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McCain's Face-Plant

On the stump, John McCain often says, "I'd rather lose an election than lose a war." He has said it so many times, and in so many ways, that you can almost hear the note of political fatalism. Like he knew all along that he would lose. And you have to wonder if he almost wanted to lose, to prove to himself that he was the One Honest Man, whose demise in the GOP primary battle will be an affirmation of his virtue. Go down with guns blazing. A suicide mission.

Several months ago, David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register told me that McCain's stump speeches in Iowa had been downers, that the audiences sat in stony silence while McCain talked about the war. When I saw McCain in New Hampshire, he focused in the stump speech on three things: the war (he'll be the last man standing, etc.), immigration (we can't just round up 12 million illegal immigrants and deport them), and global warming (serious problem that we can solve via technology). In every case he was telling Republicans things he believed, but which they might not necessarily want to hear. These were not issues that generated applause lines.

Republican red meat? No, just Castor oil.

For McCain, that's campaigning with integrity. So too was his co-sponsorship with Ted Kennedy of immigration reform, amid howling protests by the GOP base. We now see the results: the most precipitous, avert-your-eyes collapse of a major presidential candidate in memory.

Who has gone from frontrunner to roadkill more dramatically? Muskie, maybe. John Glenn? Help me.

[Howie surveys the reaction to the McCain campaign resignations. Here's John Dickerson: "Those who remain are trying to argue that McCain is showing leadership by holding his top brass accountable, but the episode looks more like the last scene in Hamlet--a stack of bodies piled up just before the curtain."

Hugh Hewitt: "While Senator McCain has long been the darling of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite, he never had a serious shot at the Republican nomination after the McCain-created Gang of 14 interfered with a crucially-important-in-the-eyes-of-Republicans attempt to return the judicial confirmation process to its constitutional roots, and perhaps not after the McCain-Feingold assault on the First Amendment. "]


Let's go to the archives, circa February 2000:

"In South Carolina, McCan got only about 26 percent of the Republican vote; in Michigan, he got about 26 percent of the Republican vote; in Virginia, he got about 29 percent of the Republican vote. A gift of the human mind is the ability to discern patterns. Here we discern that there is, and has been for many weeks, a very large constituency of voters that do not particularly like McCain, and that constituency is known as 'the Republicans'." -- [It Looks Like a President Only Smaller, p. 43]


"Some readers may point out that McCain leads Bush in the delegate count. Or they might observe that Bush is a spectacularly uninteresting person who has yet to offer any detail about himself or his beliefs that seems as relevant as the size of his bank account and the number of his endorsements. But here's a more relevant fact: Open primaries that allow Independents and Democrats to vote for Republican candidates are a farce. In Michigan, which Bush 'lost,' he carried the Republican vote 66 percent to 27 percent, according to one exit poll."--[Ibid., p. 41]

[More to come...]


McCain, yesterday on the Senate floor (via Federal Document Clearing House):

"...the overall strategy that General Petraeus has put into place, a traditional counterinsurgency tactic that emphasizes protecting the population and which gets our troops off of the bases and into the areas they're trying to protect, that this strategy is the correct one.

"Some of my colleagues argue that we should return troops to the forward operating bases and confine their activities to training and targeted counterterrorism operations.

"That's precisely what we did for three and a half years, and the situation in Iraq got worse. Over three and a half years, we had our troops from operating bases going out, search and destroy as we used to call it during the Vietnam War, and go back to their bases. A failed strategy from the beginning.

"I'm surprised that any of my colleagues would advocate a return to the failed Rumsfeld-Casey strategy. No one can be certain whether this new strategy, which remains in the early stages, can bring about greater stability. We can be sure that should the United States Senate seek to legislate an end to the strategy as it is just beginning, and we will fail for certain."

Joe Biden: "...who is calling for a precipitous withdrawal? If I'm not mistaken, the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee is not voting for a precipitous withdrawal.

"This is what we call, in the law business, which I haven't practiced in 34 years, a red herring.

"The question is: Do we continue to send our kids in the middle of a meat grinder, based on a policy that is fundamentally flawed?"

Meanwhile, here's Joe Scarborough, former war supporter, and John Kerry, this morning on MSNBC:

SCARBOROUGH: I mean, we're asked to wait until September, a couple of more months, and there will be fathers and mothers who will lose their sons and daughters, there will be brothers and sisters who will lose siblings, there will be young children who will never see their fathers and mothers again, and you're exactly right. And my Republican friends get angry when I talk like this, but when I hear Republicans for a year saying, "We've lost this war, we've just got to figure out a political retreat," I mean, it makes me mad as hell. I mean, they know that's going on.

KERRY: You don't sacrifice American soldiers' lives for pride or for politics. And that's the bottom line.


How much will the Iraq war cost?

Here's a stab at it, from the CRS. Talk about an accountant's nightmare.

"In presenting the estimates, the CRS said it encountered difficulties in projecting costs because the Defense Department has supplied few specific details on how war funding is being spent and past supplemental funding often was mixed with money from the services' regular budgets.

"...the average cost of a single U.S. soldier in Iraq last year was $390,000, up 22 percent from the $320,000 it cost in 2003."


More budget stuff: The White House will crow today about the deficit being only $200 billion. For the long-range problem, see my story Crunched By the Numbers.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 11, 2007; 8:38 AM ET
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Hi, Cassandra, hi Martooni.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 11, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Second. Curses. Drat.

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

>Who has gone from frontrunner to roadkill more dramatically? Muskie, maybe. John Glenn? Help me.<

Tom Eagleton. Holds the record for crash-and-burn.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Eagleton? I'm behind that 1000 percent!

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

Second Mudge, but to a very good post.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I knew a lot of people in the last election who liked McCain. None of them were traditional Republicans. This time around, the base doesn't like him any better. His former fans like his immigration stance now, but don't like his position on the war. I guess maybe he really is a maverick, if that means that nobody really approves of you.

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

The whole McCain implosion makes me sick on many levels.
Sick because huge segments our our society don't want to hear what they don't want to hear.
Sick because I think he's a decent man who has been caught up in the soul-destroying business of far-left, far-right politics today.
Sick because his failing candidacy is a symptom of just how nightmarish our involvement in Iraq really is and how the he 1 1 are we going to get out of it.
Sick because he wasn't the Republican nominee in 2000.
Sick because the other Republican candidates really make me sick.

I don't think I've ever disagreed with RD before, but when he asks *how many times can we discuss how bad the Bush administration is...* (or something like that) my answer is *over and over again!*
It's like therapy for me. Keeps despair from washing over me after I read the Post and the Times.

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

Joel is baiting me. I think he wants me to go on my full rant about how McCain was the right guy in 2000, but the Bushies slandered him in South Carolina, and the hard-core conservatives were so enamored of Bush's conservative-ness that they overlooked his fundamental weaknesses. Have I gone on that rant here before, or is it something I just trot out periodically for Raysdad?

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

As I recall, there was some commentary during the 2000 campaign that McCain seemed uncomfortable when he was doing well, and only seemed fully at ease when he was the underdog. Perhaps he is one of those people who secretly fear success. In any case, if he folds his tent his iconoclastic presence will be missed.

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

Kim - I hope you didn't view my comment as an indictment to free speech or an attempt to trivialize the importance of the these issues. Sometimes I just suffer from indignation fatigue.

But if it is therapeutic for others, that's great.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Now that I have posted on-topic, I must tell you that I shared my blackberry pie dilemma with Raysdad, as well as the excellent legal analysis by Ivansmom. When I got to the part about "the Lion's Share" he just said "dang skippy." In other words, he believes my imaginary friends gave me excellent advice.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 11, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Long before all of the recent pieces about just how powerful Cheney is, perhaps back in 2002 or 2003, my sister and brother-in-law (he's a senior exec for a huge corporation whose CEO is a Bush Ranger or Dodger or Robber or whatever those fundraisers are called) came up with a theory about Pres. Bush. They are reasonable, rational people from the middle of the spectrum, NOT conspiracy theorists and they insist that around 1997 or so, some REALLY big moneymen took a look around the political landscape and settled on GWB as someone they could control and mold. Next they looked around for someone to spearhead that and came up with Cheney. We used to laugh at the sis about that but sometimes, I have to wonder.
And I think Raysmom is right-they used S. Carolina in 1999 to make sure that came to pass.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

All of the things Joel lists are the reasons why he might very well be the candidate that the republican party needs right now. His come comfort as an underdog would stand him in good stead once the primaries are done.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I nominate the Right Hon. Kim Campbell for the biggest belly flop. From being Prime Minister with 151 seats and the majority in the Canadian House of Parliament to 2 seats (and she wasn't in one) in just 100 days. There were extenuating circumstances (i.e. Brian) but still.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I have a variation of that rant myself. McCain got dirty-tricked in SC and the rest of the tale writes itself. I found it very disconcerting that McCain became an enormous suck-up to the administration. His red-meat pandering did not fool the "base" and alienated his moderate supporters.

His entire campaign was a non-starter. George Snuffleupagus interviewed Ron Paul on "This Week" and mentioned in one breath that Paul had NO chance of getting the nomination but that he had out-fund-raised McCain. That had to have been the death knell. The nutjobs are outspending the straight talkers.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

McCain's having difficulty because he's done what many Republicans claim is essential for their support: Speak for what he believes. I don't agree with much of what he says, but John McCain represents the kind of politician who is disappearing from public service, respectful of his political adversaries, principled-yet-pragmatic, and thoughtful .

Posted by: CowTown | July 11, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

No, RD, I certainly didn't take your comment in that way...I totally understand indignation fatigue. I was just putting my 2 cents in about what a therapy it is for me.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

scc House of Commons. geez what's wrong with me?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

shriek.. I have to laugh at your SCC.

House of Parliament, House of Commons... we're Americans! We don't know the difference!

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm with yellojkt. I was very disappointed when McCain began publicly and overtly supporting the Bushies. I always thought that in many ways McCain truly meant it when he said he was more Republican than most people in 2000 wanted to believe, and I know they did have some policy choices in common. However, there were a lot of substantive differences between McCain's & Bush's views and personalities. There was also that "straigh talk" mystique, which Bush (who couldn't, sometimes, speak a coherent sentence) could never hope to equal. After what they did to him in South Carolina, it really made me wonder when he later appeared to join the Dark Side. It is one thing to support the Commander in Chief, which one would expect of McCain. It is another to play all friends together and bygones under the rug.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from the end of the last Kit, and I do mean the end.

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."

**Roadkill is the oft-used Texas term I would have used to describe McCain's campaign, but I see Joel beat me too, it. When so many Americans are opposed to the war, how does a candidate like McCain gain any traction with the electorate by continuing to support fighting in Iraq?

L.A. mayor going down in scandal, dashing his his hopes for higher political office.
To offer an answer: Who has gone from frontrunner to roadkill more dramatically? Villaraigosa story in a few words: the reporter who covered the breakup of his marriage was also the cause of the breakup...

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

yello have to agree with your post, even as a casual observer, the McCain I remember in the election of 2000 was someone I admired, I liked his ability to go against the grain. In the susequent years I was disappointed when I looked for him to be the voice of sanity in the Bush Admin - but he was not.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, I agree with parts of that, Raysmom--but McCain *wasn't* the right guy in 2000; Gore was.

McCain was never the right guy. Yes, on a personal level I tend to like him, too, but when all is said and done, he's a Conserv. Republican, and with me, all Conserv. Republicans are anathema no matter their war record, their personality, their "truthiness," and all the other crap. No one admires McCain's experience as a POW more than I do, but at the end of the day, having been a POW *isn't* a qualification for president. Being a "patriot" isn't a qualification; virtually every person who ever ran for the job, with the possible exceptions of Gus Hall, Aaron Burr, and Angela Davis, were patriots.

Issues and political idealogy count for something (in my book, nearly everything), along with political savy and hopefully a few basic people skills. I'm a moderate-to-slightly-leftish Democrat. I ONLY vote for moderate-to-slightly-leftish Democrats; all other need not apply. I don't need to know much if anything else. I might think a McCain or a Romney might be just the most wonderful, charming, handsome, devil-may-care, family-loving straight arrow in the whole wide world, but why should I vote for him if I don't remotely agree with any issues he stands for? It makes no fording sense to me.

Biden talks to long? I just don't give a rat's patoot; I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. John Edwards pays too much for his haircuts? I don't give a crap; I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Bill Richardson has a temper? I don't give a crap. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Gore might run again? Swell; I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Obama is young and black and inexperienced? I don't give a crap; I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Hillary Clinton is ambitious (o horrors!), a b1tch (or maybe not, I have no idea and could care less) and her husband is a horndog? I could care less and would vote for her in the general over any Republican except maybe Lincoln. (Not so happy about voting for her in the primary, but that's not the question, and I'm one of those who suspects or fears she's unelectable, but that's not the issue.) I don't give a crap about "integrity"; every president has to make choices and compromises and course corrections; I want a d@mned pragmatist who's competent, not some flag-waving schmuck with his head up his own butt. (And anyway, McCain's "integrity" is highly overrated; if you thought Clinton's BJ was offensive, McCain's sucking up to the religious right and Pat Fording Robertson was even more offensive.)

See? Told you I was feelin' perky today.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I accept your scenario as an Article of Faith. Nearly a Holy Writ. Dubya was the choice of the resource extraction industries cartel and they put everything they had behind him. I think he is too stupid to realize how badly he has been played. And if I were Jeb, I would be livid at him for ruining my chances forever.

What worries me is that I can't tell from the current crop who the power brokers are getting in line behind, but I fear it may be Fred Thompson.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I understand your point, Loomis, about the triviality of our problems and issues, but to be honest, they ARE our problems and issues.

It pains me to read about what the women around the world are facing (even at home) but it can't really stop me from continuing my mundane, easy life. To stop writing about gardening or beans or carbucks does nothing to help these women if I'm still at home in my comfortable home spending my own money on myself and my family.

But what I can do is donate money where I can (and I do), go out and volunteer for the candidates I believe can change things (and I do that, too) and share my thoughts and beliefs with others and hope that I can stimulate one person to perhaps go out and VOTE and change the way our country operates. That's the only real way I personally can bring about any real change.

And perhaps there's a building manager somewhere who is reading the Achenblog and goes into a ladies' room and sees the joke that is the toilet paper roll with its opening only three inches from the floor.

Now THAT would make me very happy.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This is Straight Talk? Gimme a break.

From Frank Rich's NYT April 8 op-ed:

JOHN McCAIN'S April Fools' Day stroll through Baghdad's Shorja market last weekend was instantly acclaimed as a classic political pratfall. Protected by more than a hundred American soldiers, three Black Hawk helicopters, two Apache gunships and a bulletproof vest, the senator extolled the ''progress'' and ''good news'' in Iraq. Befitting this loopy brand of comedy -- reminiscent of ''Wedding Crashers,'' in which Mr. McCain gamely made a cameo appearance -- the star had a crackerjack cast of supporting buffoons: Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who told reporters ''I bought five rugs for five bucks!,'' and Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, who likened the scene to ''a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.''

Five rugs for five bucks: boy, we've really got that Iraq economy up and running now! No wonder the McCain show was quickly dubbed ''McCain's Mission Accomplished'' and ''McCain's Dukakis-in-the-Tank Photo Op.'' But at a certain point the laughter curdled. Reporters rudely pointed out there were 60-plus casualties in this market from one February attack alone and that six Americans were killed in the Baghdad environs on the day of his visit. ''Your heart goes out to just the typical Iraqi because they can't have that kind of entourage,'' said Kyra Phillips of CNN. The day after Mr. McCain's stroll, The Times of London reported that 21 of the Shorja market's merchants and workers were ambushed and murdered.

The political press has stepped up its sotto voce deathwatch on the McCain presidential campaign ever since, a drumbeat enhanced by last week's announcement of Mr. McCain's third-place finish in the Republican field's fund-raising sweepstakes. (He is scheduled to restate his commitment to the race on ''60 Minutes'' tonight.) But his campaign was sagging well before he went to Baghdad.

Perhaps a slow death to his campaign and not as dramatic as Joel implies?

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You are clearly a yellow dog democrat. 2004 was the first time I didn't vote for a Republican for president and I still haven't voted for a Democrat. As my politics drift leftward (or the Republicans drift right; Einstein states it is the same thing) I can envision certain match ups that would make me do so. I don't think any of them involve Hillary. She is as polarizing a person as I have seen since Reagan. Nobody is lukewarm about her.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh for cryin' out loud. My post was just some unsolicited suggestions to Joel about the nature of blogging.

A good blog mixes it up a little.

Which this blog does very well.

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

You know, I'm pretty lukewarm about Hillary. I used to be more of a supporter, but I've moved to lukewarm.

I think there are folks from the other side who are doing the same thing.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

yellowjkt & kim,
The resource extraction industries have been exceedingly successful in politics in most of the western states, at least until lately. It's not at all an accident that a representative of those industries wields such broad power over the Executive Branch.

In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist looks like possible roadkill. Property taxes seem to be rising despite the special legislative session to cut them (not to mention that local governments are quickly hiking fees to make up for the lost revenue). And homeowner insurance rates are rising, too. I'm also not sure that the governor's efforts to slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions will help much, either. Much of the population seems to have come from somewhere else to escape that sort of stuff, and of course part of Florida is in the deep-ish South, where the main "environmental" concern is probably the rising price of gas.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I agree with everything you said with the exceptions of the stuff you had to change to get past the Worty Dird filter.

I especially agree with your assertion that "[b]eing a "patriot" isn't a qualification" for being President. GWB may poo red, white, and blue, but that doesn't mean he's qualified to do anything more than pick it up his own danged self.

Posted by: byoolin | July 11, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

yello - my sister will be very happy to know that I have imaginary friends who believe that she is not some wacky conspiracy theorists.
Yes, I would say Mudge is a veritable sunflower yellow yellow dog (at least it sure sounds like it) My husband says I'm one as well, but I'm more of butter yellow yellow dog because I don't think I can vote for Hillary. Not just because I don't believe she's electable. I have this raging belief that this country needs to get past Bush/Clinton. PLEASE!

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I should know better. If I scoot 3 cubicles down, stands on the guy's desk and squint my eyes I can see a sliver of the Peace Tower, the central feature of the Parliament building.

Sorry to interrupt the McCaine shredding (Dickinson was at it in Slate yesterday as well) but this woman is too stupid. A 51 yo grandmother, married 4 times already, marries a 27 yo son of good old Ossama Bin Laden. The guy is already married so she'll be no.2. I bet she will keep her maiden name for travel purposes.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I think I would prefer the term "golden retriever" Democrat, if you don't mind. More stylish. (And I don't like what happened to Old Yeller at the end. Sniff.)

But my larger point isn't that I'm a golden retriever Democrat; it's that i have a position on issues and ideology, and vote based on it; I don't go chasing after pretty faces and insubstantial spin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I fear that there really is no candidate out there, particularly on the national level, who really gives a rat's patoot about ordinary folks. When you vote, you're merely voting for which special interests you prefer your candidate to represent (resource extractors and corporations vs. NEA and trial lawyers). Not a pretty choice, I'm afraid. Although it doesn't stop me from voting.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 11, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I had to stop boodlin' and surfin' for a little while. My son came home from spending the night with a friend after a day at the beach yesterday. My daughter came home from field hockey conditioning this morning after staying outside 'til past 10 last night with the neighborhood kids playing kick the can and capture the flag. They are both sprawled over the chairs in the family room, out cold.
Had to take a picture. With a 14yr old and a 16yr old I feel like these moments are speeding away too fast! TBG's post last (?) night about spending time with son of G is the way I feel.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Loomis-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 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Raining monsoon-like and blowing like crazy hereabouts at the moment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

36 posts and no mention of this typo: "In South Carolina, <it>McCan</it> got only

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

On the Loomis/TBG thread about suffering in the world, I agree with TBG. I also think, Loomis, that chatting about recipes, gardening, relatives, etc. all help us keep going. And, if we keep going, we will vote, volunteer, donate, pitch in, and even pray, meditate, or think good thoughts.

Paraphrasing Garrison Keillor a bit:

Humor gives weary people the energy to fight back.

And, don't we want a world were ALL can work, study, choose, play, blog, garden, knit,think, vote, post YouTube videos of baby's first steps, grow Mr. Stripey (no, German Gal is better), concoct rhubarb cordials, carve fairy doors, braid g.girl's soft, fluffy hair, and perhaps even play Pooh Sticks.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

make that 38, mine is 39...

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Smart decision, K-guy (marrying that gal, I mean). Your second smartest decision was getting the he11 out of New Freaking Braunfels, Texas.

(Am I the only one who has trouble linking Oktoberfest and other things Germanic with Texas?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I posted on the previous boodle after most everyone had left for here that it was raining (just rain, not what mudge describes) in Bethesda. Just a few minutes of it. Afterwards I went out to feel the air. Not cooler at all, but definitely more humid. Weather (or is that climate) on the Eastern Seaboard bites.

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I am surprised someone as creative as you cannot picture a cowboy in lederhosen (sp).

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, for me that's a case where the use of the phrase: "Inconcievable" would be a hundred percent accurate. Except maybe Austin. "Keep Austin Weird!"

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Mudge. Texas was the destination for lots and lots of German and Scandinavian immigrants. That's why it has great kolaches and lots of Republicans.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh I have nothing at all against New Braunfels. It's just the wholesale public drunkeness I can't stand. I prefer private drunkeness in small groups on the porch. New Braunfels has some really nice things. I especially like cruising the old cemetaries and reading the 19th century tombstones in German. (Any of you are cemetary fans I heartily recommend Congressional in D.C. It's right next to the jail, can't miss it.) Texas is a very cosmopolitan place. Where else can you visit Paris, Athens, Rome, Boston, Washington, Cut and Shoot, and Old Dime Box, all in the same state?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom: "NEA and trial lawyers"?

Do you mean the National Endowment for The Arts, or the National Education Association? (Clearly, they're both evil commie organizations, but I think we still have to pick one or t'other.)


Posted by: byoolin | July 11, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

byoolin, I meant National Education Association. I hope you know I chose those examples off the top of my head to illustrate a point. I wouldn't necessarily categorize them as "evil, commie."

Posted by: Raysmom | July 11, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It's the perfect match of hot climate and beer that makes Texas a German place. As the German say "Bier makes turst a vontervul ding"

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, count me in as yellow dog Democrat.

I have a few minutes of peace and quiet before the family descends for dinner and visitation. It's at times like these when I most appreciate my family. Good, loving, productive people who care about each other and are present when needed. What more can anyone ask?

My brother was an elementary school principal, and a good one. He was the one who was reassigned to pick up the pieces and get a school in difficulties back on track. He had the calm, cheerful demeanor of a born educator who always got the best out of kids because they didn't want to let him down. I never saw him lose his temper, and I never heard him talk down to anyone, regardless of age.

From his youth he was a musician with a marvelous baritone voice and a special way with a keyboard, any keyboard. He credited our aunt with the voice training he needed to be successful and a grounding in piano. I was six when I started accordian lessons with him. I didn't have his gifts but it was my first introduction to music and I loved it. He created a quartet of little girls playing accordians and took us for several gigs; I can't imagine how bad it was! What he really enjoyed, though, was organ. He had an electric organ on a dolly that he could take in his van anywhere, and did. He played wedding receptions, political rallies, at the minor league ballpark, for the local clown troupe at festivals. If you needed music, he could do it. His was a wonderful gift.

He and his wife raised four kids to be good people. His youngest, the only daughter, quit her job to take care of him as his health declined. Thanks to her care and Hospice, he had a peaceful, comfortable end: a good death. It was a holy end for a good life, lived well.

Posted by: Slyness | July 11, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, the Scandinavians who landed in the Upper Midwest trend left and dem.

Can't say too much about Germanish peeps and voting patterns, as I don't know too many of them. But, I really like Shiner Bok beer, which is is both German and Texan. Mudge, you draw the Venn Diagram.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I know about Germans in Texas; I was just bein' curmudgeonly. I just have this (largely unflattering) stereotypical view of Texans and all things Texas (and yes, I've been there; in fact, our oldest son -- from whom I am estranged and quite happy about it-- and two of my grandkids live there; his wife [my daughter-in-law] is a San Antonio gal. I'm just used to the customs, food, clothes, dress, speech patterns, folklore, etc., of all the Germans in Pennsylvania, whom I know pretty well (my grandmother having been one of them)--and I was just playing off that, thinking of the image of re-locating, say, the Kutztown (Pa.) Fair to, say, Odessa (q.v. "Friday Night Lights"). Padouk, you know what I'm talking about, doncha?

Monsoon seems to have let up, but the radar map shows a massive storm line in West Virginia (from NY to Carolinas, from the look of it) moving this way.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, that was lovely. Your brother's story is the answer to "How do you define success?" You were lucky to have each other.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Now don't be hatin' on Texas. Any place that can produce women like Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Frances Farenthold, and my mother cannot be all bad.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, that was lovely. Your brother's story is the answer to "How do you define success?" You were lucky to have each other.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 11, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, accordian music can be among the best, especially within ethnic genres and for dancing. How joyful! And now, he is a Clown with God. Heaven may very well be a very big, big-top tent, stripes and all. And the organ music at times is Bachlike as if from a German cathedral; other times, like a portable Wurlitzer played full-open vibratto -- baseball style.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Slyness - very lovely tribute. It was a pleasure to read.

Molly Ivins - many times when I have wanted to blame Texas for all manner of things, Molly was the reason I could beat back that impulse.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh indeedy I do, Mudge.

Tell me, did your grandmother pronounce words like "power," "flower," and "scour" as "par," "flar," and "scar"?

To me that's one of the true tests of being from PA Dutch country.

That and, of course, an appreciation for potato chips fried in lard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, you just named the four best things Texas ever produced. Five if you want to count Kinky Friedman. But it is very difficult to overcome an entire lifteime of loathing the Dallas Cowboys and Tom Landry. A thing like that scars you for life.

I must say, K-guy, that Texas does produce some fine-looking women. So how's this: I'll grant you all the women in Texas if you'll allow me to continue loathing almost all the men. Deal?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

You forgot Ann Richards. Remember that she said of Arbusto that he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

Thundering/lightning/raining here in Maryland's capital.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 11, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, my grandmother wasn't Pa Dutch; her family came from Germany and settled in Phila. Her father was a gunsmith from Germany (don't know where), and the family name was Schmidt. There was a large German population in Philly (one major section of town is called Frankfurt, if that's a help). Down the street was a butcher shop owned by a Mr. Kaufbrenner, who gave out slices of baloney to the kids who came in with their parents. But she was the lone German in my family tree; nearly everyone else was some sort of ex-Viking pillager, with Swedes from Mälmo and Norwegians from who-knows-where, Lutefiskifjiord, most likely.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

No deal, Mudge. I got relatives in Lindale and Fort Worth and Denton and Kingsville and Arlington and Wichita Falls and El Paso and some of 'em I even like. Besides, you can't condemn Texas men without including Ronnie Dugger and Jim Hightower and Bob Schieffer. As far as pro football goes, I think that whatever success the local team with the execrable name has had in the (now far distant) past can in part be attributed to the quality of the competition. That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Look at the Buffalo Bills of the early 90's, the cream of the AFC, losers of four straight SBs and all four to teams from the same NFC East. No coincidence.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and she shopped at the "Acca-me" store, and pronounced those space guys as "Austro-nat." To this day I can say just the one word, "Acca-me," and my wife starts laughing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to catch up on the Boodle for the past couple of days, but dang it, everything's moving too fast.

This is summer in Washington, people. Everything should be moving slowly to avoid sweating through our clothing.

Had comments on the Pope, green beans, all kinds of stuff that are just BOO at this point. Bah!

I don't know if what's going on with McCain is fatal to his campaign yet. We're what - 14 months away from the RNC in St. Paul? If McCain can prove that what he's done here was the right thing to do and can show that he's capable of making decisive moves without being afraid of upsetting anyone's applecarts in doing so, I think he can pull this one out yet.

He's got some time, though he needs to get cracking on the money...

My $.02.


Posted by: bc | July 11, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Slyness... thanks so much for writing about your brother. Truly a success story. Your niece is mourning the loss of her parents now, I'm sure, but she can always know that she did such a good thing to take care of her dad like that when he really needed her.

I find it wonderful, too, that it followed k-guy's mention of exploring cemeteries. One of the first pages I turn to in the paper Post is the obituary page. I love to read the stories of the lives around me.

Thanks for letting us get to know your brother a bit. He was proud of you, too, you know.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

>Frankfurt, if that's a help

I guess the other hint would be King of Prussia

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 11, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

At this point, bc, I bet McCain would be glad to get that $.02 as a contribution. Just slip the pennies in an envelope and send it on.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Won't even need to do that, Ivansmom.

I expect to see McCain leaning against a building on K street, hair disheveled, with a hat on the ground (and about two fiddy worth of change in it) with a hand-lettered cardboard sign that reads "Will win Iraq War for [the words "food" and "oil" are crossed off] the Presidency."


Posted by: bc | July 11, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

TBG if you are in the metro area, please do check out Congressional Cemetary at 18th and E in Southeast. It's a great place to walk a dog, many folks do. You can get a map to find the dead and famous- lots of pols, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, J.Edgar Hoover with Clyde Tolsen by his side (natch), a large monument to a group of women munitions workers killed in an explosion in WWI, and my personal fave, Thomas "Tip" O'Neil. Here's the grave of one of the most powerful politicians of his generation, forty-leven terms in Congress, Speaker of the House of Representatives, yada yada yada, and his grave is marked with a very plain very simple plaque flush with the ground just like the VA gives every veteran. No frills and easy to mow around. True class. I've found tombstones fascinating for years. When we lived in New England and were poverty stricken students we used to go rubbing in rural graveyards- it was free and the supply is endless. Another tombstone I found interesting is Jefferson's at Monticello. He requested that three of his many accomplishments be recorded- author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, and author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Today's NYT has a story about wineries and German food and kitsch in the Texas hill country.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 11, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention you might run into Gene Wiengarten.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

That's what I thought, yello. He talks about that cemetary a lot.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I hope I didn't commit a boodle faux pas and link to something that's been linked to a thousand times...*looking sheepish.*

I was an intermittent boodle lurker for a long time. That's all the excuse I can offer, if I did just commit a dreadful faux pas.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey k-guy! You gonna be around next week for the BPH on Thursday night?

I hope you can make. We're really glad to see you back here again. We'd love to tell you in person, too.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Kim - as far as I can tell the term "boodle faux pas" is an oxymoron. We do redundant links all the time. Sometimes within the same post.

And I have a feeling Mr. Weingarten will take all the links he can get. He seems like a very linky kind of guy.

Speaking of which, I wonder how Joel's exposition on blogging went?

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

You'd think someone would have live-blogged it.

Posted by: byoolin | July 11, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Hey, Hey! You forgot Jerry Jeff Walker, migas, and breakfast tacos. And, the Two Step. And Lyle Lovett. And Tejano music. Many great things have come from Texas. Really.

Posted by: CowTown | July 11, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about Weingarten, too, but more in reference to bc's 3:09 post about McCain on K Street with his hat on the ground begging for campaign money. Weingarten and a team of observers would be watching from a distance at rush hour to see how many culturally insensitive Washingtonians --especially K Street lobbyists -- walk past McCain without paying any attention to him and his world-class, genius-level panhandling. Weingarten would then write a magazine piece deconstructing why McCain's panhandling deserved better recognition by the average man-on-the-street.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Next Thursday I plan to be taking mine ease on my rented porch on Great Chebeague Island in Casco Bay where the forecast is for highs in the upper 70's and lows around 60. Somehow, M&S just can't compete. Now S&M..., no no I'm going to Maine.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Exposition on bloggin' went fine but I'm not sure I told anyone anything they didn't already know. Best part was hearing Liz Kelly and Chris Cillizza talk about their blogs -- they know how to do all kinds of nifty things with the blogging tool, including indent, post a video, install a "widget," etc.

My blog is so 1997.

I'll post more about the meeting tomorrow.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 11, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Best part was hearing Liz Kelly and Chris Cillizza talk about their blogs -- they know how to do all kinds of nifty things with the blogging tool"

Yeah, but do their readers get together for drinks and ballgames?

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Chin up, JA. Widgets, smidgets. I took a few digital humanities scholars on a tour of A-blog a few days aqo. The civility and fun was the talk of the block. And, yes, I did reveal that am CPian.

You can learn to install widgets; but your mom should be so proud of your tone and invitation.

Civility in modern times: a notable deviation from the usual.

Civility in the digisphere: nearly in con SIEVE a ble (in a a Wally Shawn lisp).

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Blogging tool" sounds a bit like one of those expressions that Cockneys use in British war films. "Sod off, ye bleedin' bugger, afore I conk yer pate with this 'ere bloggin' tool!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you mean you actually got to *meet* Liz Kelly in person?


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm not dead yet.

And I don't feel like dancing, either, so don't ask. But I do appreciate the concern.

I've been laying low because I don't deem myself fit for civilized company. I've basically been laying on the couch in a half-stupor watching the world disintegrate on CNN before my eyes. I had always suspected that I was nuts, but I'm not worried so much about it now -- the whole world is bat-guano crazy to the n-teenth degree and will probably self-destruct before I do.

Some things...

This will come as no surprise, but I think George W. is the lyingest, wimpiest, connivingest, most disingenuous two-faced, slimy piece of guano that ever had the audacity to slither out from under a rock since Cheney. Impeachment is too good for him.

I think the politician formerly known as John "Straight Talk Express" McCain has turned into the line-toeing wuss he is because Karl (or some other useless monkey with more paunch than soul) is blackmailing him with doctored pics of him French-kissing Jane Fonda while fondling John Kerry's "jewels" and swinging an aborted fetus over his head.

I am just as utterly disgusted with every Democratic presidential-wanna-be as I am with Bush/Cheney and all the Republican "contenders", not to mention dang near every single arsehole in both houses of Congress.

What part of "END THIS ASININE WAR NOW" do they not understand? What part of "ELIMINATE THE HEALTH CARE CARTEL" don't they get? What part of "LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR YOU, DANGIT" is so hard to understand?

Obama needs to get off the porch and offer up some concrete plans (instead of superbly-delivered rosy oratory). I like him, but he needs to not only take a stand, but provide a detail or two about the things he stands for.

Hillary needs to tell America that Bill really did piss her off and that he's lucky he had the Secret Service to keep her from "Bobbiting" him. Then she needs to brush the dust off her universal health care plan and tell the insurance companies and the AMA that their balls are next.

Edwards needs to show us just how much in free legal services he gave to the poverty-stricken before he started his political career. I'm with him on the "Two Americas" thing... I just find it hard to swallow when a multimillionaire is complaining about it while I'm working my butt off and still trying to figure out which utility companies will get paid this month.

As for the Republican candidates, I can't even go there without making a Tourette's Syndrome sufferer seem as soft spoken as Mother Theresa.

As far as I'm concerned, not a one of them (Republican or Democrat) is worth a leaky bucket of warm vomit sprinkled with spittle and phlegm.

I know, I know... I should just come right out with it and let everyone know how I really feel, but I really don't want to have to deal with the Secret Service.

Glad I'm back?

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

>Glad I'm back?

You bet. Welcome back brother.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Just glad to see you martooni.

I find that a good study of history helps me to feel better about the current world. Last night I started "Coal: a Human History" by Barbara Freese.

The bit about entire families being forced into lifetime servitude in Scottish mines kinda got to me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You're right TBG. We're unique. But I'm still hoping for a BPH at your house, so I can raid your fridge for leftovers.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 11, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Error.

Now watch me pull a rabbit from my hat.

(nuttin' up my sleeve)

[cue rhinoceros]

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Day is much better with some Martooni in it. Martooni, the world is very bad. But, you must remember the Oscar Wilde posture:

...lying in the gutter but looking up at the stars...

Stars! Martooni, up and also at eye level. Little Bean is the shiniest, sweetest, darlingist star in your heaven. And, even more, you make her world go round.

Glad to see ya.

RD -- You must also read John McPhee's _The Crofter and the Laird_. He headed back to Scotland to look at the dark hovels his ancestors wove cloth in NOT FOR THEMSELVES but to sell the idea of Scottish by tartan, to Britishers with a yen for plaidie things.

Nearly done with teaching. ONE MORE DAY! Only two failing students, yet even one is too many.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, EF, but I may just have to vote for Martooni for president instead of you. Think of it this way: Joel can do a kit on the collapse of your campaign.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

RD... thanks.

Haven't read that one, but Thoreau made the point for me with his account of the railroads being built on the backs (and bones) of Irish immigrants.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and yes, glad you're alive and well. Now we need to hear from Cassandra.

CP, Loved "The Crofter and the Laird" (and all of McPhee, for that matter--one of my idols).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

C'mudg: //Frankfurt, if that's a help//

Is that anything like Frankford? :-) Tune Cootie: "You can't get to heaven on the Frankford El 'cause the Frankford El goes straight to Frankford."

Then there's that place called Germ'ntown.

Like you, Mudge, my family is Pennsylvania Deutsch, of the German settlement in Philadelphia. No doubt we had fairly recent ancestors who knew of each other.

Posted by: dbG | July 11, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Us users can do some neat things if we are given the tools. Like italics and bold and inline links.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh Mudge, were we separated at birth? McPhee wins. Period.

Hey, if we were sep.@birth, then I am much older than I appear. Can I bypass the midlife crisis? Got a spare pass or get out of jail card?

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, just to let you know you rant has made my day, please hang in there. The world can be an awful place but there are some great people in it.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

CP... you're obviously not Mrs. M. (and if you are, that's one heck of a whopper and I'll meet you on the back porch at 11:30 with a bottle-o-wine).

I think I've reached the point where I've come to realize that absolute sobriety is not in the cards for me. Just gotta deal with my devils as they come and try not to spend too much time in the gutter (but if I do find myself there, the stars do make for a breathtaking vista -- thanks for the Wilde... really needed that).

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Martooni. Glad you're back.

Joel, it is okay that the blog is so 1997. Some of us are technologically stuck in the early '90s anyway, or worse.

What's a widget?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, it's not one long game...the cards get shuffled and re-dealt. On top of that, I think we're playing Go Fish -- have faith, and keep drawing cards until you find the one you need.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 11, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Dana Milbank notes that Senator Vitter's wife had mentioned the bobbiting option if her husband were unfaithful.

Didn't everyone know that Texas is the "other" German state?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, no sobriety is absolute, even with the peeps whose numbers are like this one:


Sobriety is moment to moment. Day to day. So, you have the right idea.

The lesson of sobriety is for all of us; life is not fair, Martooni. Some can drink; others find that they cannot. However, all of us need the lessons of sobriety. We are powerless before something. We all have demons. We all have crosses.

The demons and the crosses are not the same. The demons and the crosses do fit some crime. Just very bad luck. Just the randon distribution of glitter and crap in the universe.

We boodle-love you. Be here, M., drinking or not.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

...Thoreau made the point for me with his account of the railroads being built on the backs (and bones) of Irish immigrants.

martooni, that is soooo East Coast! *l* Your political rant was wonderful, you know.

*l* too at K-guy's description of that hot date to New Braunfels with his girlfriend/now wife. Who knew?

Thanks, LTL-CA, for the link to the NYT's travel piece about Fredericksburg. We know it pretty well.

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

You mean John McPhee writes about more than just Shad?

So much to learn.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

>Think of it this way: Joel can do a kit on the collapse of your campaign.

I don't know Mudge, I think we'd make a good ticket together.

Plus, MY latest plan against the groundhog insurgency is working!

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the correction, dbG; yes, it's Frankford. But of course named for Frankfurt (you oughta know by now Fulldulfyins can't spel.) I actually lived in Germantown (on Wister Street, 3 blocks from Germantown Hospital) for 3 years while I was in college. And then I thought of about 20 other German place names and thought about posting them and thought, nah. Leading the list was Schwencksville, home of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Kulpsville, DeKalb Pike (despite the frog-sounding "de" DeKalb was a Bavarian general who fought (on our side) in the Rev. War). I went to school with kids named Ott, Ruch, Schutt, Furman, Schupeltz, Stebner, Kuntz, Feltz, Stiltz, Bendt, Gross, Kohler (two different families), Detweiler, a Werner and a Warner, musta been dozens of 'em. I guess it vas der beginning mit der Baby Geboomen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I get home, check me email, and find a message from my baby sister in Seattle. I shall relate to you the complete contents:

Ichiro! Ichiro! Ichiro!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a SCC whopper!!!

The demons and the crosses do NOT fit some crime.

Off to swim in between rain storms. She who swims, prays thrice. Really. Very spiritual: moving through water with the senses damped. For you, Martooni.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, make that der Kinder Geboomen. Gimme a break.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh and Martooni, now that you've checked in to our relief, I put on the parent hat that befits my Boodle handle to say: keep in touch regularly or I'll come out there and whop you upside the head.

Not you, Cassandra. You get no head whops. Just say howdy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

John McPhee is one of my favorites as well. My favorite is Coming into the Country, about Alaska. He can make even coal mining and transportation fascinating.

Martooni, Glad you're back. Be careful out there.

Ditto the italics, an underlining would be great too for those who were raised by nuns and shudder when they can't underline a book title.

Slyness, I'm so sorry about your brother. You wrote about him so beautifully.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 11, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Could we all pitch in and get Joel a copy of "Boodling for Dummies" that would teach him how to do italics, indents, insertion of widgets, etc.? Or maybe a course in remedial Boodling? Does the Teaching Company have tapes on that?

Oops, look at the time. Gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

dmd... thanks. I know there are some great people still kicking around (more than a few right here), but I've found that if you spend a day (or four) watching the "news", the world is really a very frighteningly insane place.

One good thing that came of it...

I caught a program on the local PBS station about "Share Kenya":

Just one of many good causes, this one was founded by a guy who grew up in rural village in Kenya and came to the States to become a medical doctor. He now teaches and practices medicine here in Ohio, but he also recruits med students to come with him on trips to Kenya where they've built a clinic and are now trying to man it year-round.

It was uplifting and depressing at the same time. Here was a guy who came from nothing and in spite of the odds not only earned a medical degree, but built a clinic and saved countless lives. I, on the other hand, had every opportunity in the world and squandered or ignored each and every one presented to me. Other than assisting in the procreation of Little Bean, my most significant contribution to society is that I launched one of the first 5000 websites on the internet.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, didn't mean to lecture!

As penance, I'll link to some truly wonderful chocolate cookies:

Posted by: dbG | July 11, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Where is the flippin rain? It has been missing us for the last 2 days. I hate thunderstorms and usually hide in my neighbors basement, but we are desperate here. I guess it is time for a rain dance.

Martooni, Welcome back dude!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 11, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Two unrelated thoughts.

Martooni, when I watch or read about someone who has done a great, or even good, thing, I find it useful not to compare my life with that story, remembering that it isn't all about me. I don't mean this as harsh criticism, because I actually find this very comforting.

I ask again, what IS a widget?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge... thank you for your support (said in my best Bartles & James spokespeaker voice)

Actually, I think Error and I would make an invincible team, politically speaking -- especially when you consider his anti-groundhog record and my ability to build outdoor furniture.

We could run on the "sit back in this very comfortable Adirondack chair and sip sweet iced tea laced with fresh mint while you watch groundhogs exploding in the distance" platform.

And if you don't like that platform, I could build one more to your liking. Maybe one with a ship's wheel. Or a plank.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I like that platform, Martooni. Vote for Error & Martooni in 08!

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

martooni, glad to have your voice back with us. You do have a way with words.

And speaking of your words, I agree with your rant about the current crop of politicians. They are so UN -- uninspirational, uncarismatic, unleaderlike. I hope they will all realize that part of the reason no one is a real front runner in either camp is that they all started campaigning way too soon, and then we will never have to go thru this again.

Posted by: nellie | July 11, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Glad you're back Martooni. Great rant, can't improve on it at all. Keep two things in mind, alcohol is a depressant and your pancreas isn't going to be happy.

As someone else mentioned earlier, McCain lost my admiration when he took that hit from the Bush camp in South Carolina and then kissed up to him once he was elected. Not that I would have voted for him anyway. And as Mudge said, sure he's a decorated prisoner of war, but that doesn't give him a free pass in life. Actually, I've always been a bit nervous about his history, The Manchurian Candidate type thing comes to mind. I guess it's the summer doldrums, but I'm pretty disengaged from the candidates right now. Just keeping up with the latest outrage from the White House is work enough for me.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 11, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Or as I like to call it

What Did You Get?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 11, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

If you like John McPhee and Henry Thoreau, read "The Survival of the Bark Canoe". McPhee and three companions retrace Henry D.'s canoe trip in Maine in handmade birchbark canoes. Great stuff.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 11, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... I remember having to sell widgets in an economics class in college.

I also remember asking the professor just what the heck a widget was, because it's a bit difficult to make/distribute/sell something you know nothing about that never existed (now that I think about it, that never stopped Microsoft). Apparently, he was from the school of thought that "if you make it, they will buy it, whatever 'it' happens to be, as long as the price is right".

I offered to sell him my widget factory's entire output of widgets for a dollar.

He declined.

So I told him that since there was no market for my widgets, there was no point in "making" them unless the widget plant was located in a communist country and the State would subsidize production. Why pay an imaginary workforce imaginary dollars to produce an imaginary product that imaginary consumers won't buy because even imaginary consumers have enough common sense not to buy something that doesn't exist?

Believe it or not, I got an "A" in the class.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, greenwithenvy. I should have looked in wikipedia myself, but I suppose that were I savvy enough to do that I'd already know what a web widget was.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I have always been someone who gets hooked on particular news stories, after 9/11 it became that story. At home with a new baby and too much time on my hands I watched way way too much CNN et all. Thank god no Fox News here then. For months I could do little but watch the news, afraid to go anywhere. Slowly I removed myself from it and found the world was a better place than portrayed on CNN.

Do you get the Cool Jazz channel down there :-). Good luck.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - although the IT folks doubtless can describe it better, a "Widget" is a little self-contained chunk of html code that can be easily added to the html code of an existing website to provide additional functionality through a small graphical interface. For example, Liz Kelly's "Celebritology" blog on the Washington Post website has a widget that webmasters can add to their websites to allow automatic updates from and links to Liz's blog.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey, fellow boodlers -- just read where Lady Bird Johnson died (at the venerable age of 94). Whenever I drive to National Airport (*never* Reagan National Airport in my vocabulary) I always pass the wonderful areas just brimming with wildflowers and inevitably think of her, and thank her.

Martooni -- from a fellow ranter: well done, sir! I, too, wish you well in your quest for what you want. May it be never-ending and may it provide you with the strength to continue whenever you need it. Feel free to channel us (even with epithet-filled thoughts). We got yer back.

Hope all is well with Cassandra, too.

Now I'm going to hop off and go back into writing a complaint in a domain name dispute. Kinda cool, that. We be the good guys, natch.

Toodles, boodles.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 11, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

>I like that platform, Martooni. Vote for Error & Martooni in 08!

Why thank ya ma'am, thank ya verry much.

Mudge, you want quick media response? Martooni mentions groundhogs exploding in the background, here it is. And yes, this is MY footage.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The Arizona story of failed candidacies: Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt, McCain. I don't think the electorate takes the 48th state seriously.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The business next door has been looking out for my errant dog. I found out one of the owners is a Coptic Egyptian, and spoke to him. He is not supporting the trash dumpers. The good people are on my side now.

Curmudgeon says it right, and Martooni raises Cain. All is right with this place.

Posted by: Jumper | July 11, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

That was laugh out loud funny error.

martooni, we like you just as you are. Our world is richer with you in it.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Martooni, yeah, glad you're back, although I'm glad I'm deaf or my ears would have blistered from such language ;).

I was reading "Saints Behaving Badly" by Thomas Craughwell which is a slim volume that summarizes the stuff you often find left out of modern tales of saints.

At the moment, I have a thought cootie in my head-- "St Olaf's concubine"-- for some reason it makes me laugh-- probably because I keep flashing to Betty White and how much she loved St. Olaf (her hometown) on Golden Girls.

Her name was Alfhild, if anybody cares.

And there's St. Callixtus, slave, brawler, and embezzler who became Pope eventually, quite a feat since he was sentenced to a lingering death in the mines of Sardinia some years earlier (he freed out of mercy).

Pope Callixtus decreed that christians who had commited mortal sin, even hersey could still be restored to full communuion once they had confessed and repented. this split the church.

St. Hippolytus became the first anti-pope because he LOATHED this idea, and loathed Callixtus even worse, as he knew his full life story.

But later, after callixtus had died and bitter Hippolytus was sentenced by Emperor Maximinus (who didn't like catholics much) along with Pope Pontian to serve in the same mines in Sardina...

Well, he repented his schism and asked forgiveness before he died in the mines of Sardina. Pope Pontian was later beaten to death by mine guards.

Back to the last boodle-- I really don't understand the objections to Pope Benedict. He defined what the Roman Catholic church IS. He didn't say everybody who attends a non RCC church is a heretic or a nonchristian.

While this might look like inept diplomancy to sensitive eyes, it may be a way to reiterate that a church who does not obey Rome is simply not RCC. Period.

And this involves the Roman Catholic churches in China, which often have state-appointed/approved bishops.

I knew a guy whose family had fled china when he was small to avoid persecutions of Roman catholics for refusing to conform with state controls on religion.

In many countries, persecution of christians is still ever-present and real.

Gujarat, India, killed thousands of christians and also had a mass riot that killed thousands of muslims, around a year before the giant Gujarat earthquake hit.

If you are a "christian" pastor or a known missionary you must sign an affadavit before you enter India stating you will not preach or attempt to convert people.
In fairness to India, India has had way too many cases of so-called missionaries coming in for illicit sex tourism, or otherwise violating Indian law and custom in ways unrelated to their mission.

India ironically has the oldest continuous christian community in the world-- in Kerala, founded by St. Thomas the Doubter, and the Portuguese also left a strong roman catholic community in the south of India.

Let's suppose the Pope wants to set up seminaries in India to help educate local priests and also potentially increase the number of priests for other countries.

What does he have to tell India to get them to agree to this kind of mission, that could possibly mean more foreign priests coming in?

He has to establish that there is in fact a strict definition of Roman Catholic, and that nobody can just call themselves Roman Catholic and use any exemptions or diplomatic loopholes designed for the Roman catholic church for their own purposes; that such missions should be under the control and authority of Rome.

That may reassure India (and other governments) enough to permit greater movement of RCC priests-- a situation that could save lives if another riot ever hit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 11, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Error... strong, the Force with that groundhog is.

[exit Yoda, stage left]

Next time, try peanut butter slathered over the head/neck rest of a guillotine.

I could build you one. Really. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering if and hoping that Lady Bird Johnson would be immortal. With a long time obsession for all things wild flowers, Lady Bird was my hero. Some day, when I get to Texas, I really am going first and foremost just to see the blue bonnets.

A vistory for we wildflower peeps.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Error... actually... y'know what would be really cool?

I'm sure you've seen a pumpkin slingshot/cannon (if you haven't already built one).

D'ya think peanut butter might lure one of them buggers into the "pilot's seat"?

I'm reminded of a tune by an 80's band -- the Dickies? -- "Stukas over Disneyland", except instead of WWII fighters it would be groundhogs arcing ungracefully over the Castle.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... you might not be able to hear me, but I bet I could still make you blush. ;-)

Heck... if I really tried, I bet I could make 'Mudge blush.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't see Errors groundhogs, I am guessing a windows/IE issue?

dr as per your request updated Wisteria pics, click on them to enlarge them for a better view.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

at some point someone will pity the poor groundhogs as a surrogate nemesis for personal demons. typical liberal thinking.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC: meant to add "(considering he's the oldest mariner in the world, I'd have to try extra hard, but I bet I could do it)".

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Just discovered you all. thanks for an out loud laugh or two, what others think about.. outside florida and outside the beltway. (All that talk about Congressional, maybe you all are close to the beltway)
I think I hear some ...Democrats. Oh NO!
thanks anyway, it was nice to have a smarty face crowd around me tonight.

Posted by: grannys2cents | July 11, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

dmd... I don't think it's a windows/IE thing... I'm running Firefox on Linux and it came up fine.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I suspect I could make Mudge blush, too. You know those old-fashioned caveman types.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 11, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the East Coast aspect of Thoreau and Irish immigrant labor to build the railroads, I should have asked you if you knew about the Chinese coolie labor of the West Coast? Not pretty out west either.

Although Chinese labor contributed to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States and of the Canadian Pacific Railway in western Canada, Chinese settlement was discouraged after completion of the construction. California's Anti-Coolie Act of 1862 and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 contributed to the oppression of Chinese laborers in the United States.

According to the Constitution of the State of California (1879):

The presence of foreigners ineligible to become citizens of the United States is declared to be dangerous to the well-being of the State, and the Legislature shall discourage their immigration by all the means within its power. Asiatic coolieism is a form of human slavery [acknowledged long after the Golden Spike had already been driven in 1865], and is forever prohibited in this State, and all contracts for coolie labor shall be void. All companies or corporations, whether formed in this country or any foreign country, for the importation of such labor, shall be subject to such penalties as the Legislature may prescribe.

Sorry to hear about Lady Bird's passing. In many aspects, Claudia Taylor Johnson was ahead of her time.

One positive aspect of LBJ's legacy, as troubled as the Vietnam war was, is that he probably did more than any other president in the early mid-century to advance civil rights (since we were just talking about busing)--more than Eisenhower and Kennedy certainly. His passion for equality probably harkens back to his own days of teaching school in nearby Cotulla.

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh... you may think that groundhogs are a surrogate nemesis for liberalistas, but chipmunks and field mice are the *real* enemy (at least from my vantage point). Groundhogs may take over your garage, but chipmunks and field mice chew up and poop on everything within their reach with an absolute disregard for property rights or authority.

Draw your own parallels.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Another one of our historical minutes, this one on the Chinese who helped build the railway. What was done to them during and after is not a proud moment for this country. After the railway was ocmpleted a head tax was placed on Chinese immigrants, it lasted until 1923.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, you were saying you felt ashamed about posting about too-small bathrooms when there were worse stuff out there to think of.

Too-small bathrooms can lead to injuries or people being unable to use 'em. I speak of course of wheelchair accessibility, but I can also testify that I have had to leave my dog outside the stalls (normally I can get him in a sit in most stalls).

Once I had to do this at an airport- no matter how I tried, there was simply no way to get him inside and close the door.

Well, when I came out he was desperately eager to see me. That was really abnormal for him. I figured somebody had approached him and he might have been in fear of being stolen-- not an implausible fear-- and one I had myself in that bathroom.

(I couldn't use the handicapped bathroom-- all full and I really did have to go quickly and make the layover).

If those restrooms had been normal size, I'd never had to risk my dog being stolen. I can't imagine how real parents with little kids must feel if they can't find a family restroom or other suitable avenue to watch or assist their kids in crowded public places.

The complex history of chinese (and other asian)-americans in the US deserves to be told, and I'm glad more scholarship has been coming out.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 11, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Error and Martooni-Are you guys going to preside over a small country first to build your governing chops? Should you wish to be mayor and vice-mayor of a small town first I think I can arrange the requisite resignations and appointments.

Wilbrod's post makes me think that I would be willing to live under the iron fist of the dread HOA again if they made homeowners sign a pledge they wouldn't try to convert fellow residents.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm way behind here, but Slyness I'm very sad to hear about your brother. I wish you the best in getting everyone together to celebrate his life.

martooni, it's great to see you back and your returning rant is something worth printing out and keeping.

Lady Bird Johnson, rest in peace. She may have been a better politician than he was and that's a compliment.

Posted by: pj | July 11, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Loomis... I've read of the "coolie" laborers' plight as well. Not from Thoreau, but some other author who's name is on the tip of my tongue but refuses to jump off.

(side note: I wear a straw "coolie" hat when maintaining the grounds of Castle Martooni -- the neighbors think [correctly] that I'm insane, but they don't realize that those conical hats do a great job of keeping the wearer cool and shaded on a 90+ degree day)

Now you've reminded me of another bug that's been up my rear end the last few days of TV watching (I was flipping between CNN and the History Channel).

Why is it that humans have always (and I mean *ALWAYS*) found it necessary to subdue, enslave or otherwise demonize neighboring humans?

Is this some sort of genetic defect?

I would cite examples, but it's all so dang obvious that it's pointless.

Why can't we all just get drunk and screw?

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

granny-"Smartyface?" Why that's the nicest thing a newcomer has called this bunch lately.

The News Hour's obit on Lady Bird included some clips of the Johnson daughters talking about Daddy. That's one southern way I will never give up-calling Frostdaddy "Daddy."

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Martooni: armadillos, deer, racoons, opossum, rattlesnakes, foxes,coyotes and occasional 'gators are the local varmints, but we co-exist without the need to name enemies or enmities, or battle as surrogates. But, then, I am of that liberal mindset that recognizes each thing has its place in the scheme of things.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

martooni - although I don't fully endorse your alternative philosophy, there are many, many, times when I wish the human race were hardwired differently.

But, as you point out, perhaps that's the cognitive overhead we needed to evolve. Maybe the pleasant and nice early primates kept getting beat up after class and couldn't get dates.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 11, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Frosti... if the small town you're referring to can use a jack of all trades (master of one or two) and can also provide a deal on lodging and a bottomless tab at the local watering hole -- count me in.

Mrs. M. would likely protest (as would Stella the Bus), but a colder clime than Ohio suits me well.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

dmd, probably a Shockwave/Flash thing.

Frostbitten, yes I have previously suggested Cuba for the purpose. I think El Presidente of a small country is much better than governor of a state. Not much foreign policy there.

>Error... strong, the Force with that groundhog is.
Martooni, that gave me chills... the Son of Maximum Leader and Prince of the Groundhogs is indeed, Luc.

I think we need to talk about this. We have the strongest, most understandable argument to the average Joe for wanting the jobs in the first place - the first rate medical care and large pension.

And we'll make a fortune in t-shirt sales.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

RD... you're probably right.

I'm thinking, though, that if we spent half as much energy trying to get along (rather than what we spend to subdue), John Lennon would be the happiest, most jumping-up-and-down corpse in the world.

Imagine *that* Beatles reunion.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

by living in respect for one another, I do not let my varmints win. and climate or place don't change anything.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

>by living in respect for one another, I do not let my varmints win

I lived in peace with 'em for about 5 years as long as they were out in back 40. I've left the deer alone, they just ate my arbor vitaes.

I'm happy to have a plethora of squirrels and bunnies about.

People may think I'm liberal as hell, but when you attack my cars and bear your 2" teeth at me, the gloves come off.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "bear" -> "bare"

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse


You want Jimmy Buffett as Secretary of State in your administration? Interesting approach to diplomacy, but it might work. "I just bought a waterbed and filled it up with Elmer's glue."

Posted by: pj | July 11, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Error... idea for the campaign logo...

a martini glass (with olives, of course) sporting a mushroom cloud.

I'm surprised GWB's team didn't think of that (maybe they did, but took the literal approach).

[i'm plastered... ignore whatevr i manage to post until morning]

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

pj... I was thinking David Crosby.

now *there's* a guy unafraid to inhale.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Martooni - glad to hear from you.

Error - your 8:27 cracked me up.

Do you think Granny Liked Us? Or not?

dmd - good link at 7:49.

In the middle of a crashing, torrential, windy doozy of a thunderstorm here in Tidewater. It is just pouring and boy, do we need it.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they are just hungry and losing ground to other hogs. The mechanical is not toothsome.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I think Crosby should be the drug czar in that adminstration. IMHO

Posted by: bill everything | July 11, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I can picture you running around your back yard looking like Bill Murray in Caddyshack blowing up groundhogs. I bet your neighbors are enjoying the show as much as we are.

That was too flippin funny!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 11, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Good to see you back. Good to hear you rant. If Straight-Talk McCain can talk straight, he would not have been face-planted.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 11, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I have had the experience of a too-small stall with both a two-year-old daughter and a two-year-old dog. I devised an excellent solution. I sat on the pot, had the dog/child stand right up against the stall door, and did the necessary whilst leaning forward far enough that I could grasp the ankle/hock in a firm grip. If anyone had laid a hand on either of them, I would first have given a sharp tug toward myself to let the bad-person know I was onto him/her; failing that, I planned to burst out of the staff at speed, spewing invective and, well, anything else irrepressible.

Posted by: Yoki | July 11, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse


I actually have footage of me getting tripped up in the hose while trying to drown them, getting caught in the Have-A-Heart trap, and with a pitchfork through my sneakers. I'm still editing, and it's all in HD so I'll have to knock it down for the web.

The problem with C4 is I don't want to blow up the garage, or the groundhogs win.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

*tune cootie warning*

Martooni's back
And Bush is in trouble

Hey la, nah-nah
Martooni's back!

*happy dances*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Error... what you need is (how to put it?) something doused in groundhog "lust" that you can toss into the neighbor's yard. I would go for both the male and female variants of "lust" and aim for the corner of the neighbor's lot farthest from yours.

Sex doesn't just sell, it diverts.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

scotty... I think "I've Got Angst in My Pants" by the Sparks would be more appropriate, but I'll take it.


btw... if one were to have a centrifuge capable of refining nuclear fuel for personal use only, should one expect black helicopters anytime soon? Not that I *have* one. Just asking for a friend.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The Biblical injunction to subdue the beasts leaves unanswered the dilemma of what we do when we become the dominant life form, except to wage war. Therein may be the inherent death wish of a specie. Demographers have estimated that all of us living on the planet now outnumber all the dead in recorded history. In an era of climate change, survival of the fittest may mean life forms other than our own. Should we battle them in the race to extinction?

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I once use the humane mouse trap to catch a mouse at my house. My girlfriend said take it out by the wood pile and let it go. I did and sob beat me back to the house. I almost expected him to lock me out like in the Flintstone's cartoon.

I am looking forward to seeing your groundhog adventure footage Error.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 11, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Scotty, but I think you're about to have another tough week or two.

I know you can't talk about anything, but hang in.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The Everything family just returned from a short vacation. Last stop the last couple of days was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. If you have never been there, this is the 800 pound gorilla of caves. Went 310 feet down into the earth on the popular "Historic Tour" today without anything more than sneakers (I'm sure this will digust any real spelunkers). Like most everything else about the earth that isn't created by us, pretty humbling.

Best of all: the National Park was out of cellphone and blackberry range. Priceless.

Posted by: bill everything | July 11, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

> I did and sob beat me back to the house.

At least you weren't the guy who tossed one into a fire, only to have the ittle bugger run back under the house and set it ablaze. As they say, "Instant Karma gonna get ya".

Due to popular demand, I have published a HogCast. Hose up first.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

There aren't all that many baseball fans amongst the Boodle, but for those who are (and especially us old coots), that HBO special on the Brooklyn Dodgers was very good, very moving. I was of course a Phillies fan in those days, but I remember the Dogers, and was always a great fan of Peewee Reese, Junior Gilliam and Roy Campanella.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-if you can live on love you can live here, as soon as the current squatters are out of the trailer down the road from me. The mayor gig pays $25 a month, and it would be helpful if you have some general electrical and plumbing knowledge. I don't know what current policy is on tabs at the bar. We have to be careful about violating open meeting laws so unless I beat the other council members "uptown" I have to settle for drinking beer with my neighbor across the river. We sit around his fire and feed the tamed chipmunk. She's a cutie, but we'll see if his plan of feeding her outside keeps her outside this winter.

Error-I can't get the groundhog video to work. I think it's a shockwave issue because I've tried on two computers now. I should be working so I'll save the troubleshooting for tomorrow.

Speaking of work. I have plenty so I'll say fondue.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Frostii, try the HogCast, that's in IPod format. (.mv4)

Should work if you have Quicktime. Otherwise yeah, it's the Shockwave file.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Neither one's working for me, either, EF.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Lady Bird had an enormously successful life, both during and after her husband's short life.

I think she played a significant role in re-planning the Mall area and Pennsylvania Avenue. Much of that planning never panned out (a bunch of streets were supposed to be tunneled to allow pedestrians to be separate from cars if they walked from the Smithsonian to the White House, Lincoln Memorial, AND Jefferson Memorial). But overall, that effort at least yielded a handsomer Mall, if not a pleasanter one to hang around on.

It was ironic that Lady Bird was so involved in cosmetic (and presumably other) efforts to spruce up Washington, only for events to set back the center of the city for at least a couple of decades. At least the city didn't collapse and fade away, as a number of others did.

I've never had any involvement with the wildflower center's activities, but it seems to be a thriving institution.

I think Lady Bird would be proud of this summer's exhibits at the US Botanic Garden.

I'm pleased to have relationships with five of the exhibiting institutions. Those institutions are certainly proud to be doing the exhibits, especially the smallest one!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I saw that story on NBC news tonight, and immediately thought of poor Snuke. That's what happens when you go on vacation.

bill everything, hope your vacation was fun and that you don't have unwelcome surprises awaiting you at work!

martooni, glad you're back. I hope granny sticks around - she ain't seen nothin' yet!

EF, can't wait for the pictures. Ooh, and I picked up the 1st season of "Moose and Squirrel" from the library - along with the British version of The Office. I had already gotten the 2nd season of The Office, and almost started watching it - so I'm glad the 1st season came in (and that's why I stopped by the library today).

On Lady Bird - I visited the LBJ ranch a few years ago, and her car drove by. We couldn't really see her, but still, it was kind of exciting. We didn't have time to go to the Wildflower center in Austin, but I wish we had.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 11, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, doesn't everyone love baseball?? Say it ain't so!

Martooni, thanks for the economics class story, very funny. Thanks RD for the widget explanation to go with the wiki.

[eeerrkk kkeersskreechhh] ivansmom is no longer contrtolling the computer. [reeeech] It is time for a new generation of blogging to come to pass... welcome to the IVAN ZONE (enter twilight zone music here) In a world with no sentences beyond the true mind and where strange music and thoughts blurr in and out this is the IVAN ZONE what you are about to read is never going to make sense- it might send chills through your body- or in other cases torment you with gophers... you may now pass through to the IVAN ZONE [do do do do do dooooo]

This is Animal Farm part- as you can see the mind is working much on trying to remember the characters and plot for the what they think report on it when he gets to school. the most of this section has been constructed out of longing for computers and videogames except for the part where sqealer and Napoleon hit me as their personalities as Cheney and Bush... as you can see that part is still very clear... now lets pass on to lvl 2... [do do do do dooooo]

This is the Time Machine part of the mind it seems they are still in the primitive form of life. i pity them so... and finally the main part of the mind ANIME... [do do do dooooo]

As you can see the anime part of the mind is mostly taken over by BLEACH buildings and BLEACH characters walking around. (i think my mind is enjoying thinking about BLEACH atm) well... that is all the time we have today for the IVAN ZONE.

credits blaah blaah blahh

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 11, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

A second try at the link to the US Botanic Garden:

Next time, I'll use the preview button.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

>Neither one's working for me, either, EF.

Send me your credit card number, I'm sure we can do something. (Note to Martooni and CPA: re-assign consulting fees to "campaign conributions" fund. Heh Heh Heh)

Here's the (free) link for Quicktime if you need it, and you will:

Shockwave should be here:

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

That's my Boy.

Error, he & I both loved the hogcast & exploding groundhog. I'm afraid it may have inspired in part the rambling above. Or perhaps he comes by it naturally.

In any case, I persuaded him to end his mental tour and get ready for bed. Vaya con queso, all, and fondue.

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

Here's my credit card number, EF:

MXVCLXII (remember, I'm very, very old)

Expires: two moons and a high tide after the Feast of Saturnalia.

Security number: IV

Motto: Sumerian Express: Don't Leave Olduvi Gorge Without It

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

From 'Mudge's link at 9:23:

"It was as easy to get his material as a DVD at Netflix," Coleman said of the most recent investigation. "If al-Qaeda had set up a phony corporation in the U.S., they could have gathered enough material to make a dirty bomb. The problem is that the NRC is still operating on a pre-9/11 mentality. It boggles my mind that the NRC doesn't readily understand the threat we face."

A further casualty of the Iraq folly is our own internal security. People know where the buck stops in this episode; right at the top.

Posted by: bill everything | July 11, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

now this really scares me:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 11, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, we can work with that. It's surprising how flexible major lending institutions can be.

Remember to prepend "00" so the security code comes out "00IV", which I think also makes you an MI6 agent.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 11, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

sorry, i missed mudge's link.

back to your regularly scheduled campaign planning...

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

Error, all I can say is thanks for your 8:51 and the 9:45....I couldn't stop giggling. Of course! If the garage is gone, what do you have left?!

bill e - I hope everyone knows where the buck stops. We've had a Republican administration for how long? An administration that has been only too happy to cast national security issues as a partisan issue. I'm thinking it hasn't made us safer.

Posted by: Kim | July 11, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Martooni... VERY glad to see you here...

'We could run on the "sit back in this very comfortable Adirondack chair and sip sweet iced tea laced with fresh mint while you watch groundhogs exploding in the distance" platform.'

Isn't that the exact thing our current administration is doing already?

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

I always chuckle a bit when anyone speaks of "ruling" China, or India, or even the U.S..

These are tigers and/or elephants which go where they will. All "rulers" can do is hang on for the ride, and try to whack them on the side that they'd prefer to steer away from.

Even Hoxha (in a pissant little country with fewer than four million residents, over which he'd had iron control for decades) knew enough to get out while the getting was good in the 80's. That tiger was gonna bite him soon!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

HOAs are evil, Frostbitten. For one thing, it should be illegal to make the new buyer join the HOA as part of the contract.

I mean, paying for upkeep of the commons and grounds is one thing, but dictating house color? Ugh.

I thank other people to keep their noses inside their own business first.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 11, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of little countries, here's an interesting look at Cuba in The Washington Quarterly. I suspect the Post's Eugene Robinson may see things a bit differently.

Looks as though younger Cubans, who lived through a long period of isolation and stagnation (outside news is still hard to get), aren't terribly enthusiastic about much of anything, except maybe the US Embassy's annual lottery that allows 20,000 to emigrate.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 11, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, not every neighborhood has an HOA, and not every HOA has rules on house colors. It's just one more thing to decide when picking a place to live.

Do I want a hot pink house? Do I care if my neighbor has one?

Important topics like that.

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I want you to have a hot pink house. Any chance that I can get on your HOA board and make that happen?


Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Here's the one I want, Bob. No lawn to take care of.

Posted by: TBG | July 12, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk,

I thought I was the only one on the planet who had read "Coal: A Human History" apart from the author's immediate family. I picked it up last year at a bookstore and found it reasonably interesting. Even better, last week someone at work mentioned the decades-long fire at the Centralia mine (still unextinguished, I believe) and I was able to chime in authoritiatively. My colleagues now think I am omniscient. Very handy.

Posted by: Boodleaire | July 12, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Boodleaire - We (collectively) 'boodled a bit about a couple of the still-burning mine fires within the context of the Helotes junkpile fire. The 'boodle gets around, baby!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

i have a confession. i live in a pink house (both the guest house i rent and the main house). they are somewhat faded now, but were quite a bit brighter some years ago, according to reliable sources. it's very useful for giving directions.

martooni, glad you're back. i hope you'll reconsider the "wagon" issue at some point in the future for the sake of your health and your family, but please stick around regardless of how that goes.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 12, 2007 1:13 AM | Report abuse

I once saw a house painted in green and white zebra stripes.

It blended in surprisingly well, but it definitely beats "look for the fourth completely identical house after you turn onto Fancy English Manor-Type-Name Hollow"

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 12, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I can't access that link. NO idea what you're all talking about.


*special "Please don't be concerned, for real" Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 12, 2007 4:45 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. TBG, loved your 11:19 p.m.

Bob Woodward has the lead story--good, but the content is drearily predictable--showing how Arbusto et al. completely whitewashed the CIA's very pessimistic analysis of Iraq in November.

bc, if I were you I'd be worried: Novak's column seems to be channeling your comment that McCain isn't quite dead yet. (Me, I say he's toasted and turned into breadcrumbs.)

Ivansmom, yes, there appear to be people--right here in this country! can you BELIEEEEEEVE it? -- who are not baseball fans; some apostates even think (shudder) that soccer is superior to baseball. I can understand misguided furriners thinking such a thing... but Murikins? I am certain this phenomenon is a sign of the Apocolypse and the End of Civilization as We Know It.

Gotta run. Back around 11.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Boodleaire: I am really enjoying the book. Right now I am reading about coal in the time of Watt in England. The parallels to our own age are obvious and profound.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Stephen Gould once wrote a great article about why baseball is like natural history. He pointed out that in both, seemingly trivial occurrences can have a profound effect on subsequent events. Suddenly I saw the sport in a whole new way. No longer was it a bunch of grown men in jammies scratching a lot. A visit to the ballpark became an elegant celebration of contingency.

Plus, they serve cold beer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Dittos are back. And I don't mean the comic characater in stereo.

Robin Givhan-bonus points, if you know what I mean.

Oh my, the 70s are now vintage or retro. I knew this, but somehow this article makes it real. For the record, I had one pair in banana yellow off the sale rack. The cool girls had them in a rainbow of colors.

LAST DAY OF CLASS. And only two lapsing students. Summer school pace is so unforgiving....I shall have time to perhaps read about coal. The Coal-readers here may appreciate WVA/DC writer Denise Giardina's novels. See especially _Storming Heaven_ about the 1920 Mine War.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Dittos are back.

Bonus points, if you know what this means.
Hint: Robin Givhan likely knows this factoid.

For the coal readers, try _Storming Heaven_ by Denise Giardina. Set against the 1921 Mine Wars, her novel should be required reading for all WVAians.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Whoopsies -- time to update the browser, finally.

Lots of Nescape shutdowns in mid-post, these days.

I dreamed of John McPhee last night, which is a boodle-tip dream. I have appreciated learning of a few favorite McP. books from others here. I guess that I have to go with his 1975 minor classic, _Oranges_. Assigned a chapter in college, I pinched myself several time. Oranges? The entire chapter, let alone the entire book, is about oranges" I could hardly believe such single focus for a book was allowed. Then again, when I learned that books went OUT! OF PRINT, I was panicked and worried about the state of the universe.

Does anyone else recall Reserve Room Readings? As in the book is held at the library desk; you, lowly student, arrive to sign up for a turn at reading the book. You return the book to the clerk and another student snatches it?

Two snips:
"They told me that they lived in Plant City, a town about 20 miles away, and that they had an orange grove on their property, with three kinds of oranges, so that ripe fruit was on their trees almost eight months of the year. All year long, they said, they drank concentrate at breakfast."
-- Oranges

"On the Ridge, as in the Indian River section of eastern Florida, citrus plantations are called groves; in California, they are generally called orchards. Citrus trees are evergreen, and in the ancient world they were coveted for their beauty long before anyone ever thought to eat their fruit. Of all the descriptions of them that I have ever run across, the one I prefer is contained in these three lines by an eighth-century Chinese poet:

In the full of spring on the banks of a river--
Two big gardens planted with thousands of orange trees.
Their thick leaves are putting the clouds to shame.

"The poet's name was Tu Fu, and he had so much confidence in his writing that he prescribed it as a cure for malaria. Beyond those three lines, I am unfamiliar with Tu Fu's canon. But I believe in him. Or at least I did that morning at the beginning of the Ridge, where the orange trees were shaming the clouds, and the air was sedative with the aroma of blossoms. Valencia trees, unlike all other orange trees, are in bloom and in fruit at the same time. So most of the trees in every direction were white and green and orange all at once."

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

CP - I certainly remember reserve reading rooms, but not these "dittos" of which you speak. Which is probably just as well.

McPhee wrote a whole book about a citrus fruit? Sounds like my kinda guy. I love books where the history of one topic is examined. I'm adding this to my list.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

RD -- Oranges, yes. And not boring. You may like knowing part of his strategy:

detail-rich, yet not ponderous
vivid, yet true scenes
bulls-eye placement of quotes
artful meandering of then and now

I love the Shad book. And Mudge would (does?) because so much of it is set in PA.

He is at heart a scientist. Strip away all the tools of modern science and what do you have? the keen observer who carefully records the details.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone read Mark Kurlansky?

I've read two of his books: "Cod" and "Salt: A World History". Sounds like McPhee is an author I'd like. Been meaning to get "The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell", another by Kurlansky.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and welcome back Martooni, did miss ya, and tha was a Great Rant.

And who knew Error was such a awesome slapstick actor.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Despite enduring the taunts and dismissive looks of my dependents, I am proud to say that I have indeed read "Salt: A World History."

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody--

From the links in this kit, or maybe a link from a link from the kit, I appreciated Andrew Sullivan's phrase: "nepotistic neocons." In an alphabetical list of memorable phrases it would end up near "nattering nabobs of negativity," another of my longterm faves. (coined by William Safire, uttered by Spiro Agnew)

* * *

Early yesterday morning, venturing out for a walk, I stepped outside and surveyed the scene, breathing the recently rain-washed air. Across the street, a neighbor was sitting on his front porch, feet propped on the railing, enjoying the morning in a similar fashion. He gave me a wave and I called a good morning to him. This is real life in Sand Springs, OK. Just thought the boodle would like to get the porch report from here.

We're off to the Woody Guthrey festival in Okemah today. The hoped-for encounter with ivansmom looks unlikely--we'll try again next time...

* * *

Still reading the Dangerous Ideas book. Some respondents are a little smart-alecky but that doesn't make their ideas less valid. Answering "What is Your Dangerous Idea?" One said "The idea that ideas can be dangerous." Another answered "The idea
that we should all share our dangerous ideas with each other." My favorite idea in the book so far is, "You don't just think with your brain." Muscles, glands (hormones), heart, lungs, liver, kidneys,
gonads (of course). It's interesting to consider. I'm letting my body think about it.

Best to all--

Posted by: kbertocci | July 12, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The "Battle of Matewan" or the "Matewan Massacre" was a classic example of West Virginia coal miners confronting the company and an effort to unionize escalating to violence. When the smoke cleared in Matewan, West Virginia on May 19, 1920, ten people were dead following an all out gun battle between Tug Fork Valley miners and coal company thugs. The hero of the day was Matewan police chief Sid Hatfield (yep, those Hatfields), himself a former miner and an open ally of the strikers. Hatfield was himself murdered in retaliation in broad daylight a few months later. About 20 years ago John Sayles made a very fine film dramatizing these events titled simply "Matewan" starring Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonough, and David Strathairn as Sid Hatfield. Sayles has a fine feel for the times and the folks in West ByGod Virginia. One of my favorite scenes portrays a pair of company "detectives" trying to intimidate Strathairn's character. He just stares at them and deadpans "My name's Hatfield. Guns don't scare me none." If you don't know John Sayles, you should definitely seek him out. Early on he supported himself by screenwriting schlock like "Piranha" "The Howling" and "Alligator" until he could get established as a director. He writes and directs his own stuff and sometimes acts as well. His films include "Brother From Another Planet" "Men With Guns" "Eight Men Out" "Lone Star" "Sunshine State" and "Silver City".

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 12, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Brother From Another Planet was a funny, thought-provoking cult film. Thanks for reminding me of it; now I'll have to find out how to rent a copy in the Midwest.
I envy all you readers. I scarcely have time to read Newsweek or the Onion.

Posted by: CowTown | July 12, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

It's Christmas in July today for me. I just got two great packages in the mail today: a book recomended by bc, "SciFi hall of Fame vol 1"; and "Wonderfalls" on DVD, all 13 episodes, including the 9 that never aired.

And an Independence Day shout out to Kiribati and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey, kbert -- I've read that "Dangerous Idea" book.

To me, there seemed to be some inconsistency in how the "Edge" question was tackled by the various authors -- some of them almost seemed to have misunderstood the question. Whereas some offered up their own dangerous idea (which I think was indeed the intent of the question), others discussed what they saw as a dangerous idea in general, i.e., someone *else's* dangerous idea, or a dangerous idea out there in the community that they happened to disagree with. To me, that inconsistency gave the book a slightly unpolished feel -- it was as though that material had all been strung together in a hurry and could have benefited from a tad more oversight/editing. Maybe it was just a case of the editor not wanting to upset people by asking them to rewrite or re-cast what they'd submitted, or by telling them that what they'd written was Not Good Enough for the Book.

But I did enjoy the books' content, in general.

I also enjoyed Brockman's last collection, "What We Believe But Cannot Prove":

Posted by: Tom fan | July 12, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Tom fan | July 12, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. It is raining here. Alas, the Boy and I will be unable to meet kbertocci at the Woody Guthrie festival today. I had hoped to be there but it is just too far for a day trip with the rest of today's schedule. I am convinced she is real, though, and I think she believes the same about me. Pretty good for imaginary friends.

RD Padouk, if you like single-subject books you should try Peter Ackroyd's "London", a biography of the city. Also, did you read that book about dinner? Now I can't remember the title, so my reference is incoherent, but I'll check the shelves at home. It took a few common utensils, etc., and expanded (or expounded) into a history of the meal.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 12, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Big lightning. The Capitol lost power just long enough to knock all the computers off-line -- except laptops, like this one, which had a battery backup. Wheeeeeee.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 12, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

>And who knew Error was such a awesome slapstick actor.

Thanks omni! Only problem is I make the groundhog puppets look like Gary Cooper. The recreation of their brutal attacks will be posted soon.

Speaking of Christmas, I got the complete Get Smart series the other day. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm laughing at this line of yours, Bertooch: ""You don't just think with your brain." Muscles, glands (hormones), heart, lungs, liver, kidneys,
gonads (of course)."

Um, even with all that, you left out the one organ men are most often accused of thinking with (gonads is good, but not quite there yet).

I am utterly clueless and will receive not a whiff of a Givhan point about "Dittos."

It's so hard to figure out which McPhee is my favorite: Pine Barrens, Looking for a Ship, Giving Good Weight, Levels of the Game, The Curve of Binding Energy... maybe I guess "Levels of the Game," the story of a single tennis match between Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner [I can hear almost all of you wondering, "Who the hell is Clark Graebner?"]. I played a lot of tennis (hard to believe, perhaps) during my high school and college years, and was a great fan of the late Arthur Ashe [you better not be asking...]. [My tennis idol was the great Aussie Rod Laver, rated by some as the greatest male player of all time; I met him once at the Spectrum in Philly for a split second; he was in the company of the great John Newcomb, who I also reverred. This was long before snot-nose punks like Jimmy Connor and the even more reprehensible John McEnroe entered the game, and sullied it forever. Not that I'm bitter or hold a grudge or anything.]

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Another reportedly great book by McPhee is A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton.

Posted by: THS | July 12, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I love the McPhee passages from "Oranges." I have a first edition signed by Ben Hill Griffin, the orange baron profiled in the book. I met Griffin in '84 while covering the citrus canker outbreak. He took me to lunch at the country club. There was a reserved parking spot by the front door, marked Ben Hill Griffin. Definitely a citrus potentate. The groves back then extended for miles in every direction. Less well known is that the Florida Ridge is a biological hotspot -- much biodiversity, despite the citrus monocultures.

I'll send McPhee an email and ask him which of his books is his favorite.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 12, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Have you checked out Howard Kurtz's column for today? It's all good, but see especially the end, where he discusses disappointment that he didn't get enough credit for being a nice guy. So disappointed was he that he wrote an 11-page memo detailing his good deeds. Pretty funny.

Pretty funny. Think I'll get started on my own memo now, just in case my nearest and dearest find themselves short of heartwarming tales to tell about me at my funeral.

Posted by: THS | July 12, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

You know McPhee personally? I just turned purple with envy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

FYI, and not that anybody cares, but at the top of this Boodle yellojky accused me of being a yellow dog Democrat, and several others of you admitted to being likewise. But I only now got around to looking up the definition of "yellow dog" Democrat, and I don't think I [we} am one. I may be somewhat closer to a "blue dog" Democrat. But mainly I am in no way a fiscal tax-grubbing conservative; I'm definitely one of them free-spending lib'rals that so enflame the bad guys on the other side. And I am in no freakin' possible way anywhere close to any Southern Democrats with conservative views on race and/or religion.

Be that as it may, I found this (to me, anyway) interesting discussion on blue dogs and yellow dogs:

What are "Blue Dog" Democrats? Are they any relation to "Yellow Dog" Democrats? Chelmsford, MA - 11/16/00

In the 106th Congress, the Blue Dogs are 30 fiscally conservative House Democrats who tend to vote together as a coalition on budgetary and economic issues. Their stated goal is to bring their own party back to the center of the ideological spectrum, and to forge good working relationships with moderate Republicans to help move that party more toward a centrist agenda.

They have been most influential since their creation in the 104th Congress because of the leverage they exert as a unified voting bloc. The Republican leadership, with 223 Members on its side of the aisle, has only 5 votes to spare to meet the minimum 218 required to pass legislation [when all Members are present.] If more than 5 Republican Members stray from the fold on any given vote, the leadership often turns to the Blue Dogs on the Democratic side of the aisle to gain their bloc vote in exchange for negotiated changes in legislative language.

The Blue Dogs derive their name from the artwork of a Cajun painter, George Rodrigue, well known in Louisiana for his series of paintings featuring an unusual blue dog. The fledgling members of what became the Blue Dog Coalition used to meet regularly in the offices of then-Democrats Rep. Billy Tauzin and Rep. Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana. Tauzin has since switched to the Republican party and Hayes was defeated in a run for the Senate. The Louisiana representatives had Rodrigue's blue dog paintings displayed on the walls of their offices, and these provided the inspiration for the coalition's name. One of the Blue Dogs, Rep. John Tanner from Tennessee, maintains that Blue Dogs are simply "yellow dogs that have been choked by extremes in both political parties to the point they have turned blue."

Blue Dog Democrats are an actual voting coalition made up of Members of Congress, whereas Yellow Dog Democrat is an expression -- it describes a certain kind of voter. Nor are Blue Dogs ideological relatives of the "Yellow Dogs" of the South, even though they have similar names.

When the South as a region was a political stronghold for Democrats in the first half of the 20th century, it was said that a Southern voter would vote for a mangy yellow dog before he/she would vote for a Republican. So a "Yellow Dog Democrat" implies one fiercely loyal to the Democratic party, with a strong partisan profile. The expression achieved prominence in the 1928 presidential campaign when southern Democrats, reluctant to support their national party's nominee, Al Smith, voted for him anyway, out of loyalty to the party ticket. When the term is used today, it is meant as a compliment to one who remains a true Democrat, no matter what.

The Blue Dogs, on the other hand, are less fiercely partisan, and they do not all hail from the South. They seek to build ideological bridges to the Republican side of the aisle, are known for their independence from the leadership of their own party, and tend to be more pragmatic than partisan. Blue Dogs are closer in purpose to a former coalition of southern Members of the House known as the "Boll Weevils," whose heyday was in the early 1980's. These Members defected as a group from the Democratic party to vote with Congressional Republicans on budgetary and tax bills. However, all Southerners, they were named after the insect that infected and often destroyed cotton crops, so the name "Boll Weevil" had a pejorative implication.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Good line from above: "One of the Blue Dogs, Rep. John Tanner from Tennessee, maintains that Blue Dogs are simply "yellow dogs that have been choked by extremes in both political parties to the point they have turned blue."

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

On the phone this morning trying to get more detailed information from Rep. Ciro's office--have called both his local office and D.C. office.

The breaking news this morning--on both page A1 and the front of the business section is that San Antonio/Bexar County has made the cut, along with Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina (put it in Slyness' and Cassandra's back yard, say I!), for the proposed half-billion dollar National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

The story actually broke last night and the details are sketchy. Paul Venema, reporter on our local ABC affiliate (and I caught just the tail end of his reporting), said the lab would be located in northwest Bexar County in the Medina area, which would be just beyond Helotes, the site of the months-long mulch fire.

The paper reports the proposed local site would be closer to Texas Research Park, which would be the parent organization that would supervise the lab. TRP is just about five miles beyond our former home, and there are now hundreds of homes that have been erected between our old neighborhood and TRP.

The eight zoonotic diseases the lab intends to study are not named in the early and sketchy reporting by business reporter David Hendricks. Nor does health reporter Cindy Tumiel, name these "diseases of interest," yet she describes some of the symptoms of these diseases, including foot lesions, lung failure, brain swelling and other deadly problems.

Hendricks points out that Kentucky (Pulaski County) didn't make the final five, narrowed from 14, because its horse (thoroughbred) industry opposed efforts to atract the lab. Apparently, the Kentucky Resources Council of Frankfort is much further along that any local San Antonio group, as expressed in a letter to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, about all the potential impacts that could occur if the lab were sited there.

I also requested from Rodriguez's office a list of the eight zoonotic diseases that the lab intends to study, as well as the particular livestock they impact.

I would bet my bottom dollar that no local leader, nor local reporter--given the rah-rah coverage, has read "Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory" written by Michael Christopher Carrol in 2004. Neither have I yet, but the book is in my home library--which is increasingly feeling resource-rich. It's time to put up William Martin's "Harvard Yard" (what this book is to Harvard as Mudge's "Rule of Four" is to Princeton). Yes, I interrupted my reading of the camel book.

The purpose of this lab is to replace Plum Island on Long Island, and possibly absorb some of its personnel. Henricks says that other parts of the country have unfounded safety concerns. Again, what does Hendricks know of Plum Island?

Hendricks writes a few strange sentences:

"The San Antonio leadership team trying to win the facility, called the Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium, must not overlook the scientists now working at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Those scientists will have a voice in the new location. They won't want to face protestors. They will be glad not to ride a ferry to work, as they do now (how does Hendricks know this?). Homeland Security will want them to be happy because it doesn't want to lose experienced researchers."

As a detail, Hendricks points out that a plan to site a national vaccine lab project to San Antonio fell apart.

Time to put away the summer pleasure reading and start doing some homework. It's beginning to feel like the Superconducting Supercollider all over again, even the politics of it all, given who's in office now and who was in office then. Even Hendricks notes that the naming of the loation is sure to be a political prize.

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

Is anyone else disturbed by this news that al-Quaeda is gaining strength? I was curious the other day when I heard Chertoff say he had a gut feel about terrorism, and a possible attack. I thought that a very irresponsible statement, perhaps this is what he ment, and should have said based on knowledge not "gut feel".

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Hendrick's coverage of the proposed bio-lab:

Tumiel's front page story about same:

Posted by: Loomis | July 12, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hi all,

1 I can second Ivansmom's recommendation on Ackroyd's book on London.

2 >Southern Democrats with conservative views on race and/or religion.

Isn't that is what is called a Dixiecrat?

3 >National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

That doesn't sound ominous at all. They should call it the Triffid Centre.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 12, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"Agro-Defense"??? Is that to protect us from the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Has someone delivered small arms to the Swiss Chard? Who will the Arbusto Brain Trust place in charge of said agency? Euell Gibbons?

Dana Millbank has a very funny column on Sara Taylor's sodden testimony yesterday, at . And he reports a scene I'd have loved to see on YouTube. Apparently at one point Taylor -- who is all of age 32, though a 6-year White House/Rovian veteran apparat-chick [sic]-- said she had taken an oath to the president. Sen. Leahy [rightly so] got vexed and apparently shouted to her that she had taken aqn oath to the Constitution, not the president. I'd have d@mn well shouted at her too over that. But jeez, does it ever explain the mindset of these people. Yes, yes, I know--odious comparisons to Hitler and Nazis are to be avoided; but the first thing that crossed my mind when I read this was how the Germans swore personal oaths to Hitler, not to German or the state or its legal system, or whatever.

It comes as no surprise that these out-of-control NeoCons need an elementary lesson in U.S. civics, but still...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Only have time for drive-by Boodling at the moment, but a couple of shout-outs.

Nervous is not the word I'd use if Novak is channeling *me*. He's the guy that should be nervous. If he's picking up what's going on in my head, I feel sorry for *him*.

Leftovers; It's what's for dinner. When does TBG throw open the refrigerator door?

omni, enjoy TSFHoF V1. Got another book to give you next Thursday.

Going to have to go home to enjoy more of EFs videos, they're not running correctly here at the office. Ah, well.

Won't comment on the NRC thing at this point, but I will later.


Posted by: bc | July 12, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Great hed and lede sentence on Kurtz's column:

Sex, Lies and Republicans

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 12, 2007; 7:28 AM

Does the Republican Party have a zipper problem?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

This is odd: I know what Ditto Jeans are. High waist to just under the navel that hug a womans curves. Loose fitting, but not baggy. Quite wide at the ankle but not bell bottoms. I remember very tiny front pockets (the width of a credit card and 3/4 the length) or none at all. Very sexy pants that all the older girls in Lawrence Township Indiana neighborhood wear I lived wore. Drove the boys crazy. This is so obviously before my GTP days.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The local ABC affiliate's print coverage is better than our own local paper's, obviously. They name three of the diseases, and at least mention Plum Island's problems:

Sites in Texas and four other states are finalists for a $450 million national lab where killer germs like anthrax, avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease will be studied, Texas' U.S. senators said Wednesday.

[Shall we talk about the anthrax spores in the nation's Capitol office buildings, the media outlets in NYC, and about that poor old lady in Connecticut? I know you're trying to make me laugh about killer tomatoes, but...]

The facility will replace an aging, smaller lab at Plum Island, N.Y., where security lapses after the 2001 terrorist attacks drew scrutiny from Congress and government investigators.

Posted by: Loomis | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Like these:

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - I didn't think of the yellow dog comment as an accusation, more of a description. I loved that explanation....after all the times that my husband has maintained that I am a yellow dog Democrat, I never thought to look up how the term originated. Very funny. But why don't you think you're a yellow dog? A lovely golden retriever hued yellow dog?

I can't wait for Error's footage.

John Sayles - I loved Eight Men Out and have been a Chris Cooper fan ever since Lone Star. I hadn't heard of Silver City or Brother from Another Planet, so my next stop is my netflix queue. Thanks for the tip, k-guy. I met Kris Kristoferson once, (he was in Lone Star) Onscreen he appears tall and not husky, but certainly powerful. He is (or was then) amazingly slim, almost delicate appearing. And not particularly tall. He has the most piercing gaze....
Ok, enough rambling...

Posted by: Kim | July 12, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: THS | July 12, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Grand Theft Produce?

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 12, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I know, I know! Pick me, Pick me!

Glaucoma Test Pilot, *she says with pride*

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

So Achenbach communed with Ben Hill Griffin, the late citrus potentate and the bulliest of the Bull Gators (the UF stadium's named after him, after all).

Wow. Now I'll have to reread McPhee's "Oranges." I was much impressed by "Rising from the Plains," the geology book set in Wyoming. I'd worked there for seven years and seen quite a bit of geology, not to mention ranchers.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

>Going to have to go home to enjoy more of EFs videos, they're not running correctly here at the office. Ah, well.

Sorry about the troubles folks, if it's any consolation I had to knock them down from like 2.6 GIG 3 min. HD clips and probably forgot to enable for streaming. And I was on my 2nd Pina Colada when I started. :-)

I also accidentally watched my first Russ Meyer film last night "PussyCat Faster! Kill! Kill! Kill!" (probably also attributable to the coladas) and I felt dirty, but couldn't stop. But hey, vintage Porsche, MG, etc. cars driven by exotic dancers ripping up the desert... !!!

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

They worked for me like a charm, error. At the office. On high speed. Dial up sucks but I admit, I like the price.

Please don't tell mrdr, that I am on the computer instead of working at cleaning up le chateau. Strange how playing on the computer is much more beguiling than tidying and vacuuming.

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

Relatives arrive later today for the wedding, so I'm out for the weekend.

Posted by: dr | July 12, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

No problem, EF.

Russ Meyer films; dear lord...

If you like those '70s style films EF, check out Rodriguez/Tarrantino's "Grindhouse."

Intentionally goofy/bad fun, the second half of the second film has a plot thread regarding some ladies who just want to drive a "Vanishing Point" Dodge Challenger R/T.

They female leads in the films do not go to Russ Meyer levels of, er, um, lenghts, shall we say, but you'll catch some of the flava, if ya know what I mean.

If we keep this thread up, Joel's next Kit will be a tribute to "Fritz the Cat," calling it the "Citizen Kane" of animation.


Posted by: bc | July 12, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

BTW - Kim, thanks for answering the GTP question. Warms my heart, really.

That and the SCC might be the only lasting contributions I have to this blog.

I'll sleep better at night.


Posted by: bc | July 12, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

No, I didn't think "yellow dog" was an accusation, either, Kim, and it didn't bother me. I guess the only reason I'm uncomfortable with it is the notion of fiscal conservatism, which I'm sure not. And I generally hold to almost all the views most liberals adhere to--abortion rights, gay marriage is OK, global warming and green, the whole litany. I'm just not too comfortable being thought of as a "liberal" although I guess I am. It's just that I don't like it when people diss moderates or centrists, and I think a lot of liberals are just too single-issue, not atuned to practical questions (such as actually winning elections) and would prefer to go down in flames. I generally admire pragmatism and understand the occasional art of compromise. [I worked on a congressional campaign in 1974, and it was common coinage amongst us campaign worker bees that the well-known liberals in our district were pretty worthless as volunteers and campaigners. Never followed through, never did what they said they were going to do, didn't donate. They all wanted to spout off about "policy" but none of them would knock on doors or distribute flyers or man phone banks. And they seem to lack any clear sense of themselves as political liabilities. It's fine and dandy that there may be an ad hoc group like the Militant Lesbians Vegens for McGovern, or whatever, but as a campaign worker about the last person I'd want to see handing out flyers for my candidate at the gates to a steel mill in lower Bucks County was somebody wearing a Militant Lesbian Vegens button. Over the years I haven't seen much change in that. It's what I don't like about Move dot Org and Michael Moore: they may be "correct" (IMHO) on the issues, but otherwise they are pretty much total liabilities when it comes to elections. Sometimes I describe myself as a "radical moderate pragmo-centrist," whatever the he11 that is. I "like" liberals on a personal level (whereas I'm generally not too crazy about conservatives, if you can't tell by now); I just don't have much use for them when it comes to street-level politics. Idealism is fine, but if you can't get elected, who needs it? In my lifetime I have campaigned for, worked for, donated to, and otherwise sometimes emotionally committed to the following: McCarthy, McGovern, Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, Mario Cuomo, Muskie, Hart, Schroeder, Tsongas and Bradley. Know what everybody on that list has in common? They're all losers. And I hate losing. I'd rather have a Democratic centrist win the White House than have a Democratic liberal get landslided by a GOP glassbowl, that's all. I wish I saw a third option, but I don't. I've been voting longer than just about anybody in this Boodle, 39 years, and in all that time there's only been two Democrats in the White House: Carter and Clinton, two moderates. There is a lesson there. I don't like it, but I've learned it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

In "Silence of the Lambs" FBI agent-trainee Clarice Starling offers a deal to Hannibal Lecter. In exchange for his help in catching the serial killer Buffalo Bill, the government will allow him out of his cell in the mental hospitol two weeks a year to vacation on ...Plum Island. "Closer, Clarice, cloooooooser." Don't ask me why, I just like saying that, closing my eyes, and flaring my nostrils. I like it even better than the "fava beans" line.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 12, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Um, er, the 1 o'clock rant was me, if anyone couldn't possibly have figured it out.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

>If you like those '70s style films EF, check out Rodriguez/Tarrantino's "Grindhouse."

It was really the old Porsche in the desert that got me stuck on that. I just love to see 'em off-road.

Generally speaking my tastes run closer to "Operation Petticoat". I've seen the trailers for Grindhouse and while a bit intrigued honestly it's a stretch for me to watch that crazy stuff. I have considered another try at "Sin City", I saw pieces of that one night and figured I should try it from the beginning.

I tend to prefer cartoon violence. I do really like Rodriguez, but Tarantino scares the beejezus out of me, and I mean just looking at him. I think the last one I saw of his was "From Dusk till Dawn".

By the way, if anyone is on the fence about buying an HD player I watched "Bullitt" last night in Blu-Ray and man is that nice. As many times as I've seen it, the chase sequence was just even more fabulous.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Russ Meyer! "Faster Pussycat" is OK, but I think the RM oeuvre is best exemplified by "Supervixens." He once co-wrote a film with Pulitzer film critic Roger Ebert called "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls". The first Russ Meyer film I ever saw was "Lorna" in the mid 60's. In those days in order to escape being labeled as pornography, a film had to exhibit "redeeming social value" which usually meant that sin was punished. As a practical matter, this meant 87 minutes of sin and 3 minutes of punishment. I remember that the title character of "Lorna" was literally turned into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife. She cheated on her husband who worked at the salt mines and, well, you get the idea. Obviously times have changed.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 12, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Kim, Mudge is definitely a Schnauzer democrat. He has an instinct to go for the ank--uh, jugular on various issues.

Wilbrodog is asking where the black dog democrats are. He says, are there no Sirius politicans?

(Okay, so he's in the dog house for making an Harry Potter pun now.)

Gut feeling-- maybe this is the ONLY way he can get our president to listen?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 12, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, at the risk of offending you, I think you would fit right into the Liberal Party of Canada.

Posted by: Yoki | July 12, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

DoTC, did you see the story/picture about the Ghost orchid they discovered in Naples, quite interesting.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This just in from our Cultural Whiplash Department: those of you in the D.C. area be sure and get down to the Corcoran Gallery of Art to see the Modernism show before it closes on the 29th of this month. This traveling show from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is HUGE and ranges from film and furniture to art, architecture, graphic arts, clothing, and one very very cool old car, a 1938 Tattra T-77, one of only 249 made and the apex of European streamlined vehicle design in the first half of the twentieth century. Allow plenty of time and take your wallet. The show costs $14, but is well worth it. The alternative is the lovely (and free) dress exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian. For a different kind of whiplash, we now return to our regularly scheduled porn discussion.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 12, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

No offense at all, Yoki. I'd be honored. (Um, do they win elections sometimes?)

Laughing at being a Schnauzer Democrat, Wilbrod. Very nice. Certainly apt. Our family had a schnauzer at one time, actually, a girl named Alex. Great dog.

Peter Carlson has a very nice article about a batch of letters to and from Robert E. Lee's daughter--who perhaps is a forerunner to Rosa Parks. But it's a wonderful read, at

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

They do! Sometimes.

Posted by: Yoki | July 12, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I typically like Tarrantino films (ones he directs, anyway), and I really disliked "Dusk."

But not Salma Hayek.

EF, you may want to give "Jackie Brown" a try. It has the Tarrantino humor (and, yes, some violence, but not anywhere near the "Reservoir Dogs" or "Pulp Fiction" levels), but it's essentially a sweet movie at heart.

Plus, how can you go wrong with Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson, Bobby DeNiro, and Bridget Fonda (I didn't ask how you could with Chris Tucker and Michael Keaton for good reason) in a film adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel? Robert Forster underplays the PI role just *beautifully* and got a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his performance.


Posted by: bc | July 12, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Omni. You have such a memory. Moving from Montana to California during my senior year of high school was such culture shock. All the girls wore Dittos, with Candies sandals, and of course, Farrah Fawcett-Majors feathered hair. (Long ago and far away, she was married to Lee Majors, AKA the 6Mil. Man.)

I arrived FOP (fresh off the prairie)to California with long hair in braids, pearl-button plaid Western shirts, and straightleg 501 jeans. Plus PF flyer sneakers. I did not have the heart to ask my mom for clothes-money. These threads WERE my new clothes, bought through the catalog at the general store.

JA owns a first edition _Oranges_! JA is in an email relationship with John McPhee. Oh my goodness, we touch greatness through the boodle. I await, breatheless, for what might be J.McPhee's favorite book.


Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

dmd - That "Ghost Orchid" article caught my eye because I really enjoyed "Adaptation," which I found to be a wonderfully bizarre and inventive movie.

Course, I also liked "Being John Malkovich"

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, friends.

Slyness, I am so sorry about your brother. I thought of you this morning in my prayers, and your family.

I apologize for worrying any of you by my absence. It was not intentional, just really, really, busy. I am so tired when I leave the Center, and the weather has been extremely hot. It is slightly cooler today, and there is a good breeze, but still sunny.

Error, before I left you insinuated that if I were living in the country of India, I would believe what they believe, as if location dictates my belief system. You forget I have the same option as you. I can hold fast to unbelief. I was hurt by your observation because I thought you understood me a little bit better than that. The fault is mine.

As for the kit that JA wrote concerning his bus experience, I thought it was fantastic. Any time anyone relates their experience, whether good or bad, for me it is enjoyable reading. We are all(mostly) products of our environment. My experiences are from what I grew up with, and so it is for all. The courage, I believe is telling those experiences and how one feels about them. And that can turn out any way. For some it could offend or for some it may be a learning experience. I like learning, even when it hurts. Don't like to hurt, but prefer truth, even when that truth hurts because it is always better than a lie. A lie says you care nothing for me. I am one person in the world, but I am among many.

As for McCain, I thought he stood for something, even though he is a Republican. He was treated very badly in South Carolina by Bush and his people. It was said that he had a Black child, and this is second hand talk, by those that were supporting the President. I don't know the truth of that, but I do know it was not pretty. And then, McCain turns around and embrace these same folks that trashed him because he wants to be President. Get out of here! And these are the folks that profess to love the military and those that fight for their country!

And as for Obama, and the "rosy" indictment cast by Martooni in his rant, details are hard, and especially when they have to please so many people. I like the thought of Obama very much because it shows that there is a different way of thinking, and that is certainly what is needed now. I don't think it should be used against Obama. He is young, but I don't push the young away. They have good ideas too. Many of us bogged down with whatever we've been dealing with over the years can benefit from a fresh look.

And I leave you as I always leave you....

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 12, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It is good to hear from you Cassandra.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

>as if location dictates my belief system

Cassandra, I'm so glad to see you. You know I love you and didn't mean to offend, just tried to put it into some perspective. I was just trying to point out that we're all captive to our environment and influences. I grew up Catholic and didn't even know what a Protestant was until I was a teenager.

And for the record, I'm still happy to take anyone's prayers. They don't seem to be working, but neither is the chemo. And the the prayers don't have any rude side-effects, just warm feelings. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

EF - The possible implications of your last post fill me with dread. Hang in there.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I came to see Joel's new kit but found your posting. Glad to see you back Cassandra.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 12, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

EF, I echo RD's sentiment, you have made several statements in the last few weeks that have been worrisome.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

>Hang in there.

Thanks RD, but no worries. For the record, at the moment I'm filling myself with a chocolate-filled croissant.

One day at a time and all. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Error - I'm hoping that all the studies or what-have-you about the salutory effects of humor and laughter on illness reflects the positive karma on the cellular level from both the humor-giver and the humor-receiver. Because if that's the case, you'll not just have my prayers you'll also have lots of positive vibes coming from me- 'cause you crack me up all the time.

Posted by: Kim | July 12, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Regarding what Bushie operatives did to McCain in the south, you mean the references to his youngest daughter. (Bridget, sp?) She must be a teen now, but was about ten or 11 or so. She is Bangladeshi. I believe she was adopted as a toddler by McCain and his wife, from a charity run by Mother Teresa.

I believe the rumors ranged from "he fathered a black child in Vietnam (uhh?) to "he had a child with a black prostitute." I think I recall other slurs:

insane from imprisonment
violent temper
heart trouble
drug-addicted wife

Eventually, we may read clearer documentation of Karl Rove and his methods. I believe that Rovian techniques may make Atwater methods look very tame.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Cassandra! I'm so glad you're back.

Error, I was going to echo RD Padouk, so thanks for the reassurance, such as it is. Boy, I haven't had a chocolate-filled croissant in a LONG time.

It is not raining here right now.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 12, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Cassandra. :-)

Now to get down to business...

Obama... Yes, I said he's full of "rosy" rhetoric. Not a bad thing -- the man is probably the most moving orator I've come across since JFK (and JFK was dead before I was born, so that's saying something). My point is that while his oratory is exceptional, the country needs more than just generalized feel-good rhetoric. We need plans. Workable plans. Bold plans.

Rhetoric may pay a politician's bills, but all the gas company wants from me is cash (I did offer to [expel methane] in their general direction, but they declined).

(btw... mostly sober today, but still very ornery. I got a pizza in the oven, a twelve-pack of Milwaukee's cheapest, and two Haines-loose-fit-boxers-full of angst and indignation to spread around.)

Gonna be a long afternoon, me thinks.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kim wins the GTP translation test prize. Come to the next BPH and you'll receive a dime bag of...Just kidding.

CP, I didn't really remember all those details off the top of my head. I google imaged it and it all came flooding back in a flash. I also doubt they were actual Ditto Jeans, just good imitations. What's weird though is in '75 I moved to Newtown PA, and none of the girls there wore them. I was bummed out about that.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, I hope Error got even a little of what I was trying to say, because that was not my finest hour of graceful articulation.

Cassandra - good to hear from you. Hope it's cooled off there as it has here.

Mudge- YEA!!! Now I know what I am!
Radical moderate pragmo-centrist. I wasn't radical until I moved down to Tidewater and I was informed that you can't be a Catholic and a Democrat and for good measure-I must not love my country if I sported a Gore/Lieberman sticker on my car. Talk about radicalized!! But I totally get what you're saying about the far-far lefties. Given my druthers, I'll hang with them rather than moral majority types, but come's the center, people! How depressing your point about only 2 Democrats in the WH...

Posted by: Kim | July 12, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Omni the honest! I expect the pants were at least somewhat regional. We now live in the McMalling of 'Merica, so we all have the same palette of stuff to purchase.

Dare I mention the menswear that matched: Angel's Flight pants.

Wide flairs. Wide ties. Burt Reynold's/Mark Spitz wide moustaches. Wide lapels. Wide-ranging hair.

70s: in a word, 'WIDE.'

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

For those that need a giggle this afternoon, there were three elephants that got loose from the circus wandering in North Toronto this morning, The Star has just posted the links to the audio of the call to the police and then the police dispatch (especially the end of the audio).

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

No more F1 in the U.S. for the immediate future:

Posted by: bill everything | July 12, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Kim... there are other advantages to hanging out with the far-far-left types -- they usually have the best guano.

Error... dude. What can I say? The only thing better than a chocolate-filled croissant would be a chocolate-filled croissant topped with loads of whipped cream and served on Salma Hayek's naked belly.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

dmd... thanks SO MUCH for that link to the 911 call on the elephants.


Posted by: TBG | July 12, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thanks dmd. Those calls are really funny. I'm so glad the Boy fixed my computer to play sound again.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 12, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

From yesterday's Froomkin:

Bush spent a fair amount of time talking about health care yesterday, as well.

"The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America," he said. "After all, you just go to an emergency room."

Yup. There ya go.

Assuming you can survive the four-to-twelve hour wait common in most emergency rooms, you then get to see a doctor who says "sorry, can't fix that", and sends you home with a prescription for aspirin. To add insult to injury, you then get bills totaling thousands of dollars from the hospital, the doctor, the lab, the anesthesiologist, the x-ray technician, and every nurse and intern and receptionist who happened to glance at your chart.

And you still have to cough up the dough to pay for the prescription.

Yup. That's the kind of compassionate conservatism (not to mention fiscal thinking) that comes from the Republican side of the aisle.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Obama, there was this interesting/slash/slightly weird piece in Salon about Hillary and Obama's gender reversal:

Hillary is from Mars, Obama is from Venus

In the Democratic presidential pack, the leading man is a woman and the leading woman is a man.

By Michael Scherer

Jul. 12, 2007 | At first listen, the Indigo Girls don't make any sense, not for the hyper-macho world of a presidential campaign, much less a summertime rally for a superstar like Barack Obama. But his sound people are piping in the feminist folk duo's music anyway to pump up a crowd of hundreds at this small-town coffee shop on the Fourth of July. They play "Hammer and a Nail," a 1990 declaration of female empowerment and emancipation. "You've got to tend the earth," the Girls sing, "if you want a rose."

Then Obama comes out, looking lithe and dashing, with his 6-year-old daughter, Sasha, in his arms. The soundtrack starts to make sense. "I'm a sucker for girls," says the man who wants to be president. "There is nothing more difficult than me being on the phone hearing about their soccer game, hearing about what happened to them in school and knowing that I am not there in the evenings to share a lot of their life." He turns to his wife, Michelle, who is sitting nearby on a stool. "She is smarter," he says. "She is tougher."

Throughout history, American presidents have been men's men who puff their out chests against evil. Think Teddy Roosevelt on safari, Jack Kennedy in PT-109, Ronald Reagan on his horse, or George W. Bush with a chain saw clearing brush. If leaders show any slackening of testosterone, especially in wartime, they are quickly derided as wimps (George H.W. Bush), a Frenchmen (John Kerry) or weaklings (Jimmy Carter). But on the Democratic campaign trail these days, where the first woman in U.S. history is making a serious run at the White House, gender roles are being swapped.

When Obama travels the country, he does not appear to worry much about posing with guns or wearing those khaki workman jackets that made Kerry look so silly in 2004. Instead, he sings an empowerment ballad on the stump that would make most lady folk singers proud. "The decision to go to war is not a sport," he tells crowds, rejecting the male metaphor.
"We can discover the better part of ourselves as a nation," he says. "We can dream big dreams."

In contrast, Hillary Clinton has run her campaign with all the muscular vision and authority of the macho candidates of yesteryear. "I've seen her stand up to bullies," announced Christine Vilsack, the former first lady of Iowa, when she introduced Clinton at a rally in Des Moines last week. On the stump, Clinton repeatedly tells people that they should let her take control of the country, eschewing Obama's more abstract calls for national soul-searching. "If you are ready for change, I am ready to lead," she says. "I want to be the president who sets goals again."

Clara Oleson, an Iowa Democrat and former labor lawyer, explained all these distinctions on a riverbank in Iowa City last week, while waiting to hear Clinton speak to a crowd of about 1,000. "Obama is the female candidate. Obama is the woman," she said, after admitting that she was one of his supporters. "He is the warm candidate, self-deprecating, soft, tender, sad eyes, great smile."

So what does that make Hillary Clinton? "She is the male candidate -- in your face, authoritative, know-it-all." To be clear, Oleson was not doubting the symbolic power that Clinton retains as a woman. But she was calling it as she saw it, using the language of Iowa City, a university town. "It's what the academes would call the difference between sex and gender," Oleson explained.

Academics, in fact, have long defined gender as a culturally constructed concept that exists independent of the human body. Though the terms "masculine" and "feminine" are not easy to define, they indisputably represent clear battle lines in presidential politics. Gendered differences have played central roles in the last two presidential elections, with Republican leaders making a concerted effort to claim the masculine high ground, by branding the GOP as the party of dominance, or what the linguist George Lakoff calls the party of the "strict father." Democrats, on the other hand, have classically approached politics as what Lakoff calls the "nurturant parent," with far more interest in the caretaking role of government, adopting more feminine positions on helping the underprivileged and choosing diplomacy over conflict.

Within the Democratic field, however, the interplay of gender is far more complex. Clinton, as the first woman front-runner, finds herself in a particularly difficult position, say political scientists who cover the politics of sex. She can clearly benefit from her status among Democratic women voters, who polls show disproportionately support her candidacy. But she must also be careful to avoid gender traps, like the question famously put to vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro in 1984: "Are you strong enough to push the button?" She must also avoid the pitfall of congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who teared up in 1987 when she announced that she would not run for president. ("She cried,"
announced the New York Times two days later.)

"The first woman absolutely has to out-masculine the man, kind of like Margaret Thatcher did," says Georgia Duerst-Lahti, a professor at Beloit College who has written extensively on gender in presidential politics.

"Men have a lot more latitude. Just think about Ronald Reagan when he would tear up. Could a woman ever tear up? No. But a man can tear up."

Clinton deals with this dilemma in the classic Clintonian fashion, effectively forging her own third way. "We have the chance to make history together and elect the first woman president of the United States," she said to wild cheers in Iowa City on July 3. But then Clinton immediately hedged herself, with a metaphor that calls to mind troops parachuting into battle or train jumpers hopping a freight. "I am not running because I am a woman," she continued. "I am running because I think I am the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009."

Obama, who currently trails Clinton in the polls, especially among working-class women, has run a campaign that is virtually free of macho symbolism. He is, instead, a self-consciously inspirational candidate, who is always talking about things like coming "together for a common purpose." While the Indigo Girls are not part of the standard song list at Obama events, the official tunes, which include Aretha Franklin's "Think" and the disco anthem "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," fail to exude any overt appeal to manliness.

Right on cue, after Obama finishes speaking at the coffee shop here, Franklin's 1968 anthem for independent women begins blaring from the speakers. "Think about what you're trying to do to me," she sings. Obama dives into the crowd with his trademark touchy style, shaking each voter with his right hand while laying his left hand compassionately on their shoulder. "I am really impressed with his ability to articulate issues and just his sheer graciousness," says Julie Hansen, a local librarian who was waiting to meet the candidate. "He'll try to put people at ease. He has a grace. He has a warmth."

Nonetheless, she remains on the fence, torn between the two front-runners. She says she liked the mastery of issues and authority that Hillary Clinton has demonstrated in the debates. Plus there is the history-making potential. "She is a woman," Hansen adds. "And I want to support that."

In a few words, this Iowa voter had epitomized the struggle now playing out between the top two Democrats nationally. They are fighting for undecided female voters who are attracted by Obama's feminine appeal, but still drawn to the macho performance of the only woman to ever have a real shot at the Oval Office.

May the best woman win.

[end of Salon piece]

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting piece, Mudge...

> "I want to be the president who sets goals again."

How about a president who *achieves* goals?

Just sayin'.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Something weird happened when I clicked on dmd's link: it started playing both audio tracks. Could barely make heads or tails of what anyone was saying. Then I figured out what had happened a played them over one at a time. Haha. Thanks dmd, the perfect note on which to end my day.

Wonderfalls, here I come.

Posted by: omni | July 12, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge that was an interesting article but found it strange that the characteristics were so strictly rated as feminine or masculine.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Good point, martooni. But I still come back to policy. He11, Bush set all sorts of goals. He has a goal in Iraq. But that doesn't mean it's tenable or doable. He wants to demolish Medicare and Social Security. He has practically gutted the EPA, and turned major portions of the Executive Branch inside out. Yes, Bush has set plenty of goals.

Goal-setting doesn't mean doodly. Neither does achieving them or not achieving. "I want to set goals" is meaningless dribble. Sorry, Hillary.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

And of course the elephant was walking down Stoner Drive...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 12, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Well Scotty we do toke at 4 times the world average :-).

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

on presidents and goals...

The goals that a president (or presidential hopeful) sets should be lofty and worthy, yet attainable.

Lately, all I've heard from either camp are vague ideas about generic issues that will never go anywhere. All talk, no walk.

"We've got to help/fix the [fill in the blank]"


But what are they going to *do* to help/fix the [fill in the blank]?

1. They will ignore the issue until enough people remind them of their promise to do something about it.

2. They will create a "committee" which will be assigned the task of coming up with a plan (since there never was a plan or even the intention of making one).

3. The committee will publish a report containing several hundred pages of nonsense cut/pasted from some previous committee's published report on a totally unrelated issue.

4. Champagne will flow, followed by an orgy of self-back-patting.

5. Any legislation proposed to resolve the issue will be watered down and muddied to the point where it becomes toothless, useless and pointless. The only reason it will pass is because it has been padded with earmarks.

6. Go to step 1.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Error, as you know, I am thinking of you.

On a more whinging note, I had to rush home after a call from our dog walker, because Ms. Libby was limping really badly. I immediately recognized an ACL tear. Which means surgery. Which means about $4000 - $5000. Which means no vacation and no garden designer. Story of my life. This is why we keep the girl money and the dog money strictly separate.

Posted by: Yoki | July 12, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, good to see you! *Grover waves* :-)

Error, more good thoughts and anti-groundhog giggles headed your way.

Yoki, I hope Libby's taken care of quickly and appropriately. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 12, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... sorry to hear Ms. Libby is in a bad way. But.... I just had to laugh at "girl money".

When I was single, "girl money" was the reasonable percentage of my income I set aside to buy drinks/dinners/movies/fancy underpants/etc. for girls I wanted to ... er... be "intimate" with.

Now, "girl money" means whatever money I make goes directly to one or both of the two girls who let me think I'm in charge here at home.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Story comparing chocolate bars -- UK/Canada vs US

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 12, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, big hugs. Hope all turns out well.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

LTL-Ca the article is very true, Crunchie bars are great.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

My favorite (favourite) is the Cadbury Flake -- pound a few times and sprinkle the coarse powder that results over ice cream.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 12, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

>The only thing better than a chocolate-filled croissant would be a chocolate-filled croissant topped with loads of whipped cream and served on Salma Hayek's naked belly.

Martooni, think we can put that in our Presidential platform? Or do we wait and consult with Mr. Clinton? Hell, I'm single, ain't no scandal for me. Unless I pass it up.

Kim, I got you message loud and clear. Thankee. And to all.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 12, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Martooni: //But what are they going to *do* to help/fix the [fill in the blank]?//
That analysis sounds like every bad habit I've ever tried to break. :-)

Error, words fail me, but am sending good thoughts.

Yoki, happens to all the great canine athletes. Will you try the less invasive steroids, hyaluronic acid, cosequin or Adequan first (we've had good luck with these)? I forget how old Ms. Libby is.

Who was reading Kingsolver's _Animal, Vegetable, Miracle_? Slyness? Wheezy? Great book, makes me want to go dig up the yard right now. I thought of it with the kit--she repeatedly makes the point that if you can't get 'em year round, fresh vegetables in the spring are welcome.

Posted by: dbG | July 12, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Back to John Sayles for a moment. His short story collection, The Anarchists' Convention (what?? No underlining??)is one of the funniest that I've ever read.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 12, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

martooni, your 4:13, sadly enough, describes the process pretty accurately.

Did anyone read the synopsis of the Democratic candidates positions on health care that ran in the Post Tuesday or Wednesday? Most notable was the chart outlining a stance on many of the sub-issues--under Ms. Clinton's name it repeatedly stated "not yet announced." How can she not yet have taken a position on one of the most important issues facing this country?

Yoki, so sorry Ms. Libby is ailing.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 12, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Y'know.... I've intentionally stayed away from the TV today because I just can't stand the news any more. But then I had to go and read today's Froomkin:

I'm only a dozen or so paragraphs into it, but I'm already at the point where I just want to forget that I'm a pacifist and open up a 55-gallon drum of whoop-a$$ on King George. I've known some slimy characters in my life (drug dealers, thieves, you name it), but that em-effer takes the cake.

He's also got to be the worst liar ever.

He must have skipped "Poker Face 101" when he attended "Wanna-Be-A-Cowboy U", because everyone knows that a *real* cowboy can beat a royal flush with a pair of deuces. In fact, I've heard more convincing lies from a three-year-old covered head to toe with chocolate when presented with the half-empty squeeze-dispenser found in her doll house.

What I can't figure out is how in the heck he gets away with it. According to the polls, something like 70%+ of the nation is onto him and would probably stand in line for a chance to kick him. Some Republicans are even pining for the good old Nixon days.

Call me crazy (not a stretch), but if a past Congress could take the time to "censure" a president for getting a little on the side, why the heck can't the current Congress go after the guy who's policies are actually killing people and bankrupting the country?

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Error... Since I'm technically "single" (no papers, no vows) and still sucking air, I think using Ms. Hayek's naked belly as a serving platter/platform wouldn't hurt either of us in the polls (though Mrs. M. would probably hurt me severely if she found out).

The big question is whether we can convince Ms. Hayek that our cause is worthy of her naked belly.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I would say that W has never set any real goals, and that's the problem. He has general categories of stuff he wants to see "better", but never defines what "better" is, exactly, thus there's no way to define a specific method, with specific goals, to make "better" happen. So, setting goals is fine, so long as they are real, definite, goals.

The elephant story fills me with dread. Some years ago, the Honolulu Advertiser ran some stories on the anniversary of a bull elephant escaping from a circus. The animal had been abused, and was in a bad temper. People were killed. The elephant had to be put down. Elephants look comical to us, but they are thoroughly capable of killing almost anything, and will do so if irritated or frightened. That incident in Honolulu provoked changes in the oversight of animals kept by circuses for entertainment purposes.

Posted by: Tim | July 12, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Elephants killing people.


Not knocking your post or your opinion, Tim. Just noting an obvious parallel.

Regarding the angry elephant story you mentioned... who in their right mind would think to abuse or even mildly irritate an animal that could squish them as easily as a bug? If ever anyone was deserving of a "Darwin Award", whoever jerked that elephant around would be it.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Belated SCC, with details: I posted my earlier comment, and about 10 minutes later realized I spelled Woody Guthrie's name wrong. That is so bad. I suffered all day; it just about ruined the festival for me. Well, that plus the fact that the festival was rained out. Hm. Actually, there was still folk singin' in the basement of the Brick Street Cafe in beautiful downtown Okemah, and it was a pretty good party.

As penance for spelling his name wrong on the internet, where it will remain in perpetuity (o, the shame) I will quote my favorite stanza of America's favorite Woody Guthrie song:

As I was walking
I saw a sign there
And on the sign it
Said 'No Trespassing'
But on the other side
It didn't say nothin'
That side was made for you and me

This land is your land
This land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the redwood forest to the Gulfstream waters
This land was made for you and me!
--Woody Guthrie

* * *

EF, thinking of you; hang in there.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 12, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

martooni - fancy underpants?

I have led *such* a sheltered life.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 12, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Should we let poor little Johnny in?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 12, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim... you're right about W and goals. I think his failure to set "real" goals is because he has never in his life been expected to accomplish any, so why change now?

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Is that Mudge at the door?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 12, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

KB -- wish that was our nat. anthem. Off to swim. Such a glorious day. Clouds like a western landscape. Begin, the chorus from Oklahoma

Oh what a beautiful (EVENING)
Oh what a beautiful day...

RD. Psst. (in my best British voice of all seriousness) One does not need the fancy fripperies. Besides, one rather sees said ornate knickers as a prelude -- as it were -- only and not the main symphony.

Play on.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 12, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Martooni! Error! Please, gentlemen: there are married men present.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 12, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Unfotrunately, the people who abused the elephant did so with poor living conditions, stress, that sort fo thing -- but they knew what they were doing, they just didn't care. It was a civilian who got squished, I believe.

Posted by: Tim | July 12, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

And Error, you know I love you, and pray for you all the time. I will continue to do just that. I am thinking good thoughts about you. Yes, I was hurt, I admitted that, but I am not one to hold grudges or hurts. They add nothing to my life, nor are they pleasant. Take care of yourself, and enjoy life. It sounds as if you doing just that. And whatever I can do, please don't hesitate to ask.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 12, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim, tried to find more info, seems the elephants are kept in a pen that uses an electronic fence, which somehow got disabled at 2:30 am. Two escaped, one tried but fell asleep right after. The police and animal trainers were careful using cars to block the elephants way and guide them back to their pen. As Circus's go I believe this one is one of the better ones. People were concerned about safety, what was missing was the call to the police was at around 3:00 am so few people were around (imagine the police dispatcher receiving that call in the middle of the night!).

Your points are well taken and the humour in the story is only because it resolved so well and so easily.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Rockin' good news! Cassandra's back!

So many points to ponder today on the Boodle. My all-time favorite McPhee is The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, because of its level of bizarre dreaming by half-mad geniuses. I want one. (a deltoid pumkin seed, that is - half airplane, half dirigible)

Re Al Qaeda: I advise not to be fooled by symbols. Symbols are useful, and terrorism is real, but Al Qaeda is not an organization like the Elks or even the Klan, although the Klan may be a useful paradigm. It's more like McVeigh and Rudolph, if they knew some sugar daddies who funded them, and not even necessarily knew each other. It's a discontinuous loosely linked network of those who hate kaffirs - us - and follow the late Sayed Qtub or those who preach his thought.

Re. dirty bomb. I suspect more damage could be done by demolishing a building full of asbestos insulation without its prior removal. Which, sad to say, happens on a regular basis all over the US.

Re, SciFi hall of Fame vol 1, Robert Silverberg is a very, very good editor.

Posted by: Jumper | July 12, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Amy Polumbo, Ms New Jersey, and recent victim of Blackmail photos, will not lose her crown. Apparently she drank alcohol in one photo and her boyfriend licked her breast in another one. So what?

Try as you may college friend blackmailers, but today the entire state of New Jersey did not have to get carpet-bombed with nukes a la MacArthur to wipe out the victimizer. No, not today.

I like Amy Polumbo, and I don't even prefer blondes. Good ending to a rough story, Ms New Jersey, carry that noggin with pride.

Posted by: Simon D | July 12, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I was thinking much as you did this morning (which in itself makes me want to hit the sauce).

But aside from the fancy underpants and all-- (shudder-- gotta get that psychic switch shut down)...

I was thinking, "You know, Nixon made a lot of bad moves, but he never actually did start Vietnam, you know. Bush probably will be the most hated ex-president, surpassing Nixon."

I don't think this administration should be allowed to stay in power come the actual elections. If I was a republican and I cared about my party, I'd be getting this administration's strangehold peeled off.

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

Wilbrod... trust your instincts. ;-)

Not that I really need to make the case here, but this was a bit I cut from an earlier post but didn't have the heart to send to the recycle bin:

(on W...)

Here's a guy who was born into a rich and powerful (and apparently very forgiving and non-demanding) family, a guy who's never put in an honest day's work in his life (unless you count running several companies into the ground "work"), who used his family's money and influence to keep him out of combat or any other useful service (including flight training) during Vietnam, a guy who is now telling those of us who *do* work for a living that everything will be just fine so long as the rich get their cradle-to-grave tax breaks and the rest of us keep sending our kids off to war to make the ground safe for oil companies (er, "democracy")... and he managed to get "elected" twice.

[James Joyce, I challenge your ghost to write a longer syntacticly correct sentence]

I think what I was getting at is that here we have the penultimate yellow-bellied fool making a mockery of cowboys and the working class (not to mention standardized English) -- and he gets away with it because he was born with a silver spoon in his big yap and was blessed with parents who showered him with bail money and excuses instead of smothering him with a pillow when they had the chance.

How much you wanna bet I won't be able to board a plane anytime soon?

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

uh oh...

I think I killed the boodle.


[*slowly backing away from the keyboard*]

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Guys, I still think McCain wins this time around. This will be a cleansing experience for his campaign.

He definitely needs a better message, but he has plenty of time to find it. Most Americans will tune in come November, and he'll be poised with a much better budget then, to boot. I think people forget how crazy campaigns are ... it was only 4 years ago when Kerry was face-planting and Dean was ascendant. But that all changed about 30 days before the voting started in Iowa.

As a conservative, I honestly like all the leadning GOP contenders. But I think McCain is the legitimate hero, so he's my guy. But I have lots of other hard-core conservative friends who harbor real resistance to Giuliani, Thompson, and Romney (on abortion, among other things). So it's STILL a toss-up. Will definitely be fun to watch, and to read Joel's insights.


Posted by: Kane | July 12, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Your U.S. Justice Department hard at work, defending the rights of white, male police officers:

I'm going to start on the film treatment tonight. I think I'll call it "Indianapolis Burning." Feh

Posted by: bill everything | July 12, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Bill E... read the article, but it didn't go into much detail. How long have the white cops been on the force vs. the black and female cops? It says the white cops outperformed the others on the tests, so why shouldn't they get the promotions?

Affirmative action looks great on paper, but in practice... well... No matter what you do, no matter how good your intentions, somebody's going to feel that injustice has been served.

I'm all for equal rights and equal opportunities, but equal means equal. If the minority cops were receiving inferior training (therefore scoring lower on the tests), I could see a case here. However, this (according to a three paragraph article) doesn't appear to be the case.

Call me crazy, but maybe the minority cops didn't get the promotions not because of their minority status, but because they didn't meet the testing requirements to merit the promotion.

Where's the justice in denying a promotion to a guy/gal who scores high on the tests and meets all other requirements, only to give the job to someone who scored low on the tests and maybe doesn't meet all the requirements, but happens to have the preferred skin color of the moment? (I tried to word that so it works both ways, by the way).

For initial hires, I think there is a valid argument for "affirmative diversity" (within reason). But once hired, it's merit all the way -- skin color and gender should have absolutely nothing to do with promotions. If you're the best, you're the best. If you're not, don't cry about it... work harder.

[You guys *know* I'm a liberal, right? If I had a draft card, I'd burn it right now. Heck, if I had a bra I'd burn that too. As a working guy, though, this is a topic that hits close to home -- if I work hard and do a good job, don't tell me I'm not getting a promotion or a raise or whatever because it's going to some other person solely because of their skin color or gender.]

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm catching up on the 'boodle, I'll almost certainly check back in later, but had to share this moments-ago kitchen moment:

I didn't have anything ready-to-eat, so I had to hack something together. I took some canned chicken breast, mixed it with some chopped onion & jalapeno, a couple of shredded cheeses, and a little herb/spice/lemon juice, tossed the mixture on tortillas, and lightly fried up some off-the-cuff quesadillas.

My roommate (well, the male half of my roommates. He's pretty good on the grill, a little less well-rounded in the kitchen.) came sniffing around, and while I was transferring the food to a plate, asked if I wanted the stuff that was left in the pan (filling that had spilt out of the tortillas during flipping operations).

Initially his back was turned to me, but he eventually caught my wide-eyed incredulity as I asked him, "Are you seriously asking me if I want to keep the slightly crispy, golden brown, chicken, onions and cheese sitting in that pan?!?"

He eventually admitted that tossing it would have been a truly unforgiveable sin.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

martooni & Cassandra, it's good to see you both. EF, hang in there.

bill everything, when you said "Indianapolis Burning," I thought of the old Snake Pit at the Speedway during the 500.

Saw that F1 is unlikely to be back at IMS next year, not a surprise to me. I see that they have a MotoGP event next year; I might make a trip out there to see reigning MotoGP World Champion American Nicky Haden and pay my respects to The Doctor (the wonderful Valentino Rossi).

Saw Arbusto's presser this AM. As if what was coming out of his mouth weren't enough, someone should advise him to pay attention to his body language and facial expressions. Jim Carrey would have a difficult time making some of those faces...

I think Our President does have some goals, and some of them are even being met. Harriet Miers defying a Congressional subpoena, for example.


Posted by: bc | July 12, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't already clear, he wasn't trying to glom it for himself, he was going to throw it away. Bad, bad man!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

'tooni, this is only my business because I see myself as your imaginary friend, but please do something kind for yourself.

Posted by: dbG | July 12, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, if you lived in the good ol' US in the last 60 years you would probably better appreciate the ridiculousness of the Justice Department protecting the endangered rights of white males in this country.

Assuming Hillary or Barack are our next president, it will be interesting to see how the new cabal of conservatism on the Supreme Court maintains the legitimacy of their views in the light of popular dissatisfaction of their cause.

Posted by: bill everything | July 12, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, you'd be surprised how even a slight hint of discrimination and bias can make test performances plummet.

Psych studies have shown it in various circumstances.

Including the fact that people who test for bigotry beforehand will do worse on a rote exam given by somebody of the "bad group"-- apparently bigotry burns brain cells!

Been reading some truly excellent books on neuroscience and educational relevance. We're wired to be social animals, like it or not, and our thinking is affected by the environment we find ourselves in. That said, they may or may not have a case for their lawsuit.

Promotions could have come based on discrimination, or the fact the officers in question were better able to do undercover operations, and so on.

Unfortunately merit has never been the only factor in promotions, or a certain guy you've been ranting about would be working in a nursing home mopping up pee as benefits his ability instead of in a job way beyond his capacities.

Alas, how many of us are in jobs that even have "tests" to determine quality? Who tests the tests?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 12, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse


I think you've now been up a great while my friend. You must tend now to those around you. The goofy world will go on and will not have any real effect on your life.

Posted by: bill everything | July 12, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

dbG... I appreciate the good thoughts, but no worries.

Just wrapped up a nite-nite story for the Bean about a talking chipmunk named "Maurice" showing up on our back porch. Since we're out of nuts (except for me) the Bean in the story had to raid the fridge for lupini beans to keep Maurice from running away. It turns out he is a secret agent for the French Resistance who has been working with Snoopy, Sponge Bob and the Wonder Pets to free a confused runaway manatee from the evil clutches of Darth Cheney (I kid you not).

Much tickling and other Daddy-daughter frolicking ensued. She's an extremely happy Bean, now nestled on her mother's lap getting a good back scratch as she slips off to meet Maurice in her dreams.

I think that was the kindest something I could have given myself (and her).

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse


Why, whatever can you mean? The Snake Pit was always the picture of decorum, best I can recall.


Former GTP

Posted by: bill everything | July 12, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, martooni. Just wow.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 12, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I have been voting Demo since 1959.
I worked for the US Govt six years booked marked by almost four years serving in the Coast Guard supervising automation projects amoung others running underwater electrical cable to Alcratz and Mile Rock to eliminate the inhumane the duty for the poor Coasties serving there. [Keept me out of Veitnam, but we did'nt know what was going on then; no draft or any ferver then. After the CG, I volunteered to go Vietnam as a civilian, but they sent me to Honolulu as a force planner for the Air Force Civil Engineer's corp.]
I totally agree with Martooni's 5:20, 7:48 & 9:27's
I made and lost over $1 Million in the telcom surge and bust and now barely getting by on SS and dwindling 401K. When I see the amount we are spending on the IRAQ war I get sick and go to where Martooni goes.
I have arthritic fingers so I don't try to type very often so mostly lurk every day.

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

Wilbrod... as an altruist, I tend to think of things from the "perfect world" perspective. The points you bring up are more than valid in the not-so-perfect world we live in. The problem with enforced diversity -- and more to my point -- is that more often than not, you end up righting a wrong with yet another wrong. In other words, why should I (or anyone) be forced to pay for the sins of my father or grandfather or great-grandfather (ad infinitum)?

My position is that whoever is best qualified and has best demonstrated their qualifications for a job -- that's who should get the job or promotion. It's the only fair thing.

I'm not stupid enough to think that's the way things are in the real world. At the same time, the "affirmative" alternatives (to me, anyway) are like taking a sledge hammer to a hex nut. You'll ding the guano out of it -- maybe even flatten it -- but it'll never turn, no matter how hard you whack it.

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Tim - Good news: I've done some research, and it turns out that elephants actually hardly ever kill people, even when the elephants are wandering the streets in a bad mood. Wierdly enough, it turns out that other people are quite dangerous, as are such hardly noticeable creatures as bacteria & viruses. Firm statistics turn out to be hard to come by, but I found a grand total of about 100-200 reported "deaths by elephant" in the past century or so, excluding a couple of cases where they were being used as war weapons, and a vague reference to a possible murder scam. It turns out that even your average pissed-off elephant weighs less, and is (when confronted at close quarters) much less dangerous, than your average commercial lorry!

Crazy ol' world!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Martooni thanks for sharing your good night story, you are one talented human being.

Good night all.

Posted by: dmd | July 12, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I agree with your statistics (without checking them). Elephants are not naturally urban, so an urban elephant is a creature to avoid. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Tim | July 12, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I work for an organization that (among other things) provides entry-level & promotional tests for fire & police department positions. We provide a test score reporting form which asks for gender & "race" information [i.e., the form asks for a list of score results, broken down by gender & ethnicity, if available] for validation purposes.

Some of the responses which accompany non-responses are pretty amusing, along the lines of, "I'm shocked to find out that there's gambling going on!"

I recently spoke to someone who called our office to explain that they would NEVER consider collecting that sort of data, and were offended that we even asked for it. I pointed out that gender and racial disparities in hiring/promotion are generally considered to be prima facie evidence of discrimination in the absence of countervailing data showing that testing procedures don't unduly penalize protected minority groups, and asked how their jurisdiction planned to respond to any future complaints.

A long "hmmm....", followed by an admission that maybe we're not just a bunch of silly racists/misogynists after all.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob... I was kinda able to follow that until you hit the "prima facie" stuff.

I know enough Latin to be dangerous and I'm pretty good at deciphering convoluted computer programs (not to mention the fact that I'm handy with a hammer), but can you rephrase your point in plain old Americanized English?

I'm thinking you had something significant to say that I should hear, but you lost me (a situation I'm sure I've created myself many times).

--- and now I have Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" going through my head in and endless loop. I suppose that's better than "Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind Hey Mickey!" ---

Posted by: martooni | July 12, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Tim.. have you read Water for Elephants? A great book. Especially if you want to read about how an elephant responds to abuse.

True story: I once saw an elephant being "walked" across 32nd Street in Ocean City, right behind the Minit Market. My family still doesn't believe me.

Cassandra, martooni.. so glad to see you both here today. I'm amazed at how much I worried about you both during my boodling and nonboodling hours. (I have nonboodling hours?).

Error... hang in there, friend. What can we do to help?

Posted by: TBG | July 12, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

'tooni - Yuk, yuk! :-)

If someone brings a complaint about hiring practices, contending that [women, blacks, elephant wranglers, whatever] tend to fail a particular test at rates higher than the rest of the candidate pool, and if the testing/hiring agency can't justify the test (and, effectively, each of its questions) as a verified predictor of on-the-job success, then the test is almost certainly going to be ruled unfairly discriminatory against whatever minority is being discussed. The only defense against that is: 1) Build a database showing that successful job-holders had (on the average) higher scores than non-successful job-holders, and/or (usually a combination is necessary); 2) Build a database showing that the test does not dramatically favor candidates from outside whatever minority group is contesting the validity of the test.

Even more pithily - You gotta show some kind of records that prove that the test matters at all, and that it ain't rigged.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, a million books by John McPhee added to my reading list - thanks. Mudge, I wouldn't have taken you for a tennis fan. Ashe was great, but a little before my time. I got hooked by Borg and McEnroe - I know, I know, I hated his tantrums, but he could play. Then Martina (Navratilova), Michael Chang - and now Federer. Have you watched him? He's so smooth, so elegant, so quiet - a joy to watch and a real classy guy.

kguy, my movie fanatic friend likes John Sayles a lot. I watched Sunshine State recently - really good. I'll have to find some that you mentioned.

kb, too bad about the rain! Are you going to go another day if it clears up? Thanks for posting that verse - it is really good. And too bad that you and Ivansmom won't meet this time.

Cassandra, martooni, glad to see you. bh, thanks for sharing that about yourself, and hope you keep getting by, and stopping by here. I missed my chance to make and lose a million - probably just as well.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 13, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

IS there a book by McPhee that isn't well worth my time? I'm willing to concede that the possibility exists, but I haven't read one yet.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 13, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Martooni - I'm hardly a specialist in this field, but having dabbled at the edges for a few months, I'll point out that the employers in question really do want the test to accomplish something worthwhile. [If memory serves correctly, it was actually Wilbrod who was most directly concerned with this issue earlier, yes?] Obviously, no test can accurately predict the future success of a given potential employee, any more than having a college degree makes one necessarily more qualified to be a U.S. military officer, or turning thirty-five makes one necessarily more qualified to be a U.S. president.

They're all cheap screening methods, given that the time & resources to fully consider and analyze every applicant's case are limited.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 13, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

>Error... hang in there, friend. What can we do to help?

TBG, thanksabunch.

Got any pull with the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Team?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 13, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Twenty-seven books to choose from. I said something about the _Oranges_ book; RD likes _The Founding Fish_ (every thing you even wanted to know about shad). 'Mudge and both know _The Crofter and the Laird_.

EF, you MUST read _The Pine Barrens_. A few other mentioned favorites....but I can't remember who and I am leaving the house for the day.

We await JA's return with a tidbit from perhaps Mr. McPhee himself.

Uncommon Carriers 2006
The Founding Fish 2002
Annals of the Former World 1998
Irons in the Fire 1997
The Second John McPhee Reader 1996
The Ransom of Russian Art 1994
Assembling California 1993
Looking for a Ship 1990
The Control of Nature 1989
Rising from the Plains 1986
Table of Contents 1985
Heirs of General Practice 1984
La Place de la Concorde Suisse 1984
In Suspect Terrain 1983
Basin and Range 1981
Giving Good Weight 1979
The John McPhee Reader 1976
Coming into the Country 1977
The Survival of the Bark Canoe 1975
Pieces of the Frame 1975
The Curve of Binding Energy 1974
The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed 1973
Encounters With the Archdruid 1971
The Crofter and the Laird 1970
Levels of the Game 1969
A Roomful of Hovings 1968
The Pine Barrens 1968
Oranges 1967
The Headmaster 1966
A Sense of Where You Are 1965


Posted by: College Parkian | July 13, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Still waiting for a committment from Martooni and Error to take over here, then I'll reveal the exact location of here. If they hurry they can do my 11:00AM (CDT) interview with the local features reporter re: our Community Tech. Center. At 3:00 they could train the new clerk. Not knowing anything about the city would not be an obstacle to doing this training, I don't know anything either. I'm thinking Martooni could spend some time up at the bar squelching the latest feud rumored between a council member and the local mechanic. I heard sketchy details at the Tech Center yesterday via someone who heard it from the beauty shop owner who heard it at the store.

So glad to back boodle this morning and see Cassandra. Have to run. If I were a big city mayor I bet I'd have some underling who could take the Frostcats to the vet for their shots.

CP-Thanks for the McPhee list, I have some gift cards burning a hole in my pockets. I can't believe I don't remember reading any of them for I'm sure Ma Frostbitten is a fan. As a youngster I grabbed whatever she was reading as soon as she laid it down.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 13, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Where is everybody?

Good Robinson and Dionne columns this morning. Stupid Gerson column. As for Novak: who bothers? Good Kurtz column.

Channel 4 news this morning at 6:20 a.m. had the weather guy on, and on his big map there was a an arrow with the caption to a "week front" moving into the region. Laughed my @ss off. This is why I have a job.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 13, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, you and I have really had parallel lives leading to our development as "separated at birth" types. I followed Bjorn Borg's career avidly when I was a teenager; he was my favorite tennis personality. I was thrilled last weekend to see him after the gripping Nadal/Federer Wimbledon final. What a great match that was, and how perfect to have Bjorn there handing the torch on as Federer surpassed his Wimbledon record.

* * *

Back to the topic du jour (really the topic d'avant hier)--Was I the only one who finched when I read the words, "A suicide mission." - ? Joel, did you think twice before publishing that? Did the editor make a note? If I were your editor, I would have let it through, but not before you defended it. John McCain is an actual war hero, after all.

Interesting how "go down with guns blazing" seems relatively mild because it is associated with Newman and Redford, more than any real bad guys, or any real-life carnage...

Posted by: kbertocci | July 13, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Somebody mentioned mopping up pee in a nursing home and it reminded me of (surprise!) a movie, and not the movie you think either, not "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", although that is a fine film. No, I'm thinking of "Bubba Ho-tep" with Bruce Campbell and the late great Ossie Davis. I'll admit that it's a little wacky, but if you like Elvis-is-not-dead JFK-is-not-dead conspiracy theories and soul sucking Egyptian mummies (and really, who doesn't?) then this is your cup of pee, I mean tea. And if you do decide you like Bruce Campbell, try "Army of Darkness."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 13, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, just completed this quiz on seeing how well I do in social scapes/spin, not bad 145/200 by going against my instincts on some answers. I would make a terrible spinmister.

Posted by: dmd | July 13, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Since this is a McCain Kit up top, there's this from Kurtz's colum:

"Wow: yet another problem for McCain, as spotted by Josh Marshall:

"Florida state Representative Bob Allen (R), who is co-chairman of McCain's Florida campaign, was arrested in a Titusville park restroom on charges of solicitation after he approached a plainclothes police officer and offered to perform oral sex on the officer for $20."

Yes, mostly, strange as it may seem, I was once a tennis player (not very good). Even stranger, when I was in the Merchant Marine I weighed 145 pounds and not an ounce of fat on me. Hard to believe, I know. Had my Keds tennis shoes (still my favorite kind of sneakers; you can keep all that fancy-schmancy addidas crap), white tennis shorts, white Izod shirt with the little alligator patch (was there any other kind? Heavens, no!). Fair serve, good forehand, good smash, good lob, lousy backhand. Being small, I had limited range.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 13, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I always liked Martina Navratilova. When I first became aware of her in the mid 70's, she was a plump Czech teenager who always lost to Cris Evert and always cried about it. Then in the late 70's she did something about it. She remade her body and her game. She was faster, stronger, slimmer, more tough mentally and physically. It was an astonishing change. From that point on she owned women's tennis and generally owned Evert too. The willingness to change and the ability to see one's own faults and correct them seems to me a sign of great courage and determination.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 13, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. As we thought, Libby will have surgery on Sunday to repair her anterior cruciate. Thanks dbG for the alternative treatment ideas. We use just that regime for Yeoman. He had one tear repaired by TPLO, the other knee's ligament is frayed and so we keep him comfortable. At his age and general state of bad joints, more surgery just isn't in the cards for him.

Libby, on the other hand, has a complete separation of the knee from the ligament, and is in great pain. It tears my heart out. Well, compassion tears part of it, and carrying a 70 lb. wiggle up and down the stairs/in and out of the van does the rest. I truly think, at 6 years old, and given her very playful, jolly, silly bent-kneed-running-about personality, we are best to get her operated on and recovered. I dread the 8 weeks she'll spend confined to the X-pen, but we'll do the best we can to keep her amused.

Posted by: Yoki | July 13, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki... best of luck to Libby and the family!

Posted by: TBG | July 13, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

New kit coming late this morning. I'm working feverishly, fyi, on a Style story that may run this weekend -- on Chinese imports. Did you see they executed the former head of food and drug safety? He confessed. He gave the bribe money back. They still killed him. I'm trying to figure out exactly how they dispatched him.

Made in China: The Musical.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 13, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Joel.. my guess is they made him brush his teeth with Chinese toothpaste.

Is it too soon?

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

"my guess is they made him brush his teeth with Chinese toothpaste." Nah, they made him call tech support in India and they put him on hold until he starved to death.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 13, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

martooni, buddy, I'm glad you're back in here. You have a wonderful mind, sir, but I'm a little concerned that you may not be treating you brain and body very well lately. Please please please take care of yourself, ask for help if you need it. We want you and your brain around for a long time in tip-top shape.
Mrs. M and Little Bean do, too.


Posted by: bc | July 13, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Chinese method of execution is to tie your hands behind your back put you down on your knees and shoot you in the back of the head with a 7.62 or 7.65 high powered rifle

Posted by: omni | July 13, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Was it the WP or the Other Paper that reported rejection of huge quantities of Danish candy because it was mislabeled?

I checked out a going-out-of-business sale at a craft store called Rag Shop. The place was pretty much plundered, but it looked as though no one had touched the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. Must be afraid of lead in the paint.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 13, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

i noticed that the chinese official was executed and also wondered in what way. human rights people would probably know. or folks who monitor the persecution of christians in that part of the world.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 13, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Bob S writes, "Obviously, no test can accurately predict the future success of a given potential employee....

"They're all cheap screening methods, given that the time & resources to fully consider and analyze every applicant's case are limited."

The original topic was the promotion of existing employees, where I would think the employees' track record would be the major consideration. Is a test used to give an aura of objectivity?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Oops, that was me.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 13, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Covering some preliminaries and some basic research about Plum Island in the last 24 hours.

Three articles about Plum Island from 2004 at the NYT archives. Printed just one for myself and will probably circle back for the other two. An article by Patrick Healy on Feb. 22, 2004 shows:

Plum Island was transferred from USDA control to the Dept. of Homeland Security in mid-year 2003--give or take July 1.

[Michael Christopher Carroll's (he not to be confused with the blondish sex offender in Colorado by the same name--glad early Googling cleared that up) book about Lab 257 on Plum Island, on which he had worked for a handful of years, was published in 2004 and made the NYT best-seller lists, along with media interviews. Some say no smoking gun in his text, but he's got some titillating tidbits regarding the lab's history.]

Lab 257, about which he wrote, was actually decontaminated and abandoned in 1995 (not sure of the specifics yet or why...age certainly factors into it).

In Feb. 2004, according to Healy, the DHS offered a dozen journalists the chance to tour and get a rare close-up glimpse of the pork chop- shaped island and facilities just off the northeast tip of Long Island. I assume they got to see the other working lab, Lab 101, but how much? How much access to employees who weren't prescreened? I assume author Carroll, who been kicked off the island after his sixth visit there, was not among them.

I sneaked a peek at the last chapter of his book, after scanning one of the NYT articles where I saw Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name pop up, to learn that part of the security problems at the island several years ago have to do with privatizing security jobs at the lab and/or union problems. Will have to slow down, delve into this further, read the book.

An AP story by Suzanne Gamboa and run by the Houston Chron mentions that the proposed Bio and Agro-Defense Lab may also possibly study smallpox, Marburg, Lhassa and other rare hemorrhagic fevers. From another source, I learned that community acceptance was part of the selection criterion for choosing potential sites. Also, that Lawrence Livermore Labs in Livermore, Calif., was in the running. Nuclear/bio combo, anyone?

Who's in the running for this half-million dollar baby? Athens, Ga.; Manhattan, Ks.; Madison Co., Miss; and Granville and Durham Cos., N.C.

Why not place the lab in Manhattan, Ks.? Then it could be called the (second) Manhattan Project. The folks there promote the location as close to Fort Riley, where a Loomispouse, an Ogden, played an important role in its history--he the descendent of the female Paul Revere of Connecticut. I digress. A news story reports that the state's Bioscience Authority plans to hire a lobbyist to advocate for the Kansas bid. A tip to Bob Dole? This site makes sense because it's close to the lab at Ames, Iowa, whose operation is still under USDA control and was key to helping to determine the provenance of the anthrax spores used in the anthrax letter mailings in 2001.

According to a news report from Georgia, the Athens site that is proposed is close to the CDC (to whom do they report? DHS?), as well as other (I don't know 'em) Georgia-based USDA facilities.

Where the heck is Butner, N.C.? The College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State is offering acreage on its Umstead Research Farm, although some beautifully forested land would have to be felled to accommodate the lab. This site makes the most sense, as it's pretty much midway between both Fort Detrick, Md., and the CDC in Atlanta. I think this location would be the most appealing to the Plum Island scientist transplants.

The site in Mississippi is in the Flora Industrial Park, in Byram near Jackson, in Madison Co. The organization that would gain the most from having Mississippi selected would be the Battelle Memorial Institute. Already Byram has shown a lack of unanimous support after opposition claimed that the lab would alter the small town atmosphere. If Ol' Miss gets the nod, I think it can only be a payback to Trent Lott and Haley Barbour and the latter's work as former head of the RNC. We all know that where this lab lands is political, right?

I understand from our local ABC affiliate station that there are supposed to be public hearings in San Antonio about siting the bio lab in our backyards. I called TV reporter Tim Gerber for more info, but no callback. No callback from Rene Munoz, legislative director, in Rep. Rodriquez's D.C. office yet either about my questions from yesterday.

Have a nice weekend, folks.

Posted by: Loomis | July 13, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

i was just checking the weather. it's pretty much sunny all over the u.s., but it's raining heavily in oklahoma. and parts of arkansas and northern texas.

i'm looking forward to my family reunion in arkansas next june. yes, very much so.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 13, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

bc... I appreciate the concern, my F-1 fanatical friend.

And you are correct.

The thing is, I've found that while my liver rejects even a single shot of whiskey -- no buzz, just misery and instantaneous bleeding (from all three ends, if you know what I mean) -- it doesn't seem to mind the watered-down grocery store variety of vodka, if further watered down with orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale, or whatever else is at hand. It also doesn't seem to be bothered by beer. My only problem with beer is that you have to drink a six-pack very quickly to get the same effect as a double-shot of hootch. Too many trips to the bathroom for nothing.

But really, I'm only mildly buzzed today. Too buzzed to drive (so I'm staying put), but not buzzed enough to write poetry.

Maybe I'll wander out to the shop and finish off the garden bench I've been working on.

For the record, I really don't like being this way. But I also don't like the opposite (gave that an almost 90 day shot). Not sure what to do at this point except try to get things done and not harm myself or anyone else in the process.


Posted by: martooni | July 13, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. It has been raining here. We got a couple of inches of rain this morning, and it is worse nearby. Glub glub. Ark ark. I'm sorry, kbertocci, that the festival had rain problems yesterday too. At least the indoor venue was up, and they have awesome bacon cheeseburgers.

Warning: tedious legal explanation to follow. LTL-CA, police officer promotion to sergeant, etc., is actually done by test. It is a survivor of the old civil-service system, which is still in place in some areas. While current job performance is taken into account -- particularly if you have a history of complaints or other issues which cast doubt on your fitness for promotion -- every applicant must take the same test. Promotion is supposed to be based on the scores. Now, I believe these may sometimes be ranked to take certain things into account. For example, some states have laws requiring civil service departments to take veteran status into account, all else being equal. However, it is illegal to reject or accept someone based primarily on race or gender. The white Indianapolis officers appear to be claiming that minorities were promoted ahead of them unfairly. However the very skimpy article didn't really set forth any legal basis for the suit, beyond the claim that the white officers were higher on the list. In itself that doesn't necessarily mean they were first in line.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 13, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, Fort Riley, Kansas, would be a rather ironic choice of location, considering it is the probable and most likely birthplace of the infamous Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 that killed upwards of 50 million people worldwide. I mean, why not go with a time-tested winner?

Hope Ivansmom and the Ivanseseses haven't drowned; weather report today said that area was gonna get pounded with 3-5 inches of rain and a lot of flooding.

Hey, LA Lurker. How's the paroosky goin'? Got an ETA on your doctoral yet? Remember, I wanna be the first to call you "Doc Lurker" (Doc Hollywood already being taken by that Canuck kid, Michael J. Whatsis.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 13, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, I guess that's a BOOO. Just as I ask about Ivansmom I find out she's just checked in. Or is it just GMTA? (Great minds think alike.) Or do I just have the power to summon the spirits from the Internet ether? Gad, such power is exhilarating. Now if I could just evaporate Karl Rove somehow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 13, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

For those that might be interested, Conrad Black verdict is in guilty on obstruction of justice, mail fraud.

Posted by: dmd | July 13, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

[* channeling Rove-evaporating energy to Mudge *]

Mudge... you may have to hold your tin-foil hat at a 60 degree angle and dance an Irish jig while facing the general direction of the Potomac for this to work.

Posted by: martooni | July 13, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you must use this power only for good. Speaking of flooding, are you done with that boat yet? We're getting to the point it would be nice to have a boat handy, just in case. The blue bottom would go nicely with the reddish brown water.

Kurosawaguy, "Bubba-Ho-Tep" is one of my favorites. Elvis may not live, but now we know why.

Made in China: The Musical. Brilliant. The opportunities for product placement alone are phenomenal -- oh, wait, maybe not.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 13, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

This bothered me. Just to clarify Joel's 10:05, and from yesterday's WaPo's PostGlobal:

The final revelation came earlier this year when Zheng Xiaoyu, then head of the Chinese FDA, was sacked, investigated for corruption and swiftly sentenced to death. He lost his appeal six weeks later and was executed this past Monday. In the media storm surrounding Zheng's downfall, we learned that the man had almost single-handedly approved tens of thousands of drug licenses without following due procedure (where was the oversight?), pocketing millions in bribes from pharmaceutical firms. His corrupt administration was also blamed for some of the international crises, including the Panamanian poisoning case. Zheng's execution was no surprise to observers. Many believe he was made into a scapegoat, a convenient target for focusing public wrath.

Just wonder if N.C. gets the Bio/Agro Lab if that would be a nod to Lizzie Dole? I really disliked Hendricks' mention yesterday of how many electoral votes Texas has to offer in '08 in conjunction with the lab. I also laughed at a cutline under his picture calling this competition among the five sites the bio-defense "derby," since the BIG Derby state, gave this proposed lab two big Kentucky thumbs down--I suspect over equine West Nile.

We have been advised by our local paer in he last week ofr so to look for a spike in human West Nile cases and deaths here this summer--possibly also dengue fever from Mexico--because the horrific rains have caused an exponential rise in certain bug populations--crikets and mosquitoes, as seen by my own eyes and welt-covered legs.

Just an FYI, our local paper reports that Sen. John Cornyn (formerly of San Antone) is getting more vulnerable all the time and Dems are salivating over the prospect.

Don't get me started as there are other important details of Carroll's book I saw yesterday that I didn't mention this morning. Suffice it to say, I'm glad Joel will be poking at the other details of food (and drug--Panamanian cough syrup?) safety issues vis-a-vis imports, and China specifically, in his upcoming story, which again, will probably just be the tip of an enormous iceberg. We were sweating bullets on the recent dog food recall, hoping our dog's brand of chow wasn't on the list.

Now really this time, on to my day.

Posted by: Loomis | July 13, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Just heard from the yard a few minutes ago: the boat may get launched tomorrow or Monday (I urged tomorrow). Somebody stole one of the batteries over the winter, plus the TV with built-in video.

Her new home will be here: See the house in the dead center of the photo? From the roof peak immediately closest to the viewer, drop down about a quarter inch, to the very first boat at that pier right by the bulkhead. That's her new slip. That channel is called "The Narrows."

If you click on the small pix in the middle above, you'll see a beautiful view of just about all of Solomons, one of my favorite places in the world. You're looking almost due north. To the left is the Patuxent River, with the bridge crossing over to St. Mary's County. Just offcamera to the left is Naval Air Station Patuxent River, where I worked for 2 1/2 years before coming to my present job. If you go up the Patuxent to about the horizon line, there's a little jut of land coming out from the right; that's right about where the Battle of St. Leonard's Creek took place during the War of 1812, when Am. Admiral Joshua Barney held off the Brits for nearly three weeks, delaying their attack on Washington. Barney then took his small fleet further upriver and scuttled it, and marched his men and cannons overland in order to take part in the Battle of Bladensburg, which the Americans lost; the British then took Washington and burned. Then they tried unsuccessfully to capture Baltimore. A guy named Key wrote a song about it; maybe you've heard it.

At the very bottom is the marina where my boat is now. Off to the left is where a terrific restuarant, the Lighthouse, burned down last year.

The Chesapeake Bay is off to the right.

Down at the bottom left, you'll see one tiny little sailboat moored all by itself. That's an anchorage area. Two years ago we anchored right there on the Fourth of July and watched the fireworks, which were launched from a barge on the Paxuxent just offcamera to the left. Solomons has a local joint called the Tiki Bar, which has an annual Opening Day blast; it's located just off the bottom lefthand corner of the pix.

*heaves big sigh of contentment*

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

no real eta yet, mudge. (btw, for some reason that abbrev didn't register in my paroosky-saturated noggin - had to look it up on the wiki disambiguation page, which was a hoot. eta can mean a new zealand potato chip, a swedish punk rock band, among a whole host of other things.)

but if i don't file by december, i'll, um, be fired from the job i started last week. does that count?

Posted by: L.A. wannabeadoc lurker | July 13, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation about promotion tests, Ivansmom. I really doubt a civil service exam would be precise enough to conclude that a person scoring 831 should be promoted while the candidate who got 829 should not. Reminds me of SAT tests, which seem to indicate that top universities get many thousands of qualified applicants, and they need to use other considerations to determine which ones to accept.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 13, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful spot Mudge.

Posted by: dmd | July 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Similarly, the LSAT is the standardized test for law schools. My understanding is that the trend is actually increasing the weighting of the LSAT for admissions.

The rationale seems to be as imperfect as the LSAT is, grade inflation and other issues with GPA make it the least worst option.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

new kit

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 13, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Insufferable humidity today, punctuated by a thunderstorm that barked furiously but didn't provide so much rain. Or any cooling.

I guess my liver's doing fine, but the pancreas is evidently trending toward diabetes, so yesterday was time for an experimental sucralose-sweetened blueberry pie. The thing worked reasonably well. I never knew you were supposed to season them with cinnamon and allspice. Maybe nutmeg, too, the next time? If it's in Coca-Cola, it can't be bad.

In the fruit department, the upcoming citrus crops are looking small, even if there's no hurricane(s).

I wonder how law school admission is parcelled out. Unlike elite colleges, I doubt that they can justify considering ability at playing lacrosse, much less aptitude at playing oboe. I guess they could consider a record community service (maybe spending summers as a camp counselor for minority kids?). Possibly taking a year off to work in a political campaign? Otherwise, I imagine there's lots of near-perfect LSATs. Being a science type, I've never looked at an LSAT, but if it's heavy on verbal acuity, wouldn't a sizable majority of the best prospects be women? If so, are there clever measures to keep the sex ratio somewhat balanced? Maybe some even cleverer measures to be inclusive of white males from prosperous families?

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