville 30 years ago was an abomination."

Posted by: Achenbach | May 9, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

This blogger did a hilarious series of posts called "I Read Leviticus So You Don't Have To" where he goes through all the silly rules chapter by chapter.

http://subdivided_we_stand.typepad.com/subdivided_we_stand/i_read_leviticus_so_you_dont_have_to/index.html

Chapter 17 is where all the smutty stuff is.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Leviticus... of course. You all follow the rules of Leviticus all the time, don't you?

(Leviticus 20:18) And if a man lie with a menstruating woman and reveal her nakedness, and she revealed the fountain of her blood, both of them will be cut off from among their people.

or

(Leviticus 15:26-27) Every bed whereon she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her as the bed of her period: and everything whereon she sits shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her period. Whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.


And who doesn't follow this one? There's a reason why Wal-Mart has a hard time keeping their turtledoves in stock...

(Leviticus 15:28-30) But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the Tent of Meeting. The priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her before Yahweh for the uncleanness of her discharge.

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about LeRoi has me recalling one of my first posts back in early 2006 - King of the Blog.

Linneaus would be a cool middle name. Also, Lysander.

>The quality of the university was mediocre at best.

I don't think this is a supportable statement. From what I've heard it looks like there will be a very good offence again this year, with the only potential weakness being in the defensive backfield.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 9, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

socprof,

Don't sugarcoat it. People need to know what Gatorworld is really like. You make it sound nearly tolerable. Picture a swamp 100 miles away from the next city of any size. Put 15,000 drunken college students in it. Run a two-lane undersized interstate by it. Make the interstate the main truck artery for the west coast of Florida. Make sure it stays constantly clogged. Bake the whole place in never ending heat and humidity. Now mix it with stale beer and vomit.

That is Sante Fe Community College. The University of Florida is twice as bad.

Did I mention the school color is orange? No school worth anything has orange as a school color.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

An opportunity to make a fortune breeding pigeons or turtledoves for the mass market, and I missed it! Darn!

I'm just glad to be beyond the need to take a couple to the priest monthly. Yanno, that could get expensive.

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

yello... don't forget the high crime rate! But that's OK.. it's only drug crime!

Abomination... how about this guy...

http://a0.vox.com/6a00c114131a43c40800c2251c3a30f219-200pi

(My Safari spell checker thinks "a0.vox.com/6a" is spelled wrong, but apparently the rest of that URL is a word.)

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Expensive? Not if you're always knocked up all the time, Slyness, as benefits an farmer's wife in a time of high infant mortality. And if you die young, well that's why polygamy was popular in those times...back-up mothers.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't the local priest be pretty much up to a$$ in pigeons, turtledoves, and turtledove guano every month? Think about it. Wouldn't he want some change of pace, like maybe squab, or duck l'orange, or a nice piece of veal once in a while? Even some chicken McNuggets?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 9, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Da Vinci used to buy turtledoves and free them. That factoid just popped up in my head.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of a story about a man with no first OR middle names: L.B. Jones was his name. Into the Army he went, and the Sergeant called out his name one day. "Lonely Bonely Jones!" He was reading "L.(only)B.(only)Jones." And L.B. was known as Lonely Bonely to all the guys forever after.

Posted by: Jumper | May 9, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

re: turtledoves

As well, I suspect the burnt offerings requirement began with dissatisfaction regarding the originally-ordered medium offerings being continuously undercooked.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 9, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing sadder than a worn codpiece.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 9, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

No way can Joel go with Leviticus, even if he wants to. i'm sorry, but it just doesn't go with the hair. A Leviticus would never have fly away hair. He would have a buzz cut maybe, or a curly Charles the 2nd kind of hair. Leviticus's hair would be umm, well stiff.

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Or should that be Leivtici? SCC, Leviticus'

Posted by: dr | May 9, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Guess what? Achenblog has readers way over here in Bellingham, WA. Number Two on the list. And... College Town. Western Washington University. Go Vikings! And, yes, without the college, the town would be nothing at all. Virtually every interesting event/venue/happening is either directly connected to the university, or survives by the patronage of college students.

Posted by: Dave in Bellingham | May 9, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

*umbrage alert*

audentes, your 3:54 comment reveals a lot of ignorance and arrogance.

no, it is not a normal occurrence to have a wildfire destroy over 800 acres of the "central park" of the city, threaten the city's observatory, shut down your city zoo, etc., etc.

furthermore, a lot of people who live in california do not really have an economic choice about it. your complete callousness to the loss of property and life of people in california is totally offensive.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 9, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Western Washington University. Did you know that this school is the academic home of the splendid Pinky Nelson? (former astronaut, male) Also the home of a fine storyteller, whose name presently escapes me, who used her cultured, refined, and very very elegant British-accented voice to tell us a story about how coyote once removed all the dogs' butt-holes and why they check each other beneath the tail today, whenever they meet, to see who has whose butt-hole. It was a lovely story.

Posted by: The *Tims | May 9, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey there Dave in Bellingham! Is there still a movement to call your school "WaWoo" to mimic WSU's "WaZoo"? Or have saner voices won out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

*Tims - I was once lucky enough to have dinner with Pinky. (George Nelson)

Interesting guy who told us that the most important thing to have while in orbit is a lot of duct tape.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod://Somebody I know wants a rose-gold engagement ring, wouldn't mind Celtic style and inset stones are a must.//

Bigcranky's ring was beautiful!

Many goldsmiths don't do much with rose gold because the high copper % causes casting problems, and casting with inset stones causes a whole other set of problems--the best cooling method for the stones is the worst for the gold. I think your friend may want to consider prong setting (can look very inset) or bezel setting, which gives the gem the best protection overall.

If I were looking for a handcrafted (not necessarily rose gold) engagement ring, I'd go to:
www.dorothyfisher.com
www.annmckaystudio.com
They've both done some bespoke gold for me and everything is gorgeous. Dorothy's prices are better.

Some jewelers who specialize in mokume gane add rose gold into the layers, and that would be truly beautiful. Let me see if I can find you one.

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's a bit from LAT about the fire. Do I detect an endorsement of intelligent design by NPS?

The Griffith Park fire will help fire-prevention in the short term because there is less vegetation - or fuel for future fires, said Marty O'Toole, fire education and prevention specialist for the National Park Service

"But it won't take more than a couple of years for the plants and grasses to grow back," he said.

[....]

"The ecosystem is designed to bounce back very quickly," O'Toole said. "The challenge is when we put people next to open spaces. Then their lives and property are in danger. ... We are most concerned about public safety."

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 9, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The new Dr. Gridlock asks readers in his blog today to tell the best part of their commute. That's a question that doesn't often get asked.

The comments are wonderful. Makes you realize that people really do see the beauty around them...

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/getthere/2007/05/something_to_like_about_a_comm.html

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

TBG those comments are great, I spent the hour drive from Buffalo in the limo just watching the view, the orchards were all in bloom as were the dogwoods and other varieties of trees, plus the entire escarpment was carpeted in soft green from the emerging leaves on the trees.

Posted by: dmd | May 9, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Only because I can't let it go. Mokume, being fabricated instead of cast, would allow inset diamonds. :-)

http://www.furthers.com/mokume-gane-diamond-rings.htm
(last ring, use a rose gold edge instead of white)

http://www.stoneparker.com/Custom/Wedding_Bands/Mokume_WR/mokume_wr.html
(top row, right)

TBG, nice article!

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Was that tune, "we got to get you a woman" by the Four Tops? I keep thinking I've heard that before and I can't get it out of my head.

Error, thanks a bunch.

We've had bad thunderstorms and rain. Just getting in, and real tired. My bed is calling me, and I am answering in the affirmative.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 9, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the mokume gane links, dbG. I'm interested in the meteorite rings. The ScienceSpouse and I will have been married (to each other!) for 18 years this year, a lucky number in traditional Jewish numerology, I am told. Some nice new rings to upgrade from our cheapo original rings might be nice. Then again, I like the reminder of where we once were, when we started our lives together. Seems unfaithful to who we were. Plus, we're planning to sell our house and buy a new one this year -- not a good time to put a few kilo-dollars into bling. Cool as those rings are, I guess I won't go that way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 9, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

It was Todd Rundgren who sang We Gotta Get You a Woman. I was a huge Todd fan in high school (when Something/Anything? came out).

Cassandra... I am exhausted too. If it were raining outside I'm sure I'd be climbing into bed right now, too. My day was spent totally in my office, working nonstop (and doing a little boodling) the entire time; I didn't come out once between 10 am and 6:00 pm or so.

You have to make three turns, coming out of my office, before you see a window--and even then you're looking out another person's window; you just have to hope that someone has a door open if you want to know what the weather is outside.

But who's complaining? Not me. At least I really like my job.

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

California coastal vegetation (i.e. chaparral) has a fire cycle. Vegetation regrows from roots or seeds, keeps growing, and sometime or another catches fire and gets started again. Very similar to Florida scrub, home of the Florida scrub-jay.

As to Gainesville 30 years ago, sanitation inspection reports for Skeeters were always horrible. But the little Mexican place near Bivens Arm always got the best possible score.

For what it's worth, Chapel Hill was a hardship post back then, too. There was a Chinese restaurant, greens at the Carolina Inn (with a very welcoming cafeteria staff), and a good cafeteria in Raleigh. Apples, bananas, and Cadbury bars were usually available. Yogurt was available on campus at the same location as the Washington Post, which arrived around 10 am with the latest revelations from Woodward and Bernstein.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 9, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Get her a necklace, SciTim. That way you won't be unfaithful to your rings. In India, necklaces are given to the bride instead of a ring anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Alas, Dave, the cafeteria at the Carolina Inn is no more. Doubletree now runs the inn, and there is a fine dining establishment instead. What a loss, the cafeteria was a great place.

Which reminds me, I need to call and make a reservation for the second weekend in May next year. Gotta have a place to stay for graduation! And gotta get the place early.

The California wildfire experience has had an enormous impact on the American fire service. Out of those operations came the first incident command systems, the genesis of today's National Incident Management System.

Posted by: Slyness | May 9, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Tims, that is a very old Native American story (myth) which explains so much, don't you think? No wonder the storyteller in question from from the west coast. My favourite bit where dog-lore intersects with European prejudice is the true and documented advice given to David Thompson as he crossed the Athabasca range from east to west, using sled dogs (in spring! the man was mad!) purchased from the Stoney people (a Blackfoot sub-nation). The dog-sellers told him that he should not let the dogs eat any raw fish after they crossed the watershed. He discounted this advice as being a stupid superstition of the red people. Of course, he did let the dogs eat fresh water salmon raw (raw, since the dogs caught the fish themselves, and hadn't opposable thumbs to start a fire) and all the dogs died of a parasite. This same worm is still endemic in West Coast salmon pulled from fresh water, and all us BARF feeders were warned from day one not to feed it. Hahahaha. So much for White European superiority. But poor sled dogs.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - several years ago we added two small side stones to my wife's wedding ring. These were supposed to represent our two children. It looks nice and it wasn't really all that expensive.

Although it was enough to make me glad we didn't have more children.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 9, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Baby Running Barefoot (1916)

When the white feet of the baby beat across the grass
The little white feet nod like white flowers in a wind,
They poise and run like puffs of wind that pass
Over water where the weeds are thinned.

And the sight of their white playing in the grass
Is winsome as a robin's song, so fluttering;
Or like two butterflies that settle on a glass
Cup for a moment, soft little wing-beats uttering.

And I wish that the baby would tack across here to me
Like a wind-shadow running on a pond, so she could stand
With two little bare white feet upon my knee
And I could feel her feet in either hand

Cool as syringa buds in morning hours,
Or firm and silken as young peony flowers.

---
----
Frosti, the lilac is waning here but oh dear sweetness, the peonies bob heavy with promise. I hope they wait one day for we may have a thunderstorm. Then, peonies look like sodden piles of tissue.

-----
I tried to post this earlier, but Hal held the comment. Peony, perhaps, sounds salacious?

But look at the detailed Leviticus instructions. Good lord. May as well sin. Confession is much easier than turtledove offerings.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on the upcoming new house, ScienceTim. I've also always been a fan of the tektite *moldavite*, believed to be of extraterrestrial origin.

Nice pendants, $ instead of $$$.

http://www.heavenandearthjewelry.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=664

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, your post reminds me of my family's connection to a band of Piegan people near Glacier National Park. Sometimes called the Pikuni people, they are related to your Alberta Blackfoot nations.

My father has art from several Pikuni friends that I hope to spirit away to my house when the time comes.

I walked on the scree line near the Canadian border with a Pikuni friend circa 1972 and looked at the Kootenai valley; I could not tell where Montana ended and Alberta began -- as it should be.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

SciTim -- you can add a small ring, say in a mobius strip shape. Who says you cannot wear two love rings?

Just do not do what the horrid DeBeer commercials suggest: thou shalt affix diamonds- and only diamonds -- to show fidelity and renewed love.

Good for you on 18 years. May you enjoy many more.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

It'd be funny if moldavite was after all proven to be a remmant of an civilization that was inordinately fond of bottle-glass jewelry.

Just saying. The color reminds me of sacrab bettles for some reason.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh.... I was right. Some folks have already made a lot of money on the Dow Jones takeover attempt...

"The Securities and Exchange Commission asked a New York judge to suspend brokerage accounts controlled by Kan King Wong and Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung, who, the SEC said, borrowed money from a relative to purchase 415,000 shares of Dow Jones last month, shortly before News Corp.'s offer to buy the media giant became public. Regulators called the trades 'highly suspicious' for their volume and timing."


[DJ shares rose sharply on May 1, the day Rupert Murdoch made an offer of $60 per share for the $35-per-share stock.]


The article includes this, too...


"Federal authorities also are probing a spike in purchases of Dow Jones call options in the days before Murdoch's bid became public. Buyers of call options get the right to buy shares of a stock at a certain price by a certain date. In the first three months of 2007, about 7,000 call options were purchased on Dow Jones stock, according to market data. In the days before the bid became public, about 10,000 options were purchased."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/08/AR2007050801941.html?hpid=sec-business

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I really like the meteorite rings with the mokume on the inner band, like a secret.

Although I love moldavite, I've never bought any to work with. Although it's totally cool, I have the irrational belief it's a homing beam for aliens, or would be if I wore it! :-)

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I kind of agree with you dbG, although my imagination lends the whole scenario a Stargate SG-1 flavor... that is, people would be taken over by alien "gods" if they wore it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there's always this pretty jewelry...

http://www.emmarosejewelry.com/

: )

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

DBG, by strange and sorrowful accident, I own a tiny tanzanite in bezel settings. I love this ring, and tried once to find earrings. But this is an odd, rare, soft, and expensive stone. Have you worked with it?

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

Okay, I'm going to bed in a minute, but wanted to add if you want new jewelry but wish to keep the old (1) eventually, your kids will like it and (2) a goldsmith could melt your gold and cast into a new piece and/or reset the stones.

I wear a bezel set necklace every day that has a former-engagement diamond in the center, and former diamond studs on either side (from my ex). Getting them reset was like a sign to the Universe saying, "Time to make something new from disaster!" :-)

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you are so bad!

CP, yes, I work with tanzanite, mainly briolettes and faceted rondelles at this point. It's so beautiful by itself, but also looks great paired with peridot.

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

DBG -- wonderful. We will chat offline. I need secure posts since I, ahem, wear a bike helmet nearly daily....wrecks havoc on earrings. I have so many un matched earrings. In the days of yore, one could give them to a sibling who pieced his one ear lobe. But those days are gone.

Me too, abed soon. Very tiring day. But the sunset was glorious: huge clouds casting orange, then purple, then pewter shadows. Lovely and free, actually. Amazing.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

CP, make sure you go to the Dr. Gridlock blog read today's comments about commuting. I thought of you for some reason. I guess you're someone who always sees the beauty in things around you.

Good night!

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

CP, I'll be happy to chat offline, but I really wasn't trolling for commissions! :-)

But jewelry is in my genes, and I'm always happy to talk about it. Today I wore a bracelet my aunt made in the 40s, which I reclasped for her in the 90s, along with another I'd made for her. Meaningful objects.

If you want, Yoki knows how to find me.

Posted by: dbG | May 9, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

CP-The lilacs here will be in bloom soon, though how they have any energy left after sending suckers through every corner of the lawn I don't know. I did forget about that in my lilacless NoVA days. I don't expect flowers from my peonies this year but good grief, I thought I'd see some signs of life by now. Sodden tissue-what a great description of the stormed on flowers.

Loved reading the commute comments. I have a temporary gig that requires a 40 mile drive a couple times a week. There is a stretch of about 15 miles through national forest where I rarely see another vehicle and the only sign of human existence is the road. There are a billion colors of green and I love them all.

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

DBG -- I know. But boodle bounty is special. So, with Yoki, then. Does this mean you are Canooki too?

Catch you later, Emmarose (jewels and dogs, what a combo).

Posted by: College Parkian | May 9, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Great story about the salmon. Poor sled dogs indeed.

*******

"Though we frequently speak of the potential of the brain, in practice our mental capacity seems to be limited. Every human mind has the same latent capabilities, but for reasons that have always intrigued anthropologists different peoples develop it in different ways, and the distinctions, in effect, amount to unconscious cultural choices. There is a small isolated group of seminomadic Indians in the Northwest Amazon whose technology is so rudimentary that until quite recently they used stone axes. Yet these same people possess a knowledge of the tropical forest that puts almost any biologist to shame. As children they learn to recognize such complex phenomena as floral pollination and fruit dispersal, to understand and accurately predict animal behavior, to anticipate the fruiting cycles of hundreds of forest trees. As adults their awareness is refined to an uncanny degree; at forty paces, for example, their hunters can smell animal urine and distinguish on the basis of scent alone which out of dozens of possible species left it. Such sensitivity is not an innate attribute of these people, any more than technological prowess is something inevitably and uniquely ours. Both are consequences of adaptive choices that resulted in the development of highly specialized but different mental skills, at the obvious expense of others. Within a culture, change also means choice. In our society, for example, we now think nothing about driving at high speeds down expressways, a task that involves countless rapid, unconscious sensory responses and decisions which, to say the least, would have intimidated our great-grandfathers. Yet in acquiring such dexterity, we have forfeited other skills like the ability to see Venus, to smell animals, to hear the weather change."

-- from "The Serpent and the Rainbow," by Wade Davis

Posted by: Dreamer | May 9, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, yeah, we gotta keep our eyes on the road, Dreamer ;).

We learn best what we are exposed to daily from a young age, which is why little kids can program vcrs.

When the English colonists came here, they had trouble setting up colonies as they lacked the knowledge and background necessary.

With a little help, and by slow acquistion of knowledge, they learned. But it was their children and grandchildren who would transform a scrawny village into a true colony and learn about the wildlife. Our language changed to accumulate new words for various animals such as opossums, whitetails, skunks, raccoons, and so on.

So in a way, language may follow cultural changes.


Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

La Kiesha bites the dust, and that second-rate Blake is in the final three. I'm bummed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Dave from Bellingham, nice to see another western Washingtoner (I'm in Seattle). Or is that Washingtonian? WWU is a good university, or so I hear. I tried unsuccessfully to get my kiddo the car nut to go there, because it has an automotive design program.
http://www.wwu.edu/

And it's in a beautiful spot next to the water, not far from Chuckanut Drive, and not far from Canada. What's not to like?

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 9, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

omni - Tue at 8 pm:
NCIS
American Idol
Gilmore Girls

At least those are my 3 programs, although now that I'm watching AI (why?) I haven't looked at the other 2 much.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 9, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

My teacher about all things natural (not in a spiritual way) is a Piegan Blackfoot of the Stoney persuasion, CP.

I think you should come to southern Alberta for a holiday, and stay with me. We can drive down Crowfoot trail, to Piegan trail, and then into the foothills between Alberta and Montana. We could stay in Glacier Park, overnight, and then go talk to some of the 'mountain novelists.' Good holiday, for us mountain-literature aficionados.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Better get back to Gilmore Girls, mostlylurking. I think there are only a few more episodes until the series finale. At least that's what my daughters tell me.

I'm guessing Lorelai and Luke get married, but what the bleep do I know?

Leviticus is low-hanging fruit for those that want to make fun of the Bible. There *are a heck of a lot of proscriptions in there; as TBG and others point out, lots of "shall remain unclean until sunset" stuff.

bc

Posted by: bc | May 9, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Luke decides to become a woman for the finale, bc.

I've never even seen the show, BTW, but it sounds like a good finale to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 9, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"Leviticus is low-hanging fruit for those that want to make fun of the Bible."

That's true, but so what? As long as it remains in the Bible, I think it's fair game. If fundamentalists don't want others taking pot shots at the weaker parts, let them create and use a version that avoids this sort of criticism and ridicule.

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 10, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *pretty much properly caffeinated waves*

I do apologize for the delay caused by workplace insanity, but we DO have photos from the 2nd International BPH!!

http://www.monkeyview.net/id/2480/2ndinternationalbph/

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 4:55 AM | Report abuse

*catching up*

I love my job, too. I tell myself that every day. Over and over and over... :-)

And I'm STILL wondering if they aimed the Webb model at the Capitol.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 5:03 AM | Report abuse

Great pictures, Scotty--thank you!

Posted by: kbertocci | May 10, 2007 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, didn't you think that last photo was...uh...rather disturbing?

'Morning, Boodle. Interesting lead story this morning: here it is May 2007 and somebody finally told Bush he's cost his party big time, and he has no personal credibility left. Oh, and the Justice Department kinda miscounted when it admitted it let go eight attys. It canned nine, as it turns out. Of course, there may still be a recount.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Snuke, looks like much fun was had by all. Thanks for sharing.

Kber, where are you, the husband, and Artist Alice going to camp? I have always enjoyed camping but my husband does not, so I'm forced to stay in hotels wherever we go. It's a shame.

Oh yeah. Good morning, everybody! Hey, Cassandra. Hope you're feeling better today.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Morning all lovely morning here, overnight rain cleaned up some of the crud in the air.

Here is news about gas prices that will come as no surprise to Canadians.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070509/gas_gouging_070509/20070509?hub=Canada&s_name=

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 7:19 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge...

I just document, I don't interpret...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, all. Thanks again for all the good vibes sent on behalf of my cousin. The M.D.'s are going to try and see how he does withour the respirator today. Thus, his condition is greatly improved and the antibiotic/steroid regimen is leading the way out of the proverbial woods. Thanks, again.

Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Great pics S'nuke. Definitely a fun time. It was really good to spend a few hours laughing.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful news, jack! *applause*

LiT, ain't laughing fun? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

That's good news about your cousin, Jack. To answer your question from yesterday about renovations here, we are done except for adding a small deck off the porch. We need a place to cook out that's convenient. The same builder who did our kitchen will do the deck and I hope it's soon.

My job has been extended three days into next week. They will be starting up a new phase of the project in July if I want to go back, but I'm hoping I have a 'real' job with benefits by then. Of course, it's good to know there's that option if all else fails.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 10, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Sneaks, my fingers are crossed for you. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, we (just the old married folks; the chick is relishing the opportunity to be lady of the manor for a week) are hitting the road with no itinerary, planning to explore the more northerly areas of the Sunshine State. We have lived here too many years without ever seeing St. Augustine, so that's our primary destination. There are campsites on the beach very near the city. Then we want to check out some of the parks roughly to the west of there. Husband wants to fish, and I like to hike, and mostly we just want to experience the freedom of having no plans and nothing we have to do. But first I have to get through these last two days at work. *Sigh*

Posted by: kbertocci | May 10, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Good morning,friends. The pictures are great, Scotty. It seems all of you have such a great time at these events.

On my way out the door, have a doctor's appointment. Isn't life grand? I feel good, this morning, I knew that I would. I hear James Brown in my head this morning. This after the Four Tops last night.

Hope your day is fantastic, and the weekend even better. We have that scary thing hanging out on the coast near South Carolina and Georgia, but I believe it is heading for the great state of Florida. You are most welcome to it, Florida.

Morning, Mudge, Scotty, Slyness, Martooni, and all.*waving*
I hope things are fine with you, Nani and americaninsiam.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 10, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

"Sneaks, I suspect your breadth of experience in the work world will pay off in the event you have to reenter a job search mode. I'm hoping for the best for you. Speaking of decks/porches, one of my must do's this summer is to replace the porch (approx. 10x6) at the back entrance to the house. The task is complicated by the fact that the leading edge of the shed roof over the porch is some 15 or so feet off the ground and the framing is trashed. The roof is currently supported by 4x4's. I'm going to replace these with columns I salvaged from the place next door, but they are about a 11/2 ft. too short, so I nave to fabricate a pedastal for them to sit on...work, work, work...

Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

At long last, a new kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 10, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Can we get back to the No. 1 city? The only reason I left Gainesville is that I discovered my pizza delivery guy had a master's degree in zoology, and that I'd never get a well-paying job there. But it took me 13 glorious years to come to that conclusion.
Go Gators.
Elizabeth Connor

Posted by: Elizabeth Connor | May 11, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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