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Student Drivers, Cafe Society, Wild Corn and Farmed Salmon

My eldest, Miss Paris A., just turned 16, and within minutes got her learner's permit. I am gripping my chair with one hand while typing with the other. This will be interesting.

We've done some driving already, and what can I say? She has the potential to be a good driver in the same way that an acorn has the potential to be an oak tree. This would be an easier process if there were not other motorists on the road, or any solid obstacles, or confusing things like stop signs, or, for that matter, anything other than an infinitely broad, flat, two-dimensional surface akin to the salt flats of Utah.

As it happens I also came across this essay by Anna Quindlen (scroll down to November 2000). It's a real weeper.

"All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost adults, two taller than me, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets, and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past....

"...But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us, make while
doing this. I did not live in the moment, enough. This is
particularly clear now that the moment is, gone, captured only in
photographs. There is one picture, of the three of them, sitting in
the grass on a quilt in, the shadow of the swing set on a summer
day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate,
and what, we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they,
looked when they slept that night.

"I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the, next thing:,
dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing, a
little more and the getting it done a little less."


They've built a mock-up of the James Webb Space Telescope on the mall outside Air & Space. Right now it's aimed more or less horizontally, toward the southwest. I took a peek. You can see the pores on a man's face in Tennessee.


By the way, I read MoDo's column yesterday and she basically said that the French elected Sarkozy because he vowed to make everyone work, as opposed to Segolene, who advocated long and leisurely lunches. That's a paraphrase (of MoDo's paraphrase). Sarkozy's campaign theme: "A France that wakes up early." In his acceptance speech he said he would "rehabilitate" work. MoDo writes: "One expatriate friend of mine observed that the French are not lazy, they just want to have a leisurely lunch."

All of which makes me realize that Sarkozy's campaign was an obvious rejoinder to my column last summer about hanging out in French cafes.

This is why it's important to be very careful with what one writes. Tell a joke or two, suddenly an entire nation is locked in the death-grip of a capitalist maniac. My blog is starting to get scary. It's verbal plutonium.


Blue corn is fighting to become "corn" under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Cindy Skrzycki had the story in The Post.

"According to the department rulebook, it isn't even considered corn because it's not yellow or white, the only versions of the food that are eligible for federal agricultural loans and crop payments."

This really jumps out at the reader:

"Sweet corn, commonly known as corn on the cob, is considered a vegetable and falls under a different regulatory regime."

Isn't it a "starch"? For years I've argued with my kids that corn doesn't count as a vegetable. Did I get that wrong?

Now then, at the risk of being accused of getting tangential, let's look at a recent email I got from my friend Whit Fosburgh (we go camping every year at Assateague), who works at Trout Unlimited. Apparently there's something out there called the Salmon Consumer Bill of Rights. Check out

I asked Whit: "What's wrong with farmed salmon? I eat farmed corn. Do I need to eat wild corn?

Whit emailed back:

'While I'm no corn genetic expert, I'd say that genie has left the bottle. Plus, corn doesn't have to go through the physiological transformation to live in fresh water and then salt water and then freshwater, swim around the

ocean for three years avoiding predators (human and other), and then find its way back to the exact same rivers and reaches from which it came, many traveling hundreds of miles and scaling dams, rapids, waterfalls, and even anglers. Oh, and they do this last part without even eating. Now, hybridize this marvel of nature with some mutt that has been bred to grow quickly and live in a pen, the strain quickly weakens (the hybridization happens because farmed salmon always escape and then travel up some river where they encounter wild fish). Add to this the pollution from the net pens (think floating industrial hog farms) and the fact that you have to catch and grind up as feed four pounds of other fish to make one pound of farmed salmon (not surprisingly, these other fish are rapidly being depleted). A final insult is that thousands of fish stacked in pens in the ocean become incubators for disease, which can then be transferred to the wild marvels innocently passing by the net pens.

'From a broader conservation standpoint, we want healthy wild fish, which means healthy rivers and ecosystems. If a stock is well managed, and the habitat protected, then the fish can sustain harvest. So we want people to demand wild salmon, which in turn we hope will make people demand proper management of the stocks and healthy habitat. Plus wild salmon taste better (and don't need dyes to make their flesh red) and are better for you.'

Now, as it happens, I had dinner this week at a Dupont Circle restaurant with some folks from an environmental group. A major topic was fisheries, and how overfishing is putting selective pressure on certain fish species. Specifically, when we catch the biggest fish (and throw back the little ones) we are creating an adaptive advantage for fish that lay their eggs when young. And (here I am really trying to rummage through what I remember of the conversation) those kinds of eggs aren't as hardy as eggs from older fish.

I had a clean ecological/piscatorial conscience at dinner, as I passed on the fish item, and ordered the steak.

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 10, 2007; 8:28 AM ET
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Next: Letter From Mom


We've gotten used to the fact that "crab meat" often isn't crab meat. Now you tell me that the salmon at the Safeway fish counter isn't really salmon? And it's dyed?

Goodness me. Pass the hot dogs.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Blue corn is just regular corn without clean writers.

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

Personally, TBG, I'm waiting for Scrapplefish.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

jack, moving forward from the last boodle, you can buy column pedestals these days. We did it, to replace the rotted ones on our front porch. Fortunately the columns were okay.

Nothing like the first kid driving, is it, Joel? My elder turned 16 on a Sunday and was royally put out that she had to wait till Monday to go for the test.

I understand where Quindlen is coming from, but I dunno. I like my kids grown up. OTOH, I wouldn't object if they got married and gave me grandkids, which they both say they do not wish to do. *sigh*

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

My son is a week away from gettting his driver's license. I'm trying to reach a state of equilibrium but haven't achieved that quite yet. I keep flashing on a moment a couple of months ago at a particularly hairy intersection with no left turn arrow and an obstructed view when he was making a left in a drifty sort of way and he yelled, "MOM, don't close YOUR eyes!"

So, I'm guessing the salmon I get at Costco is farm raised? I've always liked it but my stomach turns at the thought of it now.

Achenblog is definitely Seinfeldian, I think...but *verbal plutonium* -hmmmm.

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

My 16-year-old stepdaughter is a fine driver. When she's with me.

When she's with her mom, mom always comes back as white as a sheet.

Posted by: byoolin | May 10, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

SCC- getting...geez

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Never mind farmed salmon.


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

The best thing about having a kid in the house with a learner's permit is that my wife and I get to say things like:

"There's a stack of dishes in the sink and my sock drawer is empty, but if we can solve these 2 little problems, maybe there will be enough time left over in the evening to give the car a spin."

Poof! The work gets done without complaint. 15 years, 6 months, and now we finally have a house elf.

Posted by: Pat | May 10, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Against all reason, my son turned sixteen a few months ago. Because Virginia has a healthy dread of adolescent drivers, he is legally required to spend forty hours driving with a responsible adult before he can qualify for a license. Now around my house, the term "responsible adult" means my wife. This is because my wife has seen me drive, and feels that it is essential, as a matter of public safety, that these traits not be passed on to her offspring.

Besides, my son is incapable of accepting any guidance from me without first smugly pointing out some obscure exception to my wise counsel. This healthy skepticism is fine when the subject is trade policy. When the topic involves veering away from incoming traffic, Socratic discussions seem less prudent.

And so, on many evenings my wife and son have been haunting the side roads of Northern Virginia in my little green Ion. They should be easy to spot because of the erratic changes in orientation, and the occasional shrill screams of terror. Yet, it is my understanding that my son is making progress. For my wife's alarming facial tic seems to be subsiding.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | May 10, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

1st line, third to last paragraph, "broader" not "boarder"

*channelling Tom Fan*

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Pat! Good to hear from you! Hope everything is well in your part of the world.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Pat - if it has to happen at least we get a little leverage!

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I've never really paid attention to the google ads at the bottom of the page under the comments section. Are they always on topic?

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

One complication inherent in the push for wild salmon is the notion, held by many advocates, that hydroelectric dams are evil. Yet hydroelectric power is renewable and emits no greenhouse gasses.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Floating industrial hog farms." Um, yes.

Corn is to plants as lap dogs are to animals. The wild plants from which corn was gradually selected didn't even have cobs, nor tassels. Presumably the Mexicans who collected and planted seed had no master plan to invent cobs and tassels, but they assuredly recognized that cobs made the seeds easier to harvest. And the seeds kept getting bigger. Modern-day corn, the many sorts grown by traditional Mexican and other American farmers, is morphologically bizarre, so much so that figuring out its ancestry was a terribly difficult puzzle, with a great academic debate between Beadle (Chicago) and Mangelsdorf (Harvard).

And of course corn doesn't and couldn't exist in the wild.

Regrettably, we're shaping fish (by catching the big ones) more efficiently than Mexicans turned a wild grass into corn. Not to mention reshaping aquatic ecosystems by getting rid of some species. Fewer sharks means more rays. Rays eat scallops. So fewer sharks means fewer scallops (recent paper in Science).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 10, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Kim - in a rough way, yes. But sometimes they are unintentially amusing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

To be serious here (wha?), Joel: thanks for asking that question about farmed salmon. I've always assumed that farming fish produced a good, consistent product.

But you've pointed out before that we hesitate to think of our food as more than just a package of stuff. We should think about where it comes from. And I don't mean Safeway.

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

Word of the day: piscatorial

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks bill everything, I'll fix that.

I was worried piscatorial wouldn't make it through the filter.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 10, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse


Be careful what you call this here blog, or I'll have to come over there and issue you a license...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Conserving (and eating) wild fish is kinda like David Tilman's science-based proposal to make ethanol from native Midwestern prairie plants rather than corn. The fish, like the prairie plants, look after themselves. Nature does the work.

Wouldn't it be nice if 16 year olds could be farmed out to small towns while they learn to drive?

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | May 10, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Here's another cool vocabulary word. A fish that spends part of it's life in fresh water and part in salt is called "anadromous."

And I always thought that just meant men who wear make-up.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Our Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in on sequencing the marsupial genome.

The journal Nature will publish details today. Our local researcher John VandeBerg, who contributed the South American opossum (our paper has the photo of these cute tiny critters, unfortunately the link does not) for the gene sequencing, in the same research circle as Helotes mulch fire mayor Jon Allan. Research looking at jumping genes called transopons, melanoma, dietary cholesterol, and spinal cord injuries, as well as human evolution.

The marsupial is the only known animal that can develop melanoma skin cancer from exposure to ultraviolet light, as do humans.

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

As to farmed vs. wild salmon, PBS did an excellent series a few years back. After watching it you'll never eat farmed salmon again, just on general principal. (The natural color of the flesh of farmed salmon, before they add the dye in the feed, is a dirty dishwater grey. Appetizing, no?) Also, as a former Seattle resident, where they take their salmon VERY seriously, there really is a difference. Do a taste test sometime. Get some farmed salmon from Safeway, and some wild-caught from Whole Foods or wherever, heat up the grill, and cook both with a layer of fresh dill, thinly sliced lemon, and thinly sliced red onion on top. Then let's do an informal boodle survey.

Posted by: CJ | May 10, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

My big brother works for the Washington State Department of Fisheries on anadromous fish issues. He tells me that the problem with wild salmon proponents are that they vastly overestimate the number of wild salmon that can be sustained without farms unless we blow up all the dams. And some advocate that. But hydroelectric dams, the electricity they produce, and the irrigation they provide is vital to the region. So if consumers insist on nothing but wild salmon the fear is this will result in either massive overfishing, incredibly expensive fish, or unrealistic river system restorations. He feels that it is much more realistic to work to reform the salmon farming industry. And, of course, that's part of his job.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

pescada, pisces, piscatorial

If we're going Latin or Spanish or Mexican for a moment, I'm thinking of Ruben Navarette, who formerly wrote for the Dallas paper and now writes for the San Diego Union Tribune. He cuts Ken Burns no slack, as I did, and thinks PBS should withdraw its fall WWII documentary until it is re-edited. It's an interesting read as it touches on many the topics we discussed at the end of last week, including the codetalkers, but has new infornation as well.

Some excerpts:

As part of her U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project, Rivas-Rodriguez and her colleagues have interviewed 550 Latino World War II veterans and put together a database of hundreds of individuals and thousands of photographs. Much of it is reported in the book "A Legacy Greater Than Words."

For Rivas-Rodriguez, the dispute with PBS is not about political correctness. It's about keeping history honest. ...

Translation: Whatever they come up with is going to be an addendum to the finished product.

Not good enough, said Rivas-Rodriguez.

"We're not asking for any favors," she said. "This is what we deserve as Americans because of what our people have given to this country."

She's right. PBS has added insult to insult and bungled this whole affair, just as surely as Burns seems to have bungled the telling of an important story. Both parties should make it right, and there's only one way to do that. Re-edit this film, and tell this history the way it really happened.

Posted by: Loomis | May 10, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of fishing or strange fish. I haven't heard anything recently about the chinese snakehead threat in Maryland. Have they been totally distroyed?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 10, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 10, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Questions of the day for me:

Can Gordon Brown issue pardons and was George Bush really serious about bombing al Jazeera?

Will Anne Romney's past donation to Planned Parenthood hurt Mitt's campaign?

How will the Pope's visit go in Brazil, given the very recent dustup over the issue of abortion there?

Will the U.S. ever have as big a voter turnout for its presidential election as France did this past weekend?

Why do Washinbgton Post reporters have to put on silly costumes in order to do people-on-the-street-interviews, especially about a story that is local and has had intense media saturation? If the Washington Post's goal is to determine how much your citizenry knows about Ameircan history, why not ask Washingtonians hard questions such as what year did the Battle of the Alamo take place? Or the War with Mexico and how long did it last? Ask them to explain the Missouri Compromise? Ask them to give the dates that Hawaii and Alaska were admitted to the Union?

Posted by: Loomis | May 10, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, I am *so* offed farmed salmon. Not the least because I resent being "dyed at" -- The difference in taste between wild salmon and farm raised salmon is indescribable. Wild is so delicate and so nuanced -- not at all overpowering like the "fake" salmon.

I've become a bit of a food nazi. I decided this past winter not to buy the so-called "fresh" produce which shows up at the neighborhood grocery store. I buy it frozen (organic from Trader Joe's). In season, I buy from my local farmer's market. I've been off of red meat for decades, and while I enjoy fish and chicken/turkey, I've also gotten into the miracle grains like quinoa and millet, which are really delicious.

Kinda makes the self-righteous geiger counter go haywire, but, geez, someone's gotta do it. Plus, after a year of not going to the gym, I've been back at it for four weeks now (and counting). Ooops, set off that danged geiger counter again.

I'm just looking forward to an LDL count below 200 for a change. Now, if only I could keep my 60-year old mind in my former 20-year old body. . . .

As for DWT ("driving while teenager") I remember my father taking me out on a series of Sundays to practice in one of the parking lots at a nearby mall. For those of you too young to wrap your brain around that, let me explain. In the old days (which Mudge can attest to), stores weren't open on Sundays. Well, it was, after all, in the last century. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 10, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Joel, now I'm waiting for your kit on free-range calamari.

bc, I think the only places you'll find the rare and elusive scrapplefish would be the upper reaches of the Schuylkill River and in some of the lesser tributaries of the mighty Delaware River, say near the refineries along the Delaware shoreline, and around the rustbelt manufacturing plants in Camden and Trenton. Of course, the falls of the Delaware start just below Trenton, and it's pretty pathetic to watch the poor scrapplefish try to swim upstream to mate. You see, the scrapplefish are notoriously near-sighted due to highly polluted waters they normally swim in. And then when they approach the rapids, they hurl their bodies up out of the water in majestic leaps -- head-first into the rocks and boulders. On a quiet, moonlit night off the Taylor's Ham hog-rendering plant, sometimes that's all you can hear: thwop, moan, gurrgle, thwop, moan, gurgle, as the poor scrapplefish give themselves concussions and slowly slide back into the water. It's heartbreaking, it truly is.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Update on the snakehead greenwithenvy, they were not completely destroyed.

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's one for you... I turned 16 in 1973. In those days, we used to practice driving on the always-empty Dulles Access Road.

Nope. No toll road. That would have been laughable. The Access Road always looked deserted. It's where you went to practice driving or drive real fast because no one was around.

And besides, it was always cool to go to Dulles to watch the planes coming in and out, especially the Concorde.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure they sell canned scrapplefish at Food Lion.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Giant may carry canned scrapplefish, but you can be sure Whole Foods and Trader Joe's don't!

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

That is a very sweet essay by Anna Quindlen. Sadly, it's an inescapable part of being a parent that the children you say goodnight to each evening are just a little bit different from the ones you say hello to each morning.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I learned to drive on the rural roads of the Puyallup Valley. Very little traffic. True, occasionally one does encounter an errant skunk.

But of this we shall speak no more.

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

They let Alaska become a state?

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

I have to inquire as to the fate of the skunk. Do tell, RD.

The oddest thing that happened to me while driving was the occasion I ran through a whole bunch of frogs that were migratory for some reason. They were crossing the road somewhere in the Adirondak State Park, between Potsdam and Dannemora.

Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hi Pat, nice to see you here.

I've posted this on here before, but I commend to all of you who have teenage drivers this special report on Teenage Drivers in AutoWeek magazine:

I'll be the first to admit that I take driving cars seriously, though I also do it for serious fun, and I've done a lot of performance and competition driving instruction as well.

From my perspective, it's important to get kids to learn how to operate a car reasonably well before you thrown them into day to day traffic situations, so they can focus on what's going on around them rather than overwhelming them with that as well as learning to simply drive the car.

Kids have to take the typical EZ Driver's school before getting a license, but there are supplimentary schools that teach teen drivers how to handle difficult situations such as hard stops and slides in the rain or snow, and gives them some experience in doing so. The schools are not cheap, but I think they're worth it. My oldest turns 16 later in the year, and yes, we'll start driving lessons over the summer using a basic car with a manual transmission. It's a lot easier to learn to drive a manual and then switch over to an automatic trans, than the other way around. Besides, the manual is more involving, makes the driver think a little more about what they're doing (yes, my daily driver has a manual trans).

Anyway, I'll get down off of the soapbox now.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"On a quiet, moonlit night off the Taylor's Ham hog-rendering plant, sometimes that's all you can hear: thwop, moan, gurrgle, thwop, moan, gurgle, as the poor scrapplefish give themselves concussions and slowly slide back into the water. It's heartbreaking, it truly is."

Yeah, I've witnessed the scrapplefish mating before, and it is truly heartbreaking.

The noise is unforgettable.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Thing 1, a male child, enjoys driving his father's mid-life crisis car. He sees the car as a babe-magnet, a concert hall and a carnival ride all in one. I panic whenever he even looks at it.

Thing 2, the cool-headed female child, sees a car as a way to get from Point A to Point B. She doesn't care which car she drives, as long as it has gas in it.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

jack, I'll never know for sure. I don't think the wounds were mortal. I like to think it survived to have a long and prosperous existence in that skunk-like way. I'll never be sure. All I know is that the memory lingered nearly as long as the smell to the front portion of my Mom's 1978 Datsun B210.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The whole transescent driving thing will be upon us next year. I'm toying with the idea of taking the truck into a wet field with our daughter driving and do skids and doughnuts, just to get the feel of an out of control vehicle. There's nothing like a real physics demonstration.

Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ironically, I have some stories about the Dulles Access road from back in the day, but it wouldn't be right to post them after my 10:52.

I'll keep my daily dispensation of Parental Hypocracy to a minimum, thank you very much.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Why have rates of oral cancer been increasing in recent years, particularly among younger people and those who are not smokers or heavy drinkers (which had long been the primary at-risk groups, experts said)?

See the today's Washington Post for today's answer.

And you, Joel, are worried about your daughter learning to drive?

Posted by: Loomis | May 10, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "throw" from 10:52.

I should not be doing this while in a phone meeting.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

My son took a free one-day course given by a group called Drivers Edge. They have professional race car drivers teaching kids how to deal with some tricky situations.

The kids drive the cars (the instructor and other kids are in the car with them) and learn "evase lane changes" and how to "steer into the skid" by wiping out on wet pavement. They also learn how to use ABS brakes. They also do a session on general car care.

My son did wipe out on a rainy day in my Trailblazer last year and said that what he learned in that course really saved him and kept him from panicking.

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

bc, thanks for the 10:52 link. Have a hard-headed thirteen year-old with ADD. Three years to prepare for white knuckle time.

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Loomis- Isn't oral cancer often tied to chewing tobacco and snuff, the "safe" nicotine alternatives to smoking? I wonder if there is a corresponding rise in the sale of these products to young people.

Posted by: Gomer | May 10, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the situation on the snakehead is that we've admitted defeat and now the wildlife services are moving on to the subject of how do we live with them.

A family friend was interviewed on NPR a few years ago on the subject of farm-raised salmon and mercury ( ). They determined that since farm-raised salmon are fed a concentrated diet of fish meal to encourage rapid growth, it concentrates more mercury in the flesh than in wild salmon, which have a more varied diet. Googling suggests it is not a universally accepted result, however.

As RDP points out, we are too numerous and too hungry/gluttonous to rely on wild salmon alone, unless we radically change our eating habits. Which isn't going to happen. Just look at what happened here, today: most of us immediately declared ourselves to be too gourmet, too refined, to tolerate plebeian farm-raised fish, yet the fish are farmed because the limited capacity of the wild-caught population makes it economically valuable to farm them. If you see such thinking among our own devastatingly clever, well-educated, and (dare I say it?) chic segment of the elite, what can you expect from the hoi polloi?

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 10, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh.. this is going to be a loooong day. I just looked at my watch, which shows 11:20 and thought it showed 3:55.


Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

bc, if you weren't such a gearhead, I'd say you were channeling Weingarten with your comments about manual transmissions.

The one thing on the driver's test that made no sense to me as a teenager was parallel parking. Of course, the town I had a one-block main street with no retail to speak of, so it wasn't necessary. I think my driver's test was the last time I parallel parked voluntarily. Now the three-point turn--that's a necessary life skill!

Posted by: Raysmom | May 10, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

In Virginia, the Learners' Permit test asks such ridiculous questions as, "How long do you have after you move into the state to get a Virginia driver's license?" and other facts that don't have anything to do with how good a driver you are or will be.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm not sure pointing out that story to a father of a 16-year-old was an especially sensitive think to do. Be that as it may, one notes the very last sentence: "It remains unclear whether kissing someone who has HPV poses any risks, but 'it is not out of the realm of possibility,' Gillison said."

So now we have to consider the possibility that kissing causes cancer. Wonderful. Somehow I don't think that's going to stop anybody. And it reminds me of an early Chevy Chase "Weekend Update" news item on SNL, to the effect that "swallowing small amounts of your own saliva" causes cancer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

My neice turned 16 last week, her 14 year old brother topped 6' within the last few months and I'm feeling incredibly old but happy they're beautiful, smart young people. *sob*

Having spent most of my working life as a driver (4 to 18 wheels) I am familiar with the general competence of drivers on the road today. Please, I'm begging you, don't teach your kids to drive. You're not qualified. Frankly, you suck.

The most important part of driving is not the control of the vehicle, standard or not. It is defensive driving and situational awareness. You must assume every other driver on the road is a blithering idiot ( not hard, the evidence is incontrovertible)and you'd better know know where everyone of those idiots are and what they're doing.

Thanks for the use of the soapbox dr. One of the boards is loose, you're asking for trouble there.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

2004 Death Rates for Americans 14-24 (i.e. deaths out of 100,000 for that year)

Motor Vehicles 36.4
Other Accidents 26.1
Assault 10.1
Suicide 10.1
Cancer (all kinds) 4.0


Yeah, I think all of us with teens need to take that driving business pretty seriously.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, thanks for conveying the news about oral cancer rates. I had heard about this shift in sexual behavior (well after my time, I can tell you that). I guess this epidemioloigcal result proves that the sex-surveys provided a fairly accurate portrayal of what's going on. Plus, of course, Gomer's on-the-job knowledge he conveyed to us, that "they hand out bj's like lollipops." After my time, for sure.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Also, the most dangerous form of driving for a teen - almost as bad as drunk driving - is to do so with a bunch of kids in the car at night.

But heck, how likely is that to happen?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think a good answer to the need for farm-raised fish is to do it offshore using old oil rigs. The pollution falls less harmfully to the open ocean floor (chock full-o-poo, anyway) and the rivers and lakes stay less polluted. The feed-to-fish weight ratio problem is still there, but, as it takes about ten pounds of feeder fish for every pound of wild salmon, a four-to-one ratio ain't that bad.

Posted by: Gomer | May 10, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom - I never could manage the three point turn. Now the seven-to-twelve point turn, I got that covered.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Oops! I copied the stats wrong, although the conclusion is the same. Correct stats are:

Motor Accidents: 26.1
Other Accidents: 10.3
Assault: 11.7
Suicide: 10.1
Cancer: 4.0

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Three point turns for me were a skill aquired while practising driving with my older sister, her favorite place to take me was the local cemetary. The narrow roadways were a great place to learn three point turns. I would like to note not one gravestone was harmed.

RD, did it happen to break out how big a factor drinking played in both the traffic accidents and other category. I would be willing to be that it is significant.

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Knowing this crowd, I'm sure we all did fine on the 3.14159-point turn...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

>Of course, the falls of the Delaware start just below Trenton,

Mudge, you'll be heartened to know there is a fairly nice minor league baseball stadium in Trenton right on the river. I'm told the view of the screapplefish jumping the falls in the early evening sun is quite spectacular, even if the home team is not.

My father taught me to drive in a 1948 Willys with a seat setup for a 6'3" man (I'm 5' 10") which was not actually attached to the floorboard, a very indeterminate 3 speed on the column and a 1/4" diamond plate bumper for going through the woods.

Our first effort was driving around the barn. Regrettably there was a VERY large boulder just across from the corner of the barn, and while attempting to find the ever-elusive 2nd gear I deftly managed to avoid the boulder. Not so for the barn. So yes, I CAN hit the broad side of a barn in a '48 Willys. That was the end of the lesson for that weekend, as we spent the rest of the time rebuilding the corner of the barn.

>just to get the feel of an out of control vehicle

jack, that's a great idea. The guy who lived on this farm had a small replica of the old Trenton track (with dogleg) in the field, and I used to wail around it in a '69 Impala with a 350 V8. I'd go as fast I could until it broke, did full power slides through the turn until it broke back the other way just in time for the dogleg. I don't know how I managed to keep it from flipping. Most of the time I was halfway into the passenger side just holding onto the steering wheel and keeping my foot on the gas. Great fun, and you learn a lot about recovering from a potential spin.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Gomer, seems like it would probably be more efficient for us to eat the feeder fish directly. But then we'd see things like this on a menu: Almond Crusted Broiled Feeder Fish served with a sun-dried tomato coulis. Yummy.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 10, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

From Will's column today on why the World Bank should disappear:

>Much of what recipient countries save by receiving the bank's subsidized loans they pay in the costs of "technical assistance," the euphemism for being required to adopt the social agendas of the rich nations' governments that fund the bank. Those agendas focus on intrusive government actions on behalf of fashionable causes -- the empowerment of women, labor, environmentalism, indigenous peoples, etc.<

Yeah, this leisure class fad of the empowerment of women has really grown tedious. Jeez . . . .

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

no dmd - the report doesn't break things down that finely:

And on an empirical level, it is nearly impossible to glean causation after the fact. That is, did an accident occur because a kid had a beer, or was it because the kid was showing off, gabbing with friends, twiddling with the radio, or simply panicked? Obviously all these can play a part, but it is hard to quantify them in terms of objective stats.

Frankly, I don't worry too much about my son driving while drunk. I think we have pounded that fear into him pretty well.

What I worry about is him driving while distracted.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

This teaser has been on the Wapo home page since last night:

» Home | Make your space ready for multiple occassions with a careful floor plan.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

But TBG, space is empty, innit?



Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

RD, in my industry the stats for accidents caused by drinking (or being hit by a drunk driver), or lack of safety precautions are very high. I should have added selt belts, etc into the equation.

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Oops sorry. This is bc's box. I may have been a professional driver but I have the heart of an airline baggage handler.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The word occassions is my beef.

The folks who own the cleaners that the DC judge is suing for $65 for losing a pair of pants is taking donations for their legal expenses...

The original story is here:

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

dmd - no argument here. Each spring I point out to my son the large number of teenaged deaths reported with the phrase "alcohol was involved." Actually, I think the best detailed stats on automotive deaths are put together by the auto insurance indistry. I couldn't find the citation, but that's where my observation about "driving with kids at night" comes from.

And the seatbelt rule is a no brainer. I used to convince my kids that the motor wouldn't start until they were strapped in.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. Some teen driving stats. [This one is wonderfully edited, I might add.]

And this one (also dazzlingly edited) on the comparison of parent-taught teen drivers versus school/commercial class-taught:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG, did you see that the nimrod judge in question is likely to be re-appointed? After all, he has the recommendation from the Chief Judge (which of course was written before the furor over the lawsuit).

Posted by: Raysmom | May 10, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

That CDC report is fascinating reading. According to it I am predicted to die on April 2, 2040.

I guess that's useful.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - Thanks for those!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

One might also cite this amazingly semicoloned brief:

and it's even more stunningly edited full 44-page report:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Mudge. Page 100. Third paragraph. The word "metrics."

The conspiracy is worse than I feared.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Not that I have any personal connection to them.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I tried, I really did.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, don't salmon have to spawn in fresh water? And only head to ocean after hatching? So I don't see how the oil-rig thing would help for that variety.

'Eat more fish!" the nutritionists say. 'Just not farmed fish or fresh water fish.' 'But don't eat wild sea fish,' say the environmentalists. Well, then which fish, exactly, should I be consuming?

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

*wailing aroungd the dogleg in a Chevy w/ a 350* Oh,to be young again...

Things we've considered about our teen driving and why:

1. The first vehicle is going to be a truck, something mid-sized so if she rear ends someone, the bumper is likely to be higher than the other vehicles, therefore, a better likelihood of minimizing damage.

2. No passengers for the first year. Add a passenger wtih a teenager and the probability of having an accident increases nearly 100%, as the tendancy is to show off their driving skill. They'll take unnecessary risks.

Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Free-range calamari, Yoki. And Mrs. Paul's Fist Sticks, which contain no organic material whatsoever.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So the take away message is to always buckle-up. Seems pretty obvious. You'd have to be a total Corzine not to understand that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

This kind is safe in moderation, I think, Yoki...

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for abstracts Mudge. 216 pages!
So you're working for the competition. sheesh.

I think I caught, gutted, cooked and ate a scrapplefish once. eewww. Worse than farmed salmon.
Trout is also farmed. As for salmon the pink/red color comes from food coloring added to their pellets. I hate eating salmonids as much as I like fishing for them, so I'm a strickly CPR (catch-photo-release) guy for trouts and salmon. To the great annoyance of the rest of the family who can't get enough of the stuff. Go fish your own I say.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Some states are only allowing 16-year-olds probatioary licenses with prohibitions on other teens in the car because of the stupid things young people do. Speaking of which, while in college, I had a 1973 VW Beetle that I would sometimes drive from the passenger side. While driving alone, I would hop over into the passenger seat just to see if I could do it. What an idiot. I'm surprised I'm still alive. So, I'd like to reiterate what Boko said about defensive driving: Everybody else is an idiot, including ourselves sometimes.

Posted by: Gomer | May 10, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

So, to sum up, driving is still more dangerous than parking.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Good morning. The Boy has not-quite-five years before he's license-eligible (I'm very dashing today) but I've started the safe driving drumbeat. My dad taught me the basics by driving around our little gravel roads by the house, used only by family. Some of them have fallen into disrepair, but the Boy can already steer down the driveway and make the turn. Mainly I emphasize the importance of caution, attention, rules of the road etc., using examples as we drive along the highway. He'll definitely be taking a driving school course. My goal, the same as my parents' was, is to have him driving safely when he is old enough so I can stop hauling him around.

I don't hardly eat enough fish as it is now, so I'll just forego the whole salmon debate. As a kid we ate salmon croquettes made from canned "salmon". It was years before I knew there was any other kind.

"Verbal plutonium". I love it. Use this power only for good, Joel. Let's all think of topics Joel could choose in order to effect major change through humor and observation.

After two days with the chainsaw, Ivansdad has cut up maybe 1/3 of the downed elm. Does anyone know whether elm makes good firewood?

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 10, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

As risky behavior goes, this has to take the cake:

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Corn is a vegetable when served cooked on the cob or in little kernels. This is particularly true if you're not serving any other kind of vegetable. Kinda like watermelon. Corn in bread, chips, tortillas etc. is a starch and does not count as a vegetable.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 10, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

As a teenager, I had just enough time to get from school to work (someone had to pay for my vices), so I routinely changed clothes in the car. Buttons, zippers, etc. while driving, actually changing clothes at lights. It's a wonder there weren't any accidents.
And to think someone who liked recreational pharmaceuticals so much was that concerned about being punctual.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Elm is hardwood Ivansmom, so it's good firewood. Someone with a chainsaw and in need of firewood may very wll clear this tree for you. My BIL cleared the 22in. diameter linden that fell on the powerline last December for that very reason.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The quickest way for a teen to get a parent to skip out of a business meeting and pick them up from the mall or school:

1. call parent cell phone
2. insert Mom, Dad or first name if you are one of those weird socialist families
3. ,Can you pick me up now, or should I grab a ride home with my classmate?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 10, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Florida Today says the highway patrol received several cell phone calls about a driver speeding and passing on the shoulder and on the median of the Beachline expressway from Orlando to Cape Canaveral. Officers found the driver dead, along with the driver of the car he smashed into head-on.

I guess the good news is that the highway patrol gets useful reports from drivers. The bad news is that pass-on-the-shoulder and similar behaviors are on the rise.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 10, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Even faster DolphinM
"or should I grab a ride on my classmate's motorcycle?"

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

>driving is still more dangerous than parking.

Depends if there is an cancer-causing kissing going on, Padouk.

TBG, loved the fishies. My laugh of the day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, yes you do fear getting in the car with a progeny worse than pretty much anything else you have ever done. To that point in their lives, you have pretty much been privy to their every failing. You know that your child, who seldom ties his shoes properly, is being allowed to drive. You become intimately aquainted with how slow your reaction time is. Your life, and their life flashes before your eyes in the seconds between you realizing that they are coming up to the garage door just a little too fast, and your physical ability to screech stop. You know that there is nothing you can do but sit there and brace yourself and pay the bill. And then magic happens and they stop before hitting the door, and you sit there, your heart beating too fast, confident that you will never ever get the fingernail marks out of the dashboard. Kerric will freely back me up on this, particularly the screeching part, and the heavy heartbeat part.

In all seriousness, no one decides about cancer, it just happens and there are things you can do to help your kids risks. You console yourself because this is all you can do about it. But driving is usually the first real time where your child is heading off on his own as an adult. Its scary on its own. You know your car doesn't have brakes on the passenger side, and except on Flintstones, you can't brake by pressing against the floor.

Ditto what bc says about manuals. Anything that keeps them more engaged in the task at hand is a very good thing.

Posted by: dr | May 10, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

dmd- Thanks for the update on the snakeheads.

I am here to report the the bug population in WV is in full swarming mode. I was doing a neighbor's yard work and had a veil O bugs. Gnats mostly and not a dryer sheet to be found anywhere.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 10, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm downloading the stats you linked to 'Mudge, unfortunately I won't be able to read them for 30 minutes. I don't heart DSL.
What's the scoop? Are parent trained drivers safer than school trained ones? I'd be very surprised.

I was lucky Dad worked for Bell Telephone. The company provided defensive driving and skid schools ( front and rear drive vehicles on frozen Dow's Lake in Ottawa) for employee's families.
The Ottawa Safety Council has a great Motorcycle Safety Course availabe at reasonable cost. The main message of the course is Defensive Driving.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Gomer said: "while in college, I had a 1973 VW Beetle"

No, no, sir. You had a Super Beetle, a bastard creation, the unholy spawn of a Beetle that strayed in search of a wilder life, preyed upon by some sort of villainous American bloat-mobile.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 10, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

That mortality report is fascinating. Lots of data can be mined from that. It seems old age is durn near fatal. If you live to be 85, you only have a one in six chance of reaching your next birthday. Your odds improve 40% if you are an Asian woman. Not that that helps me in the least.

In my age group, suicide is nearly as big a risk as auto accidents. I better stay away from guns and tall buildings.

My son has been driving solo for nearly six months now and it has been wonderful. Being relieved of carpool duties in exchange for a set of keys is a great deal. Here in Merlin, teen drivers have a midnight curfew, so we know when he will be back from a date.

I have made my son a standing offer that if he stays at home and attends community college or UMBC instead of where he wants to go I will let him drive the BMW Z4 I buy with the tuition savings one night a week.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Dryer sheet?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

dr - I think you nailed it. Few things in life scare me as much as my son behind the wheel. And the stats tell me I am right to feel that way.

Hey TBG - if you ever want to score some big-time amounts of those little fishies on the cheap, drop me a line.

I know a guy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Shriekin' D!

It's worse than that and I can't put it in print here, but you are so right. Well, just a hint, I've known way too many friends and acquaint(s) get really messed up on motorcycles that, from the very beginning, even as I would dance around the living room with my 2 year old who couldn't fall back to sleep at 2 am... to the Nutcracker Suite, I would preach, don't smoke and don't ride motorcycles at all costs.

Now, to my disbelief, other parenting unit has new friend who insists that said most cherished loved one must ride MC and LIKE IT.

I personally feel that my family has been violated.


Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 10, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I didn't read the 216 pages report but the abstract reports much lower pass rate on the driver exam and much higher driving offences for the PT (parent teacher) versus DE (driver's Ed) student.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Give your child a motorcycle for his last birthday.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG - loved the fish..made me laugh. Also, thanks for the link to Driver's Edge...great idea. I'm hoping they'll come to Richmond sometime in the next year or so.

I can see a future where I will feel as yellojkt does about the relief from endless ferrying around of children...I think that will be the silver lining. I think there's probably a lot of acid indigestion to go before I'm there, though.

With my son getting his license and my daughter entering high school in the fall, I'm definitely trying to channel Anna Quindlan right now. I'm hoping that will somehow mean I can find a way to enjoy the bathing suit shopping excursion my daughter has planned for me this weekend. I have promised myself that I will be firm, yet fun - open minded, not shocked -
happy, not cranky - generous, not penny-pinching ---- HA!

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I drove a '73 Super Beetle (curved windshield instead of flat is one of the distinguishing characteristics) in high school. The gas gauge didn't work and I never had more than five bucks in my wallet at a time. A bad combination.

I learned from empirical observation that it takes at least eight hours for gas to wind it's way through an empty VW fuel system unless you prime the pump by splashing some fuel straight into the carburetor while your buddy starts the engine.

Not a lesson I felt necessary to pass on to my kid. He carries a low limit credit card on him for fuel and food for emergencies.

He has a very broad definition of emergency. He called last Friday and begged for permission to charge the meal for him and his date at the new pan-Asian restaurant. We tried to convince him the sandwich shop next door would be just as filling.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I never contemplated teaching either of my children to drive. I know I'm not qualified; let somebody who is do it!

Not long before I retired, I had the opportunity to do a half day on the City's driving range. Practiced swerving to avoid hitting something, recovering from dropping off the shoulder, skidding on wet pavement. It was a good experience. I'd like to do more.

Here in NC, teenagers have a cerfew and may not drive with others except siblings. I like these laws.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the HPV and throat cancer, I heard that news about a month ago from a student writing a paper on HPV and required Gardasil use in pre-teen girls.

I push students on the rhetorical notion of kairos, which can mean TIMING. I encourage them to find the newest information in the field. At the beginning of each class, I ask students if they have found anything new about their topics. (Supernovae writer was very happy about the NASA annoucement).

She mentioned this oral sex/throat cancer finding in class. Very quiet for a few moments. One student finally said, "So this would be a reason to have boys vacinated, wouldn't it." We all agreed. I expect a few went home and considered their personal risk situation.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The fatality rate for motorcycles is "only" 39 times higher than for 4-wheel vehicles. There are two major problems: the high proportion of riders who refuse to wear helmets, and the higher rate of drinking among MC people than the average car driver.

Somewhat surprising, the largest age cohort of MC fatals is in those 44 and older.

Drunk and no helmet. It is just pure death wish, that's all there is to it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- the discussion on driving was lovely! Thanks for the pointer. I guess these two "proverbs" I heard in childhood fit:

bloom where you are planted (or uprooted and manage to survive)

if life sends lemons, make lemonade (I guess hard lemonade counts too)

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

CP, my SIL says if life gives you lemons, make lemonade, then make friends with someone who life gave vodka.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree with SD that the abstract about PTDE is excellent. I can't figure out why the other 215 pages were published, though.

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 10, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse


My dad would bring home from the ER Polaroid evidence of what murdercyclin' hath wrought. Very graphic and quite effective. However, in a small town, this means that I twice recognized people in the images. (This was long before the Health Privacy Stuff).

The other category: farm accidents with glaucoma medication as a precipitating factor.

Both categories ain't pretty.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

LiT -- funny. I think I will put in a memo request for limes. I would like a change, please.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Ontario has a graduated licence that limits the time, highway access, and number of people allowed in the vehicle for new drivers. I don't have the stats but I'm under the impression safety has improved substantially.

In a collision with another vehicle a bike rider's chances are next to zero. The trick is to avoid the buggers and that's where Defensive Driving is so valuable.
All my road rash was acquired when I was idiot mode. (wanna see?)
A big problem with new bike riders is the A type personality on a ridiculously over powered motorcyle.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Gardasil update, if you haven't heard. Texas Gov. Rick Perry early this week decided not to veto Texas legislature's overturn of Perry's mandate to impose inoculation of sixth-grade girls against HPV. In effect for four years. Other states considering legislation. Virginia only state to require the shot, as I heard it on the evening news. Mercky should stay away from hiring former gubbie staffers or contributing significantly to gubbies' campaigns--there's the supposition of taint.

One of our newer op-ed columnists, a woman, writes (of the hypocrisy of some people):

Maybe that's because in the end, this was more about his craving for power than it was about his desire to make more widely available an important vaccine with significant health benefits.

If the latter had been his true goal, he could have done a couple of things differently.

For one, he would have worked with influential legislators in both houses to secure widespread support and fashion an appropriate bill.

Second, he would have mounted a real information campaign to drum up public support for the measure, most notably among his conservative base.

And he would have acknowledged that federal funding to provide the vaccine for those who can't afford it is available without a mandate. According to the governor's staff, an executive order isn't necessary to draw down the federal match of $42 million to supplement state dollars for the $71 million program.

Instead, Perry tried to ram his constitutionally shaky executive order through. Now that it failed, he's pointing fingers when he should be looking in the mirror.

This governor, along with the Republican leadership in Austin, presided over massive cuts in 2003 to the state's health insurance program for poor children, cuts only now getting restored four years later.

And Perry has the gumption -- to use his word -- to accuse others of failing to address the health of Texans?

Posted by: Loomis | May 10, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

LTL, you have no idea how many times a day I ask myself that very question.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of driving...

I was just on the phone with my wife, telling her about this story on the website (

Police are looking for one Michael Francis Wiley, who is described as "one of Pasco County's most accomplished traffic violators," with something like 45 violations to his name. On Tuesday he led two police cars on an eight-minute chase before eluding them; in 1998 he led police on a 120-mph chase down I-75, and is currently "awaiting trial on separate drug and illegal-driving charges."

Mr. Wiley "lost both arms and part of a leg in an accident" in 1980, and so drives with one good leg and three stumps.

So, ANYWAY, I tell my wife all this, and she says, "The cops aren't worried. He won't get far on foot."

(She admits stealing the last part from Callahan.)

Posted by: byoolin | May 10, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Couple 'o Observations here:

Mudge, if you take Bounce or other dryer sheets and rub them about your person, it helps keep bugs away. It can also be fun to rub dryer sheets upon someone else's person (an adult friend, of course), just to assure good quality of rubbing, and maximum coverage so that not an inch is missed.

And thanks for those links, dude.

FWIW, I had a flat-windshield 72 Super Beetle, pumpkin orange. Wonderful, eccentric car. Also about as difficult to repair as a Sears push lawnmower.

All this talk about lemonade, lemons, and vodka is making me thirsty. But I'm driving.


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

In the story about the six "home-grown" Ft. Dix terrorists, I thought this was interesting:

"Tatar and the [three] Dukas [brothers]were habitual offenders, stopped dozens of times a year for speeding, illegal passing and driving without a license. Dritan Duka pleaded guilty in 2000 to possession of drug paraphernalia and Shain Duka to possession of marijuana -- low-level charges that at the time did not trigger immigration background checks.

"Only one brother [out of three] had a driver's license, and only briefly. But they drove anyway and were ticketed regularly by Cherry Hill police -- including four citations in one five-week period for Dritan Duka. The three had their driving privileges suspended -- meaning they could not even apply for a license -- 54 times in less than a decade."

The paragraph immediately preceding says: "In almost every way, they were products of typical U.S. suburban life." Oh, really? Illegal aliens, repeat offenders. Want to slaughter soldiers. Yeah, sounds pretty typical to me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Indeed dr I do remember the screeching. It was the major cause of almost all the near-misses that we had while I was learning to drive. However I must also note that most of the instructions that you gave me while I was learning under you were far more usefull than anything taught in the drivers ed course.

It just goes to show that once again an old adage is held true.

Those who can do, those who can't teach. Right mom?

Mostly what gave me the best training was the fact that I was being taught to drive by someone with no peripheral vision, and bad vision in general. I made me much more alert in the drivers seat after spending 15 years in her passenger seat.

Posted by: Kerric | May 10, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks SD.

FYI. Only run the cops in a stolen car, not one registered to you. (This is advice for all boodlers, not just SD)

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

SCC: It made, not I made.

I even previewed that one. :(

Posted by: Kerric | May 10, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Sci Tim- I stand corrected, it was indeed a Super Beetle, with a rounded windshield. Easy to fix, easy to drive. The clutch went out and I drove it for a couple weeks just slipping in and out of gear when I needed to shift. I was amazed that actually worked.

Posted by: Gomer | May 10, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse


My VW (really my dad's) was also pumpkin orange. In the course of my driving apprenticeship I managed to ding three of the four fenders to my dad's dismay. I would use the Torqueberto Defense when questioned about how they damage happened.

I also bent the rear bumper by backing into a tree at full speed. We pressed the bumper back into shape, but it still had a little wrinkle in it.

The most I ever fit into it was myself and five passengers. The two people sharing the front passenger seat had been dating quite awhile or the arrangement wouldn't have worked.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

YJ, nobody using seatbelts, right?

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This must have been a fun sentence for Dan Froomkin to write today. I must say... I like it:

"The significant breach in the Bush Bubble being widely reported today may be a sign that the president can no longer count on members of his own party to shield him from the ugly realities he has created."

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It isn't that surprising, Mudge, that folks over 44 have the highest motorcycle fatality rate. They can afford the bikes, and they've got that devil-may-care mid-life angst. I always say I'd buy a Harley for my mid-life crisis, except the Boy will still be home and it would be a bad example. Also I can't ride one. Guess I'll just skip the crisis altogether.

Regarding the worry about offspring driving, I think dr and RD put it well. There are a myriad, a plethora, a multitude of situations and avenues and occurrences to worry about while parenting. Some are inevitable. Some may not be. We do what we can to protect our children against disease, and against the use of poor judgment. Driving is one of the bright-line activities -- child in car, behind the wheel, potentially endangering itself and passersby.

Whoops. Off to truly pointless meeting about how the world will end on Tuesday when our agency computers are all taken off-line while the system is moved to another location. The clueless IT guy just NOW sent us a document explaining what will happen and how to save anything we want to use during the move, for discussion in the 1:30 meeting (3 minutes from now). I plan to take that day off, and perhaps the following two or three as well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 10, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

VW SuperBeetles had seatbelts? Who knew?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The most durable vehicle I ever owned was a '66 Valiant 2 door sedan with the venerable slant six. I plugged a leaky radiatior by dumping a couple of heaping tablespoons full of black pepper into the coolant. It had three on the tree and enough umph to pull me through a ditch on a one lane logging road when I had to swerve out of the way of an oncoming vehicle in a fairly blind curve. I had to get a wildow glass from a salvage yard in this hollow near Broadway, Va. that was on a set of three hills. Pretty creepy from the garage (kind of like Darnell's, in Christine), and even moreso when I saw these signs: NO TRESSPASSING AFTER DARK


Posted by: jack | May 10, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

(insert motherly tone here) Now Kerric, you must make it clear that I did send you to a school and proper teacher to teach you your driving skills. What you learned from me was by oosmosis. No one in their right mind would purposely teach you my driving skills. (end motherly tone)

My true recall, is that while driving with all my sons, there were 2 modes. Screeching and terrrified silence. I don't remember anything else.

Posted by: dr | May 10, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

work keeps intruding on my boodling so I haven't completely caught up yet, but did want to note that my understanding is that 'International Nurses Day' is May 12th, not on the 9th.

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC (12 May 1820 - 13 August 1910)

So hold onto those flowers and hugs for Saturday. Aw, heck, they're Nurses givem a hug and a flower everyday...

Posted by: omni | May 10, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

We have more or less survived the hard headed teen with attention issues learning to drive. Professional training, followed by the Meanest Parents on Earth Graduated Licensing System served us well. We mandated no driving without an adult family member over 30 (no brother, older cousins etc.)until 1500 miles of accident free driving were done and a bunch of other stuff lifted from every horror story we'd ever heard. It worked pretty well and allowed me to hand off the nagging backseat driver mantle to Frostdottir who with some experience has realized just what an awful driver Mr. F is.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 10, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Our old V-Dub was red, not orange (but otherwise, I think everybody in the world once owned a VW at one time or another), a 1960, and five years old when we got it. Love that thing; drove it back and forth to college my sophomore year (it was still my parents' car). The weird thing is, I loved that thing--but didn't know it at the time. A couple years later, my best friends were looking to buy their first car (they were hard-core city dwellers, had never previously owned a car). I talked them into a VW, orange, of course, and I think a SuperBeetle. Nick knew how to drive a stick, but Phyllis didn't, so I taught her (Nick wouldn't THINK of teaching her, which was a wise decision). I taught her how to use the clutch and first gear by standing 10 feet in front of the car, and making her creep foward until the bumper gently touched my kneecaps. Then I'd move back another 10 or 15 feet and make her do it again. And again. Works like a charm. It just requires vast patience, because the student is so terrified of running you down they stall out about 20 times. But by god, sooner or later they get it. And then once they do, their confidence builds tremendously, and you can move on to the next phase. Taught all my kids that way, too. The trick, of course, is you can never show fear or lack of confidence in them.

The single greatest drawback to a VW, as many of you can attest, is trying to make out with that *&%$#@ gear shift sticking up. But where there's a will, there's a way...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and 'Dancing With the Stars' not AI for me, but the other two are the same, mostlylurking

Posted by: omni | May 10, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

>Somewhat surprising, the largest age cohort of MC fatals is in those 44 and older.

That's changed just in the last few years when all the boomers decided to get the biggest Harley they could, go out to dinner and drinks on the weekend and wind up in a tree on the way home. It used to be 20-30yr old group that got superbikes and turned themselves into mush. And no helmets? I wouldn't SIT on a bike without a full-face helmet. I figure if I don't have a face I don't really want a head either.

Generally it comes down to not starting on smaller bike and learning respect for it. I had a minibike as a kid and found out how easy a pothole will throw you over the handlebars. Better to learn it at 10mph than 50. I bought a 500cc single-cylinder "thumper" at 19. I promptly rode it from South Jersey to work in Princeton, up Rt 130 and Rt 1. and pretty much rode every day I could until winter. I graduated to a Yamaha Turbo 650 a couple of years later when I moved to Boston (Rt 128 anyone? Boston center city? HAH!) and rode it in Manhattan when I moved there the next year. The BQE, NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, West Side Highway and Manhattan itself are very, uh stimulating places to ride. Nothing like getting boost unexpectedly in traffic.

On Sunday mornings I actually used to blast up Houston St. at 70-80mph and get air over Broadway, before stopping in time for the cabs at the gas station on Broadway and Lafayette. Of course at the time it may have been safer than rding the subways.

That's the other problem with the boomer riders, they take their Beemers to work all week and ride only once in awhile on weekends. Bikes are like planes, you need seat time.

I try to talk people out of it, but if they have a real need, I tell them how to survive. You have to approach it like a warrior, always waiting for the enemy to jump you. The enemy may be a car but is often just wet leaves, or gravel in a turn. You have to hyper-alert. No daydreaming. No booze. Proper gear. You wouldn't go into combat in shorts and sneakers without a helmet.

It's like hunting bear with a single-shot rifle. That's why it's called sport riding. You have to give the bear a chance. So I assumed someone would try to kill me every day when I went riding. When it seemed like someone was trying to kill me TWICE a day I gave it up and switched back to convertibles.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The summer of '74 my father went TDY and that meant I had sole control (well, I had to get the ok from mom, but there was no competition) of a green beetle, a '70 model I believe. I can remember packing 5 girls plus me in there and toolin' down Lancaster Blvd singing "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers at the top of our lungs. Lancaster Blvd was the main drag of a tiny desert town and we thought we were all that and a bag of chips!

Come to think of it, I packed 6 girls in the beetle many times that summer. No boys, we just let them follow us.

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Many feel that the WH effort to bring in the 11 congressmen was totally a political show to look connected to the concerns of his own party. Those guys need to look connected and influential to those away from the white house. Why is so shocking that the White House would actually listen to congressmen of his own party? Well, maybe this WH. Those guys all need to get elected and the President has to appear that he is approachable. In reality, we know that there are members of both houses who may bolt, and those guys probably aren't in that group. Who turned Gilchrist into a leftwing radical Republican? No one, everything else has just shifted swiftly and strongly to the Right. In fact, it isn't fair to characterize this as a move to the right, as it seems more of a switch change in our power structure and our rights as citizens.

Too often, the Post has been swallowing Rove and Cheney's hook. With the greatest respect to you and the blog, why do you think that, all of a sudden, the Post gets it?

I fear that this is more news being PUSHED out from the White House. Rather, I would think that the Post would be gaming out why they were being fed this scoop. What we want to know is why we were fed this story.

We are now reaching a point where nearly 40% of America wants Congress to impeach the President and the Vice President and yet, the executive branch isn't even taking a whiff of backing down and a broad range of issues of which the Iraq situation is only a very expensive issue. The White House has tried to cleanse the Justice Department of Democrats and Independents. Only a few people so far have pondered how we can ever fix this, much less find someone at fault. Where's the Post?

After 6 years of this, shouldn't we all employ a huge dose of skepticism and always employ the sniff test before reporting or commenting. I am sure that I am in the minority here, and I enjoy reading the post, but I take it with a grain of salt, these days. There are currently issues that you could drive a Semi-truck through, if a paper were interested, but alas, no, not really the Post. This was the paper that just couldn't get enough of the Blue Dress.

Remember, the original planning for the war in Iraq was directed out of the VP's office months before 9/11.

Now, keep in mind the two words: Tonkin Gulf.

Posted by: daggon life | May 10, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

My parents wouldn't sign for a lisence for me, I had to wait until I was 18. I found out that the local community college was offering motorcycle safety riding classes so I presented the flyer to my dad.

We both took the cource and were the top 2 students. He beat me on the written test, I beat him on the skills test.

One thing I learned from riding a motorcycle - they ARE all out to get you.

Posted by: Pat | May 10, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Driving stick on a Vee-Dub is not a skill easily transferable to other manual transmission cars. The angles and contortions needed are completely different from anything else. I learned to drive on a 5-speed 1979 Toyauto Corolla. My mother spent a lot of time shrieking and stepping on her imaginary clutch.

A year later I taught my high school girlfriend to drive it so she could borrow the car and pick me up from places. I attribute the patience I learned doing that as instrumental in my twenty-plus year marriage to her.

Alas, even the cheapest starter cars come with automatics now. Both of our cars have automatics with clutchless shifters for when you really want to row your own. Manual transmissions are now a lifestyle statement, not an economic necessity.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I know this is long, and feel free to scroll right by, but I thought I'd share the email I just got from my niece, K, who is traveling in Peru with her husband, Z (they are both 27). These are two of my favorite people in the world.

They save all year and take a fabulous trip every spring. Last year it was Morocco, the year before it was Italy. (They also have saved enough to buy a beautiful house in Charlottesville, last year's #1 place to live).

I just thought you might enjoy reading about their amazing adventures...

All is very well in Peru! We´re now at about 3800 meters in Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. I amazingly don't feel the altitude at all, but Z has been a little woozy. So we´re just taking it major side effects. We finished up our stay in Arequipa with visits to some colonial mansions, churches, and convents.

Yesterday we hopped on a 6 hour long bus ride to Puno. The scenery was truly breathtaking, with expanses of stark dry terrain abruptly turning into snow capped mountains. We passed by a number of alpaca herds, as well as some stray vicuñas (the wild endangered cousin of the alpaca). Unfortunately there was no bathroom on the bus and it only stopped once at a stone hut in the middle of the desert where all the pasengers just squatted.

Upon arrival in Puno we just hung out a bit to let Z adjust to the altitude and ate at an interesting place. This morning we had a leisurly breakfast of coca tea (made from the leaves of the coca plant which is used to make cocaine) and fresh banana and headed to the port of Puno to catch a boat to the floating reed islands.

These were espcially amazing- nothing like anything we´ve ever seen. The Uros indians live in these villages that float upon man-made islands that they have created using the reeds growing in the lakes. When you step onto the island it is very spongy and squishy, and you have to watch out for rotten spots! Everything here only lasts a few months before the reeds rot and they have to replace them, adding reeds to the ¨ground¨ to keep the islands afloat.

We saw reed huts, reed cafes, and even took a ride on a reed boat. Very cool. All should make for amazing pictures, especially against the bright blue lake and the villages built into the hillsides.

Now we´re just hanging out with Norm, an independent 50-something traveler that we met on the boat to the islands. Tomorrow we hop on a tourist bus for the guided ride to Cusco, with touristy stops on the way (I´ve been told this bus has a bathroom).

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

>'International Nurses Day' is May 12th, not on the 9th.

omni, when they're giving you their cookies you don't pick nits about the date.

There appears to be some latitude as to when you actually celebrate.

"National Nurses Day is always celebrated May 6 and opens National Nurses Week, May 6-12. In 2007, National Nurses Day falls on Sunday."

So OK, they're domestic nurses. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Yep boko, bikers should have their organ donor card tattooed on a resilient part of their anatomy.
Mudge, any Canadian could tell you that the worst thing on the Bug was the %$***()!)! gasoline-fired heater. I have yet to find one that works. Clutching wearing mukluk and shifting gear wearing mittens is a special Canadian talent.
Another issue that has started to bother some colleagues over at the Transport department is the so-called asymmetrical collisions. Those AC are what happen when a ladder-framed 5500lbs Garish Machines Corp. Escalate hit hard on a 2300 lbs. Yaris or Fit. Said colleagues are working with peeps of old Europe to devise intelligent regulations that would address the issue. Lets just say that Garish Machines and their ilk are not too thrilled at the prospect of regulations getting in the way of designing bigness in their vehicles. Bigness is giving a look bigger than the actual vehicle, it's sad to say that bigness is one of the big seller these days. See the H3, the Dodge Nitro or Jeep Compass. Even Toyota succumbed to the fad, see the latest Titan.
The Europeans have developed pretty good regs on car construction to mitigate the effects of pedestrian-car impacts. The effects will take a while to see as cars last a long time but it will come. I think the Japanese cars sold in NA mostly incorporate the pedestrian protection. It is pretty much lost here though. I noted to a colleague in my last visit in Pueblo CO that I have seen all but 2-3 real pedestrians during the three days I was there, all other were coming or going to their cars.
Mind you that asymmetrical collisions may be a distinct Canadian problem because we buy much more sub-compacts than Americans do and yet a large number of big rigid vehicles circulates on our roads. Can't find the source right now but I believe the Canadian market share for compacts and subcompacts is about 40% while it sits at 22% in the USA.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Error-I am going to print off your 2:57 and post it on the refrigerator for Mr. F to see when he arrives from Tampa tonight. I rode a Honda CB 100 (glorified mini bike) as my main commuting vehicle my first two years of college. Nothing I saw or did while flying UH-60s in the army was as white knuckle an experience as that could be, and I at least had mad skills and at that age lightning fast reflexes. I keep telling Mr. F that it is best for him to play it safe and continue jumping out of airplanes and ride motorcycles only if he wants me to win the SGLI sweepstakes.

(SGLI is Service members Group Life Insurance)

Posted by: frostbitten | May 10, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

*verbal plutonium* lovely concept, but a knock-off from a passage in tom robbins' novel, fierce invalids home from hot climates.

Posted by: randomperson | May 10, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse


My senior year, my dad sold the VW and bought a 1972 Pontiac Lemans station wagon. Pea-green with faded faux wood paneling and shag carpet in the cargo bay. That solved the logistics of working around the stick shift, so to speak.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

>Error-I am going to print off your 2:57 and post it on the refrigerator for Mr. F to see

Cool. You should've seen me telling this to the lady who was sedating me the other day. She already bought the bike and said "yeah, a lot of people have given me advice but I'm just going to the school and I'll be alright".

I felt duty-bound to speak my piece, and from the look on her face when I was done I think I done good.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Jkt, Mudge,

You got me laughing!!! VW bus, w/o middle bench. I wonder where that bench went?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 10, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Frosty, you flew UH-60s? Cool! Pilot or crew? I spent a lot of time with VX-1's H-60 people down at Pax River when I was there (I still wear their baseball hat on occasion).

You numbers sound about right, Shriek. Our outfit is becoming interested in the problem of AC but it'll be a few years before we produce anything interesting on the subject. I've always been a small car/sports car person, and just never have understood the mindset of people who want those honking big SUVs (our oldest daughter is one; where did I go wrong with her?). Those kind of high-tonnage beasts are a major, major factory in the gasoline problem/oil crises--yet I have approximately zero point zero zero faith that anyone can turn around our culture. Just can't be done.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

EF -- I am imaging you humming these tunes a few days ago:

Baby Driver (or the motorcycle song) by Simon and Garfunkle and

the Ramones hit: I wanna be sedated....

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

We used to make the 13 hour trip from Toronto to Montreal in a '59 Bug along HWY 2 before the 401 was built. Mum, Dad, me, dog and sister. That was a bear.

Later a friend had a Bug with the floorboards rotted out. We made several trips to concerts in Montreal from Ottawa. Although those trips only lasted 2 hours spending them covered in slush was almost too much to bear.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

CP, yes, I was most certainly singing "I wanna be sedated" yesterday. The funny thing is they thought I was asleep on the table on my own. I asked later if she had actually given me anything and she said "very little".

Operational note: Don't snore in the operating room if you want the good stuff.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I think we have all been very negligent in not wishing Ms. Achenbach a belated happy Sweet Sixteen. I hear that this can be a very stressful age.

But I am sure that Joel will survive.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm fighting the losing battle on vehicle size. When I was in the market last summer, I wanted a Matrix. The husband wouldn't hear of it. I ended up with a RAV4, but he insisted on the big engine. I made him pay the difference. His vehicle is a Dodge Dakota that gets 13 mpg on a good day, 3-4 mpg when he's towing the cargo trailer. I drive conservatively and am relieved to be getting 22.5 mpg in the RAV.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, RD, birthday felicitations to the family on the 16th of Miss P.A.

However, if patterns mean anything, it is Mrs. J.A. who could use our applause. And faxes of passes to Aruba with spa options....or simply a mohito or margarita or two.

Dads tend to be given more largess by teen daughters. Girls and mothers: let us just say that the love can be fraught with tension.

Your mileage may very. Not all families fit this pattern. But, hey there, Dads of Daughters approaching this age: Do be aware of this. Support the mom. Remind the daughter.

(I raised two lovely dots (21- 23).....but am so relieved to be parenting a teen dude these days. I won't say no to a hard lime-ade...even if boys are easier on mothers, generally.)

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I know, Slyness, it's a tough battle. I don't object to someone owning a pickup or SUV if they truly have a need and use the vehicle according (I drive a pickup, and haul stuff like crazy on weekends, viz. 115 bags of mulch). But I can go into the parking garage here and find literally hundreds and hundreds of SUVs being used purely as daily one-person commuter cars. Utterly absurd. How many gazillion four-wheel-drive tanks are out there that never go within 20 miles of "off-raod" conditions? My daughter has an Escalade SUV for schlepping two kids to school and back--more money than brains. Her husband has a tank, too--to drive solo 6 miles to his work every day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, happy Sweet 16, Miss Paris.

I agree, CP--boys are easier than girls (used to be the other way around), although I know there are many who feel the other way.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Thinking foundly on these:
1968 Karmen Ghia: forest green, white interior; feels like a sport car to the imaginative.

1965 Red Squareback: White tee-shirts were the sheepskin covers of the day on the black (hot as Hades) interior.

1967 "Julius" Orange Fastback: Cream interior but obscured by duct tape bandages...hauled around camping gear.

I learned stick in Julius. Anyone remember the Orange Julius drink at malls everywhere? Was that only on the West?

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... inflammatory topics to yield world change?

I'm going out on a limb here...

How about we make fun of Islamic fundamentalists-- after all if they would just do a *real day's work* for once, instead of making bombs, the world would give them more respect?
Dude, they don't even rob from the rich and give to the poor, you know. What kind of lame-butt heroism is that?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 10, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse


There is an Orange Julius at Arundel Mills across from the Best Buy. It's a must-stop and negates any beneficial value of walking a full lap of the mall.

Perhaps Miss Paris has an Amazon wishlist we could chip in on for her. I think an autographed copy of 'Captured By Aliens' would be much appreciated. Or 'I Am Charlotte Simmons' since she will be heading off to college in a few years.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

CP, there were a few Orange Julius stands in Philly, but I think more in the NYC area. Five in this region--three at Bowie, Annapolis and White Marsh malls. They are affiliated with Dairy Queen (owned by Warren Buffet).

Remember Nedick's? They were all over Philly, and Nedick's concentrate was sold in supermarkets--my drink of choice when very young. Only three left in NYC.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I am remiss. Happy Birthday, to Ms Achenbach.

I work about 6 feet away from mrdr with a single wall, between us. We have done this for 15 years. Most people say they could not work with their spouse, but generally we do ok, I just cannot drive in to work with him. If I had had to drive with him all these years, I'd have killed myself long long ago. I drive small cars to assuage my guilt. It mostly works.

Posted by: dr | May 10, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-I was a Blackhawk pilot, though that's not a big deal. Monkeys could be trained to do it if they could handle the radios. I will say it was fun.

CP- You were fortunate to raise the dots first. I did it the other way around and Frostson was absolutely no preparation for Frostdottir. I can't say I was upset when Mr. F decided to travel to MN for Mothers Day sans teen girl. (Prairie Home Companion listeners have probably already figured out that he's really coming up here this weekend for the opening of fishing season.)

Posted by: frostbitten | May 10, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I HAVE been missing something at malls. But, even Orange Julius won't make me change my ways.

'Mudge -- the boys/girls thing -- each is hard in many ways. Save for the mom-dot thingie, I think girls are doing relatively fine these days. I worry more about my boy, boys in general, poor and/or minority boys especially...and even college boys.

School is anti-boy, really. We have rejiggered the environment for girls and boys are losing out...yes, yes, this is a generalization...but at the heart, very true.

Re driving! Oh the near sideswipe moments that I endured, with their casual quip, "Lighten up, mom, I am no where NEAR the curb." Until that spacialization-proprioception skill kicks in....Sweating just thinking about it.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

>to drive solo 6 miles to his work every day.

But Mudge, isn't he still using less fuel than a Civic going 35 miles each way? That's the other part of the equation. It's like my Caddy getting 9 mpg. So what? I only drive a three miles each way.

A bowl of oatmeal should be enough food for anyone for a day... so what impact on the environment do people make when they order Alaskan King Snow Crabs?

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I learned manual transmission in a 1970s Ford Bronco, followed by a military M37 pickup that had recently retired from a cushy posting in Atlanta (the glove compartment included a list of an officer's wife's department store credit card numbers). The locale a National Forest, where it was an absolute marvel for flooded back roads. Partly as a result, I still look longingly at Nissan Xterras even while realizing that I have what I need--a station wagon.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | May 10, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I award you the understatement of the month.

Now big deal flying that. Let's assume you are talking and channeling that Minnesota thing.

Five gallica rose blossoms that SMELL AS A ROSE WOULD WANT TO...two tiny gardenia-like "White Dawn" that don't smell so much but produce all summer long.

Some miniature iris that are gilt and lavender and so tiny I cannot even believe the delicacy (truly a bearded but I have never seen one so small) and peonies so heavy they want to lay down....blossoms perhaps in the morning. Peony smell -- never in an oil or perfume. Perhaps it defies capture. Peonies always make me think of Shirley Winter: big and bosomy and luscious in an overblown way. Yes, guys, peonies are bosomy. Put THAT on the cover of Maxim.

Also smelling so perfectly springie: Tiny cottage pinks that thrive on my neglect and auto suggestion that they are on a chalk down overlooking Dover. The variety is Bath's Pink, which can endure the heat here.

I will stop. Frosti -- you must have lilac soon. We do not have purple pleasure long enough, but even so, very worth it.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I learned to drive a '61 Ford station wagon with 3 on the steering column and a manual choke. It was like a truck, but excellent preparation. I recall learning to drive it by going back and forth in the alley beside the house. Learned how to avoid hitting the garages when going in reverse...My first minivan was an '88 Caravan with five in the floor...In the 9.5 years I had that vehicle, I saw 2 others with manual transmissions.

Going up and down the mountain, I've learned where 3, 2, and low are on the RAV. It's fun to use them.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

SciTim made a good point about wild vs farmed salmon. The real problem is that we should be focusing on raising herbivorous fish, not carnivorous fish. That'd be easier on wold fish stocks.

I will eat both farmed and wild salmon. I think both have their merits if you don't expect them to be the same fish. Wild salmon are harvested when they are in full breeding mode, physically changed.
Farmed salmon are not. Pure and simple.

The issues of aquaculture are many, but I think the major one is that most farmed fish are carnivorous and need to be fed fish offal, which affect wild fish stocks.

The second point may or may not be crowding, or usurpation of fish habitat near shores for fish pens. However, a lot of aquaculture occurs in Idaho, Wyoming... inland pools, rather than in the open ocean. That logically means freshwater or brackish water fish should be preferable to farm rather than seafood, especially since the transport costs may be lower.

Also, for higher omega-3 value, we could simply feed fish lots of algae, since that's where omega-3 in fish comes from anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 10, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Boko, isn't "Bug with the floorboards rotted out" kind of redundant?

Posted by: Raysmom | May 10, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Europeans and Asians eat a lot of carp. I beleive they are herbivorous (Carp. Stop it.)
We pulled a 10 pounder out of the river behind my uncle's place and deepfried pieces in batter. It had a nice light flavour but I wasn't impressed by the texture.
My favourite eating fish is the Famous Lancaster Perch.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Bug with the floorboards rotted out" is not redundant. After all, it could have been a Karmann Ghia, instead.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 10, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I learned to drive on a '64 Valiant station wagon with push-button automatic (on the left side of the steering wheel). My friends used to notice at some point and say, "Hey! Where's your shifter?"

I found this picture of the interior of a '64 Valiant. But we didn't have that heater/air conditioner thing hanging down in the middle.

If I remember correctly, the top button was Reverse, the 2nd was Neutral, the rest were Drive, etc. The lever to the left of the buttons was Park.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

>Boko, isn't "Bug with the floorboards rotted out" kind of redundant?

Only in places were they put salt on the roads, Mrs. Johnson.

I thought Karmann Ghia was that lady who sang with a bowl of fruit on her head.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I THOUGHT we'd ended up on the homepage somehow.

*not quite as confused as usual*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Yikes... this horrible accident on the Bay Bridge is snarling traffic. But this picture at least makes me realize how strong those railings are.

I'm one of those folks terrified to drive over it. I'll do it, but my knuckles are sore by the end from my tight grip. I'm always convinced that I'll somehow slide into the railing and go over the side. If these cars didn't go over, I don't know what would...

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Am I mistaken or is that truck an auto hauler?

Posted by: dr | May 10, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Jacksonville and the rest of Florida has bridge weenies--people who suffer panic attacks or whatever on bridges. The classic Jax case was on the Mathews Bridge, a high cantilever thing from about 1950 with a steel-grate roadway (finally being replaced). One day, a young woman lost control of her car on the bridge in the center of the span, got out of the car, and then fell off the bridge. She survived and was rescued by a passing shrimp boat.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 10, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

CP - I am afraid you are right about boys and school. Although high-achieving boys are hardly an endangered species, it takes just a quick look at the honor roll lists of local high schools to see that something is out of whack.

My son suggests that girls are getting more encouragement and validation from teachers than boys are.

But he might just be making excuses for that world civ grade.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"Bridge weenie." BWA HA HA!

Posted by: KPage | May 10, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I have big big news. The kind of news that makes me positively giddy. The kind of news that I am buying champagne for. And I might drink the whole darn thing all by myself kind of news.

Broken leg boy/man, has developed real honest to goodness BONE where the graft was done. He has been instructed to...

wait for it...

put weight on the leg. This is the first day that that poor weebly foot has touched the floor since September 22 of 2006. Its going to be hard to stop him from doing too much too soon, and its going to take him time to build muscles but its its finally going to happen.

If you recall, he is a motorcycle mechanic so gosh darn it this is even almost on the off topic of the day.

Posted by: dr | May 10, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

A former girlfriend (actually,I hasten to add, all my girlfriends are former ) drove a VW bug. I must agree with yellojkt that the manual transmission on those little creatures is like no other.

I still remember my girlfriend shrieking at me,

"As soon as the wheels move you have to shift! Shift!"

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Great news dr!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to mechanic boy/man, dr! I hope you'll share some champagne with him. I also hope walking will come easily to him.

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful news dr!

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

My first car was dad's 58 beetle that we initiated by driving around Europe. I felt sooo cool when I learned to double clutch, because 1st gear wasn't synchronized at all, and shifting down to 2nd took some strength without the double shift.

Posted by: LTL-CA | May 10, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for such a late response, but yes dryer sheets work well at keeping insects away, namely gnats. Put a sheet on your shirt or hat and they usually stay away.

The only problem is you look stupid, but I would prefer to look stupid and not have a veil o bugs.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 10, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

dr... GREAT news! I wish him well. You too!

Dave of the C.... I'm a Bridge Weenie and I'm proud!

No one would survive a fall off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge... unless it's near the shore. It's 4.3 miles long and has a 1,500-foot navigational clearance at the top.

But the worst part, and this is where--and why--the accident happened, is that the westbound span has three lanes and they usually have one lane going eastbound.

The last time I drove over it I got stuck in that lane because it's where they direct the EZ-Pass cars. It was frightening... close to the edge and cars zooming past you with only the painted-yellow dashed line to protect you from them.

This accident apparently began as a head-on collision.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

My dad taught me how to drive when I was 13, it was a 1959 Chevy Impala, about 70 feet long. Aside from breaking the law, it was a great way to learn how to drive, plenty of time over 3 years to grow comfortable with the car, the rules of the road and traffic. I got my license within weeks of turning 16 and was a responsible driver with no accidents or tickets. I also took driver ed and the one thing I remember very clearly still was the teacher's warning that every other driver was an idiot. Teaching my girls how to drive was interesting. At the time we owned a Ford LTD station wagon. The thing was a monster and as a third car, we didn't worry if it got a little scratch here and there. It was bought used and had previously belonged to people who lived close to the ocean. One day I pulled into a parking space with a small hill at the nose of the car, I tapped the hill with the bumper, which promptly fell off. #1 and I got out, picked it up and threw it into the back of the wagon to be reattached a week later. 
While teaching #1 to drive, we rode around a parking lot with speed bumps. I told her to go very carefully over them, she slowed down so much that the front wheels reached the top of the bump and then the whole car rolled backwards.  During the first week that she had her license, she was backing up in the driveway and hit the corner of the house resulting in a big noise and a shudder (the house, not me). It was minor, the rear bumper didn't fall off and today when daughters and I speak of it, we laugh.  Both girls turned into responsible drivers although one had a lead foot for years and as a result, quite a few speeding tickets. The other always charmed her way to warnings instead. Both can drive a standard transmission. Upon reflection, modify that 'responsible' for #2 as I am remembering a harrowing but mercifully short ride with her during a snow storm last year.
Now that I understand the farmed vs. wild distinction for salmon, we'll probably eat less of it and definitely wild only. Spawning reminds me of a joke from the Bill Bryson book "In a Sunburned Country" but I don't think I can get it past Hal.
I was looking at the seed packs last night, anticipating our upcoming planting time of Memorial Day weekend and noticed that one of the corn packs said to isolate from other corn. I looked it up this morning and apparently the sweeter varieties suffer from being too close to the other varieties, something about the pollination. So I guess I only plant one variety of corn as I don't have 500 feet worth of isolation in my yard.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 10, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Great news dr!! *applause*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

"Mrs. Paul's Fist (sic) Sticks" and "bridge weenies" are food for thought. The first is likely served at boxing matches and the second at card games.

Posted by: Shiloh | May 10, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Hard to tell whether I'd rather have farm-bred or wild fist sticks.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Awright mechanic dude! Why is everybody surprised that a biker can grow bone?

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

That Webb telescope is a pretty impressive piece of technology:

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Super news, dr, I didn't realize it had been that long. Son of dr must be jumping for joy, figuratively.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 10, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

DR -- the best news. Makes my heart glad, but your spirit must be soaring along with mechanic-brave-dear boy.

TBG -- I manage the bridge but with white knuckles and a sustained chant of Hail Mary. Really. My family is used to this, since we have refined the go-to-Assateague-return-same day routine.

Lately, we take CeePeeBoy friends for the surgical strike on surf and sand. One mother called me later to ask what this meant:

"Sail Merry Full of grace
........dower of our breath"

This is what he heard and reported about crossing the bridge. TBG -- starting off in fog from Sandy Point, I can barely do it: as if I drive into the fog of the great beyond. But, my creepiest bridge moment was the Dumbarton Bridge midway South in the San Francisco Bay. The bridge is water level -- more a causeway. An earthquake hit. I saw an undulating wave of water come toward me. It washed over the car. Nothing happened except, now I know that ANYTHING is possible on a bridge.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

>bridge weenies

I have to confess to being a bridge weenie. Not all of them. I love the Tappan Zee, but despise the black bridge in Philly on the way to the airport. And the Verzano Narrows. And the Pulaski Skyway.

And the Clearwater causeway. I went to Clearwater/Tampa once on a business trip with a salesman. I happened to mention Hertz was renting Jags. We got a pearl white XJ6 and he promptly showed me how to do emerency 180's in a parking lot with it. Then we went out drinking.

Somewhere around 3am and our 4th bar I remember coming back over the hated causeway and noticed we were doing about 100mph. When I mentioned it to him the next day he said "I don't remember anything after the 2nd bar."

Somebody was looking out for me that night for sure.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge has a very open structure that used to give me the willies when I drove across it. (I think it was built that way to avoid the embarrassing "structural collapse" problem suffered by its predecessor. )

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of life expectancies, I just started a biography of William Shakespeare (One of these days I really must read some of his work.) Anyway, it says that the life expectancy for someone living in London during Bill's lifetime was about 40 years. Nearly 50% of the population was under 20.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Bridge weenies are legion. My first post-grad work was structural inspection related. I spent many hours on the Pierre Laporte bridge in Quebec city. The bridge is tall, long and quite windy. Quebec means the Narrows, the mighty St-Lawrence drops to a mile in width between the Laurentian and the Appalachian, the winds picks up significantly and the sturdy suspended bridge sways quite a bit. Once in a while we would call the cops to get a car moving. The driver, I can't remmber a male driver doing that, would just stop and sit there shivering in her car. 'The bridge is swinging' she would say. Duh. Move along 'mam. There is nothing to see Miss. Push on the go pedal and get away. They mostly went away, eventually. On the same bridge, suicidal men (I won't use suicider) left their dentures, glasses and billfolds on the seat of their cars and dived away. I've seen a fat one doing the final angel dive.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 10, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of life expectancies, I just started a biography of William Shakespeare (One of these days I really must read some of his work.) Anyway, it says that the life expectancy for someone living in London during Bill's lifetime was less than 40 years. Nearly 50% of the population was under 20.

No wonder it was Merry Olde England. They were all kids and the clock was ticking fast.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow - I have no idea how that double posted before I was even done with it! Bad Craziness at work. Time to go watch CSI.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 10, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Go Sens Go!

Posted by: Leaf Fan999 | May 10, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Shieking D |Are you going to the Tulip Festival?

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC - Shrieking D

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I confess, I'm also a bridge weenie.

Error, black bridge? I'm thinking of the Girard Point Bridge to the airport, which is green and open on the top lanes. I believe in 2002 or so, during a big snowstorm, that a Jeep rode up a snow bank on the side and went over the side. In 2002, I also drove a Jeep. At any rate, I hit the GP Bridge twice every workday. Now the Burlington/Bristol--that's scary!

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

This is so exciting! John Edwards sent *me* e-mail today, if you can believe it! I'm especially fond of the "it's" in the 2nd graph. If they've already covered the $29,559 by the time I sent my share in do you think they'd refund my money?

Dear Friend,

This is the critical moment in our effort to end the war.

Congress is considering abandoning it's plan to end the war in favor of yet another "extension" for President Bush that doesn't bring a single soldier home. We have to turn up the heat--and we have to move fast.

As of this morning, 101,180 Americans have joined our call for Congress to stand up to Bush and end the war. We have a plan to get these names onto every desk and doorstep in Washington D.C., but we need your help.

Last night, my staff put the signatures into a full page ad for The Washington Post and now we need to raise $29,559 to rush it into print and keep the pressure on. We need 1,000 people to contribute $29.56 to make it happen. Can you chip in your $29.56 today?

Here's what the ad looks like:

Ultimately, it's up to the people to decide our nation's course. And at crucial moments like this, it's our duty to step up and lead.

Thank you,

-- John Edwards
May 10, 2007

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Acrophobia, genetic or cultural, is the precipitate cause of "bridge weenies" and the referenced "suicidal men" may be victims of a compulsion to jump associated with acrophobia. The anxiety manifested by "bridge weenies" has a connection to vestibular rationalization of space/time.

Posted by: Shiloh | May 10, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

dbG, hahahaha!

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

dBG, it's the one with a high arch on 95 ging down to the airport... I thought it was black, maybe just my mood when I go over it.

>vestibular rationalization of space/time
I dunno about that, but I don't like heights in the first place, and when it's a height at speed with flimsy barriers, well I'm just not happy.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

dbG, $29.56US or $29.56CN? How did you manage to get that spam? Are you a Liberal Democrat?

Posted by: Slyness | May 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I have often really enjoyed going over large bridges but have had a few times when I approach bridge weenie. Recently we went on the bridge across the Charles River entering MA from NY - don't know why but that bridge really bothered me, I also completely chickened out crossing the suspension (walking) bridge in Vancouver - it is over a gorge and will sway a little - had the handholds been a little higher I might have made it but I just kept thinking that if I lost balance I could just tumble out. With my lack of grace, losing my balance is well within the realm of possibility.

Posted by: dmd | May 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Shieking D |Are you going to the Tulip Festival?

Posted by: Boko999 | May 10, 2007 09:14 PM

Shieking D is a good name for a race horse, perhaps.

I MISSED the tulip library in DC, mentioned by JA. Oh my, do go, SD, as tulips are splendid and Boko999 asked. What more do you need?

I appreciate the bridge willie/weanie honesty. Now, you must pay for the driver service across the Bay Bridge between Eastern and Western MD. I do not need it, but the pricing of anxiety is interesting after all these years of a free service.

But, clearly, I contemplate my mortality in a special way, when negotiating that bridge. Once I get about 3/4 across, I start thinking, "I can swim from here, if the car survives the crash. Let the car fill with water up to my chest, then I can open the automatic lock doors and swim to the surface. I won't end up like Mary Jo K. of Ted Kennedy infamy.

Enough! I may dream of bridges, and not in a good way.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to Emily Bronte', acrophobia and the sometimes resultant vertigo may aptly be called "Withering Heights." It's not uncommon.

Posted by: Shiloh | May 10, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thought you'd like the caption on this one:


Error, the Girard Point (green) it is, over the Schuylkill. Northbound lanes are on the top deck, southbound on the bottom. On a stormy day, the amount of water sluicing down from seams in the top make me wonder if I should be driving it so easily in the morning.

Slyness, I believe that would be USD, although I doubt they'd turn any money aside. And yes, guilty again. I believe they got my address from the e-mail my niece sent me (from his website) announcing her support of his candidacy. This is the 2nd or 3rd e-mail from him this week. No doubt they've identified me as a hot prospect.

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I got the very same email from John! (I deleted it without reading it, though). I've been getting lots of email from him, ever since I wished Elizabeth the best. Sigh.

The Chesapeake Bay bridge is a scary one, and I avoid the Tacoma Narrows bridge at all costs. I'm always afraid I'll miss my exit and have to go across the bridge, and then come back.

My kid is a good driver, I guess - his dad taught him - but he drives way too fast for me. Now I get nervous if I'm driving with him as a passenger, and do things like drive over the curb, or pull out in front of someone, or miss our driveway. He just shakes his head and acts relieved to get out of the car.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 10, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, the picture is northbound. Northbound is the bottom deck, Southbound is the top.

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

dbG, when you write back to John to tell him about the faulty apostrophe, be sure to add that I said howdy, and that "full-page" needs a hyphen in it.

My wife is not only a bridge weenie, she's also a tunnel weenie. Fortunately, I am a brave and stout-hearted manly man. Except when it comes to snakes and earthquakes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 10, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

CP, I had 2 beautiful pink roses on my rosa rugosa Therese Bugnet - not fragrant, although they're supposed to be. I had to look up the spelling (it's pronounced boo-nay, not bug-net) - and it's Canadian! The little unnamed rosa rugosa that I picked up at a local garden plant sale had the first bloom I've seen on it - it's a lovely dark red, single flower. My new clematis is blooming - really lovely blue, just like the picture. Purple alliums are up. We're having gorgeous sunny, warm weather this week - very nice.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 10, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I actually did reply to point out the apostrophe problem, now I'll have to re-reply. Thanks!

Do you think they'll take me off their list or . . . offer me a job?

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

> Southbound is the top.

Yeah, that's it. It doesn't look that bad in the picture!

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 10, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what vestibular rationalization of space/time means. But the older I get, the more I don't like some types of heights. Bridges don't bother me at all - yet. I can hike up a mountain and look out over the edge but don't ask me to climb the fire tower at the top, just can't do it. My stomach drops into my toes just thinking about it. Is there some correlation between getting older and increasing unease with heights? Does it have to do with the inner ear? I don't remember having this sort of trouble when I was younger. And I don't like having this irrational fear, there are enough rational ones to deal with.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 10, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

While I was riding the Metro from Falls Church to DC, I had to not think about going under the Potomac while I was, presumably, going under the Potomac.

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

Bad Sneakers, I have experienced the same intolerance for vertigo as I've matured. And then (sorry I can't cite it) I read about a study that confirms that our inner ears are less responsive as they calcify. So I don't feel so inadequate anymore that I don't take on the reely big rollercoster with the same insouciance as I used to. Normal aging (in me) and nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, John says "howdy" back.

I pointed out that a *software engineer* was correcting their punctuation and requested additional care on their part in the future.

Posted by: dbG | May 10, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Say, do the rest of you see the very large pop-up (fortunately, as I use Firefox, it doesn't actually pop) on the WAPO site for Tiffany charms, one of which strangely resembles the silver charm Curmudgeon described as a gift to his wife some months ago? Very beautiful. Hearts, locks, dog-tags. I'd be delighted to receive any one of them.

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't a few toll bridges offer to drive your car across for you, if you're in weenie mode?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 10, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The first time I drove was in 1950. My friend Marvin's dad had a auto repair shop across the road and always had a number of *project* cars. He had a Ford Model B with a V8 engine that he let Marvin drive. Somehow Marvin let me take control on the dirt road to the dump. There was a creek that crossed the road in about a 30 foot wide mud puddle. I was coming up about 20 MPG and Marvin said slow down! I didn't know why but I soon found out. We couldn't see where we were going. Marvin's fast action on the manual windshild wipers kept us in the road before the next curve.
My first car was a '39 Chevy that I spent a lot of time under fixing oil leaks until I decided to do a ring job on and left one of the keeper nuts off one of the piston rod bearings. Shoot, I got on eleven and can't find the other, how much diference can that make? One rod out through the side of the block 3 days later.

Posted by: bh | May 10, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Yoki has it right, bad sneakers. Diminished hearing as we age may result in vertigo and anxiety. It's all part of growing up (and old).

Posted by: Shiloh | May 10, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

dbG, you know how those failed pin-hanger connections can mess with your.... well... you know.

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Not old, Shiloh! Surely not old. Merely mature and wise. Or as the old proverb has it, "Too soon old, too late smart."

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Yoki and Shiloh, I was afraid it was age related. I resent all these little surprises my body springs on me. It's enough to get the wrinkles and other little things I was expecting without this other stuff that takes some of the fun out of life - I really wanted to climb that fire tower. I had better not get the bridge weinies, I have to go over a bridge to see my children and granddaughters. Contrary to what we tell the tourists, there is no tunnel to Cape Cod.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 10, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I was at a conference in Colorado in 1994. Drove a rental up Mount Evans, the only 14K with a road to the summit. Cool on the way up because you were mostly on the mountain side, nerve racking on the way down. Today, no f'n way I would do it because of vertigo.

Posted by: bill everything | May 10, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus has sent a letter to the troops regarding the recent survey that showed that many of them think torture and mistreating noncombatants is OK.

Oops. Sorry. Too late. Instead of addressing the fact that those ideas are wrong, I think he should be addressing why his troops think them in the first place.

It's a PDF...

Posted by: TBG | May 10, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I was a high school student in Tampa when a ship hit the Sunshine Skyway and sent the center into the bay. A bus and several cars went over the edge in the fog before the bridge was closed. One guy stopped his car right on a dangling part.

Congrats on the milestone, dr. It sounds like there is a lot of rehab and physical therapy left to go. It will go fast. Keep up the eincouragement.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Excellent news, dr. Good for son of R. Aren't those atrophied skinny legs pathetic?

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

My husband pointed out to me today that the bridge on I-95 that collapsed just a few hours before he and I were to have traveled over it on our honeymoon in 1983 was the bridge over the, yes.... Mianus River.

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

I've been over the Royal Gorge Bridge--twice. I've never liked heights, and that bridge made a lasting impression, believe me.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 10, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

dr, great news!

greenwithenvy - dude, c'mon, Mudge needs to rub those dryer sheets all over himself, right? [bc winking and nodding his head towards Mudge] Right..?

Ah, indeed, a belated happy 16th to Ms. Paris A.

TBG, in many ways you have lead a charmed life.

Tired, going to bed.

G'night all. Unless I accidentally turn on the Daily Show...


Posted by: bc | May 10, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Trying again with the link:

Posted by: kbertocci | May 10, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

'night bc. g'night TBG. 'night grandma.

Posted by: Yoki | May 10, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay, apologies all around, and good night to all, I obviously have no linking abilities this time of night.

dr, happy thoughts for you and your family.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 10, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

now catalina island is on fire.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 10, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

The first link you did was fine, kb - of course, I was so fascinated by all the bridge pictures that I forgot for a moment which one you said you had been over! But I found it. The Mackinac bridge in Michigan is one that will drive you if you chicken out. I mean, there are drivers available - the bridge can't drive.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 10, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

L.A. lurker, oh no! Is the Griffith Park fire out? I got an email from Loreena McKennitt, whose concert was moved from the Greek Theater because of the fire. Hope you get some rain soon - stay safe!

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 10, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

here kb:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 10, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

hi mostly,

yes, the griffith park fire is out. l.a. had a good fog covering in the am, so i'm surprised to hear that catalina is having trouble. but we've had so little rain, it's insane. and too late now. it almost never rains after april.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 10, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

As always, so many topics that bring us all together....

The Greek Theater - one of the best concerts of my life, Harry Chapin. I didn't even like him! I just went because a friend was going.

Warren Buffet owns DQ? We are major DQ fans...once a week somebody does somethin' and someone says, "It's a DQ moment!"

A Valiant...a Valiant! I hadn't even thought of that for lo, these many years! I dated a guy who drove a Valiant Exactly Like That Picture and her name was Maybelle.

As far as bridge and tunnel weenies go...I have a therapy for the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park. I was always a bridge AND tunnel weenie, even after moving to Hampton Roads, VA...where you don't go anywhere north without doing a tunnel or a major bridge. Once having driven the Going to the Sun Road it's all gravy. My arms were sore for days from clutching the wheel and I drank an entire bottle of wine myself in some delightful place (lots of places are delightful after a bottle of wine) in Whitefish, Mt.

dr - I'm very happy to hear your good news.

Frostbitten - oh yeah - monkeys could do it...mmmm...I don't think so.

Posted by: Kim | May 10, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

But I'm still a bridge and tunnel weenie... just not a hyperventilating weenie.

Posted by: Kim | May 11, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Of course, I drank the bottle of wine AFTER I had driven the Going to the Sun Road...

Posted by: Kim | May 11, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty late, no one seems to be around-

Good morning, Scotty! *waving after 2 glasses of wine*

Posted by: Kim | May 11, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

kim, haha - i assumed the wine imbibing was after the trauma, not an activity during.

yeah, going-to-the-sun road is a doozie. we were there a couple of summers ago and drove it at least part of the way (to logan's pass and to st. mary's lake). even on the inner lane, you always think you're going to run into the side of the mountain. in the outer lane, well, there sure is a great view. i only vaguely recollect the tunnels. must have blocked that memory.

well, g'night, and good morning to scotty, cassandra and the early birds.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 11, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

The Going to the Sun road is spectacular. It never bothered me as far as the height. I'm not so good on ski slopes, even in the summer - too steep. The first time I really experienced vertigo was when we climbed Mt Katahdin in Maine - going down was very bad for me (I was exhausted and that probably contributed).

The road that I hate to drive is Stevens Pass - Route 2 - here in Washington state. Just feel like I'm going to fly off the side of the road. Lookout(!) Pass in Idaho is another scary one for me. Going up is ok - going down is what gets me.

dr, great news about broken leg guy.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 11, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

I got my driver's licence when I was 21 - the legal age to drive (now it's 18). I went to a driving school. My driving instructor was a small ill-tempered man. I was supposed to give him nightmares but instead he gave me nightmares. When I went to the US, I had to get a local driver's licence b'cuz I was a wrong-side driver. When I came back to this region after 10 years, I was a wrong-side driver again. I had to take the driving test all over again. Unlike in the US where you take as long as you want for the written, here there is a time limit just like when you are in school. Another requirement is parallel parking. They used poles to indicate the parking space and there are 3 parking spaces set up next to each other. When you look back at the side rear window, you see the poles of 2 parking spaces, a couple of them overlapping each other. And there was a time limit to get inside the box. If God was having his siesta that afternoon, too bad. Good thing he had mercy on me.

Posted by: rain forest | May 11, 2007 3:38 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle, Cassandra.

That massive crash on the Bay Bridge has been cleared: three dead and five injured. The cause was an SUV that was towing a small trailer like a u-haul kinda thing, and it became detached, causing the seven-car pileup behind it. Wasn't using a safety chain.

Talk about chutzpah: Richard Perle, one of the primary architects of the Iraq debacle, is blaming Tenet and the CIA for faulty intelligence, in a column on the opinion page. (It's not worth a link.) And George Will has some kind of a column on abortion which I don't think I'm even gonna bother to preview.

Perhaps we have here an opportunity to coin a new acronym: BTW, as in my spouse suffers from BTW (bridge/tunnel weenietude). Oh, wait: "by the way" already has called dibs. Nevermind. (We could go with TBW, though....)

TGIF, mon amis.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 11, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody! Hey, Cassandra.

kber, I love Royal Gorge. It's on the list of places I went when my parents took a six-week camping trip to the West when I was six. When I made my husband go in 1995, he asked how I knew about the place. Because I was there in 1959! Now it's the family joke that whenever we're in the West, we have to do something I did on that trip.

I'm not generally a bridge weenie but rollercoasters get to me. There's one at Carowinds, the local amusement park, that I promised God I'd never be so stupid as to ride again if He would get me off of it.

Posted by: Slyness | May 11, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *waving slowly on Kim's behalf* :-)

I'm OK with most anything but a rollercoaster, Slyness. I mean, NukeSpawn REALLY has to amp up the "scaredy-cat" comments before I'll go with her. But she knows I will, and I'll out-scream her when we do...

'Specially on the looping, upside-down, inside out ones.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

My girls asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day and I replied that I wanted to go out to eat with them, just the three of us. #1 remembered that the last time the three of us were alone together for any period of time was NINE years ago. I am astounded. Time flys with grandchildren, spouses and SO's and there is always some reason not to make the effort. No more. We don't know how much time we have left and believe me, it won't be another nine years before we do the girls only thing again. Of course we are still trying to find a night that works for all of us. :- /

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 11, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse


Don't forget breakfasts, now... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, two out of three of us wouldn't be awake enough to enjoy it, but thanks for the suggestion, maybe brunch?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 11, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse


Sure, when shall I come by???? *L*

You've got my point precisely -- don't unduly limit your schedule in a case such as this. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Mudge(6:35), you might be surprised the article on headline as George Will is actually written by Charles Krauthammer. Would you read it?

Posted by: daiwanlan | May 11, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

boko, I work downtown so my lunch-hour 20-30 minutes walk is basically going to the tulip festival. It's very nice this year with the great weather we're having.
It's not only motorists that are out to get bikers; a motorcycle driver was hit by lightning last night on a busy highway. I didn't get if he survived or not but it caused a massive traffic jam late in the rush hour.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 11, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Perle seems to be arguing that he advocated war because of Agency assessments. Which he knew all along were incompetent.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 11, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Good luck with the teenage driving thing, JA. My dad taught me and my sisters how to drive, and allowed us to use his car when we got our permits and driver licenses. Some of the stuff we did we that car, it's a wonder if we live through that age. I loved to race with the guys. And I could beat them. As I grew older, could not stand to go beyond 55mph.

For guys, the car is the thing. It's the tool used for getting the girl, and what goes along with that and the car. You know.

For the girls, the car is not it, she is.

Got a call yesterday that my one time boyfriend of many years passed away. I beginning to believe that I am toxic to men. I talked to this person only two months ago, and he was in denial big time about his health. Another boyfriend from the past had a heart attack last week, but he's doing okay. My cousin said to me yesterday, what's with the men you used to date, they're all dying. I don't date now, so no need to worry about that. I suspect with this aura around me, I probably could not buy a date. Of course, I couldn't buy a date anyway, one needs money for that, right?

Not going to the laundry room, no way. It is Mother's Day weekend, and I'm starting now. I hope all you have a great Mother's Day, and enjoy yourselves much.

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

Pat, so good to hear from you. I hope you and family are doing okay.

Ivansmom, the canned salmon is all I've ever known.

I don't like bridges or high places, and with my bad ears I so try to avoid these places. I'm dizzy on flat ground, don't need to go high. I get dizzy standing on the beach.

Have a great weekend, folks, and don't forget Mother's Day.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 11, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I skimmed the first graf of the Krauthammer, daiwanian, but only because you pointed out the screwy link (somebody's asleep over at If I'd known going in it was Krauthammer, and not withstanding your heds up, no, I wouldn't have bothered. I'll read maybe 1 in 10 Will columns, 1 in 50 Krauthammers, maybe 1 in 100 Novaks. Life's too short to spend any more time with them than that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 11, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Also, regarding Perle, there also exists an inconoclastic group who fully believed that Iraq had WMD and still thought it was a really, really, bad idea to invade.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 11, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The Perle column is following the talking points m.o. I saw being used by Bill Kristol two weeks ago: Nit-pick details in the book and then pillor Tenet for feeding the administration with false information. The disingenuous of this spin is galling. Everybody is acting like Dubya got tricked into invading Iraq against his will when he and his neocons had been chomping at the bit since Day One.

The Krauthammer article is some sort of apologia for Giuliani's stance on abortion. It's fascinating watching right-wingers decide that they are going to hold their nose and carry water for Rudy for the next year and a half.

Novak has been running an unofficial Character Assassination Of The Week routine. So far he has sent the goons out after McCain, Romney, and Fred Thompson. It's like a conservative version of American Idol.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The car talk yesterday made me drag out the photo album and reminisce. You never forget your first. Mine was baby blue.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

dr, such good news!

dmd, that pedestrian suspension bridge scared the crud out of me, too. I had to go on a weekday when traffic was light. Then waited until no one else was crossing. Of course, Raysdad was on the other side, taking a picture of my white-knuckle baby-steps crossing.

boko, Mrs. Johnson? *tilting head like Nipper"

TBG, does that mean that you could have plunged into the water on the way to Mianus?

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

Morning all. Mr. F arrived last night. Coffee and the paper mit spouse. Divine!
We both prefer the dead tree version of an at least mediocre paper but there's a certain charm in twin lap tops. The ultimate nerd couple, so Frostdottir says.

Frostdaddy fears tunnels, Ma Frostbitten bridges. A marriage made in heaven. I have trouble with some bridges and not others. Frostsis #1 used to enliven family car trips with a wicked Howard Cosell imitation "...and the bridge gives way. No soap,no rescue. Cut up by the rescue boat propellers." Not funny when driving over the Mackinac.

TBG-Thanks for the Patraeus letter link.

Mr. F is not in the mood to talk about Iraq or anywhere "in theatre" as we say. He brought _Poisoned Wells: The dirty politics of African oil_ for me to read. A good reminder that as angry as I am with dub over his goat rope of a GWOT, I am angrier and more fearful about missed opportunities in Africa.

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

I guess they send Modo to Paris to cover Sego because she's a woman? Sheesh. Sarco and Gordo, the new faces of Europe.

Chirac would pass economic reforms. People would fill the streets, disrupting cafe society for sure, until Chirac relented. Sarco is Chirac with real man bits, I guess.

Everyone wants the Anglo-American growth rates. In a decade, France has 15% less growth than Britain, give or take. That does add up. I doubt it's terribly compatible with Cafe France. More like Starbucks double shot, to go, slurped back at the cubicle.

Problem is, the growth doesn't really get down to those people who were burning the cars. Reagan put 'those people' in prison. That might work.

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

'those people'????

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

yellojkt, that is a splendidly nostalgic photo for; to tie it all together, when I was in high school my best friend had a precisely-that baby blue VW bug (66, I think) with the floorboards rotted out in the back. Good times, bombing around Edmonton mid-winter with the snow blowing up through the floor, holding our feet up like Dagwood. And the hole was actually pretty useful for the couple in the backseat at the drive-in, as otherwise there was no room for feet and legs.

Posted by: Yoki | May 11, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Ah, to have owned a VW Bug. Between flowers and cars the Boodle does make me think life is passing me by, and always has. When I moved up from the Honda CB 100 I bought, for the outrageous sum of $100 a USPS jeep. $9 for a junk yard carburetor got it running but driving was an adventure. The back door would swing open if I took a turn too fast. In just about any place but the table top flat Red River valley of ND the driver's side door would have been the show stopper. No amount of work on the latch would keep it from sliding back when driving up hill, then slamming shut on the trip back down. Good way to lose an arm.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 11, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

When I turned 16 the very first time my dad took me to drive was in his old beat up pickup truck with no power steering. He let me back myself into a ditch and hit small trees. Since then I've barely even bumped a car let alone hit something, and I'm going on 10 years of driving.

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

"Those people": citizens to whom the 'trickle-down' didn't trickle.

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

"Those people": in another time, they were advised to eat cake.

Posted by: byoolin | May 11, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks byoolin.

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Not quite so broken leg guy thanks you all for your well wishes. As most things in the R house, we ended up not celebrating with fine beverage consumption but with whatever was in the house and pizza. It's his leg, I thought he should control the nature of the cheer.

Yoki I had to laugh about the skinny legs. Yup sure is weenie looking. I thought floppy muscles like that were only possible on the underarms of women in my family! Each time I see it though I am so glad that it will be a thing of the past soon. Too many people who ride motorbikes, end up like that forever, and I thank our lucky stars.

Posted by: dr | May 11, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Now here is a reason to drive a green vehicle - preferred parking at Ikea!

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I like that green parking idea, dmd. (Did you have a good flight home?)

Looks like poor Ken Burns caved in.

I see the topic of the Mommy Blog is Mother's Day. Wonder if they are for it or against it, and who will get umbraged at who about motherhood, home and apple pie.

What are you folks getting/doing for your moms? On Sunday we're driving down to Virginia and daughter no. 2 is driving up from Virginia Beach with her husband and 4 kids, and we're meeting halfway (at Lowery's in Tappahannock) for early dinner.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 11, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I think they should merge Mother's Day and Cinco de Mayo. This new holiday, Cinco De Momma, would involve taking your mom out for a few Margs.

I really think I'm on to something here. But until then my Mom will have to settle for a tasteful card and my undying love.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 11, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Howdy! It is not raining! The sun is shining! What a day!

Congrats to the offspring, dr; Martooni keep it up, Jack I hope your relative is better. It isn't you, Cassandra, it is your good nature, faith and reformed life which keeps you here while your former men fall away. People should flock to you now as a good luck charm.

Scariest drive for me: the highway from Silverton to Ouray, Colorado. They call it the Million Dollar Highway. Two lanes, very steep, no guardrails. Views are stunning but I find it more, not less, disturbing every time I drive it. Last summer, both hands firmly on the wheel and moving very slowly, I thought, "well, it could be worse, it isn't raining." Started to rain. My folks drove this while it was under construction in the 1950s, still partly gravel. I remind myself of this every time. [I can't be a passenger; motion sickness.]

Ford LTDs, from the late '60s, early 70s, were like tanks. I remember one case where an annoyed person drove an LTD through a brick wall into an apartment, then backed out and drove away.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, are you reading the Mommy Blog again?

Shame on you!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 11, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I like Cinco de Momma, RD, and I plan to recommend it to my family. I will send IvansGramma flowers today. As my family knows, I prefer a drawing or ungainly but lovingly handmade object from the Boy to any more formal gift. This year I feel really strongly about one possibility, though. We saw a Mother's Day commercial last night featuring an adorable infant, and I told the Boy that under no circumstances are they to give me a baby.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes, howdy to Pat / Father of 4! I'm glad you're back.

I think I mentioned we have some sunshine today. It is still pushing through the haze of moisture left after days of rain, but the clouds are light gray to white, wispy, and allow views of blue sky.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I let my daughter steer the vehicle last night on the way out of the baseball game. We were going slowly and accelerated out of a curve,and I felt her put a Vulcan Death Grip on the wheel. Slowing quickly, I took the helm back and I think, by the look on her face when I asked "Was that cool, or what..." she thought it was cool.

Boko: our '70 deluxe had rotten pans and it was a southern car. So rotten that there wasn't any need for air conditioning, nor for washing one's feet in a heavy rain. As a toddler, our aforementioned daughter couldn't stand to ride in it with the windows down. Any VW with the windows rolled up in 80+ (30+ for those wishing to convert) weather isn'tmy idea of fun. I feel like the rot is attributable, in part, to window/door seal failure that allows the moisture to collect in the low points of the pan. Battery acid doesn't help either. Under these particular circumstances, plywood scraps come in handy.

Posted by: jack | May 11, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Nice flight home Mudge, a young soldier was on the flight, he will be going to Iraq in August. He was a very pleasant young man I wish him well, not having been close to anyone in the armed services it is so hard to see how young they are.

Have a lovely dinner Mudge.

Visiting MIL tomorrow for Mothers Day, FIL was just told he has prostate cancer, upsetting but as he is older he has a good chance of dying from old age rather than the cancer - still the word is rather frightening.

Sunday is my Mothers Day and I will be happily do yard work.

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

thanks dad. i love you too.
-Miss Paris A.

Posted by: Paris | May 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

For my mom, I'll bring my family to the Mass where she sings in the choir

I know she secretly loves to show off 4 of her dozen grandchildren in front of her friends. It will make her day.

Posted by: Pat | May 11, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

RD writes:
Personally, I think they should merge Mother's Day and Cinco de Mayo. This new holiday, Cinco De Momma, would involve taking your mom out for a few Margs.

I really think I'm on to something here.

Ya think? Poobah! What does procreation and placing the distaff gender on pedestals for a day have to do with defeating the French at the battle at Puebla in 1862?

Posted by: Loomis | May 11, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh my!

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

>placing the distaff gender on pedestals for a day

I don't know about you Linda, but my Mom is on a pedestal every day.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 11, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

That was for the daughter sighting, BTW.

Rule number one for Mothers Day: Never ask your mom what she wants for Mothers Day.

My answer, which is the same when this question is posed before my birthday...

"I want NOT to know what a pain in the butt it is for you to get me something for Mothers Day."

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What an amazing, complicated, huge undertaking is motherhood, about as far in reality from the racks of syrupy greeting cards as anyone could imagine.

Posted by: Loomis | May 11, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Still teary eyed at seeing Paris's comment.

Pat my mom sang in the choir too, you gift to her will be priceless.

For me - Cinco de Mommo works, but if I may I would like to request the Margs be brought to me by fine young men while I bask on my pedestal!

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Kb's link last night to the bridge postcards included this picture, with the caption "'Youngstown's Favourite Scenic Bridge' on Valley Drive"

Is that our Martooni in the picture? Love those red pants.

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

Loomis... I know.

Mothers Day is hard on those who have lost children--or who have lost their mother.

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

*giggling uncontrollably* RD, did I ever tell you how much I love you? Cinco de Momma, indeed! How am I going to explain it to the kids?

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

Hey, Miss Paris A.! Your dad always says nice things about you here. Good luck on the driving!

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

Loomis... I just got a nice reply from a woman at about the new icons on folks' article comments...

"As far as the gender of the icon, to be honest, I never noticed that it was more of a male silhouette. I'm not sure if there's anything we can do to change that, but I'll look into it."

I guess we'll see, eh?

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

Was that just the first-ever appearance in the boodle of Miss Paris? How cool! Please come back from time to time and visit. (We promise we don't tell your dad about anything you might want to share. I mean, we already know about his fly-away hair and several of

Ah, Loomis, Loomis, you got me smiling here. We can always count on you to inject a little reality into the massive denial that is Mother's Day. :-)

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

Happy belated Birthday, Paris! 16 rocks!

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

I love the view from my pedestal! I'm not much into gifts/cards for Cinco de Momma, but I do appreciate the extra effort the young ladies make to be home that day, because we all appreciate each other's company so much. The cocktails are also very welcome.

Posted by: Yoki | May 11, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I will be driving to Baltimore tomorrow morning to get yard/house work done at Mom's. Thankfully my brother will be taking my mom and sister out to lunch and to a photo show so I can work alone. Mom has a tendacy to think I work too much when I am at her house, telling me to take a break every 10 minutes.

Then I will stay for dinner, probably take her out in town, because she doesn't like to drive after dark. I usually like to bring her a little bit of work I need done, some sewing and ask for a plant or two for my garden(just to keep her busy). Plus that is a good excuse to get her to come up to WV for a visit.

She is such a Sweetheart, as I am sure everyone's mom is.

I hope everyone enjoys Mother's day this year. They do so much everyday for us. I think they deserve more then just 1 Sunday in May as their day.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 11, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Look. Mother's Day originated as a way to sanctify women's spheres of activity as the home and family, excluding her from business and politics. We know this. Even before the feminist movement, it had devolved into a greeting card holiday, an excuse for retail opportunities. Right. Mothers are loved and honored, in the abstract every day. Sure. But hey. Even as men take on more traditionally "family" roles, many mothers are the primary source of child care, including sickbed duty, emotional support, homework review and incredibly tedious transportation duties. They also do most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry, and as a result are often the ones in the house who know where any given object is. Yes, some moms have lost children and some of us have lost moms. However, for the majority, having a day set aside for everyone to remember to say "thank you" and "I love you" really isn't a bad deal -- even a holiday of dubious and murky origins which benefits business as much as anyone.

SO, if you have a mom living, wish her a happy mother's day. If you are a mom, accept any token of appreciation you may recieve with gratitude. If you know a mom who has lost a child, respect her and, if she would welcome it, give her congratulations. She is still a mom.

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

Ivansmom, that was wonderful. Thanks.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I noticed some spoor last weekend, but looks like Spiney has returned.

Posted by: python fan | May 11, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Ditto TBG

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 11, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If you will indulge me a minute, let me point out a few reasons, in chronological order, why I am thankful for my mom. And I am sure there are a few moms around here who deserve the same kind of thanks.

Thanks mom:

For that whole nine-months-in-your-body bit.

For showing me how much fun it is to whip up Ivory Flakes and water on a summer day.

For helping me with all those projects in Humpty Dumpty Magazine.

For not laughing when I wanted an Easy-Bake oven and making all those mixes for me.

For making me a birthday cake that looked like an ant hill because I wanted one.

For the St. George and the Dragon costume.

For letting me bolt a harmonograph to the ceiling.

For not getting too mad over the explosion.

Or the second one.

For picking me up after school.

For teaching me to drive.

For trusting me when I got home late.

For teaching me about broken hearts.

For letting me go far away to college with cookies but no guilt.

For letting me move back home.

And for never, ever, letting me feel alone.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 11, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful comments Ivansmom and RD, I am now off to lunch and will stock up on some kleenex for my desk.

Yoki I will be doing my queenly wave to you from my Pedestal on Sunday, just be warned by pedestal is a mound of dirt I will be ordering for the gardens! :-)

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

That was great, RD, and I'm sure you'll share it with your mother.

As the Boy gets older, I may be eligible for more of the things on your list. I admit, I hope I don't get that thank-you about the explosions.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Last week, #1 said the thing that most stood out for her about her relationship with her parents was "how *interested* you have been always been in me and #2. You really listen to us respectfully, and are always candid but calm and throughtful when you speak to us." I thought that was wonderful.

That is certainly what we aim for, and it's nice to know we approach our own standards, from time to time.

Of course, we laugh every now and then, too. (Just had a mental picture of a bunch of stoics sitting around the dinner table, conversing. LOL!)

Posted by: Yoki | May 11, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

RD, love *Cinco de Momma* as well as your list.

dmd, please be careful if you're wearing heels on that pedestal! Turn that queenly wave towards Philadelphia if you can.

Posted by: dbG | May 11, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, my Mothers' Day observance will be to work all day in Hawaii while my Mom and wife are at home. I'm thinking of ordering flowers, but I'm not sure whether to have them delivered to poor, poor, pitiful me (I've been listening to Warren Zevon lately) or to my wife and Mom. Probably the latter choice.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 11, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, one year my Mother's Day present was to have Ivansdad and the Boy go out of town for the weekend. It was very peaceful. Not that I'm suggesting your absence will be a gift -- particularly since you'll be in Hawaii while the offspring will remain home. I'm sure your women would also enjoy the flowers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't mean to quibble with such a fine idea as Cinco de Mamma, but I suggest "Mama de Mayo". Also, my birthday has always been in close proximity to Mother's Day, so we will have brunch on Sunday and celebrate Mama y yo de Mayo.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 11, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Mother of Mayonnaise? What??


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh S'nuke.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 11, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Great to see you here Miss Paris. Happy birthday, belatedly.

This morning on my desk was a nicely wrapped gift, with a Yarn Harlot book inside. I'm pretty sure son 3's fiance choose that. She works at a book store and checked the availability of said item for me some time ago. Did I mention I love the girls my boys bring home?

The card, I am pretty sure son 3 choose. It says 'Mother's Day comes but once a year' and then finishes inside, 'You can deal with the consequences tomorrow!'

RD, Or the second one? Your mom is a saint.

Posted by: dr | May 11, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl... My dad's birthday often fell on Mothers Day, too, so we often celebrated them together. They have always shared kind of the same emotional space for me.

This year I have neither Mom nor Dad to celebrate with for the first time.

My sisters and I are going on an overnight together tonight just for fun. It wasn't planned specifically for Mothers Day weekend; it was the only date that we could all make. But the coincidence is surely helpful for all of us.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

How's this for a laugh?

I just listened to a complaint about me where the complaintant said I'm "just someone who answers the phone there and not really able to speak for" my employer.

I love Fridays...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Scotty... we've always said that about you behind your back. Ha!

Oh wait! I see my hugs! Never mind.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And Happy Birthday [belated], Miss Paris A!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hugs indeed, TBG.

Scottynuke, I know how to fix the problem. Stop answering the phone.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse


The other night at M&S, we did a little Nats BPH strategic planning and came to the conclusion that since our team is so pitiful we can probably pick a night and then all show up at RFK and buy tickets on the spot.

We were thinking the $10 tickets since those sections are so empty we can have fun without interfering with anyone's actual baseball watching.

So I looked at the schedule and I see June 1 and 2 (Fri and Sat) against San Diego and June 21 and 22 (also Fri and Sat) against Cleveland.

Which of those dates work for you?

Bringing friends and family is highly encouraged.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. and if you need any more info or just want to contact me personally about it for some reason, you can reach me at boodler [at] mac [dot] com.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I rarely SCC my mistakes, but that "Which of those dates work... " is just driving me crazy.

Which of those dates works for you?

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

TBG hugs to you as well, like you this Mothers Day for me will be the first without my parents, but not without the love and gifts they gave me.

My favorite memory of mom was when I was around 11, upstairs in her room watching TV. I loved looking at moms jewellery, Dad had bought her some lovely things from estate sales, beautiful and affordable in days when money was tight. On this day I thought I would clean one of these rings for mom. I took her ring that had a nice small emerald surrounded by tiny diamonds and began to clean it with a safety pin, pick out the dirt, (like her I forget to remove the rings before gardening). What I didn't know was the emerald was cracked and as I cleaned it broke into little pieces. Terrified I picked up the pieces and the ring, and went downstairs to tell her what I had done.

Now mom was often very vocal, approaching very loud on occasion, but when I told what I had done, she just hugged me and said it was OK.

In the recent past a similar type event happened between my older daughter and me and I was able to remember mom's reaction to a scared little girl and remember what was needed most at that time was love and to appreciate the honesty in admitting a mistake.

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse


Believe you me, there are days where I'd like nothing better than to rip the phone out of the wall.

Like today, for example.

But that would be wrong.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the rather interesting back-and-forth between Alberto G and Rep. Sanchez? Its on ...

probably way more interesting stuff there than with the 8 or 9 or 10 fired Attorneys.

Let's not call this an investigation. Rather, why don't we consider this an "interview."

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 11, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I will see you guys at the new stadium, with the new team.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 11, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke, don't the better paid receptionists tend to show a little leg?

Posted by: LostInThought | May 11, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff with Sanchez and Gonzalez, Dolphie. Thanks.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The games against Cleveland are on the 22nd and 23rd, still Friday and Saturday.

Posted by: omni | May 11, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I found the transcript yesterday of that Sanchez v. Gonzales testimony to post today but got derailed. Now I need food but when I come back I might post a microkit on Mother's Day.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 11, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

RD, I love the idea of Cinco de Mamma! Now, if I could only get Mom to drink the margs. And your list is excellent!

dmd, I'm sending good thoughts your way.

Scotty, how about pretending you're a recording: "You've reached the desk of Scottynuke. For complaints, press 1; for rants, press 2; for sputtering, press 3; for compliments, please stay on the line and Scotty will be with you momentarily."

And Mother of Mayonnaise would be a great expression of exasperation to use in front of children instead of 4-letter words: "Mother of Mayonnaise! I dropped a new wine glass on the ceramic floor."

Posted by: Raysmom | May 11, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

OK... let's try this again...


The other night at M&S, we did a little Nats BPH strategic planning and came to the conclusion that since our team is so pitiful we can probably pick a night and then all show up at RFK and buy tickets on the spot.

We were thinking the $10 tickets since those sections are so empty we can have fun without interfering with anyone's actual baseball watching.

So I looked at the schedule and I see June 1 and 2 (Fri and Sat) against San Diego and June 22 and 23 (also Fri and Sat) against Cleveland. All games begin at 7:05 pm.

Which of those dates works for you?

Bringing friends and family is highly encouraged.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG say of the Nats "since our team is so pitiful"
Well, they are my former 'spos, what could you expect? You will learn to love them, like a mother love her slow-witted ugly child anyway.

I just realized realize that SoC is to Espaňol what I am to the English language.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 11, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Laetitia Marie Laure Casta, a French supermodel and actress was born on this day in 1978. Here's a quote from her in ELLE magazine"

"I tell people that my breasts are 'Made in Normandy,' from butter and crème fraîche!"


Posted by: omni | May 11, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Shriek I believe that same description holds true for Leaf fans.

dbG I will turn and wave in the direction of Philly as well.

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Re. Nats BPH: June 1 & 2 do not work for me, but 21 & 22 work well.

FWIW, anyway.

To all of you Moms out there, wherever and whenever you are, I wish you all a Happy Mother's Day.


Posted by: bc | May 11, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, dmd, may good memories carry your celebrations.

Scotty, I feel for you. Hey you did hear about the goings on up here in Alberta and a proposed new plant. It seems a consortium of companies, one of which is Cameco is planning on building nuclear power plants in Alberta. One possible site has been named at Whitecourt, but one release I read read like there would be more.

Posted by: dr | May 11, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

SD, no, your English is good, unlike my Spanish (which is via Babelfish anyway).

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 11, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

My mother is probably just getting a phone call. I can't live down the year in college I forgot to send her a card for her birthday and she sent me a book of stamps. I took major umbrage, but the point was made.

I am taking the mother of my child (I gave up long ago on the "You're not MY mother" gambit) to a new fancy schmancy seafood restaurant in Scaggsville called Trapeze. It seems the Maple Lawn area is the latest trendy destination spot here in HoCo.

Maple Lawn, the latest erstwhile Rouse Company pseudo-Columbia, tries to pretend it is in Fulton, but the GoogleMap sez Scaggsville right on the I-95/216 interchange.

In other yellojkt calendar news, I will be roaming the campus of UMCP all day tomorrow as my son competes in BotBall. It's a double elimination last-robot-standing event, so I have no idea how long it will last. I'm sure it's open to the public if any Boodlers are that hard up for entertainment.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Great idea TGB
Later in June works better for me. I would also be *willin* to drive for any boodlers out in the west by god area.

I can be reached at

Off to

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 11, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why but I knew that la belle Laiticia is the new Marianne, the sex-symbol of the French Republic.

You're too good SoC.

Multiple reactors in AB? The place is already straining for manpower, do they know how much man-hours are necessary to build one? Note to Americans: deport your Mexicans to Alberta.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 11, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Shriek... I love our teams. I grew up with the Senators (Washington: First in war, first in peace and last in the American League) and the Redskins.

Until George Allen came when I was a teenager, I didn't even know there WERE NFL playoffs.

Believe me, 'pitiful' doesn't mean 'not beloved.' It just means that tickets are easy to get.

And I also love RFK stadium. I love everything about it, from the lime deposits where the water leaks on the ramps to the fact that there are actually $5 seats to some games.

When my son and I were at a Nats game last year, we noticed a table folded and leaning against a wall. This was one of those brown "banquet" tables with metal legs that fold under. I'm sure they cost less than $50.

On the bottom of the table in magic marker it said "Expos." We laughed at the idea that they would have bothered to bring such items with them to Washington.

My son said he could just imagine as they Expos were leaving Montreal: "Hey! Did you get the table?!"

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I've been looking everywhere for table TBG, send it back. It wasn't part of the deal you know.

An architect in a cubicle near me is going ape over the city of Chicago approval of the Ardox nail. 610m (2000ft) Not for the vertigo afflicted.
Look at "Images"

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 11, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Mariannes (a national emblem of France, is a personification of Liberty and Reason) of the past:

Brigitte Bardot in 1970, with the design of the sculptor Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan, who reportedly did the job initially as a joke. She was followed by Mireille Mathieu (1978, Aslan again), Catherine Deneuve (1985), Inès de la Fressange (1989) and Laetitia Casta (2000).

(Maybe we can adopt this symbol, what with the way things have goiing in this country lately we need all the Liberty and Reason we can get)

Posted by: omni | May 11, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh my... looks like the Chicago skyline is getting screwed.

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you beat me to it.

Posted by: omni | May 11, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

That building in Chicago has a potential mate in Mississauga,

Posted by: dmd | May 11, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, omni, but wouldn't its mate be a deep hole in the ground?

(Did I really say that?)

Posted by: TBG | May 11, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What's at this address?

Achenbachstrasse 17 | Düsseltal, Dusseldorf 40237, Germany

Why the Achenbach Hotel of course

Posted by: omni | May 11, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

dmd |And the *%$(*&^#@$^ Blue Jays.

dr | Alberta has so much oil the only reason it would need a nuclear reactor is to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Are you trying to get us invaded?

Posted by: Boko999 | May 11, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Holy Mother of Mayonnaise! What a good idea!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | May 11, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok. New kit. Dangerously sweet.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 11, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse


Oh, I DREAM of wearing Bermudas to work, you have NO idea... *L*


It'd be more like, "Press 3 if you like to talk to someone who's allowed to speak for [my employer]; Press 4 if you just want to talk to the phone-answerer."

Compliments are only provided when warranted, of course. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

My wife just e-mailed me one of those &^%$ things where you are supposed to pass it on to 10 friends, etc. I hate those things, and always break the "chain" --and so far haven't been struck by lightning. Of course, this one is for breast cancer research and looks like a worthy cause (speaking of omni's beloved Laetitia Cast and her creamy, buttery Norman bosom); they are having trouble getting enough people to click on the "Fund a free Mammogram" button, which certainly seems like a worthy cause. Ah, if I only had 10 friends.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 11, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to get back to the farmed salmon question, because I believe the only hope for the long-term survival of the wild ocean is fish farming.

The demand for salmon is such that if farmed salmon were eliminated, the wild salmon would be fished to practical extinction. This is an economic fact, confirmed by the destruction of fisheries around the world. Given demand, fishermen will fish themselves out of a job, then blame the seals, or the Portuguese, or anyone but themselves.

The genetic danger presented by escaped fish is exaggerated:
1)Salmon breed in the river where they were born, but what river were the farmed fish born in?
2) Once escaped, these feeble piscene clerks and bookkeepers must successfully compete with all those sturdy wild desperados, both for food and in the upriver race. If they win the competition, then what's the problem?

The fish food problem is real. It makes no sense to feed farmed fish with other fish. But here in Hawaii, amberjack farmed in ocean cages are being raised on soy meal. Eventually, research will produce a vegetable protein based feed that salmon will accept.

Again, the only hope for the long-term survival of the wild ocean is farmed fish.

Posted by: StRick9 | May 11, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

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