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August Resignations; Back to School

Next to resign: Laura Bush. She'll announce that, although she's enjoyed her tenure as First Lady, she is stepping down so that she can spend less time with her family.

The Alberto Gonzales bulletin this morning was not exactly a shocker. Indeed, I think I speak for millions of Americans when I say, "But I thought he resigned months ago."

Also can someone please tell me if Cheney is still the Vice President? And whatever happened to Karen Hughes? She's still a special envoy for State, trying to get other countries to hate us less, right? I know Condi is still around, going to golf tournaments and whatnot. But otherwise the Bush Administration seems to be evaporating before our eyes, and soon the president will be rattling around the empty hallways trying to scare up an intern for a game of Go Fish.

I love this quote from Bush, defending Gonzales after he was accused of lying to Congress: "We're watching a political exercise," Mr. Bush said. "I mean, this is a man who has testified, he's sent thousands of papers up there. There's no proof of wrong."

That's a good standard when you are talking about The Nation's Top Law Enforcement Official.

Blogworld reaction:

Kevin Drum yesterday noted a Washington Whispers item in U.S. News that says Chertoff will replace Gonzales.

Christy Hardin Smith monitoring the airwaves on this.

Mike Allen at The Politico: The acting attorney general will be Solicitor General Paul Clement. He "can stay in that position for quite a while," a senior administration official said. That would avoid a bruising confirmation fight. Some Democratic senators have vowed not to confirm a Gonzales successor.

Hugh Hewitt: AG Gonzales' departure offers the White House the opportunity to nominate a young, charismatic terrorism-fighter from the ranks of the present or past U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys -- someone who has actually overseen the investigation, arrest and conviction of Islamist radicals and who knows, for example, the need for the reformed FISA.


Summer Is Over: Back To School

This morning the kids went back to public school in DC. My middle daughter is off to her first day of high school. It's a big transition, and she's a bit nervous. I'm a bit anxious, too, but I'm keeping those feelings entirely to myself, except for, you know ... blogging about it.

My eldest is entering 11th grade and has to take about 17 AP classes and also play varsity soccer and get ready for the SAT and try to find impressive things to put on her college applications, like how she found a cure for TB in her spare time, etc. She was standing at the bus stop, talking to her best friend, and looking over at the gaggle of incoming freshmen girls. She said, "Did we look that young when we were in 9th grade?"

The answer is, yes: They all look so young these days. Your basic 9th grader in 2007 looks like a 7th grader from 1977. It's prolonged neoteny. We are observing the rapid neotenization of America's youth.

If you go back far enough, to, say, the 1930s, a 9th grader looked about 40 years old and already crushed by life's burdens. Seriously, look at old photographs of, say, a college crew team: Everyone appears to be middle-aged.

Anyway, before she jumped on the bus, I gave my little girl some good advice (never look anyone in the eye; use sarcasm whenever sincerity seems to be called for; work hard at being considered cool rather than a geek). But let's face it, they don't listen to parents when they reach high school.

My work here is done. [Weeps]


Meanwhile, speaking of public school, there's this to worry about.


Sports dept.:

Can someone explain this Fedex Cup nonsense:

Stricker moved to the top of the FedEx Cup standings with 2,050-point lead over Choi, who closed with a 70. Rory Sabbatini, who had a share of the lead at the turn, closed with a 68 to finish another stroke back and moved up to No. 3 in the playoff race. Woods skipped the first of four playoff events and tumbled to No. 4, nearly 5,000 points behind Stricker.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 27, 2007; 8:25 AM ET
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Next: Larry Craig: "I have never been in a restroom in Union Station having sex with anybody"


Yup, lots of activity in my neighborhood this morning. I passed the middle school kids at the bus stop, trying to look like they weren't scared and unhappy that the summer is over.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

NukeSpawn was complaining (slightly) about having to start getting up at 6 again.

I politely suppressed my maniacal laughter.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Humm. Channeling Tom Fan here but I think there are a couple of typos, like:
...acting attorney general with (will?) be... and
... have vowed now (not?)...

Thank you for your attention.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

We were at a wedding on the weekend, and mr dr spent a great deal of time talking golf with a gentleman sitting at the table with us. I gleaned that Tiger only has to win one tourney (possibly not even win it to win the cup just show up and play decently). It makes no sense at all, but then its golf and it's all greek to me.

The newscast this morning had the breaking news, but the seriousness of the announcers voice seemed to indicate something really solemn. I thought for sure Cheney was resigning or something at least of that magnitude. But no, just Gonzales. I was sort of suprised that they didn't just put it into the regular news rotation without comment. It seemed rather a done deal wven without the announcement.

Posted by: dr | August 27, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see you use the word "neoteny." Usually it only appears in that sentence, "Neoteny recapitulates oncology," which everybody now knows is completely wrong.

Posted by: byoolin | August 27, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

>But otherwise the Bush Administration seems to be evaporating before our eyes...<

This is a bad thing? Not in my book.

Ya made me look up the work "neoteny." That concludes any new learning I can do for today.

I kinda liked the Hugh Hewitt quote ("the opportunity to nominate a young, charismatic terrorism-fighter from the ranks of the present or past ... ") for its utter, utter cluelessness. Um, zackly how many young, charismatic terrorism-fighters have we got running amok in the Torqueberto Justice Department anyway.

Say, ya don't think ol Hewitt had a specific candidate in mind, do ya?

Glad to hear your eldest is taking AP classes, Joel. The Associated Press can always use more good reporters. Oh, wait...

BTW, Joel, your work as a father is NEVER done. Trust me on this. The only thing that changes is the subject matter. And if you also happen to be a family patriarch (as I am), then it is a lifetime appointment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

My son who hasn't seen the front side of noon all summer without military intervention got up at six before anybody else and was out the door ten minutes early. I'm checking his room for pods.

We told him he can't exhibit symptoms of seniorities until May after he has taken all his AP tests.

He still hasn't finished all the college application essays he has had a month to do, so somethings are still unchanged.

It may not be the context Joel anticipated, but this "Dazed and Confused" quote sums it up: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

So, a few days ago Joel was complaining about his stagnated earnings. Now he mentions his daughter's college aspirations. (Children can be so unreasonable that way.) Suddenly it all makes sense.

Here in Virginia book learning doesn't start until next week, which gives my son, who also starts 11th grade, an additional week of freedom. By which I mean a week to finally do the summer-work assigned by the sadistic instructors of his own AP classes.

In my opinion AP classes have gotten entirely out of hand. There is clearly a collusion between high schools and colleges to guarantee that all promising students burn themselves out by the middle of their Junior year. This is so unnecessary.

I mean, my high school didn't even *have* AP classes. Of course, we also attended classes barefoot.

And regarding neotenization. (Joel coins a new word! Just like Shakespeare!) I have concluded that this is one of the cruel side-effects of aging. Perspective makes the students look vastly younger that when we were in school because we are not, in fact, eternally young.

I suspect this is the origin of the alleged prudishness of adults. We look at these youngsters, think back our own high school years, and recoil in horror. (Not my own high school years, of course. But I heard stories. ) For these are mere children. Babies really. And yet some of them might actually be kissing in provocative ways.

Not my own son, of course. He's in band.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Our eldest just started high school as well, Joel. We're fortunate to be in the same building (myself, my wife and our daughter)and that she's enrolled in honours courses. Good luck to you, your wife and your children in the upcoming year.

Posted by: jack | August 27, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Memo to self: Don't eat any German ducks.

"Bird flu at German poultry farm
Sat Aug 25, 4:45 PM ET

"German authorities will destroy 160,000 poultry at a Bavarian farm following the discovery there of the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 bird flu, local authorities said Saturday.

Tests on a number of ducks from the farm at Wachenroth near the southern city of Erlangen, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Munich, confirmed the strain, local authority spokeswoman Annika Fritzsche told AFP.

Investigations will continue to determine how the virus -- which in its highly pathogenic strain can also infect humans, sometimes fatally -- entered the farm, Fritzsche said.

It was detected in three young ducks from a batch delivered four weeks ago by a supplier in the northern German state of Lower Saxony, whose premises will also be inspected, a spokeswoman for the agriculture ministry in Berlin said.

H5N1 was found in other ducks in Bavaria this month and over the summer around 50 wild birds were found dead with the virus across the country.

Wild birds can infect domesticated birds with the highly pathogenic strain. Experts fear it will mutate into a strain that can be transmitted between humans."


Or as they say on the old war movies, "Ve haf ways of making you quack."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Listening to NPR commentary about Fredo's replacement:

Chertoff--Thumbs down: too close to the torture business as DHS jefe--problems with Senate confirmation.

Hatch--Thumbs down: too defensive of Alberto in Senate hearings. (Way, way too nasty in the ancient Anita Hill hearings for my taste.) Again, potential problems with Senate confirmation.

Clement--Thumbs sideways: yeah, probably the interim AG.

Former Sen. John Danforth--Thumbs up: has the quality most important for the next appointment, or replacement (according to the commentator)...personal integrity. And a pastor to boot.

Since Alberto's resignation is effective on Sept. 17, Bush unable (or unlikely--anyone know when Congress reconvenes? pj?) to make a recess appointment.

Posted by: Loomis | August 27, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse


Keep your head in the sand. My son is in band too and I have eyewitness evidence that band members can lip-lock with the best of them.

I can't discuss AP classes without regressing into shameless parental bragging, but there clearly are too many. They offer AP Music Theory. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, my son assures me that on band trips all they ever do is get together for inspirational sing-a-longs and to share cookie recipes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

From the NYT:
Many bloggers have settled on "Gonzo Gone." Meanwhile, Rachel Sklar of Huffington Post jokingly "wanted to beat the New York Post and the Daily News to tomorrow's identical headline" with "GONZO GONE-ZO!"

In March, Politico published a list of possible successors:

Republicans close to the White House continued to discuss potential replacements, including John Danforth, an Episcopal minister and former Republican senator from Missouri. "I think it is going to come down to who is willing to take the job," said an official close to the process.

Among the names floated Monday by administration officials were Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.

On Monday [?] night, Republican officials said two other figures who are being seriously considered are Securities and Exchange Committee Chairman Chris Cox, who is former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and is popular with conservatives; and former Attorney General William P. Barr, who served under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993 and is now general counsel of Verizon Communications

Posted by: Loomis | August 27, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I hope that having two Achenbach daughters in high school at the same time does not disturb the tranquility of Joel's porch. For as I recall, when my younger brother and I were in high school together things could get dicey. To many comparisons by teachers, awkward violations of class protocol, and the sudden existence of a paid informer.

This was especially hellish for me because my younger brother quickly became known as the "cuter [Padouk]."

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

My first (and probably only) child has about 10 more days before she gets on the bus for the first time to head off to kindergarten.

All I can say is... well... I can't say nuttin' 'cause I'm already getting weepy. Why the heck can't you just freeze them at 4 years old? That's like the best year -- they listen (sort of), they think their parents are gods, they don't eat much, and they're still cute enough that you're not tempted to drown or strangle them.

I know I b!tch and moan about underemployment/unemployment and all that, but it's given me the chance to witness a blossoming even more special than those moonflower thingies.


Now I gotta go cover myself in sawdust and other manly stuff before the neighbors start talking.

Posted by: martooni | August 27, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse


Bush couldn't make a recess appointment since the position is not empty and I really don't think he'd make one for Attorney General. The Senate is back next week, so they will be around on Sept. 17th (that's Constitution Day, by the way).

I pretty much agree with your comments on possible successors. I disagree about Hatch, though. I think he would be confirmed fairly easily. It's a comparatively short-term appointment and he has a lot of friends on both sides in the Senate. It's not like the John Tower situation. Hatch is 73. Don't know how much of a factor that would be.

I agree with you about Danforth. He's the opposite of Gonzalez in that he has no ties to Bush. They might not want someone that independent. He'd be capable of doing more internal investigations that the White House would like. He's 71 and he might not want the job.

Posted by: pj | August 27, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

In the late 60's or early 70's a US Marine pilot named Frederick Smith returned from Vietnam and pitched a money-making idea to bankers in Memphis, TN: an overnight air delivery service. Well, the idea took off. By the early 80's, when I entered the work force, Federal Express was used daily in all information businesses. We'd pay about $20 to ship documents to clients, with a guarantee they'd have the document by 10 the next morning. It was amazing to think business could be done so fast.
By the mid-80's, fax machines could roll out curly, slippery documents within a few minutes of sending. Then people could hold those papers down on a copier and get dim-looking material that they could then parse over the telephone with the sender.
Telecommunications came next, where somebody who was good with computers could send or receive the documents from computer to computer, print it and go.
By this time my head was spinning and I left the work force for several years to get my bearings.
When I came back, you could look stuff up on computers like they were encyclopedias. You could e-mail people in an instant. I don't even know all the things you could do then, and I still don't now.

Federal Express, UPS, DHL and others are still in business, mainly for materials shipping, I guess, or information of a more formal kind, stuff that needs to be seen in its original form. Remember the term "original," as in, "send me the originals?"
FedEx, as it is now called, must still be doing well, to be sponsoring this golf post-season, kind of like the Masters in pro tennis, or the Nextel Cup end-of-year thing they have now in NASCAR.
I don't know or care about the points structure, but I wanted to share this POV. I also know that there was a vacuum tube method of transmitting information somewhere back in time, way before Fred Smith. I think they still use that at banks with drive up personal service.

Posted by: muon | August 27, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad everyone's brats are going back to school. Now maybe I can shop at the mall without having to dodge out of the way of those kids wearing the Heelys and those over-priviledged potty mouthed younguns.
Best of all, when I take vacation this fall, there will be less families.

Posted by: YourStrawberry23 | August 27, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Good morning. Let me first say Joel's scoop on Laura Bush, opening the Kit, is pure genius and made me disturb my colleagues with my laughter.

The Boy survived the first four days of sixth grade last week and was still willing to return to school today. His college-type, A day B day schedule is providing a severe lesson in time management, but I think we'll all come out the other side as better persons. A larger school (6th - 12th) with a metro-wide draw apparently means many more cute girls. Fortunately, right now all he wants to do is look at them and maybe dance with them, not too close.

He has three core honors courses and one core regular course, and I'll be interested to see whether I can tell any significant difference. The whole school is a public, application-only deal which bills itself as college prep and seems to mean it. One of his friends in a local private school has the opportunity this year to take ping-pong as an elective, and his parents have the joy of paying for that. Sheesh.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 27, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Someone, I can't remember who, was proposing Patrick Fitzgerald for the AG job. That would make an interesting cabinet meeting, Cheney facing PF.

The Fungi crutched his way to the bus stop this morning. He could get public transport for the handicapped but won't ask for it. I don't know where he got that obstinate, thick skull. (wink) In the mean times he's developing triceps of steel.

Witch no1 starts college next week and W2 gets into grade 9 next Thursday. There is some laptop computer/router shopping in my near future I'm afraid.
There will be one very lonely Puppy soon.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

YourStrawberry23, you're talking to the wrong crowd. Firstly, that would be "fewer" families, not "less" families, unless they have embarked on a program of weight loss. Secondly, it should be obvious by now that with the excellent parenting demonstrated by the respondents to the Achenblog, the Children of the Boodle are not brats but are, rather, well-behaved, fiscally-conscious, socially aware, young persons of extraordinary grace and refinement. So you can keep that potty-mouth $#!* to yourself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

YourStrawberry23, you're talking to the wrong crowd. Firstly, that would be "fewer" families, not "less" families, unless they have embarked on a program of weight loss. Secondly, it should be obvious by now that with the excellent parenting demonstrated by the respondents to the Achenblog, the Children of the Boodle are not brats but are, rather, well-behaved, fiscally-conscious, socially aware, young persons of extraordinary grace and refinement. So you can keep that potty-mouth $#!* to yourself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

OK, I swear I only hit the "Submit" button once. I don't think it's a WaPo software problem. There are signs that it's a developing hardware problem in the button on my trackpad. Fooey.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

byoolin: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Say this like Elmer Fudd, deepening your voice somewhat, and you'll sound just our HS biology teacher. Or this: The theory of spontaneous generation stated things as simply as, for example: Frogs come from mud; Mice come from rags...

He was one of the best teachers among all my years of schooling. An injury during his service in WWII left him with the speech impediment.

Posted by: jack | August 27, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance!

Posted by: Robert Jordahl | August 27, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

FYI: We're serving watercress sandwiches (no crusts), lemonade, and tea cookies in the bunker.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

There was a small news blip the other day that Laura Bush would not be going on a trip with Mr. Bush due to a pinched nerve.

Then Karl Rove and Gonzales resign. Think maybe conscious, sane Laura has taken over the controls?

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm bringing the fresh strawberries dipped in milk chocolate, Mudge.

If Laura's in charge now, we may have a small ray of hope to survive the next year and a half. We still have 511 days to go.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Watercress wreaks havok in the vicinity of my hemorroidal tissues. Would it be rude if I brought my own PBJ's into the bunker?

Posted by: jack | August 27, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Shreiking, Crutched? What happened to the Fungi? I should read on the weekends just to keep up.

Posted by: dr | August 27, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Before we get too too misty eyed about Father Danforth (he is an ordained Episcopal priest after all), please remember that it was he who pushed to get his buddy and protege Clarence "whatever Scalia says goes double for me" Thomas the Supreme nod.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 27, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Jack, you may bring your PBJs. You may also borrow the hemorrhoid cushion from my chair if Scotty isn't using it.

Don't forget the pinochle deck.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I've whipped together my Top Ten memories of Torqueberto.

This would also be a good time to check how close bc came to calling the resignation speech.

It seems odd that the back to school part of the kit is drawing the umbrage. I personally fear the increase in traffic the school year entails.

And SciTim, while I think the world of the SciKids, my own progeny displays uncanny personality faults that neither nature or nuture can fully take responsibility for.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I thank you, 'Mudge, from the bottom of my ummm...errr...bottom. Yes, that's it.

Posted by: jack | August 27, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

dr, the Fungi got his left foot crushed under the frame of his bike by the loaded trailer of a big rig. Thanks to the miracle of this newfangled cell phone thing I was on the accident site just a few minutes afther the ambulance. So I had to look at the first aid stuff and at the loading on the stretcher. You know what, I'm not sure it's a good thing.
Anyway he's having a second (minor, if everything has gone according to plan) surgery Wednesday PM. After that, it's physiotherapy for a few months then another surgery (major this time, no options) and more physio. He's young, lean and strong he's going to get better but it will take time. Patience is not something the young ones have in excess but he will have to learn that many things take time, they just can't be rushed. Like the healing of bones and tendons.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll bring the wacky tobaccy.

Well, I *would* if I had a teenager or other younger-type person around. All my contacts from the "old school" seem to be incarcerated or worse.

Dang prohibitionists.

Posted by: martooni | August 27, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Ai chihuahua, Shriek!!! :-O

Best wishes for Fungi's swift recovery!

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

As regards my Top Ten memories of Torqueberto, all I can say is I don't recall, that is to say, I have no remembrance, or possibly I never even knew of this individual.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 27, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Shriek hope you sons foot recovers well - ouch!

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about your minor denizen's foot. I'm glad he wasn't injured worse. Sounds like a bad mash-up. I'm sure it will heal and recover, but those time frames seem enormous in a youngster's life.

I went over to the homepage to do some blog-plugging and the news story comments sure do act like a great BertoStorm Rod. Over 53 pages of comments and counting. I'm not sure many were in support of Torquie.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC your - going back into hiding.

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking, oh my. I wish him good speed in recovery.

He won't take the 'handicapped' transport because he isn't handicapped, he is injured. It seems to be a point of personal pride with injured young men.

I recall several points of high dudgeon with broken leg boy/man whilst trying dropping him off in a handicapped area. You do not want to know what he said when I suggested he get a handcapped permit for parking. Shudders.

Posted by: dr | August 27, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, I'm talking to the right crowd. I don't how it is where you live, but in the DC area, even the precious suburban kids get out of control when their parents turn their backs. They are of course, enabled by their parents who are in denial that they're children could ever mibehave because they are educated and were brought up properly.

Also, thank you for correcting my grammar on the less vs. few.

Posted by: YourStrawberry23 | August 27, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Joel and fellow boodlers with high school children:

It costs so much more to send kids through college these days. Just warning you. Everyone must plan for this! One of the rewards however is that in most cases the kids know this and really appreciate the opportunity to have the college experience. I am happy for them.

We have 4 kids between my hubby and me and 3 are in college right now. Ouch! But our utility bill has dropped and there is good food still on the shelves. We take solace wherever we can. And weep sometimes, too.

Nothing stays the same. Martooni, your 4 year old is still really all yours...enjoy!

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

That was funny yello. When I first read about Fredo and dubya litteraly killing people for political gain I had a dry heave. This is so vile as to defy understanding.
I'm drowning in Italian Gold tomatoes. Made two batches of tomato sauce, with and without ground veal plus a batch of ratatouille last weekend.
If I can find cilantro what about fresh salsa for the bunker?

To cyclist out there, I have a couple of tidbits of info that came during my converstion with the orthopedist who opereted on the Fungi. (No mycologist needed!) We waited some time for the portable x-ray machine to come then some more for the surgical theater to be prepared (he was getting a little impatient there for a while, those 11PM operations were getting to him), so we talked maybe half an hour together.
Unlike my son, cyclists usually get hurt mostly from being projected, so:
-Wear a helmet. Hatless cyclist keep the neurosurgeons busy.
- Lots of broken arms and wrists from defensive moves even in low impact accidents. Roll with the fall.
- Broken ribs. Again roll with the fall or for off-road cycling, wear those chest protector that are mandatory in rodeos and other horse riding events.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

pj's 11:51:
Bush couldn't make a recess appointment since the position is not empty...

My point and the point made on NPR...the position *will be open* on Sept. 18. Thanks for answering my question and letting us know that Congress reconvenes next week--which makes moot the question of a recess appointment--and your insider opinion about Mr. Utah-R, Sen. Hatch.

*a little too close psychographically to Cheney's Wyoming, IMHO*

And a salute to K-guy. Thanks for the memories, the Danforth memories, on your 12:53. *shuddering*

Posted by: Loomis | August 27, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"I don't how it is where you live" YourStrawberry23, you never spoke a truer word. As the parent of a "precious suburban kid" who graduated from public school with a 4.21 GPA, worked every summer from age 14, never had an arrest, a ticket or an accident, got accepted to her first choice university (and was offered Merit and other scholarships at several others) and graduated in four years on the dean's list, moved to Boston and got a good job in her field competing against Harvard grads, I have to agree completely. You do not know how it is.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 27, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

birdie - indeed, college tuitions are scary. It's been said before, but I think it bears worth repeating - there exist many small private colleges that offer generous financial aid to worthy and motivated students. Don't ignore them.

Also, as I have patiently explained to my son, in-state tuition is a glorious, glorious thing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Another one in the Duh! category is the WaPo's headline "Va. Shooter had Disorder" on the front page. It bothered me this morning and still bothers me.
What, the kid wasn't well in the head? I'm speechless. Flabbergasted. You could tip me over with a feather. Jeez.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You are well-briefed for congressional testimony. And congrats on the success of your kid. I can only hope to be so lucky.

Unless I am particularly unobservant (and I am, but my wife isn't), my kid has gotten away with a lot less stuff than I had by his age. I've had to resort to watching marathons of Degrassi:TNG to get some vicarious excitement from out of control teenagers. My son is a little disturbed by how wrapped up I've gotten into the show. He uses the commercials as examples of how I am so NOT their target demographic.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, RD. I told my children when they were still at tender ages that they would be going to state universities unless they wished to fund their own college educations. It all worked out. Older child graduated from Appalachian State, the university she decided she wanted to attend when she was a seventh grader. Younger child is a senior (SENIOR!!! I don't know how that happened) at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she has a tuition waiver for having graduated from the NC School of Science and Math.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Gonna put in a small plug here for an excellent (and underpriced) school which I may or may not have attended.

It's also one of the most beautiful campuses in America and let's just not talk about my story re: a friend walking on the Great Seal set in the sidewalk behind the Sciences building.

Posted by: dbG | August 27, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I Degrassi has been around so long here starting in my teens/twenties. I have watched variations of the show from grade school on up. My educational experiences were quite tame compared to it.

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

SD, hope your son's injuries heal as quickly as possible. What an ordeal!

I take your point about the VA Tech shooter story - but the point is that the high school had identified the disorder - "The condition, called selective mutism, is a symptom of a larger social anxiety disorder." - and developed a program for treating him. But they couldn't tell the college because of privacy issues. So, it seems like there's some common sense that needs to prevail there. Of course, it would also would have helped if he hadn't been able to buy guns.

Now, if we could just get Cheney and Bush to resign...

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I think it ill humored to jump too hard on SB23, there is something in the doors of a mall that sucks the good sense out of most teens (high achieving, goal oriented, hardly have time to go to a mall or weren't allowed until they were 18 teens included).

I do want to give a shout out for the gracious correction of less vs. fewer. This increasingly common misuse drives me almost as bonkers as teens at the mall.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 27, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Let me note that my accidental double-posting to sb23 was intended as ironic humor. See, I decried the use of the term "potty-mouth" and then pretended to express myself in vulgarity with"$#!*" (in retrospect, I should have gone for "$#!+"). And, see, I'm not really that clueless, so the declaration of the perfection of our parenting and the excellence of our offspring also was a joke. See? Eh? Eh? Get it? Eh?

No? Oh, well.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten- I am not a fan of the teenager/mall combination. My daughter wishes I would just drop her off with her friends, but it ain't happening. Part of it is the disappearance of good sense that occurs when roving bands of hormonal teens are loose in the mall. The other part is what the hubby calls "Madison Avenue hypnosis" that comes over them. They gotta have this, they gotta have that...

But I thought SB23 sounded a little ill humoured himself.

yellojkt - When I stop to think of my shenanigans as a 16 year old and the activities of my 14 yr old daughter and 16 yr old son, I am always taken aback. I was a good kid, didn't drink, good grades but I was at a lot of places that my parents knew nothing about. (I was the oldest of 7, so there was a reason for that) I am very observant and neither of my kids have come close to being as free to exercise bad judgment as I was...I'm really not an ogre and I don't want to shelter them too much but I think I just got lucky with the gene pool I married into...they just don't seem to want to misbehave.

I know, I's early days!

Posted by: Kim | August 27, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

But Tim, your kids ARE perfect. Just ask them.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I correctly identify your post as ironic HumourTim. I know that my kids have some imperfections (I'm certain they could solve Martooni's procurement woes quickly for example) and I certainly did not recognized myself in the perfect parent picture. I will give them one quality: they absolutely never hanged out in malls. Of course the 13 years old still has some time in front of her to make me a lier.

Mostly, I got the gist of the article. It's the headline I find completely uninformative (if that's a word).

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 27, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I know that post wasn't structured well and I'm sorry!

Oh and in my view, this is a good day for America. Good riddance, Torqueberto.

Posted by: Kim | August 27, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for remembering about Danforth's role in CT affair to which you referred!There's got to be someone else.

Joel, et al: I am so glad that both of my children are not only long out of grades one through twelve but also happily, successfully, finished with college, and both working in careers related to their talents and education. And both in DC area. Younger one, I believe, is contemplating grad school at some point though he hasn't shared any real info with me yet, but he did tell me he was reading three weighty books at the same time about a month ago, so that was a clue . . ..

Older one--the daughter--is going to get married, apparently, at some point within a year or so . . ..

No matter what the age of a child is, even when fully adult,you never stop being a parent, but you learn--increasingly--to do it from afar. Inspiration for them (and hidden perspiration on your part as the parent who is struggling to give them more space so they can learn to make their own decisions)gradually but with more and more latitude (and the hidden escape routes you give them so when peer pressure comes along they can blame it totally on you the parent as the "smother one")is how I was able to raise daughter and son successfully. Sorry about the ()'s but typing quickly and not being in an editorial mode right now.

Martooni--your little girl will turn into a great lady. I think you already know that. Hug her, hold her tight--just not too tight--so she can explore. (I know, I know, it's hard for fathers.)

Posted by: Aroc | August 27, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Kim-point well taken on a little ill humour on SB23's part.

I have little patience for most teens at malls, and zero for my own Frostdottir who will surely be digging herself out of credit card debt by the time she's 19 (she'll be 18 on 9/11).

I am an ogre. Qualities often noted in my annual "meanest mom on the planet" nomination are "doesn't think shopping or talking on the phone are hobbies," "won't engage in conversation while I'm on the phone with someone else," and the absolutely insufferable "makes me ask before I invite someone to sleep over, and sometimes says no even then."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 27, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Zapper Alert for 2:35, thanks.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The article Joel linked to, which describes how "No Child Left Behind" may actually be harming the education of some gifted students, raises some good points.

In our school district, however, I don't see how it really applies because "gifted" students are pulled out into a separate program. Further, a truly gifted child will find a way to remain motivated and engaged through clubs and activities. Not to mention libraries. Such a child is seldom limited by the classroom.

Where the issues raised by this article become worrisome is with regards to children who, although bright, are not considered "gifted." These are the children, including some who are simply "late bloomers," who are at risk of being short-changed.

I am concerned about this because, if history is to be any guide, sometimes it is *not* the kid who is labeled "gifted" as a seven-year-old who really comes through and takes the world by storm.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Scotty; I thought the 2:35 posting by teen had a refreshing clarity of expression. I am fond of transparent prose that lets us see what the author chooses to express without a lot of frippery and window-dressing. And, you know, furbelows and spelling and words and stuff.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

My son has never been the kind of kid who wants to spend a Saturday hanging out at the mall with his buds. He's the kind of kid who wants to spend Saturday sitting around the living room in his sweats playing Nintendo and watching MythBusters.

He worries me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

ScienceKid#1 has been a bit of a child-rearing problem, lately, I must admit. The kid has been staying up late, well past bed-time, reading a college textbook on vertebrate biology for its entertainment value. Especially the naughty bits about notochords. I don't know what will become of that child.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 27, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

RD, you and I must have the same son. Mine goes to an all-boy school. We will be arranging prom dates no doubt. He's in the 6th grade this year, I better start looking now!

Posted by: Aloha | August 27, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

'lo, everrrrybudddddddy (Grover voice)

Very busy revising course and rehearsing for school on Wednesday.

Frosti, you and me would tie for Meanest Mommy in the Known Universe, although CeePeeBoy does not see it quite the same way that the lovely Dots did; for which, tired that I am, I rejoice.

The narcissistic/very-extra-special parents and children take up so much space that we miss the ordinary and good ones.

RD is right on the AP overload. And, to all the parents and AP-overload high schoolers, less will be the new more. I see your kids in the next phase and many of them look so worn-out and over-ma-educated! Not all, surely, but I wish that children/young adults simply read more, rather than over-dosed on classes. And, it would be great if more middle-class kids had physical experiences that could range from taking out the garbage/mowing/raking to bike riding/hiking/walking.

Now, if you feel umbrage rising,don't think I am talking about any of you in particular....I am just saying about something concerning the cohort of the young these days.

Enjoy this annual take on young people from Beloit College: The 2007 Mindset concerning the college class of 2011.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 27, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I love that we're spelling it "humour" now - no doubt the Canadian and Beatles influence.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The Boy is closer in spirit to RD's son than ScienceTim's, but at least when he plays World of Warcraft he's interacting on some social level with actual people.

Or so he and his father claim.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 27, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse


Nintendo might worry me too.

MythBusters, not so much.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 27, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on having a tuition-waivered kid! UNC-Chapel Hill may be the academic "flagship", but the whole UNC system's competently run. A grad school friend teaches at Appalachian State.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 27, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

My wife left Gifted and Talented teaching this year for English as Second Language. Dealing with the non-ironic parents got to be too much trouble.

We had a bad thunderstorm sweep through Saturday night so I made my son turn off the computer. He tried to get together some people via text message to see a movie but ended up watching 'Donnie Darko' with me instead.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, Sciencekid#1 could turn out disturbingly like me.
You should intervene immediately. Just sayin'.

Joel's lead was hilarious but not quite a scoop-- The national Enquirer has been publishing news on the secret divorce between the Bushes for over a year now.

Apparently, W's been drinking and Laura's had enough, and so it goes with the drama.

Not that I even TOUCHED the magazines, but my eyes automatically lock on print as I walk through checkout, processing details directly into my memory.

I have no power over my speed-reading whatsoever. I've tried handicapping my eyes with heavy bags. I've tried hobbling them with sedatives. No effect.

Wilbrodog is now in training for guide work so I can navigate checkouts with my eyes closed against such salacious slander about our esteemed officials.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 27, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, maybe Dooley could help?

CP, Jack, Bayou, and anyone else I'm forgetting, I have to keep reminding myself that you look at fall in a whole other light. As a parent fall always was routine and settling in to normal. For teachers, it's ramping up to normal.

I salute teachers. No matter how much I loved my kids and their herd of friends, no way did I want to live with them at work too. There have been times when it felt like I was escaping to work. You face the hordes of fall, and I'm really glad that people like you, talented, caring people show up to do it, right across the continent.

Posted by: dr | August 27, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

She's a piece of work, Dave, for sure! Her middle school was an IB magnet and she absolutely refused, would not consider, hated the thought of taking IB in high school. Then she went to NCSSM for her junior and senior years. I tell her it ruined her for life. Never again will she be in the exclusive company of like-minded and equally intelligent peers. She seems to be outgrowing the grumpy stage, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to anyone sending their kids back to school, unless of course you will miss them too much.

Wildlife report; Had to stop twice on the way to the post office to remove some slithering friends. I use a walking stick for most of the snakes.

Speaking of snakes,I was glad to see Gonzales and Rove go. Now if we could just get rid of the King Cobra and the Sidewinder, the world would be a better place.

Off for a dip and then back to work after my mini 4 day vacation.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 27, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for kind words, DR; the annual handing off of children from summer-routines into school is always profound and touching. Thank you for trusting us and helping us toe the line on all kinds of things.

Here is my recent boodle dream: DR, you were helping me knit anatomically correct lichen species for use in Jack's classroom. Then, Dooley wanted knitted dinosaur bone models....and I woke up.

Martooni -- about little Bean Blossom, well, why on earth do you think I grow moonflowers?!!! Turn around and blink twice and she goes through another door entirely! Enjoy all seasons, especially the kindergarten threshold.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 27, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

CP, that sounds interesting. Knitted dinosaur bones. Hmmm, I bet you could out of wire.

I recall some yarn in the deep dark stash that actually feels like lichens, dry, flaky, and sort of dimly lit green. I keep worrying that its going to get wet and become one of the slimacious liverworts, second picture down.

Posted by: dr | August 27, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Aloha-perhaps your son attends a football powerhouse located near an all girls school? Frostdottir's best year of school was 5th grade at Sacred Hearts. Her teacher was astonishingly beautiful, which totally disarmed Frostdottir, and then proved to have a will of iron suited perfectly for a girl whose stated reason for attending school at all was "because that's where the kids are."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 27, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

You know, that story about how Fairfax County had identified and created an IEP for Cho when he was a student here is just so sad.

It's wonderful that the county took the trouble to discover what it was he was suffering from.. something that only 1% of the population apparently has. But it wasn't their job to tell Va Tech about it. It was his parents' job and they clearly failed to grasp the importance of doing so. Maybe they didn't really even understand what services the county was actually providing, given the language and culture differences.

You have to remember... there is no Special Ed in college. Colleges will provide accommodations to someone with a disability (which he most definitely had). The college would have been happy to provide those accommodations if his parents had only notified them of the disability. You can't expect that he would do so himself since that was what his disability was all about: the inability to talk to strangers.

This just adds a new dimension to the whole tragedy. Maybe next time someone sets of mental alarms to a college professor or administrator, as Cho did with his English professor, an off-the-record phone call to his or her high school counselor might be the first step to take. Just imagine what that one simple step might have accomplished (and I'm not faulting anyone for not doing it... just presenting it as an option in the future).

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear TBG, if only we could do what you suggest. Technically, this is against the law for both college professors and high school counselors.

And even such graceful and elliptical conversations are complex and fraught with legal danger.

In terms of the disability support services on campus, unless the student can manage the communication with professors, even such programs are hampered by privacy laws, name the Buckley Act.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 27, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

*Sigh* Obviously there needs to be a middle ground, where the communication can be made to get kids the services they need. Time to amend the Buckley Act, I'd say.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Frosti - yes, you are thinking of the right school. It is still a football powerhouse of sorts, which concerned us as Alohaboy is not an athlete by any measure of the word. They have a new president who has committed to making the school back into an academic institution as it was 25-30 years ago. With that we thought it was worth a try for Alohaboy, who seems to really enjoy being there. He's even trying harder then he did at his old school, which had girls. Seems the girls intimidated him and he tried to stay under the radar to avoid being embarrassed (his word).

Posted by: Aloha | August 27, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

SD, sorry to hear about the the lad's foot. Sounds painful and a long rehab to follow. Hang in there. Tell him this - it's a great excuse to get out of dancing if he doesn't feel like it, and then he can suggest a quiet little table in the corner....

Lemondade from lemons all all. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Error! Only you would suggest that particular kind of lemonade.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Lemonade"

By the way, I almost got ill listening to Bush's remarks about Gonzales. The waves of self-pity, how politics had destroyed old Al... everything BUT responsibility for his own actions in defense of the Liar-In-Chief.

He either deserves an Oscar or is utterly delusional.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, part of the problem is that there are millions and millions of people with various and sundry kinds of mental problems and disturbances, from mild and severe, and almost none of them go out an shoot 57 people. And I don't see that it makes too much difference whether the person in question is a teen or a youbng adult, or an older adult. Part of the problem is identifying people who may be dangerous to themselves or others, regardless of the local environment. Cho happened to be a college student, so a lot of the focus is on the college. But suppose Cho was a sheet metal worker or a finish carpenter, or whatever white-collar or blue-collar job who went "postal" and did basically the same thing at XYZ Corp. instead of Virginia Tech. Would we be asking that XYZ Corp. should have found some way to "get help" for one of its employees, when we ask that from Virginia Tech?

I don't have an answer, I only raise the question.

Also, Cho was 23 years old--an adult. We talk about him as if he was a "kid," because he was also a college student, but in fact he wasn't. So part of me agrees with Slyness that we need to get "kids" the services they need, and another part of me says we need to get "everybody" the services they need -- and another part of me says this is the real world, and we can't help EVERYone, all the time, every place, everywhere.

So among other things we have to think about some sort of societal "triage," even for purely mental/behavioral problems. There are thousands of homeless crazies walking around the streets--and by and large we let them alone because they tend not to go postal and kill anyone (they only die of hypothermia on cold winter nights).

So, all else being equal, why should we intervene to help a relatively well-off middle-class or upper middle-class 23-year-old adult as opposed to an indigant 59-year-old homeless person? Certainly not because one is a college student and one is virtually "invisible."

If we knew who was going to turn out to be the killer, sure, then the answer is easy. And sometimes we know--and don't do anything. And sometimes we DON'T know--and don't do anything.

It would have been nice to stop Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris--now that we know what they were going to do. But what have we done about all the other near-Klebolds walking around who haven't "gone off" yet, but have virtually all the same symptoms and warning signs? Pretty much nothing.

Which is why I need to walk disconsolately to the bus and go home and have a drink.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Bush is in my neck of the woods today:
I suppose I should be there with the protesters, but I'm just glad I don't have to deal with the traffic (I'm off today). And Bush probably won't see or hear the protesters anyway.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you're so right.

Even "mental illnesses" aside, there are many physical illnesses that can alter behavior and cognition that too often go unrecognized and untreated.

Schizophrenia, for instance, in up to 3% of cases may well be caused by malnutrition associated with celiac disease.

I think the only way is to educate more people overall about mental illness and, you know, most mentally ill people DEPEND on their families to get them the help they need.

When that fails, there may be somebody else in the support network who is able and willing to advocate for that person-- but if the person doesn't know the first thing about mental illness or what they can legally do, that's a big stumbling block.

The second, of course, is insurance issues.

I know a pastor who used to work as a psychiatric nurse, and she shared a story where a mentally ill patient was released even though he was a clear danger to himself and others in what he was saying-- because the insurance sent a social worker to evaluate him, and the social worker didn't have the training to really determine he wasn't in need of hospitalization then.
Yes, the patient attempted sucide and attacked a family member within 24 hours of that "determination."

We do, painfully, need to safeguard the civil rights of the mentally ill-- they're often disbelieved when they complain of abuse, so they are ripe for exploition and abuse at the hands of others who take advantage of that.

But is it a civil right to refuse treatment for a dangerous illness?

That's a good question; in the past as Mudge well knows, people (such as Typhoid Mary) have been quarantined forcibly, against their will, for public safety.

But we can't begin to debate this issue if we don't track it more thoroughly.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 27, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... when Cho started college he was 18, technically partially adult, but still a kid really. And he had a disability that the county had bothered to investigate and diagnose (and believe me, it's not easy to get the county to agree to test--at no cost to the parents--and diagnose a disability in a kid that still manages to get good grades and test highly on standardized tests, which Cho must have done if he got into Va Tech). They also made accommodations for Cho and they are required to make those accommodations once they've determined he's got a disability.

Colleges are supposed to provide them, too, under the ADA. There's no Special Ed in college, but the ADA steps in for students with disabilities... learning, emotional or physical. But it's up to the student to ask for the accommodation and someone whose disability is that he cannot talk to strangers isn't going to ask. So it was his parents' job. I'm going to assume they paid for college; they were active in that aspect. It's just a shame they didn't understand that what they thought were "demons" was a diagnosed mental condition.

They had no idea he would go ballistic. No one did and no one should have suspected it. But it's just one more piece to the puzzle. Perhaps if he HAD gotten help he wouldn't have gone off like he did.

No one is faulting the schools, at least I'm certainly not. I actually think the Post has done a service to Fairfax County by pointing out that when he was an FCPS student, he was getting the help he needed to succeed in school. That the county had bothered to figure out what was wrong with him and deal with this rare disability.

I also wonder if he HAD gotten the same treatment and accommodations at Tech if the problem just wouldn't have come to a head down the road in a workplace somewhere. If he didn't find a job that allowed for his disability (whether they knew about it or not) he very likely would have become one of those "homeless crazies"--or worse.

It's just so sad... the whole thing.

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I have to share today's story.

Today was the first day of school in my district. I was in a classroom trying to get the tuner to work with the LCD projector. When I finally succeeded, the first thing I saw and heard was the BIG BREAKING NEWS!!! And I tossed the remote and started dancing around the classroom. The teacher, my tech coworker, and the students got to see the real nutty me. When I saw one kid laughing, I excused myself, picked up my laptop, and walked very sedately out into the hallway.

Now I can back-boodle.

Posted by: a bea c | August 27, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I agree that in practice, identifying potential time bombs is difficult and the institution the time bomb works for or is getting an education from should not be blamed for not noticing or not doing anything (as an alkie, I've managed to lie my way through numerous interviews with health pros and counselors and was able to convince them all that I was 'normal').

That said, I think that employers and schools and other institutions should try harder to identify potential problems. Ideally, they would do this to help those with the problems. But they won't, so from the reality perspective, they should do this because it would protect not only their employees or students (or whoever else happens to wander the halls of their facilities), but would also reduce their risk from lawsuits and other liabilities after a nutcase goes off *if* they can prove that they not only screened, but made a serious effort to find/provide treatment/counseling for said nutcase.

Of course, that opens a very large can of worms, ethically speaking, and would be a civil liberties nightmare, but what else can be done? Give *everyone* a gun? Build "safe rooms"? Metal detectors everywhere? Arm and deputize the janitors?

I think this is one of those problems where we end up focusing too much on the result instead of the cause. Figuring out how to identify and calm down a potential suicidal with mass-murdering tendencies before he acts is practically impossible. Figuring out what it is that makes certain people suicidal with mass-murdering tendencies is nearly as impossible, but a bit closer to the root of the problem.

Find the true root (or roots) of this problem and you'll be very appreciated (rich and famous is reserved for those who do silly things or were born that way).

Posted by: martooni | August 27, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

CP: "...boodle dream..." *L* I have school dreams beginning the week before teacher work days that persist throughout the year. the longer I teach, the more it seems like that there is a stand-up element to the craft. The lesson needs an anecdote here and there or somethini gross to keep their attention. The research says that an instructor only has 15-25 teachable seconds per mnute for boys and girls respectively. The remainder of the minute is fraught with thoughts of sex and drugs and rock 'n roll. *that's all my body needs*

dr, thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jack | August 27, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Joel's advice about sarcasm reminded me...

Did anyone else listen to the commentary on tabloids on Marketplace this morning? I loved the way the guy described the relationship between the tabloid and its readership: Both know they are in on the joke, and the fun is in pretending the other side is really serious about it.

Well, that set me straight. When I would visit Miami as a kid, I thought Americans must be absolutely stupid to believe all that stuff with the badly Photoshopped images (or whatever was done before Photoshop and GIMP). I wondered how such stupid people could run such a cool country.

Posted by: a bea c | August 27, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the reason the sarcasm advice reminded me was...

I don't know. I think the commentator said that the prevalent sarcasm of bloggers and other online commentators has killed tabloids other than those dealing with celebrity plastic surgery horrors.

Posted by: a bea c | August 27, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... no offense, but whatever happened to books, chalk, crayons and fingerpaint?

It's been a while, but I seem to remember that those things never "crashed", never required the signing of a "EULA", and worked even when the power went out.

Don't get me wrong... without today's technology I'd be dead in the water (very crippled, anyway), but I thought schools were supposed to provide the basics -- reading, writing, arithmetic -- so that if technology fails, the kids could create new stuff to replace it.

I'm sure I'm behind the times. What this country needs are kids who know how to apply fonts in Word so they can get their MSCE's and teach others to apply fonts in Word. Or Excel. We don't need no stinking programmers. That's what India and Estonia are for.

Sorry... I'm in a grumpy and Ludditish mood.

Posted by: martooni | August 27, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

NPR's "This I Believe" essay was very good today (they almost always are)--and somewhat on topic, being by a mother-to-be meditating on what kind of child she would like to bring into the world.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 27, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

A strange and wonderful thing happened today... a fairy door showed up on my doorstep. I am truly speechless. Martooni makes very magical doors, and the Boodle makes for some very magical friends. I can't ever thank you folks enough.

Martooni, you'll be happy to know it matches my bar perfectly.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

What's up, friends? It seem I can never get here until night now. Still tired to the bone. I can't seem to get moving on the things I need to do. Grandsons gone home and school today. G-girl still here, and going Wednesday, on her birthday. We have this huge birthday cake, and no one to eat it. I will be giving away free cake.

I saw the breaking news this morning about the attorney general. It was shocking. I thought perhaps he might try to hang tough. After his testimony before Congress, he was a goner anyway. How can the attorney general of the USA expect any one to listen to him when he has lied more ways than Carter has liver pills? I told my dad, we know politicians lie, but aren't they suppose to be great at it, I mean really good? You know the kind of good wherein we don't notice that they lied.

And after he was exposed going to the hospital to torture poor Ashcroft, his tenure was shot anyway.

And they (parents) pay at private schools for their children to play "ping pong", Ivansmom? I tell you, I live and I learn. I am always fascinated at the different worlds we live in here in America. Fascinated and pained(?) is more like it.

I am off to bed. Have a good night, boodle, and sweet dreams. I feel really old, and have felt this way for awhile. I hope I'm not depressed. As if I need another pill to take. Of course, I could be feeling this way because I am old.

Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. I loved that commercial because it speaks to me on so many levels. I mean I really feel nutty as fruitcake some days, and will tell any one that listens, hey I am a nut. And some days it completely opposite. I feel every pain in the world. The mother that has lost a child, the grandmother that worries about her grand children, the mother that wishes she could drill school into her daughter's head, and a friend that wants desperately to see all the people she loves go to heaven. Oh, isn't life something else, people. It hurts so much of the time, and sometimes it is wonderful.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 27, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Hello, friends. The comment monster ate my comment. It was just rambling, so I will not try to go back over it.

I am still very tired and not quite myself yet, but perhaps can get some rest at some point this week.

Have a good night, and sweet dreams.

My computer is acting up really bad, so if you don't hear from me, don't think the worse, I can't get you is probably more likely the case.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 27, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, I see you got the rambling. I'm a nut today, so overlook the rambling.

Again, good night.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 27, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, we still have all that. But, if we don't teach the kids to change the fonts, who will want to give them a job?

Take a look at this video:

We saw it at a big geek event, then showed it to our staff during pre-service week. This is why we have the interactive boards, the projectors, the fonts, the gadgets. Otherwise, kids tune us out.

Not everyone is raising kids to love learning the way Boodlers are.

Posted by: a bea c | August 27, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Fairy doors magically appeared on your doorstep, EF? How very bizarre. Who woulda thunk it.

*being one of about 20 or 25 Boodlers who are secretly chortling and jumping up and down and unable to contain s----eating grins from ear to ear, and sending attaboy thoughts at random to anybody out there who may happen to make Fairy Doors as a hobby or whatever*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

>How very bizarre.

Not only that I shorted out two keyboards before I was able to get that post out Mudge. I think I need some Gatorade.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

EF: I'm so happy to hear the fairy door showed up. Several boodlers organized that -- I hope they speak up and explicate -- and Martooni, I know, did a fantastic job on it. We're all thinking about you, Error, and beaming you our positive vibes.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 27, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, there's this:

[Maybe he just ran out of TP????]

Posted by: Achenbach | August 27, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Joel, if that happened in a Ladies' I'd certainly think it was a request for TP rather than an invitation to raunchy acts.

What's next, being arrested for asking for a light in a bar?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 27, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Why do I suspect that bloggers will have a field day with the Larry Craig story.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 27, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, it depends upon HOW you request the light.

With the foot: Definitely a felony.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 27, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Noted. It's a felony to ask with a footsie even if you're wearing high heels? Man, this sexual business gets more complicated every year.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 27, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

It was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 27, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Good for you ER. You never know when a Fairy door will come handy.
What's this thing with guys getting romantically excited in public bathrooms? I can think of so many better places and so few worse locations.
And beside, rabbits tap their feet when they are axcited but I never felt the urge myself. I'm not normal maybe.
The mare pony we rented out last year just got a cute little philly this morning. Witch no.1 HAD to go see the new baby, a nice bay Morgan like her mother. The horse's owner was backing out of her driveway when she noticed the new addition to the herd. Things went so smoothly nobody witnessed the event.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 27, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC ...are excited.
I'm really getting worster and worster.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 27, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

JasusGud, Shrieking, you breed Morgan Horses? My most beloved and beautiful and smoothed-gaited horse-people? Pacers? (Some of them?) I'm now entirely in your power to command me to help you socialize your foals to the halter and the saddle.

I cannot believe I've been a Boodle-buddy for almost two years and did not have this information.

I thought we were talking about dogs.

So silly and lost, me.

Stroke their noses and teach them the change-of-leg for me.

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Error so glad the fairies made a delivery to your home.

Mudge thank you for so elequently describing how I felt when I read Errors' post. There are some very special boodlers out there who need to stand and take a bow - BRAVO.

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I've never met a Morgan myself, but I'm literate on the breed, and share Yoki's sentiments.

Yoki, Wilbrodog wishes to say he's been known to pace and has changed leads on command, and likes carrots. Does that make him any more special?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 27, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Hello, all.

Sorry for being MIA on the Boodle today, I took a personal day off, and it was just wonderful.

Anyway, I found a very questionable draft form for White House HR Actions from now until January 2009:

Interesting that the Falcons and Bengals are playing on MNF this evening, both teams dealing with legal problems...


Posted by: bc | August 27, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog likes carrots? I'm impressed.

EF, we hope the fairy door has a salubrious effect. That's what we're aiming for. Martooni does great work, doesn't he? Please know that your friends here are thinking about you, and we wish you health and prosperity.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I catch up on backboodling, I see that EF's door showed up! I am *so* happy about that.

And I think I know where on the bar you're putting that, EF.

Ay, carrumba, WaPo Radio going off the air?

Now, can someone get those tapes from the afternoon of July 3rd, 2006? That was clearly a high point in WaPo Radio's short existence...

Hmm, better yet, how about the Joel Achenbach box set? Think we could convince Rhino Records to get that together for us?


Posted by: bc | August 27, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

G'night all. I'm going to bed early, so I can get up at 5 to watch the lunar eclipse. Hope I get to see it, it's supposed to be low in the western sky.

Posted by: Slyness | August 27, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful moonrise tonight, the last full moon of the summer in a day or two.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 27, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant bc, I see you used your time well today :-).

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I was devastated to learn the WaPo radio station is going off the air. Joel, tell me the truth: was it that little visit bc and I made to the station with you and Downie that time that killed it? You can tell me the truth; I can take it. (It was bc, wasn't it? I just knew it was all his fault. Oh, I feel so...used.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Error, so happy you like your fairy door. I'd like to be half as caring a person as the ones who instigated your gift.

For a normally slow Monday in August, we have had tons of interesting news today. My joy at Gonzo's departure was immediately tempored by thoughts of why now, what do they have up their sleeves? It's terrible to distrust the government so completely. Spoke to a cousin at the surprise birthday party on Saturday who lives in Vancouver, BC and holds dual citizenship. She loves it there and I felt a bit of envy for those of you living in a more sane country.

We just discovered the coolest thing! It's very calm here tonight and through the open window we heard a foghorn! In a year of being here, it's the first time we've heard it. Crickets and a foghorn, what a great way to drift off to sleep.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 27, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

is anyone watching the lunar eclipse?

Posted by: a bea c | August 27, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Error... so glad the door arrived! The fairies in your yard have been having a heck of a time with the groundhogs, I understand, and they need a place to get away.

Did anyone notice this line in the Larry Craig article about the "Singing Senators"? It said the group included "then-Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), who broke up the group when he went on to become attorney general."

Excuse me? I believe John Ashcroft stopped being a Singing Senator when the good people of Missouri thought a corpse would do a better job in Washington than Ashcroft would.

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

And here, I've spotted a second bunch of flowers forming on the big Heliconia collinsiana. There's a picture of one here:

My big clump (probably 10 feet in diameter and nearly as tall) is derived from one piece of rhizome planted in winter 2003. The little plant, all of 2 feet tall, survived a big tree falling on it in Frances the next summer, then Jeanne. Last year, one of the big shoots did a feeble attempt at flowering. Finally, now, the payoff.

On the other hand, the big leaves are very whitish (glaucous) on the undersides and the clump is an impressive sight toward sunset, glowing white in the sun.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 27, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you are funny! a bea c, I told "S" to wake me for the eclipse if it was unusual in any way, otherwise I just can't get up that early.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 27, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The moonrise was spectacular this evening rising over the Atlantic Ocean and the Ocean City, Md., boardwalk.

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I'll watch it tomorrow morning right after I get up, a bea c. You watching it?

GWE was right--it was a terrific moonrise tonight about 7:45 p.m.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 27, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Gee Dave, those flowers are gorgeous! And here I was all excited because my sunflowers are finally blooming.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 27, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

>The fairies in your yard have been having a heck of a time with the groundhogs,

Max Leader was brazenly gnoshing in the driveway stones when I pulled up today. And the concrete I put in? The Groundhog Nation pooled their dough and sent me a check for "improvements". Seems it sealed the burrow better. *sigh*

I should've watched Monday Night Football with the sound off. The Michael Vick apologists are just astounding. Sort of like Bush talking about Gonzales.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG, are you travelling again? The moon has been beautiful here too - the eclipse is at 1:30 or sometime here, so I won't be watching.

Thanks for letting us know the door arrived, Error. Glad you like it.

SD, hope you get some pictures of the filly that you can share with us sometime. Dave, those are beautiful plants. How wonderful to have them in your yard.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Enjoying a few days here "down th' beach" with the girl. Arrived this afternoon and after a dip in the pool went to the boardwalk for slices of pizza, soft ice cream and people watching. The perfect night in Ocean City!

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought this quote from Craig was very insightful:

"I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."

Counsel could have reminded him that, perhaps, he was just suffering from a Tony Orlando and Dawn "Knock Three Times" tune cootie and things just got a little out of control. I think most reasonable people would understand . . . .


Posted by: bill everything | August 27, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Just went to look at the moon, lovely tonight. Must be magnificent over the ocen TBG - have fun at the beach.

Night all

Posted by: dmd | August 27, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Will somebody please be fair and remind those who missed the discussion(s) what a fairy door is? It sounds questionable appearing the same day as the unfortunate Senator from Idaho's mounting problems. :-)

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Birdie said "mounting." Hahaha

Posted by: bill everything | August 27, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

birdie, a fairy door is a small (6" by 4" or otherwise dimensioned) wooden door which plays on the imagination; it might open to the world of fairie or different otherworldly oceans and islands and continents of wonder. Fairy doors are a small window which opens for us, and gives our magical selves a place to play.

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Darn..the eclipse happens around 3 AM here in Colorado and storm clouds have moved in. Not sure it is worth it to set the alarm. But the moon last night was spectacular. So big and bright one could nearly read a book. And Mars is close by too and looked huge. More reasons to be glad to be alive!

RD--thanks for the words about private schools. Three of four kids attend or attended in-state schools---not as expensive but with room and board it really adds up. The fourth is a junior at the Colorado School of Mines...a very tough engineering-oriented school but a stellar rep. And the kid is a she who loves math!

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Too many typos and infelicitous expressions to own. Forgive!

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Jack, the boodle should give you some great stories for bio-capture of the students. Try the one about mice and sexual proclivities and olfactory glands of a few days back. Wilbrod can help you draft a lesson.

I like these:

+asparagus and changes in urine;
+Coriolis forces: is the direction the water swirls down the drain same in both the N.Hemisphere v. S. Hemisphere?
+hoax that last blonde will be born in Finland circa 2050;
+there is a molecule named 'arsole'("Studies on the Chemistry of the Arsoles", G. Markl and H. Hauptmann, J. Organomet. Chem., 248 (1983) 269.);
+Phthalic Acid can be mispronounced to special effect

Other funny-weird sciency things to be shared I am sure that you can tell as well as SciTim, RD, BC and even the dark but kind overlord J. Mysteriousian Achenboodlebach.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 27, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, very cool. Wonder what color EF got. :-)

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

birdie... Fairy doors are the product of the boodle's resident handyman, the Handy Hippie Martooni himself. College Parkian describes them well here (including pictures)...

CeePee also conspired with Martooni and several boodlers to send one to Error Flynn, who is dealing with fighting groundhogs and other "bad humors" right now.

Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, bill, birdie. Too bad the Senator doesn't know any lawyers, eh? Poor guy, no one to go to for legal advice...

Martooni makes fabulous little doors which could be conducive to fairies - small elven-like people. CP has pictures here on her blog:

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Off to bed, but my goodness, doesn't the mixster just deserve this pubicizing?

Posted by: Yoki | August 27, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TBG | August 27, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, you sound like me. I have standing orders to get me up for the Northern Lights (I've never seen them), but that's about it. When I was younger, and living away from city lights, I tried valiantly to stay awake for meteor showers and the like. But my body just wants to sleep from about 2 am till 5.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

What time does the eclispe happen on the east coast? And shoot I am sorry I didn't know about it.

Posted by: Greenwithenvy | August 27, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Ok, here's a pic of the fairy door in a temporary? installation.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 27, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, mostlylurking TBG and Yoki. Fairy doors look like fun. It makes sense they would come from Martooni. The one and only dang hippie, on this blog, anyway. I was only a hippie wannabe in the day. Peace.

BTW, the big moon is now peeping out through cracks in the clouds. So tempting to wake at 3 AM. We'll see....

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

The eclipse starts at 4:50 ayem EDT and ends about 8:24.
I just heard about it today during the local weather - that's what the boodle is for, to make sure we don't miss these things. Not that I'm getting up, mind you.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 27, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn--that is a really nice fairy door--very polished. Good choice of alcohol, too. Thanks for sharing :-)

Such a generous group of boodlers here on Achenblog.

Posted by: birdie | August 27, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I bet Loomis can confirm this, but I have always assumed that Gonzales became Bush's "abogado," not through brilliant legal manuevering (although other lawyers in Gonzales's big firm may have done so), but through a slavish devotion to fund raising which does not involve the practice of law but the diligent practice of constantly pressuring the local business community to pony up to the greatest extent possible.

I thought that the best part of Fletcher and Smith's analysis today of where things started to fall apart was when Gonzales started to have to actually practice law (picking up when he was named to the Texas Supreme Court):

On the court, Gonzales was a moderate. Lacking a litigation background, he often arrived at work early and stayed late, reading cases that some other justices knew just from their citations, a former colleague said.

As White House counsel beginning in 2001, Gonzales surrounded himself with bright, conservative lawyers. They subscribed to controversial legal theories, such as the belief that the Constitution gives the president much more authority than Congress or the judiciary, and contended that international treaties are subject to "situational" adherence.

Gonzales had little experience with much of federal law or national security matters. Many colleagues described him as a relatively passive participant in the sometimes acrimonious administration debates driven -- and often won, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- by Cheney's ideologically hard-line legal counsel, David Addington.

Gonzales was "unassuming, pleasant and quiet," said a former official who sat in interagency meetings on terrorism matters. "He never made an impression on me." The suspicion that Gonzales was a disconnected figurehead while political officials decided events would resurface among lawmakers in the controversy over the prosecutor firings."

I thought this was a really good analysis of a fish out of water.

Posted by: bill everything | August 27, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Bush's abogado? I think of Gonzales as more like the consiglieri.

Posted by: TBG | August 28, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, I see that infinity signs looks more like um, a backdoor symbol, if you know what I mean. I love the green and tan colors, very manly.

Hope you enjoyed the verbiage that came with the fairy door, Error.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 28, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks mostly. I will be up all night so it is very doable.

Posted by: Greenwithenvy | August 28, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

>Hope you enjoyed the verbiage that came with the fairy door, Error.

Really not fair about that note. You people are breaking my heart here. I just really can't talk about it. Got a call from an old friend shortly after; I was a mess for hours.

I thought the infinity sign was very cool.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 28, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

*faxing ef a cyber hug*

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 28, 2007 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I didn't think my haiku was that bad, but it's okay if you don't wanna comment, I'll just kick myself yet again for being gauche.

Ah well, tomorrow's another day.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 28, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

*Faxing EF a lot more than just one cyber hug, plus a big hammer for bopping groundhogs and gnomes with.*

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 28, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

> if you don't wanna comment

Please don't take my lack of an articulate comment as a reflection on the content of any of the messages. There just really are no words to do them justice.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 28, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

No sign of eclipse. Has it been pre-empted or is it just later at the western edge of the EDT zone?

Posted by: Shiloh | August 28, 2007 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Meeting a neighbor in the street peering through the trees for a view of the eclipse, I was advised of a new vantage point, and lo, it was the moon in obscurity. What I had been watching through the trees was another neighbors mercury vapor yard light. Feeling foolish at 5 a.m. does not bode a good day ahead. It is nice, however, to have neighbors who also stumble around in the dark.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 28, 2007 5:16 AM | Report abuse

*suspending backBoodling for the eclipse watch*


*pinhole-viewer-holding Grover waves*

Oh, not THAT kind of eclipse? Sorry...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2007 5:17 AM | Report abuse

I can't see anything either,clouds rolled in a little while ago. But since I am on the clock for 2 more hours, I will check in a bit.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 28, 2007 5:24 AM | Report abuse

grumble grumble stupid eclipse-ruining clouds and haze grumble grumble.

Posted by: byoolin wants his money back. | August 28, 2007 5:41 AM | Report abuse

The eclipse is very nice what with the lightenining sky in the east as the moon is almost gone.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 28, 2007 5:48 AM | Report abuse

SCC as the moon slowly disappears.

It's gone. We have achieved complete elipsitude.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 28, 2007 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh, don't feel too silly. I doubt I even found the right location of the moon, it's a partially cloudy night here.

However the mill smoke makes for a very nice pink pre-dawn light.

I also enjoyed smelling the donuts from the local bakery and Wilbrodog liked the surprise sniff time so early.

It's surprisingly nice pre-dawn weather, just cool and clammy enough.

Speaking of temperature...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 28, 2007 6:19 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Given the above reports, I have decided not to run outside in my skivvies to watch the eclipse. I don't know how many moons my neighbors can handle.

Midst the wonderful news about the departure of Torqueberto comes this piece of shocking news: we're running out of bullets.
Yes, it's like the next-to-last scene of a bad movie, when the beleagured good guys are surrounded by the enemy and are running so low on ammo they have to scurry from corpse to corpse getting ammo clips from their web belts.

What I can't figure out is we're hardly even shooting anybody--and we're running low. Have the effing insurgents stolen it all? Just another sign of our crack administration's inability to conduct warfare. Supplies for domestic police agencies are running up to a year behind. A year. Can you imagine?

If there's an increased demand for the stuff, the administration has had six years to figure it out and do something about it. Apparently that hasn't happened. What a surprise.

The money graf: "Alliant, which operates the government's Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri, is the government's primary supplier of small-caliber ammunition. The company is also a leading supplier for police departments across the country. In April 2000, the Lake City plant had 650 employees and produced 350 million rounds a year, he said. Today, he said, it runs at full capacity 24 hours a day, employing 2,500 workers and producing 1.2 billion rounds a year."

So yes, on the one hand, they've tripled capacity. But on the other ain't enough.

Of course, these are basically the same people who still haven't figured out how to put enough armor on our Humvees.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 28, 2007 6:20 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to look for the eclipse on my dog walk, but it would have been too overcast to see anything. They really aren't that impressive in my opinion.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse

The sun is up and there is no sign of the moon so I regret to annouce that the moon has disappered. Panic may now ensue.

That is all... Lovers.

Posted by: Official Communique from the Boko Looney Obervatory | August 28, 2007 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Dang, I can't see the eclipse from my porch - too many trees. And the NASA webcast is busy! I'm trying to get there!

I had heard about the ammo problem, Mudge. The local police department issued new guns a few months back. The cop in the family (husband to third daughter) fussed and fussed that they were allowed not nearly enough rounds for practice. That's scary. Remind me to stay out of situations where the police may need to use guns.

Posted by: Slyness | August 28, 2007 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I've seen some pretty blood-red moons, and I think full lunar eclipses are more interesting to see (and easier on the eye) than partial solar eclipses.

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Pretty pics here of impending doom.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 28, 2007 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Still not fully BackBoodled, but just saw WaPo Radio's getting the ax...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

And now that I AM backBoodled and see that I'm way behind the curve on things (as usual)...

EF, yer very very very very very very very welcome, dude. *HUGS*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I have to concur with yello that a lunar eclipse is not that spectacular, even if the conditions are nearly perfect as they were this morning in Ottawa. The puppy was not impressed either, he felt that following the scent of long gone rabbits was far more interesting.
Yoki, we don't own the mare. We leased her for a year while her owner was taking a sabbatical in New Zealand. The Morgan is now back with her owner and the rest of the herd (I think she's up to 6 ponies&horses now, 7 with the new foal). Unfortunately for witch no.1 they have moved away in the boonies (Forester's fall, near Cobden. Boko the Northern driver can confirm that it is in the boonies) so she doesn't get to see "her" horse often. I'll post picture if she has taken any. That Morgan mare was a handful and a half when she was in season, Witch no.1 deserves a partial godmother status on that foal I'm telling you.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 28, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

An poll published in this morning's Globe and Mail about Prime Minister Harper says that while Canadians think the country's headed in the right direction that "[j]ust 27 per cent of respondents said their overall impression of the Prime Minister was favourable, while 32 per cent said he engendered negative feelings. The remainder were neutral."

Reminds me of my wife's favourite riddle about my people: Why did the Canadian cross the road?

To get to the middle.

Posted by: byoolin | August 28, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

'An poll' was 'An article' until I went and messed it up.

Posted by: byoolin | August 28, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

SCC #2: One too many 'that's in that first sentence.

Posted by: byoolin | August 28, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Ann Elk?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

bill everything's 11:59:
I bet Loomis can confirm this, but I have always assumed that Gonzales became Bush's "abogado," not through brilliant legal manuevering (although other lawyers in Gonzales's big firm may have done so), but through a slavish devotion to fund raising...

abogado= Spanish for lawyer

According to Carlos Guerra's metro column today in our local paper, Al befriended George W. Bush through the law firm Vinson & Elkins in Houston. Guerra's less than stellar column this morning does not explain why Bush was using the services of this particular firm at the time the two met.

However, this website provides more information about Gonzales' legal career, and provides additional links that I haven't explored. This article is long, with footnotes, for those who care to delve more deeply (bill everything--perhaps you can find the answer to your question vis the links? Sorry, can't confirm...):

Gonzales graduated from Houston's MacArthur High School in 1973, joined the Air Force, and was later admitted to the Air Force Academy. He transferred and completed his undergraduate degree at Rice University where earlier he had worked selling soft-drinks in the school stadium. After graduating from law school in 1982 Gonzales returned to Houston, joined the politically connected law firm of Vinson & Elkins, and eventually became the first first Hispanic to be named partner.

In the Republican culture at Vinson & Elkins, Gonzales decided to become one, as well. "I liked what I heard about some of the Republican principles about being self-reliant, hard work, and so I just gravitated to it," Gonzales told the Chronicle.

The section of V & E where Gonzales worked was known informally as the "deals" group, and handled business, real-estate and energy matters. One of Gonzales colleagues was Joseph Dilg, V & E's principal liaison to Enron, who later became managing partner. Dilg was named as a defendant in at least one Enron-related lawsuit, but V & E settled all lawsuits with the Enron Bankruptcy Estate in June 2006, paying $30 million and foregoing $3.9 million in claims for prior service. Gonzales reportedly had an attorney-client relationship with Enron, although he has never described it. Gonzales worked with Kenneth Lay on an economic summit held in Houston in 1990, and also on the 1992 Republican convention.

Another major client served by V & E's "deals" section during the time Gonzales was with the firm was Halliburton. According to Nathan Newman of the Yale Law Campaign for a Legal Election, Gonzales had a "strong relationship" with the client.

..On an ending note for me, the article about Gonzales' resignation got short shrift on our front page today--given that this is his birthplace. It's major news that I think should have been above the fold. Instead we got a cover story with a huge photo of a fire that broke out in three business along Main Street in Bandera, a community about 60 miles to San Antonio's northwest. Focus was on the destruction of the iconic (really old and tacky) restaurant the "old Spanish Trail"--"known for its John Wayne photo collection, saddles for bar stools and a singing stuffed deer head." Any wonder why I turn to the major East Coast papers of record?

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

A friend of mine e-mailed me a pome from the current issue of the New Yorker, written by Philip Schultz. The occasion was my 61st birthday--the number 61 appears in the poem, among other coinky-dinks. The poem really hit home and knocked my sox off. I mean, it was almost tailor-made. It is called "Why." Here it is:


is this man sitting here weeping

in this swanky restaurant

on his sixty-first birthday, because

his fear grows stronger each year,

because he's still the boy running

all out to first base, believing

getting there means everything,

because of the spiders climbing

the sycamore outside his house

this morning, the elegance of

a civilization free of delusion,

because of the boyish faces

of the five dead soldiers on TV,

the stoic curiosity in their eyes,

their belief in the righteousness

of sacrifice, because innocence

is the darkest place in the universe,

because of the Iraqis on their hands

and knees looking for a bloody button,

a bitten fingernail, evidence of

their stolen significance, because

of the primitive architecture

of his dreams, the brutal egoism

of his ignorance, because he believes

in deliverance, the purity of sorrow,

the sanctity of truth, because of

the original human faces of his wife

and two boys smiling at him across

this glittering table, because of

their passion for commemoration,

their certainty that goodness continues,

because of the spiders clinging to

the elegance of each moment, because

getting there still means everything?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 28, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Here's the Guerra column for anyone who may be interested. A little too kissy-kissy for my taste--an homage to the hometown guy. End graf is notable.

But hard work and good grades earned him scholarships, first to Rice, and then to Harvard Law School, whose degree catapulted him to the upper rungs of one of the nation's top corporate law firms.

It was at Vinson & Elkins that he met Bush and the two became close friends. ...

After everyone was seated, I rose and said: "I'm happy to introduce Texas' new secretary of state, Alberto Gonzales." He rose and corrected me, saying, "Al. Al. That's Al Gonzales."

Ending grafs:
And when his patron (I prefer the Spanish pronunciation of patrón) -- and good friend -- became president, I wasn't surprised that Gonzales followed him to Washington and became counsel to the president.

Not long after that appointment, I ran into Gonzales again, and he was his affable self.

"Hey, remember me?" he said with a warm smile as he extended his hand.

"Alberto. Alberto Gonzales."

I still don't know what to make of that, but good luck, Al -- or is it still Alberto?

End graf:

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful poem, mudge.

And Loomis, I made my Torqueberto tirade that's plugged earlier in the boodle extra linky with lots of extra dirt on Alberto. One link I added is to this article that delves into the V&E/Enron/Dubya connection.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

How would a poem read to a woman on her 61st?

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Interesting link. More interesting the date: Friday, February 15, 2002

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Going back to the word "neoteny", I used that word in a blogpost several years ago having read it in a Stephen Jay Gould essay on how Mickey Mouse evolved to look so cute.

This blog post is an evergreen of mine since it continually gets hit by people googling for "cute baby pictures" and it does have pictures of my rather cute cousin on it.

When your kids annoy you, the phrase "It's a good thing you're so cute." has strong evolutionary bias behind it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The beginning of another day
is the moment of aging's greatest sway.
Arise, look in the mirror and say,
"Damn, who stole my body
and left me this old thing?"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 28, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Clouds in the sky, bah.

Sure, I'm tweaking the Administration over Gonzales' resignation, but the truth is that he isn't the first, and won't be the last. With new President coming in January '09, everyone working for the Bush Administration - from the Cabinet to the Admin staff - will likely be looking for new jobs soon.

I wonder if they'll install revolving doors in the front of the White House?
Might be interesting to hook generators up to them to get some cheap free electricity from human-powered turbines...


Posted by: bc | August 28, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say this, but I heard about the bullet shortage last week on The Daily Show.

Does that mean I'm one of the millions of Americans who gets my news from Jon Stewart? Yikes.

Loomis... would love to see a poem about a 61 year old woman. Why don't you write one? (I would take a stab, but I'm terrible at writing poetry).

Posted by: TBG | August 28, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Very little about the Bush Administration's cronyism and corporate kow-towing is new. It just never seemed to bother the right people enough to make a difference until now. I also linked on my site to an NPR story that details the rise of Alberto.

The interviewee literally wrote the book on Torqueberto's bootlicking.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

EF: You are thought of often by many.

CP: I'm able to find anecdotes and inadvertently draw pictures that are meant to be educational, but find meaning in the gutter section of students' minds.

Posted by: jack | August 28, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

We were supposed to be able to see the lunar eclipse as well - 3 hrs ago at 7pm. It drizzled the whole time so I didn't get to see it.

Posted by: rain forest | August 28, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Error, I'm so glad the fairy door arrived.

It was a very clear sky last night. Crystal clear. Combine that with cool weather and the result was a crisp clear frost. All along the first few miles of the drive in, along the lakes, roofs and ditches were white. I love fall.

Posted by: dr | August 28, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Both honesty and some humor in this article at the Chicago Trib (mentioned in the Lede blog at the NYT)--assessing possible replacements for Gonzales.

Here's one example:

James Comey, former deputy attorney general

PROS: Instant credibility with Senate Democrats who view the Republican Comey as a straight-shooter who isn't afraid to stand up to the White House.

CONS: Instant credibility with Senate Democrats who view the Republican Comey as a straight-shooter who isn't afraid to stand up to the White House.

TBG: Ummm, I'm NOT 61!

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Bill Minutaglio had a talk and book signing at our local Twig (indie) bookstore when his book about Gonzales came out. Same spot where I met Doro Bush. I didn't go because I just wasn't that interested in the story. Did I miss something perhaps? Ya think?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 5:00 PM
Doro Bush Koch, My Father, My President

Thursday, July 6, 2006 5:00 PM

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

i turned in early last night with no intention of looking at the eclipse.

however, the landlord's pooch decided to chase some animal (cat, racoon?) around the backyard at 3 ayem and woke me up.

the skies were clear. the moon was orangish dark grey. i petted the dog, who was delighted for some company in the middle of the night. went back to bed.

now it's time for coffee.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 28, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

>How would a poem read to a woman on her 61st?<


[poem begins:]

Why, I can hardly believe

You're 39!

-- Jon Lovitz

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 28, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Loomis.. Yikes! I know you're not 61!

Neither am I, but you could write a poem FOR a 61-year-old woman, couldn't you?

(My husband, on the other hand, IS 61 years old. I'm what you could call his "trophy wife." Ha ha ha ha ha ha!)

Posted by: TBG | August 28, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

This picture now replaces the earlier picture on the home page of about the bullet shortage. I thought it was a picture of what it looks like to train without bullets...

(The actual caption: "To reduce risks, some black families are trading soul food for yoga and veggies.")

Posted by: TBG | August 28, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought yoga was soul food. I'm so confused.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It's a song but not a poem, and not necessarily for 61, but there is this:

"Lies", by Stan Rogers

At last the kids are gone now for the day.
She reaches for the coffee as the school bus pulls away.
Another day to tend the hous and plan
For Friday at the Legion when she's dancing with her man.
Sure was a bitter winter but Friday will be fine,
And maybe last year's Easter dress will serve her one more time.
She'd pass for twenty-nine but for her eyes.
But winter lines are telling wicked lies.
All lies.
All those lines are telling wicked lies.
Lies all lies.
Too many lines there in that face;
Too many to erase or disguise;
They must be telling lies.
Is this the face that won for her the man
Whose amazed and clumsy fingers put that ring upon her hand?
No need to search that mirror for the years.
The menace in their message shouts across the blur of tears.
So this is Beauty's finish. Like Rodin's "Belle Heauimiere",
The pretty maiden trapped inside the ranch wife's toil and care.
Well, after seven kids, that's no surprise,
But why cannot her mirror tell her lies.
All lies.
All those lines are telling wicked lies.
Lies all lies.
Too many lines there in that face;
Too many to erase or disguise;
They must be telling lies.
Then she shakes off the bitter web she wove,
And turns to set the mirror, gently, face down by the stove.
She gathers up her apron in her hand,
Pours a cup of coffee, dripps Carnation from the can,
And thinks ahead to Friday, 'cause Friday will be fine!
She'll look up in that weathered face that loves her's, line for line,
To see that maiden shining in his eyes
And laugh at how her mirror tells her lies.
All lies.
All those lines are telling wicked lies.
Lies all lies.
Too many lines there in that face;
Too many to erase or disguise;
They must be telling lies

Posted by: Dooley | August 28, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I listened to NPR this morning on the way to work to hear of the rise and fall of Judge Gonzalez. Given his record to the point of his confirmation hearing for the AG post, the torture memo, approving practices that deny prisoners rights afforded by the Geneva conventions, etc., he never should have been at the helm. My blood pressure was truly elevated.

Posted by: jack | August 28, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Mining my blog again, Alberto was never very clear on that habeas corpus thing. Nevermind it's explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

How that made him qualified to enforce it is anybody's guess. This is all barn door locking if the next guy just runs with the precedents Fredo made.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

In other justice news this morning, Stephen Truscott has just had his murder conviction overturned by Canada's Supreme Court; he's been acquitted, after 45 years. Sometimes the right thing happens.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

For those not familiar with the Truscott case, some background.

Yoki I agree, but the time he has served in jail really disturbs me, nothing can ever make up for that.

Posted by: dmd | August 28, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Of course, dmd. His life was lost and ruined for nothing. My admiration for him is almost unbounded, as he seems to have preserved a core of humanity in spite of being brutalized.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Well said Yoki.

Posted by: dmd | August 28, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, yello. The administration has this philsophical element that opposes activist government and an activist judiciary. I'd like to hear or see evidence that the individual and corporate decisiions that have been made and implemented during the past 6 1/2 years aren't of the activist nature they so often rail against.

Posted by: jack | August 28, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I linked to the article regarding Mr. Truscott's case and clicked the comments to see what was being said . This jumped out at me:

Horace P. Fenderknob from Cote D'Ivoire writes:

...all I could think of was Fester Testerbester and his good friend Carbunkle.

Posted by: jack | August 28, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

What's all this chatter about Alberto Gonzalez? He was never attorney general. Nope, no siree. Not even for a minute. (At least I don't remember him being. I could refer to my notes but they're privileged.) Also ... in all fairness to Sen. Craig, what Republican congressman HASN'T cruised for sex in an airport men's room? No. That's not what I meant to say. You see, it was all a misunderstanding: The good Senator was quite innocently sitting there, minding his own business, and simply reached under the partition to show the gentleman in the next stall the latest copy of "Rough Trade." (Fall fashion leather preview!)

Posted by: Audentes | August 28, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Dooley. I really, really liked the poem you shared.

Couldn't write a poem for a 61-year-old woman, because I'm not there yet. The next five years will be telling.

Since I saw and heard Glenn Yarbrough perform this Rod Mckuen poem/song (Stand By Your Mannish) and had to write a review of his show...well, I remember it. It has stuck upstairs for an awfully long time.


I married Rose in Twenty-One
we got a little farm.
The first year out
the barn burned down
and I broke my good right arm.
From then on in, things got bad
I guess they could have been worse
but seeing Rose in rags all day
made me wanna curse.

That's okay Rose'd say
don't you worry none
we'll have good times by and by
next fall when the works all done.

I watched her hands grow rough and red
from pickin in the fields
and putting up in Mason Jars
what little crops they'd yield.
I'd find what jobs there were in town
most times there were none
but Rose'd still have supper a waitin
at night when the day was done.

That's okay Rose'd say
don't you worry none
we'll have good times by and by
next fall when the works all done.

Our first born had a face like Rose
and I guess a temper like mine
She'd sleep all day and cry all night
but she grew up and married fine.
Our only son went off to fight
in Nineteen Forty and Four
a year went by and a telegram said
he ain't comin home no more.
One winter night in Fifty-Nine
Rose took a terrible chill
she went to sleep and didn't wake up
I guess she's sleeping still.
But sometimes when the wind is singing
high up in the Chinaberry tree
it seems it not the wind at all
but Rose a singing to me.

That's okay Rose'd say
don't you worry none
we'll have good times by and by
next fall when the works all done.

That's okay Rose'd say
don't you worry none
we'll have good times by and by
next fall when the works all done.

Posted by: Loomis | August 28, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

From across the pond, news that NASA is releasing long archived pictues of the Moon's surface to the public:

Posted by: jack | August 28, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

What Yoki said.

It would be easy to assume justice has finally been done, but how can you repay him for his life? The whole thing opens the door to that forever question, what is truly just after the fact.

Posted by: dr | August 28, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: datindwtt | August 28, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

(ZAAPPP the 05:59 pm, please).

Fine poem examples, I like the Rose one, Loomis.

Mudge, nice poem, but jeez-- that cobweb imagery really bites.

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