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YouTube Debate, Plus Twenty-Foot Snakes!

I liked the YouTube debate. The questions ordinary people ask are generally better than the ones journalists ask. Biden was funny, if a bit weird at the end when he said he likes Kucinich's wife. Clinton was sharp as usual. I think she found a good leverage point on Obama when he said he'd meet with Castro and Chavez et al. [More on the debate here from Jay Rosen & Co.]

One answer from Clinton didn't quite make sense: "Chelsea went to public schools, kindergarten through eighth grade, until we moved to Washington. And then I was advised, and it was, unfortunately, good advice, that if she were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone, because it's a public school. So I had to make a very difficult decision."

Um, she went to Sidwell to escape the news media? What? Can reporters and photographers go stomping onto public school property (say, Wilson High right down the street) whenever they want? Her explanation doesn't ring true. More likely: Sidwell was a better school than the best public alternative in DC. Besides, if I'm not mistaken the press corps stayed away from Chelsea until she turned 18.

Here's Peter Baker in the Post's new political blog, The Trail.

'That's not what the White House said in January 1993 when it announced the decision. "They chose Sidwell Friends because it's a good school," spokesman George Stephanopoulos said at the time. "It's an academically challenging school." And, he noted, "one of the things that was particularly attractive to the family was that Sidwell has a service component that goes along with their academic requirements."

Nothing about the mean, nasty reporters. Who by the way over eight years pretty much left Chelsea alone, regardless of school.'

See also this, from the Post, Dec. 9, 1992:

'They might have consulted a number of friends, however, who send or have sent their children to private school: the Gores, whose kids attend St. Albans and the National Cathedral School; Strobe and Brooke Talbott, who sent their children to Maret; and Marian Wright Edelman, whose children went to Sidwell Friends.'

[This is the shocker, from the Post story of Jan. 6, 1993: "Tuition is $10,400 for the middle school..." Wow. For that kind of money, today, you'd be allowed to go to Sidwell only until about 11:15 in the morning, when they'd insist you leave the premises.]

[Yeah, you say, but what about inflation? OK, so tuition at Sidwell has nearly tripled, but according to this online inflation calculator, inflation between January 1993 and January 2007 increased only 41.95 percent. This reflects the general gold-plating of Northwest DC that puts into sharp relief my own downward socioeconomic spiral.] [Soon this blog will be all about class warfare 24-7.]

[ScienceTim in the boodle speechwrites for Hillary: "We sent our daughter to a private school in which it's not that much out of the ordinary to have your parents in high government office, so that she could have a more normal relationship to her peers. Also, it's no secret that the Washington, DC public schools have major problems. As a parent, I need to make the choices that are best for my child, and I was able to afford an expensive private school."]

Some more debate snippets:

CLINTON: I happen to agree that there is no military solution, and the Iraqis refuse to pursue the political solutions. In fact, I asked the Pentagon a simple question: Have you prepared for withdrawing our troops? In response, I got a

letter accusing me of being unpatriotic; that I shouldn't be asking questions...

...KUCINICH: The Democrats have failed the American people. When we took over in January, the American people didn't expect us to give them a Democratic version of the war. They expected us to act quickly to end the war. And here's how we can do it. It doesn't take legislation. That's a phony excuse to say that you don't have the votes. We appropriated $97 billion a month ago. We should tell President Bush, no more funds for the war, use that money to bring the troops home...

RICHARDSON: ...I believe we should bring all the troops home by the end of this year, in six months, with no residual forces -- no residual forces...

[But Clinton and Biden said you can't physically do it that quickly even if you wanted to. Here's Biden: "...there is not a single military man in this audience who will tell this senator he can get those troops out in six months if the order goes today. Let's start telling the truth. Number one, you take all the troops out. You better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die.."]

--

Here's the exchange that got a lot of coverage afterward:

QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We've been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.

COOPER: Senator Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don't want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy. And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

--

Snakes alive! These Burmese pythons are some seriously large snakes, and they're now cheek by jowl with the gators, the Nile Monitor Lizards and the Asian Swamp Eels down in South Florida. I smell a story! Reptiles "R" Us. Dang thing would write itself.

This one looks like it could eat a horse.

'The South Asian snakes, which can top 200 pounds and 20 feet, probably entered the park as discards or escapees from the bustling global trade in exotic pets. Year-old, footlong pythons are a popular $70 item at reptile fairs and on the Web but in a few years can reach room-spanning, cat-munching size, prompting some owners to abandon them by the roadside. That practice may not pose an ecological problem in Detroit, Mr. Snow said, but in a near-tropical Florida park, it is an unfolding nightmare. '

Years ago I did an invasive species story from South Florida, and what I'll never forget is the trip to Miami International Airport, to the special cargo area where the reptiles come in by the crateload. And the various arachnids and amphibeans and insects and whatnot. The whole Kingdom of Critters. I still think the global biological scramble is an underappreciated phenomenon. Let me see if I can dig up that story....please stand by ...

Here's the key passage:

A few invaders do have fangs, which is what keeps Todd Hardwick busy in South Florida. He drives a pickup with the words "Pesky Critters" on the side. He's the guy to call when you find a reptile in your swimming pool.

"Basically I capture animals from all over the world without ever leaving South Florida. Every day is an urban safari," he says, showing off what amounts to a private zoo in his back yard. He's got rheas, emus, iguanas, an Asian muttjack, and lots of snakes. A foghorn sound fills the air. That's from one of the rheas, an ostrichlike creature. It wants to mate.

"That's an Asian water monitor," he says, pointing to a caged lizard. "Six feet long, 50 pounds, cold-blooded predatory reptile. This thing rips, shakes and tears its prey apart."

Hardwick says there are 5,000 invasive primates on the loose in South Florida. He thinks the capuchin monkeys may be forming troops in the wild.

International traffic in exotic creatures grows every year. Prices are coming down. At one pet shop in Broward County recently the boa constrictors, normally $119, were on sale for $99. A python was only $59. An iguana: $11. "Great gift idea," a sign on the cage said.

Most of these creatures arrive at Miami International Airport. On a typical day recently the arrivals included scorpions, lizards, chameleons, tree frogs, king snakes and basilisks. "We're the hotbed for venomous reptiles," said Mike Barandiaran, a wildlife inspector for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

He was looking over an Air Canada shipment, making sure it didn't contain anything illegal. You can't import a Nile crocodile, for example, though he's seen people try. "They're used to feeding on large mammals in Africa," he said, "so a human being is not a big deal."

Barandiaran's method of inspection requires rapid peeking--he'll open the top of a sack ever so slightly even as some crazed lizard tries to poke its head out. Sometimes he uses a tube to look inside. Snakes are the least of his problems. The small mammals bite.

There are 12,000 shipments of animals a year here. There are eight inspectors.

In his office Barandiaran has a box with a foot-long caiman that arrived without proper papers. A caiman is similar to an alligator, and when small is prized as a pet. "That caiman will be six feet, possibly 10 feet, long," Barandiaran said. When the creature gets large and nasty, owners get spooked, and in many cases toss their pet into a canal.

The result: A colony of caimans is breeding near the Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 24, 2007; 8:34 AM ET
 
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Next: Be Careful What You Wish For

Comments

Hmm. Potentially radioactive reptiles. Could get dicey.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Har

Posted by: Boko99,999+1 | July 24, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Curses, foiled again.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The big one the officer is holding by the tail could be sliced-up and make a delicious bbq fo 20 or more guests.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 24, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" was the final episode of M*A*S*H. The episode aired on February 28, 1983 and was 2½ hours long. It was viewed by nearly 106 million Americans (77% of viewership that night) which established it as the most watched episode in United States television history, a record which stands to this day. The episode was seen by so many people that just after the end of the episode, the New York City Sanitation/Public Works Department reported the largest use of water ever around the city; apparently New Yorkers had been "holding it" through the show.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Hardwick says there are 5,000 invasive primates on the loose in South Florida." Apparently humans aren't included in that count.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 24, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Is there a Harry Potter tie-in here somewhere? Any loose dragons or basilisks?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 24, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Right you are SD. I was going to mention that I've heard they taste like bunny but I couldn't stand being beaten by RD so many times in one day.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Saw Son of Carl's post on the last boodle. All I can say, SoC, is that my dogs were traumatized enough by neutering; they certainly wouldn't have a dogbris.

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Radioactive reptiles? I feel a Blue Oyster Cult tune cootie coming on:

"With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound..."

Posted by: yellojkt | July 24, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

RUN!!
From the NYT article.
"There are several recorded deaths of pet owners in the United States strangled or suffocated by pythons."

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

...and I've been harping on responsible worm disposal.

CP-no virtue here, just willing to suck up some discomfort for one season so Frostdottir would have something to take her mind off Mr. F being deployed. It turned out to be a good move, though we've moved twice since that year she's stayed close to a couple classmates and swim friends.

Martooni-your fairy door workshop would be a good fit for the industrial park. You'd have ready access to certified sustainably harvested forest products. Alas, it is rather cold much of the year. In fact, we wouldn't mind drawing a high tech firm looking for free cold air to cool equipment.

Garden report-Morning glories are just about ready to bloom, at long last. Next year I will plant them earlier in window boxes then sink the boxes into the ground. (Idea stolen from a big resort with Disney style landscaping ambitions.) My direct sown plants are farther along than the transplants which had a 4 week jump start. How's that for transplant shock?

Some critter has dug up all of my fancy sunflower plants grown from a seed mix called "Monet." Each morning when I go to check on them another is pulled out of the ground as if deliberately harvested for its roots. No teeth marks or discernable tracks give the culprits away. The weedish sunflower volunteers from 'neath the bird feeder are ready to bloom.

The shade garden is a marvel in pinks, purple, white and green. The blue, and purple blue of Jacob's Ladder and columbine have given way to a second wave of lamium bloom, impatiens hitting their stride and campanula "Bowl of Cherries" taunting me for not buying a truck load of plants when they were available.

The prairie garden is a jumble of unidentifiable stuff that I have renamed "the wildflower test bed" to get Mr. F off my back. Either he still doesn't understand higglety pigglety, or I have gone round the bend. I reckon we are 6 days away from tomato ripeness.

Yipes, time to unlock the school for the summer music program. Toodles boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 24, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A great day for female talent:

1979 - Rose Byrne, Australian actress
1981 - Summer Glau, American actress
1982 - Anna Paquin, Canadian-born actress

Happy bday ladies.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

*too busy to make a comment, not that I could in any case*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

>Error, you will have Cincinnati chili if I have to come down there myself and make it.

Thanks Yoki, I appreciate the thought but I think dbG's got me covered. I can get to Philly in a half hour, save your frequent flyer miles!

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 24, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

EF will eat Cincy Chili prepared by Philly-DBG, with consultation by Yoki.

Delish.

EF study up, as you will need to answer this question: x-way, where x is a variable relating to (Wikiquote begins now --
When served over spaghetti, the chili is typically topped by a large mountain of shredded mild cheddar cheese (as much as will fit on top without it falling over the sides). Because of the large amount of cheese piled on top, the first few bites often consist entirely of cheese, at least for inexperienced diners. The serving method is based on (and is ordered in restaurants by) a traditional code. A "one-way" would be a bowl of chili only, but it is almost never ordered this way. A "two-way" is spaghetti topped with chili only. More typically, the chili is ordered as a "three-way" (noodles, sauce, and cheese only), "four-way" (with added red kidney beans or chopped raw white onions), or "five-way" (with added beans and onions). "Inverted" is the request to place the cheese under the chili so it melts. Dixie Chili offers a unique "six-way" with all of the above ingredients, plus chopped garlic.

I recommend the inverted six-way Cincy serving.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 24, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, I worked at GU hospital in 1981-1984 part-time while working on a masters (the first time). I then had my first child and had to get a regular M-F job. The masters was put on hold for 16 years (!) while raising 2 kids but I finally got it.

Mudge needs to be careful cause July is when first year med students and interns start their rotation and they are pretty clueless. Mudge, be sure and double check your IV solution and medications. Great, huh. It might be better there now with more electronic records and barcoding meds, etc. Take care, Mudge!

Posted by: birdie | July 24, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I am still a little agnostic about the long term effects of introduced species. It is still unclear to me if the ecosystem, as a whole, is really being destroyed or if it is simply being altered in ways that we may find aesthetically displeasing.

Obviously some indigenous populations suffer, which can be ugly, and the introduction of unfamiliar species can be disturbing and dangerous to people unaccustomed to them, but isn't this process just Darwinism in action? Might not the new ecosystem be just as stable and robust as the old one once things have settled down?

Perhaps am I being unrealistically sanguine because part of me thinks twenty foot snakes are kinda cool.

I mean, they certainly would help with the surplus ground hog population.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

EF: //And we always read the manual. *cough*//

Sounds like the fine, insouciant style of system administration that I follow myself, but it could just be a case of IT
gene cooties.

CP, Yoki's recipe for CC is my friend's mom's, from when we all lived in Cincinnati together. It includes a square of bitter chocolate for the required mole effect.

Yoki, perhaps you'd be kind enough to make dinner for all of us if you make it out this fall? (including that plum clafouti?) :-)

Posted by: dbG | July 24, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

RDP: //Perhaps am I being unrealistically sanguine because part of me thinks twenty foot snakes are kinda cool. //

Imagine the leftovers!

Posted by: dbG | July 24, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

>EF study up, as you will need to answer this question

Wowsers! I had no idea it was so complicated. I'm thinking I'd want to sneak up on a one-way and then skip to the three-way like da freeway.

Howzaboutthat?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 24, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

dbG - yep, I hear they taste like chicken.

(Oooh - just noticed the Yoda-like "am I" in my post. Curses.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

DBG -- I read your post as clam plafouti, which I think we should imagine, test, and make for Mudge's return to the brig, er make that bridge.

EF -- no bad choices on Cincy Chili. Just close your eyes and think on your beloved, gourmand of a step-father, Joey Dee.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 24, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

20 ft snakes are cool in Fl, please DoC just make sure they don't slither their way up here. How do you order snake meat at the snake store, by the foot? You get 3 ft of python for a party then some guests don't show up and you're stuck with a foot of leftover snake. One can give it to the local caimans I guess.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 24, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

>I mean, they certainly would help with the surplus ground hog population.

I dunno RD, I'm not sure that's a trade-off I'd make willingly. I think I'd be more comfortable with a dog. :-)

As it happens, so far so good on the groundhog front. It's kind of weird actually. Vewy vewy quiet and still. I think the birds are filling in a bit, and the bunnies haven't complained. The g-hog burrowed part of the garage is due for some major concrete work this week or next.

I've got to get some pictures of whatever's under there!

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 24, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

That will be fun! Of course. Maybe more than once. We'll do the Cincinnati chili dinner with clafouti (this is perfect for EF, I think, as the food is neither too spicy nor too sweet to appeal to his current palette). And then we'll do something equally appealing but more Canadian. How would that be?

My only reservation is that I usually travel with my knives and steel when I know I'm cooking; I'm thinking those won't pass security in my carry-on?

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

What you need Yoki, is a nice set of ceramic knives

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

>I usually travel with my knives and steel

You're coming to the US North East and worried about finding knives? :-)

There's all kinda steel around here. Of course much of it is blued or chromed...

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 24, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It has been brought to my attention that I am vastly underestimating the danger of invasive species. Although it is true that in the end a stable new ecological configuration will probably emerge, the transitional pain is something to be carefully avoided. Or, as it was put to me most forcefully, you don't go [messing] with Mother Nature.

But I still think the 20 foot snakes are cool.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Was taking a break from shop-cleaning and came across this piece by Dionne:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/23/AR2007072301361.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Nice to see the governor of my state is getting noticed. Of course, I voted for the guy, so that says something. Also note the usual reference to my town (Youngstown) as one of the hardest hit by globalization (very true).

If I could just figure out a way to box up and sell rust and hazardous waste materials, I could be a bazillionaire.

Posted by: martooni | July 24, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Think of the ecological shift from invasive species introduction as similar to filling a tooth, with no anesthetic. The new equilibrium state is equable and pleasant, as was the pre-cavity condition. However, there is a transition period that is ... uncomfortable.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

No problem then, we'll just forge some when I get there.

That reminds me. What I sell is lawyers' brainpower; services, soft advisory stuff, which is very hard to cost out. I often look with envy at tenders for "cold-rolled steel plates" and similar items. I think how easy it would be to respond to something like that.

omni, that is very funny. I'm such a dodgy-looking character, however, that my bags are frequently searched. I'm nervous even talking about it in jest; I can practically hear the helicopters.

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I am really tired about all these people complaining about "hearing helicopters." That is just crazy talk. Everyone knows that the new ones are acoustically damped.

Posted by: RD PAdouk | July 24, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah RD, it's when you don't hear helis that you need to be worried.

Posted by: omni | July 24, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - I hear you regarding the "cold-rolled steel plates" envy. As someone who has always been in the service industry, I often think it must be nice to point to something solid and substantial and say "I helped make this."

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

What I want to know is: are the helicopters really black? Or is it more of a deep navy?

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Rd, SciTim, invasive species is one of our bigger issues we deal with at work, the transition is indeed difficult and in this are very expensive to deal with.

Posted by: dmd | July 24, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Another prespective from a Burmese python
www.dailyprobe.com/arcs/102405/dp102405.shtml

Posted by: Stick | July 24, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I am very fond of reptiles, and large snakes in particular. That said, the sudden prevalence of pythons (and anaconda!?!) and other furrin, if not furry, critters in Florida is disturbing. [Please note critters may include bugs as well as fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, making it the perfect all-purpose term.] I mean, these aren't just invading from some other part of the vast expanse of the continental US, in which case one might argue they were native somewhere to the country. They really are invasive.

Also, of course, I deplore the habit of bringing home a critter because it is cool, cute, or threatening, then abandoning it once it becomes less than cool or cute, or too threatening. As we say when confronted with misbehavior, "Where are their mothers?" With luck, not eaten by the threatening critter. Though I suppose that would be a reason for parting with Fido the python.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 24, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, by any chance did you have Mrs. Neve for math in high school?

Posted by: CB | July 24, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Oops, Lindsy Lohan busted again. I'll bring you updates as I find out more.
Any recipes for purple loosestrife out there? We have a ton of it up here.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Another prespective from a Burmese python
www.dailyprobe.com/arcs/102405/dp102405.shtml

Posted by: Stick | July 24, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk,
If only that were true! Thinking biley, I hear myriad helicopters every day. Makes it hard to concentrate while on my screened porch.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 24, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" dealt with exotic pets that had been released and had formed colonies in cities. Really interesting!

I love the filling-a-tooth metaphor for ecological transition with introduced species. Except that you can't always count on a new steady state - you don't [mess] with Mother Nature, indeed.

Posted by: natalie | July 24, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

//RDP: ...I often think it must be nice to point to something solid and substantial and say "I helped make this."

==

What's it like as a writer, the difference between being "published" on the internet, where you are (theoretically at least) instantly accessible by anyone in the universe, versus being published in a book or newspaper, where you can hold the finished product in your hands, give it to people, shelve it, file it, really see it, and believe it might last forever.

Here's an article from Business Week about "paperless newspapers"

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_30/b4043029.htm

Jon Fine says, "Play with me on this one: Which major American newspaper should be the first to throw up its hands and stop publishing a print product?" and he even answers the question: The San Francisco Chronicle.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 24, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D, if you can hear the helicopters, they're not coming for you.

Kind of like the snakes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 24, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes Boko, the invading plants are more of a problem up here. We do have the occasional problem of range extension (such as the arrival of the eastern cottontail and the coyote) and the occasional european import such as starlings and buntings but pythons and caimans would not do well in the Rideau canal in January. And there are the loathfull Japanese beetles of course.
On the other hand my backyard is under constant attack from buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). The birds are obviously distributing the seeds freely.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 24, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Nope, my high school math teachers were, let me see now... Mr. Lafferty, for sure. And, um, two others, whose names I don't recall, neither of whom was a "Mrs." at the time. Why? Was it something I said?

If you wonder whether you know me from real life, you could always try my storytelling web site at
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/timtales/

I have found that the sites that feature me as a scientist or science educator tend to be kind of embarrassingly old, as if the people involved have died or something. Nope; just lazy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Added some stuff to the kit and flipped the two items, fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 24, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Nature, red, in tooth and claw...

You just can't make this stuff up.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070723coyotejul23,1,5162431.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 24, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, don't forget earwigs!! I had a wonderful professor my last year of university who started the first class (and his first class after a return from sabbatical), with the history of the earwig in the Ottawa area. Had nothing to do with the course but very amusing all the same.

Zebra Mussels - enough said

Posted by: dmd | July 24, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It would have been kind of nice if Sen. Clinton had answered the question about public vs. private schools more forthrightly: "We sent our daughter to a private school in which it's not that much out of the ordinary to have your parents in high government office, so that she could have a more normal relationship to her peers. Also, it's no secret that the Washington, DC public schools have major problems. As a parent, I need to make the choices that are best for my child, and I was able to afford an expensive private school. The answer to our nation's education problems, however, is not to offset the cost of sending more children to expensive private schools, because that would leave many children with public schools that are even more troubled and desperate for resources. The answer is to provide public school for everyone and to make the public schools better, so that every child has the opportunity for the kind of excellent education that would be limited to the privileged few by a system that relies on private schools."

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Earwigs are disgusting little critter allright. Especially when they form a clump. It makes be wish for a flamethrower. Speaking of which boko, lots of grilled chicken not too far from your place: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=7e8b623e-73cd-4c5f-b11b-efdc352c9ac8&k=76343

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 24, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Ew, earwigs! The most disgusting thing I ever experienced (OK, not the most, but close) was picking up one of my grandmother's old folding lawn chairs and having literally thousands of earwigs pour out of the aluminum tube structure.

I think the very most digusting was, having arrived in Mumbai at midnight after a 30 hour saga-journey, making my way to the "First Class" hotel near the airport, jumping into the shower, and having a centipede literally the length of my forearm crawl up out of the drain and over my foot as soon as the water hit it. Did you know that one can turn off water, open shower curtain, exit bath, grab and don towel and find oneself standing on the balcony of a hotel room 16 feet from the bathroom, all without conscious thought and within 1.2 seconds? One can!

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Did one draw a large crowd standing on the balcony in a a towel? :-)

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

Fortunately, it was about 2:00 am when that happened, so not as large you would expect in one of the world's mega-cities. Thank goodness! Most Indian men already think western women are loose; just think what prejudices might arise.

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that makes my skin crawl, just reading about it. I hope Himself was able to take care of it and that you took your shower and rested comfortably afterwards!

Posted by: Slyness | July 24, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you are so sweet! Himself was 3000 miles away, looking after the wee girls. I was all alone!

No, what I did, was, I got dressed, picked up my bag and spent the rest of the night in the hotel's coffee shop until the airport reopened and I could catch my connecting flight to Chennai.

For all I know, that centipede moved his whole family into the hotel room. They could still be there! Maybe I'll get a bill one day.

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Alberto is outdoing himself on the Hill today:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/benchconference/2007/07/post_39.html?hpid=topnews

The exchange with Schumer is breathtaking.

Posted by: bill everything | July 24, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you are a brave woman. My scream would probably haven woken everybody within half a mile.

When I first worked for the fire department, our office was in a building constructed in 1925. We didn't see them often, but once in a while a roach would come out, looking for water. They were three inches long, and I don't exaggerate. Disgusting!

Of course, the firefighters were in the adjacent station, and they talked about the size of the rats in the basement. Big as cats, they said. I never ventured down there to see.

Posted by: Slyness | July 24, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of new ecological equilibriums arising after invaders arrive, I don't like to think of south Florida turning into something like low-elevation Hawaii, where you see almost no native plants or birds. As much as I like coconuts and mynah birds, individually (and maybe even the occasional African tulip tree), it's disheartening to see them all together, in large numbers.

In the 1800s, the British decided that Ascension Island in the South Atlantic needed a forest, so botanists duly imported seemingly suitable species. The island now has a cloud forest composed entirely of introduced plant species. The fact that the forest is a functioning ecosystem kind of put the lie to the notion that "ecological communities" must evolve together over great lengths of time.

On the positive side in south Florida, the native crocodiles are doing nicely and seem to be more compatible with people than alligators.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 24, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Tinkered with the kit some more.

Also talked to Mudge. He'll be in the hospital until Thursday. Doing fine.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 24, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Back in the day when I was in DC, lawyers were fleeing Justice like rats fleeing a sinking ship, and that was the Reagan years. In retrospect, that was some kind of shining model of jurisprudence. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be an attorney at Justice now.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 24, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

But, Joel! You cut the zinger, where I suggest that Sen. Clinton should then have decried the notion that access to expensive private schools is the solution to the nation's education problems.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

So, I wonder -- should lawyers at DoJ conduct a massive and public resignation in an attempt to shame the Bushies, who are incapable of shame, thereby leaving the crazies free to fill all the posts with ideological cohorts? Or, is it better to try to wait them out, preventing the worst excesses but tacitly accepting the wretched joke that Gonzales and Bush make every time they mouth the phrase "rule of law", hoping for responsible government to arrive on January 20, 2009, to save the day and the nation?

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

I am very appreciative to Joel for including actual transcript excerpts.

Is the full transcript available anywhere? I didn't bother to try and watch, because when I hear YouTube, I think no captioning.

The internet video on CNN site has no captioning, and I can't find a transcript.

Too many news websites that caption their TV news religiously fail to do the same with their internet videos, over and over again. They don't even provide a transcript alternative for their "video stories".

Most video editing software HAVE the ability to caption them as well. It doesnt cost anything but labor and time. I'm fed up with such idiocy; it's why I stick to print media websites for my news.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - you got ink. Be honored.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I think everybody, including all state governors should vote to phone their congressmen and representatives and strongly suggest they impeach the current administration in an unanimous vote overnight.

We the People. Not Us the Executive Branch.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

And since I believe Congress authorizes the salaries of the Executive Branch and the secret service, they could simply do a payroll freeze.

Congressional privilege, no?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, sure, I got ink -- but what will this lopsided portrayal do to my chances to become President Clinton's science adviser?

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to be lied to, it's another to be lied to so badly. Either Gonzales is stupid or he isn't even trying. I wonder if he ever worked for Ed Meese.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

If you think you could pass an background investigation already, especially with your BPH reputation, I'd say your chances are good.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh no Tim, you could get a job as science advisor to a Republican and spend more time with the ScienceKids.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

That's a good point, Boko; lotsa free time as a science adviser to the Repubs. My job would be to insulate them from actual advice. So long as the position is salaried, not based on billable hours, I'm there. Would I make enough in a month to call it a significant haul before they fire me for publicly criticizing my masters and calling them know-nothing fools, ignorami, and wicked tools of Satan? (The Satan thing is to get the evangelical ecologists on my side, too.)

I think Gonzales is not even trying to be plausible in his lying. He just needs to avoid saying something sufficiently specific that it could be used to accuse him of perjury. Gonzo and his boss are demonstrating complete contempt for the concept of government responsive to the people. For them, these hearings are merely a tiresome annoyance that must be endured. Meanwhile, the job of the senators is to get him to make an overt and demonstrable lie by encouraging him to keep opening his yap. The purpose of this little show is not to evoke truth, which they know he won't offer; the purpose is to keep giving him opportunities to stick his head through the noose, so that they have something specific and provable to use in impeaching him. So far, he hasn't made the sale.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, the best parts always get cut for space.

WELCOME TO MY LIVING HELL.

Maybe some people should go over to The Trail and post a few comments.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 24, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Wilbrod, I'm in good shape for the character-assassination part of the process: one spouse, no post-marital affairs, no unusual pre-marital history, only one former girlfriend who really doesn't like me now, no misdemeanors, no felonies, two moving violations (in my youth), no illegal drug use, no alcoholism, public service, no shady business deals (heck, no business deals). Where I'm lacking is in the area of that whole "eminence" thing -- I am not eminent (and certainly not a gray eminence). I have not been a captain of industry nor of academe. I have not managed a budget of billions, nor even millions, nor have I managed a workforce of thousands or more. I have no record in public policy or international relations.

If I were recommending, I already know who I would recommend:
http://cisac.stanford.edu/people/christopherfchyba/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/authorarchive/?christopher-chyba/2007/01/

Chris got his foreign-policy experience as a junior science-policy advisor in the first Clinton administration. However, he refused to take my advice to go berate Bill for not sticking up for his candidate to the bitter end with Lani Guinier. Sometimes, you need to take a principled loss, and that seemd like an appropriate time. Perhaps it's because he basically never actually saw Bill. Like I said, he was junior back then.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 24, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I had the opportunity earlier today to do some reading on arboriculture and happened across the wonderfully named Pterocarya fraxinifolia - the Caucasian Wing-Nut.

Just wanted to share that.

Might come in useful in later, you know.

I might even be tempted to change my handle.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 24, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

>Would I make enough in a month to call it a significant haul before they fire me for publicly criticizing my masters and calling them know-nothing fools, ignorami, and wicked tools of Satan?

1. interesting Ignoramus etymology

C16 (as the endorsement made by a grand jury on an indictment considered to be backed by insufficient evidence to bring before a petty jury): Latin: "we do not know"

2. In direct response to the question, the key is to generate enough media heat to propel a book tour and speaking engagements

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 24, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Truthfully, I'm stting here giggling because now that someone has done a YouTube debate, you have got to know that there will be youtube debates for every tom, dick and harry election. Translated to Canadian elections...I cannot wait. I even know my question.

Posted by: dr | July 24, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Goodness, I love the internets(although I'm a bit shamefaced, not being up to date on the Pluto/Neptune relationship, no excuse really). It seems Prof. Guinier got the same treatment Jocelyn Elders got when she tried to advocate tying policy to the reality on the ground.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I think we'll just call the next troll that, SoC ;).

SciTim, I kind of figured that. Although anybody can be swift-boated, it takes more effort for some people.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Jeez Boss, if ya gotta yell why not go to
http://blog.360.yahoo.com/pop_socket
He loves it.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I imagine that writers feel the same way about editors as music fans do about "best of" albums.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 24, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Founding Father Quote for the Day:

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither freedom or safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin. Was that even mentioned in the Youtube debates?

I wouldn't know.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I posted what I intended to be an intelligent comment at "The Trail." You can tell it's by me because it contains a ludicrous typo.

Sigh.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 24, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW "viscous barracuda" is now available as a boodle handle.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 24, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I miss Molly
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/05/19/ivins.impeachment/index.html

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Ok, now I do know... found the transcript

Part 1 (with a link to part 2)

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/23/debate.transcript/index.html

Reading it now. Those guys actually sound funny to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Ok, now I do know... found the transcript

Part 1 (with a link to part 2)

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/23/debate.transcript/index.html

Reading it now. Those guys actually sound funny to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Trail?

Mark? Appalachian? Heritage?

*post-work confusion deluxe*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 24, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Snuke - it's the new WaPo blog Joel was soliciting comments for. You gotta be registered though.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/07/24/hillary_blames_the_media.html

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 24, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Ya gotta watch out for those 'cuda slicks'

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, SOC, great idea! We'll name or rename the trolls. Suggested protocol:

a post which defines the time and/or name if they've used one, then the newly christened name.

We did it with Pop Socket, and he turned out all right!

Posted by: dbG | July 24, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Oregon Trail? Trail Mix? Hit The? I'm so confused.

Posted by: pop_socket | July 24, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Taa Daa!!

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Not so confused as to stop you from posting a comment at 7:04pm on the Trail site. Gee, ya gotta know people watch that sh|t.
If you want to destroy public education, cancel foreign aid, defund the social safety net and sleep with Bay Buchanan you have to keep on your toes.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Ewwww. I boodleskimmed really quickly to avoid the critters with no feet. So I may be missing things.

Back boodling - I have the spelling gene too, as does most of my father's family. I'm also surprised by lilies. My Four O'Clocks usually winter over, which is why I didn't worry about starting more this spring. But for some reason, none of them have come up (we had a cold snap that took out my tree ferns, too).

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 24, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

White-knuckle moments in the WSJ/Murdoch saga:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118532009200176867.html?mod=home_whats_news_us

Interviews with more than a dozen family members, outside advisers, lawyers and others involved in the process suggest that the outcome remains too close to call. What has seemed to many analysts like a logical move -- accepting a $60-a-share bid for a company whose shares previously had been trading in the mid-30s -- is still in question amid the deep emotions the bid has stirred. Participants said more doubts about a News Corp. deal were apparent at the end of the six-hour session than at the beginning.

However, it will still be difficult to block the transaction, given that it would take only a few players to deliver a deal to Mr. Murdoch.

...At the meeting, among those arguing against the deal was another important trustee, Christopher Bancroft, also a Dow Jones director. Mr. Bancroft, 55, said he saw no need to sell the company. He said Dow Jones was worth more than $60 a share. Pacing as he spoke, he told the group that "we're not broken," participants say. He said selling to Mr. Murdoch was a bad deal, and the family was about to "sell the milk cow for beef."

...Mr. Bancroft -- who emerged from the meeting shortly before 7 p.m. wearing a baseball cap embroidered with a picture of fishing lure and the line "Bite Me" -- said it was still unclear whether the family would support the bid.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 24, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Note, by the way, the very very rare quintuple byline on that WSJ story.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 24, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I just got out of the hospital last Thursday. Left leg!

Mudge, I'm a week ahead of you. When you get out, maybe we can share a few words on hospital food? or perhaps nurses?

Posted by: Pat | July 24, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think anything could make my skin crawl more than earwigs until I saw Gonzo's testimony today. He just doesn't care if he looks like he's lying because he knows his boss won't fire him and Congress doesn't have the spine to do anything to him. I too wonder if we really will have elections next year. This administration is way beyond belief in its skullduggery.

But on a more pleasant but oddly related subject, I too find snakes interesting, RD. As I've written here before, #2 daughter has a red-tailed boa about 8 to 10 feet long - we're not sure as we can't get him to straighten out for measurement. Sent her the link to the picture of the police officer holding the tail of that very long snake, she was impressed.

I can't work up much interest in the sale of the WSJ, but I like what Mr. Bancroft was wearing on his head.

I neglected to say welcome back to Pat. Glad to have you here again. Martooni, just keep up the meetings and don't think too much.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 24, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not sure I understand all the argy bargy surrounding the WSJ, Dow Jones sale. We've been told that the news section consists of objective (see Aspen Daily News homage to HST) journalists while everyone on the editorial staff is sharing Koolaid with Bill Kristol. I don't see how it could get any worse/better and frankly, who cares? I can't read the crap in their rag without a subscription and if I had the coin I'd spend it at NYT to see what the goddess MoDowd was pronouncing.
I suppose it looks different to people in the business.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Pat! I took Buddy out on the deck a while ago, the sky was wild and I thought of you. The moon is at 3/4 Full (waxing or waning, I don't know) lighting a strip of cloud that intersected the Milky Way at almost 90 degrees. Very cool. Venus (I think) is lovely.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi there! I haven't been keeping up with the Boodle, but this morning the sky was interesting, gray clouds with a pinkish gray backdrop where the sun was rising, and thought of Pat. So I thought I should drop by. Hi Pat!

I must back-boodle to find out why Mudge is in the hospital! Get well soon, whatever your ailment may be.

And hello! to all you other Boodlers.

Posted by: ac in sj | July 24, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Boko999, this just shows me you *still* don't get the whole journalistic separation of church (editorial) and state (journalism). I feel really reely sorry for you.

I do not share the rightist editorial views of the WSJ (Bancrofts), but I have (had, used to have) the highest confidence in its reporting.

For pity's sake, man, give reporters the credit they are due!

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

It's the big shark circling around another sinking newspaper. Of course it gets the newspaper industry folks jittery--

After all, what if the conservative businessman then has NO news source except Murdoch?...

I actually delivered the Wall Street journal for a brief while, and I must say I found the public interest stories good-- profiles of various people, and some interesting facts as well. There was always one such story on page 1.

The rest of it, I wouldn't be able to read without snoring most of the time.

Finance isn't my game, although I really don't know why.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 24, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Lemme see. I said there were objective (hee hee) journalists in the news section and idealogues on the editorial board.
Nope. I'm happy. I don't see your problem.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Very clever, you two.

Posted by: Yoki | July 24, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

And I would never think to question your social democratic values. so untwist them.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

ac in sj, so good to hear from you! I wondered where you were! This is old home week - Pat just resurfaced, Sara dropped by, martooni's hanging in there, Mudge should be back soon. He had a flare up of cellulitis.

birdie, we missed each other by quite a few years, but nice to know that you've got ties to Georgetown.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 24, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Oops.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 24, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I just did something I seldom do. I watched the last two hours or so of Alberto's testimony on C-Span. Extraordinary. I hope Joel comments on it, but even if he doesn't this has got to have some legs in blogdom.

Scary part; the Schumer exchange I linked to in "Bench Conference" was only one of many, many ingenuous statements. Basically, Alberto, without saying so, because he knows the penalty for doing so, called Comey a liar.

It was really an unbelievable performance; based on a combination of the fact that Congress can't do anything to him personally as long as he doesn't perjure himself and, because of that, if anyone asked a question he didn't want to answer he would just provide a non-responsive response.

I know he is just a pawn in the Bush/Cheney game but this guy was a partner at one the premier law firms in the country. I honestly think at this point that John Mitchell, really, did less to discredit the practice of law in this country than this idiot.

That is pretty disgusting and, basically, how Sen. Leahy (without my reference to Mitchell) ended the hearing.

Posted by: bill everything | July 24, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, yes, living in Arlington at the time, my commute to Georgetown Hospital was short and sweet. Ah the memories... My next job and for the next nearly ten years was just off the 14th Street Bridge, working for a large company and often telecommuting when the concept was fairly new. My goal was to make money and spend precious time with my children. It worked pretty well for a number of years until I was bored silly with the job. All of this is one reason I can't stop reading the WP and the boodle. Washington D.C. and metro area has been a big part of my life.

Where are you from now, the West coast?

Posted by: birdie | July 24, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

//but this guy was a partner at one the premier law firms in the country

-rising to become Secretary of State of Texas in 1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, both appointments made by Governor Bush.-wiki
Disgusting. Where's Molly?

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I was glancing through a book on how to write by some guy, I forget his name. However, Dave Barry said " he knew more about writing than anybody he knew".

Many good tips, although he aroused my argumentative nature by his style preferences.

He had a chapter on Tom Swifties, and he pointed out Rowlings was a poor writer because she overused adverbs as in he "said angrily".

That's not inappropriate for a children's book, actually. It would be inappropriate for a WSJ column, but when do you see children reading the WSJ?

Children are at a language level where they are still learning how to "hear dialogue", and you would not want to ruin that by using words they may not recognize like "groused" or "snarled" as they may take them too literally, or be confused.

I think Rowlings made the correct choice in using simple verbs and adverbs there. Write for your audience everytime.

As this writing teacher says never had a proper education in the easy usage of semicolons and colons, he refuses to use them, saying they clutter up the page and are awkward beasties to read.

I say: one, lists are clear and concise; two, clarity is also beauty; three, a teacher should teach tools, not prejudices.

He inspired me to develop a counter-exercise to every exercise he used.

"Write a paragraph without adverbs."

"Write a paragraph amply filled with adverbs everywhere you can safely jam one. Trim to your taste, then compare with first paragraph written without adverbs."

"Her bosom heaved..." (as she drew a long breath after her crying jag. Dirty minds, the lot of you!)
"Her bosom rose shudderingly as she hiccuped after her crying jag..."


Posted by: Wilbrod | July 25, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

As long as I'm an inspiration for people to look up, I'm staying right here, but just a practical cautionary note for all those who like to gaze at the clouds, planets, stars and galaxies as they stride: please, watch your step, a 20-footer could be coiled right there. Ugh! the things I fear!

Posted by: at | July 25, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Oops, the 12:17 was me. Eyes are getting very droopy. Goodnight!

Posted by: Pat | July 25, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Boko, glad you picked up on that one line in my post. Sometimes I wonder to what extent my profession contains charlatans. As with other professions, we try to claim that we lawyers can discipline and maintain professional competency by self-policing ourselves. Other professions try to do the same.

I guess others have to decide whether, as a society, that is acceptable.

Alberto is not helping our cause.

Posted by: bill everything | July 25, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I have no animus toward lawyers. I'd rather live in a land of laws than a land of strongmen. I just wish I could pick and choose. Oh, guess what? Catch me.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

It's 50 years since Justine, the first part of The Alexandria Quartet, was published. Any others who were totally taken by that set some time in their 20s? Also, my vocabulary grew by maybe 10% -- I kept a notebook of the new words I learned.

http://www.theamericanscholar.org/su07/quartet-trueheart.html

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I've been in Seattle for about 20 years now. Time flies, eh? I was in the DC area for about 10 years - most of the '70s.

My husband thinks there won't be elections in 2008. I hope he's wrong. bill, I watch C-SPAN for the hearing reruns sometimes, but I can't bring myself to watch Gonzales. I can't believe he won't resign. It's really a shame what this administration has done.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Catching back up to the Boodle after a good day out with my daughters...

Spoke to Mudge this evening, as Joel points out, we're unlikely to see him Boodling again until Friday at the earliest. He did ask me to relay this, and I quote: "Tell Loomis that I think *she* should take the Shop Steward duties while I'm out."

On another note, I used to work close to Sidwell, and used to bump into Ms. Clinton in some of the local resturants on Wisconsin Ave during lunch hour, seemed like a nice normal young lady. I was pleased that she had a good amount of freedom, but I worried a bit for her safety. No, not from reporters.

Goodnight, Boodle.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 25, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

The only Justine I've heard of is the one by De Sade.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 25, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I knew of The Alexandria Quartet, but never read it - maybe my brother had the books. It's on my list. Of course, I picture Durrell as Tyrone Power in The Razor's Edge.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I loved the quartet. I'm pleasantly suprised to know an American knows it. Outside of a few literate people like Mudge yanks are woefully ignorant of writers like Durrell(brother of the zookeepeer), the Waughs, Graham Greene not to mention playwrights like Stoppard.
Yoki has mentioned the Quartet when we were making lists.
Lawrence Durrel was a great friend of Henry Miller(one of my fav 'Merkin authors).
Still, the greatest writer in english in the 20 century was Graham Greene. IMO

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Whee we're into Loomis territory. I'm related to Somerset.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

hey ac, whassup? good to hear from you.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 25, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Greene is also at or near the top of my list. Durrell and Kingsley Amis were up near the top but slipped down a bit as I learned more about their personal lives. Hmm.... those are all English.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

...and Le Carre is also English

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Of course my opinion may be way off. I admire Ford Maddox Ford but wouldn't give you a nickel for DH Lawrence.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I love Le Carre and Graham Greene, Maugham, Hardy. And don't forget the Brontes, du Maurier, Austen.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I had just read Kingsley Amis' "Jakes Thing" and I was installing drapes at the Royal Ottawa Hospital (a mental institution, good food) in a woman psycologist's office. I was crawling along over the bookshelves trying to get the window coverings up when I looked down and saw a book with the title "Male Tumescence and/or whatever" in it and started giggling while she was there doing whatever important work those kind of people do. Anyway, she gave me such a look I found myself explaining why I was laughing while not giving away the point of the book which is that sex therapists are full of crap.
I guess you had to be there.
I do know this. If you have to eat hospital food, choose a mental.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Just for fun. If you want to laugh your a$$ off read J.P. Donleavey's "The Onion Eaters."

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 2:08 AM | Report abuse

There were 2 or 3 occasions last year when the fire dept caught pythons over 20 ft. They were caught without much hoopla since they couldn't move - probably swallowed a kid (as in not a small human). Don't know if they were Burmese pythons. I have a few times dreamt of being chased by snakes so I wasn't about to look at the picture closely. Most upsetting dreams.

I think the fire dept released them further inside the jungle instead of having python leftovers. I'm glad the longest snake I saw in my back yard was only around 5' and that was that unsavory legless critter that flattens its jowl at will and hissed at me.

I might not see many critters in my back yard anymore since a developer have started to clear a large part of the forest to build houses. My dogs' 'playmates' (the monkeys) were forced to find new homes elsewhere. In the last 11 years since I was here, I have seen large parts of the forest being cleared to build houses and strip malls and it is still going on.

Posted by: rain forest | July 25, 2007 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Buddy999 likes species other than his. He's great friends with several cats and has been in the same room with ferrets without trying to chomp them. As for the likes of me:

I'm a fleabit peanut monkey
All my friends are junkies
That's not really true

Im a cold italian pizza
I could use a lemon squeezer
What you do?

But Ive been bit and I've been tossed around
By every she-rat in this town
Have you, babe?

Well, I am just a monkey man
Im glad you are a monkey woman too

I was bitten by a boar
I was gouged and I was gored
But I pulled on through

Yes, I'm a sack of broken eggs
I always have an unmade bed
Dont you?

Well, I hope we're not too messianic
Or a trifle too satanic
We love to play the blues

Well I am just a monkey man
Im glad you are a monkey, monkey woman too, babe

Im a monkey
Im a monkey
Im a monkey man
Im a monkey man
Im a monkey...

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 3:05 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/science/24geck.html

It's nice to know that geckos can contribute. In this region, geckos are public enemy # 1 for anybody who has to clean the house. You could easily be a full time cleaner of gecko poop. There's just no way to get rid of them permanently. Even the pest man couldn't do anything.

Posted by: rain forest | July 25, 2007 3:18 AM | Report abuse

very nice, boko999.

Posted by: rain forest | July 25, 2007 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Well them's Stone's lyrics. I've moved on to Aqualung and I'm up 36 bucks on partypoker so I guess you'd call this evening a success.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 3:41 AM | Report abuse

36 bucks is alot of money.

Posted by: rain forest | July 25, 2007 3:53 AM | Report abuse

When the minimum bet is $.50 it's not unrespectable

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 4:40 AM | Report abuse

*almost-caffeinated Grover waves*

My head's a little too empty at this point for anything else...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear the sky is lightening. Best snooze.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 5:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Did not have time to read all the comments, will try later today or tonight. Busy day ahead, and so tired already. Eye still feeling okay.

The word "a go-go" made me think about that song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to A Go-Go". I love that song. And it is so old. A classic indeed, but still has the power to inspire.

I hate I missed the debates, although it is early to try and keep up with this stuff. I agree with what Obama says about talking. Diplomacy has gotten bad publicity from this administration. It seems they only understand guns and blood, which doesn't leave much room for anything else.

I see the actress Lindsay Lohon is having trouble with her addictions. I wonder where this young woman's parents are, and why aren't they helping. She needs a stable person in her life. She's way too young to start out life this way.

Hope every one has a good day.

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

And Micheal Vick doesn't get it. He does not understand how low what he did is. He probably thinks because we're talking animals here that it is no big deal, but it is. He needs help too.

It seems people in this country, and other countries too, have come to think that killing is normal. It's no biggie. It is truly sad.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 25, 2007 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra. I didn't watch the debates either. I already know I'll vote for the Democrat, so I'm only half paying attention.

I suppose I'm just not into 20th century literature. I remember reading one Graham Greene novel, don't remember which one, and didn't care for it at all.

I hope Michael Vick gets the help he needs to understand the enormity of what he has done. Thank heavens we have moved beyond the notion that dogfighting (cockfighting, bearbaiting) is fun entertainment. Now, if we could just get the current administration to understand that its members are not exempt from the rule of law...I know, pipe dream.

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 7:15 AM | Report abuse

From Today's Miss Manners column, I offer this sentence:

"When I worked in the steel mill, one of the rules was "the load has the right of way." In other words, you stepped aside when approached by someone carrying equipment or materials to allow them passage."


I love the image evoked by the opening clause. I like the evidence that manners are part of factory life, as well as on, say, golf courses.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 25, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

>Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Jumbo-Squid-Invasion.html

I feel a B-Movie coming on... "The Fighting Calamari of Humboldt County"?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

With Lance Henriksen as the ignored marine biologist who ultimately saves the day, eh Error?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I like squid but I don't think jumbo squid nice. Probably rubbery.

Posted by: rain forest | July 25, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm fascinated by the NBA betting scandal. This could be huge -- particularly if it's not, as Stern says, a case of an isolated, rogue criminal. I'm guessing that others could be found out via statistical analysis...for example:

According to Bell, from Jan. 1, 2007, to the end of the regular season, the opening betting line -- the number that states which team is favored and by how many points -- of 12 games officiated by Donaghy changed 1 1/2 or more points, which is an indication that a lot of money had been bet. In those 12 games in which the money was predominately on one side, the money was right in 10 of them.

"Guys betting big money were right 10 out of 12 times," Bell said. "To me, that's a key number. Going 10-2, the odds of that are only 2 percent randomly."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072402259.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Another piece on Hillary as "Hillary," yet once again ignoring my own extremely valuable contributions to the issue.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/907tlyip.asp

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

>With Lance Henriksen as the ignored marine biologist who ultimately saves the day, eh Error?

Works for me. Maybe we can get Harold Heckubah to produce. Is Annette Funicello available for cameos?

Just a flyer here, but I'm thinking Robert Downey Jr. in there somewhere.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps Downey could be the town's "free spirit" who first sees the squid and is blithely ignored?

JA, I think we'll have to wait to see if any other refs are indicted or come forward. Statistics only take you so far in this case. I mean, you'd have to somehow correlate calls/non-calls with an actual betting outcome, and I can't see that being anything more than circumstantial in this case.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I am thinking that the must be some mention of squid in the upcoming Simpson's movie.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072402313.html?hpid=topnews

mmmmmmmmmm Squid mmmmmmmm

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 25, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

I'm off to hang a wallpaper border for a customer, but just had to pop in for a sec to say how much I appreciate you guys (and Joel, too).

Have a very groovy day...

Peace.

[5]

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Hang ten, martooni!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning friends. Please forgive me for being so dramatically off-topic, but I received bit of a jolt this morning. My doctor died. Now, I should not be surprised, because I've known for some time that she had brain cancer, and she hasn't seen patients since January. But as I was scanning the Metro section this morning, I saw her obit. I had one of those moments that felt like the breath had been sucked out of my lungs.

This is a doctor that would take as much time as needed to talk a patient through a decision and to understand the patient herself. Even after her diagnosis, her focus remained squarely on the patient, even when the patient was whining about ailments that paled in comparison to hers. She was a sole practitioner, a dying breed these days, and unfortunately had to spend too much of her time fighting insurance companies and advocating for her patients. The world has lost another of the good guys.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm very, very sorry to hear that, Raysmom. *HUGSSSSS*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, martooni, on that first horizontal tick-mark.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, sorry to hear about your doc, that's sad news.

I'm off to OC for a few days with the girls, I'll try to check in while I'm there. Maybe more time for Boodling than I've had in the last week.

Need to get one of those turkey fryers for giant Calamari, I think.

As far as the NBA betting scandal, it looks like they've isolated Donaghy statistically, so maybe that's as far as it goes - for referees, anyway.

Maybe not, though.

Have a good day, everyone, and martooni - I'm glad you're still on it, but if things look tough, please ask for help, buddy.

We want you to succeed.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 25, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I'm sorry to hear about your doctor. You'll miss her, I'm sure, and find her hard to replace.

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

BC -- hit up "shark" mini golf for us...ya know, the INDOOR one that is good for avoiding peak cancer-rays.

Raysmom -- I read that too. I am a devoted reader of obits, but I think others here do that too. TBG, is that you? Sorry. Sad. Young son now motherless.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 25, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom,
I can't say I know enough people to more than glance at the obits, but your doctor sounds like a terrible loss. There are not enough patient advocates out there. Sorry for your loss.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

At the Outlook meeting this week (Mondays 11:30ish) we talked a little bit about doing a gambling story, tied to the Vick case and the NBA case. But we didn't go forward -- though I do wonder if there's a piece there, somewhere. The Vick case is so much about animal cruelty that it's not really a "gambling" story. But I do think that gambling is somewhat overlooked day to day in the newspaper -- it's a huge industry, bigger than ever, and the danger is that many of our favorite national sports will become subsidaries of the gambling industry.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, sorry to hear about the loss of your doctor.

Martooni - keep going!

Off for a couple of days of work outside the office have a good day all.

Joel my husband and I were talking about the NBA issue and Michael Vick last night, two ugly stories that put a pall on the sport. My husband did smugly state that the NHL does not release the name of the referees before game time.

Posted by: dmd | July 25, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

JA -- online poker is emerging as a vulnerability for some men in college: addiction, money troubles, disengagement from school and community....in short, drop-out with huge debt troubles and addiction troubles to boot.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 25, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Purple Loosestrife mentioned by a Canouckie? earlier (boodling on the sly), here is a useful US sheet from the National Park Service.

http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/lysa1.htm

Locally, on the Anacostia waterway (the Orphan Annie River in DC) I see that the loosestrife is nearly completely gone. However, just yesterday, near a shoulder on a service roadway on the UMCP campus, I saw a huge stand of loosetrife. It is magenta-purpley and lovely! However, I emailed the campus peeps for both physical plant/grounds AND the academic sorts. Let's see how long it takes to disappear. Locally, responsible gardners substitute Liatris, or Blazing Star, as a substitute, at least for the color.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 25, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

In horse-racing, gambling is incorporated so thoroughly that it is acknowledged as the point of the activity. Of course, in that case, the athletes cannot be swayed by the offer of a monetary bribe. The athletes' "managers", however (the jockeys), can be influenced by money, so gambling maintains a hold over the outcome of the event.

What is the point of professional athletics, if not to gamble? The athletes gamble, the owners gamble. Athletes' earnings are based on demonstrated probabilities of success, with the hope that the athlete doesn't crap out before he has made his haul. The owners conduct a complex experiment in probability, gambling that they have purchased a high enough probability of success on the field that the fans will pay to see events to an extent that exceeds the owner's payroll expenses. The only ones who are expected to exhibit pure amateurism -- participation for the love of the game -- are the fans, who pay money to see other people compete, with no expectation of significant tangible gain. Denying fans the right to gamble on sports seems kind of petty, considering that's what everyone else is doing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 25, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Frostniece#2 attends Warwick Hish in Newport News, VA- Vick's alma mater. More on his rep in the community later, but I wanted to see what the NN Daily Press was saying. Local boy besmirching city image and all-
Some legal commentary and a timeline in a story about the indictment:
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-89952sy0jul22,0,1403389.story

California minor league baseball team is offering free admission to folks bringing a Michael Vick jersey to burn.
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-now-vickprotest.jl25,0,5367156.story?coll=hr_tab01_layout

Posted by: frostbitten | July 25, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Gambling is one of those vices that holds absolutely no appeal for me. Part of me thinks it's because I'm reasonably affluent and, hence, have no great desire for additional wealth. But it is my understanding that the lure of gambling is more than just a lust for money. I am told that some find it as thrilling as sexual passion.

I find this very, very difficult to imagine.

Of course, maybe it's because I haven't really given it enough of a try. My experience with gambling is pretty much limited to the dollar slots in the Las Vegas Airport and one trip with my wife to the Rosecraft Raceway. Maybe if I really tried I too could discover the joys of statistical delusion.

But I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

SciTim - You make an interesting point about the linkage between gambling and sports. Maybe my lack of interest in gambling is related to my lack of real interest in watching sports. Maybe that part of my brain just doesn't work very well. (Certainly other parts don't.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The much-maligned Michael Gerson says something in his column today that is a giant step forward for a former Republican speechwriter. About the U.S. assisting in the defeat and pacification of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, Gerson says that the U.S. should participate by "...perhaps providing radar to track suspicious flights into the region and paying what we owe for U.N. peacekeeping." It has been Republican policy for decades to demand that the U.N. kowtow to our whims, yet we shouldn't have to pay our U.N. dues. This is an extraordinary step. Of course, he's arguing that we should pay for military action by others -- akin to hiring mercenaries so that we don't have to do messy work -- but still, it's a step forward.

Posted by: Tim | July 25, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I still have a hard time recognizing poker as a sport. I know that ESPN covers the world series of poker and it popularity is growing everyday. But come on, these people are not athletes and to portray it as a sport is I think absurd.

I enjoy playing poker and betting on an occasional football pool, but that is about the extent of my gambling. But you guys are right, with the online gambling that can be done, and all the betting that can be done on almost everything. It is a serious problem world wide.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 25, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

>Gambling is one of those vices that holds absolutely no appeal for me.

Given that I actually have a fairly addictive personality I count myself massively fortunate to somehow completely lack the gambling gene.

I'm happy to pay for my own drinks and watch other people generate the excitement. I think in my case I'm far too interested in gadgets, and at least when you "throw away" money on them you still HAVE the dingus.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Gambling holds no lure for me, and this is not a virtue on my part. If I have a dollar, I can keep the dollar or wager it. If I win, I will have several dollars, but if I lose (the far more likely outcome) I will have no dollars. Particularly when we speak of multiple dollars, this is just not an outcome I like. I suspect I would be a bad investor too, if I had any money. In real life, I will "bet" on certain events (will I finish x cases in y days) but only when I am reasonably certain I will win. Consequently people seldom offer to wager with me more than once.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 25, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

EF - I know what you mean. I am no stranger to mildly compulsive behavior, and I certainly know the excitement of buying a new toy.

But gambling? I would rather just take some dollar bills and burn them.

At least then you get to enjoy the flames.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The widespread prevalence of Fantasy Leagues has revolutionized gambling in that the performance of one game is no longer the make or break deciding factor. All the major sports are in on the action. I'm just waiting for the first major fantasy-league-fixing scandal to surface.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I think it fair to say that most of us regulars have at least slightly addictive personalities.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

my mother likes to say she wins 365 dollars in the lottery every year because she doesn't play. not a bad way to look at it.

what is oc in the dc area? i read bc's post and thought "why is bc going to orange county?"

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 25, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

L.A. lurker;

It's Ocean City, MD. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.
Thanks for the loosestrife link CP.

I enjoy playing Texas Hold'em online. I join playmoney games and if things seem to be going well switch over and get into a game for real moolah. I play the $10 table and if/when my 10 bucks is gone I quit and boodle and/or go back to the playmoney games. Over the last two years I've won about $700 which is nice but not indicative of a skill that warrants selling everything, buying a suit and derringer and running off to cruise the Mississippi.

I don't 'get' betting on sporting events.
My investment in the teams I support is srtictly emotional.
GO! Jays/Leafs/Argos yadda yadda. Sigh.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"... the NHL does not release the name of the referees before game time."

Ah, yes... but the officials know which games they're going to be working, no?

Posted by: TBG | July 25, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

>At least then you get to enjoy the flames.

heh heh yeah, undeniable attraction to the flame. May I recommend a cigar with that?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Thank you all for your kind words and hugs.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yes, CP, that's me who reads the obits nearly daily (whenever I sit down with the paper paper). Raysmom... I'm wondering if I knew her too. Hard to tell on the Internet paper.

Boodling from beautiful Santa Monica! Son of G and I are here for vacation. Arrived last night via the adorable Long Beach airport.

Planning a West Coast BPH with L.A. Lurker on Friday evening. Any other L.A boodlers care to join us? If you can... email me at boodler [at] mac [dot] com and we'll work it out.

LTL-CA, where are you located?

Posted by: TBG | July 25, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Gladiatorial combat at least has the benefit of pure athleticism -- it is difficult to persuade a competitor of the financial benefits in throwing a fight. Even as a bribe on behalf of the gladiator's heirs, it is not attractive, as the athlete is not available to demand adherence to the terms of the bribe. All in all, it's the perfect athletic contest, except for the barbarism. And sometimes, you get to carry a cool trident and a net and be a fisher of men. Sort of makes you look at the papacy in a new light, doesn't it?

(Fisher of men? The Pope? Peter? Perhaps I am too subtle. But, perhaps I am not subtle enough. I guess I'll just have to see how the joke works out, won't I?)

Posted by: Tim | July 25, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Poker is NOT A SPORT. its a filler of air time. I am fundamentally deeply appalled that they show poker playing on TV. It ranks right down there with infomercials, and cash sucking preachers who prey on people who just con't help themselves. Poker is only a sport in a world gone mad, in a society that needs a serious readjustment of its values.

If its going to become a sport, and an entertainment business accepted by society, then we had better be prepared, as a society to expand our addiciton counselling servces.

As as we all know, as Martooni has bravely allowed us to see, those services don't go far enough for those who need them and want them already.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, and far from the ranting, one foot at a time Martooni, is a really nice thing to see.

Gotta go. My moms family and Error's experience, are taking to to a colonoscopy consult, and thence to a colonoscopy. I am not excited at the prospect.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, backboodled quickly, but I'm sure I missed a lot. Glad to hear Mudge is doing well. If you have to be in a hospital, Georgetown is one of the places to be...something tells me that Mudge and the nurses get along fine, altho I'm skeptical that he has been blessed with a nurse who looks like the one Maggie (I think) posted a couple of days ago. You never know, though. He may have gotten lucky.

rain forest's posts about snakes always leave me wide-eyed! And Joel's mention of the guy who inspects for contraband exotic animals sounds like h@ll on earth to me. I think I'm truly phobic about snakes. I just finished a novel by Donna Tartt called the 'The Little Friend." Very interesting, different. Exotic snakes figured largely in it and I occasionally had to put the book down and compose myself. Either that or get a glass of wine.

Tim - I was one of those who recoiled when Gerson was hired. However, I've been surprised (I wouldn't go as far as pleasantly surprised) that he occasionally strays off the party line, unlike (grr) Krauthammer and Will. Where ARE those guys now that the administration has trampled all over the Constitution? Mudge is right. If the Democrats had done this....Whew!

Boko was in fine form last night!

RD - with you again...I don't have the gambline gene AT ALL. Even my friends who say they just take their allottment and then quit baffle me. I'd just rather buy a new blouse.

Whew! Clearly I have a mildly addictive personality and I'm boodle-binging and boodle-hogging!

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

>I think it fair to say that most of us regulars have at least slightly addictive personalities.

Agreed.

Fortunately, gambling has very little appeal to me as well. I don't bet on anything for more than a token amount. I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket (the tax for people poor at math), but only when it's above 5-10 mil (because then, you know, it's worth my while).

Addictions is an interesting discussion. There's obviously a few regulars here that struggle or have struggled with addictions.

Access to high speed internet was a problem initially. To a lesser extent some Computer games in the past - Civilization especially. Fortunately I haven't bought a gaming system since Nintendo 64. I have a cousin-in-law in Houston for whom the internet and World of Warcraft are significant problems that have already seriously affected her education.

In completely unrelated news, finished HP last night at 1 am. Best one of the series.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 25, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

//Of course, he's arguing that we should pay for military action by others..

That may not be a bad idea. Let other NATO ,UN countries put the boots on the ground while the US supplies logistical(?) and air support. There is so much resntment towards the US in the third world this would avoid making US troops a target just because you're the big kid on the block.
Canadian Major General MacKenzie Ret.(NATO commander in Yugoslavia) has recommended a policy similar to this.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Boko, your selection of favorite teams is an admirable effort to overcome any temptation to bet on sports teams.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 25, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

SCC - or would that be *bingeing*?

Also, Raysmom, I'm sorry to hear about your doc. It definitely seems extra upsetting when someone who takes care of *you* gets sick, I think. After so many years nursing, I am a compulsive obit reader, both here in Tidewater and the Post. I've been here for 12 years, but I still occasionally find docs, nurses, neighbors or teachers I knew up there. I think the Post's obit writers are the best.

Martooni - rooting for you.

TBG - have a great time! I love Santa Monica! You just never know what you'll see there!

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Now that I think about it, of course, the crooked referee story also isn't really about gambling. It's about theft. I assume that a true gambler wouldn't dream of manipulating the outcome of an event, cause what's the fun in that?

That said, I would love to see a good story about online gambling. I think the internet has done with gambling what it did with porn - took it out of the bad portion of town and brought it into the den.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

TBG, isn't the Long Beach airport a delightful tiny throwback? Well, except if your flight is delayed while waiting there. Do you still have to pick your bags up outside?

I have gambled on horseracing a few times and have concluded that the net effect would be the same if I went into the ladies room and started flushing bills. When we go on a cruise, the casino is never my destination of choice. Too smoky for one thing. One time we were given a $10 gambling voucher apiece. We played the roulette wheel, which has the best odds. We won a bit, got bored, and took our chips to the blackjack table so we could be rid of them and leave. Which we did, in short order.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom - Nasty news about your doctor. I am so sorry for your loss.

Also, I must admit I am one of those people who obsessively reads the obits. It makes me appreciate breathing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

San Fernando Valley, at one time the exact centroid of suburbia.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

SoC | That's funny/tragic 'cause it's true.
*moving SoC to the top of the list*

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This may an incredibly obvious observation, but it occurred to me a couple of days ago that part of the appeal of being a blogger is, as opposed to having an audience for one's own thoughts, being able to tell others about interesting/unusual/shocking/amusing/whatever things. Joel is very good at this. So is one of my favorite bloggers at nancynall.com .

I've been known to bother people by pointing them, by email, to articles/reviews/entertain sites that I think they'd like to know about. The responses (or lack thereof) indicate that the recipient's interest is lower than I'd predicted, but I continue. You never know when something might click, and, hey, everyone has a delete key.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

TBG in Santa Monica! Lucky! After traipsing through the Third Street Promenade (you shoulda seen it twenty years ago - a nearly abandoned pedestrian mall), you should "do" the Venice Boardwalk. Best people-watching in the world. Also, there's a charming Mexican restaurant called Mariasol at the end of the Santa Monica Pier. Great views and very good food. Finally, there used to be a restaurant at the top of a hotel on 3rd or 4th Street, North of Wilshire. Maybe LA Lurker or LTL will know more about it.

Posted by: CowTown | July 25, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Since I don't know my doctor's husband and son personally, I'm going to send a note of remembrance to them through her church (less creepy than Googling their home address, don't you think?) and include a donation.

(Now that I've told you my plans, I have to follow through. Otherwise...good intentions and all that.)

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey SofC I liked the ending of book 7 as well. Clearly, at some point, we need to have the definitive discussion on Harry Potter. But we should probably wait until everyone who is interested has finished the book.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

>nd thence to a colonoscopy. I am not excited at the prospect.

dr, the sad joke is it's really not bad at all, so no worries. Just breathe, they'll take care of you. I was joking with the anesthesiologist the whole time.

There's no reason for people to avoid it, especially considering the consequences of ignorance.

This has been your Public Service Message of the day, brought to you by the campaign committee of "Error in 08".

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

A Santa Monica restaurant recommendation: http://www.bordergrill.com/BGSM/bgsm.htm

A really good Mexican restaurant with a menu that goes far beyond tacos and enchiladas. My favorite is:

Grilled Skirt Steak
marinated in garlic, cilantro, cumin, and lime; served with charred corn relish, persian cucumber and sweet pepper salad, black beans, and handmade flour tortilla

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse


Good morning, my name is * and I'm an achenaddict...

This is one of my favorite boodle subjects! It's the Venn diagram overlap, what do we all have in common. But really, don't all humans have "addictive personalities?" It's all about that intermittent positive reinforcement, that's what really makes us tick.

My dad says people are hardwired to like gambling from back in our arboreal days: every time we let go of one branch and reached for the next one, we were gambling. Those of us who weren't willing to take the chance wouldn't get anywhere.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 25, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Years ago, when a colleague was moving to New England, I spotted the perfect poster at a mall store that (I think) was called The Nature Company. The title was something like "Dreaming Meadow." It was a small stream lined by masses of purple flowers. The flowers were obviously Purple Loosestrife! Aaaugh! Invasive non-native plant!

It looks like Connecticut enlists volunteer "beetle farmers" to raise a biological control agent!
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/IPM/ipmbio.htm

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 25, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I think looking at obits is an generational thing. When I was young, I looked at the wedding stories. I got a little older, and checked out the births. Now I'm old and I read the obits. Every once in a while, I make a connection to someone I know, like seeing the obit for a parent of a classmate.

No gambling gene here either. I did the quarter slots when I was in Vegas, wasn't interested in drinking, and left when all the quarters were gone. Ho hum.

So you liked HP&DH the best, SonofCarl? It kinda bothered me to think that Harry, Ron, and Hermione lost their last year of education. I hope they were able to make it up and graduate. Wonder if Hogwarts offers an equivalent to the GED?

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

On the Food Network last night, Rachel Ray hit Bawlmer including several places I have been to. Then Giada went to DC. It was local haunts heaven.

If you go to Venice Beach, eat at The Sidewalk Cafe which is endorsed by both Giada and me.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2007/01/lunch-with-giada_21.html

And take pictures of the bodybuilders/rollerbladers/tattoo artists/whatever. I am so jealous.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Consistent w/ my aforementioned tendency to send people things that might be interesting, here's a book recommendation that just appeared (from Amazon) in my mailbox.

Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of New China by John Pomfret
http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Lessons-Classmates-Story-China/dp/0805086641/ref=sr_1_1/104-7556990-7171963?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185378562&sr=1-1

Very favorable WaPo review.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My mother--in her eighties now--says she reads the obits to make sure she's still alive.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone watching TV? Huge explosion at a gas plant in Dallas. Two highways shut down, some evacuations. Two people seriously injured (a miracle, given the video of the fire).

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It's been years (decades) since I was there -- it was a Mexican restaurant on top of some hotel with an outside elevator. A good experience. My favorite in that part of the world is Talpa, a Mexican restaurant or perhaps a dive, at 11751 Pico Blvd in WLA. Noma (Japanese) at 21st & Wilshire used to be pretty good. Since The Black Forest closed, I don't go over there to eat much, except doing a BBQ at my mom's when sis is in town.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

What we need, as a society, is an inducement for athletic success that cannot be equalled by mere money. Gladiators get to live. Horses get showered with praise for running the fastest (and, perhaps, get to live). Olympic athletes get medals, while Olympic losers fade into obscurity.

It would be barbaric to kill athletes for losing. Plus, the quality of play would rapidly diminish as unsuccessful teams must be restocked by new athletes who are successively less well prepared than their loser predecessors.

Thus, I have a Modest Proposal to offer.

Gamblers on horse racing are nicknamed "improvers of the breed" (I heard it from Frank DeFord), because they provide financial incentives for the breeders of horses that are more capable of winning races. We need a similar arrangement for professional sports. We need high school on a grand scale. We need for athletes to be permitted to have sex only after demonstrated success in athletic contests -- the winning quarterback gets the Head Cheerleader, you see, but only after winning the Big Game. For example, after every successful baseball game, the winning players get to choose fans from the stands for one night of reward. Win the World Series, and you get to "keep at it" until pregnancy is achieved. Admittedly, this system is unfair to female athletes -- once a pregnancy has proceeded a bit, the athlete cannot continue to compete, and anyway, it's not like she can become "more pregnant." So, we also need to provide incentives -- financial incentives will work nicely here -- to encourage male athletes to choose similarly capable female athletes as mates, by providing a kickback to the parents for the success of the offspring in athletic contests. This system permits us to select positive physical traits based on outcome success, rather than some nonsensical aesthetic standard that would encourage inbreeding. It also permits breeding to favor longevity, as athletes who live longer and who perform more consistently will have more opportunities to contribute to the gene pool. It's evolution at work.

I don't know where this sort of system leaves gay athletes. It would be wrong, of course, to deny them the spoils of success. However, it might lead to unfair prejudice by some male fans (not all, of course) against gay athletes joining a team. Plus, the evolution thing wouldn't really be supported in an obvious way, although the presence of effective gay athletes on a team could increase the success of the straight teammates, thus breeding for greater social tolerance (if that has any genetic component).

A side issue is that those who compete in no athletic contests do not get to have sex, or at least must be compelled to employ effective contraception.

Of course, this system would tend to breed for hulking physical brutes, without regard to other fine qualities such as brain power or artistic ability. Thus, we should institute a similar system in all areas of human endeavor. Successful publication of a scientific paper -- you get a bootie call. Succeed in a juried artisitc exhibition -- get some nookie (not too different from the current system, admittedly). Cross-breeding between fields should get some sort of special encouragement -- once again, money is an option.

I don't deny, there are some rough edges on this notion. Still, I think it could be the basis of an effective plan to reduce athletic cheating.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 25, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

THS - that review makes me want to click the *order* button. Very interesting.

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Also, thanks for the link, THS. I appreciate people who send me interesting links, takes me places I might never go, otherwise. I started doing that several years ago to some of my very right wing friends here. They would send me some of the most unbelievable right wing diatribes. It used to just make me grit my teeth. But after I started sending them WaPo articles on whatever subject the diatribe happened to be about they stopped sending me that crud.

Is it just me or do others think there's something about the lefty/righty dynamics that make right wingers zing that crazy stuff around the internet, but lefties don't do that so much? Or is that just my lefty friends? I have many friends on the left, but I don't really get those breathless, hysterical rants from them.

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Border Grill has a great reputation, although I wonder why they don't call skirt steak ranchera.

Alton Brown's version of that is great. He got the charcoal ready, blew off the ash with a hair dryer, put the meat directly on the coals 1 minute per side, and then wrapped it up in foil for 15 minutes. Yummy.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Modest Proposal, indeed, SciTim. Except with that system, the incentive to cheat is rather pronounced. Perhaps an addendum to the Modest Proposal, wherein cheaters would be rendered permanently unable to reproduce?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Martooni:

I'm a long-time Achenblog reader, but a relatively recent poster (and I certainly haven't posted have a dozen different messages in an hour before!). Given my newness, I'm hesitant to offer suggestions, but, given the importance of the issue, I'll wade in nonetheless.

I'm sure you feel that you have as much as you can handle right now, but I hope that, in addition to whatever rehab/alcohol cessation program you're in, you'll consider consulting a psychiatrist, ideally one who specializes in co-occurring alcoholism and depression.

I mention this because, some time back, you responded to someone else's post re Dave Feherty by saying that the article could have been written about you.
For others, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Feherty

From an NIMH pamphlet on depression in men: "Research has
revealed that people with alcoholism are almost twice as likely as
those without alcoholism to also suffer from major depression."
Online in pdf at http://menanddepression.nimh.nih.gov/clientfiles/menanddep.pdf

Although I have read a lot about depression, my familiarity w/ the topic did not come from reading pamphlets. The treatment of depression is far from perfect, but it does help. I hope you'll think about it.

My best wishes to you.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Martooni:

I'm a long-time Achenblog reader, but a relatively recent poster (and I certainly haven't posted a dozen messages in an hour before!). Given my newness, I'm hesitant to offer suggestions, but, because of importance of the issue, I'll wade in nonetheless.

I'm sure you feel that you have as much as you can handle right now, but I hope that, in addition to whatever rehab/alcohol cessation program you're in, you'll consider consulting a psychiatrist, ideally one who specializes in co-occurring alcoholism and depression.

I mention this because, some time back, you responded to someone else's post re Dave Feherty by saying that the article could have been written about you.
For others, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Feherty

From an NIMH pamphlet on depression in men: "Research has
revealed that people with alcoholism are almost twice as likely as
those without alcoholism to also suffer from major depression."
Online in pdf at http://menanddepression.nimh.nih.gov/clientfiles/menanddep.pdf

Although I have read a lot about depression, my familiarity w/ the topic did not come from reading pamphlets. The treatment of depression is far from perfect, but it does help. I hope you'll think about it.

My best wishes to you.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Martooni:

I'm a long-time Achenblog reader, but a relatively recent poster (and I certainly haven't posted a dozen messages in an hour before!). Given my newness, I'm hesitant to offer suggestions, but, because of importance of the issue, I'll wade in nonetheless.

I'm sure you feel that you have as much as you can handle right now, but I hope that, in addition to whatever rehab/alcohol cessation program you're in, you'll consider consulting a psychiatrist, ideally one who specializes in co-occurring alcoholism and depression.

I mention this because, some time back, you responded to someone else's post re Dave Feherty by saying that the article could have been written about you.
For others, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Feherty

From an NIMH pamphlet on depression in men: "Research has
revealed that people with alcoholism are almost twice as likely as
those without alcoholism to also suffer from major depression."
Online in pdf at http://menanddepression.nimh.nih.gov/clientfiles/menanddep.pdf

Although I have read a lot about depression, my familiarity w/ the topic did not come from reading pamphlets. The treatment of depression is far from perfect, but it does help. I hope you'll think about it.

My best wishes to you.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Can't keep my dentist waiting, so I must check out.

Glad you liked the book recommendation. Will stop in again later.

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Gesundheit, THS.

We've all had our multiple-post episodes now and again.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about those multiple Martooni posts.

Achenblog kept telling me that I needed to post again, so I did!

Posted by: THS | July 25, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

SciTim,

The problem would be with keeping groupies at bay. "Bull Durham" was all about the rampant sex at the minor league level. If Wilt The Stilt is to be believed, the number of woman willing to boink athletes far exceeds the ability to ration it.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Funny how your brain sometimes misreads what your eyes see. A few minutes ago, I could have sworn I saw the words "Capital Cringe Festival." Of course I didn't, but now am thinking what such a festival might entail. A competition for the most grating voice? Displays of bad table manners? Sale of Fear Factor-worthy foods? (Woops! Almost on topic there!

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Do you have a bird brain?

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/homework/?page=Quiz73&Quizid=73

9/9

Go martooni, one tick a day.

Posted by: omni | July 25, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, THS. I went to a psychiatrist a few years ago -- when I had insurance -- and to be honest, I think he made things worse. The meds may have helped keep me on an even keel, but the side effects outweighed the benefits and would eventually (almost on a schedule) drive me right back to the bottle.

I know that I have depression on top of my alcoholism, so I've asked around quite a bit about any docs that would take on uninsured patients -- but there isn't a dang one. They all want the easy insurance money, plain and simple, and their price structures are based on that. No discounts for the uninsured. Can't say that I blame them -- why go out of your way for the poor and uninsured when you can barely fit all the well-off insured patients out there into your schedule?

The thing is, even if I were to get insurance, none of what ails me would be covered for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years (if ever).

I'll just keep trudging as I've been. AA works, I just have to work it.

As for addiction in general (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, whatever) -- it's the only disease that makes those afflicted with it believe they're okay. Self-destructive behaviors that are obvious to the outside world are very difficult for the sufferer to see or accept. Addiction is insidious -- it's like a parasite that is never satisfied until its host is dead.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

8/9. Didn't know how fast an ostrich can run.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

7/9 Gotta brush up on my ostriches and hummingbirds.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

8/9. Raysmom and I better stay away from the ostrich track.

Hang in there Hippie.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 25, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Will soon be heading off to back-to-back meetings, then home. Then I'll be off-line for a few days while I attend a wedding in Maine. Unless I can convince Raysdad to bring his laptop. I can see it: "Honey, please lug your laptop and deal with airport security so I can boodle on our vacation." As if.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhhh nooooooooooo (in my best Mr. Bill voice) A mean, snide person feels compelled to be mean and snide on the Achenblog again.

Why do you think they feel compelled? As if there aren't enough mean, snide places to go on the internet?

Safe travels, Raysmom.

Sigh. 5/9. I *knew* I shouldn't take that dang quiz.

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Kim, Jake/Anonymous's attempts to be mean and snide aren't nearly as interesting as his cluelessness in doing so. Were he regularly reading the Boodle, he would have recognized omni's post about the last episode of MASH as an answer to a question posed in a previous Boodle. Were he reading this Boodle, he would have noted the comment about women and athletes as a side contribution to the Modest Proposal for financial incentives for professional athletic competition, related to the gambling thread. Or, he could merely have passed over either post as uninteresting or confusing had he not earlier noticed their genesis. Consequently both his comments, which are apparently meant to be insulting, merely fall flat.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 25, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

yes, Ivansmom...flat, flatter than flat.
But what I can never understand is-why do they bother?

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I always saw myself as more of a pathetic needleperson or even pathetic doily maker, if you want correct labels, Jake. Please address me as such.

7 of 9, but I was waffling on how fast ostriches ran, and if hummingbirds were unique for backwards flight or hovering. Does anyone know what other bird hovers? I'm stumped.

What Martooni says, plus the need for absolute perfection in the avoidance of, or adherence to what will defeat your addiction, if you don't want to be swallowed whole again.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I would MUCH prefer not to have the fire ants, the Cuban Tree frogs, the Monitor Lizards, the Brazilian Pepper, the Australian Pines, the Cane Toads, and the hundreds of other non-native species now living with us here in Florida. Please don't send the snake heads on down. We have found that introduction of new species, just screws a lot of thing up. The beautiful, but invasive, and deceptive water hyacinths,(lost a few tourists who stepped in the deep water that looked like a field of flowers, got trapped under the near impenetrable blanket of plants and drowned), and the melaleuca trees, just to skim the surface (dried up the swamps, so more wildfire, less wildlife, less cypress, just a monoculture of paper bark). We have spent millions trying to keep the fruit flies out, and the insects that spread citrus greening will probably do away with that industry, if the Asian canker doesn't get it first.

(sigh)

Posted by: Nativist as to fauna and flora | July 25, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess we could keep the armadillo, it's kind of cute, if we could just get it out of the roadway.....

Posted by: Nativist as to fauna and flora | July 25, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

HE'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

Yes, it is I (actually, I suppose that should be "me," but for some reason "I" tends to sound better, no thanks to Mr. Roberts and Ensign Pulver's speech at the end: "It is I, Ensign Pulver! I just threw your stinkin' palm tree overboard. And what's all this crud about no movie tonight?").

I have escaped, if only briefly, and am running amok on the 7th floor in the research center, where they'll never find me! I have some friends up here and they're letting me use the computer to get my Boodle fix.

Le's see, where to begin. First, thank you all for your good wishes. I hope Loomis is treating you all well as acting shop steward until I get back. I'm sure she has all your geneologies updated in the Boodle union database by now, and has figured out all your DNA origins and who is related to who and doesn't know it.

And thank you all for your many faxes. So far I have received a mulberry pie and some rhubarb, plus a dead fish. It got kinda mangled coming through the rollers, and I'm not sure of the species...a walleye perhaps? Maybe a pike, I don't know. But my first reaction was, "Oh, jeez, somebody has sent me a Sicilian message: Curmudgeon sleeps wit' da fishes." Also, there was some sort of major commotion at the fax machine. I'm not sure how to explain this. Did one of you fax me a nurse? Cuz all the doctors and several interns were swarming around the fax, and combing their hair and straightening their neckties, and I saw one guy spray some breathe-freshner in his mouth. And then it got kinda ugly and a fistfight broke out, and one guy yelled, "I saw her first," and another one punched him and said, "No, that fax was addressed to me," and another called him a liar. It was a real donnybrooke. They had to call security. I used the opportunity to sneak out for a while and go get a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in the student union across the street.

All the staff don't quite know what to make of me, because I refuse to axct like a "patient" and be sick. When I get up in the morning I take off that silly *&^%$#@&% hospital gown that leaves yer a$$ hanging out all day, and put on my regular clothes--just a pair opf bermuda shorts and a polo shirt. And then I sometimes go for a walk around the building (which is huge, with about four or five separate sections. I know where the gift shop is (a prime soiurce of protein, a.k.a. Slim Jims), the vendeteria (ground floor; they have a coffee machine with "regular" coffee instead of that burnt, bitter Starbucks swill, and a newspaper rack with the Post). So I come strolling back to my room with a bacon-egg croissant from the snack bar, a cup of coffee and a Washington Post under my arm, and inevitably the new duty nurse who has just come on says, "Are you visiting someone, sir?" And I say , "No, I'm a guest, thank you." And I got to my room and sip my coffee and read the Post and watch the Topday Show.

Speaking of which, this very morning the Today show had on Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhardt, and Martha Stewart, with ol' Martha teaching them how to make a sour cherry pie!!!!!!!! I almost woke the whole floor up by yelling, "THAT AIN'T NO SOUR CHERRY PIE, MARTHA, YOU FRAUD!!!!" Aaron was utterly clueless about weaving a lttice top, and Catherine barely managed it, getting one of the weaves wrong, but considering her cleavage, who gives a rat's patoot, ya know?

There's a rumor they are going to put a PICC line in my arm today or tomorrow so I can continue to get intravenous IVs for the next couple of weeks. And all the nurses and techs are having trouble getting blood out of me--both my arms are dotted with black-and-blue bruises--I look like I've been beat up. Seems all my veins have collapsed from repeated puncturing.

After 2:30 now--I've been gone for more than 90 minutes--I better get back. I don't know if I'll be able to sneak back here later on today or not, but I'll do what I can.

Loomis, there better not be any d@mn doilies or chintz or Lladro statues in the office when I get back.

Sayonara and viya con queso, mon cher Boodle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 25, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. Here's comes Nurse Racthet. And they've got the Chief, in restraints. She says they're taking both of us to the elctroshock room. Here, chief, wanna piece of gum?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 25, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

dr... the only person I've ever heard of who was able to achieve "absolute perfection" in anything was hung on a cross approximately 2007 years ago.

I get what you're saying, though -- even if it is practically unattainable. Perfection is worthy of attempting (over and over again, if necessary), but we have to remember we're only human.

Constant vigilance is easier said than done. Everybody blinks. Even the strongest, most focused minds wander.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Think anything will come of this?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072501104.html?hpid=topnews

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

dr, only hummingbirds are true hoverers, meaning they can hover in still air, but there are other birds that hover by flying into the wind at the same speed as the wind. To list just a few: kestrel, rough-legged hawk, northern harrier, kingfisher, terns. It's an amazing sight actually.

Posted by: omni | July 25, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

An interesting bit of trivia: If a Blackpoll Warbler, which can fly 80 hours non-stop, burned gasoline instead of body fat, they would get 720,000 miles to the gallon!

Posted by: omni | July 25, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

What is the terminal airspeed of an unladen swallow?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 25, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The thing about those artificial hoverers is that they are hunters.

Posted by: omni | July 25, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Just ducking in for a moment -- Martooni, consider exploring the pool of social workers for therapy (like all "pools" not all of them are either good or even appropriate for you, but do shop around). It is possible to negotiate a scaled-back rate, especially considering your lack of health insurance. Many are accommodating. While it is true that social workers cannot prescribe drugs (such as antidepressants), you've already said that the ones you took did more harm than good, so that wouldn't be an issue, at least in the short term.

We all still gotcher back. Hang in and hang on.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 25, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Scotty... it appears they won't even get around to voting on it until after August. I wonder how much paper can be shredded in a month? Or how many hard disks and servers can be wiped?

I'm beyond amazed at the arrogance of this administration and Congress' seeming impotence in the face of it.

If Congress had any balls, they would either impeach Bush *and* Cheney, or de-fund the entire executive branch.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

African or European?

martooni, I hear ya, believe me.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

omni... maybe we should start filling our tanks with Blackpoll Warbler body fat.

Just wondering... if they're able to pack so much energy into their body fat, how come we never hear of them spontaneously combusting?

btw... "The Exploding Warblers" would be a great name for a rock band.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"What I want to know is: are the helicopters really black? Or is it more of a deep navy?" (asked earlier)

No they are not really black. They are a dark green with very "flat" non-reflective paint that gets darker and darker with grime. Any dark color looks black against a lighter sky.

Good to hear from Mudge.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 25, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, that was the best drive-by posting I've read in a long, long time. Thank you. Good to know you're feeling better.
.
Note: Just saw a movie on cable the other day where Michael Keaton, playing a bad guy, slides down a laundry chute to escape the police. Don't do that. Don't go down the laundry chute.

Posted by: CowTown | July 25, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke,
I'm just not quick enough anymore. Way to swing at those lobs.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge! So great to hear from you. I dunno though, the nurses might *take it out on you in other ways* if you insist on preserving your dignity by wearing real clothes and eating real food. I mean, really! Have you self-respect, my good man?

Posted by: Yoki | July 25, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"What I want to know is: are the helicopters really black? Or is it more of a deep navy?"

Now, now. There are no black helicopters. Or dark green, or deep navy. In fact, there wasn't even a question about helicopters. You should just put that silly notion out of your head.

We never had this conversation, you never asked this question, and Look! what's on tv.

Posted by: byoolin | July 25, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge makes me want to read Cuckoo's Nest again...

FYI I have posted a new kit, of sorts...

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Jagshemash!

My name a Jonny the Monkey. I am number one most popular celebrity in all Kazakhstan. Good friend Borat still only number four most popular, even after great success movie film.

You say:
"...there are 5,000 invasive primates on the loose in South Florida. He thinks the capuchin monkeys may be forming troops in the wild."

Jonny be capuchins monkey and would like to say it a BIG lie that we training and forming troops in South Floridas!

We also definitesly not be practicing shoot gun, throw net, and ride horse.

Also never use Google map to find home of Charlatan Hestons who lead National Rifling Association because he know one day man have to fight ape and monkey.

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NOTE: This comment was 'hand signed' by Jonny the Monkey to his gypsy assistant Batyr, who then translated and posted those words here.

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