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Farm Report: Green Bean Conundrum

Steamy. Feels like the Deep South. The skeeters have finally roused themselves after being mysteriously low key for months. My crops are coming in nicely. But I must confess that I am not entirely pleased.

First, there is the fact that my crops are, fundamentally, beneath contempt. My farm looks far too much like a small patch of vegetables in a suburban backyard. There is no grandeur to this agricultural endeavor. There is no sense of participation in the 10,000-year-old experiment of wresting from the earth our daily bread. We scan the yard in vain for any sign of a tractor. There's not even a riding lawn mower. The mower is electric: It emits an unsatisfying hum. How can one take oneself seriously as a man of the soil when one's only piece of farm machinery sounds like an electric razor?

I've seen coffee grinders with more machismo than my mower.

My tomatoes look reasonable, though it does not promise to be a spectacular harvest. I'm already anticipating that friends will show up to pilfer all the best tomatoes. Pilferers, one and all: They just take and take and take and take and take. We desperately need a chain link fence and a bad dog. We need to start thinking defense around here.

The biggest problem of all -- the thing that haunts me, and keeps me from sleeping peacefully at my desk -- is the loneliness of the bean patch. Green beans are a great crop, because they're the only thing that grows faster than weeds. You drop the beans in the dirt and within 60 days you've got food for the table. Boil 'em with a ham hock, or steam 'em with butter and lemon juice: Yum. But the fact is, we've ceased to be a society in which the bean harvest is viewed as a cause for celebration. People don't crave green beans. Let's blurt it out: Beans are boring. The tomatoes hog the glory; the beans are shunned, derided, mocked and fundamentally ignored, like my blog.

What I need to grow is something people really want to eat, like lobster. I need to learn how to grow sea scallops, or dill pickles, or cheese fondue, or chocolate mousse. Someone needs to invent some vegetables that aren't so ... you know ... vegetal.


It must be said: We're all atwitter about Vitter!

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter, 46, said [the 'of course' keeping it from being a completely absurd statement, though it still is classic Washington-speak] in a statement, which his spokesman, Joel DiGrado, confirmed to the Associated Press.

"Several years ago, I asked for and received [can we see the sworn affidavit on that??] forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling," Vitter continued. "Out of respect for my family [and because I'm horribly embarrassed by this], I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them [and the campaign contributors who are now fleeing as though I have leprosy]. But I certainly [of course, to be sure, in point of fact, as it were] offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way [actually I know what way I let them down but let's keep it bland and general]."

And yeah, I checked the Palfrey website. Server down. Crashed.


Roommate from Hell:

"Maher said Abdulla once showed a Muslim roommate a video of a beheading, warning him the same thing could happen to him if he were not more committed to his faith."


Journalism 101: Been thinking more about the great story yesterday by my friend David Finkel, who is embedded with the U.S. Army in Baghdad. Beyond the obvious -- that this is intrepid reporting at its best -- the story is instructive for anyone who might want to be a journalist. First, the writer perceives that there is a story in what is otherwise a non-story: No one dies during the narration. Though the exploits are death-defying they are also so routine that they would normally receive no coverage. It's just some soldiers going 4 miles to a memorial service. The best journalists don't wait for "news" to break: They go around with open eyes, and tell us what they see. Finkel has always been that way, which is why, when I teach writing classes, I make sure the students read his work.

The story abides by the "show, don't tell" rule. No editorializing is necessary: The facts speak for themselves. And the chronological structure drives the tale forward and forces the reader to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. Sure, that's basic storytelling, but often in the news biz we feel a need to cram every key fact, conclusion and implication into the first 5 inches of copy.

The lede is clear, understated, and perfect...

BAGHDAD, July 8 -- Everything in the Army is supposed to have a task and a purpose, and this simple mission was no different. The task was to get 27 soldiers from Point A to Point B, from their neighborhood combat outpost to an Army base four miles away. The purpose was to attend a memorial service for one of their fellow soldiers, who had died eight days earlier while attempting to make the very same trip.

... as is the kicker.

Some of the soldiers cried. Some didn't. Some prayed. Some hugged. Some went outside into the late-day heat and had a smoke.

"This sucks," one of them said.

But they were all alive. Their mission had been a success.

Which meant that soon they would be on their next one: getting from Point B back to Point A.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 10, 2007; 7:54 AM ET
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Next: McCain's Face-Plant


first? surely not

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

By a whisker, dr.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Re: Beans. Why can't we ever find any wax (aka yellow) string beans around here? I much prefer them to the usual Achenbeans (no disrespect, Joel). I can occasionally find them at the Whole Foods on Rockville Pike, but have never seen them at the one in Silver Spring, nor ever seen them at Giant.

The good news--our hibiscus are now blooming. The big deep red one just opened up a bloom the size of a dinner plate.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut, occasionally you can find yellow beans at Wegman's. And occasionally they even look fresh.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Green beans, along with tomatoes and hot peppers, form the sacred trinity of my home garden. Tomatoes because they come in such a great variety and are so naturally gregarious. Peppers because they really do grow like weeds. The beans are the problem.

Green beans are a hassle because they need to be harvested in a timely manner. You can't just ignore the things like you can with 'maters. I mean, never once has my wife complained that I let the tomatoes get too large. The same cannot be said for the green beans.

Further, the criterion for proper bean harvesting is frighteningly imprecise. You can't just go out to the garden with a pair of calipers and a jeweler's scale. (Trust me. I've considered it.) You have to evaluate the state of the crop on a gestalt level and pick 'em when they "looks right." For someone, like me, who lacks anything resembling subjective judgment, this can become a horticultural nightmare. Malformed and over-ripened beans have been known to haunt me in my dreams. Even worse is the inevitable commentary regarding my gardening prowess when presented with substandard produce. That kind of emasculating talk can really hurt a guy.

Yet, on those rare occasions when I get the beans in on time, the results are well worth it. Fresh green beans cooked in browned butter are a delight not to be missed.

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

A GARDEN column....I shall be on topic without even trying. Is your hibiscus the "Lord Baltimore" ebtnut....and does your name stand for EBT Nut...perhaps something like Edgar Beauregard Tinfoil, the Nut? I have been trying to pronounce this in my brain but the two t-sounds are hard.

By the way, I believe that Scotty Nuke (S'Nuke) is pronounced SNUKE as in fluke or rebuke or Dubuque, Iowa.

Of to teach, in my garden of students... FOUR DAYS AND COUNTING.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 10, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

RD, re. the bean harvest:

Consider watching "Green Acres" a bit and then NOT doing what Oliver does.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 10, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I feel better now, ebtnut.

Ah beans. I love green beans. mrdr has been known to crave green beans. Green beans are what killed my urge to garden at my current property. I went to pick 'em, and they were mouldy.

If you really want tractor for your yard, Joel, you just have to get one that fits. Even the ladies of the house won't mind one of these. I think you can get something from here that will fit a yard of any size.'farm_toys'):A:scale='1/16'):OB:demand_desc

You'll need some of the cows and horses too, maybe even the bales for a truly authentic experience.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Atwitter about Vitter: Looks bad for Giuliani--Kerik, South Carolina volunteer campaign manager Ravenel selling cocaine, now Sen. Vitter of Louisiana. If there's one person to whom Vitter should confess his transgressions, it's (as Joel pointed out) the long-gone Father Damien of Molokai. Apparently, he's a repeat offender--New Orleans also figures.

Von Drehle on the subject of Kerik and Ravenel:,8599,1635929,00.html

Tried to link to an article on the home page about no verdict for two suspects in the British bomb plots, but all I get is an article "On Faith" about the Vatican. Bah.

On to Texas matters: Bush tourist boom goes bust in Crawford, from the Houston Chron.

Shuttered storefronts and eroding retail sales figures show tourism and the Bush memorabilia business are slumping in this once-sleepy farm-and-ranch town of 732 residents.

A for-sale sign is the only thing in the smudged window of the turn-of-the-century, two-story brick building that once housed the Crawford Country Style store. "The numbers just weren't working," said Norma Nelson Crow, who closed the shop at the beginning of the year.

Traffic and sales of shirts, caps, refrigerator magnets and other presidential curios began slowing in 2005, she said. By the summer of 2006, Crow said, her hopes for a turnaround in the business faded. "It was my baby and I loved that little store, but I had to face the facts," she said.

Retail sales figures kept by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts document the slide. In 2004, gross retail sales in Crawford totaled $2.6 million. They fell to $2 million in 2006, down by more than 20 percent.

Pants are down, links are down, sales are down.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Gee whiz, that site even has tiny potatoes on page 4 for the small scale farmer.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

When I was a kid in Hampton, we had a vegetable garden, but we also had a split rail fence (as dictated by the home owners association) that was lined with chicken wire inside. We would plant green beans along the fence and just let them wrap through the chicken wire. While they were in season, one of my chores was to go pick to green beans for dinner.

My current townhouse HOA prevents gardens, presumably to deter feeding of the already copious quantities of lagomorphs in the area.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - a HOA that *forbids* gardens? That's downright un-American. As well as un-Canadian and contrary to the implicit rights granted homeowners in all civilized countries around the globe. That's commie pinko talk. Somewhere dear Jim Crocket is rolling in his grave and Adrian Higgins is feeling a cold chill.

It be wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

If my HOA were to try and pull that kinda mulch someone would end up with a enormous pile of rabbit droppings on his front porch. I mean, without a garden I gotta do something with the stuff.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Yello does that mean there are no plants in your neighbourhood or just that vegetable gardens aren't allowed?

My kids and I were laughing about the bunny grazing on the weeds in our yard this morning, reconstruction of that grass in on my list but a ways down the list at the moment.

I don't normally grow vegetables, and really could only grow a patio tomato now, anyone know of a good, perhaps dwarf tomato.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, I just back-boodled and learned of your brother's passing. My sincerest condolences.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I for one do NOT "shun, deride, mock and fundamentally ignore" green beans (unlike, say, the way I shun, deride, mock, etc., the Achenblog, for instance and to name just one lowly example). No, I hold the green bean in great esteem. In fact, I have a recipe for green beans which I may have posted before, but which I shall post here again, for any newbies who might have missed it and who need to be brought to their knees with green bean lust:

Curmudgeon's killer skillet green beans

Serves 6
Prep time: 1 hour (faster if someone trims the beans for you)

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pats of butter, canola faux-butter or margarine
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (creminis or chopped portobellos preferred)
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup brandy or cognac
1/3 cup white zinfindel or similar blush wine
1/3 cup chicken broth/stock
Crunchy topping (recipe below)

Crunchy topping
It's best to make up the crunchy topping before the rest of the dish, and hold aside.
3-4 strips bacon (not turkey bacon; thick-sliced is best)
4-5 large shallots
2 tablespoons capers (include the vinegar they come in)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Peel and dice the shallots into smallest possible dice (but don't chop in an electric chopper--that's too small). In a large skillet or electric buffet pan/skillet, heat the olive oil and add the shallots and capers (including the caper vinegar). Stir frequently and cook until very well down; the shallots will be dark brown. Remove from pan and set aside in a small bowl. In the same pan, cook the bacon until well done, so it is entirely crispy. Put bacon on paper towel to drain; when dry and cool, crumble as small as possible into the bowl of shallots and capers; stir to mix, and hold aside.

Blanche green beans in boiling salted water until tender, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain, shock with cold water, drain. Set aside.

In the same skillet or pan used for the shallots and bacon, wipe out the pan with paper towel to remove bacon fat, but don't wash the pan. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and two pats of butter over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (3-5 turns with a grinder). Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add brandy/cognac, wine and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Simmer to blend flavors and reduce sauce by half, about 10 minutes. Add green beans to mushroom sauce and toss thoroughly to coat. Sprinkle crunchy topping on beans; heat until beans are hot, about 2-3 minutes. Serve beans from pan or serve in large dish or bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, or allow guests to season.

We have a pretty large twisted hibiscus that we keep out on our deck during warm weather and inside during the winter. My wife, who is otherwise fairly sane [notwithstanding she married me, and has remained thus for nearly a quarter of a century] refers to it as "she" and talks to her. And she rewarded us, too, with a gient bloom just the other day. She and my wife had a nice chat, and my wife seems to think she (the hibiscus) will bloom again pretty soon.

I don't talk to the hibiscus myself. It's not that I'm snobby, or have anything against hibiscii or hibiscusae or whatever the plural is (hybiscum? hibusci?), it's just that we don't have a lot in common.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm so upset that I forgot to write "an enormous" instead on "a enormous."

I take my right to raise food seriously.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I was checking my blog statistics this morning and noticed a jump in searches for Brandy Britton, a deceased hooker I blogged about who had a professional relationship with the DC Madam.

When I read the news story about Vitter, it came into focus. Since My blog is two Bacon points from the Vitter story (Vitter-DC Madam-Brandy) I was catching some residual ripples in the prurient Google-searching.

The schadenfreude factor whenever a Republican gets caught in a sex scandal is so satisfying.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse


I must insist that you IMMEDIATELY cease and desist from any further calumnies against the green bean. Calling this simple yet noble legume "boring" is an affront of the grossest kind, a vertophobe's insult. (Etc., etc., etc....)

L. Hungerdunger

Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger & Hungerdunger.

PS: I like mine (a) in copious quantities and (b) steamed for a minute or two.

Posted by: byoolin | July 10, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I must say that last week at the farmer's market I lingered over the green beans for some time, and then bought the summer squash.

Quick note: Blog reads 'Rommmate' on the final posting.

Posted by: hoosier | July 10, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, that recipe looks dee-lish.

Posted by: byoolin | July 10, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

yello, I share RD's umbrage at your HOA's gardening stance. The nerve!

Technically, our vegetable garden is in violation because it is not behind the house. But because of the positioning of our neighbors' houses, it's not visible from the street, which apparently has kept the Enforcers at bay all these years.

But sad to say, there will be no beans this year. Raysdad planted them three different times, but some combination of dryness, old seed, and benign neglect resulted in none germinating. So it's just 'maters, peppers, and herbs this year.

If only we could have a garden like the one I grew up with. Fertile, easily-cultivated soil (not this blech Virginia red clay) and a patch the size of my current back yard. We had corn, potatoes, cucumbers, four kinds of squash, green and yellow beans, lettuce, carrots, Swiss Chard (okay, not so fond memories of that!), and tons of tomatoes. After I left home, it took me a while to acclimate to grocery store produce and its lack of flavor.

Did I hear rustlings of BPH planning? CP, if the code orange situation resolves itself, perhaps we can connect with that quart of frozen 'barb.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Potted tomatoes would be fine. We are allowed ornamental shrubberies that don't grow taller than waist high. Anything bigger or any new trees require HOA approval. Also decks must be made of natural wood. So far I haven't seen anybody break precedent and put in the composite stuff. Until then, my wife and I will eschew the deck addition.

With an ingredient list that includes cognac, zinfindel, shallots, and bacon, I'm tempted to just omit the green beans.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, my deepest sympathies on your brother's passing.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Slyness - I am so sorry about your brother's passing. I hope that happy memories and the fact that you were able to be with him at the end brings you comfort.

Posted by: Kim | July 10, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Slyness-so sorry about your brother. Thinking of you and your family.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 10, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm trying to catch up on the Boodle.

Slyness, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. My best to your family.


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

Slyness, I am sorry about your brother.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

yello - I've long felt that the schadenfreude factor that I feel when I read about Vitter, Schwarzenegger, Livingston, Gingrich, etc. was a failing in me. I'm so happy that I'm not alone and your post makes me think that perhaps I'm being hard on myself.

Mudge - Yummy. I can see that my lemon juice, freshly ground pepper green bean method needs to be updated!

Posted by: Kim | July 10, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'd seen that Vitter bit earlier, and y'know, maybe it's the heat, but I don't think anyone's going to care much about it in the long run.

Vitter's positioned himself nicely to avoid a lot of scrutiny on this, saying it's between himself, his wife, his marriage counsellor/pastor, and God. He's apologized and asked for forgiveness and privacy.

He's also lucky that both parties have bigger fish to fry at the moment.


Posted by: bc | July 10, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I thought of the boodle last night as we spent a lovely evening with a delightful 19 year old [Censored country of origin] college student here in the US visiting friends.

She is incredible outgoing and friendly and very funny and we spent a good amount of time laughing about American idioms and expressions she's been hearing--and collecting--in her three weeks here. We had fun exchanging expressions and explaining things to each other, like the excessive use of "like" and "ya know."

Do you realize how many times we say "actually?"

She told us about her English exam where she had to answer questions about a passage about a ship. She thought the word was "sheep" and wrote of all sorts of allegories about the man who struggled to travel by sheep across the ocean.

We watched The Simpsons, which she loves, and she was surprised to hear the unfamiliar American voices coming from her beloved characters.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

My tiny cultivated section of food plants in an otherwise unruly garden includes lots of thriving herbs, a couple of pepper plants, tomatoes, and an eggplant. I had one small but tasty green pepper and two yellow peppers are growing. The tomato plants appear healthy but uninterested in producing tomatoes; perhaps they know I'll just eat them. The cantaloupe were done in by the rain. Next year I'll try green beans too, and perhaps zucchini, for the thrill of having a vegetable grow. Green beans are something I can always get everyone around here to eat. The Boy will eat them raw if they are fresh picked.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

TBG, did she tell you how they handled the Fr*nch-dubbed version of the episode in which Bart was forced into slave labor for a couple of low-end vintners in Fr*nce? while the Albanian exchange student who took Bart's place at home was actually a spy. I wonder if maybe the Fr*nch-speaking scenes were dubbed in English, or some-such thing.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Traveling by sheep across the ocean? You must be referring to the ewe-boat, actually.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"Traveling by sheep across the ocean", this has left a nasty tune cootie in my head.

Sounds like a wonderful evening TBG.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

back-boodle skimming and finally giving up...

slyness, my condolences.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 10, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Garden update: raspberries are just about to turn red. The plants themselves are over my head - about 7'. Tomatoes still a while yet.

Speaking of gardening, Canadians apparently consume four times the world per person average of marijuana:

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I read that story yesterday SoC. Dont forget that we are also the third highest per capita in cocaine usage as well. I blame all those Floridans with winter homes in Quebec... wait maybe I have that backwards.

Posted by: Kerric | July 10, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

You Canuckistanis do weed four times more than the rest of the planet? No wonder you guys in Haute Maine are always so haute. Well done! Makes me want to break out in a chorus of "O Canada!"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Mudge: Nice recipe. I might have to crank up some Mudge Greenbeans for the All Star Game.

Thanks hoosier...will fix pronto.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 10, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Weingarten chat back at noon today. Expect a bit of a lull on the Boodle for an hour or so.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

From the Politico blog:

In 2000, Vitter was included in a Newhouse News Service story about the strain of congressional careers on families.

His wife, Wendy, was asked by the Newhouse reporter: If her husband were as unfaithful as Livingston or former President Bill Clinton, would she be as forgiving as Hillary Rodham Clinton?

"I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary," Wendy Vitter told Newhouse News. "If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

"I think fear is a very good motivating factor in a marriage," she added. "Don't put fear down."

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

*Tim... we didn't discuss the episodes. We watched my friend's favorite episode, which we have kept on the Tivo: the one where Marge is in the musical version of Streetcar Named Desire, which opens with this song...

Chief Wiggum:
Long before the SuperDome,
Where the Saints of football play,
Lived a city that the damned called home,
Hear their he11ish roundelay...

Cast: New Orleeeans...
Home of pirates, drunks, and wh0res!
New Orleeeans...
Tacky, overpriced, souvenir stores!
If you want to go to He11, you should make that trip
to the S0d0m and Gomorrah on the Mississipp'!

New Orleeeans...
Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile!
New Orleaaans...
Putrid, brackish, maggoty, foul!
New Orleeeans...
Crummy, lousy, rancid, and rank!

New Orleeeans!

And closes with this one...

Marge/Blanche (speaking): Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers...

(music begins)

Cast: You can always depend on the kindness of strangers...

To pluck up your spirits, and shield you from dangers...

Marge/Blanche: Now here's a tip from Blanche you won't regret...

Cast: A stranger's just a friend you haven't met...

You haven't met...


Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Of course, although she was familiar with Tennessee Williams, we had to explain to our visitor that there IS no musical version of Streetcar.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

No food crops in the yard, unless you count a couple of big African oregano bushes and the basil that's threatening to spread. Enough for a few gallons of pesto.

For what it's worth, squashes are very big in less-affluent countries. Hardly anything produces so much food with so little effort. Here in Florida, big calabazas (basically round butternut squashes, popular around the Caribbean) are amazingly cheap. I wonder if you could find college students subsisting on them, perhaps served with plenty of oregano?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 10, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Dave OTC... I had a cute exchange at the farmers' market on Sat morning. I asked the very friendly guy taking the money how much his different summer squashes cost.

He pointed to the zucchini and the yellow squash and said they were the same price, but then he pointed to some lighter-green ones and said in his thick Latino accent, "Those are the Spanish ones--the Mexican ones. They cost a little more."

I asked if they taste any different. He said "A little." I asked which ones he liked the best and he said, pointing to the light-green squash, "I like those."

"They taste better?" I asked.

"Well.." he shrugged and then gave a huge smile, "Because they are Mexican!"

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Dave, I've seen some TV commercials for DVDs about Florida college students with big calabazas. I don't think my wife would let me order any, though.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Joel, are you aware of this Post article on green beans?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Now, here's a classic example of a guy going out of his way to make trouble:

Pope: Other Christians Not True Churches

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 10, 2007; 8:49 AM

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy -- Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

There is also no musical version of Planet of the Apes, other than on the Simpsons. Definitely one of the top five.

"Oh my God, I was wrong, it was Earth all along!"

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And so goes the infallibility of the pope.

Pretty much explains why I am lapsed.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Dr. Zaius, I love you!"

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Can we impeach a Pope? I agree with dr, even as a lapsed Catholic it bothers me.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The Pope is the leader of the Roman Catholic church. Who, besides Roman Catholics, should pay any attention to what he says?

No other churches believe he has any authority over them, so whatever he says about other churches should really mean very little, shouldn't it?

I mean, look at this...

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

And that's just the Christian denominations!

I didn't mean to leave out any others, I was just pointing out that these are churches that supposedly AGREE with the Catholic Church on the basic theology.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

FYI, we here on the shores of the Anacostia think we're hearing thunder. There is a dark cloud overhead. Be advised.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

And so Benny is not an inclusive guy. I'm scocked. If you consider the official revival mass in Latin and that practicing heteros, practicing and abstaining gays and all women are kicked out of priesthood in seems to me that 1907 is the new 2007.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

SCC Nobody should be shocked by my scocked by now.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Slyness my condolences for you and your family. I'm glad (feels funny typing that) you were able to be at his side.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The dc/metrosquare earth cam does indeed it storming down there Mudge.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

put 'show' in that sentence somewhere.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

TBG so true. John Paul II was a man to listen to, for all humanity. And this pope? Sigh. just plain old SIGH. Ben's personal preistly history on election proclaimed him to be of a more conservative bent.

If you really want to know election scandals, methinks the goings on in the Sistine Chapel would beat them all, hands down, not just in this election, but in all papal elections.

That is probably heretical and I'm ok with heretical.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Sun shining bright and clear sky here in Fairfax. I hope that rain comes this way, though.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel, Finkel's piece was very, very good. He really made me feel the tension and physical stress of their journey.

I was listening to NPR yesterday and a caller trotted out the usual, "We never hear about the good things happening in Iraq" diatribe and I have to wonder what planet these people are living on. Faux News planet would be my guess.

As far as the Pope is concerned, I was struck by that piece as well. Sigh. I'm not a lapsed Catholic and I am with TBG that he is the Catholic pope, not the Christian pope BUT he's not stating a new position. He made the same proclamation a couple of years ago. Sooo... what is he trying to do? Sigh.

Posted by: Kim | July 10, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

CParkian: Re: EBTNUT, here's the link that should explain--

Re: Hibiscus varieties--Not my expertise. We have a couple of varieties. The one with the big red blossom is about 5 feet tall at the moment, and appears ready to duel with the beanstalk for Jack's attention (How's that for a topic segue'?).

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The storm that hit the Capitol is moving east, but there also appear to be some storms out by Manasas and Leesburg, that are also moving East (crossing my fingers).

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Let me start by saying I'm not a big fan of Benny.

On a technical matter, the Pope is the head of the Holy See, which includes the Curia. As they have diplomatic relations with a whole mess of countries, what comes out of the Holy See kind of matters in the sense that what comes out of any foreign head-of-state matters. How it applies to Americans is a different story.

On the long to-do list of the Holy See, Americans are pretty much in last place. We are not his primary target in making these statements. So it's not really important what we think of his statements, it's more an issue of how a big part of the rest of the world (especially lesser developed countries) see it.

Vatican II was comprised of a lot of Curia people (among others). I think he's saying they were wrong, not John 23 (a much-beloved pope by many non-RCs).

Not sure what to make out of the fact that his statement came out through the Curia, instead of his own office. Kind of like Cheney putting something out through the US Senate.

I can't believe it's me making these distinctions, fine-line as they are.

One last note...he's 80. Much like Dub, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 10, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The most compelling storyline of the prez campaign so far: McCain going down in flames.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 10, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Man flies 193 miles in lawn chair

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 10, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Any minute now, Der Pope is going to re-excommunicate Galileo.

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

Error, his name is Couch, thank you for that laugh.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Strictly speaking, the pope isn't saying anything new. That Protestant denominations are "in error" has always been the official line. Yet by highlighting such a divisive aspect of Catholic theology, the pontiff seems to have done little but irritate other Christians. I fear Benedetto is not much of a diplomat.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Palfrey's attorney is Montgomery Blair Sibley. His name just makes me giggle.

"The Colorful Case of the Well-Named Attorney."

Posted by: frostbitten | July 10, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I wrote this a few weeks back and submitted it to Weingarten, but it didn't make the cut. I thought I'd share it with you...

Back in the mid-nineteenth century, the Chinese were studying the effects of height on intelligence and were undertaking a study of cadavers from around the world, collecting specimens of people in varying sizes and heights.

They were particularly interested in very tall people and went to great lengths to acquire cadavers of people who were taller than six feet. As there were few such people in China at the time, they often looked overseas for their specimens.

Many people worldwide had signed contracts with these Chinese researchers to donate their bodies in return for financial rewards during their lives. It's not widely known that many of these people were American.

So in reality, what Edwin Stanton actually said at Lincoln's death was, "Now he belongs to the Asians."

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Error, a solution for your Ground Hogs, give Ground Hog hunting vacations, similar to this,

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse


It seems to me that your bean patch should be held up as a reference to the bean patch cultivated by Thoreau of Walden Pond.

When looked at in that light it seems to me you have a splendid experiment in American simplicity in your noble little farm.

Posted by: aroc | July 10, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse


Shhhh. We are even now in preparation to start our own little B'n'B for well-to-do groundhog enthusiasts. Like a gentleman's club, but where you actually have to hunt the little buggers.

The biggest problem is getting permissions for the guys who want to use C4, but we'll see.

In the meantime, my Special Groundhog master has caught three of them.

Recipes, anyone?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 10, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Scientists solve puzzle of Chile's missing lake
Posted: 2007-07-03 16:52:50
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Scientists said that a lake in southern Chile that mysteriously disappeared last month developed a crack which allowed the water to drain away.

A buildup of water opened a crack in an ice wall along one side of the lake. Water flowed through the crack into a nearby fjord and from there into the sea, leaving behind a dry lake-bed littered with icebergs, scientists told Chilean state television on Tuesday.

"It looks like it's slowly filling up with water again," said Andres Rivera, a glacier expert who headed a team which recently flew over the lake in a bid to solve the mystery.

The lake is situated in the Magallanes region in Patagonia and is fed by melt-water from glaciers. Earlier this year it had a surface area of 4 to 5 hectares (10-12 acres) -- about the size of 10 soccer fields.

Scientists noticed it had disappeared during a routine patrol of the area in May.

Rivera said the incident was evidence of the effects of global warming.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Posted by: Mystery Solved | July 10, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Back down the road a ways somebody mentioned HOAs. Now, I've never belonged to an HOA, but several years ago in the midst of a personal economic recession (in the photography game we don't call it unemployment, we call it freelancing), I took a job at a Home Owners Association in Virginia. My title was something like Covenants Compliance Coordinator, but everybody knew who I was- the Fence Nazi. I worked there for a year and a half, after which I escaped back to the real world. This experience lead me to several conclusions: 1. All HOAs have too many rules, and the older the community the more rules they have. 2. Members of the rule making and enforcement committees are the most rule obsessed folks in the community, else why would they spend their personal time on this minutiae. 3. Although the rules may change from time to time and new ones may be added, the number of rules is never ever reduced. 4. I will never purchase a home in an area governed by an HOA. Rant over. You may return to your regularly scheduled beanarama.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 10, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Blue Lakes grown between poles. Here in the Willamette Valley these grow to perfection...squeeky and delicious right off the vine.

Posted by: sthalsey | July 10, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

OK.. I'm starting to really get worried about Martooni. Are you out there, my friend?

Cassandra warned us last week that she may be too busy and tired to boodle, but I hope she's OK and after reading this, makes contact.

OK, Cassandra?

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Second storm cell overhead here, got some major thunder, lightning and rain. If I were a puppy I'd be hiding under the bed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

We've got darkness and noise, but no rain yet at all. Should I do a dance?

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'm sorry to hear your news. You're in my thoughts.

JA, from the kit: //We desperately need a chain link fence and a bad dog. We need to start thinking defense around here.//

Joel, make that a 6" tall fence and I have just the bad dog for you. He's been renamed *Desperado* and I can drop him off anytime you like.

Kim, (from yesterday's boodle) we talk about stuff like that all the time. My friend came from a loving, supportive family and a different part of the city. They had different priorities for their money; the education of their children and tithing to their church were important to her parents. But she and I talk about race a fair amount, depending on whatever else is going on in our lives. Sometimes it's trivial stuff, sometimes not.

When I did the breast cancer walk, we talked a lot about about risks by race, why nobody had come up with the cute walker pins with black women on them although many black women walk. Hallmark has that mean old lady--Maxine? She's my mom, no fooling. We talk about why Hallmark doesn't have crazy old lady merchandise for black women. Is it not-PC? Should we develop it ourselves--and would it be bad if one of the trademark owners were white? (For those of you who don't know Maxine)

She didn't think it was safe for me to go into her parents' neighborhood alone, so she took steps to make it safe for that specific time and place. She also says it's not safe for her to come into my neighborhood because of the good malls there and the bank account damage she'd suffer. You've gotta be able to laugh. We also talk about our 401(k)s, cars, jobs, all that stuff.

Posted by: dbG | July 10, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

TBG if you do a dance, is it possible to include my area, we have not had a significant rain in weeks.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

That storm passed through Bethesda leaving a lot of startled people drenched, hehe. Also knocked out some traffic lights, no hehe.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I may have to cook green beans tonight. Mudge's recipe sounds good but I'll have to get cognac first. Fast beans: Cut a couple pieces of bacon in small chunks and start cooking in skillet. As the fat comes out, add cut green beans and a few cloves of garlic. Toss in salt. Put on lid. Stir often.

My cousin Ellen used to report for the Post from Baghdad. She got out there and talked to people. She once said that, when there was any good news (like a school open or something) the people concerned would beg not to have it reported, because they'd become immediate targets.

Years ago my folks built a little place on a poky mountain road, with lots of other little places. Fast-forward twenty years, when the giant-roofed crowd moved in to tear down the little places and build their versions. They sent around a HOA-type document designed essentially to turn the poky road into a Gated Community. I had a great time pulling out the lawyer skill big guns and drafting a detailed document refuting the assertions and unmasking the likely consequences. Last we heard of it. Bottom line: if you want to live in a gated community, buy into one, but don't coopt a perfectly good neighborhood.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

It seems it is not the HOA only that like to enforce strict garden rules,;_ylt=Aph6LMeaXtySkXXgZzDJ0pLMWM0F

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

O Ivansmom, I love 'pokey.' As in I want to live in a pokey sort of place BUT not IN the pokey. Judging sorts, like your selfness, might place people in pokey pens.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 10, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Among some communities here, "po-po" is slang for police. As in, The po-po put you in the pokey.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I hope the po-po don't show up at our next scheduled BPH, which looks like it will happen on Thursday, July 19.

Unless, of course, there are any po-po out there in Boodle Land who want to join us for stimulating conversation, good beer and cheap cheeseburgers.

McCormick & Schmick's
1652 K Street, NW
Washington DC

5:00 to ?

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

dmd, don't ask for too much water. After 3-4 weeks of dry weather we just got about 3 in. of water in 2 days.
My French filet beans (should we call them freedom filet beans now?) are just starting to produce. What a delicious little veggie. I used old seed and pretty much have a crop failure on my climbing beans. I like the meaty italian flat beans the most but they didn't germinate and I know it,s my fault, I didn't stored the seed properly.
Paractical puppy training advice: visit the bathroom before the Croc-shod 05:30 walk in the dewy grass for the puppie's wee-wee time. You'll end up doing the wee-weeing too. It' O.K. on a large well treed lot but could get you in trouble on a post stamp-sized backyard.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I will be sooo ready for a July 19 BPH. That's the day my department has an all-day "strategy and planning" session. Nothing like a day of navel-gazing to make you ready for a burger and a Yuengling.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I know Shriek but we have a watering ban where I live and all the storms that have passed through lately have missed my area, we are a sea of brown grass.

CP, since you were robbed of the joy of seeing your daylillies, I give you my first daylily of the year/garden/house.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Do the guys here want to rename BPH? I ask only because of this statement on the Flomax website:

Only your doctor can tell if your symptoms are due to BPH and not another condition such as prostate cancer.

All I want is a little drinky, maybe, and not to have to worry about why does it hurt when I pee.

Posted by: byoolin | July 10, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- lovely, lovely, and so pretty! I sprinkled Irish Spring soap shavings yesterday, but we will see.

benevolent poodles hoping
benefitting pokey hooligans
beans piled high
baboons packing heat

Does this help, dear Byoolin?

Posted by: College Parkian | July 10, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert. Oddly enough, we're posted on the "Post Global & On Faith" tab. I don't know if that means some WaPo editor somewhere thinks Joel's work is holy and spiritual, holy or spiritual, holey, spirited, wholey spiritual, wooly spirited, of international interest, requires an act of faith to read it, or what. Given the topic, I don't see the necessity for opening the bunker, unless we're suddenly besieged by a passle of enraged vegens demanding we remove the bacon from our recipes. Or perhaps a papal bull, De Novum Orderlarum Re Verdi Haricortiae Secularum Ex Vino Mushroomiatumnae.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Papal bull indeed, Mudge. This just shows that green beans are God. Particularly when tossed with Flying Spaghetti.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

CP - oh, great, so it could be any one of those things too? (I'm especially unnerved by the idea of Baboons Packing Heat - even more than I am by the idea of Monkeys With Typewriters.)

Posted by: byoolin | July 10, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If anyone wants a quick and easy way to serve fresh green beans, I recommend this recipe:,1977,FOOD_9936_19684,00.html

It is a favorite around our house.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

C&O Canal alert...

Pack of five wild dogs in Brunswick, MD as of 9 a.m. this morning.

No, really.

Apparently they didn't consider bicyclists menu items.

For which I am grateful.


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

And I also believe "Twisted Hibiscus" is available as a Boodle handle, now that they're no longer chanting "We're Not Gonna Take It"...

Oh wait, we do chant that around here...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite ways with green beans is to steam them, then toss them with some minced garlic sauteed in olive oil. 'Course that's the store-bought beans. The fresh garden ones need nothing more than a light spritz of butter.

Dare I admit that I brought home a quart of genuine blackberries and now have a blackberry pie in the freezer? I'll sound out Raysdad to see if he would mind terribly if I shared it with my imaginary friends or if pie interruptus is grounds for divorce.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Pie Interruptus, if it is not grounds for divorce, should be. Do not deny a man his pie, woman!

Hmmm. I'm starting to ponder the peaches sitting near me. A fresh peach is quite tasty, of course, but so is a nice peach pie...

Posted by: CulinaryTim | July 10, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, you'll have to consult Ivansmom on that last question. IIRC, the law school textbook on that subject was mentioned a lot in "The Paper Chase": Kingsfield on Tarts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Outside temperature here dropped from 94 to 78 with that front line coming through.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, Akenback, another kick in the teeth to our brave soldiers. "Which meant that soon they would be on their next one: getting from Point B back to Point A." You think our soldier are idiots? You liberals won't be happy until the IslamoDeathMongers are teaching self-demolition in our nation's middle schools. Why are you always tearing down our great and noble leaders, like Senator Vitter? He's no worse than your patron saint, Mr. Can'tKeepHisPantsOn Clinton!
(This has been a test of the Achenbunker. Had this been a real troll emergency, Boodlers would be instructed to proceed calmly to the bunker, clutching their cutlery and paper plates. Please remember to bring a salad to pass. Thank you for your kind attention).

Posted by: CowTown | July 10, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm, green beans. Reminds me of the not-so-distant days of youth when Lab would wait till the wariness of the humans waned, and then pounce upon the unsuspecting beans. No pod left standing. Ah, good memories.

Posted by: breugel | July 10, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Excellenet, CowTown. Can't have too many preparedness drills here on the Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the bean recipe, RD.

Yes, Raysmom, there is protocol to be followed here. Take note, CulinaryTim, as this applies to peach as well as berry pies. I believe the party of the first matrimonial part must preserve a significant portion, sometimes known as the Lion's Share, of the pie, or Tart as we say in the legal world, to be reserved for the party of the second matrimonial parts. [Footnote: If there are matrimonial parties of subsequent parts you are on your own.] Otherwise, you run the risk of suit for a Tart against the Person. This may lead to an assault charge for Pie in the Face.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

We love fresh green beans in this house, but my kids also love canned green beans.

They recognize that they are a completely different food item, but they have been known to open a can of green beans for recreational eating.

And if I caramelize some onions in butter and then plop a can of green beans on top of them and stir until hot, they have a side dish they love.

I know, I know... it sounds terrible. But the kids LOVE it.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

On the back of my hand is a red line, a thin arc of scab. Something scratched me. But what? When? And why does there seem to be a three-day gap in my memory? And who is this "Tatiana" person who keeps leaving messages on my machine about "them," and "the package" and where to leave Sauerkraut. A shopping list from a seductively-voiced siren I can't recall ever meeting. This is all too much. Think I'll go have a little lie-down.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Tim, Mudge, Ivansmom, thanks for the advice. I had a feeling the single slice of Mom's pie I brought home wouldn't do the trick. Or the fact that I got a case of poison ivy picking the berries.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 10, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I was just editing something (yeah, I know...but I DO in fact work a little bit, sometimes...) when I came across this term: "mofa." Needless to say, it stopped me cold and give me, how shall we say, more than pause. Fortunately, in parentheses there was an explanation of what a "mofa" is. I Googled it and read through the first 120 listings, and it basically wasn't there.

Anyone want to guess what a "mofa" is? (I'd bet at least three or four of you know, though I'd never heard of it before.) Anybody want to argue why I shouldn't change it? (No, it ain't street slang for...for what you were thinking.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown, that made me LOL. Thanks, today I really needed to have that laugh.

My thanks to all for good thoughts and prayers. IMHO, hospice and palliative care are the greatest medical innovations of the last quarter-century. Thanks to those services, he had a good death, at home, surrounded by those who he loved and who loved him.

I'm going to have to go back to bush beans. I bought a bean tower last year but have had no success with it. Maybe next year...

Posted by: Slyness | July 10, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Is it the Multi-Option Fuse for Artillery?

Posted by: frostbitten | July 10, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I Googled "mofa transportation" and found a reference to moped/mofa accidents.

Then I wiki'ed "moped" and found this:

mofa (Motor-Fahrad, German for motor-bicycle)

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a movable sofa.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

S'Tim, I thought that's what a Cadillac was...sort of a mini-living room on wheels.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 10, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

TBG's got it. Of all the *^%$# dumb things to put in a technical report that has no particular reference to Germany above any other country.

I can go home and proudly tell my family I killed a mofa today.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Museum of Food Anamolies? (Yes I googled it).

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

mofa - Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University. Where the boss has a reading room named for him. Not yet open to the public; they're waiting to unveil it after he wins his Pulitzer (sp?)

Posted by: psych | July 10, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Glad to be of service, Slyness. My best to you.
After two years of futile efforts to raise tomatoes, beans, and lettuce, we gave up and concentrated our efforts on raising flowers and such. We do have some mint, rosemary, and basil. And chives, but they barely count since you don't really "raise" them. They just grow.

Posted by: CowTown | July 10, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I swore I'd never feed the Boy canned vegetables. But you know what? Canned green beans are -- wait for it -- GREEN BEANS. VEGETABLES. Yes, I prefer fresh, and I hope someday he'll see the vast taste and nutritional superiority afforded thereby. However, if offering him canned beans encourages him to eat large quantities of green beans, that is vegetables, canned it is.

Besides, I no longer buy out-of-season grocery store produce, unless I am desperate and must serve a special item for a dinner (which pretty much never happens).

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... I was so annoyed one day when I joined my daughter in the elementary school cafeteria for lunch. The lunch included two vegetables and they wouldn't let her choose two little cups of green beans! No duplicates.

They would rather have the kid take one veggie they like and one they'll throw away rather than two helpings of one they like and will eat.

You know what else is good on a winter dinner table? Canned fruit! The kind with little or no sugar added. The kids love it. And the best part? It's FRUIT!

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Re the four-mile trek story: It is, indeed, a great piece of writing, but it seems like a bad piece of soldiering or, at least, military leadership.

In the comments that followed this article, several people brought up the question of why these soldiers undertook this trip. Couldn't they have a memorial service where they were? Was it worth the risk to their lives to go to the base where the service was to be held?

I must admit that that question came to mind rather quickly when I read the article.

Posted by: THS | July 10, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It's raining here again...and I gotta run for the bus. Glub glub...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Re the four-mile trek story: It is, indeed, a great piece of writing, but it seems like a bad piece of soldiering or, at least, military leadership.

In the comments that followed this article, several people brought up the question of why these soldiers undertook this trip. Couldn't they have a memorial service where they were? Was it worth the risk to their lives to go to the base where the service was to be held?

I must admit that that question came to mind rather quickly when I read the article.

Posted by: THS | July 10, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Re the four-mile trek story: It is, indeed, a great piece of writing, but it seems like a bad piece of soldiering or, at least, military leadership.

In the comments that followed this article, several people brought up the question of why these soldiers undertook this trip. Couldn't they have a memorial service where they were? Was it worth the risk to their lives to go to the base where the service was to be held?

I must admit that that question came to mind rather quickly when I read the article.

Posted by: THS | July 10, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiple posts. There was a blip in my connection; when it came up again, it appeared that the post was still waiting to be posted. Don't have an explanation for the third one, so will just have to beg your indulgence.

Posted by: THS | July 10, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Another work night (sigh). It keeps rumbling and grumbling outside, but no liquid refreshment as yet. Wife says she got a sprinkle down in Wheaton, probably from that freshet that hit Bethesda. Oh well, got to get things ready for tonight's gab-fest.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I use top crop green beans and they usually go nuts, but this has been a strange year for me gardenwise and everything is growing very slowly. I mulched again today and will probably add more on the weekend.

I do recall a song relating beans and them being good for your heart, but I say enough goofy stuff and yesterday someone said I act too much like a child. My response to them was wan wan!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 10, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Green Bean Salad

2-3 cups of FRESH (cooked) green beans (steamed, microwaved, whatever)

1/2 c. of your best olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. fresh dill (dried will work O.K., too)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
(vary any of the above according to your taste--my mom blends these in her mixer before adding them to the green beans, I don't) Mix with cooled, cooked green beans. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.

Source: Country Place, Tracy, Calif.

Great with a cold turkey breast sandwich--and fewer calories per serving than Mudge's recipe, no added and nutritionally empty calories from alcohol, less fat and a better-for-you fat, and a whole lot less work.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I must admit my favorite recipe for green beans (an many vegetables), rinse, remove ends eat. I recently have been hooked on stringless sugar snap peas, again rinse eat - I am so boring.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

THS, I had the same question as well, I would understand their desire to be at a service for their fellow soldiers, but it does seem an extreme risk. I am interested in the opinion of those who served here what the general practise is?

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. I planted some this year for the first time in a long, long time. No beans yet but the flowers are there so it won't be long. I like to grill them with just a bit of oil and vinegar but pretty much like them served any way as long as they aren't overcooked. Great recipes, I'll try them all if the bean supply lasts long enough.

The pope's latest pronouncement is one of many reasons I'm a long gone Catholic. Just what we need in the world right now, more controversy over religion.

I hope Cassandra is just too busy to post. I too am very concerned about Martooni.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 10, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Neither of my children will eat any kind of green beans *except* canned. The fresh ones are for my wife and me. The offspring think mushy is a virtue.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Re: the 4 mile trek. My guess is they needed to get to the memorial service as much to show that they can move around and not have to hunker down at their base, as to actually attend the service.

If the memorial service was the only reason I would dispute the operational necessity. Then again, I'm a heathen and not big on memorial services in general.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 10, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, that sounds pretty good. Except for the missing empty calories from the alcohol, but hey, the cognac works on it's own pretty well too.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 10, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Is it off-topic to mention black-eyed-peas? They used to sell them by the pound, fresh picked and shelled, in bins in grocery stores around the South. I have not seen them sold like that for a while. Sigh.

If you want an adventure, Joel, why not put in a crop of malting barley next year? Just replace the fescue. Kevin or I will show you what to do with your crop of barley...

Sunday, amid the chores I noted it was time for Stephanopoulos. Come to find out it's been bumped. Muttering about censorship, I turned to the internet and watched the interviews. (Gravel and Paul)But not my next door neighbor. Goes on a rampage, gets on the ABC site and starts slamming Sinclair media group. ABC wipes the comment (not obscene or profane, just naming names). I thanked neighbor for raising Cain for this matter. No wonder they fear the Fairness Doctrine.

Gravel has returned from space and is looking good.

Posted by: Jumper | July 10, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I like canned and fresh and frozen green beans, but they're not my A-1 favorite-- a good thing because they failed to come up this year. Instead I look forward to an excess of sugar snap peas or something like that. And the cukes are doing well. It'll be Gazpacho out of our ears, I expect.

Pope Benedict-- reaffirming traditional dogma. Don't shoot the messenger. I have observed that people of other religions (Jewish etc.) often identify all christianity by the Catholic church. It can get uncomfortable sometimes, especially when they are much better informed than many protestants are.

If Pope Benedict needs to explain to 50+ countries where christianity is a minority that protestants are NOT catholic or "true churches" under his control, that's fine by me. TBG makes the good point that logically protestants already don't care.

The Episcopalian/Anglican church is undergoing a major rift right now over ordaining gays; many anglicans in places such as Africa argue that being identified as a church that supports homosexuality openly puts them at deep risk for persecution in those countries; they'd rather include and help gays on the quiet rather than take the backwash from bad publicity.

And that's the SAME church.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Me too, TBG, I am a wee bit worried about martooni. I sent him an email at the address he left for the fairy doors.

I have to take issue with Joel for something in the kit.

"I need to learn how to grow sea scallops, or dill pickles, or cheese fondue, or chocolate mousse." Joel, you can grow pickles. They are usually cucumbers, but you know you can also pickle green beans, those tiny baby carrots, even eggs(tell Achenbro about doing them at home, but warn him about possible windy side effects). My mother-in-law has a killer recipe that works for almost anything. Just vary the spices.

I have not found a feasible way to grow scallops or lobsters inland, but when I do, you will be the first to know.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

In case it is not clear, I consider pickled eggs to be a man cave food.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Sinclair doesn't own that station, it's Cox. How embarrassing. I'll go tell neighbor now.

Posted by: Jumper | July 10, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"TBG makes the good point that logically protestants already don't care."

Wilbrod, it's not just protestants who don't care; it's all the non-Roman Catholics.

(And remember: some of us consider the Roman Catholic church to be the protestants.)

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG - that's just because you guys on that other peninsula cried "dibs" on the word "Orthodox"

Or something like that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

When Richard Carmona was nominated for Surgeon General in 2002, the only story angle I could come up with was that he'd used deadly force against someone in a law enforcement context. In light of the article below pointing out his high moral character, I now apologize to Dr. Carmona for failing to find a worthwhile storyline that day:

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Here at the Church of What's Happenin' Now we keep a pew open for the Pope, just in case.

One little bean fills immensity. Keep knockin' on Martooni's door, guys--

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | July 10, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Another 30 seconds of freedom!

Atwitter about Vitter is old news. He had a year-long relationship with a prostitute back in 1999 that was well covered. As Glen Greenwald says (in Salon):

"So, to recap: in Louisiana, Vitter carried on a year-long affair with a prostitute in 1999. Then he ran for the House as a hard-core social conservative family values candidate, parading around his wife and kids as props and leading the public crusade in defense of traditional marriage.

"Then, in Washington, he became a client of Deborah Palfrey's. Then he announced that amending the Constitution to protect traditional marriage was the most important political priority the country faces. Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich supported the same amendment.

"As always, it is so striking how many Defenders of Traditional Marriage have a record in their own broken lives of shattered marriages, multiple wives and serial adultery. And they never seek to protect the Sacred Institution of Traditional Marriage by banning the un-Christian and untraditional divorces they want for themselves when they are done with their wives and are ready to move on to the next, newer model. Instead, they only defend these Very Sacred Values by banning the same-sex marriages that they don't want for themselves."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"Also appearing were Drs. C. Everett Koop, who served as surgeon general from 1981-1889, and David Satcher, who served from 1998-2001."

Evidently, Everett Koop could do what the Bush Administration would most like in a Surgeon General -- he can turn back time. However, I doubt he would do it for the likes of our current Administration.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I just back-boodled and learned of your brother's passing. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Posted by: rain forest | July 10, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The green bean is my most favourite vegetable for some purposes. If I don't feel like braising some fennel/onion/wine/broth mixture (which I only mention because I am doing so even as we type -- that will be the bed for seared halibut tonight), or recreating the NYT "Braised Spring Vegetables" (the Minimalist, last Tuesday - fabulous!) or simply steaming some broccoli, or anything else simple or fancy, I revert to and absolutely crave good, young, tender haricots verts. Lightly steamed (but probably for more than 2 minutes, until barely al dente) and served with just a touch of unsalted butter and fresh ground pepper. Perfect with roast chicken, a lean centre-cut pork chop, in a salad cold, or as part of warm wilted salad. Or just as part of a crudite platter. Have I mentioned I love green beans?

I protest Joel's characterization of green beans (or the excellent suggestion by a Boodler I cannot now recall, wax beans) as boring. Not at all. Simple, traditional fare. Nothing boring about that.

The reason I prize them so highly, at this stage in my life, is that for some reason we cannot, for the life of us, find good green beans in the local grocery stores. We luck out occasionally at the farmers' markets or Asian groceries (and then we *gorge*) but by and large the green beans we get here are trucked in, over-cooled, from California or Florida; by the time I have a crack at them, they are over-developed, tough, shriveled, freezer-burned. We do not buy them, because we know what a tender and peach-fuzzed delight a green bean should be. The grocers who sell these horrors are shameless (though they should be shamed).

I just don't understand it. This is not new technology! A good-quality green bean should be more common in summer than forced strawberries or asparagus or horrid hothouse tomatoes, all of which I can readily pick up at any time of year (if I am willing to pay the price, both monetary and environmental, which I am not). Friends with gardens in Calgary or Red Deer or Edmonton or Summerland bring me large grocery-bags full of lovely, fresh, tender green beans. They can be grown locally! But for some reason, these are not available in the local green-grocers'.

When I get my garden designer here, however, I shall specifically request a fence of beans, because I'd rather gorge on good ones in season than any others all year long.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse


Finally got online today. Can you imagine? I'm attending an educational technology thing and I had no easy access. Yikes! But, I am having a fun time and meeting some great people.

WaPo connection: I had dinner with Mr. Arkin's brother. I've wondered if the Dr. Arkin I knew in person was related to the Arkin I see around here. Today in a discussion about educational uses of blogs, he says, "My brother's blog on the Washington Post website gets a lot of attention, hundreds of comments per post..." We had a fun time at dinner. This Arkin has a good sense of humor. And he flies.

Now I can back-Boodle.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... your post sent me to Arkin's blog, where I saw this...

"Prospective soldiers are voting with their feet. For the second consecutive month, the Army has missed its active-duty recruiting goal, even with its lower standards for new recruits. As long as the war in Iraq continues, the Army will have trouble meeting its current recruiting goals. Once the war is over, however, the crisis will dissipate."

It reminds me...

A Navy recruiter called for my son last night. When I told the nice young man that my son (who was not home) wasn't interested and was heading off to college in the fall, he said in a dejected and desparate voice, "Uh. Um... Do you.. know... anyone else... who might be interested in vocational or educational opportunities?"

Do I know anyone else? Am I a Navy recruiter? Poor thing.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

interesting article in Slate on global warming and quantifying doubt:

Posted by: egadman | July 10, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'm sorry to hear about your brother.

TBG, loved your post about the (no nationality mentioned) student. Her ship/sheep story reminded me of the time when the same happened to me with the words hill/heel. I wrote sentences about a man climbing a heel. I was in the 3rd grade, and on prom night, the kid who'd sat next to me back then told the story to the entire tipsy senior class. Funny stuff.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I apologize from the bottom of my heart, to yours, that I had not back-Boodled.

Please accept my condolences on your brother's death.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Sad news...

Doug Marlette, 57; Cartoonist, Vocal Defender of Free Speech

Doug Marlette, 57, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, comic strip artist and outspoken defender of free speech, died July 10 in northern Mississippi when a car in which he was riding skidded off a rain-slicked road and struck a tree...

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The Simpsons' Streetcar Named Desire is one of my favorites, too. At the beginning, Marge tells her family 3 times that she's going to rehearsal - when she walks out the door, they wonder where she's going, with pitiful, bewildered faces. I know how she feels! The Birds reference with the daycare center is great too.

I haven't grown green beans for years. I like them, but there's the problem of picking them at just the right time. Maybe next year. My scarlet runner beans haven't come up, either.

Yoki, sounds like you need some farmers markets or specialty farmers. Are there any subscription farmers where you are (you pay them a fee upfront, get produce for the season)?

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 10, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, is that the CSA I keep reading about? In various food-fora?

I don't have ready access to those, but I've just signed up to the local slow-food movement-group. I believe all will be revealed.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I loved Marlette when he worked for the Charlotte Observer and was sorry to see the story about his untimely passing. Death seems to be in the air this week.

Again, thanks to all for your thoughts and good wishes. Now we just need to get everybody home safely. My husband, who was supposed to be here three hours ago, is on a plane in Washington, waiting to fly to Charlotte. My sister-in-law, who was supposed to be home to Greenville half an hour ago from Tuscany, flew into JFK and had her flight cancelled, so she's got a seat on a flight to Charlotte, scheduled to arrive at 12:45 a.m. I'm leaving the back door unlocked and the kitchen light on.

New rule: No more flying anywhere on the East Coast on summer afternoons.

Posted by: Slyness | July 10, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Loomis writes, " added and nutritionally empty calories from alcohol..."

I make dishes like that, and it's my experience that the alcohol gets cooked off before serving. Anyhow, if I don't like Mudge's recipe, I figure I can either offer a better one or keep my opinion to myself. (Religion is usually the only topic that gets me to share like that.)

Beans are so simple, and go well with lots of other accent flavors, that there are many ways to make a great and quick dish. Or just pick 'em young and eat raw. My six bean plants have finished for the year, but I still have 3 ziplock bags in the freezer -- wash, blanch for a couple of minutes to kill the enzymes, and freeze. As good as fresh.

I recall Loomis' criticism of a Texas Department of Whatever employee playing a video game on his computer at work, which made me wonder where the boodle would be if all the public employees who use their work computers were to stop posting.

This is probably one I should put away and not send, but....

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 10, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Before I say goodnight...

Martooni, you are in my prayers every day. I hope we hear from you soon.

Cassandra, God's blessings upon you.

Posted by: Slyness | July 10, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, exactly, Yoki. Here's a link -

I haven't checked into these, but I should. I don't have a farmers market close by, at least not on the weekend when I go food shopping. We're excited about a new grocery store that has wonderful organic, local produce, and it isn't priced outrageously high.

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

I just went to back-boodle, and re-read Joel's wonderful beanish gardening kit.

Umm, I just got a little uncomfortable. At the subtitle "Roomate from Hell." I would just like to make it perfectly clear that the Maher referred to therein, is not Maher Arar. Not the sacrificial Canadian, Maher Arar. Not the Canadian engineer who was extraordinarily rendered, to Syria, and tortured, and sacrificed. That the Maher to whom Joel refers is not my fellow-citizen, and brother, and hero.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, just laugh. I love your comment, but don't get all wound-up about it. Hahahahaha!

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks mostlylurking. I'm really reely hoping that the slow-food people can put me in touch with some farmer-types.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I love Martooni. I'm holding out my hand to him.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki!

I'm still up. I'm enjoying time with My Boy before he goes off and leaves in August.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I just stumbled on a tribute to my mom that my nephew wrote three years ago on an online forum he participates in. I remember seeing it at the time and marveling at his openness, sharing and the honesty and compassion his online companions wrote in response.

Now that I have my own similar community, it means even more to me how those imaginary friends came to his side when he wrote so lovingly about the grandmother he had just lost.

Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi TBG -- I am four years away from that, but will ponder this. Glad you are up with that night owl.

Thinking on Slyness and Martooni.

Martooni - send up a flare. We have been speaking of beans, and your Little Bean is the best of the bunch.

Yoki -- lost my CSA farmer to CA. But hope to have another one next year. Beans: yellow, green, purple, all sauted quickly and dashed with balsamic vinegar and three or four grains of sea salt.

Off to bed; spent evening listening to the RoadHouse Crew at Chick Hall's Surf Club. BC--THEY ARE CLOSING AFTER MORE THAN 50 years!

Posted by: College Parkian | July 10, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

When our babies were very wee (a Yoki word!), my husband would call them "our little bean" because of the way they looked when properly swaddled up tight.


Posted by: TBG | July 10, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if that's why "Chou" (cabbage) is a synonym for "dear one" in French, TBG?

I'm half-expecting the greek term to be "my little grape leaf" ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

wee is a fine word, I think. When #1 was just a babe in arms, though, we called her our peanut. Our petite choux. Our wee babe. A macaronic baby.

Posted by: Yoki | July 11, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, Wilbrod, the names for babies make me melt:

sweetie bumps
baby bye
wiggle bunny
wee one
tiddly wink
Bunky tinker
Pumpkin pie
sweet potato

Now I am really off to bed.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

We all know how crooked the GWB administration is, but this takes the cake

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 11, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

NYT headline:

Sheeps Being Trained to Weed Vineyards

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 11, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. I'm starting to get a little worried about two of our intrepid band.

*attempts sleepy Grover wave, nods off, hits head on keyboard*


Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 6:23 AM | Report abuse

*easing 'Mudge into the shop easy chair and covering him with one of CP's throws*

BackBoodling underway...

*pre-amusement park visit Grover waves, while I still have the energy*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

martooni, Cassandra, don't make me come over there...


We all want to hear how things are going, and we're sending good thoughts your respective ways.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning.

LTL-CA, thanks for the link to the NYT. I can't get any madder at Arbusto, but it is good to know the kinds of things they have been hiding.

After Martooni's comments last week, I really am very worried. Dude, send us a little note, please.

Posted by: a bea c | July 11, 2007 7:24 AM | Report abuse

And here's an interesting article for the gearheads among us...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, Cassandra and Martooni I hope you both are well and can feel the heartfelt good wishes from the boodle.

Yesterday I saw the article about the Pope before it was posted here, my initil reaction was anger, whatever the "reasons" behind the announcement I thought it was absolutely the wrong statement to make in this day and age. History has shown what happens when we continue to voice the importance of differences and promote "exclusion". On a personal level my other first thought was for my Uncle. He is an order Priest and has been one of my hero's my entire life. When I was young my parents would try to explain the work he did to me as best they could, his work was always about reaching out to other faiths, to look for commonality and to open dialogue.

By coincidence that Uncle called last night, turns out he needed some tech support from my husband and I was reminded that in my opinion the Catholic church would be better served with him as an example than some of those they choose.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

dmd - that is a wonderful post. The kind of first hand personal accounts that make the boodle so worth reading. Although I am about as lapsed a Catholic as you can get, I have great admiration for people, like your Uncle, who use the Church as a vehicle for good. Which makes my frustration with the counterproductive statements of Papa Benedetto even greater.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I thought this article might be of interest to the boodle. I have a tangential interest in the mechanics of the process described, since archiving vast amounts of data is being added to my ever-expanding job description.

(Like all NYT links you may need to register. Also, this article references a certain institute of higher learning with which some might have issues.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks DMD, I always appreciate evidence for my belief that the church is really rooted in people, and not captured fully in the institution.

Stereotype alert! I make sense of this by invoking the Italian approach to life. Under the long Italian succession of pope we see this: rules exist. We make them. Rules are important as standards, guides, structures. However, rules are not the essence nor the Spirit.

In a train station near Via Rosa, Sicily is a sign "Con Fumare." An elderly man sits at a cafe table, smoking as he drinks espresso. If you ask him, why he smokes within ten feet of a No Smoking sign, he looks bemused and tells you, but that sign is for when the station is crowded and smoking would cause difficulty.

In German culture, no smoking means no smoking. Germans follow rules with an exactness that would sound like the click of patent leather shoes.

The last pope embodied both law and spirit. His charisma was an invitation, not a scold.

Sigh. Can we get the Italians back? My pick for quarterback -- not that the Curia called me for advice -- was Argentine Bishop Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. I offer this about him: He rides the bus.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I too am a green bean lover. I have two recipes: fresh off the vine washed eaten raw; anything from a store gets washed, steamed, and sits in a bowl of ice water for a minute or two (I like em cooled).

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Pat aka Sky Report Man grows green beans. I tried growing beans but found it very hard to keep skeletonizer bugs from turning the leaves into lacey cutwork samples. Beautiful, but did interfere with photosynthesis, etc.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

CP I enthusiastically endorse increasing the authority and prestige of Italians in all aspects of life.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

RD, you have all of my votes, to borrow a Chicago secret: vote early; vote often. May the best darn dem win.

I am from a long line of Irish peeps who look longingly (covetously?) at the Italian way:

food, slow and festive
life, a journey not a vale of tears
drinking convivially, rather than from a paper bag

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The problems occur when a person of Italian extraction marries a person of German extraction.

Or so I've heard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Huh,what, the Pope said something...

Watched "Dogma" again last night. I've seen that movie so many times I've lost count. Still makes me laugh out loud.

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

>Rules are important as standards, guides, structures.

SLAP: Aye, but they be really more like guidelines, anyway...

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

RD -- I have seen the Irish-German disconnect up close and personal. Oh my goodness, when the wife is germanish and the charming ner-do-right laddie from the olde sod, well. Hard times.

I quake at the thought of being a fly on the wall in a German-Italian domestic spat.

(to the literalists, can you see RD and I with our smiles and winks? We critique because we love...and besides, we resemble the peeps we poke at.)

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

OK, here I sit at my desk, ready and able to do my part to move forward the Great Wheels of Government. And I'm feeling perky, too. Dammit, where's my coffee cup?

*wanders off in search of caffeine*

OK, I lied about feeling perky.

And about the wheels of gummint. Screw 'em. There, I said it. That's the kinda guy I am.

Scotty, that was one cool electric motorbike, all right. Thanks for the link.

Joel, what with your increased political reportage, you might be interested in a pretty provocative article in the July 9/16 issue of the New Yorker, a book review by Louis Menaud of "The Myth of the Rational Voter" by a local dude, economist Bryan Caplan of G. Mason U. out yonder west of town. It's online at . Hope the Outlook section is pondering a piece on it/him before Book World beats ya to it.

There's also a pretty good article in the same issue (which you've probably already read) about a suspected meteorite that crashed through the roof of a house in Freehold, New Jersey, not far from your alma mater, on Jan. 2 of this year. I'm not going to give away the ending. But there's some interesting discussion about metors and meteorites, good old Chicxulub, etc. That one's not online: ya havta buy the dead tree version.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

ROSWELL, Ga. (AP) -- Richard Thorne grins as he waves his hand under a toilet paper dispenser in a women's restroom. The machine spits five sheets of tissue into his grasp.

A year in the works, the electronic tissue dispenser is being rolled out to the masses by Kimberly-Clark Professional as it seeks to capture more of the $1 billion away-from-home toilet paper market. The company believes most people will be satisfied with five sheets -- and use 20 percent less toilet paper.

''Most people will take the amount given,'' says Thorne. Waxing philosophical, he adds, ''People generally in life will take what you give them.'' ...

But Thorne admits the company won't truly achieve a ''touchless'' bathroom until it develops a toilet that does the dirty work for you.

''And that,'' he says, ''is going to be interesting.''

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, most esp. Martooni and Cassandra! It is 57 lovely degrees here this morning with a predicted high of 65-70. Aaaaah. Won't do anything to speed the ripening of my maters though.

Green beans-canned, fresh, raw, sauted,blanched, cooked for hours with bacon. They're all good to me. I'll even eat the canned French cut in one of those church basement lady dishes. My favorites are the home grown spicy pickled beans I have in my fridge. My source promises to give me all I want as long as I keep returning the empty jars.

The MN National Guard's 1st BCT has started returning from Iraq. A few soldiers arrived in Wisconsin for demobilization last week, but the first full plane arrived yesterday. They were within weeks of returning home when the surge was announced and ended up staying in Iraq for 16 months. Most have been away from their civilian lives for 2 years now. Please keep them in your thoughts. Re-entry is going to be tough for many.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

>Scotty, that was one cool electric motorbike, all right. Thanks for the link.

Two problems with that otherwise very cool unit:

1. You need good speakers making a loud Harley noise so people (pedestrians and cars) know you're there.

2. For that price I could get a 167hp top of the line BMW that would also get like 40mpg and go as fast as I dared, carry me across the country if desired and still sell for 50% of the original purchase price 10 years later.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Benny der PanzerPop always been on the intellectual side of the church. He has never done a practical churchy thing like doing a long stint as parish priest or chaplain. Think of him as the Paul Wolfovitz of the RC. No practical experience, just an ingrained (sp?) sense of superiority and sheer hubris.

Hungarian style green beans, goes great with grilled or roast meat..
1 large onion
1 lb green beans (flat or round, no filet beans as they cook too fast)
½-1 lb coarsely chopped tomato (half a drained 28oz can work for me)
1-2 tbsp olive oil ( original recipe: bacon fat)
Powdered paprika to taste ( 1tbsp mild + dash of hot works for me)
Salt to taste
Sautee onion in fat until almost translucent but not browned. Add paprika and mix around until full aroma is developed (1 minute?). Add tomatoes and cook until squishy (5-8 minutes). Add green beans and salt and cook until tender (5-10 minutes).
Middle eastern version: Start by roasting half a cup of pine nuts and keep them aside. No paprika but garlic. No tomato but a generous amount of lemon juice and some shredded lemon peel. Serve with the pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

CP, my mom was of mixed Irish/German heritage. It was an interesting combo.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what the value of a touchless toilet paper dispenser is except for portion control. I would think hands are cleaner before they touch the toilet paper as opposed to when they open the stall door. That's where bathroom sanitation efforts should be directed.

Another website I read frequently has the Toto Washlet as a major sponsor. That thing goes a long way towards making the clean-up process as pleasant as possible.

Lets watch the GoogleAds change if this topic takes off.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

At work we have hands-free paper towel dispensers. They use space-aged optical motion sensor thingies. We also feature advanced state-of-the-art foaming soap.

We are terribly proud of this fact.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I have one google ad: Circuit City Cameras

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Now it's Tradeindia

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse


Leave out the paprika and add oregano and lots of sauteed garlic and you've got the Greek version of green beans, served best with lamb on Easter but good at any time.

1 large onion
1 lb green beans (fresh in summer; frozen in winter, but never canned)
½-1 lb coarsely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly brown.
Add tomatoes and green beans and cook until done.*

*The consistency you desire.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

On the topic of ads I will offer this quote from my quotes of the day, this from the great Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
- Stephen Leacock

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

now it makes sense (squeaky wheel gets the grease?):

Ohio Sod farm

Green Bean Recipe

Magic Bean Wishes

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The Magic Bean changed to Free Tomato Tree

I'll stop now.

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Dmd, nice about your uncle. I have known some seriously great local preists, Father Roman, and Father Walter, who served parishes in different provinces, bu once studied latin together. My quest for information once re-connected these old friends. Good priests like people, and have a sincere desire to help, and they usually do. Sadly the bad ones, and indeed the bad things about the institution are what gets the most press coverage.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

From our ancient stereotype joke file- "In heaven the police are British, the mechanics are German, the cooks are French, the lovers are Italian and the Swiss organize the place. In hell the police are German, the mechanics are French, the cooks are British, the lovers are Swiss and the Italians organize the place." Last year when the Danish cartoon depiction of Mohammed had things in an uproar in the Middle East and Danish embassies were being stoned by protesters, I asked the Kurosawachick, lately back from six months studying in Copenhagen, what the Danish reaction would be. She said it would be incredulity. "Someone hates us? Why would anyone hate us? We're the Danes!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

fyi, I'll post a new kit at around 11 or so...

I have to go to today and talk about blogging. Not sure what to say. It's a lot like typing stuff off the top of one's head. OK that'll occupy the first 15 seconds of the else...

Posted by: Achenbach | July 11, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Seem the Nixon library is undergoing a make/truthover.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I myself have been stoned by protesters. A pleasant memory, actually. Of course in this case I use the word "by" in the sense of "along side of"!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I've been stoned, but not by protesters. I missed out on all the fun!

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised TBG, it's so common to find variations around a theme. I have made a Turkish version of the onion/tomato/beans dish as well. It was very similar but I can't remember it because I have made it only once and I'm over forty. And there was this period when I was burning grey cells like there was no tomorrow too.

Padouk, I am envious of your guvmint-sponsored hitech paper distributor. We just went from individual towels stacked inside a cabinet to rolls sitting upright on the flooded counter. I expect to find little bowls of water in the bathroom stalls next. We'll have to remember eating with our right hands only.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Joel - here's one insight that I have gleaned from hanging out here.

There is a difference between writing a blog that is significant and important and one that is likely to induce prolonged interesting commentary. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, just that a profound difference exists.

For example, you have posted many excellent kits on important issues that, I assert, fail to generate many interesting responses. I mean, there are just so many ways to express outrage over Iraq, and Bush, and Cheney.

The kits that really seem to get discussions going are the ones in which the topic resonates a bit more with the experience of us simple folk. (Like gardening.)

The trick, it seems to me, is to maintain a good balance between the two.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

SD - I am pleased to report that both the paper dispensers and the foaming hand soap went through a rigorous evaluation period that included a pilot program, an evaluation team, and a special number for people to call to register their comments regarding these innovative new technologies.

I kid you not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Toto washlets (and their competitors) are very popular in Japan, although you have to look to find them in the mens' rooms at Tokyo's Narita airport. I don't understand why they haven't become standard-issue accessories in upscale American homes.

Japanese hotels are also likely to have shower controls that make it easy to avoid being frozen or scalded. And that also allow you to turn the water off, then turn it back on at the same temperature!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

RD, what is like for say, a really big project :-).

Sad news one of Toronto's finest characters has died at the age of 92. Ed Mirvish was quite a man, he did a lot to bring Toronto out of its staid history, he will be greatly missed. I remember as a child how excited I was to go to dinner at his Roast Beef house and later to watch Miss Saigon in the new Princess of Wales theatre, thanks Ed.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The basic problem with TP dispensers in ladies' bathrooms is that they have installed those HUGE roll containers using the same two screwholes that secured the little container.

That means that in order to get some TP you have to approach from the floor, which is usually only about three inches from the opening where the TP hangs from.

Does that make sense? Sometimes it's impossible to even reach.

Every store manager should use each stall in the ladies' room at least once just once to see what I'm talking about.

End of rant.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

on 7/11 at select 7-Elevens you can get a free 7.11 oz. Slurpee.

Also on this day today, Kelly Poon turns 24.

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

omni, I hope the poor girl never teams up with the Wu-Tang Clan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Boy do I agree with you, TBG. Because I have been places where the magic sensors didn't work on the hand dryers and the towel dispensers, my question is just how infallible is the sensored tp dispenser going to be? I'm not sure if the stall is a place I want to risk uncertainty.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

All-Star game reflection

I know lady who came from Duluth
Got bit by a dog with a rabid tooth
She went to the grave a little too soon

10 years in a row the National league is to the American what the NFC is perineumly to the AFC

Why Barry? Why? This was you're chance to join the pantheon of Bo Jackson and William Mays: hit a homerun and steal a base in the All-Star game. Why Barry? Why?

Even Cubbies Derek Lee and Alfonso Soriano did the heavy lifting. What does flaxseed oil taste like, Barry? Why Barry? Why?

Soriano two-run homered as a rightie to that 25 foot right field wall in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. Two outs! Why Barry? Why?

Let's be honest. The National League is Bush League

Posted by: Simon D | July 11, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Simon D, these things run in cycles. The NFC won every Super Bowl from 1985-1997, since then, not so much. The wheel will turn. As far as Barry Bonds goes, he is a cheat and a liar (though a talented player) who is unworthy to carry Henry Aaron's bat. During the 1957 World Series (Hammerin' Hank hit .393!) I was fully convinced the the final phrase of the "Star Spangled Banner" was "o'er the land of the free and the home of the Braves!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Comparing an All-Star Game to a Super Bowl is apples and oranges. Look to the Pro-Bowl. No Conference has ever really dominated.

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing some light storm activity out west between Leesburg and Manasas...

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Will future humans get confused when the "Roids" era enters the conversation?

I'm ripping this off Conan O'Brien, but why did all the great homerun hitters of the late nineties need Preparation H.

Posted by: SImon D | July 11, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I mean, there are just so many ways to express outrage over Iraq, and Bush, and Cheney.

But we try, don't we? Hard for me to get at all interested in the story Joel linked to yesterday--then later exaggerated in a bold font, about the military funeral. Headlines in the past several weeks at various news outlets have called attention to the horrible Iraq refugee problem in nation-states such as Jordan and Syria.

I felt so bad providing a green bean recipe late yesterday afternoon and then turning on NBC News to see a disturbing report by Mideast correspondent Richard Engel about "survival sex" in Syria--some daughters of professional-class refugees forced to belly dance at casinos, then pair off with patrons later in the evening for paid sex. Men were shown throwing paper currency at these young girls of the night, many are Saudis, IIRC. One girl on the dance floor was so young, she wouldn't even qualify for a training bra, yet she is now involved in the sex trade.

What I dislaike are stalls so short that there's hardly room to stand without the door hitting me in the nose. And then the door opens inward, which makes it hard to get good footing without contorting my body like Houdini, especially with a handbag, rather than a shoulder bag. The worst short-stall offenders are in the antiquated restrooms at the fairgrounds in Landa Park in New Braunfels, site of our annual Wurstfest. It dampens domestic or international beer consumption to an absolute minimum. And I dislike intensely automatic dispensers: water, soap, paper towel, and flushers. Add the new TP dispensers to the list.

And I feel so guilty about Boodling about these small restroom annoyances compared to what life must be like for families who are refugees from the fighting in Iraq.

I think I may be having a bad morning. I went to the used bookstore close to home, and ran into a really old coot who wanted to socialize much--talk at me, not to me. He called me "sweetheart" in his greeting, which really irritates me no end--the presumed familiarity. Seems he had a hand in F16s, and keeps track of his old "babies" in 10 conflicts around the globe. He bragged on the number of patents he'd developed--his most proud being lasers for laser-guided bombs because they provided such "clean" kills. Then to come home and have annoying Jesus proselytizers knock on my front door.

I posted a response to Eugene Robinson's column yesterday--about how politicans will shortly blame al-Maliki's government for the failures in Iraq. I pointed out that presidential hopeful Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas had done that very same thing--used the blame game, putting on the fault on al-Maliki--Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

raining in Bethesda

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow! The Wurstfest in New Braunfels. That brings back some memories. I worked my way through school in Austin in part by driving a campus shuttle bus and getting charter driving jobs on weekends hauling Longhorn fans from hotels to the football stadium and taking fratboys to the Oktoberfest. The first time I got the latter gig I took advantage of their magnanimous offer to bring a date with me. Man, what a mistake! The frat rats and sorority girls were half in the bag before we even got to the fairgrounds, the evening was an extravaganza of spilt beer (I of course was on the job didn't drink and neither did my date), clogged toilets followed by public urination, loud music, and vomit. After we deposited the soggy, smelly, and semicomatose Greeks back at the Rappa Snappa Nappa house, my date helped me hose out the bus. What a great gal! Wonder what ever happened to her? Oh yeah, I married her 37 years ago.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, that is some tale! Behind the wheel busing frats and sore sororities in Austin during football season - you probably earned your knack to be a Continental Airlines pilot.

Other than the daily commute, closest notable I came to college bus shuttles was a handful of daytime mushroom trips in the Palo Alto area, to be rescued by the Stanford Marguerite Shuttle. I did my peyote puking before the bus picked us up. The bus driver always had a smile on his face.

Another occasion years ago, on the bicycle one day after seven or eight bong hits, I rode my bike down a main campus road up to an intersection. The shuttle was right in front of me. I sped up. My trajectory took me down the middle of the road. All of a sudden a pneumatic pylon grew out of the asphalt. I hit it and flew about twenty feet across the road. I donated skin and blood to the road. Dripping raspberries and strawberries on the joints. I proceeded to a French Conversation class that was mostly laced with profanity. Mostly thanks to my hogging conversation.

Posted by: Simon D | July 11, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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