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Is America Rome? Plus Fukuyama vs. Huntington

I've been reading books on the Fate of America -- pretty bleak if you believe the authors -- and by far the best of the bunch is Cullen Murphy's "Are We Rome?" He's yet another one of those people who makes me want to be a writer when I grow up. He's also sensible, and doesn't take the Rome/America parallels too far. (No one, for example, should draw any conclusions from the fact that I no longer wear anything other than a toga.)

Here's the geopolitical question of the day (and your answers may help me with an upcoming Outlook story): Which country (or countries, or regional alliances, etc.) will be most dominant in 50 years? America is the lone superpower in 2007. This is our "unipolar moment." How long will it last? What happens next? Your thoughts, please. [We'll then link back to this item in 2057!!]

To help get you in the big-picture frame of mind, I'm pasting in the top of a story I wrote in the Post magazine in December 2001, about the debate between Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington.


THE CLASH: Two Professors, Two Academic Theories, One Big Difference...

By J.A. (Dec. 16, 2001)

Not so many years ago, the world made a lot more sense.

At the very least you could pretend to understand it. This illusion of comprehensibility was a fringe benefit of the Cold War. Every international skirmish could be explained as part of the epic struggle between democracy (or 'the free world,' as we put it) and the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship of the proletariat ('the godless Commies').

The prospect of thermonuclear war had a way of clarifying the mind; anyone seeking a framework for thinking about the destiny of humankind could start with, at one extreme, Armageddon. The United States and the Soviet Union enforced their national security with a wonderfully acronymed strategy called Mutual Assured Destruction. The academics described this world as 'bipolar.' There was a method to the madness.

Then the unthinkable happened: One side gave up without anyone firing a shot.The theorists had to scramble in a suddenly unipolar (multipolar?) environment. Things were flying apart, breaking up, disintegrating. Two theories-dramatic, bombastic and immediately controversial-emerged from the convoluted mass of academic jabber.

The first idea was triumphalist. It came from an obscure young Washington think tank dweller named Francis Fukuyama. He called his thesis 'The End of History,' and although that sounded apocalyptic, he was attempting to deliver good news. Fukuyama argued that the historical process that had seen the rise of feudalism, monarchism, communism, fascism and various other isms had come to its conclusion. Democracy and free markets-the core values of Western civilization-had proved victorious over all competing systems. There was no better way to organize human affairs. Game over.But there was this other idea. It was darker. Indeed it sounded like a medieval nightmare. The theorist was a Harvard professor named Samuel P. Huntington -- Fukuyama's former teacher, as it happens. Huntington summed up his theory in a dramatic phrase: 'The Clash of Civilizations.'

The Huntington thesis mocked the feel-good notions of the Fukuyama camp. Huntington saw a world of tribes. Tribalism was increasing. Ancient hatreds were rising to the surface. In Huntington's world there was little danger

that everyone would join hands around a campfire and sing 'Kumbaya.'

The reason is culture. Culture, said Huntington, is the preeminent force of conflict in the modern world. Politics, economics, ideology and national interests remain important, but culture trumps everything. Culture is bone deep, essential to a person's identity, and transcends national boundaries. Cultural conflict, Huntington said, was erupting along civilizational fault lines.

The two theories may suffer from nearly lethal cases of overstatement and oversimplification. For political scientists, however, these are the two touchstones of any debate about the direction of the world. Many people who reject both theories still cite them dutifully-they're the theoretical elephants in the room. The old debate about capitalism vs. communism has been replaced by Fukuyama vs. Huntington.

We're deep in the land of theory here, of abstractions and esoterica. Even so, these ideas seem more relevant and potentially more useful since the calamity of September 11.

For many Americans, the events of that morning were simultaneously horrifying and perplexing. Who were these people who'd attacked us? Why did they hate us so much? What did they want? As the nation girded itself for a war against terror and sent troops and warplanes to Afghanistan, many of us wondered, too, where this conflict would lead. Was this a three-month war, a three-year war, or would it possibly drag on for the rest of our lives? In such a context, it's not a trivial matter which of the two big ideas is closer to the truth.

If Fukuyama is right, the current crisis is a momentary detour in humanity's inexorable march toward global brotherhood.

If Huntington is right, you might want to start digging that bunker in the back yard.

[Click here to keep reading the story.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 30, 2007; 10:36 AM ET
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Posted by: Bob S. | August 30, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that in fifty years the notion of a dominant nation will be considered a quaint old-fashioned concept. In 2057 I predict that the world will be divided into two interleaved entities. The first will be a tightly bound association of industrialized nations so dependent upon each other that a weakness in one will ripple through the entire system. The symbiosis between nation states in this entity will be so complete that the whole notion of dominance will be moot.

The second entity will be a background of underdeveloped nations in which ideological conflict, regional disputes, and religious feuds will create a dangerously unstable maelstrom. This entity will be ever pushing and probing into the first entity, which will seek to contain it.

I just hope America ends up in the first entity and not the second.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 30, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

RDP, don't forget that the world of 50 years from now also will be a world of masses of refugees as the impoverished coastal areas go under water from global warming and the people have to go somewhere. Even those who are not impoverished will become impoverished, because you cannot very well sell land that is under water. At least, not at top-dollar prices.

That's a whole lot of resentful second-class citizenry with nothing to lose, and a whole lot of frustration.

On the good side, Baffin (Boffing) Island will become resort property. Invest now! North, to the future!

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll be the first to jump totally off topic. I got an email the other day and checked out their website this morning.

Hopefully I will be in DC for veterans day.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 30, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I, too, think that the "dominant nation" and all-or-nothing theory models will become less relevant with the march of time. While it would be nice to think that democracy is an inevitable conclusion to the struggle for governance, that is turning out to require an extremely long-term viewpoint which must admit to lots of exceptions. Similarly, the clash of cultures isn't quite so dramatic and inexorable as it might seem. I think any any discussion of this type must admit that there are people of different cultures, sometimes in different nations and sometimes within the same nation, who at the very least must learn to live with others' sometimes diametrically opposed beliefs and systems. This learning process may be helped if all those persons are also involved in, and benefitting from, shared economic activity. If not, there will be conflict.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, thanks for your reply didn't mean to pick on you but put the question out to someone any one with moral issues over eating meat (I do not have them).

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Are we not Rome?
We are Devo.

Posted by: byoolin | August 30, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

RD, you have a gift. Present any topic, and you digest the information, think about your position, then deliver two concise, well-written paragraphs stating your thoughts with a great conclusion. Well done.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 30, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I've been super busy and just lurking, but this drew me in albeit briefly.

The U.S. is Carthage, not Rome. Carthage was effectively a commercial empire whose "empire" was effectively a system of alliances, unlike Rome.

This is not to say that the U.S. will share Carthage's fate - my bet is the U.S. in 50 years. No other contender has shown the capability for reinvention and renewal that the U.S. and friends have. By the by, I was a business student in the 80s when Japan was supposedly ascendant.

Shout outs: Happy birthday to Ivansmom et al. Loomis, I submitted Capt. Justice and Lt. Posthumous (tho he lived) on that link. Mudge, loved the Northwest Passage history. CP, I tracked down that Liv Ullman movie.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 30, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Raysmom! That is so kind.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 30, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, and RD does it without a single PP slide.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The whole PP thing made me think of this:

Posted by: Raysmom | August 30, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I have always loved this article, Joel.

I'd like to believe that we will all be one global brotherhood, but the cultural misunderstandings are going to keep us apart.

SoC,good point, but as a state becomes more reliant on its rules and regulations, as those rules and regulations cover more of the intimate details of a persons daily life, does it not ultimately lose it's capacity to reinvent itself?

Posted by: dr | August 30, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Entirely different category of books, but book report time is nigh for the teens. A list of top 10 dystopian novels:,,2158312,00.html

Joel's versatility amazes me. Everything from Dominant Nations to science stuff.

Anyhow, my versatile guesses are

1. Chile should attract retiring Californians and encourage Argentina and Brazil to get a bit better organized.

2. China's growth rate has been badly exaggerated (someone explained it recently. Most Chinese still work on farms, and the farm economy isn't growing much. So if the purported growth figures are real, the cities aren't growing, they're exploding).

3. India somehow has a lot of marvelously educated people who fit right into the world of science and technology. Could they have the biggest and best pharmaceuticals industry in 50 years? The best medical schools? The best use of renewable energy?

4. Japan doesn't have enough children, but it's become an incredibly creative place.

5. Some of odd corners of Europe are flourishing. Estonia. Slovakia (who woulda thunk it?). May be life in the old Continent. But Europe mostly has crummy universities.

6. Britain actually has decent universities.

7. The Persian Gulf. Dubai and Bahrain are thinking post-petroleum. Provided they aren't taken over by Iran or Saudi Arabia, and don't self-destruct, could they be like Singapore?

8. Australia. About as many people as Florida, but seemingly a lot more brainpower, not to mention natural resources. The country's doing well at cultivating ties to southeast Asia.

9. Russia. Mess. Big mess.

10. North America. Face it, in many respects the US, Canadian, and Mexican economies are integrated and can't be disentangled. A lot depends on Mexico, which could grow as the American South did in the 1970s. The US seems to be heading toward most of the population sliding into low-income jobs while a relatively few break into highly skilled professions and the trust fund class expands. Lots of people will be flunkies for trustafarians and trustapreppies. Could Canada's different socioeconomics and tax policies make it a better place for science and tech than the US?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 30, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how far I would push that Carthage analogy. We still don't take the adolescents of the moneyed classes and make flaming sacrifice to Baal with their living flesh, in supplication for increased wealth. One could argue that we do this with the adolescents of the impoverished, however.

I am most concerned by the trend of outsourcing essential military actions to entities whose primary motivations are commercial. In other words, mercenaries. That has unpleasant antecedents.

Posted by: HistoryTim | August 30, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, GWE, I just love the expression on Steven Van Zandt's face in that pix.

Back to the topic, I tend to be in the Sam Huntington camp, and tend to agree with my colleague, the esteemed Dr. Padouk, in his 11:19. (I wouldn't use the words "quaint" or "old-fashioned" to describe the domination theory, since I think the potential always exists over time for some other country to become "dominant"; China, for instance, simply by virtue of its numbers.)

And I just instinctively disagree with the Fukuyama thesis that the world has somehow reached some sort of stasis, and the conditions he perceives as current arer necessarily stable and permanent. Ain't nothing permanent.

But I think neither Huntington nor Fukuyama (nor any other political theorist) has factored in what SciTim has pointed out, which is that global warming is going to play a major hand. The Huntington v. Fukuyama debate seems to me premised upon a stable and continuing climatological world in which their competing theories might play out, and one of them would win/be right and one would lose/be wrong.

But I don't think that's the case at all, as Tim says. It's only been the last few years that we've had enough scientists coalescing their thinking about global warming and what's going to happen 50 years from now, and I don't see any of their thinking yet penetrating into other fields of study (politics, international relations, economics, human psychology, culture and religion, etc.). That's going to take time.

Yes, we've got some futurists running around predicting things 50 years out, but I have approximately zero confidence in futurists, given their less-than-impeccable track record over the last hundred or so.

Among other things, I think there is one huge variable in Joel's question, which is we don't have any clue whatsoever how the United States (as the current "dominant" power) is going to react. Oh, yes, we all have "hopes" that we will "do something" about global warming--but what? How do we put the genie back in the bottle? Can that chore in fact even be done? Is it even possible? Or have we screwed ourselves past the recovery point? How do we re-freeze the glaciers and the icecaps? How do we stop the ocean from rising a foot or two (if indeed that's what's going to happen)?

All of which is why I think Fukuyama is "more" wrong than Huntington: because the world in the next 50 years isn't going to be stable in the manner Fukuyama's theory requires. In short, I think we're screwed, environmentally and ecologically. Yes, I think the Dems will take the White House in 2008--but even then I just don't see the U.S. *successfully* (emphasis on *sucessfully*) leading a massive international save-the-planet effort. Yes, there will be a lot of sturm-und-drang over it, but it'll be too little too late tooo diluted and not international enough. We ain't gonna turn China and India around, even if we become "Mr. Clean" overnight (and that's not gonna happen either).

So the upshot is I have a much, much bleaker view of the future than I did say, 30 years ago, when all I had to worry about was nuclear weapons (which I understood, and we had a handle on).

So that's the bad news. The good news is, I won't be around to see it, though a goodly number of you guys (and all our kids and grandkids) will. Sorry.

We're all on the cusp of a major change in history, and it ain't gonna be pleasant. May take a hundred or two hundred years to play out. But we're basically screwed.

(Oh, yes, we'll survive as a species, and all that. But it's gonna get nasty, that's all.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What you said, RD. Your descriptors of the two interleaved worlds, however, ring true even as we post. It's not a stretch to characterize the U.S., the E.U., Japan, Canada and others that have adopted capitalism as an economic model, in whole or in part, as the industrialized complex. Disruption in one of these systems resonates throughout, to wit, the recent worldwide fluctuations of stock markets in response to the subprime mortgage debacle perpetuated on this side of the pond. Likewise, when China mentions revaluing the yen (or is it yuan?)the markets go wild. This confederation is like Wrigley: as the ivy goes, so go the Cubs. Whom, BTW, are in first by 2 games. The other side is , as you said, mired in war or the next best thing to it. Sometimes the conflict is internal, sometimes the conflict is imposed from without. This tends to foster development of fumdamentalist factions that, if they have the resources, will export at least a philosophy and sometimes the people to plant a violent seed in hopes of garnering more attention and additional adherents to the philosophy. The violence will be directed toward the industrial collective, viewed often, and correctly perhaps, as largely corrupt and/or morally and spiritually bankrupt. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Diplomacy is a means of beginnning down the path envisioned by Mr. Fukayama. Unfortunately, the U.S. lacks the leadership, at present, that is willing to engage belligerent of combative parties in a way that fosters development of peaceful coexistence. The world needs a few cleansing breaths and some leaders that would lead by example.

Posted by: jack | August 30, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

scc: Mr. Fukuyama. My apologies.

Posted by: jack | August 30, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

In 2057 my Disciples will descend upon the flooded cities foraging for Depends and copies of "Murder She Wrote."

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

huntington was very well-received in russia in the nineties among both conservative and liberal types. they were ready to hang the shock therapy folks, but by golly, huntington made some sense.

huntington may oversimplify, but imo fukuyama is way too idealistic.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 30, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Mudge et al are right about global warming. Fukuyama's theory depends on an otherwise stable situation. Huntington's does not so much, but does not take into acount clash of survival v. culture.

I also have trouble with the whole "end of history" idea. Hegel thought dialectics, and his theory, marked the end of history, and so did a lot of those other guys, before and after. Just because you've thought of or observed something doesn't mean that's the ultimate answer. This all reminds me of the Rousseau v. Hobbes debate. I always thought on practical grounds that Hobbes won.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Niall Ferguson has speculated about the return of food shortages. I should read "Colossus", his book on the decline of the US. His website has a Foreign Affairs article from 2005 comparing the eve of World War I to today. Not comfortable reading. Beware: pdf.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 30, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Not editing or correcting or disagreeing here; simply commenting that our young people are exquisitely sensitive to the collective feelings or zeitgeist we invoke here.

They are so sensitive that they are overwhelmed and do not exercise their hard-wired tendency to try to remake the world into a better place.

I believe that at-risk youth, here and global-wide, are the canaries of cynicism, nihilism, and a jaded move toward consumption to ward off the anxiety.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 30, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm still working to make things better, College Parkian, cynical though I may be, and I try to emphasize this by word and deed. I agree that we can have sometimes unintentional influences on younger people. This is because they are too young to realize that you can view things through pessimistic (realistic?) glasses and still work for change. Unbridled optimism can be a curse. The perfect is the enemy of the good. All that sort of thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Cp. The curriculum, however, provides the tools the students are expected to learn to participate in the system in a way to effect change. Trouble is that, under today's rules, if you make your opinion known to the powers that be in the wrong way one is subject to all kinds of consequences for excercising basic first amendment rights. Like the song says:
Shine your shoes
Light your fuse
Can you use
them old US Blues?
Drink your health
Share your wealth
Run your life
Steal your wife

Posted by: jack | August 30, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the TV news last night--NBC, I think it was--about the Putin youth camps? Gave me the creeps and the willies.

Joel asks, "Which country (or countries, or regional alliances, etc.) will be most dominant in 50 years?"

Madison Avenue, definitely Madison Avenue. What, you mean Madison Avenue isn't a country?

Posted by: Loomis | August 30, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I have a vewwy gweat fwiend in Wome.

Posted by: byoolin | August 30, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

History Tim,

What, and you don't think Rome had a few quirky habits?

Broad strokes, man. My submission is that the U.S., to the extent that it is an empire, engages to the minimum degree necessary to ensure that its security and commercial interests are protected. That's very un-Roman. Empire-lite says Ignatieff, and Ferguson something similar (empire in denial?).

Byoolin, ha - speaking of antonyms.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 30, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Posthumous--except he lived *l*

Posted by: Loomis | August 30, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a ScienceTim question:

Any chance that The March of Science(tm) might produce one or more developments in the next 50 years that will change the terms of the debate?

I guess I'm thinking mostly about molecular biology, medicine, computational and brain science.

Posted by: TexLex | August 30, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I wonder about the ability to record the contents of the human brain and either to rewrite (possibly an edited version) or to simulate its functions in alternative hardware.

Then there's the question of really effective induced hibernation, which has all kinds of uses.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC aptonyms

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 30, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

SoC -- enjoy the film version of Kristen Lavransdattir. I have the VHS but need to hunt up the DVD so I can see the back material. Apparently, the set is now part of a Volksmuseum in Norge. I guess that a vacation to the Sel Valley is now on my list.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 30, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

You know, I remember seeing an advertisement on TV during the 1970s or early 80s for a book that compared the US to Rome (complete with burning background), and warned that You Should Read This Book To Prepare For The End Of America.

Never did read it.
Or Dianetics either, which had a similar sort of TV ad in a similar time slot (very late night, typically during a Creature Feature or some such entertainment).

I remember a Fred Pohl novel "Black Star Rising" from the 80s that postulated an effective takoever of the US by China in the 21st century, FWIW. I'll look that one up, but it's difficult to argue against the huge effect that China already has on the world.

Another question, of course is not the rise of other classical nation-states to superpower status, but of ideologies and religions as political, military, economic, and cultural powers utilizing modern technological and scientific tools.

More later, this is good food for thought.


Posted by: bc | August 30, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Interesting timing here...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Fred Pohl (I'm thinking of "The Space Merchants" here), how about The Global Economy as the dominant superpower of the 21st century, with manipulation of market economics as a means of political governance.

Even nation-states and ideological groups need money to run and defend their countries and to provide their citizens/members the means to survive and to do the work of the community.

As so goes the money, so goes the nation-states and ideological/religious groups that depend on them (Afghanistan's poppy fields are a good example of a revenue source springing up to fill an economic void, and also providing a degree of political and security stability, even if it's not what we here in the US had in mind)

I'm far from the first to suggest that if you have some means of controlling Global and Regional economies, you have a means of controlling nation-states and other ideological/religious groups.

I wonder if Alan Greenspan ever considered himself an effective ruler of the world...?

Thinking out loud here.


Posted by: bc | August 30, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to JA for such a thought provoking question. As a scientist/bureaucrat I am often asked to identify the likely outcome of a perturbation of the natural environment. Because the world is chaotic and even the web of interractions during stasis is difficult to fully understand, my favorite answer to the question is that we should expect surprise from any perturbation. This expectation of surprise then should also be read into my answers.

As regards JA's first question - The USA is the worlds largest consumer in a global capitalist system. The current economic outlook for the US is downward in the near-term. Further, an economy dependent on continual debt/finance growth is rationally unsustainable. Thus, I believe it is unlikely that the US would continue to enjoy its current economic status over the next 50 years. This of course could change were the U.S. to become a significant producer in the global economy. Whether or not it does is highly dependent on leadership and culture. The dominant countries in the world 50 years from today are likely to be those which are most productive, either through industry or exploitation of natural resources. As the importance of the US dollar declines as a global reserve currency, look for eastern Asia (industry) and the Middle East (energy) to increase their dominance in the world economy.

However, the wildcards in the deck are staggering: global warming, population growth, militancy, and religious fundamentalism and how they may affect human affairs is simply staggering. They may, in fact, overwhelm the economic model described above. Drought and famine caused migrations may generate xenophobic resentments, economic disequilibria may generate class strife, and one or more diseases may become epidemic, again afflicting some groups and regions more than others. To me this suggests either cultural growth toward human unity or war, which prevails is unestimable.

Armeggedon is not outside the realm of the possible.

Posted by: richD | August 30, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

This type of discussion props up a lot in the US Blogosphere lately.
And it's partly due to the quagmire in Iraq. If the global super power can't beat some 3rd rate country then something is wrong and people try to find out what is happening to their society. Add a smidgen of economic panic and all of a sudden the US is Rome just before the Vandals plundered it. (Of course Rome also lost minor at the hight of it's power and didn't fall because of them.)

Today's news is as much a predictor of what will happen in the long run as todays weather is for the climate. All societies have ups and downs. At least we in the West have been able to make ours less extreme the last 60 years. (As an asside, the death of Europe isn't going to happen soon. Our societies are very vibrant, and as are our economies barring the relative little up and downs)

Here are my predictions which will be completely wrong except when they come true.

1. The "West" will still be one unit divided in 2 or 3 blocks.
One block will be the US, the other Europe as it is now and the third one smaller independant countries (e.g. canada, Mexico, Australia.)
The roles will stay the same. The US will be, or think itself to be the most dynamic partner.
Europe will be more understated as will those independant countries. But living standards will still be the highest in the world.

2. Europe will not become one country, nor will it fall appart. It has reached the limit of it's integration on a continental level. In this scheme smaler groupings will integrate for different reasons. This will overlap but not destroy the EU.
Europe won't be Eurabia either. But countries will be much more racially and culturally mixed as they were 50 years ago which is not a bad thing at all.

3. The Arab world will be devided in two. On the one hand the modernising regions like the Magreb and the Gulf states, on the other the backward facing ones like Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. Syria and Jordan will regress a lot compared to now because they will be sweped in the interminal regional conflict between the different tribes, religions.

Israel will be in trouble aswel because of the tensions between it's secular citizens and it's religious hardliners. But it will survive because of the help from the west, especialy the US.

4. Iran, having gotten parts of Iraq in it's sphere of influence will look towards the central Asian countries (The "Stans"). I think it will be ruled by a democraticaly elected gouvernement but with a shadow conservative power behind it. (this will be more like the "Moral majority" then it will be like the Mulla's)
Turkey will be good friends with Iran and will have forgotten about joining europe. Both will modernise even more and be closer to the West in standards of living.

5. China will be a big regional power, but less important than people think it wil be now. Same goes for India. As long as hundreds of millions of people are realy poor, a society can't advance as much because a lot of politial and economical power needs to be invested in keeping the masses quiet rather than in external expansion.

6. Russia will stay what it is, a semi democracy which won't reach it's full potential. Not poor, but not as rich as the west. It will try to ruffle the feathers of the neighbouring powers - Europe, Iran/turkey/China - once in a while but nothing much will happen. It's oil and gass riches will keep it afloat.

7. Africa will see the most improvement, In the next couple of decades all the local conflicts will be resolved one way or another, mostly due to ethnic cleansing and mass murder. This will creating less tangled thus culturaly "purer" societies. (I don't condone this, I just think it's happening and will continue for a while.)
After this period those peoples will demand better gouvernement and will finaly start to climb out of the abys.

8. South America will get richer aswel, again due to better gouvernance. It think a South American union (as tight or tighter than the EU) will exist since most of it's countries are linguistically and culturaly very similar. Maybe Mexico will be more attracted by that pole than by the US. Brazil will be the outsider, only because of it's language.

All in all I think people in the world will have it better. The earth will lose a lot of wilderniss. (e.g. Less Amazone and much less Central African forest) The climate might change, but people will adapt because they will be less dependant of having their food grown localy and technoligy will help a lot to.
Terrorism is here to stay. It's been with us from the start of civilisation under different guises anyway, but it won't be able to make a dent in the civilisations.

This all ends in 2058 when a comet strikes the earth.
Then cockroaches take over.

That's ET's 2 Eurocents.

Posted by: Eurotrash | August 30, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

OMG!!! Eurotrash!!! *crazed Grover waves*

What a great early birthday present to see ya! Stick around, willya?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey ET! Long time no see!

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 30, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Hi Boodle

Happy Birthday Scotty. I'll try to keep in the loop, but it's very hard with the time difference.
And also many of joels kits are to American for me to coment on.
But I'll try.

Posted by: Eurotrash | August 30, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Euro! Good to hear from you again! Interesting take on what the future of the Middle East may hold.

Posted by: jack | August 30, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think we may be undervaluing the US's production of goods, services, and expertise. Regrettably, we're discouraging tourists, international meetings, students, and highly-skilled workers from coming just when they are most necessary to our future. Already Panama is serving as an alternative to Miami while Canada and Australia are taking advantage of opportunities to be like the US, but more open.

On the down side, the long-awaited dollar crash might be underway.

There are unpredictable, and terrible, opportunities for violence and conflict. Niall Ferguson compares Taiwan to Belgium and North Korea to Serbia of 1914, with nukes. I assume that China will gain effective control of Taiwan through coercion and co-option, but a military confrontation with the US is entirely possible.

Subsaharan Africa at first glance looks like a calamity, what with the unending Congo war, Somalia, Darfur, Zimbabwe, AIDS, bad or nonexistent governments, etc. Yet there's a lot of good going on.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 30, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

regarding the Gonzales link

Gonzales announced Monday that he was quitting the Justice Department after seven months of sustained conflict with Congress over the prosecutor dismissals and other issues. He told aides that he had decided his credibility with lawmakers had been too severely damaged to continue in the job.

Ummm, why did it take 7 months for him to figure out his credibility was ruined.

Posted by: Kerric | August 30, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Eurotrash.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

As bringing scifi writers into the discussion has been made respectable by bc I direct your attention to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy with its interplay of technology, sociology, and political economy (political science? hah!). If we change the terraforming of Mars to the homoforming of Earth I beleive my jiggered analogy suggests that Sufi/ecologist terrorists will bring down a Space Elevator seperating the countries of the earth along the equator resulting in a senario perfectly agreeing with "The Amazing Padouk's" prediction.

Too bad the president doesn't name Senator Craig's replacement. I've heard that Minnesotans love Scotty dogs. Senator Barney has a nice ring.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Euro! Good to hear from you! Hope all is well with you.

Certainly there is much to trouble us about the future. But is that any different than it ever has been? I'm doing my best to recycle/save energy/vote for candidates who will do the right thing for the future. I hope we can muddle through.

Posted by: Slyness | August 30, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Euro! How's things in beautiful downtown Belgium? I mentioned you about a month ago, wondering where ya been. Hope everything's well.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This Kit is sure generating a lot of interesting discussion. Thanks, richD, and howdy Eurotrash! Good to hear from you!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Euro, good to see you. Nice analysis.

So much thought provoking reading but I must confess, I feel a deep need to buy legumes.

Posted by: dr | August 30, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Euro, great to hear from you. I'll try to de-Americanize some of the kits in the near future. In fact there's probably a software program that will do that.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 30, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Bonjour Euro -- great to see you in print again. We were all scratching our collective boodle-heads wondering where you'd gone.

Now, I've gotta go. HBTY to S'nuke.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 30, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Interesting discussion today. Thanks, everyone. Hi Eurotrash.

Heading out soon for a long weekend with Mom. Yes, the Mom with the honey-do list and no internet. See you Tuesday-ish and happy birthday, Scotty!

Posted by: Raysmom | August 30, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think there is a way to begin the study of what things may look like in 50 years, but it is incredibly cross-departmental.

1) Get some geologists and other enviro experts, and try to draw a map of the earth as it is mostly likely to look 50 years from now, given rising sea level. Not necessarily a best case or a worst case, but perhaps a consensus most likely case. I think this has to be the start line.

2) After this map is in hand, economists and those of that persuasion need to study the map and see what the economic effects have been. Is Florida underwater? If so, where did all those people go? Are there new cities built further inland? Have Boston and New York been flooded out? Do they still exists as viable habitats or not? Has the San Andreas Fault dropped California into the sea? and is Arizona now the West Coast? What farmland has been lost (or in the case of northern climes, gained)? It seems to me if these basic questions can't be answered, then all the rest of it is silly. Are conditions *basically* the same as they are now -- or significantly different?

3. Then go back and do all the same work predicting these things at 75 years and at 100 years, in order to determine a trend line. If sea level has risen 18 inches in 50 years, that data isn't useful unless we also know which way it is trending. Is that 18 inches the *likely* maximum sea level rise--or do we believe it's only about halfway? Because how human society reacts to the perceived trend is more important. It doesn't help to know that only half of Florida is lost, unless you also know whether you're going to lose the whole thing or not. So a snapshot of the year 2057 isn't as important as a trend line report. Is it going to get worse, or has it stabilized? (Or, I suppose, I guess it is possible the trend could reverse, but I have no expertise on this possibility.)

We also have to think about the rest of the planet. It's one to predict doom and gloom about Florida going under; but any future predictions have to also account for, say, India going under, too. Perhaps the Ganges and the Yangtze will flood even worse than the Mississippi. Maybe the entire Amazon basin will be under water. Whatever; the point is to not be America-centric about it, and to consider effects globally.

4. As I see it, only AFTER one has completed all this kind of preliminary work can political scientists and theorists enter the picture and begin to think about the consequences.

And as somebody said, remember the wildcards. Seismologists have been telling us for years a major, major quake is overdue on the West Coast. Well, suppose they are right? What's the worst that could happen, and how would the country look then? Suppose the New Madrid fault goes instead--or maybe in addition to. Either you take all those dire predictions seriously -- or you don't. All I'm saying is, either way you take those predictions, they have major consequences on futurology.

Maybe not much will happen over 50 or 100 years--in which case the Huntington vs. Fukuyama theories have a chance to play out.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

In a particularly dark mood, one might imagine the development within only the next 10-20 years of the ability to construct a viable virus from scratch, with designer properties.

Downside: horrific genocide, collapse of civilization and economies, no retirement support even for those who survive.

Upside: Cheap housing, cheap (used) sailboats with which to cope with the residual effects of global warming, no more population pressure for resources, eliminate deforestation, we certainly can't be held responsible for desertification, recovering fish stocks.

Let's face it, once the surviving 5% of humanity gets over the horror and the suicidal depression, it will be a new Eden. Get your fig leaves now!

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Interesting you pick geology Mudge, I was on the CBC website today and they are promoting a new series about several North American/Canadian geological areas. Looks quite interesting, if you do not have access to the shows (CBC in Sept. they website is quite detailed).

Fifty years from now I hope our sense of humour/common sense has not eroded anymore. Saw two articles this week one about tag being banned in a school district as it caused to much stress in the school yard and then this story. I thought this a clever and very funny prank - lighten up people, not necessarily boodle members however.

PS I believe we have stated the Canadian intention before to rule the world :-)

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh dmd, sure bring that up. I'm actually still "it" from a game of tag in 1977. Consider yourselves warned.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 30, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Horribly off-topic, but I saw this article and thought of Cassandra:,1,1505275.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-autoracing&ctrack=1&cset=true

Posted by: Raysmom | August 30, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

In 50 years, the north and south magnetic poles will be reversed. (This is not a joke.)

Posted by: Corrigan | August 30, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I should note that the ability already exists to construct a virus (remember the recovery of the 1918 Influenza virus). This is still paint-by-numbers, or kit-bashing (combining parts from several plastic model kits), not yet at the level of designer pathogens. Thank goodness.

More cheerful thoughts from the genetic front: the problem with imagining a genetically "improved" humanity or any other species is that it's hard to figure out the undesirable consequences of your "desirable" modifications (plus that whole ethical debate about tweaking the construction of people). That's where evolution comes in. An unscrupulous person might craft viruses that are nominally harmless but that tweak genetics a bit, promoting a surge of genetic modifications. Massive infertility would follow, as most mutations are nonviable (goodbye, over-population), but a few will survive. Evolution in a hurry. Throw in a few modified predators -- say, flying mountain lions with a slightly increased reproduction rate -- and you can really get human evolution moving along. Better yet, make some winged caimans, and you'll have real dragons in the world. Wouldn't that be great (if you survive)?

The technologies are readily envisionable (I just coined that word!) to make a world in which you would pine away for the good old days when nuclear war, global warming, international terrorism, and cancer caused by pollution were the only things you really needed to worry about. International terrorists may be unpleasant, but at least they don't eat you.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Tim, don't make a prediction like that at the dinner table with children present. I did and my sister almost took my head off. Perhaps I shouldn't have said that a huge human die off would be a good thing.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Cheap sailboats, Tim? Sign me up! That's MY kinda armageddon.

(I'd like a 60-footer if ya got one. Does this work like Priceline? Can I just offer, oh, 500 bucks for it?)

(Two masted, please.)

(I don't actually need a full-blown Tiki bar on the fantail, but if it had one, I wouldn't pitch it overboard.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

This discussion is getting really interesting - are we back to the giant raptors? - but I must leave you for birthday activities. I look forward to seeing where this goes when I catch up. Carry on!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The problem with everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to Ivansmom is that the best singer in the room (by a country mile, too, I have no doubt) is the only one who has to keep silent.

Have a happy one, anyway, IM.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge: I'd have to look for the link again, but the geologic modelling you speak of is in the USGS site. There are maps generated through computer models that show the US coastlines some 25-50 years hence. Thus, one of the pieces is already in place. The demographers and economists now must pick up the ball and begin some long range planning. I hope you run for the bus finds you dry when you finally are seated.

Posted by: jack | August 30, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"Flying mountain lions with a slightly increased reproduction rate', ScienceTim?

This from a physicist who presumably knows aerodynamics?

My money is on hyperbreeding flock-hunting city sparrows with a craving for human flesh that incubate and pass 100 known lethal diseases by bird poop.

Cue Hitchcock music.

Thanks for sharing the STORY behind the video!

While prison programs for training service dogs are popular, I don't think there is adequate opportunity for socializing the dogs to boost confidence and life experience.

This is particularly crucial for any dog that must make independent decisions without guidance. The difference in Wilbrodog right out of the shelter and two months later in confidence level was quite marked. It's possible that Mary Jane would never have been confident enough to be a guide dog, though.

The energy level IS an issue. Wilbrodog was marked as an high energy dog when I got him.

Ideally, dog and person should be able to move together at a comfortable gait, so energy-matching is important, as well as general gait speed.

Fortunately I walk fast, but I don't run fast enough for him to move at a lope. It'd take a tall runner to do so.

It took us a while before I taught him how to trot and found the correct, slow jog that would get him trotting comfortably without itching to move into a lope instead.

I'm glad those dogs are having good jobs that allow them to use up energy and be very doggy on duty. That'll be a good life for them. Search and Rescue is also a very good life for a dog, but takes amazing time and commitment on the part of the handler.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I've looked at fostering prison dogs, and even considering adopting one when, you know, but I worry that they might have separation anxiety. Going from full-time person to one who works all day makes me wonder.

Posted by: dbG | August 30, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

What is the rate of recidivism among prison dogs? Do some of them have prison jobs, like in the movie Pawshank Redemption?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Hello, friends. It took me so long to get here. This computer is slowly, but surely going the way of the trash heap. I can't even pull up my emails.

Hello, eurotrash, so good to hear from you again.

Happy Birthday, Ivansmom. May you have many more or at least at many as you would like. Enjoy your day, and evening.

My two cents worth on JA's topic.

I believe the world will eventually get to the place where only the essentials will become "gold". I believe mankind will always have the traits of killing and treating each other bad. Yet I also believe that certain variables will come on the scene and change what used to be important(money, stocks, etc.) to just the basics ( air, liveable land, food, etc.). And even in this man will act toward his fellowman as the first two brothers did. I am probably more of a doomsday person, but I believe change will take place, but not the change that so many are looking for. I've always believed that one can have all the money in the world, but if one cannot live in that world, what good is the money. And when I say live, I mean, exist with the necessaries, have those things. Air, food, water,and a place to live, these are necessaries, right? Oh, how important they will become, as they are already, but even more so in the future that I see. These will become the "gold" of the future. I see an island, small island, the only liveable place on the planet, and millions of people or more like billions of people. You get the drift.

I am going to try and pull up the other kit, and my email. Might not be able to do that. If you don't hear from me in awhile, you know the deal.

Have a good evening, folks.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 30, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

A good reason not to smoke around kids-- do you want grandchildren?

And Mudge, I honestly don't know about puppy prison records-- I believe they're sealed and buried.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Good to know, Wilbrod, thanks.

(I wonder if they get time off for good behavior? Do they have Kibbles-and-Bits riots in the cafeteria? And how do you make somebody your b1tch when they are already, well, a b1tch? And can they play the harmonica when it gets lonely at night?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Naw, they're ripped to shreds and scattered over the carpet! Surely you're seen *Brubarker.*

Got Emma a hard ball that has a voice chip that's motion activated. Kind of like Wii for a dog. I can see her losing those extra few #s fast, she loves it so much.

Everybody set your secret decoder rings to Mac instead of Google. I goofed, TGB's got it right so start from your latest messages.

Posted by: dbG | August 30, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

DbG, can you send me the info on that ball? Is it really good for extra-hard chewers? Wilbrodog loves his quacky duck, and I routinely have him find and retrieve a kitchen timer I hide all over the place-- for treats.

And Mudge, when Wilbrodog got out of prison-- ahem, the shelter, he tried to make a male bichon frise his B1tch. Given that his belly was twice as high as the frise, he promptly tried to hunker down, pretty funny-looking.

The bichon frise snapped at him and relocated- he thought he was going to be laid on, no doubt. Now he's more civilized those days.

But male dogs are certainly.... embarrassing.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't expect national borders to remain fixed for fifty years, so that twist on the outlook complicates a forecast of what will be the leading/ascendant block.

With the USA, the southwest will split away to join with Mexico and central America. Alaska will consolidate with B.C., Alberta, together with Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, to form a block with strong trading and cultural ties to Asia. East of the Mississippi will remain statutory America along with the plains states which will not be in contention.

The major global blocks will be Russia along with eastern European groups brought back into control by economic intimidation, central Asia excepting India (which will link with southern Africa), and Japan which will capitulate to partner directly with China. America's stressed structure will reduce her ranking compared to strategically cleverer groups.

Technology will be important in determining the balance of power. Russia's vast resources (not to overlook her water resources in Lake Baikal) will experience huge gains in wealth and prestige so long as she can develop the technology to defend herself, lacking the population base to protect herself with conventional means. China will have leverage through financial and industrial-policy means to economically occupy and politically direct the vestigial portions of the USA that it targets. South America will become an economic colony of China (with Japan). Africa will balance its support between China/Japan and India, and will have little to do with a sunken western Europe or a shrunken USA. Scandinavia will keep a level of independent civilization by passively appeasing any threats.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I just hope Canada annexes Mexico for a vacation spot.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

You think in terms of nations and people. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no west. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and interwoven, interactive, multinational dominion of dollars. There is no America. There is no democracy. There's only IBM, and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow and Union Carbide. Those are the nations of the world today. - Network

Posted by: Jumper | August 30, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse


If none of these things exist, explain to me who gets my taxes?

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse


I think eastern Canada will move sympathies across the ocean to an alignment with western Europe, and obviously with France. Whatever vacation and property rights a European may have in Mexico and central and south America will likely also be respected for Canada. Canada's cultural defiance of America will be played out as a trump card for her, not too much unlike Cuba and its Soviet Union association.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

No, no no, why would we annexe Mexico when we will have already taken you over?

I keep tellin' ya.

Posted by: dr | August 30, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what technological innovation, or climate changes, will throw all our predictions for 2057 off-but one or more surely will. Beyond that, the entity (nation, union, company, religion) that figures out how to handle (perhaps exploit) failed states, finds a way to benefit from all of Africa's untapped potential, and looks beyond oil to solving the water problem, will be top dog.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 30, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse


Good thumbnail summary. Lacks detail, but very cogent in the main.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

As an eastern/central Canadian I am a little perplexed at the link with Western Europe. I would rather just take the whole Carribean area but would be OK with Mexico and Central America.

Cultural defiance of the US???

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

But Wilbrod -- I *like* mountain lions. We just need to figure out how to modify ribs to form a wing surface, and create hollow low-density bones; increase lung capacity and efficiency; reshape the body a bit; modify the tail for use as a rudder; increase the efficiency of the intestines; and we could have a giant flying cat! Woo-hoo! And the world shall be its litterbox.

I dunno, maybe the flying caimans would be a better bet. Or carnivorous super-pigeons.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse


I suppose Canada could put in its bid for the Carribean area; and that could be very good so long as they do not cherry-pick and take up the Haitian liability as part of the total arrangement. Go for it; it gets my approval.

Cultural defiance: Media restrictions, smuggled tobacco products from tribal groups, denial of anti-missile systems testing over Canada (for which they would obviously benefit), non-resident taxation on investment income derived from Canada, a history of cheap-shot personal insults from the minister level against the U.S. president, trade and support for Communist Cuba, resistance to basic passport and ID requirements for border crossings, immigration policies welcoming and subsidizing radical Islamists into North America, occasional actions hinting that Canada wants to sell its gas and oil elsewhere. With some time, the list could be expanded tenfold.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

On the Plantation, I will only say that is why we are an independant nation.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Today the Turks and Caicos, tomorrow the world. BWAAAHAAHAA

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Boko I suggest we warm up on St. Pierre and Miqhelon, it is close, a few row boats, some beer, ice wine should just about do it. Providing the fog lifts long enough for the crossing.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC Miquelon

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

If Canada annexes Turks and Caicos, then I want them to take Texas, too. Dimmit, fair's fair.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and thanks for the birthday wishes for my daughter and the g-girl. They said thanks also.

And when I talk about the g-girl, I always think of Nani. I hope she is okay, and we still miss her wonderful stories.

Happy Birthday to any that I have missed in August. We've had a lot of birthdays this month. The more, the merrier.

Good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 30, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse


Personally, I completely support Canada's independence and its fair competition in the realm of products and ideas, and have no animus towards Canada's responsible pursuits defined in her own way.

However, at a certain critical points in the bigger global stage, we each as societies must ask whether the relationship is working to make us both stronger rather than weaker.

No doubt the English-speaking western hemisphere is being tested. Any loss of practical cooperation in the effort to keep all of us individually free and independent, as is our hard won legacy, is bad policy. But that said, bad policy is the current policy under the global dynamics we have in operation. Rectifying this is going to take a very capable generation.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

You would have to ante up big for us to take Texas Mudge.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

On the Plantation I would suggest our viewpoints are too drastically different to have a reasonable conversation about this. I for one do not feel "Western Civiliation" is being tested.

Do it our way or else is not a solution.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I disagree dmd. Western Civilization is being tested and, IMO, we're failing badly.
That we've allowed ourselves to be spooked into seeing terrorists under every bed and to toss away some of the civil liberities our grandparents and parents sacrificed so much for makes me want to cry.
The neocons wailing that we must abuse and kill in a "War of Civilizations" aren't tough, they're moral and physical cowards.

Posted by: Jim Maughan999 | August 30, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking of "western civiliation" being tested from outside not inside :-)

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse


Your mentality is very revealing, remarking that ". . . viewpoints are too drastically different to have a reasonable conversation . . .."

Why are you here? Nothing factual to add. Just objection to a viewpoint plainly laid out, but that you do not want to consider; plus putting words never said into another's mouth.

I think I got my previous strategic analysis wrong. Canada is too simple-minded to be a reliable performer.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Folks, one thing you're all forgetting - The Rapture in 2012! You need to take that retirement money to gun shows.

At least that's what my neighbor says.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 30, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Ok dmd. But boy, I feel better.
Mmmmm. dmd's mentality.

Yo Overseer, you're gonna love Yoki

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Is the the latest revision to the Rapture date Error!

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Boko... that was a good one! (your 8:54)

Posted by: TBG | August 30, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday to Scottynuke! And to everyone else I've missed in the last couple of days. Man, lots of August birthdays in Achenblogland. I'll add one of my own - my mom's 90th birthday is tomorrow. Best wishes to you all.

Great to see you, Eurotrash! I hope you can drop by again. It's nice to get your perspective.

Posted by: pj | August 30, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Boko... you have many good ones! I was just especially loving your 8:54.

Posted by: TBG | August 30, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I take On the Plantation's point. We share a very long unprotected border. If we are to deal sensibly with threats, we must cooperate on many fronts. Otherwise, it's going to be nasty.

This has nothing to do with self-determination, and a lot to do with listening to each other about potential issues for our mutal self-interest.

Maybe you misunderstood what he was getting at. Ben Franklin said "we must all hang together, or we will indeed all hang separately."

He also said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." And, he was a diplomat, scientist, economist, postmaster, librarian, and spy, so he did know what he was talking about.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Alas, it's all too apparent that our present administration has no clue what they're talking about.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

On the Plantation, if you choose to denigrate my mental state or intelligence - go ahead. However the other 31,999,999 Canadians do not deserve to be lumped with me, each are unique and hold their own opinions, as for intelligence most I know are highly intelligent and the ones that are on this boodle - are the best of the best, just like all the other boodlers.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you made me snort Tom Collins all over my keyboard. You've got a lot to answer for.

And. Oh. My. God. The Redskins have scored a touchdown in the first quarter in preseason. And then they scored another one in the second half. That hasn't happened in Redskins preseason since...oh, jeez, back in 1873, when the Bladensburg Redskins did it to the Taneytown Steelers.

(Jags just scored and now lead 17-14 in the third, but I don't mind. I was just so shell-shocked by that first quarter touchdown, I think I had an attack of the vapors. Of course, I was leaning over my Tom Collins, so the vapors in question might have been Bombay Sapphire rising up, I'm not sure.)

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

Mudge, my husbands favorite baseball team is the O's, his football team the Redskins - he likes to say it has been a tough few decades. We still have the front page of the paper from the season the O's opened at 0-28 (or 30). He is loyal though I will give him that.

Posted by: dmd | August 30, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

That was funny, Boko! You too, Error.

I think Mudge has got the right idea. All of this *end of the world as we know it* calls for Bombay Sapphire. Thank goodness it's Thursday.

Posted by: Kim | August 30, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

When Ben Franklin said/wrote that the USA was involved in an "exsitential conflict." We (NATO and friends) certainly are not in one now. The only people exploiting that idea are the neocons and the religious right.
The best defence against extremists of any sort is "Peace, Order, and Good Government"(the competent police and military come under good government).

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm trying to backboodle to find that great quote about editors you posted once, about how editors after a while have no concept whatsoever about quality, they just are so sick of the job. (loose paraphrase...)

You said you had it posted above your desk. Any more clues I could use to find the quote?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

"No doubt the English-speaking western hemisphere is being tested."

Where are italics when you need them? Sez it all, and 'nuf said.

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

Wilbrod, it's John Gardner, from the "Publication and Survival" chapter of "On Becoming a Novelist": "One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors. They are all, without exception - at least some of the
time, incompetent or crazy. By the nature of their profession they read too much, with the result that they grow jaded and cannot recognize talent though it dances in front of their eyes."

The quote can be found on the Internet in a dozen places, but most stop after the first sentence. I found it here in Stepp's piece on copyeditors (which he and I both think should be one word, though we're outvoted).

Of course, there's always this little gem from Edna Buchanan, the Miami Herald's Pulitzer-winning police reporter: "To entrust to an editor a story over which you have labored and to which your name and reputation are attached can be like sending your daughter off for an evening with Ted Bundy."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

OTP should speak for him or herself, but I'm getting the impression his/her general point is that Canada should be doing all the listening.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 30, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Planning for the 21st century global diaspora has already begun with threatened nations in Oceania scouting for relocation sites. The melt rates of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets will establish the timing of the crisis, but it will be early in places like Bangladesh and the FSM. The highly populous low-lying coastal areas of every nation will experience massive inland migrations. Trees on the Florida coast began moving inland over 20 years ago; people will eventually follow.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 30, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

9:35 was me, of course.

Posted by: A lonely Tom Collins victim | August 30, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh! Shiloh's back! This is like Old Home Week!

*bursting into tears and running into the bedroom*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I'm just so emotional.

Posted by: Curmuudgeon | August 30, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Boko999-- those words still ring true.

The U.S. broke off from Great Britian's control not because of existentalism, but because of a perception that the government was unresponsive and disconnected from the colonies, seeing them only as cows to be milked for taxes. Governors were appointed by the King and often had no concept whatsoever of local issues. The colonists were denied a voice in Parliament.

In addition, people were expected to quarter military personnel in their homes, no choice in the matter. Property could be impounded for government purposes. So garrisoning of redcoats in the colonies created a lot of resentment. Citizens could be arrested without trials.

Those issues are not very different from the infringments on liberties being taken (or could be taken) for the sake of "homeland security."

So I'll say Ben Franklin is right-- keep an eye out to safeguard basic liberty whenever you're proposing changing things. That leads to good government.

And the quotation about hanging together was at the signing of the declaration of Independence, an act that could have gotten them all hanged as traitors by the British.

Now, those "founding fathers" certainly disagreed with each other on many matters. But they did agree on this point-- they had to make things work somehow.

The problem with "Peace, order, and Good Government" is that it is poorly defined. A totalitarian government can easily adopt this slogan while squelching all dissent with draconian laws and allowing millions to starve into submission.

After all, if a government keeps everything orderly, it's GOOD. Right?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse


My present headache comes from listening too attentively.


For you to know, "denigrate" is a term I never use.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 30, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

For our Pastafarian bretheren, FSM refers to the Federated States of Micronesia and not the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thanks for the hysterics, Cur.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 30, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

De nada, Shiloh. It was probably the gin talking.

How ya been?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

*Faxing Mudge a few Snoopy hugs from Wilbrodog*

Thanks! I love Gardner's comment about editors reading too much on the job, that's what makes it resonate perfectly.

After all that reading of poor writing, ones' brain does start to rot and trickle out of the ears.
(Why do you think I'm deaf? Just take a gander at what passes for writing in scientific journals.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 30, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

pj, my sister's birthday is tomorrow too. Happy Birthday to your mom - 90!

Nice to see Eurotrash after such a long absence.

I have to admit I'm not following the topic discussion - a thousand apologies.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 30, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The American Rebellion (hee,hee) was an "existential conflict" in the sense of without victory the aims of the colonists, Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, would be snuffed out.
"Peace, Order, and Good Government" is from our Constitution and is as properly vague as "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness."

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

And I know that Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness is from the DoI

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that clarification, Shiloh. I'm so ignorant of geography, and that didn't make sense.

Mudge, the Buchanan quote made me LOL. With me, it wasn't editors, it was my bosses trying to change what I had written. People who can't write simple declarative sentences should not be promoted to the executive level.

Posted by: Slyness | August 30, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Fair to middling, Cur, and it's nice to see you up and about after your two recent crises, medical and natal. The gin cures all.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 30, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

And on that Epicurian note I bid you all a goodnight.
Sorry Mudge.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 30, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else having trouble with the sound going out on the Redskins game? Because there have been big patches of silence...which is actually bliss, since I don't have to listen to Joe Theisman.

Skins are getting their butts kicked, gave up 31 points so far, but it's cool; they're playing the 7th string. I think Wally Cox is in at middle linebacker, and Truman Capote is the nose guard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

For a little while there, I thought that perhaps FSM meant Former Soviet Marina.

Posted by: Tim | August 30, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Frisky Soccer Moms?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 30, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Freedom Space Module - the last resort for a drowning planet.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 30, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't quite recall, but I believe Dante had nine rings of hell. If I am not mistaken, Satan is opening, with great fanfare I might add, a tenth so that Theismann and Tim McCarver can spend eternity driving each other crazy with their drivel.

BTW, there will be no 2057; when Cheney assumes power by coup in 2009 he will launch full thermal nuclear war in order to secure the conservative vote. I mean, an active guy like that can only sit on the sidelines so long.

Posted by: bill everything | August 30, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

>Folks, one thing you're all forgetting - The Rapture in 2012! You need to take that retirement money to gun shows.

oh, now i get it. you buy a gun in case you don't make it out (as in up) with the first group.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 31, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Frequently Strained Metaphor

Posted by: Toomuchbeerbeforebed999 | August 31, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the welcome back's I got.

To JA: I didn't mean the "To american for me to comment on" remark as a critique. You write for the Washington Post, not for Le Temps. And I'm just a guest on your site.

But if should you do want to use a software filter to golobalise the kits. I'd use the "Soccer-fy Me (TM)" Word add-on for all American Football/ Baseball references.

Posted by: Eurotrash | August 31, 2007 2:24 AM | Report abuse

*even-earlier-than-usual-and-off-to-the-airport Grover waves*

I'm not sure how, but I think I'll be able to survive the next few days sans Boodle. Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 31, 2007 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Sure, we're Rome!
Not only has the US reached the point of falling apart from the inside out while the barbarians assail it from without, but Bush is Caligula, and thousands of GOP officals and appointees are horses named Incitatus.

There's no question that CHINA will be running the show in 50 years.

Posted by: Catfish Jim | August 31, 2007 3:59 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Scotty, viya con airbag, and remember to put the tray table in a full upright position.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 31, 2007 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Happy Friday, everybody! Snuke, have a good time on your trip!

What are folks doing for the long weekend? We are headed to the mountains at lunchtime, natch. It's been a couple of weeks, so I'm looking forward to see if the mums I planted survived, and to check how many yellow jacket nests we can discover (and nuke).

Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning All, did anyone see the moon last night so bright, I actually went to see if I left an outside light on the light was so bright.

Slyness, Scotty have a great weekend, plans here are to stay at home for a change and attend the Ribfest in town.

Slyness thought of you this morning as I read a story about a local firefighters funeral, he died while at a Fire Extraction Competition in Indianapolis (heart attack?), very sad story. A little more ironic is that they apparently won the competition.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

There is no reason to believe the dominant nation theory will sink into oblivion over the next fifty years. There's no reason to believe the United States can maintain dominance the way it's going. The foundation for dominance is wealth; and the United States, by every measure of wealth, is rapidly loosing world leadership. It is an open question whether China will replace it within the next fifty years, but the propabilites are great. U.S debt is systemic and frightening. Chinese financial wealth is growing rapidly, and is nearing a strangle hold over the U.S. economy. The loss of the U.S. manufacturing base undermines substantive values in the U.S. economy. It diminishes the technical capacities on which an advance industrial nation depends. And above all, the increasing failure of the American educational system and of most male Americans to desire learning, will ultimately lead to the deprivation of capacities for leadership. We have already seen the effects of that deprivation over the last seven years.

Posted by: Ed Spievack | August 31, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

2057: Planet of the Texan Spiders?

I know I'm worried.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 31, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

A mostly quiet weekend ahead, recuperating from the last few, catching up with chores and naps. However, S'nuke may not have a totally free Boodle-related weekend. ;-)

Happy Friday everyone!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 31, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

'morning all.
These guys spent 60 days on a birch bark canoe trip. For those who know Ottawa they landed in the back of the National Archives, climbed the stairs to Wellington St. then "portaged" Sparks St. to the Canal (this is a World Heritage canal, not a water filled ditch this one). I saw and smelled them on Sparks St. Don't need to be a well trained canine with a delicately attuned nose to trail them I'm telling you. Sounds like a good trip though.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, re. your 6:57 last night, you should definitely read some SF from the second half of the 20th century. The corporate govenment model seems like the social order for about half of the SF novels written during that period, including the entire cyberpunk movement.

bill everything, you *did* notice that my blog site is called the 10thcircle, didn't you? (Though we have a plan to keep Thiesmann and McCarver out). On that note, I will be posting something there a little later today in celebration of Karl Rove's last day on the job.

Listened to the first half of the Washington NFL franchise preseason game on the radio. Seems like Campbell played well for the short time he was in, but it's difficult to tell how effective he's going to be given that the first team offense was playing against Jacksonville's 2nd team D. I'd *hope* that they could march down the field and score easily. We'll see next week, won't we?

Nice to see you, Eurotrash and Shiloh.


Posted by: bc | August 31, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

When Joe Thiesmann QBed the Toronto Argonauts we didn't have to listen to him so I can't judge what his commentary is like but considering that he led the WRS to a Super Bowl victory and you guys portray yourselves as fans of said team I'm thinking he must be really awful at his new job.
Is he too inarticulate for your rarefied taste (you naughty word mavens you) or are his observations inane/vacuous?

Oops, I almost forgot. Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, and very happy birthday s'nuke.

Haven't had time to backBoodle, and now prolly won't. Hope to catch up with you sometime over the weekend. Happy Friday to you all.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Verbal diarrhea best describes Joe "Rhymes with Heisman" Theisman's media prescence. Locals are addicted to the radio geezer-homers Jurgenson and Huff and generally don't listen to the TV gabblers whoever they may be. The R's prospects are not great this year. Respectability may be the most they can aspire to, although the early schedule is weak and weighted with home games, so 3-1 is a possibility after five weeks. I'd say 6-10 or 7-9 should be about right for the season, but with a few key injuries they could go 5-11 again with ease.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Samuel P. Huntington wrote "The Clash of Cultures and the Remaking of World Order" in 1996. Since then, he has penned two other works: "Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress" in 2000 and "Who are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity" in 2004.

In the latter work, Huntington lays out, in his concluding chapter, three possible scenarios for the future of the United States--three broad concepts of America in relation to the rest of the world:

Cosmopolitan: Americans can embrace the world by opening the country to other people and cultures. This involves a renewal of trends dominating pre-Sept. 11 America--an open society with open borders, encouraging subnational ethnic, racial, and cultural identities, dual citizenship, diasporas, and led by elites who increasingly identify with global institutions, norms, and rules rather than national ones.

Imperial: America can try to reshape those other peoples and cultures in terms of American values. The imperial impulse is fueled by beliefs in the supremacy of American power and the universality of American values. America's power, it's argued, far exceeds that of other individual nations, and hence America has the responsibility to create order and confront evil throughout the world. According to universalist beleif, the people of other societies have basically the same values as Americans, or if they do not have them they want to have them, or if they do not want to have them, they misjudge what is good for their society and Americans have the responsibility to persuade them or induce them to embrace the universalist values that America espouses. (Sound familiar?) In such a world, America loses its identity as a nation and becomes the dominant component of a supranational empire.

National: Maintain American society and culture distinct from those of other people. A national approach would recognize and accept what distinguishes America from those societies. America cannot become the world and still be America. Other people canot become American and still be themselves. America is different, and that difference is defined in large part by its Anglo-Protestant culture and its religiosity. Nationalism is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of those qualities that have defined America since its founding. Americans are overwhelmingly Christian, which distinguished them from most non-Western peoples, and their religiosity leads Americans to see the world in terms of good and evil to a much greater extent than others do. The leaders of other societies often find this religiosity not only extraordinary but also exasperating for the deep moralism it engenders in the consideration of political, economic, and social issues.

How does Huntington end this book?

"Significant elements of American elites are favorably disposed to America becoming a cosmopolitan society. Other elites wish it to assume an imperial role. The ovrwhelming bulk of the American people are committed to a national alternative and preserving and strengthening the American identity that has existed for centures. America becomes the world. The world becomes America. America remains America. Cosmopolitan? Imperial? National? The choices Americans make will shape their future as a a nation and the future of the world."

This frames many of the arguments in the last 24 hours on this Kit. Food for thought on Friday morning.

As for the future, I also think of AIDS getting a toehold in India, China, Russia, as it continues to devastate Africa.

Posted by: Loomis | August 31, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Aids in India is a disaster waiting to happen. With an estimated 5.1 million people living with AIDS and the virus that causes it, India currently ranks just after South Africa in logging the world's highest number of infections. However, the number of Indian cases per capita remains relatively low, with an estimated 0.4 percent to 1.3 percent of adults infected so far. Unfortunately aside from the usual addicts and sex workers, the highest rate of infection is among the country's 8 million truck drivers, who are rapidly spreading the disease over the subcontinent. For an interesting peek into the utterly unglamorous world of sex for sale in Calcutta, I recommend the documentary "Born Into Brothels."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of truck drivers, k-guy, this graf from Ruth Marcus' WaPo op-ed this morning:

Still, you don't have to be a Republican politician in a conservative state to feel locked in the closet. Former New Jersey governor James McGreevey, a Democrat in a far more hospitable state, describes how he was so convinced that coming out would end his political career that he "settled for the detached anonymity of bookstores and rest stops."

Since Mudge was the first to mention these truckstop trysts along the interstate, I'm wondering how he knows about them? (I'm not impugning anything, by the way.) I learned of them by thumbing Dr. Abraham Verghese's book (he of San Antonio's UT Health Science Center for now a very short time before his career move to Stanford) about his work with HIV/AIDS patients in Tennessee. Or is this common knowledge among men?

In a completely diffent vein, Shiloh was on the Boodle last night. I know of his background with comparative religions. Wonder if the Yazidis are on his radar screen? The Yazidis the subject of a recent Tom Friedman column at the NYT and also tackled by WaPo's Dan Froomkin, since the group was in the news in early August.

Posted by: Loomis | August 31, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Why does the rest of Virginia think we Northern Va residents are rich snobs? Maybe because this is the stuff the WaPo sends to our NoVa inboxes...

"Friday is your last chance of the year to taste those "dream creams" they've been putting out at the Ritz-Carlton every Friday for the past month. Come on, who doesn't love an ice cream party! Especially with the hotel's pastry chef concocting six flavors of homemade goodness, plus 12 toppings to complete your frozen fantasy. The last licks of summer should always be this sweet. Chilled Chocolate Friday is from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton, 1150 22nd St. NW, 202-835-0500. The cost is $25."

Twenty-five dollars? For ice cream?

Posted by: TBG | August 31, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree TBG. That is why I have instructed my man-servant Reginald to promptly dispose of such elitist mailings.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 31, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Suddenly the Five Dollar Milkshake ala "Pulp Fiction" doesn't sound quite so outlandish.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 31, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

A Rigged Report on U.S. Voting?

HHS Toned Down Breast-Feeding Ads
Business as usual.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks for the Huntington recap, Loomis. By the way, if Maryland is anything like Oklahoma, Mudge knew about the prevalence of interstate truckstop trysts (hetero and homosexual) if he watches the local news. That is a perennial story here, particularly good for sweeps week.

RD, it would almost be worth a trip to Dallas to see that spider web. Almost. [Really, nothing justifies a trip to Dallas except the importuning of close family members whom one eventually cannot reject). Here it is the Time of the Giant Spiders. We don't go out after dusk, even to take up the trash, because the Giant Spiders take over. At least we won't get West Nile virus.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

About Joe Theisman... my mom used to say "Yeah, he's a glassbowl, but he's OUR glassbowl."

Gotta love him.

Posted by: TBG | August 31, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The article about the Bush administration watering-down breast-feeding promotion is followed by this aptonymic tag:

"Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report."

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Here is a way-cool fifty year prediction made by a science writer for the New York Times. Good stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 31, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm probably a day late and a dollar short with this link.

Don't mess with Texas...

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Re. Political appointees watering down breastfeding ads and directing personnel to ignore positive reports.

Apart from the pressure of the Infant Formula industry, I suspect they think that babies fed chemical slop by robots make more and better Republicans.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Boko: I read the rigged voting report piece last night while all of the rest of you were whooping it up. I could hear the racket all the way down here. The procedure described that produced the final drafts of the report seem to be SOP for the administration. This time, at least, the process is on the record for all to see. Unfortunately, the same thing is happening to the GAO report regarding progress of the Iraqi government toward the benchmark goals set by Congress.

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Why does the rest of Virginia think we Northern Va residents are rich snobs? Probably because no matter how much of our tax revenue they take to fund their schools and roads, we seem to always make more. Don't get me started.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

There's another article about the Justice Dept. probing Gonzalas. The question that leaps to my mind is, "Can this Justice Dept. be counted on to give him a proper probiing?"

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Texas, I think Karl Rove's heading there this evening, after his last day at the White House.

Well, *a* Texas anyway.

I wrote something about Rove's retirement Hole on the Range in my blog today:


Posted by: bc | August 31, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

RD, that was great. The eating sawdust bit came true at least!

Interesting that the article declined to predict a "circumnavigation of the moon" by 2000.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 31, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom is right, Loomis--roadside rest stops have been in the news off and on for years (if not decades) as the object of stings and vice squad stakeouts, etc. IIRC, there was one such stop mentioned tangentially because our infamous sniper was arrested at a rest stop near an infamous one up on (IIRC) I-270 north of DC. (Plus I'm an old police beat reporter from way back, remember? One of the very first homicdes I ever covered as a rookie back in the late 60s/early 70s was a gay homicide, the Chase-Mears murder case. A prominent Bucks County (Pa) dentist picked up an AWOL Army soldier in Philly, took him to the dentist's summer cabin (the dentist was married, but the way), did the deed a couple times, and in the course of the weekend the Army kid shot and killed the dentist. During the course of the investigation and subsequent trial, we reporters--indeed, much of Bucks County--learned all sorts of eye-opening things we never knew about, including the fact that the dentist's wife, also a prominet person and [I swear I am not making this up] also an oral surgeon, was a sometime lesbian who also had various weekend affairs of her own. And they had two kids. And this whole secret life/subculture. Lemme tell ya, ya gotta do a lot to shock Bucks County [the novel "The Devil in Bucks County" was at the time well known, and kind of our local "Peyton Place" expose] but this murder sure did. During the trial, Chase (who entered a guilty plea) had to tell the court exactly what happened, and in some detail the various sex act he and the doctor did. You knew saw six newspaper reporters --some veterans -- sit there and NOT take one single word of notes during the whole recitation; I'm not even sure we *understood* all of what he was talking about. You have to understand this was about 1970 and the context of those times. At one point Chase used a word that starts with "corn..." and the judge broke in and said, excuse me? I don't know that word. So he made Chase spell it and then define it, which he reluctantly did. Chase was this poor, pathetic 18- or 19-year-old semi male prostitute kid who somehow got into the Army (this was the height of Vietnam) and couldn't hack it (I imagine he was treated pretty miserably) and went AWOL from (again I swear I'm not making this up, and am reluctant even to report it, except that it's the truth, and as reporters we had to deal with it) from Fort Dix.

It was just a sordid, sordid mess from beginning to end, but I learned a lot--most of which I probably would have been quite happy not to know. I suppose the biggest lesson was that there are all sorts of things going on around us all the time about which we are completely unaware, and that people have all sorts of secret lives that most of us never see. (Well, nowadays we see it all the time on "Law and Order" and CSI, etc. But back then we didn't. There may have been 8 million stories in the Naked City, but they were all pretty conventional back then.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 31, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

SCC: double link post; RD was first. I just knew that the spider link was already posted. And I even read the post in queastion. Geek.

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Justice Dept. Probes Whether Gonzales Lied"

Also on tap for this weekend, reports on activities in other federal agencies: "NOAA Investigates Whether Water Is Wet" and "EPA Determines That Sky is Blue, Usually".

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Except in Los Angeles, of course.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

BTW - the Modern Mechanixs site in general is a lot of fun

The advertisement section alone can absorb vast amounts of your life.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 31, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"The Empire, long divided, must unite: long united, must divide."

Posted by: Peg | August 31, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"The Empire, long divided, must unite: long united, must divide."

Posted by: Peg | August 31, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's picture day. Maybe I can get THAT right.

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bucks County! Have you ever been to the Mercer Museum? I love that place (tool addict) along with the house, Fonthill. Just shows what you can do with a lot of money and time on your hands.
In preparation for an upcoming trip to Alaska, I've been doing a lot of reading about the goldrush and this morning I was reading about the Lucky Shot Mine. Seems this fellow was hunting, shot and missed, but the bullet shattered a rock and revealed a vein of gold bearing quartz which eventually yielded $9 million in gold. All I could think of was Jed Clampett, and then all I could think of was the old SNL skit on the "Bel Arabs"-

Listen to the story about a man named Abdul
Poor Bedouin trying to keep his family full
Then one day he was shooting at some Jews
Up from the ground comes a bubbling ooze
Saudi soda
Persian Perrier

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I would like to compliment Mr. Curmudgeon on his 10:53. Beautifully written, allusive, morally informed. Thank you.

However, there is a missing closing parenthesis that is driving me mad the way the whine of a mosquito will. Please remedy this immediately.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

K-guy, are you driving to Alaska?

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 31, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I have to send that link to my dad RD. He'll get a kick out of it.

There is a picture where a housewife is hosing down her sofa, a little further into the article. What? I cleaned teenagers rooms that way. Well, close anyway.

Posted by: dr | August 31, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, will you, by chance, be driving along the length of the pipeline? Or be, perhaps, in a small town roughly 100 miles north of Fairbanks? There is a town there that shares a name with me. I have never yet visited, but I request reports from informants and operatives who have visited that part of the world. You can learn the town's name from this link:

Hmmm, not too hard, considering the name is in the actual link...

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, yoki.


Sure, K-guy, been to the Mercer Museum a couple of times, A weird, spooky place. (For those who don't know, the museum is a former residence/castle built out of cast concrete by an eccentric archeologist and ceramics expert. Mercer was also the father of the famous (infamous?) Lucy Mercer, said to be FDR's girlfriend/secretary and the true love of his life. for photo of the joint.

Mercer also built Fonthill as well as the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, also very weird structures made out of concrete. Many of the interior walls of these places are rough pored concrete with tiles and all sorts of ceramics imbedded in them. Among other things, the museum has a whaleboat, antique fire engines---and a gallows.

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

Mudge, I don't remember if I knew that you worked Cop Shop at one time, but I do now!
Those acts you mention are described in graphic detail in "The Band Played On." I think I read them at the time with my mouth gaping open.

On to Alberto, since people are still talking about him. I swung by the used bookstore 1.5 miles from home yesterday and purchsed on the cheap the one and only copy of Minutaglio's book about Alberto--from all indications a remaindered copy of some sorts thanks to the small swipe of a black felt tip maker across the accumulated bottom pages. Is there a name for that in the book trade?

Minutaglio, in this book that was published in 2006, covers Gonzales' life only up until the day he was sworn in as AG. Minutaglio promises a second book about Fredo, so wonder if he's up in Austin, or traveling, and working on it now. Wonder if it will be out--which I tend to doubt--by the time the Texas State Book Festival takes place in early November?

Since I just finished yesterday morning a just-in-the-bookstores thriller in which the Yazidis are a plot element, and my eye was very tired, I only read the first coupla pages of Minutaglio last night. In the foreward he fairly assesses the consiglieri role Alberto has played for Bush. Minutaglio paints Gonzales as a "political chiaroscurist." Boy, has that phrase stuck.

The first chapter details Alberto's extremely humble beginnings in Humble, Texas. I have looked ahead to see that the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins is discussed quite a bit in later chapters.

Posted by: Loomis | August 31, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, your 11:26 about that small town in Alaska made me think of a great idea for a TV show: "NASA Scientists in Trees." See, its about this storytelling NASA scientist who leaves the Big City after breaking up with his girlfriend, a former lesbian commedienne and talk show host, who goes to live in a small town in Alska where Rob Morrow and some eccentrics used to live, only they all moved out and a new bunch of eccentrics moved in including a handsome hunk and a big chunky guy who used to work in an E.R. in Chicago with George Clooney and Goose (until Goose died tragically while ejecting from the rear seat of an airplane).

Over the course of the show, the perky NASA scientist interacts with the various townspeople, solving their problems and generally just being so darn perky.

See, the plot is just *rife,* rife I tell you, with possibilities.

You don't have to thank me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 31, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Nah, we're flying to Anchorage and renting a 4WD. We wll be driving a portion of the Richardson Highway (which parallels the pipeline) from Valdez to Glenallen, but Talkeetna is as far north as we intend to drive. Dr. Kurosawaguy has a paper to give at a conference in Fairbanks, but she'll fly there from Anchorage after I leave.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times today features a gigantic spider web near Dallas.

Does this fit with the publication of Denis Johnson's big Viet Nam novel "Tree of Smoke"? Too creepy to be a sign of publication of Robert Alter's translation of The Book of Psalms.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 31, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I really hope that Weingarten's anti-meat tirades are some sort of performance art because he seems to have drunk an awful lot of PETA kool-ade.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

yello: Our marching band is rolling out the first performance of Moulin Rouge tonight at our first home football match. Our eldest is in the flute section; our middle daughter, now in middle school, has decided to play french horn. Our son has chosen drums. Oy.

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Padouk beat me to the spiders.

Won't be any of those in Fairbanks. My only look at that remote city was from a plane flying from Dulles to Tokyo. Went directly over Fairbanks in beautiful clear weather.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 31, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Those Texan arachnids are preparing the nest for the return of the prodigal Broodmaster, Turd Blossom.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

...what a tangled web we weave, go 'round with circumstance...

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

See, this is what I was talking about yesterday -- Weingarten isn't making any anti-meat tirades, and he isn't promoting PETA. He gives Bruce Friedrich the chance to speak on behalf of PETA about vegetarian diet, only because a chatter raised a specific dietary claim about the purported positive benefits of getting your nutrition from meat. You have both statements available to you in the same forum.

He's making an anti-hypocrisy tirade, or perhaps an accuracy tirade, or perhaps even a self-realization tirade. I don't actually see a tirade in there, I see gentle satire, but YMMV. Whether this satisfies your interests in a discussion labeled Chatological Humor (Mudge has noted that it leaves him cold) is a matter of personal taste. Personally, I find it rather funny, especially the way that chatters keep posing childish moral dilemmas that they think are stumpers. For instance, from today, the fellow argues that we should expend little or no thought for the welfare of domesticated animals because there are starving children in the world, as if a personal choice of vegetarianism would make human babies suffer, or a personal choice to eat a chicken would make starving babies healthier. It's not the choice to eat meat that Weingarten is decrying, it's the ludicrous rationalization. If it simply doesn't bother you in the slightest, as Yoki, dr, dmd etc. have noted for themselves, then that's peachy. What Weingarten is picking on are the people (like himself) who discover that they are bothered by thinking too much about where meat comes from, yet find thin excuses to continue doing so.

Also, note that the chat never really was labeled "Funny." It was "Funny? You should ask," and its mission always has been the dissection of humor and the promotion of Weingarten's view that humor can be logically analyzed. The fact that he can bring humor out of analyzing humor (and other human foibles) is only an occcasional lucky hit.

What I find is making the chat increasingly unfunny is the chatters, and the way that they earnestly seek Papa Weingarten's approval and advice. Gene is funny. The whiny supplicants are not. They do not view themselves as equals in a discussion that can involve trash-talking the other guy's point of view; they view themselves as disciples. This is what is making it kind of pathetic. Fortunately, we don't have that problem here, as we continually evince a complete lack of respect for Joel.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The new Password is...evince...


Tony Snow resigned:

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

No spiders in Alaska? Au contraire! From "Matt Bowser, 26, a University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student, has identified what is believed to be a new species of spider, a thumbtack-sized daddy longlegs, or harvestman. " I like spiders a lot. They are elegant, efficient predators who eat lots and lots of insects. Many of the orb weaving species have extreme sexual dimorphism, the females are way way bigger than the males (and frequently eat them after mating- many males have no digestive apparatus and live only to mate, which is what I call giving your all for the children). While orb weavers are mostly annual and die off in the fall, lots other spiders, hunting spiders, wolf spiders, "trantlers" and such, can live for quite a few years. I have heard of female tarantulas living up to 40 years. One of the most interesting things I've ever seen was a tarantula migration in the Wichita Mountains of SW Oklahoma, hundreds of the little furry guys hiking in search of mates.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like March of the Spiders has the potential for a documentary...

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Adios, Mr. Snowjob. Wonder what the PD for that job looks like. "Position involves the ability to explain the president's remarks and insure that administration policies are properly presented. Applicants must demonstrate the skills required to explicate the obscure and obscure the inexplicable."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Or, in keeping with this administration's investigatroy preferences, one must be able to torutre facts until they admit to thin possibilities, then magically transform the barely plausible into a claim of certainty.

Posted by: Tim | August 31, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"investigatroy"? Oy. "Investigatory."

Spiders are noble creatures of great ecological importance; admirable survivors; and they totally give me the willies.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Timville's Wiki entry is quite funny. The automated stat engine makes no sense on small numbers. Comments would be in italics if italics were available. So it goes:
"As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 29 people, 13 households, and 6 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 0.0/km² (0.1/mi²). (note: vast expanses of nothingness out there). There were 31 housing units at an average density of 0.0/km² (0.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.76% White, (that's 24) 6.90% Native American, (say about 2.001) 3.45% (or 1.0005 and it's you Yu) Asian, and 6.90% (roughly 2.001 including Yu's kid) from two or more races.
There were 13 households out of which 15.4% (roughly 2.002) had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% (say 5.005) were married couples living together, and 53.8% (6.994 non-families, whatever that is) were non-families. 46.2% (6.006, give or take .001) of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% (1.001 and that's you old geezer) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 31.0% ( almost 9) under the age of 18, 20.7% ( just a midge over 6) from 25 to 44, 44.8% (12.992, fewwww not the unlucky 13) from 45 to 64, and 3.4% (same bloody geezer as before) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females (where are they hiding????) there were 107.1 males (missed those in the first surveys?). For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 150.0 (geez they multiply!) males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $26,250. Males had a median income of $51,250 versus $0 (ouch! Woman's lib hasn't reached Timville yet) for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,215. There were no families and 15.4% (that one doesn't jive, I see that as two families; that ne'er-do-well Bill and poor Susan) of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64."

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Even Spiders from Mars, S'Tim?

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

...experience in BIOYA a plus...

Posted by: jack | August 31, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC 2 households; that ne'er-do-well...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I used to have a great fear of spiders. I eased up to allow non-poisonous ones to live in corners and eat bugs before we had offspring. While the Boy was young we were more vigilant about being spider-free (lots of fiddlebacks around our house too), but even then I never exhibited the fear I felt upon viewing the beasts. I was trying to be a Good Parent and not instill my own fear in my impressionable child. This was particularly difficult the day I found him, propped in his highchair, with a big mostly toothless grin and spider legs dangling from his mouth. I prefer to think I fished most of it out, and that the rest was a protein source.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

LOL at your 1:15, Ivansmom.

According to Mrs. D., the two most disgusting things on Earth are dogs and little boys (and we have both.)

Posted by: Dooley | August 31, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I'd have died, screamed and panicked, and I'm not afraid of spiders.

My thing is lizards, passed on to me by my mom. When I was a kid we had a huge bin, 8ft by 8 ft in the cold room in the basement for potatoes. On occassion we used to find lizards in there. But in all my years, till last night (no joking) I'd never touched one.

I was loading cold weather gear into the van for the weekends camping, and there was a shiny little thing on the ground. It was dark, my bifocals make the ground a fuzzy place and I am famous for losing earrings, so I reached down to pick up the shiny thing.

I'm pretty sure I dropped the lizard, and ran to the bathroom to wash my hands, but the trauma makes the exact details unlcear.

There was not nearly enough soap in the house, I do remember that.

Posted by: dr | August 31, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

One of the things that impresses me about spiders is their eating. They capture the prey and inject poison and digestive juices into the victim -the death struggle actually helps spread the venom and speed the process- then suck the liquified nutrients and discard the citinous husk. Think of it as drinking the milk out of a coconut. Neat. Efficient. No waste. Not like a mantis for instance (or me, for that matter) with all that messing rending and chewing.

Dooley, I'd suggest to Mrs. D that she become more closely acquainted with cat urine, week old dead birds and rodents, and fur balls before she passes sentence on dogs. I refuse to defend little boys.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Chitinous Husk is available as a boodle handle

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

John Warner is retiring at the end of his term, fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 31, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

dr was it moist and soft, slimy or scaly? Just trying to figure out what it was.... I swear...

Posted by: Kerric | August 31, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, Ha! Dogs may be high on the list but they don't hold a whisker to little boys... or most big boys for that matter. There is a high tendancy amongst males to avoid fastidiousness. As shown by the following.

Posted by: Kerric | August 31, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Bagworms have been bad around here, this summer. Texas always takes the cake, though.

It was a rough ride up the mountain: the AC on the truck quit when we were about a third of the way. Mr. T is not a happy camper. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it only needs refrigeraant, but it's seven years old and has 76,000 miles, so...

At least it's cool at the cottage.

Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

All I will say about Tony Snow is that I'm glad I don't have his bills. I could be very comfy on $168,000 annually. As could most of us.

Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I live in the woods so me and spiders sort of get along, except for those big hairy aggressive ones. There are a couple living on various parts of my house now. They give me the evil "eyes" everytime I walk by them.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 31, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Lizards, and reptiles in general, are not slimy or moist. They are dry and cool to the touch, and depending upon the species, scaly and smooth, rough, and (occasionally) horny. Amphibians like salamanders and frogs are frequently moist and some might say slimy, but nothing like as slimy as a snail or slug or (yum) boiled okra. And male snakes have two penises and nobody knows why.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The furry ones gave you 8 evil eyes GWE. 6 only if they are brown recluse/fiddleheads.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 31, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Snakes have two, you say?

What I could do with that........

Just saying.

Posted by: day dreaming | August 31, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't sweat being "looked at" by a spider. They're just reacting to changing patterns of light and dark. A real sharp eyed spider can see clearly about two feet. Most orb weavers can't see more than a few inches at most. Fear of spiders is a learned and mostly irrational response. Think about it. You are King Kong being threatened by a squirrel. Fear drunk drivers if you want to fear something.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

day dreaming, look up "hemipenis" on Wiki or Google. Very strange object, but the lady snakes seem to like it.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Kerric knows homestarrunner! Well done. I'm a *huge* fan, especially of homestar and strongbad. Look up the one where Strongbad writes a book for children. "Fanglorious. Gelatinous."

Pity the poor Yoki family. All dogs do two or three or more disgusting things every day. When you have three dogs, the gross behaviour is pretty much continuous.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

So tim, You're saying that Gene is just being a devil's advocate. He's sounding more defensive than that. He's got that convert's zeal going.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I really like spiders. The rest of the family is close to phobic. So what do they do? They ask the only member of the team who wouldn't dream of hurting one, to kill for them! I won't do it. If the poor wee timorous cowrin' beastie is actively terrifying one of my peeps, I will agree to remove it and put it outdoors. Beyond that I will not go.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I will miss John Warner, and VA will too. I voted for him once as a big thank you with hugs and kisses for his non-support of Oliver North's senate race.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 31, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Fiddleheads have eyes!?! Ech! Pwwt! I've eaten thousands.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Now, Yoki, you know that's not fair. After all, when one of the dogs throws up in the house, don't they all rush to help clean it up?

This defending the whole animal kingdom stuff is tiring. I'm starting to feel like Aragorn in front of the gate of Helm's Deep. The orcs just keep coming. Somebody say something bad about cats. I don't like cats and won't stick up for them.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 31, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"If the poor wee timorous cowrin' beastie is actively terrifying one of my peeps, I will agree to remove it and put it outdoors. Beyond that I will not go."

Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart

Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star

Stay free, where no walls divide you
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide

Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'cause you're born free

(Stay free, where no walls divide you)
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide

Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'cause you're born free

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I hope you don't eat brown recluse spiders, 'cause that's what Ivansmom is referring to. Now, fiddlehead ferns would be a different matter!

Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

That's a good deal Yoki, save our small furry friends too.

As for lizards and snakes, they are pretty cool too. There is a blue lizard here( not sure what kind) but they sure pretty. My cat caught one the other day and was bringing it to me as his contribution to dinner I guess. He had it in his mouth and the lizard dropped his tail and scurried away to safety. The look on my cat's face was priceless.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 31, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Happy Labor Day, to all the Boodlers and the Boss. Hope you all get the extra that was so hard won. Woo hoo . . . out of here!


Posted by: aroc | August 31, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, aroc - hope you have a good holiday too! Darn, you're gone already!

dr, at least you know what you'll be getting for your birthday or Christmas...

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 31, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

That tune cootie was just cruel right before a three day weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Slyness. I was eating baby ferns.
I think Ivansmom should rethink her method of using babies as a method of controling household pests. Tom Delay is out of a job and the vision of him driving around in a van with a huge plastic infant on its roof is a bit disconcerting.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I bet Boko was hearing Celine in his head, too.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 31, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

You guys have Labour Day? I thought you threw all the commies out.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Andy Williams is a great American songster, contractor, assitant manager.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's a book that combines the topics of "insects" and "the future of the planet" in a nifty way: _i_The World Without Us_/i_, by Alan Weisman

Excerpt from the review:

When Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" was published in 1963, the chemical giant Monsanto struck back with a parody called "Desolate Spring" that envisioned an America laid waste not by pesticides but by insects: "The bugs were everywhere. Unseen. Unheard. Unbelievably universal. ... On or under every square foot of land, every square yard, every acre, and county, and state and region in the entire sweep of the United States. In every home and barn and apartment house and chicken coop, and in their timbers and foundations and furnishings. Beneath the ground, beneath the waters, on and in limbs and twigs and stalks, under rocks, inside trees and animals and other insects -- and yes, inside man."

To Alan Weisman, this nightmare scenario would be merely a promising start. In his morbidly fascinating nonfiction eco-thriller, "The World Without Us," Weisman imagines what would happen if the earth's most invasive species -- ourselves -- were suddenly and completely wiped out. Writers from Carson to Al Gore have invoked the threat of environmental collapse in an effort to persuade us to change our careless ways. With similar intentions but a more devilish sense of entertainment values, Weisman turns the destruction of our civilization and the subsequent rewilding of the planet into a Hollywood-worthy, slow-motion disaster spectacular and feel-good movie rolled into one.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 31, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I do kinda suspect Gene is talking himself into entering dietary territory that he has previously feared to trod. In other words, to learn how to be a vegetarian. He's got a vegan daughter, and a vegan co-worker -- one who is, of course, hot, and who works without wearing pants (!) -- so I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to go that way. The big issue is if The Rib is the cook in the household. If the cook isn't willing to go vegetarian, it won't happen. Although I get the impression that they eat out a lot, so there he has the choice between tasty meat or the limited vegetarian options in most restaurants. I will say that at least one restaurant I frequent (Hilo Bay Café, in Hilo, HI) has a constantly varying menu that includes at least one excellent and tasty vegetarian entrée every day.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

All the comments and political science wonkery and book summations etc. have been very helpful to me, fyi, in preparing a story that will run in Outlook this Sunday. Not only did I read all of them but I studied them with Talmudic zeal.

I'll post the column with some annotations (from the boodle and elsewhere) on sunday or monday. I do believe, on principle, in taking Labor Day off. But we'll be rockin' next week. Doing a chat on Tuesday (but not during Weingarten's hour -- no way).

Posted by: Achenbach | August 31, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse


"Dooley, I'd suggest to Mrs. D that she become more closely acquainted with cat urine, week old dead birds and rodents, and fur balls before she passes sentence on dogs."

Mrs. D. would suggest that, as dogs will eat any of those things (and ours have), that puts them at the top on the disgusting list. Certainly our dog thinks there is nothing finer than crunchies from the cat's litterbox.

You are automatically more disgusting than anything you will eat.

A few years ago, Mrs. D. and several other volunteers were helping me excavate a fossil dolphin skeleton from the Potomac River. A beautiful, friendly Chesapeake Bay retriever came down the beach from a nearby house to greet us. A few minutes later, our digging us interrupted by a horrible, stomach-wrenching odor wafting over us.

The retriever had found a very dead, very ripe, but still intact fish lying on the beach. He gulped it down, puncturing it in the process. It was so awful that within a minute the dog had thrown it back up, along with his earlier meal.

Then, being a dog, he immediately ate the regurgitated meal he had just deposited on the beach. He managed to keep it down the second time.

Posted by: Dooley | August 31, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As I was growing up the story of Elsa clued me in to the fact that the world is always bigger than you think it is.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Joel and all boodlers - have a wonderful weekend. I have to work tomorrow, but free the rest of the weekend...wooohooo.

Dooley - gulp...I'm feeling a little unsettled and I have a very strong stomach. We have a beagle that I can picture doing the very same thing. Gross.

frosti - I'm with you about Warner. I certainly disagree with him on a host of issues, but I'll always appreciate his refusal to support that disgraceful Oliver North's candidacy. I might be mistaken about this, but I believe that he didn't vote for Bork for the Supreme Court either. I appreciate the politician's who think for themselves, not just toe the party line.

Posted by: Kim | August 31, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Ooops...scc - politicians.

Posted by: Kim | August 31, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmm. Persistence

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If I have told this story before, please feel free to skip it.

The day I decided I wasn't cut out to be a stay-at-home mom was the one the dog chewed on a dead rabbit in the back yard, came in, and regirgitated it on the carpet in the foyer. It was 9 ayem, so I couldn't wait all day for the husband to come home and deal with it. I managed to get it picked up with newspaper and flushed it posthaste.


Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Who cleaned up the chewed out dead rabbits after you went back to work? I'll bet your plumber loves you.:-}

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

And what was the child doing?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I was on maternity leave - the baby was asleep! Fortunately, the dog never cornered a rabbit again, at least to bring the results inside.

Posted by: Slyness | August 31, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm just funnin' love. I'm sure you were glad you had that brave dog to protect you from those evil, disease ridden, long eared, lagowhattitz.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 31, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm glad the Boodle could help.

Reading the Boodle with Talmudic zeal - boss, I think you should get combat pay for that.

I'm looking forward to reading the Outlook piece, and the AchenChat on Tuesday.

A rather interesting day for the Republicans, isn't it? Rove's out, Snow's going, and now so's Warner.

And Fred Thompson says he's leaner and meaner (than what, I'd like to know), and ready to run for the Presidency.


Posted by: bc | August 31, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, your dogs have all the fun. I don't eat my own barf. Instead I call upon the gnome to clean it up for me.

What good is it being a working dog if you don't have your personal valet and cook?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 31, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, that *(^*&% valet twisted an ankle and has been slacking off on my personal exercise training.

I must remedy this with alacrity. A bike, fetch, scavenger hunt, anything.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 31, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Warner out a surprise? Can't say I am.

Tim Russert asked Warner his future plans--I think it was last Sunday but it could have been almost two weeks ago. No comment at the time. Warner, on Russert's show, was questioning the stamina it would take to do a senator's job into his eighties. Anyone know Warner's current age? O.K., I just Googled it--born Feb. 1927. That's make him 80.

Posted by: Loomis | August 31, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

> One of the most interesting things I've ever seen was a tarantula migration in the Wichita Mountains of SW Oklahoma, hundreds of the little furry guys hiking in search of mates.

The T-spiders do that. Once on a long-agone night I was driving in the '39 Ford from Sierra Vista to Bisbee, AZ along Highway 92 (probably around 31.382N, 110.070W, as Google Earth shows it) and noticed that the road ahead, in the headlights, was moving south to north. Lots and lots of tarantulas, and they weren't all that small.

Eeew! And they were probably illegal arachnid immigrants as well.

Posted by: TexLex | August 31, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I just read the article about Snow not staying on at the WH, presumably because he had "run out of money" on a yearly salary of $168K. Okay, it's a family of 5, but still, people!!! What is his family spending all this money on? Private schools for the wee tykes? Send 'em to public schools! The Mercedes and the SUV in the curve-around driveway? Go out and get a smaller car (which seats 5, BTW). Too much house w/ all those electricity bills for the vaulted ceilings? Um, get a different, more cost-effective house.

I don't get it. Well, I've been known to live on "fumes" (watch it! I mean on a lack of money) at different times in my life, and under those circumstances I've learned how to conserve my resources -- all of them. I really resent Snow's whining about a lack of money on that kind of salary. And you *know* that no health insurance company in the nation would *ever* deny him coverage (cover that we taxpayers are paying him and will continue to pay him, even though he will no longer be at the WH).

Okay, folks. Rant over. You may all go home now.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 31, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I also wanted to add the rantless wish that all of you have an exceedingly fabuloso long weekend.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 31, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Kim-you remember correctly about Warner's Bork vote.

Talmudic zeal? I'm guessing that's a bit more taxing than boodle skimming.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 31, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

remember when someone quoted a line from Little Feat.
That was nice

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I'm with you. I think Snow's whining about college costs, too. I'm sure he was well paid when he was on Fox - apparently he just can't manage his money. Michael Deaver, Reagan's aide (sorry, can't remember his position, even though he passed away recently and was all over the news) - anyway, he stated the same reason. Irks me - and these are Republicans who rant about guvmint wasting money. Make them work for $1 a year, I say! And no Social Security for them!

(Now I'm sure we'll find out that there's some heart-wrenching, bleeding-heart reason that Snow hasn't got enough money to survive on.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 31, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

When I read that, I was thinking of the fact Tony Snow had been struggling with cancer. Medical bills for chemo ain't cheap, even with health insurance.

Heck, if I was him, I'd be worrying about leaving my family broke if I came out of remission and died.

If money is his cited reason, let it be so. I don't think it's my business to know why he's leaving.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 31, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, I completely agree with you on the hypocrisy of capping salaries and pensions for civil service workers and paying them less than the private sector, and then turning around and complaining that appointed officials, who don't even have to pass a civil service or any kind of qualifying exam, aren't paid as much as they'd be in the private sector.

Apparently it's OK for most of the government service to just be proud to serve their country for 20 years, but them? No...

And I also think it's not appropriate for Congress to vote themselves such generous pensions and retirement plans that even congressmen convicted of crimes in office can enjoy.

But that's another story...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 31, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Here's more book news--I scooped the NYTimes on this one (hard to believe, really).

Dave Barry's latest, _i_The History of the Millennium (So Far)_/i_ is available for pre-order at and is scheduled for release September 17. :-}

I predict another Dave sighting at this year's Miami Book Fair. :-) x 2

...Now please proceed with your discussion of the Fate of Mankind, et al. It has been most engrossing.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 31, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

>hundreds of the little furry guys hiking in search of mates.<

TexLex, are you sure you weren't watching "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs without your bifocals?

Hey, anybody seen omni lately?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 31, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I think omni's off on a fabulous vacation - or as he said, "on holiday". I have a co-worker who always says that. At least I think I'm remembering correctly (about omni).

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 31, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

ewww gross, people. *trying to ignore the spider-eating and dead-animal dog vomit stories*

i stopped by to say happy birthday to scotty and mo and wish everyone a nice, long weekend.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 31, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Joel, if I'd known you were gonna study my posts on Fukuyama v. Huntington with Talmudic zeal, I'd have written my posts from right to left, and left out all the vowels.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 31, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge I believe Omni is on vacation.

Boko thank you for the Born Free rememberance, can't tell you how many times I watch that when I was young.

I think I will cut Tony Snow some slack, it sounds like good money but with what he has been through, he is entitled. For the position he held the money really isn't that good compared to a similar job in the private sector.

A common statement up here is people leaving public service or politic in order to get more money to look after their family. The difference between what they can earn as a paid political hack/politician vs private sector is large, and perhaps explains why their is a quality deficiency sometimes.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

And just to throw this out there, my dog cleans up after himself, well except for the mouse incident.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

My dogs don't. They look nonplussed, and then scan around as though to say, "What on earth is *that?* and then walk away denying any responsibility. Sort of like George Bush, but better looking and more pleasant to live with.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

If Texans thought big spiders were a problem how about blood sucking monsters.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, but my dog needs a good redeeming quality. Yours I picture as the perfect pets, mine a troublesome teen.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

All right, everyone, take a deep breath and repeat after me: There is NO chupacabra. There is NO chupacabra. There is NO chupacabra. Are you with me? Now relax.

Speaking of dogs, our Escaping Dog showed up today after a five-day absence, looking happy and well if slightly hungry. He's been content to enter the fence for mealtimes, then escape and hang around the carport and patio all summer. I'm happy if he's happy, as long as he stays out of the house. Recently he's taken to sharing a basement bunker with my cousin's border collie (a MUCH smarter dog), but we don't know where he was this week. We've quit fixing the fence, since Escaping Dog will just tear it up and do himself injury, so he can escape with relative ease through his Summer Escape Route. We were going to get a puppy to keep Other Dog company (he never escapes), but we don't want Escaping Dog teaching New Dog old tricks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

bc, I am science fictiony. I was reared on it. My fave is still John Varley for over-the-top visualizations such as humans hybridizing with plant life and living in the rings of Saturn by spreading membranes and soaking up the attenuated solar rays, or having insurance accounts that tend our personalized clone tanks (brainless clones, so the poor beings don't suffer when we use them for organ replacements for ourselves) and get whole-body transplants, and pioneering the Oort cloud, mining it. The movie Network, of course, I see at least once a year. Ridley Scott foresees the "end" of the sci-fi movie
but I should note it's "SF" not "Sci-Fi," and Scott is a movie maker, not an author.

They are probably correct, those who predict some sort of scientific breakthrough will soon render our present forecasts hopelessly quaint. Years ago I dreamed of a brain implant that would silently answer any question I thought of (those that were knowable, anyway) and I had actually been using Google for a few years before it dawned on me my old fantasy had been fulfilled, just not quite like I first formulated it.

More seriously attempting to adddress Joel's thoughts, I do think American monolingualism is important in defining how we see who "we" are. Whoever speaks Russian as a first choice is "Russian" and whoever speaks Mandarin as first choice is most certainly Chinese, although all this is mutable. More to the point, those who speak Arabic as a first choice are Arabic, if not by lineage, by culture. Cultural divides will continue along linguistic lines. Expanding the definition of language into more deconstructionist terms is rewarding, too. Who decides what the word "liberal" means? Meaning is assigned by a political-like process. This fact will guide how our future unfolds.

Posted by: Jumper | August 31, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm *laughing*. My dogs are just pets; with some good qualities and some less good. Sometimes they are insufferable. All my dog-training knowledge is won *because I've worked so hard* to civilize what is basically a bunch of perpetually adolescent goof-balls.

Their redeeming qualities are unremitting good-humour and willing hearts; they just don't perform as precisely as, well, everyone else's dog.

The dPup would fit right in here, and you have nothing to apologize for.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

So will Fukuyama's vision come true when we all speak Esperanto?

I'm sorry, I'm skimming a week's worth of Wall Street Journals this evening. That warps the brain.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

That story's been around a while, and posted here on the Achenblog before. I think we looked at a photo similar to this:

This is definitely a canid, the head looks like it could be a coyote or fox (although some long-nosed breeds wouldn't be ruled out).

Overbites are common in many dog breeds, such as poodles, and certainly could be found in coyotes once in a while.

The same genetic flaw could also affect the mange or hairlessness.

Mexican Hairless and chinese crested dogs are prone to malformed jaws and loss of teeth.

"New breed stock is still found in remote pockets of rural Mexico." There may well be bigger dogs that carry and express the hairlessness than the mexican hairless we know.

Peruvian hairless (aka Peruvian Inca Orchid in the US) dogs come in all sizes.

Whether those hairless dogs are also bred to suck chicken blood due to tragic underbites is open to question.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 31, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, I'm also a perpetually adolescent goof-ball!

You mean I've been sucked into mowing the lawn and doing my chores and being seen in public with the gnomee for NO reason?

Granted, it IS better than doing time in juvie, but...

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 31, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

No blood sucking chupacabra, next you will be telling me the Loch Ness Monster, Ogo Pogo et al aren't real either!! :-).

Ivansmom, when I was growing up we had a dog that was never tied up, she wandered the neighbourhood, made friends with the butchers and a few neighbours. She would in fact guard an elderly old woman during the day. Friends used to joke that is was like my dog went off to work at nine in the morning and returned at 5:00, with a few pit stops to get treats at some friends. Perhaps the escape artist has a place he visits every day.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

NYT reports Sen. Craig will announce resignation tomorrow.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 31, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, if Escape Artist is an unneutered male, he could have a double life a la Jumper's dog. (He tells the story on his blog.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 31, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

dmd, Escaping Dog might have a place other than my cousin's, but the nearest house would be at least half a mile away. Of course, he no doubt roams. If he won't stay in the fence I don't want to keep him tied. Usually he stays very close to home, and this week was something of an anomaly (I hope). I think perhaps he was bored because school started.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

i'm in favor of cutting snow some slack since his health problems are probably the main reason for wanting to take care of his family financially while he can.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 31, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Escaping Dog is neutered, Wilbrod, as is Other Dog. It took a while for Ivansdad to get over the "guy" thing (he assured me there was a "guy" thing here) but I am a big proponent of neutering. Dogs.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Because Loomis asked: YAZIDISM is a relatively small middle-eastern syncretic religion, comparable in size to Scientology and Rastafarianism, but larger than Pastafarianism (the FSM and Celestial Teapot groups). Growth of the Yazidi sect is restricted because you cannot convert to Yazidism, but must be born to it. Thus, there is little chance that a Yazidi missionary will be knocking on your door any time soon.

The sects isolationism stems from their belief that they are descended directly from Adam, the first of God's human creations, while non-Yazidis are descended from Adam and Even. They retain their purity by marrying only with the clan or tribe.

The Yazidi share a monothestic belief in God with Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but believe God's work ended with the creation and that he has delegated day-to-day divine operations to certain angels. Chief among them is Malak Ta'us (aka Shaytan and therein a source of devilment for the Yazidi), a peacock angel who redeemed himself after a divine disagreement and extinguished the fires of hell with 7000 years of tears.

The Yazidi belief system includes metempsychosis, popularized in the early 20th century by Molly Bloom-a fictional Joycean character, and reincarnation of the angels in human form, a belief consistent with certain messianic cults.

The demonization of the Yazidi as the hated "other" stems in part from the confusion of the name "Shaytan" with the Islamic Satan, the Mithraic practice of the Yazidi to pray in the direction of the sun rather than towards Mecca, and their isolationist and secretive practices.

I have never actually met a Yazidi.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 31, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

How can one be descended from Adam and not Eve?
A mere quibble, I'm sure.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

A youtube treat for the francophones among us. He also has a song called Synaesthesia.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 31, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

In Yazidism, Adam is the spiritual creation of God, while Eve is the material. Yazidism evokes an early existential spirituality somewhat akin to Kierkegaards "Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing."

Posted by: Shiloh | August 31, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I read up and I'm not sure either-- Yazidis are very private about their beliefs.

I seem to remember in Jewish folklore that Adam's first wife was a demon called Lilith, based on a mesopotomian goddess.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 31, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Here is the explaination in wiki on how they are descended from Adam but not Eve.

The tale of the Yazidis' origin found in the Black Book gives them a distinctive ancestry and expresses their feeling of difference from other races. Before the roles of the sexes were determined, Adam and Eve quarreled about which of them provided the creative element in the begetting of children. Each stored their seed in a jar which was then sealed. When Eve's was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam's jar was a beautiful boychild. This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidi are regarded as descending from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and Eve.

Posted by: dmd | August 31, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The son of Jar story brings to mind an old seminary story about the teenager who confessed to masturbation and was rebuked by his confessor to "save your seed until you marry." Ten years later the young man told his confessor that he was going to be married and asked what he should do with the jars of seed he had saved.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 31, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Merci, frostbitten.

That Tommy Wallach boy has talent, huh! His song "How Ugly People Fall in Love" is very clever in a Randy Newman-esque way. (I'm just assuming Wallach wrote that.)

Posted by: kbertocci | August 31, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Good evening everyone!!

I wanted to wish all boodlers a safe and happy holiday weekend. Unfortunately I will be laboring on labor day weekend.

Just a reminder College football gets in full swing tomorrow.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 31, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The Boy and Cousin are winding down slowly and I am fading much more quickly. Ah, youth. [Happy birthday, Scottynuke, whereever you are.] Vaya con questo, everyone, and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

bc, yeah, involuntarily imposing McCarver and Theismann in your 10th circle is probably prohibited by the 8th Amendment. Let's call it the "nth circle" or, for the non-mathematically, the "last circle."

Posted by: bill everything | August 31, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "non-mathematically inclined"

Posted by: bill everything | August 31, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

nth circle it is, bill everything.

gwe, I've been watching college football games tonight.

Granted, UMD and WV have their first games of the season tomorrow, IIRC.


Posted by: bc | August 31, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

>When Eve's was opened it was full of insects and other unpleasant creatures, but inside Adam's jar was a beautiful boychild.

Ah, clearly a description of an early cloning experiment as the space aliens attempted to populate the planet.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 31, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

A very early good morning all...

Not that it's good or even has to be, but y'know what I mean.

[* and it looks like I may have even beat Scotty and Cassandra to first post of the day *]

Anyway... I don't plan on making a habit of this.

Off to skim the back boodle and get caught up...

Posted by: martooni | September 1, 2007 4:40 AM | Report abuse Googol Bordello

Posted by: Jumper | September 1, 2007 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Went and looked in MY jar, only found my clone Clem.

Posted by: Jumper | September 1, 2007 5:05 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. I am sad to report I didn't win the Mega Millions drawing last night. Sorry. But I'm laughing (through my tears) about the AP story on the drawing. TBG, take a gander at this. Worst copy editing I ever saw. I count the errors in brackets:

Associated Press - September 1, 2007 4:24 AM ET

ATLANTA (AP) - Four players have won the grand prize from the latest Mega Millions lotto drawing.

Lottery officials said the winning tickets from last night's drawing - worth a total of $330 million - were sold in Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.

In addition to the grand prize winners, 36 players won second prizes of 250 thousand dollars [1] apiece. 3[2] of those tickets were sold in Illinois - at convenience stores in the Chicago suburb of Justice, the Rockford suburb of Loves Park and the town of DeSoto in Jackson County.

Another 215 players won third prizes of 10 thousand dollars[3] apiece. Twenty-2[4, and I'm actually laughing at this one] of those tickets were sold in Illinois.

The winning numbers from last night's drawing were: eight[5], 18, 22, 40 and 44. The Mega Ball number was eleven[6].


Six uncontested, "unforced" errors in use of numbers, and I don't know which two were the worst, starting a sentence with an arabic number [2] instead of spelling it out, or the awful mixture of "Twenty-2," [4] an error so bad I've never actually seen one of that kind before. Ever. It's actually quite breath-taking.

OK, off to forage for food. Daughter No. 2 is coming up from Virginia Beach tomorrow for an overnight visit with her spouse (a good guy) and four of the grandkiddies (age range: 2 to 7. Yes, that's right. She was popping them out like a Pez dispenser there for a little while). I expect the joint to be overrun by the pitter-patter of little feet. The 7-year-old has been playing football for no less than three years already--his dad is one of the coaches--and looks like and is constructed like Levar Arrington. The kid is a born middle linebacker if I ever saw one.

As clan patriarch, I expect I'll have to earn my salary with cooking duties.

Everybody have a good weekend and Labor Day. And Happy Birthday to the rest of the group born in this small cluser. Let's see who we still got? Scotty, mo, and mostly, is that right? Did I leave somebody out? Ivansmom? was yesterday, right? I still think I'm forgetting somebody. Apologies in advance if I did.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 1, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

mo, why did I think your birthday was in December?

Happy Birthday to ya!

BTW, I believe Scottynuke's actual Birthday is Monday.

As far as Snow leaving, I agree with LAlurker that the man should have some slack for the reasons she suggested. Also, I wonder if there's an element of conscience involved...

A busy day for me, moving some heavy stuff around and then to work on some cars in the afternoon.

Have a great day everyone, and I'll check in later.


Posted by: bc | September 1, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I posted a micro-kit. Weekend-appropriate stuff.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 1, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I know of two brown recluse spider bites in my neighborhood -- very bad outcomes due to necrotyzing flesh wounds. Both people met with doc-disbelief since Maryland is "outside of the southernmost tip of their reach." Hmm.

Lovely and cool morning. Take care on this last weekend of summer.

As for the kit, is it possible that lean times here might help us toward a more reasonable economy, based less on conspicuous consumption? I hope we will revise our rapacious appetites. I hope we will move toward a more even middle economic distribution. But the concentration of wealth in the upper quintiles does not bode well for this "modesty in economics proposal."

Posted by: College Parkian | September 1, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Heading home from work this morning I heard GNR's Sweet Child of Mine and found myself going way to fast on my curvy road, playing a pretty mean air guitar too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 1, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Happy Long weekend!

It's chilly here this morning, with last nights thunderstorm finally petering out after dropping 3/4 inch of rain. It was a pretty good lightning show too, the flashing started at 8 pm and went until 3 am.

Posted by: Kerric | September 1, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

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