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Disagreeableness From All Over

I've been monitoring the various America In Decline hypotheses. You know: America is Rome, on the verge of collapse. There are books with titles like "The End of the American Era." I'm still a Can Do Nation person, however, and continue to feel like I've heard these arguments before, many times.

Meanwhile I came across this piece that ran in the Guardian (via Liz Donovan's Infomaniac blog).

"The ideology of movement conservatism is characterised by a certitude that leaves no room to accommodate contrary evidence. That arrogance, by triumphing over a more reasoned, pragmatic approach to governing, has inflicted enormous damage on the United States at home and abroad."

Lots of obstreperous comments appended. It's slightly addicting, peering into these comment pools, which are so heavily carbonated with vitriol.

Note this statistic from the excellent Paul Starobin article that ran last year in National Journal:

In a March poll of 18-to-24-year-olds by Harvard's Institute of Politics, an overwhelming number -- 72 percent -- said that the United States should not take the lead in solving international crises and conflicts but should let other countries and the United Nations do so.

--

Meanwhile from Eurekalert I see this study from David Pimentel saying that pollution accounts for 40 percent of all of the deaths worldwide. Pimentel is a respected scholar who drew attention a couple of years ago for his contrarian view that it takes more energy to make ethanol than you get out of it.

From the press release:

About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher.... David Pimentel, Cornell professor of ecology and agricultural sciences, and a team of Cornell graduate students examined data from more than 120 published papers on the effects of population growth, malnutrition and various kinds of environmental degradation on human diseases...

"We have serious environmental resource problems of water, land and energy, and these are now coming to bear on food production, malnutrition and the incidence of diseases," said Pimentel.

Of the world population of about 6.5 billion, 57 percent is malnourished, compared with 20 percent of a world population of 2.5 billion in 1950, said Pimentel. Malnutrition is not only the direct cause of 6 million children's deaths each year but also makes millions of people much more susceptible to such killers as acute respiratory infections, malaria and a host of other life-threatening diseases, according to the research...

With 1.2 billion people lacking clean water, waterborne infections account for 80 percent of all infectious diseases. Increased water pollution creates breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, killing 1.2 million to 2.7 million people a year, and air pollution kills about 3 million people a year. Unsanitary living conditions account for more than 5 million deaths each year, of which more than half are children...

Air pollution from smoke and various chemicals kills 3 million people a year. In the United States alone about 3 million tons of toxic chemicals are released into the environment -- contributing to cancer, birth defects, immune system defects and many other serious health problems.

Soil is contaminated by many chemicals and pathogens, which are passed on to humans through direct contact or via food and water. Increased soil erosion worldwide not only results in more soil being blown but spreading of disease microbes and various toxins.

At the same time, more microbes are becoming increasingly drug-resistant. And global warming, together with changes in biological diversity, influence parasite evolution and the ability of exotic species to invade new areas. As a result, such diseases as tuberculosis and influenza are re-emerging as major threats, while new threats -- including West Nile virus and Lyme disease -- have developed.

[Just in case you didn't have anything to worry about today.]

--

Via Garance, check out this piece by Ellen Goodman on the white-male dominated blogosphere:

"...what is touted as a fresh force for change looks an awful lot like a new boy network."

--

From WSJ blog The Juggle (yes, I see these things when they link to the A-blog), here's a comment that jumped out at me:

It troubles me when blog writers edit their original postings because their readers identify grammatical errors. Edits should be made for factual inaccuracies alone and even then, the comment should be clearly identified as a correction.

Wait, isn't there the equivalent of a 5-second rule for blogging?
--

Richard Belzer explains why Oswald couldn't possibly have shot Kennedy. Something very complicated (can you imagine?) about not having enough time to walk downstairs and be seen drinking a Coke.

--

Duchovny's new show got a good review from TV Guide and a so-so one from Variety. I missed it but have the promo disk and hope to watch it soon.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 14, 2007; 11:33 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: He'll Be Back
Next: The Power Tool Cure

Comments

First?

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/13/AR2007081301170.html?hpid=topnews

Fine, let them throw their $100+ millions around, but they should have to follow the same rules as the public markets. This is a license to cheat.

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So, out of all that weighty stuff, what I want to know is, did David Duchovny call Joel to tell him about the show? Did he send him the promo, personally?

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Holy cow, the first ever mystery guest on What's My Line? has died.

Posted by: LTL-CA | August 14, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Given that vitriol is sulphuric acid (OK, sulfuric for you 'merkins) I'd say that "carbonated by vitriol" is a chemical oxymoron although it may still be acceptable in the stylistic sense. Sulfurated by vitriol ?

SoC, the software we are using at work ask the simple question: Do you want "you" to be translated "vous" or "tu" and then make the change to the whole document. And it is a pretty sophisticated software. In more literary work subtil tricks may be used, such as introducing Sirs, Madams and diminutitives to adjust the level of intimacy or familiarity. It ain't easy at any rate.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 14, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

...so has Phil Rizzuto...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081400524.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: jack | August 14, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

no, the empire's not going into decline and decadence. now let's promote a new show "californication" with nekkid people in l.a., directed by someone whose last name means "spiritual" in russian (and other slavic languages).

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 14, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Carpenter

Posted by: omni | August 14, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Natascha McElhone

Posted by: omni | August 14, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Joel.. please correct a grammatical error in the WSJ paragraph.

It should read... "here's an idiotic comment that jumped out at me:"

Posted by: TBG | August 14, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hi All

In regards to Dolphin Michael's post in the last boodle about Walmart's numbers being down, I think my state is helping to alleviate that. All of Hawaii was shopping up a storm (literally) and will be again today as Flossie hurls herself toward Hawaii Island. She should be arriving by this afternoon down there. The rest of us on the other islands are stocking up, watching and waiting to see if she decides to meander our way after visiting the volcanoes. Fun, fun, fun. Got my bottled water and my vienna sausages, I'm all set!

Posted by: Aloha | August 14, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Good catch on that grammatical error in the WSJ, TBG.

Posted by: Aloha | August 14, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Aloha - I thought about you when I read about that upcoming storm. Funny how the existence of even a single imaginary friend can suddenly make a story like that seem much more salient.

And regarding the downfall of western civilization and our inevitable deterio

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

What the ford? The things alive. I meant to say that it seems as if civilization has always been on the edge of disaster. And has frequently encountered it. Yet here we stand.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz6hY7n-ss4

Astounding video from a Burning Man fest. I can say I have never seen the like.

Joel deserves to preen, with the boodle mixture he has achieved here, and which Goodman wishes for.

Posted by: Jumper | August 14, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The journal carrying David Pimentel's study also has an article titled "You Wouldn't Spawn in a Septic Tank, Would You?"
http://www.springerlink.com/content/p337n85012265548/?p=4683a35c556d401c993cdd932872562f&pi=2

It seems to be about local perceptions of whether salmon farming in a Norwegian fjord is causing the cod to not spawn.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 14, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Aloha! I thought about you too, when I heard about the hurricane. Glad you're prepared. And I know someone named Flossie - the wife of one of my cousins (quite a bit older than I am). You don't hear that name much these days.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, stay inside and away from the wind and you'll be fine. Do you have a gas grill? If - when - the power goes out, you'll find it very helpful. Also useful is a chainsaw, for cutting up tree debris. Stockpile ice if you can.

This message brought to you by someone who survived Hurricane Hugo, which was packing 90 mph wind when it hit here, 200 miles inland.

Posted by: Slyness | August 14, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, since you mentioned germs...

Turns out local incarceration may be bad not only for your health, but bad for your life...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5046721.html

DEL RIO -- A medical team including federal disease experts is expected here next week to investigate a mysterious illness after the deaths of two inmates at Val Verde County's jail and the hospitalization of two others.

"We would like someone with a new set of eyes to come and take a look. We're asking for a multifaceted team to come, including the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention)," said Dr. Sandra Guerra-Cantu, regional medical director of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

All four of those suspected to be suffering from the same illness were held at the Val Verde Correctional Facility at some point. Two died in area hospitals after coming down with symptoms that included erratic behavioral changes, incontinence and dehydration.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA081407.01A.recruit_death.344ddde.html

In fact, being in the Air Force locally may be bad for your life...

Local female airman dies of respiratory illness

The Air Force said Monday that a young airman in basic training died last week after suffering a respiratory illness, marking Lackland AFB's first recruit fatality since 2002.

Airman Paige Renee Villers, 19, of Norton, Ohio, appeared to improve while in Wilford Hall Medical Center but fell ill once more and died. She will be buried today.

The Air Force statement said Villers was admitted to Wilford Hall on May 16 with "a serious upper respiratory illness." She had arrived at Lackland two months before, on March 13, but the statement did not say just how long she had been in training when she became sick.

"Though still hospitalized and on a ventilator since May 16th, she was beaming with pride as she attended her graduation in a wheelchair July 20, 2007 and received the rank of airman and her airman's coin, an accomplishment that meant more to her than anything else she had done in her brief life," Villers' obituary said. "Paige also received a Medal of Achievement for meritorious service, the youngest ranking person to ever receive such an honor."

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, if you're a coffee drinker, make a pot before the storm hits and put it in a thermos. We lost power during Isabel, and it was the one thing I wished I had done.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 14, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Ellen Goodman's "e-male"

*don't know whether to laugh or cry*

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of a thermos...A blonde secretary sees something new on her boss's desk and asks what it is. "It's a thermos" says he. "What's a thermos?" says she. "It's a special container that will keep hot things hot and cold things cold" says he. The next day he sees that she has brought a new thermos to work. When he asks what she put in it, she replies "coffee and a popsicle."

Posted by: Slats | August 14, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I call bull-puckey on this stat:

"Of the world population of about 6.5 billion, 57 percent is malnourished, compared with 20 percent of a world population of 2.5 billion in 1950"

CARE's World Hunger Campaign (which would have a vested interest in alarming statistics) cites this number:

"More than 840 million people in the world are malnourished -- 799 million of them live in the developing world."

That would put the actual rate at 13%, which ain't bad by historical standards. All Malthusian predictions of disaster have failed to pass.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hunker down well, Aloha. We'll keep a light on for you.

Flossie was the name of William Carlos Williams' wife. He went by 'Bill,' in case you wondered. Poet. Physician. Champion of Patterson, NJ. Mentor to Denise Levertov.

Among other "imagist" gems, Williams wrote

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

-- William Carlos Williams

----
Parodies of this poem -- about marriage, or at least a shared icebox -- may begin.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh YJ -- I know that the numbers matter, but what you said makes me respond quickly.

Let' say that only 100,000 people go to bed at night hungry.

I am heartsick. I am diminished. The suffering of one against a world of plenty is a scandal.

The way some of us live -- and yes, the systems are complex -- creates poverty or prevents poverty from being addressed in real and mitagating ways.

We CAN DO BETTER.

Do better.

Take less.

Understand our good fortune is an accident of birth. If we truly understand the accidental nature of our abundance, perhaps we will be more humble.

--
I don't think you meant this, about CARE, the way it landed on the typespace.

Some relief groups are better than others, but still. The numbers are a scandal, even if underplayed.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Hang tight, Aloha. I weathered Andrew in South Florida and I think Agnes back in the day. Stay dry a put some water in big jugs.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse


Rumored to be an error message one day, long ago at an MIT website:
404 File Not Found

I ate your Web page.
Forgive me. It was juicy
And tart on my tongue.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not disparaging CARE or their wonderful humanitarian efforts. I am citing them as an authoritative figure for more accurate statistics on world hunger than some alarmist shill.

My other point is that we are doing something about world hunger. 150 years ago, my ancestors died by the hundreds of thousands in a potato famine. There is no hunger in Europe anymore for any reason and very little in North America. Hopefully someday we can say this for the entire world.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Re. Dr. Pimentel and Ethanol: the Bush Administration has been supporting E85/Ethanol production for automotive and other energy uses for several years now.

For some folks, that may be all they need to know about the subject.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 14, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Yello I hope you are correct about eliminating world hunger but we have a long, long way to go:

http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

But CP, if we helped out the stinkin' poor and hungry, we'd either have to give up some of the bazillions of dollars worth of really cool military hardware we like to show off (coincidentally, often to the same stinkin' poor and hungry) or raise taxes.

Your idea for feeding the hungry is, therefore, un-American.

(Or something like that...)

Posted by: byoolin | August 14, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, please take care of you and yours in the storm.

We'll be thinking about you.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 14, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DMD, for the link to Bread for the World. YJ-yes on the famine in Ireland; I come from that same Isle; my grandmother would not speak about The Hunger, partly because if you survived that, well, others did not. She heard some tales about those times, often through the cruel and tinted lenses of religious strife.

You may want to read noted Indian economist Amartya Sen on the economic lessons of that tragedy and the ongoing problem of hunger in the world. Even if the percentage of hungry people goes down, or stays the same, population growth means that we have more hungry people with us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amartya_Sen

Take care, Aloha.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I hope nobody thinks I'm on the wrong side of the argument, but the bread.org site leads with the stat that there are 2 million more hungry people this year than last year. What they don't tell you is that the world population went up by 75 million and we were able to feed 97% of them.

The worst hunger spots are in war-torn parts of Africa where fragile food systems have been destroyed by forced migration and genocide. Seventeen of the hungriest twenty countries are in Africa

Twenty years ago, Vietnam had a UN undernourished rate of 31%. That has been cut in half and the country now exports rice to Africa.

We don't have a food production problem. We have a food distribution problem. And most of that problem is political.

We can and should do more, but food is a weapon that is being used in the poorest regions of the world. Without peace, we can't end hunger.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The only time I heard physician William Carlos Williams poem (as provided by College Parkian in her 1:39), it was recited, in a shadowy, cool, old and structurally small Presbyterian church in downtown San Antonio by Dr. Abraham Verghese. This world-traveled doctor, who speaks with a slight accent in gentle tones, collects works written by other physicians. San Antonio couldn't keep him, Verghese--he's headed to Stanford University:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/medical/stories/MYSA071107.1A.verghese.3564182.html


Web Posted: 07/10/2007 11:41 PM CDT
Don Finley, Express-News Medical Writer

Dr. Abraham Verghese, a physician, author and essayist who sought to restore the human connection between doctors and patients in both his writings and his teaching, is leaving San Antonio's medical school after five years for a position at Stanford University.

Verghese, author of "The Tennis Partner" and "My Own Country; A Doctor's Story," created and led the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, which combined art and literature with more traditional teaching methods to train medical students in the human side of health care. ...

In Tennessee, he began gathering material for his first book, "My Own Country," about treating AIDS patients in small-town America. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards and adapted into a feature film.

From amazon.com:

When infectious-disease specialist Verghese, the Ethiopian-born son of Indian schoolteachers, emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Johnson City, Tenn., in the mid-1980s, he finally felt at peace "in my own country" at last. But his work at the Johnson City Medical Center soon led him into a shadow world of Bible-belt AIDS, often without the support of his colleagues. Verghese discovered a local gay community that was then untested for the HIV virus. If revealed, these people's closeted relationships would have, writes Verghese, made them stand out "like Martians." The author tells the stories of several patients, including the gay man who must reconcile with his father and the "innocent" man who has contracted AIDS through a contaminated blood transfusion but who, concerned about society's response to his plight, keeps his disease a secret even though he believes that "this thing, this virus, is from hell, from the devil himself." Verghese reveals his own confusions about homosexuality, immigrant identity and his wife's fears about his health. Writing with an outsider's empathy and insight, casting his chronicle in graceful prose, he offers a memorable tale that both captures and transcends time and place.

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

yello - I don't think anyone thinks you're on the *wrong* side of the hunger issue. I do think that you're right that accurate use of data is important in coming to grips with a problem of this magnitude and complexity.

Aloha - keep safe. I'm all for vienna sausages, but my hurricane list always includes chardonnay. When Isabel hit the Tidewater area and we went without electricity for 7 days, I very clearly remember sitting on our patio on the 2nd night after the storm and sipping chardonnay. We reflected on how fortunate we were that we didn't suffer really significant damage to our home and generally felt like we could handle a time without electricity compared to other's misfortunes. That went out the window the next morning, which was a Monday, as we got ready for work and school. Oooooh, it wasn't pretty!

Posted by: Kim | August 14, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, thank you for putting your thoughts into words. I second what you said.

If anybody wants to do something about world hunger right now, today, I recommend World Vision (worldvision.com). For $30 a month you can "sponsor" a child. The money actually goes to the organization and the organization works with the families and all the people in the community, not just the individual child. But you will receive photos and letters and drawings from the child, which makes the experience more personal than just sending a check to an organization. I've been involved with World Vision for about three years so I've actually been able to watch my little girl--Roksana--growing up, on the other side of the world.

The fact that we can't feed all the people in the world shouldn't stop us from doing what we can--or at least, something.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

David Pimintel may be a Really Smart Guy, but he hurts his case when he starts off with statistics that are an order of magnitude larger than any published data. It undercuts his credibility when he points at the real wolf.

I've been to China and Vietnam and their problems are out of control growth and environmental contamination. Those are nice problems to have when your people were starving a generation ago.

Hopefully these countries will see the value of clean air and water because they don't right now. Eastern Europe is a toxic cesspool from fifty years of a command economy approach to the environment.

Is it any coincidence that people in North Korea eat tree bark to survive while South Korea has a per person GDP greater than Portugal, Kuwait, or Argentina?

We only have one planet and we need to take care of it. And feed its inhabitants.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

In honor of the passing of Phil Rizzuto I will be holding a special memorial sing-a-long of Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", which features extensive excerpts from Rizzuto's days as a baseball announcer. The memorial will be held on the Inner Loop of the Capitol Beltway between 5:00 and 6:00pm today.
"Ok, here we go.
We got a real pressure cooker going here,
two down, nobody on,
no score, bottom of the ninth...
There's the windup, and there it is,
a line shot up the middle, look at him go.
This boy can really fly!
He's rounding first and really turning it on now,
he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second;
the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first,
here he comes, he's out!
No, wait, safe, safe at second base.
This kid really makes things happen out there.
Batter steps up to the plate here's the pitch,
he's going, and what a jump he's got,
he's trying for third, here's the throw,
its in the dirt, safe at third!
Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there,
almost daring him to try and pick him off.
The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it bunted,
bunted down the third base line,
the suicide squeeze is on!
Here he comes, squeeze play,
it's gonna be close, here's the throw,
here's the play at the plate,
Holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!"
So if you're drivin' home aka sitting in traffic waiting to get on the @##$%^^&^%$$ bridge and you hear-
"Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Ain't no doubt about it
Baby got to go and shout it
Ain't no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed"
Well, Holy Cow!, please feel free to join in.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Found these guys through Gene W's chat, but of course Son of G was already familiar.

This one reminds me of a certain phrase about a big doo-doo head...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEQOvyGbBtY&NR=1

Posted by: TBG | August 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the steaks
that were on
the counter

and which
you were probably
thawing
for dinner.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so moist
and so cold.

-- Wilbrodog Carlos Wilbrodog

The gnome told me that nobody WOULD forgive me if I dared pull this stunt.

Sigh. A dog's gotta dream sometime...


Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Aloha... do you have plenty of bleach?

Isn't that one of the things South Floridians are warned to keep around in case of a hurricane?

Posted by: TBG | August 14, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

kbert, my family has just fostered a young girl from Thailand. We receieved our first picture a few weeks ago and fell instantly in love. I hope in time we will get pictures of a happier child right now (and it could be just the picture) she has a slightly haunted look.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess it depends on how you define "Europe," yello. Hunger and malnourishment are a daily reality for many in the new Europe, notably the Roma. As are the ills that follow hunger; tuberculosis, AIDS, etc. It is not a done deal even in the West.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Unscented chlorine bleach to purify water

Posted by: omni | August 14, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I found a guideline to bleaching out water in emergencies.
http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/surv/bleach.htm

I think scenting bleach is ridiculous and an ineffective frill.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yello I think you have stated it well. The very worst incidents of starvation in the last 10 years, are in war torn places where food is a political tool.

There is a mechanism in place where things like that should be addressed, but the UN usually acts as a toothless blind entity. Memeber nations spend too much time playing games with governments who play political games with food.

See, things like this, make programs like Californication just disappear into vapidity.

Now if there was a TV show about the way the UN functioned, with all its warts and pimples on display. Well there is a show I'd watch. Sadly, I don't think people's believ-o-metres sink that low.

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The Black Hearing Dog
by Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog

so much depends
upon

a black hearing
dog

dozing with ears
flopped

beside the white
chairs.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, bleach for purifying water, if it comes to that. I have some in my "survival closet" for when the big earthquake hits.

I've heard good things about World Vision, which is headquartered near Seattle. Nice to hear from folks who are contributing to them.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

To a Poor Old Lady Dog
by Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog

munching a bone on
the street with dirt holes full
of them in her yard

They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. They taste
good to her

You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her jaws

Comforted
a solace of soup bones
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her


Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki,
Agreed. There are pockets of eastern Europe that still have problems. The UN declares under 2.5% malnourished not a problem. The only country above 35% in the Western hemisphere is Haiti. North Korea, Tajikstan, Armenia and Yemen round out the non-African countries in the most dire category.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Percentage_population_undernourished_world_map.PNG

China with 20% of the world's population is doing better at feeding it's people than Venezuela, Thailand, and Panama.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, Paradise by the Dashboard Light is my favorite song from the great (nay, LEGENDARY) Bat Out of Hell album. And here's the song on YouTube, featuring the great Karla DeVita singing the girl's part.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0ns8t9iQck

The first time I ever heard it was on Saturday Night Live when it first came out, and I'd never heard of the song, or Meatloaf, or Bat Out of Hell, and it just blew my socks off. Still wows me today. And "Bat Out of Hell" is my alltime favorite driving song--if I'm on a long-distance drive and getting a little sleepy, my wife throws "Bat Out of Hell" in the CD and torques the volume up, and my blood pressure goes up about 20 points, and I'm good for another two hours behind the wheel.

I saw Meatloaf at Wolftrap two years ago (the night he fell off the stage, which was hilarious), and he was still terrific. They dragged out the riffs on "Bat Out of Hell" until I think that song was about 20 minutes long. It's a d@mn shame I was sober and unstoned.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I would go further than just waiting for particles to settle. Like pour it through a cheesecloth, or a coffee filter.

Posted by: omni | August 14, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, I'm enjoying your doggerl.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Since we are all about predictions of America's collapse, this Wonkette post is amazingly on-topic:

http://wonkette.com/politics/dept%27-of-those-who-forget-the-past-must-watch-hbo-series-about-it/us-government-now-warning-us-government-of-imminent-imperial-collapse-289411.php

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Hi All, thanks for the words of advice and for the kind thoughts for us out here. We are taking precautions as is recommended by our civil defense agency but I think it's the Big Island of Hawaii that will see the worst of the storm. They are starting to get rainfall and high winds this morning, and should feel the largest effects of Flossie when she comes closest to them at about 3:00 p.m. HST. I believe the eye will pass about 100 miles to the south but the outer bands will definitely hit them. To top it off, there was a 5.3 earthquake just south of Hilo last night. Those guys just can't catch a break this week.

We on Oahu are just sitting tight and watching. We're being told that by the time it reaches us tomorrow, it will be a far less extreme storm, a tropical storm if all goes as expected. The winds are kicking up around my house but we have sunny skies and 80 degrees right now.

Got the bleach, got the jugs for the water. Will consider the beverage recommendations ;o) although my kids are more likely to expect chilled juice pouches. Getting ice will be a good idea but I suspect that will be hard to find before too long. Gonna load up the freezer with ice today.

One thing about canned meats here, I believe our state consumes the most Spam per capita in the country if not the world. Spam is abundant in most of our pantries so we are well stocked for the duration.

If you wanna watch with us, you can go to http://www.noaawatch.gov/2007/flossie.php to see the latest.

Posted by: Aloha | August 14, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

A couple of years ago, I took my son and his girlfriend at the time to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show. On the way home he and the girl were very indiscretely making out in the back seat when 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' came on the radio. The two in the back kept sucking face obliviously. For the next seven minutes I had to suppress peals of ironic laughter in front of my wife.

PS.
After the girl got dropped off, my son and I had a long talk about appropriate behavior in the presence of one's parents.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

On bands of yore, David Lee Roth is getting back together to re-form the original Van Halen and touring this fall.

*doodling "VH" on memoranda*

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I am very bummed that a band camp event is going to keep from getting to Politics and Prose Friday to see William Gibson. He also has an appearance scheduled at the Borders in Baileys Crossing on Saturday at 7:30. I have a verbal commitment from my wife to go to that one, but I can't guarantee I will make it.

If you do run across me, standard boodle identification procedures and handshakes apply.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Obligatory bragging that I saw Eddie and Diamond Dave back in The Day:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2005/08/rock-is-dead-what-else-is-new.html

Someone yank the keyboard out of my hand before I boodlehog any more.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, yello, these young people today. Why, when I was a teen, my parents had so thoroughly instilled guilt and fear that all natural impulses were repressed and my behaviour was impeccable at all times!

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Here I am safely back at work, with lots of time to muse on the Decline and fall of Empire. Professionally speaking, I see lots of evidence of decline in personal behavior, standards, willingness to obey law, and plain common sense, but I can't honestly say that as a whole things are worse than when I first started in criminal law, and that's only twenty years or so. On a larger scale, I refuse to believe that America is declining and will inevitably collapse. I do believe the current climate in Washington exacerbated long-standing inclinations towards economic hegemony (Gordon Gecko, anyone?), general arrogance, and hubris. This doesn't mean the country will implode. Californication, on the other hand . . . ah well, I'll never see it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 14, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

YJ, you make some good points. We need good data, but you are wrong about the numbers of hungry in the US. They are large -- more than my figure of "imagine that 100,000 people are hungry."

People in my zipcode are hungry. My son's high school's free-and-reduced-lunch numbers will be posted in late October. They hover at about 50 percent, but one year exceeded 60 percent. I help fill the pantry at two soup kitchens regularly. The hungry live down Route One from you.

I don't mean to be harsh. But you should know this. If you want numbers, I'll work on that. As it happens, I am off to band camp rounds and a drop by the food closet, to make a deposit.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Night on the Great River
Meng Hao-jan
Translated by Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog


Steering my little gnome over a misty islet,
I watch the sun shrink while my shadows grow:
In the vast night the sky caresses the treetops,
But in the darkening lake the moon follows us.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Just mainly lurking today, but I just HAD to make a comment that apparently the "pants guy" (soon to be no longer an administrative judge) plans to appeal his case.

Comment? How's this: %$(^)(%&*$*(%()^ (or epithets to that effect).

Back to lurking a la mode.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 14, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

CP,

I wasn't going to boodle again, but I resent having words put in my mouth. There ARE hungry people in the US. I have done food drives. My wife's former school is next to a food bank in one of the most affluent counties in America. The school free and reduced cost lunch programs and WIC and soup kitchens are very important safety nets for our society and even those don't catch everybody.

That said, few people in America are dying of malnutrition in the way people in Darfur are. I would have to guess that obesity is a bigger health risk for Americans than undernourishment, even in our poorest areas.

When I was in high school, some friends and I got cornered by a guy soliciting money for The Hunger Project. It turns out that they were a sham charity that promoted hunger awareness but never bothered to actually feed anybody. The petition I signed did get me on a great mailing list that eventually got me to subscribe to 'Mother Jones', but that is a whole 'nother digression.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would eliminate hunger and poverty today. Progress is incremental and despite the doomsayers, statistically, today is the best time in history to be alive and tomorrow will be better. That is the essence of of progressivism.

Could I do more? Yes. Could everybody? Yes.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

CP, I guess it depends on what you define as hunger, what standards you base it on.

It's not that no one is hungry here, only that the cases of hunger and withholding of aid in most of North America are rare. Most people here can get to some resources for aid.

Some places, no resources are sent, and no one hears about it till its so late. Make that no one listens for it.

"They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will... "
(D. McLean)

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Landscape With The Fall of A sparrow

by Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog

According to memory
when a sparrow fell
it was spring

a lone pair was walking over
this field
the whole wilderness

of the yard was
awake rustling
near

the people of the houses
concerned
with themselves

sleeping in the moon
that concealed
the wind's whims

unsignificantly
on the ground
there was

a squawk barely noticed
this was
a sparrow struggling

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

That Wilbrodog has turned out to be quite the poet, hasn't he? I hope we can get a collection of his poetry!

Posted by: Slyness | August 14, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Very very very very very very busy day. No can Boodle. No. Wilbrodog is a genius. More Wilbrodog, please. Thank you for your kind attention.

Posted by: CowTown | August 14, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Woof! woof woof (lick lick lick) woof! Only more poetical, of course, as thanks to Wilbrodog.

Back boodling still, I came across RD's lament about his dwindling tree supply. Gar! Had you only asked sooner! I lost THREE trees to rain this year, and just got the big logs taken away. I could still fax you oak & elm brush and small logs, if you like.

I sure did miss some good Kits n'Boodles. baseball & megafauna, yum. ScienceTim, I'm still waiting for those re-engineered giant predatory birds.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 14, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a suggestion for the title of the Collected Poems of Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog (and you might give some thought to making that "wilbrodog curlos wilbrodog" in lowercase, ya know; just a suggestion):

"Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening to Tinkle on a Tree and Mark My Territory."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe "Chicago: City of the Big Fire Hydrants."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, you remind me on megafauna day, I seem to have noted a much desired item on the grocery list. 'Ranch dressing megafauna size' my list reads.

I wonder if they sell the stuff in a five gallon pail?

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Beowoof.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"Howl, and Other Poems" (no, never mind, Ginsberg got there first).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Sonnets from the Pekinese?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

So this Wilbrodog walks into a telegram office, takes out a blank form and writes:

"Woof. Woof. Woof, woof, woof. Woof. Woof, woof. Woof."

The clerk examines the paper and politely tells the dog:

"There are only nine words here. You could send another 'Woof' for the same price."

"But," the dog replied, "that would make no sense at all."

Posted by: LTL-CA | August 14, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Come Live With Me and Be My B1tch

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem called "To Flush My Dog," which I don't think was an instruction manual.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

In Flanders Field (the Puppies Bloom).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Rhyme of the Ancient Weimaraner.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Stop.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | August 14, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

So, We'll Go No More A'Rovering.

Hey, just tryin' to help here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The Passionate (German) Shepherd to His Love.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, if you're going to be that way about it, I'm going home.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - oh if only I had known. I just finished splitting the last oak log yesterday. That satisfying clang of the sledgehammer. The deep rumbling as the wedge pushes the log apart. The not quite so deep rumbling as you use a second wedge to dislodge the first. That irrational sense of frustration as the stupid thing splits short. The profound sense of satisfaction when you have finally dismembered the log into manageable pieces. The thumping of the blood in your ears. The rivulets of sweat running directly into your eyes. The inevitable dizziness and occasional muscular tremors.

It is addictive, I tell you. An endorphin high of overexertion.

But it is no more.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Blushes and wags to all my fans, especially Curmudgeon.

I reposted on my blog along with some pictures (with alt tags for visually impaired readers) to help set the mood.

And yes, it's time service dogs wrote poetry instead of having poetry written about them. 8:*{P}

wilbrodog.blogspot.com


Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

... And anybody would know it'd be "Sonnets from the Portuguese Water Dog", Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Mad Dogs and Englishmen


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
by Noel Coward

In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire to tear their clothes off and perspire.
It's one of the rules that the greatest fools obey,
Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry-violet ray.
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they're obviously, definitely nuts!


Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,
The Japanese don´t care to, the Chinese wouldn´t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one
But Englishmen detest-a siesta.
In the Philippines they have lovely screens to protect you from the glare.
In the Malay States, there are hats like plates which the Britishers won't wear.
At twelve noon the natives swoon and no further work is done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.


It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see,
that though the English are effete, they're quite impervious to heat,
When the white man rides every native hides in glee,
Because the simple creatures hope he will impale his solar topee on a tree.
It seems such a shame when the English claim the earth,
They give rise to such hilarity and mirth.
Ha ha ha ha hoo hoo hoo hoo hee hee hee hee ......


Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun,
They put their Scotch or Rye down, and lie down.
In a jungle town where the sun beats down to the rage of man and beast
The English garb of the English sahib merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok at twelve o'clock they foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this foolish habit.
In Hong Kong they strike a gong and fire off a noonday gun,
To reprimand each inmate who's in late.
In the mangrove swamps where the python romps
there is peace from twelve till two.
Even caribous lie around and snooze, for there's nothing else to do.
In Bengal to move at all is seldom ever done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.


Posted by: Jumper | August 14, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Vitriol? Shoot, even Republicans are saying stuff like that. Haven't you ever read Kevin Phillips? I think even the movement conservatives would agree with that characterization, except for the part about the damage.

Posted by: chase-truth | August 14, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

//Beowoof//
Priceless.

Wilbrodog, here we've all enjoyed your poetry this afternoon. Don't stop.

In fact, they're much better than _If You Only Knew How I Smell You_ (I'll get a link), which is perfectly wonderful. Think about it. I'll do the photographs.

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Oops. That would be "If Only. . ."

http://www.amazon.com/Only-You-Knew-Much-Smell/dp/0821228307/ref=sr_1_1/104-8806623-7319134?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187135038&sr=8-1

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I will. I've never really done imagist poetry before except by accident!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's like I told a friend who wanted me to help her in birthing some puppies -- I said: "Oh, cool -- I get to be a midwoof!"

Alas, it was a false pregnancy, so I was unable to fulfill my duties.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 14, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Good!

I'm sure nobody else out there sometimes imagines their pets answering rhetorical questions.

I realized today, when an old friend whom I haven't seen for 6 years called, that Emma "speaks" in her voice in the same smart-aleck way. :-)

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't have to *imagine* it, that's the problem ;).

I don't visualize a "voice" for Wilbrodog, even a signing style or anything. I do sometimes visualize what sort of person he might have been in a past life. (Definitely a coffee addict, for one.).

A hindu pal once told me unfaithful spouses often get reincarniated as street dogs. You wonder what one would have to do to be reincarnated as a service dog, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Let me straighten you out about a place I know.

.....

Here Fido... FIIDO....

Well then Fido got up off the flooor and he rolled over and looked me straight in the eye, and you know what he said?

Once upon a time, somebody say to me (This is the dog talkin' now), what is your conceptual continuity?

I said well the answer should be easy to see: The crux of the biscuit is the Apostrophe

"Stink Foot", Frank Zappa

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 14, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Before going on summer hiatus, Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed mentioning Beowulf and Grendel. My curiosity was piqued. When Loomispous and I went to see the latest Bourne installment, we saw previews for the November release of Beowulf.

http://www.beowulfmovie.com/

SYNOPSIS: In a legendary time of heroes, the mighty warrior Beowulf battles the demon Grendel and incurs the hellish wrath of the beast's ruthlessly seductive mother. Their epic clash forges the timeless legend of Beowulf.
Groundbreaking director Robert Zemeckis offers a unique vision of the Beowulf saga in a way that it has never been told before. "Beowulf" stars Ray Winstone in the title role and Anthony Hopkins as the corrupt King Hrothgar, as well as John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman and Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother.
Neil Gaiman (the graphic novel "Mirrormask," "Sandman") & Roger Avary ("Pulp Fiction") have adapted the legend to the screen.

Amgelina Jolie as you've never seen her before in preparaion for her role in Beowulf.

http://www.movieweb.com/news/45/9845.php

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Dedicated to TBG:
http://www.cartoonbank.com/product_details.asp?mscssid=486NSTUELEP49J06J73SJWP9AF6Q0RX0&sitetype=1&affiliate=ny-cbpromo&did=4&sid=124201&pid=&advanced=1&keyword=undefined&artist=§ion=prints?mscssid=486NSTUELEP49J06J73SJWP9AF6Q0RX0&caption=&artID=&topic=&pubDateFrom=08/13/2007&pubDateTo=08/13/2007&pubDateMon=&pubDateDay=&pubNY=2&color=0&title=undefined&whichpage=12&sortBy=popular

Posted by: dbG | August 14, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

That is odd casting, even if it's for a cartoon.

Does Angelina have a particularly deep or distinctive voice or something?

Because Grendel's mum... she's a real terror.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I've read that dang thing several times; I don't think Grendel's mommy looked like that. In fact, I'm sure of it. (The John Gardner retelling, titled "Grendel," and told from the monster's point-of-view, was much better than the original, IMHO. One of my alltime favorite novels; should be on every boodler's short reading list.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

dbG... I love it. Thanks

We had the family's Farewell to Son of G Dinner tonight at the classic Tom Sarris' Orleans House in Rosslyn. He had the Louis XIV Prime Rib, of course.

They're going to be tearing it down soon, we hear. Didn't have the heart to ask at the restaurant about it. I remember going there as a kid and being fascinated with the... well... tackiness of the place!

It still looks the same, but older (duh). But the food is still good. A fine time was had by all.

Son is now busy packing and doing laundry. Tomorrow night after work we pack the car and head on down.

I don't want to forget the Kleenex for the ride home.


Posted by: TBG | August 14, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Okay then. I just finished "Lucky You" by Hiaasen. Fun, if silly in the extreme. His disdain for the modern newspaper business shines through - especially his special contempt for editors. Not many naughty bits.

Over the weekend I also read "Naked Came the Manatee." This is a team-written book in which a different author writes each chapter. I see that it originally appeared in Miami Tropic magazine. Hiaasen writes the last chapter. An interesting effort, especially in the subtle hostility inherent in the format. My favorite character is a Manatee named "Booger." I guess that's what you get when you let Dave Barry go first.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG - They can't tear down the Orleans House! Because then it would be gone. I worked in Rosslyn for nearly a decade. If I had a dime for every going away party I attended at that restaurant, these comments would be typed by my man servant.

And good luck tomorrow! Be brave.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I don't know if you're aware that "Naked Came the Manatee" was a takeoff on a similar, earlier novel called "Naked Came the Stranger," which was also team-written chapter by chapter as a sort of literary hoax/prank, by a bunch of Newsday (Long Island) reporters. So the Tropic gang were following in...um...somebody else's litary footsteps. See the Wiki entry (and the rather, uh, racy, jacket cover) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_Came_the_Stranger .

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

TBG - already? And why does school start so early in the South? Good luck - hope he has a great time at school, and that you all adjust. Just think - extra bedroom!

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, Mudge, I am well aware of the infamous "Naked Came a Stranger." Although I have never had the privilege to read it, I know the story behind how it came to be written. And, of course, I have seen pictures of the cover. With that young lady. Who 'pears to be nekkid.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Umbrage is taken! Of course, of course, of course we know the sources of the quotations/. Jazus God, Darlin's!

Is this a competition, or a bit of a'right?

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

CP, there will be no parodies of William Carlos Williams in this boodle except those evil thoughts in your own mercenary heart:

To Elsie:

The pure products of America
go crazy--
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure--

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from Monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them
character
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags-succumbing without
emotion
save numbed terror

under some hedge of choke-cherry
or viburnum-
which they cannot express--

Unless it be that marriage
perhaps
with a dash of Indian blood

will throw up a girl so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease or murder

that she'll be rescued by an
agent--
reared by the state and

sent out at fifteen to work in
some hard-pressed
house in the suburbs--

some doctor's family, some Elsie--
voluptuous water
expressing with broken

brain the truth about us--
her great
ungainly hips and flopping breasts

addressed to cheap
jewelry
and rich young men with fine eyes

as if the earth under our feet
were
an excrement of some sky

and we degraded prisoners
destined
to hunger until we eat filth

while the imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in

the stifling heat of September
Somehow
it seems to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
something
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car

Think A. Ginsburg ever read this?

Posted by: bill everything | August 14, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG, best wishes to the G family--I'm sure Son of G will make you proud out there in the world!

I spoke to a family friend last week whose son is off to college; he's kind of a late bloomer, about 25 years old and just now ready to get serious about working towards his degree. She said he has an unfurnished apartment and so they had driven him to school and they took the truck so they could deliver his furniture and get him settled (and say goodbye, and so on.) I told her our daughter is also headed off to an unfurnished apartment in a city a thousand miles away. We will drop her off curbside at the airport and she will handle it from there. "See ya!"

This reminds me of the character of Sam Weller in _The Pickwick Papers_ (Sam is Pickwick's manservant, and is much more sensible than his employer)--his father says of him, "I took a good deal o' pains with his eddication, Sir; let him run in the streets when he was wery young, and shift for his-self. It's the only way to make a boy sharp, Sir."

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

YJ -- I am very sorry to sound snarky and superior in that post re hunger.

Perhaps if we were in the same room, expressions and conversations would have helped us arrive at the same points, quickly. Here are at least two:

*hunger in N.America is relative;
*we need good data on how large the problem is, where it is, and what solutions are immediate and lasting.

I guess the only thing I can say in my defense is that summer is lean for food pantries. People are on vacation, etc. But by August, the need is great. No free/reduced lunch or breakfast since, say, mid June. And, I am always crabby when the closet is full of canned lima beans, cranberry jelly, and about fifty boxes of instant butterscotch pudding.

I am sorry that I rushed to judgment, typed in a lather, and clicked so thoughtlessly..

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Garden update (I'm sure you've all been waiting breathlessly):
Moonflower opened last night - I missed the unfurling, but another is on the way. Yippee!

Grandpa Ott morning glories starting to bloom - these are purple with a pink center. Also had one of the "chocolate" morning glory blossoms - kind of a dusky pink. Hope I get more of those. Heavenly Blue morning glories are nowhere in sight - not sure what happened.

A few of the Miracle of Peru plants have emerged along the back fence. It will be a miracle if any flower.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I do not think I have ever addressed kbertocci directly before. But, Karen, do you remember Mr. Brooks?

I used to go into those matters a great deal. A Great Deal. I had documents. But I pulled up in time.

Gotta love Mrs. Lewes.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Padouk--yes, _Naked Came the Manatee_: a Very Silly Book. I read it in its *original serialized format* in Tropic, and just picked up a copy last year (used) at the Miami Book Fair. Sure to be a valuable collectors' item someday. Or not.

Why am I still awake--I'm not even able to type in a straight line at this point.

Good night, everybody.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Hiya Bill Everything, like Bill Williams,

I believe that Ginsberg liked what W.C. Williams was doing. But as Ginsberg was rising on the West Coast, Williams was aging poorly on the East Coast. He suffered many small strokes over a five year period. I know more about the fifteen years of letters between W.C. Williams and Denise Levertov. DL was active in war resistance -- husband Mitch Goodman spent time in jail for draft evasion -- and she shared both personal and political thoughts with WCW in letters and poems.

Mrs. WCW, aka Flossie, is thought to have written this note, which may have inspired WCW to write the plums-missing-from-the-icebox poem:

----
Dear Bill: I've made a
couple of sandwiches for you.
In the ice-box you'll find
blue-berries--a cup of grapefruit
a glass of cold coffee.

On the stove is the tea-pot
with enough tea leaves
for you to make tea if you
prefer--Just light the gas--
boil the water and put it in the tea

Plenty of bread in the bread-box
and butter and eggs--
I didn't know just what to
make for you. Several people
called up about office hours--

See you later. Love. Floss.

Please switch off the telephone.

--
Scholars argue about which came first: the poem or this note. Not sure. But Flossie seems nice. The hurricane bearing down on Hawaii may not be so considerate.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh Mostly! Splendid on the moonflowers! And so nice to have morning glory companions. Tell more about the chocolate color? Mauve? Does it show up well? Does it need white clapboard siding?

We shall hope for a Miracle of Peru for you, which, always makes me think of the sad book set in Peru: T.Wilder's Bridge at San Luis Rey.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Signing off with a motherly sigh of relief and joy and nostalgia for TBG and SonofG. I mean this in the best possible way, ala Dick King Smith and Babe and Farmer Hogett:

That'll do, pig.
That'll do.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 14, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm honored to be addressed by Yourself. Right now I do not have a distinct memory of this Mr. Brooks of whom you speak. I'm always happy to be reminded, though.

Now, really--good night.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

My Dad, my Dad, has been recently diagnosed with dementia. And also "very high pre-morbid intelligence." Oh, quite.

Thank you CeePee. You know how we express ourselves.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

tbg, have a good trip and best of luck to son of g!
hope he'll drop by the boodle and say hi from time to time.
(it's a great way to procrastinate from your studies :-)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 14, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Dorothea Brooke's guardian Uncle. I shall pop into your blog, Kbertocci, and talk books with you.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting CP. I have always taken the "plum" poem as the universal husband apology, done in the fewest words as possible and, in this case, as innocent as possible (and, therefore, brilliant).

Posted by: bill everything | August 14, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I apologize. I am very, very sorry.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Who said "To Elsie" couldn't be made into doggerel?

The puppy mills of America
go crazy--
Mountain folk from Kentucky
or our ridged Pennsylva
-nia
with its isolated lakes and
valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old farms
and promiscuity between

Lean and hungry studs who have taken
to reproduction
out of sheer lust for anything

and young females,
bathed in filth
from Monday to Sunday
to be whelped out that night
with drudges
from institutions which have no
veternarians to give them

Pedigrees
yet flutter and flaunt
sheer rags earning money without
guarantee
save numbed terror
under some hedge of choke-cherry
or viburnum--
which they cannot express--
Unless it be that pedigree
perhaps
with a dash of mixed blood
will throw up a mutt so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease or murder
that she'll be rescued by an
agent--
reared by the state and
sent out in adoption to wait in
some hard-pressed
shelter in the suburbs--
some rescue leagues, some Elsie
voluptuous shedder
expressing with broken
brain the truth about us--
her crooked
ungainly hips and flopping scars
addressed to cheap
pet-buyers
and rich dog judges with fine eyes
as if the earth under our feet were
an excrement of some sky
and we degraded prisoners
destined
to hunger until we eat filth
while our imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in
the glowing heat of September
somehow
it is fine to destroy us
It is only in isolated whines that
some hint
is given off
No one
to witness
and enforce, no one to voice for us.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Seems as if all of the drum beating about the Iranian Revolutiinary Guard are compelling the administration to action:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401662.html?hpid=topnews

I expect that Cheney's wish to enter into armed conflict may follow next. *sigh* New world order, indeed.

Posted by: jack | August 14, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, Woof! Woof!

Posted by: bill everydog | August 14, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm all depressed now. Time to get off for some tummy scratches, I think.


Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 14, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

CP - I think your 10:40 was very elegant. I always love to read your posts.

TBG - Best wishes to Son of G. What an exciting time for him and I'm sure you have laid the foundation for a wonderful experience for him. My sister sent her son off to college 2 years ago and called me when she got home, sniffling away. I asked what she was doing and she said that she had fixed herself a Bombay and tonic and was looking at photo albums! NOT the best thing to do right at that time, IMHO.

Yoki - I am sorry to hear about your dad's diagnosis.

Posted by: Kim | August 14, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear, I don't know what to say Yoki, other than to emphasize he should be tested for hypothyroidism and any other conditions that could worsen his cognitive functioning.

As much as 20% of the elderly have some degree of hypothyroidism which, when untreated, DOES not help the mental functioning, especially memory.

There apparently are ways to help slow the decline, which is worthwhile. My grandmother died with Alzheimer's after 10 years of decline, but she was always a simple farm girl.

When I see her old birthday cards to me, I can see there was a decline in her writing years before she was diagnosed.


Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you are quick and good. That's what "Everydog" was trying to convey.

Posted by: bill everything | August 14, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it sounded to me (and Wilbrodog Curlos Wilbrodog, btw) almost immediately like W.C. William was scoffing at the idea of "purity" produced by breeding meaning any type of superiority.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the truth about "To Elsie" to me is that we are all flawed and destined to the same fate. All we can do is the best that we can do.

Posted by: bill everything | August 14, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes. There is no "pure product" that is somehow better, less frail than others.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I admit this is pure, unabashed speculation--but what if Rove left (or was asked to leave) because he was opposed to Cheney starting a war with Iran?

Especially given the timing of the story jack linked to at 11:11.

I think Rove is smart enough to realize that starting another war would be political suicide for his "permanent majority"--I'm not sure Cheney would realize that.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Another thought--doesn't the Patriot Act allow the President to order military action against terrorist organizations, without Congressional approval?

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Anybody remember "Wag the Dog" days? And how Clinton ordered an air strike in Afghanistan to try and take out Bin Laden and got flak for it?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - so sorry to hear about your dad's diagnosis.

Aloha, how are you doing?

If I were to live in any of the islands in the pacific, I think I'll feel, kind of, nekkid since they're all out in the open sea with not much for protection. We in Bn and My are very fortunate. We're more or less protected on all sides. In the south, east and west, there's Indonesia. In the northeast, there's the Philippines. Up north, there's Thailand and Vietnam. Heavy rain is from Nov to Jan (use to be, seemed unpredictable now) that comes down from the South China Sea but they are nothing like what you guys experience.

We do have the occasion flooding or once in a half a century flooding but man's to be blamed. The occasional strong winds do tear trees apart but again they are nothing like what you have. We have neither tornadoes nor earthquakes. There're occasional land slides but man's to be blamed as well.

Posted by: rain forest | August 15, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Hi Rain Forest,

I'm doing fine. Looks like Flossie is falling apart. Down to a Catagory 1 storm now and likely to become a tropical storm or depression by the time it gets to Oahu. The Big Island is feeling the winds and rain right about now. No reports from there yet but we should hear soon if anything has happened.

Thanks for checking in!

Posted by: Aloha | August 15, 2007 3:44 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. I was just thinking that with Aloha and rain forest in the far Pacific we have nearly worldwide 24-hour coverage here on the Boodle. And then I realized Tom Fan/Achenfan has pretty much dropped off the charts. Come back, Dreamer!

Really excellent Harold Meyerson column on why Rove failed, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401330.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 and a very good Peter Beinart column on what the GOP needs to do (but hopefully won't) at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401329.html?nav=hcmodule -- and then one of those stpuid-but-desk-editors-can't-resist stories called "Will Rove Pen a Tell-All Book?" at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401693.html?hpid=topnews in which publishers allegedly speculate on exactly how dumb and disloyal Rove may be, which utterly, utterly fails to understand the man. It's like asking Stalin if he was really serious about that Gulag thing, or was he just foolin' around. Jeez. Yeah, Rove's gonna write a book revealing all his secrets tricks and crimes and high misdemeanors and get himself indicted on 99 charges. Sure. That'll happen. Then the inside hed asks how Rove might balance loyalty versus candor. Kee-rist, the first thing Rove will have to do is look up the word "candor" in the dictionary, because for d@mn sure he doesn't know what it means and somebody (probably not a Republican) will have to explain that concept to him.

Maroons.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Mudge, it is too early in the morning to get your blood pressure up over those folks and their dim-witted view of the world. If, Rove wrote a book, and that's a big "if", he's probably going to have to lie. How can he tell the truth, and not get dragged off to jail? On second thought, I don't know, with these folks anything is subject to jump out at you, and punishment is not an action or word used with this group.

Aloha, I am thinking about you, and praying for your and the family's safety.

Yoki, I'm sorry about your dad.

And about hunger. Just a few words. We have hunger here in this country. And so much of it felt by our children, as well as adults. Obesity is rampant in our country also, but sometimes its roots are in hunger. The body makes the adjustment when it doesn't get enough to eat. It stores whatever comes in so that when there is period of not enough, it has back up. And I am not making this up. Of course, one has the folks that eat all the time, but much of the time the body has to compensate for what it does not get. I don't eat all the time. My body thinks, and sometimes it is correct, that there is a shortage. And this has been the case so long. And I am not saying this to get any one to do anything, just passing along information. There is also the thing of comfort food. Comfort food is fattening food. It makes the body feel good, but has way too many calories. When your econmomic status is on the low end scale, you also have to deal with depression, illnesses, and all kinds of things. Many seek solace in food. Not good. I'm sure there are professionals that can explain this much better than me. Of course, I live it, so that may just give me an edge, you think?

And I suspect food has been used as a political tool since cave man days. Why should it be different now? We still fight wars. What's changed?

Error, I went back last night. I enjoyed it so much. I can't hear the preaching, but I can watch it. I don't understand the words to the songs, but I can feel it. It is all good. Error, as long as you are breathing, you can accept Christ. In the Bible, the book of Isaiah(?), God says to his chosen people, Come let us reason together, though your sins be like scarlet, God can make them white. Not exactly said that way, but the meaning the same. Belief will get you there.

Have to go to the laundry room today. Temps suppose to be in the hundreds. So hot.

Slyness, how are you? I hope you are keeping cool. Kbert, love the thing about dropping the daughter off at the corner, and the rest of that comment.

Gotta go, want to be first in line.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 15, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I love writing, but I don't think I am very good at it. I'm saying all that to say our local newspaper put my letter to the editor in the paper. I should have written about just one thing, but my topic was two things. It isn't a very good letter, but in case you want to read it the paper is the Richmond County Daily Journal, Rockingham, NC. I hope I'm not doing anything wrong here, JA?

I'm learning. And I would love your feedback if you read it.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 15, 2007 6:58 AM | Report abuse

TBG good luck today I will be thinking of you. Hugs.

Yoki, I have a dear friend who's mother also has dementia, it is a difficult time but they are making some good progress with the disease medically especially if caught in the earlier stages. If I can be of any help let me know.

Cassandra I always enjoy your posts and I am sure your letter to the editor it wonderful. I am out of the office today but if I get a chance I will look it up.

Have a great day all, I am "Gone Fishing", you know I have always wanted to get able to say that.

Posted by: dmd | August 15, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

CP,

You are very gracious and eloquent and I disagree with nothing you have said. I started this by noting that a PhD at Cornell had said two things that are verifiably false: 1)There are 3.7 billion malnourished people in the world. 2)The problem has gotten worse since 1950. I stand by my denunciation of these hyperboles.

When exagerated or fabricated statistics are let loose on the rather credulous media, they achieve the patina of truthiness, much like frequently trumpeted exagerations on the rate of Super Bowl Sunday spousal abuse or the number of abducted children in the country. You shouldn't need to embelish numbers that are already horrific. Our planet has nearly a billion people that don't get enough to eat and many, many more that don't know if and when their next meal is. That is sobering enough.

I also took a swipe at phony charities like The Hunger Project that are all too eager to exploit the uncritical compassion of many of us. Donating food, time, or money to a food bank or homeless shelter has to be one of the most cost effective methods of aiding those in need. There are also many low overhead groups that directly serve impoverished people all over the world. My own church sponsors a village in Haiti that is breathtakingly destitute.

With that I will say no more on this topic and go see if my dog has any pent-up poetry he wishes to share.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra I just read your letter to the editor, it was wonderful and heartfelt.

Posted by: dmd | August 15, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra. You a poor writer? I think not! I have always been impressed with the way you express your thoughts. Your letter to the editor makes important points, and you are right.

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a poemer like that Wilbrodog. I just like watering the village blacksmith's spreading chestnut tree and rolling around in leaves of grass.

Posted by: yellojktdog | August 15, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Man, as if things weren't disagreeable enough. This article suggests a logical reason why bad things happen. Dramatic tension.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/science/14tier.html?ref=science

Let's just hope the system doesn't freeze and require a hard reboot.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

>Let's just hope the system doesn't freeze and require a hard reboot.

If so I hope the Plug'n'Play devices all reconnect.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 15, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Nick Bostrom's hypothesis is similar to Robert Charles Wilson's novel where, through a computer glitch, most of the eastern hemisphere turns into a primeval morass that needs exploring.

I just think Bostrom needs to lay off the late night bong hits. "Whoa dude, what if we are just some guys very advanced Life program?" "Awesome! Hey, quit bogarting the brownies."

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Said novel is called 'Darwinia'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinia_(novel)

It was a Hugo nominee in 1999.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The Puppy's not a poemer either. I think it's stream of consciousness runs like this :
Food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, run to the kitchen toward the smell of food, food, food, food, that food was excellent -need more, food, tired (fell asleep), food, food, food, food, food, must circle the table to catch escaping food, food, food, food, food, tired (fell asleep), food, food, must p1ss and sh1t, food, food, food, food, must follow old dog who knows where the food is, food, food, food, food, food, tired (fell asleep), food, food, that food was excellent-need more, food, food, so sad I can't steal the old dog's food, food, food, tired (fell asleep), food, food, run to the kitchen toward the smell of food, food, food, food, that food was excellent -need more, food, tired (fell asleep), food, food, food, etc

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
I read your letter to the Editor. You wrote beautifully. Are you proposing a community based supporting system for improving county education? Have you notice any presidential hopefuls has addressed the education as a major campaign issue?

Posted by: daiwanlan | August 15, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

New kit coming in about 20 minutes.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 15, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

TBG, sending good thoughts your way today. Let us know if we need to fax over more tissues.

Yoki, so sorry to hear of your dad's diagnosis.

Cassandra, that letter was straight from the heart, and beautiful.

shriek, I'm still giggling at your characterization of the Puppy.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Last night Raysdad got home early and took TWD out for a hold-you-until-Mom-gets-home walk (aka the "poop walk"). As they passed our neighbor's house, TWD made a quick lunge toward the base of their fence, then stood there, head down. Raysdad, puzzled at this stance, turned the boy's head toward him and saw a chipmunk's head and front paws protruding from the side of his mouth. A quick finger-sweep of the jaws got him to release his prize, which staggered off, moist but apparently unharmed. My boy, The Mighty Hunter.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

SD, Larson's "What We Say To Dogs/What Dogs Hear" cartoon is here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sluggerotoole/153603564/

Posted by: byoolin | August 15, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Not to worry, Cassandra; getting my blood pressure up first thing in the morning is a good thing--kinda junp-starts my system every day. (And due to my meds I have borderline low BP, so a little zap merely raises it to "normal.") A little umbrage always puts a glow in my cheeks.

On the other hand, there is this thing called life. Sorry to hear about Yoki's dad. Chez Curmudgeon also had a bit of bad news yesterday (this is one of the things that happens to you when you are a parent). Number One Son (NOS) called up last evening from Texas, where he lives, and talked to my wife (he and I don't get along very well; he's technically my stepson, and unfortunately he takes after his biological father, who is much worse than a maroon). NOS called to report he and his wife have split up -- and it gets much worse. NOS, who is an EMT/firefighter (and just got awarded EMT of the Year by somebody locally down there) got back from a 16-month stint serving as an EMT in Kuwait, as a contractor in support of that mess over there. Be that as it may, his reason for going over was to earn big money that he could send home and which would pay off the house mortgage and set up an education fund for his two kids (my 9th and 10th grandkids, though I've never met them; my wife has; they are age 3 and 7). So NOS went to Kuwait and over 16 months earned $120,000, which was payroll-deducted and automatically sent home to Texas. So NOS comes home thinking everything is dandy and discovers the $120,000 is gone, his mortgage wasn't paid off, his wife sold both their cars and bought two brand new ones on credit (didn't use the 120K in other words), he is massively in debt, and she won't say where the money went. And his two kids have been taught to hate him.

So he's dead broke, in debt, depressed, getting divorced (his second), is 38, his kids hate him, and he needs two months security deposit to rent an apartment because his credit is in the dumper because of what his wife has done to him (he discovered his checking account last month has $800 in overdraft penalties. That's just the penalties; not the overdrafts).

So he calls up his SOB biological father and asks for some help. And his bio-dad, prince that he is, says, no, you're an adult; you have to fend for yourself; buh-bye.

So he calls up us (his mother, my wife), and of course we're sending him money, and various moral support, technical advice about obtaining a lawyer, freezing bank accounts, getting bank documentation on what happened, yadda yadda.

Which brings us back to that line I always quote from Frost's "Death of the Hired Hand": "Home is where when you go there, they have to take you in." My wife, who keeps wanting to kick out our last two kids [failure to launch] doesn't understand that line, but I do.

I suspect that I'm going to have to scale back my resume by reducing the number of my grandchildren from 10 to 8. Since I've never met them and have no relationship with them, it won't bother me much, but I know it's gonna hurt/is hurting my wife... which makes it a sin on my soon-to-be-ex-daughter-in-law's part I'm not soon going to forgive or forget.

[Please, Boodle, no condolences or commentary necessary. It's just a story about life that needed telling, and somebody to tell it to, that's all, and I chose you guys. (Like, who else am I gonna pick if not you guys? It ain't like I'm gonna sing a Country 'n' Western ballad about it.) Just one more little nick, one more small dent that life puts in you before it's over.]

Hmmmm. Maybe I need to copyright that last sentence, before some peckerwood country singer steals it.

OK, back to thinking up names for Wilbrodog's pome collection. I'm sure I've got at least one more groaner left in me somewhere.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

byoolin! That was on my Far Side calendar just yesterday!

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, your letter is well written and heartfelt. It's an important topic and I hope it spurs some action in your community. I'm proud to be your friend.

In case anyone else wants to read it, it can be found here...

http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/articles/2007/08/15/news/editorials/opeds04.txt


Posted by: TBG | August 15, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, man, Miss Cassandra. I don't wanna hear no more talk about how you don't think you don't write well.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The orange blob, T.D. Five, is coming. Yesterday was a strange afternoon. High clouds had reached us creating a milky white sky for hours--with zero gradations. Today, cirrus clouds reign.

One of our local TV weather guys originally predicted one to two inches of rain. New projections call for five to 10 inches of rain on ground that has been saturated for quite some time and has very recently begun to dry out.

Last Sunday was the first 95 degree reading for the year. Local weathermen have had to underforecast the temperatures this month. It's true that we've been socked with dastardly humidity this summer. And because the ground has been so wet, the sun has not been able to heat up the air temperature to anything that would be considered a typical temperature--until just this past week. Never in all of our city's recordkeeping has the 95 degree temperature occurred so late in the year.

First graf of our main Metro story this morning is that state and local officials are dusting off emergency preparedness plans. Really, how much dust can gather on plans that were last used when both Katrina (New Orleans, impacting Houston and San Antonio) and Rita (East Texas Gulf Coast, again impacting our two major south Texas metro areas) roared ashore? And those plans were found to have huge, gaping holes. With holes that size, dust just must have fallen through to land on Governor Rick Perry's Oversized desk in Austin, along with the heads of a number of federales jefes in D.C.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA081507.01B.PerryStorm.339e1c8.html

With a severe weather system in the Gulf of Mexico expected to bring heavy rain to South Texas as early as today, local and state officials are dusting off their emergency preparedness plans.

Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday he is deploying 30 emergency vehicles and 60 Texas National Guard members to Weslaco and San Antonio. He is also activating three military helicopters and putting six search-and-rescue teams on call. Volunteer organizations are getting ready to provide mass care support.

Thanks, dr, for the effort yesterday. Sorry to hear the fax machine got gummed up. Twenty-four hours to batten down the hatches, pass out sandbags and whatnot.

Posted by: Loomis | August 15, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, sorry yes, but practical note. Help NOS write a brief note about being over there. Yes, I know he is (was) a contractor; my brother had the same experience -- as MIL, he had help from a JAG -- but NOS needs a two paragraph summary that the judge may need to see.

This may only blunt one of the many knifeblades.

Frost pome is very true: Home IS where they have to take you when you go.

As for the GKs -- be steady and keep the hand extended. Some adult children see the world differently -- can take 20 years or more -- when the scales of the other parent -- viperlike -- fall from the wounded children's eyes.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... great story to hear the day I'm sending my son off to his new life. Should be a good tale to tell on the drive down.

I know you don't want condolences, so I'll just say That Sucks.

Posted by: TBG | August 15, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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