Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Power Tool Cure

Shattered by ennui, and discombobulated despite my vow to spend the summer fully combobulated, I have seized upon the obvious explanation for my problems: I need more power tools.

Why had I not thought of this before? A man needs a certain amount of tools that have power, which is to say, which amplify, sharpen, extend and intensify the man-force he naturally possesses. You know the equation: M = (F/d)t . Which means, your manforce is equal to your Force divided by the damage you do, multiplied by time.

When was the last time I used my circular saw? The rule of thumb: You should use your circular saw at LEAST as often as you use the phrase "napkin ring." And I have violated that rule.

Confession: I've used the word "prelapsarian" more often than I've used a staple gun.

I've had people say to me things like, "You don't seem like the type who has power tools." As though this were not a javelin hurled directly into my chest. That's the kind of comment that makes a guy want to rush out, grab a chain saw, and head for the nearest 200-year-old elm. That'll show 'em who's got a power tool!

Also it helps to pause occasionally to crush an empty beer can against the forehead, and scratch oneself rudely, and gnaw on some bunny jerky.

My friend Geoff has turned his garage into the Power Tool Palace. He has all these air compressors, generators, drills, saws, lathes, grinders, sanders, crunchers, extruders, and so on, plus a built-in vacuum system that sucks out every stray mote of dust. You could build a spaceship in there. It is very possible that NASA uses it for simulations of space shuttle repairs. The sublime environment of a power-tool grotto makes the visitor wonder why some company like Black & Decker has never opened a power-tool-themed casino in Vegas.

Years ago, when the critters were tiny, I built a playhouse in the back yard, with help from my friend Trey (which is to say: He built it and I clapped). Unfortunately the wee thangs found it splintery. Some cheap plastic ugly red-and-yellow playhouse from Wal-Mart would have been more to their liking. But I still dream of building a new playhouse. At the very least I could give the power tools a workout. Handle some lumber. Get out the tape measure, the level, the plumb bob, the chisel, the sandpaper -- the tool belt!!! -- and then start sawing and nailing and pounding, generating a tremendous racket, smashing things, and periodically running out to the hardware store to buy more power tools.

But at their age, what would they do with a playhouse?

Don't answer that.


In Wednesday's WSJ, Lee Gomes has a really fun piece about Wikipedia's discussions. Not the articles: The discussions that accompany the articles. You find them by clicking on the "discussion" link on a Wikipedia page.

"A ferocious back and forth ensued over whether Antonio Meucci or Alexander Graham Bell invented the

telephone. One person from the Meucci camp taunted the Bell side by saying, ' "Nationalistic pride' stop you and people like you to accept the truth. Bell was a liar and thief. He invented nothing.'

"...On one discussion page is the comment, 'I am not sure that it does not present an entirely Eurocentric view, nor can I see that it is sourced sufficiently well so as to be reliable.' Does it address a polarizing topic from politics or religion? Hardly. The article was about kittens. The editor was objecting to the statement that most people think kittens are cute."


In Tuesday's WSJ (subscription required), has a nice poke at Alan Greenspan, who just became an adviser to Deutsche Bank. The writers, Rob Cyran and Edward Chancellor, say much of the turmoil in today's markets is due to Greenspan's opposition to financial regulation. Their conclusion:

"Wall Street may fondly remember Mr. Greenspan. But did he really serve its long-term interest? The markets are being shaken by subprime defaults and overly indebted hedge funds unwinding their positions. Yet the housing bubble, unregulated hedge funds and opaque financial markets are part of Mr. Greenspan's legacy. The repercussions are felt as far away as Deutsche Bank's home turf, where a bank has been bailed out indirectly by German taxpayers after dabbling in U.S. subprime debt.
It's a strange time to be turning to the Maestro for advice."


Shattering news: Enceladus unlikely to have life! Those geysers aren't Cold Faithfuls, they're Frigid Faithfuls!


Yesterday there was some blowback in the boodle on the Pimentel study on malnutrition around the world. So I sent Dr. Pimentel an email and asked if he could give us the sources on his data, particularly the estimate of 3.7 billion people suffering from malnutrition. He has kindly obliged with this response:

Thanks for your note. The 850 million people who are malnourished refers only to the people who are protein/calorie malnourished and ignores the people who are iron, iodine, and several vitamins malnourished. WHO reports there are 2 billion who are iron malnourished and the number of deaths from iron malnourishment equals the number of deaths from protein/calorie malnourishment.

WHO references for 3.7 billion malnourished (57%):

WHO. 2004. World Health Report.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 14, 2007; 7:30 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Disagreeableness From All Over
Next: A Guest Blogger Against Guest Blogging



Of course you need more power tools, Joel. There's always one out there that you don't have. (I have first-hand experience with this affliction.)

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle!

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

*bunny jerky*

Oh, noooooooo!

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

You know, if that guy who cut off the head of the rattlesnake with a shovel (then picked it up) had used the correct power tool instead, I'll bet he wouldn't have been bitten. Sometime in the future, maybe we need a kit on how power tools would have changed the course of recent news.

For instance, Rowe resigns. . . naaah, no relevance there.

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

Fourth! (?) (Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

But I'm sure you look lovely in taffeta.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Make that *Rove.*

I'm kind of discombobulated myself, up most of the night so Dublin would have trading money today.

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I've fallen down laughing!!!!

Mudge, you look mavalous.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | August 15, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

TBG, hope the day is one of those wonderful-sad-proud-all-twisted-together kind of days.

Yoki, I'm thinking of you.

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, thanks I am off soon but will spend the day trying to shake the image of Mudge in a strapless pink, taffeta gown. I will also have to spend the day trying to decide if he is more a Pump or Strappy sandals kind of guy.

Posted by: dmd | August 15, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Our house is known around the neighborhood as Raysdad's Tool Crib. On any given weekend, I can count on at least one man knocking on our door to ask "Can I borrow your xxx?" It does result occasionally in moments when he needs a tool himself and has to figure out who borrowed it last.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

*Of course* Enceladus doesn't have life. Stupid lifeless Enceladus.

You should see the picture Weingarten (well, Chatwoman) posted of his daughter's new kitler.

Posted by: byoolin | August 15, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Raysmom. Several people have remarked upon how good I look in taffeta. (And I sometimes think people just don't notice how hard I try to look attractive for you people.)

From Joel's link: "a frigid, stiff Enceladus without a shifting interior." I dated a girl like that in college. (Only once, needless to say.)

Good kit, Joel; the power tools section is one of your best.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind words, folks. My older sister sent this in an email this morning...

"Exiting is tough and then . . . one day . . . you wonder why. xoxoxo"

Posted by: TBG | August 15, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Use those power tools to build a better domestic biolabs?

August 9, 2007

Washington, D.C. - Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today announced plans to hold a hearing in early October to examine the risks associated with the recent proliferation of biosafety level III and IV laboratories in the United States. ...

"It appears that there has been a surge in construction of biosafety labs over the past several years which have been financed, at least in part, with federal funds," said Dingell. "Yet, little information is available about the number of labs being operated in the U.S. and whether they are safely run. While the research conducted at these labs is certainly valuable, we must make sure that it does not pose a risk to the public health." ...

"The potential human health risks involved in this kind of research dictate that we take a close look at whether these biosafety labs are being designed, constructed, and operated safely," said Stupak. "Is there a point at which there are so many labs doing this research that you actually increase the chances of a catastrophic release of a deadly disease? We want to know the answer or whether anyone in the Administration has even seriously considered the question."

Witnesses for the hearing will include the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others to be announced.

*Please send a Washington Post reporter?*

Posted by: Loomis | August 15, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I have little to say about power tools, except that there are few I wouldn't want and a good thing too, because I've heard rumors that a pressure washer is at the top of Mr. F's gift giving list.

Mudge-I know you're not looking for advice, but let me say this about your son's situation. See if you can find a lawyer with some experience in military divorces-a former JAG perhaps. What your son is experiencing happens to soooooo many soldiers.

Now, off to back boodle. I want to read Cassandra's letter, think about the enormity of hunger here at home and abroad, and then boast about the prolific deliciousness of my Heavenly Blue morning glories. (One vine is a sport with severely angular pentagonal blossoms streaked with white.) Oh, and it appears I'll have ripe tomatoes before frost after all. Will pick a few today.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

dmd writes:
Raysmom, thanks I am off soon but will spend the day trying to shake the image of Mudge in a strapless pink, taffeta gown. I will also have to spend the day trying to decide if he is more a Pump or Strappy sandals kind of guy.

*Closest I can come is picturing Jimmy Kimmel's parking lot attendant Guillermo, in a "Dancing with the Stars" getup, with white hair and without the moustache.

Posted by: Loomis | August 15, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

This kit sure came at an appropiate time. I am getting started on working on my wood supply for the upcoming winter. I must first make sure my chain saws are in working condition, drain out the old gas,add oil and sharpen. Then do the same for the gas powered splitter. Usually 2 cords of split wood will get me through the season.

I usually have my brothers up in September, tempt them with food,beer and football, but only after a wood gathering,cutting,splitting and stacking party.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 15, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Joel is not immune to Wiki-sabotage. These paragraphs were recently removed from his entry:

'Mr. Achenbach owes nearly all of the credit of his success to his childhood friends Krisse Pasternack, Kimberly Lopez, Michael Baker, Bob Brown and Chet Carey. He has been known to say, "Michael is actually responsible for roughly half of the posts on achenblog, and Mary is my muse and soul mate."'


'His wife, Mary, secretly still has a crush on Mr. Carey and takes night classes at Carey School of Business in the hope of a glimpse.'

From the history log of Wiki-entries, you can track a person's life, particularly ugly messy divorces.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I am finding somewhat humorous that the WashPost Stock Market Updates link is suggesting that there is a concern that the FED may raise interest rates at the same time when it has been--along with Central Banks around the Globe--pumping low priced credit into the financial markets.

What we are seeing is a huge adjustment for risk, here. What you hear are the Air Brakes of the Economy being used. The Fed is just acting, in my opinion, as the ABS.

Who knows what this will all mean in a couple of months. At this point, the Fed is going for a ride and I am not sure they will want to get involved with adjustments for fear that they may truly start whipsawing the money market.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | August 15, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I've used my circular saw to the point there the cord has permanent kinks in it that spring into action in a random fashion. Lately, they have chosen to throw the cord near the blade while I'm setting the saw down after a cut. The cord has been nearly severed several times and is now patched together with butt splices and Super 66 tape. I really need to run to Charlotte to buy a proper replacement cord.

Posted by: jack | August 15, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I had to send the kit link to Mr. T. Yesterday I stayed home all day because UPS was to deliver a table saw and somebody had to be home to sign for it. So what time did it arrive? 4 p.m.

Table saw will be used to create planters for the front of the mountain place. It seems that rectangular planters are out of fashion these days. We have a space 80 inches wide where I'd like to have flowers but I don't fancy an array of round pots. So he's going to make planters with Trex (and looking forward to playing with the new saw).

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I suspect pink is a great color for you. But don't forget...if a sit-down dinner is served before 8 pm, cover your shoulders. Depending on the line of the dress, you might consider an elegant wrap, or perhaps a coordinating jacket.
A necklace with a strapless dress may draw attention away from the decollete. Watches are a no-no at social events (you're supposed to look like you don't care what time it is). Go for a classy bracelet (I think your wife may have a beautiful Tiffany's bracelet you could borrow).
You already know how I feel about the shoes.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 15, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I've been working with some friends in a Garage Mahal that has all that stuff, plus welding equipment, tubing benders and a sheet metal brake.

Of course, we're building a car in there.

From scratch.

We started out with a bunch of straight steel tubing purchased at an industrial supply company and some junkyard parts for stuff we can't fabricate (unfortunately, we don't have a private foundry or a home CNC machine) and a fiberglass body to cover the whole thing.

I could get into details here, but since I'm writing about it for a periodical, I need to abide by the publisher's embargo. When the time is right, I'll post links to the Boodle.

Let's just say that I can appreciate where Joel's coming from.

A garage full of power tools is a garage full of possibilities.

The only limitations are between your ears, your skill and dexterity, and your credit limit.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

>fiberglass body

bc, need that RacerX model to scale up the bodywork? :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 15, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Garage Mahal! I bow down before your wordiness, GreaseMonkeyMan bc.

I shall borrow the word, with verbal citation to you, to casually place before a young man in the neighborhood who is car-mad, and FINALLY figured (at 25) out that school might be a way toward more cars (money) and even some knowledge (like math and physics classes).

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at this kit. My blog fits right with it.

Results of man tools.

Didn't he do a nice job?

Yoki, somewhere in the back, I have your email address. May I email you? There is something I'd like to send to you.

Posted by: dr | August 15, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

I'm hoping that finding a new kit on power tools this morning is a sign that today will be a good day.

As one who once used power tools only occasionally (and now uses them daily), I can fully appreciate Joel's tool envy.

Tim Allen didn't become rich and famous by building his entire comedy routine and stage persona around the inherent humor to be found in, say, the wild and wacky world of accounting. No... he went for the man-humor equivalent of the jugular -- Power Tools.

Some words of advice for any guys/gals out there who want to be taken seriously at a hardware store...

1. Always have a tape measure and utility knife clipped to your belt or pocket. For added authenticity, make sure you have a pencil tucked behind your ear (preferably a worn-down carpenter's pencil).

2. Never wear Dockers(tm), loafers or Polo(tm) shirts to the hardware store.

3. If you're unsure about what you need to buy or do for a particular project, always project an air of expertise in a totally unrelated field. For instance, if you don't know jack about plumbing and need to fix a leaky faucet, preface any questions to the person working the plumbing department with "Jeez... I can build a shed in two minutes, but I've never messed with plumbing... what do I need to [insert project description]." Just be careful when it's time to build a shed that the salesperson from plumbing isn't within earshot.

4. Sawdust is not just a byproduct of cutting wood -- it's a statement. Wear it proudly, even if you have to sprinkle yourself with some saved in a jar from somebody else's woodcutting. Showing up at the hardware store with sawdust on your clothes and in your hair (even if you haven't sawed anything in your life) goes a long way.

5. Obviously brand new steel-toed boots should never be worn in public. If push comes to shove, find yourself a mud puddle and jump around in it.

6. No matter how straight or clear or otherwise perfect a hardware store's stock of lumber is, always pick through the pile and act like it's all guano, complaining loud enough so that anyone within earshot can hear you say "Son-of-a... I wouldn't use this for a doghouse".

There's more, but I've got actual work to do.

One last thought... never be intimidated by those with clean workshops (especially those with central dust-collection systems). To paraphrase an old saw (pardon the pun) about desks... a dirty shop is a busy shop.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Martooni -- kitworthy in the boodle. Good job!

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

Link to the WSJ Wikipedia article that Joel forgot to link to:

It's free, for now. I don't know how quickly it disappears into the subscriber-only hole.

Speaking of which, I haven't heard any new rumors about TimesSelect going away. My MoDo craving is as strong as ever.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Martooni that was great, but I am not so sure about the sawdust, especially when cutting wood in the summer. I always end up covered from head to toe when chain sawing. It has the power to cling to every piece of exposed hair I have on my body. And I also end up with at least a small trees worth in my boots.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 15, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I tried to post several times last night but they were all eaten, so am a little timid this morning.

Our marriage brought Ivansdad the unexpected benefit of lots of opportunities to use tools, power and otherwise. Keeping our house livable, astonishingly, requires periodic trips to BigBoxOTools. On vacation, he hung some curtains, which required a special vacation purchase of a cordless drill and screwdrivers; he also put in a self-adhesive kitchen floor, which was accomplished with regular tools and manpower. I always offer to help and he sometimes allows me to assist. That floor was awesome to watch. My dad was in construction and I know what he'd say about being able to lay aover 300 square feet of flooring over existing linoleum in six hours, with only a utility knife and straightedge.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And from the last Boodle: Cassandra, that was a great letter, well expressed. Mudge, heckuva story. As frostbitten said, a good lawyer with military-issue experience should be able to get your son out of the financial mess. Yoki, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. My mother had Alzheimer's for a long time.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

cp... thanks. I'll give you three guesses as to what I'm using my power tools to build, and the first two don't count. ;-) (and thanks for turning me onto a whole new market)

Of course, I haven't said a word about what I've been building to the guys at the hardware store. They've only recently come to accept me into the fold despite my long locks and colorful VW Bus.

gwe... it's not about the comfort, but the perception of ability. Keep in mind that chainsaw sawdust is even more powerful than circular saw sawdust. Those big curly chips elicit the utmost respect from even those hardware store employees working the "construction supplies" department.

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to side with the Eurocentric Wikipedia commenter: Meucci is the true inventor of the telephone. The US Supreme Court agrees with me, although they didn't issue the proclamation until, like, 2002, or something. Did Bell steal his design? Maybe -- there's some strange circumstantial evidence involving the US Patent Office conveniently "losing" Meucci's paperwork. But it's also likely that he invented his own version of the device independently. Anyone who could say definitively is long since dead and buried. Still -- Meucci deserves credit for getting their first.

I hail from a long line of construction workers on my father's side, so I grew up with power tools, and am quite possibly the only science writer in the country with a tile cutter wet saw gathering dust in the closet...

Posted by: Jennifer Ouellette | August 15, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

We have power tools and we live in an apartment. We don't even have anything to use them on, but they're still important apparently. I lost our biggest closet to them. That's a whole lot of space for something that can't be used right now. My husband would like to get smaller versions so they'll take up less room. Yeah, that's the answer.

I have bad allergies on the left side of my head today. Feeling pretty crappy on my left side. Allergy medicine is a joke. Doesn't touch the allergies.

Posted by: Sara | August 15, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

CP, yes, the chocolate morning glory is sort of mauve, has a white frilly edge and white center, so would look good against white clapboard.

Cassandra, very good letter. I see why they picked it to publish.

Yoki, sad news about your mother. The good thing is that they can treat dementia - well, I hope so. My dad had dementia too, and once they figured out the correct meds, he was ok. My sister and I joked that he would have been easier to deal with if he had done that much earlier (he was probably bipolar all his life). Anyway, best of luck to you and your family.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 15, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Sara, hope you feel better. I see a garage in your future, maybe a workshop too. Garage Mahal!

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 15, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I see a garage, too. A spotless garage because my husband is as organization-happy as I am. In fact, I had a dream the other night that we were on a date and he just disappeared. I got home to find out he'd decided to come home and organize the linen closet. I'm sure we'll have one of those garages that has a central vacuum and my husband will re-paint the floor yearly to keep it looking good. I'm not complaining, I'm actually happy about that. I definitely don't want a garage like my dad's. He has to clean it every fall so my mom can park in it again for the winter. (One side is taken up by his homemade cannon, so only one side of the garage accommodates a car.) I used to dread going into that garage. I still do. I get hurt every time because there's stuff everywhere. Sharp stuff.

Posted by: Sara | August 15, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

martooni, a dirty shop is a busy shop, but if you've ever been to a really top-end race shop, they tend to be unbelieveably clean, even in the areas where they're grinding, cutting, or drilling metal.

As in "5-second-rule-does-not-apply" clean.

EF, the bodywork for the project was chosen by someone else, we're just making what we're doing fit under it. As cool as the Shooting Star is, there are some fundmaental flaws in it, such as the engine location, which is directly over the rear axle. Fixable for appearance's sake, but would give a less than optimum solution performance-wise. Oy, I'm a Geek of Many colors.

CP, I started using the term "Garage Mahal" during the first Reagan Adninistration when such things were relatively rare, and I've seen it pop up here and there since. You're welcome to credit me with it, though.

Mudge, I'd have to agree with those that favor the pink strapless dress/necklace/bracelet/shoes look for you. It'll look nice on you with your hair up, though I'd advise you resist the urge to wear the tiara.


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

Thanks, bc (and everyone else), for the fashion advice. Some days it's just so discouraging, since I'm not a size 4 any more. And I have such trouble finding things that set off my eyes (what color goes with "bloodshot" anyway?). And some days I can't decide if my "color" palette is "autumn" or "drought."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Drives like new, must be seen"
[sung with the appropriate C&W twang]

When I came off the assembly line
my two main crafters said I looked so fine
all luster and polish, brought many a tear
Once I got going - I had just one gear

Another nick,
another dent
before we're done

Down at the track, when I was at my peak
for performance and handling, none could compete
The kids today all say "pimp my ride"
but back in the day, the style was slicks so wide

Another nick,
another dent
before we're done

Now my timings off, they say my muffler's shot
but take me for a spin, you'll see what I got
I need some new parts, and a tune up too
but it's all go-go when the kids want to borrow you

Another nick,
another dent
before we're done

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 15, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm of wondering if a wrist corsage is more appropriate with the outfit than an at the shoulder corsage.

If you went with the wrist corsage, you could trail tiny pink ribbons below your elegantly held wrist.

Posted by: dr | August 15, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if you are a lawyer and a furriner, I want 10% of the royalties on that, SoC.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I would suggest that the proper attire for a busy shop is anything made by Carrhart. Mr. T has several pairs of shorts; they are so stiff they stand up by themselves.

bc, my ex has Tajgarage. It's bigger than the house and a chaotic mess. If it ever catches fire, it will have to be fought defensively, i.e., outside.

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Geez, martooni, your 11:00 was almost erotic.

I'm jonesin' here. I gotta get home, saw something in half and then nail the two pieces together to tide me over...

Posted by: byoolin | August 15, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Back in February the comic strip Rex Morgan, MD began running a subplot about the son of a meth lab dealer that moves in with the Morgans. Rex's wife June began making the street urchin earn his keep by helping with household tasks. The Comics Curmudgeon (not ours) turned the phrase "clean your garage" into a rather unsavory euphemism. Link not for the prudish:

Excuse me while I just sit back here and snicker like Beavis for a while.

btw, I love the phrase "Garage Mahal". My small one-cargarage has three sets of shelves filled with materials left over from various minor household repair projects and a collection of power tools that makes Real Men snicker condescendingly. I have a drill, a small circular saw and a jig saw. If it can't be done with those tools, it's time to call in the handyman.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Soon after I became engaged to his daughter, my father in law, George, gave me a set of power tools. I tried not to make too many inferences about my perceived manliness from this gift, and instead complimented him on purchasing such high-quality machines. Indeed, these tools have held up for nearly 20 years, largely because they don't get much use. In the nomenclature of woodworking, I am something of a Neanderthal.

That I avoid power tools has less to do with any philosophical bias against electrification and more to do with my desire to maintain full use of all my extremities. And usually, a reliance on hand tools isn't that difficult. A well sharpened hand saw can make surprisingly quick work of a pine two-by-four.

Occasionally, of course, the use of power tools cannot be avoided. For example, many years ago George and I built the small downstairs room destined one day to be dubbed the Bunny Bunker. George naturally assumed I would be using the tools he had given me. So I did. For about 15 minutes. After that point we agreed that for health reasons I should let him do the cutting. I mean, his blood pressure is high enough as it is. My job became to sit on the lumber as he cut.

In the years since then I have become much more competent with such tools. Why, I replaced an entire picket fence with only one mishap. And who knows? Should my dental records ever become lost that distinguishing scar on my lower shin might end up being useful.

But my greatest adventure came a few years ago when I purchased an electric chainsaw. You see, the weeping willow in our front yard had gone on to a better place. Having spent an obscene amount of money to have our dead oak cut down earlier in the year, I figured I could handle this much smaller tree myself. And eventually I did. Although not without moments of unexpected exhilaration. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to reconstruct exactly how my chainsaw ended up unexpectedly wedged in the trunk seven feet from the ground.

And if anyone does figure this out, I would love to have it explained to me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Glad you chimed in yellojkt. I have a question for the boodle but don't want to offend you.

What is the best way to get rid of a yellow jacket nest in the ground?

I heard gasoline will do,but I would have the urge to light it on fire.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 15, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Chain saws have a life of their own RD Padouk. this is why they can be so dangerous. I have a small arborist saw myself, I was afraid of the big ones. But in the past couple of years, since they cut a ditch to drain the newly developed subdivisionin the back more precisely, some huge linden tree are falling on my lot. It ain't lots of fun to cut-up the 24" diameter 60' monsters with the 13" saw. I found a solution to the wood-chip-filling-the-underwear problem though. A full monkey-suit. I'm using the fire-resistant bright blue NomexII suit I was force to wear in oil refineries and tank car loading sites back in the days. When I wear the blue suit with the white hard hat and face shield (always a good idea while playing with a chainsaw) the kids are calling me the 200lbs smurf.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy - For goodness sakes don't light anything in the middle of August. (Man, I won't make that mistake again.)

I would not at all recommend gasoline. Too dangerous and toxic. When I worked for the cemetery we dealt with ground-nests by either sealing them up with wet sand or dumping in a few tea-kettles full of boiling water. Both seemed to work.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I've been meaning to post this link to a yellow jacket trap that has worked well for us:
When the pheromone runs out, you put raw meat in (ewwww).

gwe, you know the answer to your question is "very carefully."

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 15, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

gwe, re. wasp nests. I'm using the foaming insecticide on a semi-regular basis (3 times this year). It's an aerosol can with a plastic extension tube, pretty much like WD40. The liquid expands and stick to the nest in the form of a foam. Works pretty good for me. You may have to repeat a second time.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

RD, your first problem was that you were trying to cut down a willow. They have very wet wood, difficult to cut even with a professional chainsaw. (I witnessed this as a tree guy cut one down and, I kid you not, found *gravel* inside the tree.) That you were able to complete the task with an electric chainsaw is a bit of a minor miracle.

First golf, then power tools. George really did have to adjust his expectations, didn't he?

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

dr, I'm not sure I could wear the shoulder corsage in any event, what with the strapless taffeta. How do I attach it, staple it into my rotator cuff? And it might make me look a little hunch-backed under my lace mantilla.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

RD, did you see the front page of the WaPo today? There's a promo for the tomato-recipe article in the Food section. Did they use a picture of a lucious in-season tomato? Noooooo. They snapped one of those hothouse tomato bunches you can get year-round at Costco. I tell you, a thing like that could cause great umbrage.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I fear you are right on oh-so-many levels Raysmom. I can report that willow also makes dreadful firewood.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

You mean the tomatoes that can also be used for handball? That just ain't right.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Oulette's just saying that about Meucci because she's a big Tesla fan.

I expect a blog item in "Cocktail Party Physics" quite soon about American conspiracies against European scientists and inventors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

[Ms. Oulette: Yes, I'm teasing you. I'm glad you stopped in.]


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Back in my teen years I "inherited" a firewood business (in other words, my Dad ponied up the cash for a dump truck, several saws and woodsplitter for one of my uncles, who then tired of the business when he found roofing to be more lucrative -- and Dad wanted his money back).

Before I was allowed to run loose with a chainsaw, my Dad (who often encouraged me to play in traffic) insisted I attend a "chain saw safety course". Let's just say the videos were even more horrific than the Driver's Ed classics "Highway of Blood" and "Never Rear-end a Pinto".

RD... what you may have experienced is something called "kickback", when (typically) the tip of the saw encounters something resistant. This has been known to saw the head of the saw wielder in two. Newer saws have a guard over the tip to help prevent this. Of course, the guard gets in the way, so it is often removed -- not unlike condoms, and with equally painful and expensive results.

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the lure of Home Despot is hard to ignore. But, if you are going to own a house, you really need at least some basic tools. The most basic probably has to be a cordless drill/screwdriver. If you are thinking of doing any serious projects (a deck, refinishing a basement, etc.), the a decent table saw is almost a necessity. A hand-held circular saw is a substitute, but it isn't as useful as the table saw. One thing that has made a big but quiet change in construction is the drywall screw. More and more often, contractors are using their cordless drills and drywall screws instead of hammer and nails. Yes, if you're building a whole house, then a nail gun is needed, but smaller jobs use the screws. I love the term Garage Mahal. Puts me in mind of those radio commercials we hear in DC for that outfit that promises to remake your garage into a palace, and the husband disappears inside and isn't seen for months. BTW, power tools can't solve every problem. You still need items like screwdrivers (blade and Phillips), utility knife, pliers, and sockets for some jobs in awkward places.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 15, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Chainsaws scare the heck out me. Even before I saw a good friend almost cut in half with one. Neither he nor the guy doing the cutting had any idea at the time. but me and another friend from the other side both needed a day to scrape our jaws up off the ground.

I have a small electric one I use with great respect. Anything more and I have a proper landscaper do it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 15, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Ouellette.

Sorry about that, Jennifer.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the advice and it really is a double-edged sword. I don't want to wipe out any bees. But they are right on my path to the garden and I am afraid I would forget about them some day and step right on the sucker. I have been stung so many times and many multiple stings. But they are right next to the garden and I still want things pollinated.

Hmmmm tough choice.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 15, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I broke a borrowed chainsaw on a small but very green branch that was overhanging my property from the adjacent woods. (Never cut from the bottom.) The branch was serving as a leader for a creeping vine that had jumped onto my trees.

Anyways, it turns out that the neighbor I had borrowed it from had borrowed it from someone else. I went to BigBoxOfTools to buy a replacement but none were as wimpy as the one I broke. So I spent $60 on a chain saw that I will never get to use. Since then I have vowed not to borrow tools if I can help it.

I reluctantly use a pump spray pesticide on the ants in my yard. I wonder if they would be effective on yellow jackets. For my type of Jacket, large bulldawgs usually work. Although even those just get us angry and cause us to swarm.

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

They do it with lace and mirrors, Mudge. Tie one pink ribbon with elegantly floaty ends around wrist. Place magnet behind ribbon. Attach floral corsage with other magnet(already pleced in the arrangement by florist).

I have seen this. The little floral magnets are a wonder of modern world. Beats the heck out of staples. Ask me how I know.

Posted by: dr | August 15, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

My enthusiasm for power tools was initially tempered by the experience of my brother-in-law when he stuck his hand into the blade of a running radial arm saw and removed the first two joints of the middle finger of his right hand. My father-in-law called me from the hospitol to tell me about the accident and asked me to go to the shop and search for the severed finger. I sifted through several cubic yards of pink sawdust and found one small piece of digital debris about the size of a grain of rice. Reattachment was not an option. Later employment as a medical photographer for nine years in Oklahoma City exposed me to many much worse things, murders and plane crashes and oil field accidents, but I still remember my brother-in-law and his finger every time I crank up a saw. So in closing let me quote Sgt. Esterhaus on "Hill Street Blues"- "Let's be careful out there!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 15, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

EF - yeah, the saw clearly kicked back. I was holding it at an awkward angle and it rotated very quickly. Even electric chainsaws demand respect - such as an offering of a virgin goat.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I meant martooni. Although EF's comments were certainly relevant too

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I would add here that the typical electric chainsaw is relatively small and does not make a lot of torque or chain speed, which is why they can become wedged in places where an typical two-stroke combustion chainsaw may be able to keep going.

But as others have said here, chainsaws can be dangerous, best to treat them with lots of respect.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

kguy - Yep, anything with motorized cutting blades demands great caution. My little brother lost two fingertips using a lawnmower back when he was 17. This was before safety stops. Fortunately my brother's accident hasn't affected his life much. Granted, the fingers up the nose trick got old pretty quickly. But at least he no longer claims he is a double amputee.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Neither of my two sons-in-law knows one end of a Phillips scredriver from the other. So guess who gets the telephone call when a shelf needs to be put up?

[ring ring]


ebtnut is quite correct about tools. In additon to the cordless drill/driver, you next an extra set of batteries, for it, too, so one set is always in the charger while the other is in the drill.

Padouk and EF, I, too, have a 12-inch electric chainsay; anything bigger and I call a pro. I have enough nicks and debnts already. (And it's such a b1tch getting sawdust out of taffeta.) Also: table saw, 1/2 HP noncordless drill for the REAL drilling work, radial arm saw, beaucoup clamps, drill bits and drill indeces (or is it indexes?), and all the assorted wrenches, pliers (seven kinds--lineman's, regular, slip-joint, vice-grips [two sizes], needlenose, curved needle-nose, baby wirecutters), socket sets, saws (four or five kinds: back, two kinds of Japanese, hack, and saber), and then we get into emoluments and fluids, without which no self-respectin' handyman can be without: various paints and removers, strippers and solvents; several kinds of glues (Elmer's, carpenter's, epoxies [slow and fast], caulks, fillers, Liquid Nails [don't ask], pipe dope [really don't ask], and that horrible purple stuff plumbers use on PVC pipe.

I shant discuss the taxonomy of my collection of assorted nails, bolts, screws, staples, molly bolts, rivets, nail-gun bullets/nails [.22 caliber; don't mess with the sissy .17 caliber stuff), wall attachment devices (every single one of which was at one time or another required by my wife when she said, "Dear, can you put this [XYZ object] up please?"), except that to say the some total of metal weighs 900 pounds.

And I cannot WAIT to get rid of every single one of the above and become a hapless senior citizen in an assited living home.

Oh, and last weekend we started gutting the entire master bathroom for a total makeover.

I don't know why I just don't shoot myself. It'd be quicker and easier, and probably not as messy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse


Exactly what happened to me.

If we are going to move on to power tool injuries, I'm going to head down to the bunker and faint on the swoon couch. I'm just a touch squeamish.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, RD, to finish the story of my bro-in-law, this all occurred in '71 when the Great Southeast Asian Unpleasantness was chugging along at full throttle. Bro-in-law got called up for his pre-induction physical, proudly waggled his nine and a half fingers and waited for his dismissal. Kindly sargeant explained that the middle finger was not the one they wanted him to use, welcome to the US Army, pull your shorts back up and get on the bus.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 15, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The cordless electric drill is one of Raysdad's favorites, ebt. His current project is pulling up and flipping all the (cracked, aging) boards on our deck over and reattaching them with deck screws. Did I mention that each board was attached with no less than 8 four-inch nails? And that Raysdad believes that anyone building a deck using nails is not considering the future need to disassemble the deck and is, in short, a fool? The unanimous reaction of the guys in the neighborhood has been, "Dude, have you heard of Trex?" Although I am more than a bit proud of him for not landfilling all that wood.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I inherited a nice divided case full of assorted sizes of nails, screws, bolts, nuts and washers from my grandfather. I scour through it before I make a trip to the hardware store. A great legacy.

When my kid was in Cub Scouts, one of the projects specifically required a hand saw. Between four dads we had seven power saws and NO hand saws. I'm not sure what that says, but it isn't good.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, Trex is terrifically expensive, though it does make a nice deck. Ours is Trex, but I get light-headed and dizzy thinking about what it cost. Raysdad is right about replacing the nails with deck screws, though. (Did he get the deck screws with Robertson heads, and then start cussing when he realized he had to go back to the store to buy a Robertson driver. Not that such a thing happened to me, of course.)

yello, if you have to go buy a hand saw (and you should, you should), get one of the Bearclaw brand. They are Japanese style and cut on the back stroke, Really terrific.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

When using a chainsaw you have to check for tension in the tree/branch too. A vicious sprung-back cost my younger brother a good chunk of the skin of his cheek and side of the head. Luckily, it stayed attached by a few bits to the rest of the face and got re-attached promptly.
For small job I use a pruning saw. You have to be careful too as they are purty sharp. And I own maybe 7 handsaws for pruning (2), keyhole, flush cutting (the flipping type), hardback, ripping, metal hacksaw...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, no trips to the BigOrangeBox were necessary, so I assume that particular cussing occurred on a previous project. Understand that all of my knowledge of these things is on a secondhand need-to-know basis.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer... if you'll look again at the Kit, you'll see that the person accusing Eurocentrism was part of a discussion about *kittens.*

As far as the telephone goes, everyone knows it was invented by Don Ameche.

Posted by: TBG | August 15, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Don Ameche is correct. Beside, who wants to mutter curses at "Ma Meucci"?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Now this is pretty funny:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I have six handsaws in my Garage Cabal:

+two classic wood saws of the same large size
+one junior classic wood saw
+two tree saws, folding
+one hack saw

I adore the sound of a wood saw, with the up down variation. Sawyer is a good name from this humble act.
When we moved in, I stared at the world's largest plumber's wrench left mounted on the wall. 'Tis still there. Two plumbing gods have offered to buy it from me. I say no. Don't want to mess with world-wide pipe mojo.

I was give for Xmas last year, a medium power drill by an angel who felt that my joy was not complete, since no power tool other than a 20 year old Waring Blender graces ChezCeePee. I have not used the drill yet, but if I were to, I would make a morning glory-moonflower arbor out of copper plumping pipe. Imagine the verdigris, naturally. I bet it would be expensive, with the price of Cu and all.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, is copper "plumping" pipe cheaper than copper plumBing pipe?

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Shriek... it's not just the tension in the branch you're cutting, but often other things surrounding it -- like innocuous twigs and saplings -- that cause kickback. That little 1/2" diameter sapling may be no match for your chainsaw under normal circumstances, but catch it with the tip of a chainsaw blade the wrong way at the wrong RPM and you've got serious trouble (and maybe a new hairdo).

My favorite power tool, power-wise, would be the "brush hog". I rented one a couple dozen years ago to clear an acre overgrown with not just weeds and bramble and bushes, but actual trees of 2" to 4" diameter trunks. I have to say I couldn't stop grunting like a gorilla for two weeks after I finished that job.

For what it's worth, I'm currently covered in sawdust and reek of stain and lacquer, so I have all the tell-tale signs of an expert. If I hadn't been sucking down beers for the last two hours to wash the sawdust out of my throat (no girlie respirators or dust masks in my shop), I'd be off to HomeGuano to reinforce my image (and puff up my ego) by complaining about the quality of their lumber.

And before anyone says anything about alcohol and power tools (or alcohol and *me*), I'll have you know that the only time I was ever injured in my shop was when I was sober.

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm cringing in the bunny bunker from this sudden Boodle chainsaw massacre.

I've never used a chainsaw in my life.

I've taken a few trees down-- with an old-fashioned ax. Axes and shovels are better because you can hack out the roots and remove the stump along with the tree.

I've also removed tree branches from trees with a good old pruner-- try using a chainsaw while balancing on a branch...

But bottom line: chainsaws are too big and overpowered for me-- the laws of physics mean their kickback would almost inevitably make me lose my grip.

The only chainsaw I *MIGHT* buy would have to have a blade size around the size and weight of a large nail file for me to feel safe handling it.

But there's a reason why they don't make chainsaws small enough for kids to use...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Any mention of kittens makes me feel all warm and fuzzy for about two seconds, guilty for about another three seconds, and then I laugh.

Don't know if any of you are "farkers", but if you are, you know what God does to cute little kittens whenever you touch yourself inappropriately.

And then there's "ceiling kitten is watching you".

I so need to unplug this computer.

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a catter-brained faith to me, Martooni.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm developing an addiction to lolcats, but only in an meta-ironic way.

Cuteness factor goes to 11. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm laughing, Wilbrod, because my wife refers to my dinky little 12-inch electric chains aw as my "Fisher-Price My First Chainsaw." Maybe that's what you need.

Or try one of these:

or http://www dot amazon dot com/dp/B000TD1WP0/ref=nosim/?tag=nextag-apparel-tier1-20&creative=380333&creativeASIN=B000TD1WP0&linkCode=asn

or http://www dot amazon dot com/dp/B000J2GFG2/ref=nosim/?tag=nextag-apparel-tier1-20&creative=380333&creativeASIN=B000J2GFG2&linkCode=asn

although personally I like the Elvira Action Figure With Chainsaw. (No, I'm not kidding. Of course, I'd be happy with just the Elvira Action Figure, never mind the ...uh..accessory...)|nextag-toys-20&creative=380333&creativeASIN=B000AXWY2Y&linkCode=asn

or http://cgi dot ebay dot com/My-First-Craftsman-Child-Toy-Chainsaw-w-Goggles-NIB-WOW_W0QQitemZ320147429955QQihZ011QQcategoryZ19181QQcmdZViewItem

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

*c'mon, bc, waiting on you...gave you the perfect set-up...*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

*Diving back into the bunny bunker*.

That RowrSound toy chainsaw looks way too big and real for me to want to look at more pictures of electronic sawfish of death.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

CP, my brother-in-law made me a Cu tube pyramid I use to support a clematis. After 5-6 years outside the patina/verdegris is superb. (excuse me for the French form, but it's acceptable in English as well apprently) As you say, with the price of copper these days that is a gift I'm not likely to receive again.
Last big linden that fell I broke down and borrowed the same BIL's full-sized chainsaw. But I bought a new shorter guidebar and a chain with a much less agressive pitch that makes it much less susceptible to kick backs.
Wilbrod, even a gnome can tackle my small arborist chain saw fitted with a micr-pitch chain. It's meant to be used with one hand while working high in the trees. I wouln't do that but this is what it is designed to do and I'm sure a pro can easily do it.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

But is the grip sized for a small hand, SD?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

So, Curmudgeon, why don't your daughters just put up their own shelves? While I have ceded the major use of power tools and large repairs to Ivansdad (no fool I), I certainly can use the tools. My dad and grandpa were both in construction and I grew up playing with sawdust and pieces of scrap wood in the shop, nailing things together. I'm teaching the Boy to use hand tools, too, because the sense of accomplishment in fixing or building something is out of all proportion to the work involved. I admit, though, that these days my best repairs are made with duct tape.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I thought horizontal branches were supposed to get three cuts if you only want the branch off and two if the whole tree is coming down. The first in an upward direction about 1/4 the diam. The second cut down 3/4 the diam half an inch further out away from the trunk. The branch then simply snaps off. The third cut is down as close as posible to the branch collar.

Posted by: omni | August 15, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Being country-bred, Mr. T is good with a chainsaw. I normally just watch for the entertainment value. He has been known to draft me as an assistant, as in the day that he took down a large white pine at his mother's house. My contribution was to hold the rope taut and run out of the way when the tree toppled. Fortunately, it worked.

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You seem to be correct, Omni. Thats why pruners are better in a way-- they will do the up and down cuts at the same time if you angle 'em right.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Once when I was kid we all gathered in the back yard off a friends to watch his neighbor cut down a really big tree. They had tied a couple ropes to it also. Their plan however did not work and they needed a new roof. We saw that coming. That was a very funny thing for a bunch 10-11 year olds to watch.

Posted by: omni | August 15, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure I learned the safe way watching an epsiode of 'The New this Old House'.

Posted by: omni | August 15, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid my brother built a "fort" in the backyard using scrap lumber and tarpaper. That was fun. Of course, we didn't live in Coral Gables, Fla. Coral Gables is like Stepford--it looks beautiful but behind the beauty is a pathological lack of personal liberty. In the Gables you need a permit to paint the INTERIOR of your home. And you better choose the correct colors. It's a given that your house will have a tile roof, but beyond that, the tile has to have a specified shape--God help you if it is off by a inch one way or the other, because they will make you remove all the tiles and start over.

The Herald recently reported a sad story about a backyard playhouse in the Gables:

"Assistant City Attorney Lourdes Alfonsin could not answer what public good was served by the demolition of the playhouse.

"'That's not a question that I can answer. The code is the code is the code,' she said."

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

So Slyness, Mr T has been using the old pull-the-rope and run routine on you eh? I've been trying to get rid the superfluous child with that trick for years now but it hasn't worked (yet). Now that he is drinking beer and walks on crutches I might stand a better chance. I'll check that next Saturday night...

Wilbrod, yea, the grip may be a little big. And I found out last summer that small-handed girls get white hands quickly on power tools. Witch no.1 couln't use the angle grinder more than a few minutes at a time to clean the garage's siding last summer without getting the numb hand syndrome. The palm sander was a better albeit slower solution.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

has a major case of patina envy. And the object of her mad affection is SD, in Canada, no less. So, she cannot travel north with her flashlight to see the CLEM e tis entwined with his Cu-Triangle.

She is lying on the couch, prostrate with grief, and the dog treats won't fortify her.

Posted by: College Barkian | August 15, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Our favorite This Old House was one of the old ones. Norm and Steve were looking at an old place with a barn, perhaps in New England. As Norm prepared to enter the barn Steve went around to the lowered back end, to inspect the supports. The camera showed they were all rotted away. Steve comes running out, yelling "Norm! Don't go in there!" This is still a frequently used phrase at our house.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

And I'm all for child labor. Nothing but Nikes for me.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Farkers are a commenting community dedicated to wholesale sarcasm and snarking. They also have mad photoshopping skilz they use indiscriminately. Down that road lay madness.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

CP, I have promised pictures before without delivering the goods, but this time I will. I may include a picture of the Puppy. What is the silly name of that gardening blog again?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

SD -- a picture of your patina'ed trellis will ease my pain.

I will promise you a garden post soon on that copper trellis. I have a post underway about morning glories and since little creatures have moved into my yard via Martooni's storied fairy doors, well I need a post for that too.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

All of this talk of chainsaws and limbing, felling,etc., makes me think of our local Treeman. He felled a 1/2 dead pecan (3 ft., dbh) in a space approximately 8 feet wide bordered by a house on his right and electrical wires on his left. In an approaching thunderstorm. All we could see of him from the relative safety of our porch, over the din from the thunder, was the Treeman doing a victory dance as the tree fell in the exact spot he had planned.

Posted by: jack | August 15, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I have been forced by circumstances beyond my control, to occasionally put up shelving. Its a sorry thing to watch, I'm told. The only sorrier thing is the end result, very crooked shelves. Mrdr thought to buy me a small ladylike level to assist with getting things straight, but even when I try really hard, struggle, marking carefully where the stupid screws are supposed to go,it's impossible. Mrdr has since put me out of my misery and only allows me to use my little hammer to put up very small picutres. Less work for him fixing the holes that way.

Some of us are born to work with wood, and some of us are born to make doilies.

Posted by: dr | August 15, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Will do CP.
I will have to start the old gas-powered weed-wacker and seriously get at some invading vegetation to burn all the testosterone that has accumulated this afternoon. I have an 1.25 acre lot, so I NEED the power weedwacker, it's not a luxury. It's that or a 200' extension cord.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 15, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Good and fair question, Ivansmom; I would happily teach the girls how to put up a shelf...except that D#1 is something of a "princess" who would stare at mme in hoorror like I was out of my mind, and #2 is a klutz, who would gamefully jump right in and try--and demoloish an entire wall before success. (#3 would be perfectly happy just letting objects fall randomly to the floor to accumulate in large piles, which is exactly how her room looks. Hence my wife's desire to have #3 expelled from the house upon any and every pretext. In my wife's view, "Home is where when you go there, you have to be completely anal and channel Martha Stewart." No, I agree; Frost would not approve.)

My life as a husband and parent has not been an easy one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

My house in Florida had about 8 scrub pines (each at least 50 feet tall) in the backyard and two stumps where some used to be. A couple of the trees were dead or dying. One night one fell down and missed my house by about five feet. My boss came by and chainsawed it into firewood and hauled it off. He was so eager to use his tools it seemed nearly orgasmic.

A while later some drifters in a pick-up came by and noticed one of the dead trees in the back of the yard and offered to cut it down and haul it away for free. Knowing I was getting ripped off somehow, I agreed. They cut off the top half and then took down the rest of the tree.

As they were done, I pointed to the dying tree closest to the house. Either because it wasn't dead yet (insert MP sound clip) or the proximity to the house scared them, but they refused and left with their haul.

For this dying tree (which had also been wounded by an insect nest at some point) I started an intensive care treatment of plant food spikes and frequent watering. Sure enough, it sprung back to health and was still standing when I sold the place a year later.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

This is just to say

I have made a
trellis of the
grey-green copper pipe
you were likely saving
to finally plumb
that outdoor shower.

Forgive me.
The clematis adores it,
and clings so

Will I be forgiven if I rummaged in a Garage Mahal and did this? Would my use of power tools trump the theft?

Of course, the outdoor shower is a huge priority and I will be docked many points for messing up that item on the To Do list.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Growing up here in the great pine forest just about everyone, boy or girl, acquires some skills having to do with the logging industry. I'm glad to read the respect people have for chainsaws, but I'd rather use one than get out on I-95 every day. (Something you DC area folks probably don't think twice about.) I'm currently using a Husqvarna 353 for those around Chez Frostbitten North chores.

But, I must admit that this is the machine of my dreams. When Mr. F finally retires from the army we will celebrate by going to the manufacturer's outlet store, just 40 miles from here, to load one of these babies up on the trailer.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Frosti -- I have a Husqvarna sewing machine. Someday, I shall own a serger by the same venerable Swedish outfit.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I have to chuckle that there are some investors who approach investments in an almost non-parametric/ordered fashion in that a company with a good earnings report can almost balance off the fact that many Central Banks including the USA's are pouring Billions into the Financial Market.

The "so called" credit crunch is not a trivial matter.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | August 15, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Husqvarna reminds me of Paul Harvey -- they were his sponsor for some years and I can hear him saying "Husqvara" with lots more consonents than necessary.

Posted by: nellie | August 15, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

CP-your copper pipe arbor would give you an opportunity for a power tool/skill twofer. First you'd get to use a propane torch to solder the joints, then you could use the -same torch as a flame throwing weed killer.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I just received an email notifying me of a training opportunity. Here is a phrase from the course description: "In this workshop, participants will focus on the key managerial competencies identified by virtually every assessment of necessary managerial competencies in today's workplace."


#1 Don't behave like a glass bowl.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 15, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC- my bad on the extraneous - in frosti's 4:15.

Posted by: frostcat#1 | August 15, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

#2 don't write like an idiot

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I always liked the name "Husqvarna" because of its tough, masculine sound, and the fact that it has a "q" not followed by a "u"; the first such word I ever heard violating the "rule." Just FYI and a propos of nothing Husqvarna also used to make guns up until 1970, especially high-powered hunting rifles as well as sniper rifles (I know this even though I'm not especially a "gun person" due to my vast reading of spy novels). When you see some 1950s movie about Big Game hunters in Africa going after lions and rhinos, the rifle may likely be a Husqvarna; they made big honking rifles like that.

Don't ask me what use that bit of trivia is worth; I have no earthly idea. It's just been floating between my ears for 20 years, waiting for a place to escape to.

You're it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Dog sees gnome at desk
Smells of wildflowers and deer call
To Haul or maul? Whine....

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 15, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

FYI I have added to the kit a little data from David Pimentel, regarding malnutrition stats.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 15, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

My #2 uses the pile method in her bedroom, too, 'Mudge. It drives me to distraction. To the point, in fact, that I refuse to enter her room for any reason.

However, it turns out that the cyberworld has come up with the perfect word. Floordrobe. As in, I was late to the party because I couldn't find anything to wear in my floordrobe."

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Floordrobe"--love it, Yoki. Thanks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh Yoki -- a cup of tea for you, or any other strengthening beverage laced with sympathy. Parenting the parents: here we all go on that ride.

I am glad I caught you before heading off to the salvage yard and then to swim.

Love floordrobe, and Garage Mahal! And regarding the pronunciation of that fine company in Sweden NOT named Saab of Volvo, well that word pronounced as Swedes are want to do: meltingly, like ice cream.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, JA, for your addition. Next time, I will just do what you did and ask for more data.

Very sobering, whatever the numbers, about hunger. I read a study about iron and iodine deficiencies and was very concerned about what missing those nutrients does to people and communities: extreme fatigue, so that crops are not planted, tended, harvested, etc.

Cassandra's comments early in the day remind us all MAL-nutrition is more than deficits of nutrients and calories. MAL can mean the wrong amounts, and even for the wrong reasons.

Ok. We have to do better. Good data is a start.

Hope that our tangents on the threads do not irritate too much. You could always request design plans for a copper tomato trellis, for when the copper market bottom falls out.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As we mature the floordrobe becomes the book pile.

Posted by: dr | August 15, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Not meaning to make light of a serious situation, but how many of those deaths associated with iron deficiencies are homicides?

Posted by: LostInThought | August 15, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This just in on the astronomy front, a brand new discovery:

Dying Star's Tail Yields Surprises

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; 3:14 PM

A slowly-dying but very fast moving star has been discovered with a tail 13 light-years long -- the first of its kind but probably not the last, astronomers said today.

The tail is made up of molecules of oxygen, carbon and nitrogen shed by the unstable star as it speeds almost 300,000 miles per hour through the Milky Way and is giving new insights into exactly how old stars seed the galaxies with material that ultimately becomes new stars and solar systems.

Astronomers have long known that dying stars provide the building blocks for future one, but never before have they seen the process so vividly in action.

"I was shocked when I first saw this completely unexpected, humongous tail trailing behind a well-known star," said lead investigator Christopher Martin of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. His collaborator, Mark Seibert of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena, added that "his is an utterly new phenomenon to us, and we are still in the process of understanding the physics involved."

The tail of the star, named Mira and well known to astronomers for centuries, was discovered using NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer, which can survey the entire sky in ultraviolet light. Mira is a slowly dying red giant star -- with about the same mass as our sun, but 400 times larger. Because of its great size, the gravitational force keeping it together is weak at the outer edges, allowing the winds created by the fast-moving star to pull them off and send them into the tail.

Martin said the discovery shows not only how matter is spread through the galaxy by fading stars, but also points to the likely fate of our own star. It is expected to last another 4 billion to 5 billion years, and then will dissipate in a way perhaps similar to Mira.

Mira, named after the Latin word for "wonderful," has been a favorite of astronomers for about 400 years. But nobody before had known it was trailed by such a long and impressive comet-like wake.

According to NASA, Mira will eventually eject all of its remaining gas into space, leaving behind only the burn-out core of the original star -- then called a white dwarf.

Mira's tail is believed to be at least 30,000 years old, and perhaps older. The researchers said that generally when a new phenomenon is discovered by astronomers, they soon find that it is not unique. These solar tails, the researchers said, will likely allow them to learn more about the stars they are formed by.

Co-author Siebert said of the discovery, "We hope to be able to read Mira's tail like a ticker tape to learn about the star's life."

News of Mira's tail was published today in the journal Nature.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks every one for the nice comments about the letter. I want to try and get the people of our county to unite and really work together to help the children. We're not going to get out of this hole unless we work together. I don't know what to do, but I guess the letter is a good start.

Mudge, I am sorry about your son, but I'll bet he is really depressed. Being a parent is forever, isn't it? I hope everything works out okay for him, and you.
I could not help but laugh at your comments after that information. You are one funny guy.

Martooni, before I could finish laughing at Mudge, you had put your two cents worth in about what to do at the hardware store. Here I go again.

Ivansmom, when I see duct tape, I always think about you and the boy.

I've never used power tools. I do love those shows on television such as Home and Garden that highlight renovations. They always have power tools.

TBG, I know your son is going to do great. You will probably experience a little sadness, but there is a sliver lining in that too. You did good.

The kit is wonderful, JA. A lot of big words that I'm going to look up. No offense, JA, but you just don't look like a power tool guy. I guess that could change with the tips from Martooni.

It's a hundred and one degrees here, and I went to take my dad some lunch and he was not home. I left the lunch at the neighbor's house. He called me when he got in and said it is too hot to be out there. Duh. I don't know what I'm going to do with him.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 15, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

You don't need to build a playhouse, you need to build a workshop... A new tool-centric dwelling for the arsenal of equipment to reside in.

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

Vampirism, Lost in thought?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

And regarding playhouses. When my daughter was but a wee lass I purchased one of those huge extruded plastic monstrosities. It took better part of an afternoon and several obscure obscenities to get the thing set up. Even then she didn't much like it because it was either too hot or smelled funny.

The golden age of playhouses has passed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Do we really believe the guys trapped in the mine are alive? I keep hoping against hope, but the longer it takes, just doesn't look good.

Will the folks on the space shuttle be able to fix the problem? I wonder if duct tape would work there? Probably melt, right? It is certainly not a laughing matter. I hope they can fix the problem. Somebody head should roll for this.

I am sitting in the dark. The only light coming from the computer. Just too hot, folks. And I know when the weather gets colder, I'll want these days back.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 15, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

My hobby is making small wooden art boxes. I picked this hobby both because I think these boxes are cool, and because they can be made with hand tools. And in addition to being quiet and inexpensive, these hand tools are safe. It is very difficult to accidentally injure yourself with a Zona Razor Saw.

Although, I can reliably report, it is not impossible.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

the real question is when did any of us last use a normal, old fashioned saw? the kind that you have to work really hard to cut through the wood and concentrate really, really hard to make sure you stay on the straight line...

Posted by: janeweiner | August 15, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

It's too hot for power tools. Best to go to the beach, although the huge schools of silvery bait fish (fed on by tarpon, which are fed on by sharks) makes entering the water a less-than-bright idea.

On the other hand, I need to build a Japanese-style bridge of posts and planks to replace the badly raised sidewalk leading to the front door. Regrettably, there's no chance I'll build a pond full of irises (the native Iris hexagona would be nice, maybe with some spider lilies). Maybe gravel instead.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 15, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - I grew up without air conditioning, and 50 weeks a year this was no problem, but for two weeks a year it was miserable. I am sure you know all the tricks, but as a kid we used to put wet washcloths on our necks. Silly but effective.

I don't hold out much hope for those miners. I think they would have heard something. I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

janeweiner - you are probably right. Hand saws are a vanishing technology. But I think that's a shame. I own a beautiful combination handsaw, which I inherited from my grandfather. I believe it is older than I am. I use a cheap file to keep it sharp. It will cut through plywood and two-by-fours like buttah'. And when you factor on those pesky ER visits, it takes much less time to use than a circular saw.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Yuck at those plastic playhouses, RD. They're not opaque enough to be cool, and they smell.

You'd have spent better money on a tent.

My playhouse when I was 6 was a wooden crate that a neighbor had had a piano shipped in-- it was around 4'x4' and over one half of one side was taken off, allowing for a wide door and plenty of light. I had a table and chair in there, and nobody taller could come in without serious stoopage.

Later on, I stole the paint closet under the basement stairs for my own playroom and would draw on the unpainted drywall with crayons and such.

And also for years I also claimed the garage attic as my own play spot-- lots of old antique junk in there and I'd paint in there when it wasnt too hot and stuffy.

You can't do that stuff with a plastic playhouse.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I like handsaws, RD. They'll never vanish as a technology completely. But then, they probably said that about spears, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree Wilbrod. But you are under the quaint naive assumption that I had anything whatsoever to do with this decision other than to provide financial underwriting and manual labor.

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

all i'm gonna say is

i like turtles!

Posted by: mo | August 15, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

mo!! It's mo!! My joy is complete.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Story on dogs sniffing out cancer:

By the way, it's also possible dogs smell their own tumors and cancers. Golden retrievers and their mixes are to chewing their fur off-- and also prone to cancer.

My old dog had to be put to sleep due to a tumor on her back months after she chewed all the fur off the back.

I mentioned this to somebody whose dog was also chewing all his fur off due to a "flea allergy"-- like my old dog did, and they had to shave the dog.

When I heard it was a golden mix, I suggested checking for tumors etc. just in case... not that there was a known correlation. She did, and she found 3 large tumors-- shoulder, leg, butt the vet had missed before when his coat was so thick.

The dog now can't abide being handled and they're putting the dog to sleep soon because the dog is obviously in pain.

So PSA: be aware-- if your dog is getting aggressive in chewing a spot and the vet can't find anything... don't assume the dog is just neurotic.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the link-- DUH!

Hi, mo! Wilbrodog says he knows you've been sniffing at his website but wishes you would leave your mark ;). I try and explain, but...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I still know a hawk from a handsaw, and use the latter occasionally. I have an old one of my dad's that works really well (I have pretty much all his tools, along with miscellany that I don't really want to know about, and some old plumbing parts that I may sell for scrap soon, prices being what they are).

When I was a kid my dad promised to build me a real-live self-contained playhouse, with electricity and a door and windows and room for a table . . . well, he built it and liked it so much he put in a small garage-size door and turned it into a shop. When he built a bigger shop, we moved this one to my aunt's, and they still use it. The shop was cool, but I never got that playhouse.

Hi mo!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Please at all costs do not end up like Bush, wielding his chainsaw for the cameras blissfully unaware that the obvious lack of sharpness of his chainsaw teeth was an embarassment to all tool guys. The status arrives when you matter-of-factly change your completely dull circular saw blade for a new 24-tooth tungsten carbide tipped one, and say like Clint Eastwood, "let's go to work."

All the best chainsaw guys USE kickback. They know it intimately, and do things like cut with the top of the bar from underneath. Things that no amateur should attempt. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Breathing sawdust is not cool. Rig a fan, work with a breeze, whatever. Regarding hardware store guys, they see posers all day. Refresh them by being one "who knows not, but knows that he knows not." They are supposed to see you as a student, and teach.

Greenspan routinely gets blamed approximately 19 months after his advice is ignored. I recall he definitely warned about the housing bubble. Do they listen?

I think I would like to download the entire wikipedia for when I'm not connected. I take it all with grains of salt. In fact, my grains of wikipedia salt are peer reviewed. Are yours?

Mudge has like Mr. Phelps, accepted his mission. Let us wish him Godspeed. He is, after all, the man. With shoulder corsage.

Sounds like the girls need "stud locators." Purchased at the hardware store, when ladies need to hang pictures, the stud locator will work.

And who the heck knows anymore how to sharpen a "regular" saw?

I think dogs can also be trained to diagnose schizophrenia by aroma..

Posted by: Jumper | August 15, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know of a schizophrenic whose service dog helps her detect her dopamine levels getting too high in time to take medications to control it. She has no idea how her dog does it, but she's really grateful for it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this right. I want to hang up some shelves, I get out my trusty-dusty stud locator, and a fabulous man walks into the room offering his assistance? Cool!

Posted by: LostInThought | August 15, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I can envision a dog named Freud, who diagnoses his patients by sniffing them.

Posted by: Jumper | August 15, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Lost In Thought, that's about the way it usually goes. Keep in mind that the guy who offers to help is just as fascinated with the fact that you own a stud locator as any other facet of your being. It can, after all, be a sort of letdown.

Posted by: Jumper | August 15, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"#3 would be perfectly happy just letting objects fall randomly to the floor to accumulate in large piles, which is exactly how her room looks."

A girl after my own heart, Mudge (although I can hang up a shelf.)

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Freud actually used his chow-chows to help him detect anxiety in his patients. They'd be at the patient's feet when the person was relaxed, but the minute the patient started getting tense, even if the person was masking it, the chow-chow'd be across the room from the patient.

Now, a professionally trained dog that does alert to anxiety should NOT be getting the &*^*& out of Dodge, but instead be touching or cuddling and otherwise signalling the person directly.

That's not so typical for most dogs to do.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Playhouses-I had one in NoVA, though Mr. F insisted on calling it my garden shed. Alas, sold with the house. I shall build a garden folly here one day.

We lived three idyllic years in a Newport News neighborhood, walking distance from a park with a lake. The neighbors to one side had built a play house above part of the dad's workshop, to their rear were the neighbors with 5 kids, a trampoline and a tree fort, and we had an enormous weeping willow. Each summer we set aside our kickball and football rivalries and all worked together to build "the raft." Talk of the raft kept us busy all winter, even while we slid down an ersatz zip line from the tree fort (double broken arms for one lucky kid) or whipped each other red with willow switches in battles to save the playhouse from marauders. About this time in August some parent would demand the removal of the raft from the driveway, so it would be loaded on some long suffering dad's car and promptly sunk in Lake Maury. Once the raft was sunk it was time to go school shoe shopping and put real life on hold for another school year.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

CBS reports that the death toll in the truck bombings in Iraq may be closer to 500 than 250.

Here's the Post story:

Like other recent, large-scale bombing attacks, Tuesday's took place in an area with a relatively small military presence. Since the United States sent an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq this year, insurgents have increasingly targeted areas outside military control. Last month, a bombing near the city of Kirkuk -- another northern city that did not receive additional troops -- killed about 150 people.

The Yazidis are an ancient group whose faith combines elements of many historical religions of the region. They worship a peacock archangel and are considered Satanists by some Muslims and Christians in Iraq, a characterization they reject.

Yazidis largely live apart from other Iraqis, in villages near the Syrian border, to maintain religious purity, and they are forbidden to fraternize with other groups. Most Yazidis speak Kurdish but object to being called Kurds.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 15, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

All the foofaraw about Iran neglects to suggest some negotiation with the Council of Experts, their hybridization of a supreme court and legislative/executive branch. One gets the sense that some Americans are not even in favor of us learning how Iran works. Nevertheless, Iran has their form of government and we would do well to recognize reality.

Posted by: Jumper | August 15, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet that the Yazidis drive Husquvarna MX bikes. Like mad.

Posted by: jack | August 15, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

LiT, if you stud locator who comes to your house is wearing a taffeta dress and a should corsage, just go with it and try not to giggle too much as he puts your shelves up. (Some stud locators are pretty sensitive, which often goes unappreciated.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to consider these attacks part of an insurgency against American occupation. Nor can I interpret this as a battle in some kind of civil war. This is a religious vendetta of the kind that thrives in the absence of a powerful central authority. And I fear it isn't the last.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I agree with the majority here. I see 'Mudge not in taffeta with corsage, but more a simple, classic silk gown and stole and court shoes. A diamond pendant would do nicely. The hair should definitely be up, though.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but not too low cut. There is a fine line between being perky and being tacky.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The stole (if furry and grey-white) would coordinate nicely with Mudge's haircut.

But silk for a sailor? Nope. Bright blue velvet for evening wear, nothing else.

Also, I want to point out as a world-traveler who has a touch for fashion and a occasionally young heart, he'd opt for a blue, ankle-length version of this jute-dress pant combo for causal wear as he puts up shelves...

I can see Mudge looking jaunty in this pose already. And this goes well with either boots or sandals, which suits him well on the beach or when dancing hornpipes.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, do you mean a stud finder is like a divining rod...could be a puddle, could be the Pacific?

And yes, I'd just 'go with it.' Especially if I could get him to fix the bathroom sink stopper while he's here.

Yoki, I up. And strapless probably isn't best either (you know how they stay up). Understated elegance is more his style.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Hah! You made me snort Prosecco, Wilbrod.

The stole is also silk, not fur.

I brought a couple of Lucknow embroidered cotton shalwar kameez back from India on my last trip. Truly, in hot weather, they are the *best* clothes. I feel it is cultural appropriation to wear them in public, so only wear them at home after work or on weekends (and I don't know how to drape the paloo properly, so wouldn't wear them anywhere else) but my, do I love them?

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I shamelessly wear Indian clothes, Yoki.

They're my best dresses; although since I moved up north its very rare for me to wear my indian clothes because its so rural here. In the city, nobody cares, although I get approached by Indian tourists more ;).

I've always loved dresses with pants-- they solve many pantyhose and shoe issues. Panted dresses are common in many cultures, including China.

Now if I was wearing saris and sarongs to work, that's another story, because you just know coworkers are taking bets on if you'll come unwrapped ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Have we got tools. When "S" and I moved in together our combined total of tools was amazing. We have about 40 screwdrivers, two hedge trimmers, three cordless drills and at least two regular ones, two or three different electric sanders, assorted hammers, pliers of all types and lots of stuff I don't know the names of. "S" also has a table saw, and some other saws and two chain saws (which he knows how to use). We have hand saws galore, most of mine belonged to my Dad. I like tools, at least the smaller ones that I can manage myself and I have my very own tool belt too.

The saws are getting a workout tonight. We were connected to the sewer today and because the pipe had to run around the cellar from the back to the front right under the cellar door, the stairs have to be reworked. I can hear sawing as I type this. The front lawn is half destroyed from the trench digging and the back yard has some torn up patches where the septic tank was located. We will spend September growing new grass.

This has been a very entertaining Boodle. I keep thinking about Mudge in his outfit and it reminds me of the strapless corset contraption I wore under my junior prom dress. It looked like something out of Gone With the Wind and was about as comfortable. Thank heavens we don't have to wear all those undergarments anymore.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 15, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers reminds me of the underwear obsessions of my mother's generation. My Mum was shocked, shocked! Indeed, *scandalized,* when she learned that I, on turning 30, had no Playtex Long-Line Girdle in my wardrobe and never planned to remedy the oversight.

To be fair, those older women really keep up the standards. My mother would never dream of being seen in public without makeup and stockings and a coat outdoors. I admire them for it, while not aspiring to such self-consciousness myself.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

The only power tool I got to use tonight was the electric coffee grinder. Good thing too, I was awake enough to finally organize the garden pictures. Bonus: pictures of the Puppy (the claret hound) and of the old giant black lab.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 15, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

So..what are we talking about here, Yoki, the Princess Di look? Because I could get behind that, and not a few people have noted a generaly resemblance between us.

Simple, yet elegant. Yes...I can see me in that. And yes, just a hint of perky.

For apres-ski, though Wilbrod has a point about the sailor look. I'm thinking 14-oz. canvas, perhaps a shift or jumper outfit cut from the blown-out mizzen staysail of a Dutch herring buss, which will bring with it its own special smell of the sea...and of course dead herring.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

The area of Peru where I do field work has been hit by 4 earthquakes in the last hour--hope everyone's OK.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking Denizen, the picture of the puppy and the old giant black lab touched my heart.

I have a series of pictures of Yeoman the BMD lying next to Tod the Dog (part spaniel, part under-achiever) from the age of 8 weeks to 1 year. Yeoman starts out as the baby pup, and gradually morphs from small baby to calf and then giraffe, while Tod slowly shrinks in comparison. Very sweet.

They always lay down together in the same configuration in my home office when I was an independent consultant, and so one could, if so inclined, make a .gif file that would turn the stills into a movie of Yeoman getting larger and larger and larger and Tod getting older and smaller and smaller by the minute.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Exactly like Di, 'Mudge, but with a touch of Audrey-Hepburn-as-Eliza-Doolittle-at-the-Embassy-Ball; the swan-like neck, the enchanting innocence, the perfect cheekbones. Does that work for you?

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki, stockings and pumps, never slacks or (horrors!) a pantsuit for business attire. My older daughter sometimes affects stiletto heels with pointed toes, just like I remember my mother wearing. Even though I'm five feet on my tall days (we don't discuss height on my less-than-tall days), I've never worn high heels.

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'd love to see those pictures!

Shrieking, I echo Yoki. The 2 pups together, a picture of perfect trust.

Here, Cutter's back leg ACL injury is back. He'll do fine, then reinjure it because he just can't sit still once it's feeling better. If he were my Aunt Emma, we'd be having long and serious discussions with him about using the walker at all times (he'd be ignoring me, as she did). His spirits remain high, though, and I still can't put him through the surgery/recovery at his age. I know he'd rip off a brace. This is 1 dog that it's difficult to out-stubborn.

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking, great pictures. I love the one of the Peace Rose, I used to have some of those, they are beautiful flowers.

Mom, in her later years, began wearing pants more often but still had many skirts and dresses in her wardrobe. She also always wore hose that required garters. I think because she was very small, she could never find pantyhose that fit her properly. Styles have sure changed through the years. I remember wondering when I was in my twenties, if I'd be too old to wear jeans when I hit forty.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 15, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, without heels isn't it difficult to get toe cleavage? :-)

Yoki, check out Shaw if you get a chance.

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, I took a picture of the Peace flower because the plant doesn't have long to live. I believe it is positively ancient, older than Mudge maybe. However, I know of a supplier of old roses in Nova Scotia, so the plant will get replaced. Peace is one that the roses that Jap Beetles are leaving mostly alone. They devour all the Rugosa/5petals type with gusto, the creeps. They killed my Ballerina and Madame Poitevin, the jerks.
Yoki, I'm taking pictures of the dogs sleeping together on a regular basis. Then I'll make The Story of the Incredibly Shrinking Black Dog photo montage.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 15, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

SD is your clematis Wisley? Such a blue, blue, true blue with hardly any purple in it.

Sigh. The triangle-pyramid of copper is elegant.

I was thinking more of the pumbing pipe forced into such duty. Yours is lovely and I frenvy it.

Doggies. What can I say but ahhhhhh.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

We got through an earthquake and a hurricane (which has dissipated into just about nothing but humidity) and are dealing with a big brush fire on Oahu - all within the last three days. About a half hour ago, we get a tsunami advisory. There was a 7+ earthquake in Peru about two hours ago and now the Hawaiian Islands are on alert in case it's generated a tsunami. So far, no sign of one yet but if one were to occur, they say it could reach us by 2:14 a.m. HST. How they get that precise, I don't know.

We must have pissed off the gods good out here in the Pacific Ocean.

Thanks, Cassandra, for your thoughts and concern. I appreciate it. Also, I really liked your letter to the editor. Great job!

Posted by: Aloha | August 15, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Tsunami advisory for Hawaii, Aloha.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I see you already knew.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's a big earthquake. Timing is everything, Dooley. Aloha, hope you can get to high ground (or are there already).

SD, great pictures. I love the zucchini captions. The daylilies are gorgeous. I'm so glad we don't have Japanese beetles here - I remember how awful they were in PA. I had forgotten that Nelson had problems with them. *waving at Nelson*

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 15, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I concur. Think of the ACL as a large marine-type rope (I know, I know, *line* or *sheet*) made up of many tightly twisted smaller hemp threads. When the old boys run around, they fray the rope, without breaking it completely. Individual little hemp threads snap and dangle, but the structure is still in place.

In those cases, for older canines, I prefer rest and pain control. The costs/benefits to the elderly dog of major surgery and recovery just don't add up in favour of surgery.

Kiss Cutter for me. Tell him that you still love him even if he isn't allowed to go on the long walks for a bit.

Honestly, for the really elderly dog, I concentrate more on quality of life than quantity. Better to let them be themselves, doing doggy things that bring them pleasure, and then euthanize when they fall apart, than to selfishly put them through the mill just to have a few more months or weeks of their company.

Not that I am predicting the end of Cutter! Not at all. But surgery is hard, and recovery is harder. Gotta think about what is best for our old friends.

I will search out those pictures of Tod and Yeoman and put them up in the other place.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

The treillis is made of regular M plumbing pipe CP. The connections are made with flattened tube. The only non-plumbing part is the copper sheeting used to make the top pyramid. The ball on top is made with Pb/Sn solder, another plumbing supply.
The brother-in-law is an accomplished handyman, he built his own house. He is an architect and high school teacher as well...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 15, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Been a busy afternoon, catching up on the Boodle.

Couple of quick comments:

Mudge, I just know you bought one of those Elvira action figures, and I know you dig her with the tool in her hand. Also, remind me to name my next race car Mira (300,000 miles an hour, not bad), paint it red and wear a long scarf when driving it. I'm sure that when you go out all dolled up, people will tell you that you look just like Audrey Hepburn.

I'll hang shelves or work with power tools in my Gladiator outfit, but I won't weld that way, since a little spatter a: burns like mad when it contacts bare skin, and b: I'm concerned it might ignite the olive oil I'm covered with. I don't own a stud finder, I'm a Gladiator, dammit! Don't need one.

Hey, I used to ride a Husky dirt bike back in the day...

Re. the bombings in Been a busy afternoon, catching up on the Boodle.

Couple of quick comments:

Mudge, I just know you bought one of those Elvira action figures, and I know you dig her with the tool in her hand. Also, remind me to name my next race car Mira (300,000 miles an hour, not bad), paint it red and wear a long scarf when driving it. I'm sure that when you go out all dolled up, people will tell you that you look just like Audrey Hepburn.

I'll hang shelves or work with power tools in my Gladiator outfit, but I won't weld that way, since a little spatter a: burns like mad when it contacts bare skin, and b: I'm concerned it might ignite the olive oil I'm covered with. I don't own a stud finder, I'm a Gladiator, dammit! Don't need one.

Hey, I used to ride a Husky dirt bike back in the day...

Re. the horrible truck bombings in Yazidi Iraq: I'm reading the Qur'an at the moment, and there is much in the second Sura about life, and marriage, and war and retailiation (and a lot of other stuff, it's kind of like the biblical book of Leviticus in that way), and assuring that military actions and retaliations against ememies are appropriate and measured. Somehow, I don't understand how giant truck bombs that kill hundreds of people are an appropriate response to anything I'm aware of in that part of Iraq.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree.

I have a good friend who keeps her cats alive far longer than I would. When I had Lucie pts last year, after it became clear that her quality of life was suddenly bad and only going to get worse, I was hoping she wouldn't say anything negative to me about it because I wasn't in any shape to deal with that. I was surprised when she said, "I wish I had the guts to do that."

Posted by: dbG | August 15, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

hey... that earthquake in Peru wouldn't have been near Lima, would it? My brother and sis-in-law and their boys are there.

Off to check world news...

Posted by: martooni | August 15, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, they were all within about 100 miles of Lima. There is some damage there, and phone and cell service is apparently down. No reports yet of any deaths or serious injuries.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll do a bit of research on the clematis CP. I usually tape the labels in the gardening book, I should be able to find which one it is. We lost a few due to the soil type (an alkaline soil not favourable to clematis arounf here) so I cheated and planted that one over a rotting sugar maple stump, ensuring an acidic soil.
To make a link to the kit, the sugar maple was the first giant hardwood tree I fell and cut into manageable pieces with the 13" chainsaw. Quite an ordeal I will not repeat anymore, although I have done it a couple of times again after that. But since the local tree guys ask from $750-1200$ per large tree for disposal I'll keep on doing my own, I'll just use a borrowed saw.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 15, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed the comment about Elvira. When I was in college I remember seeing outtakes of Elvira destroying a pumpkin with a chainsaw. Very funny stuff.

Also, somewhere in the back of my mind I also remember seeing Elvira, the Stray Cats, and Merv Griffin on some program together. This would have been circa 1984. When dinosaurs ruled the earth.

I'm pretty sure no power tools were involved.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Dang, I see I BOOed with my Mudge as Audrey Hepburn comment, too.

That earthquake in Peru sounds bad.

And now a tsunami advisory for Hawaii, I'm worried to ask what's going to happen out there next.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking Denizen, your hosta look exactly the way my hosta are supposed to look. Mine do not. Look like that.

You are a real master gardener!

I grow day lilies, also. This year they did not bloom as they have in the past. Am trying to decide if is just due to a dry year, or what. They do not look particularly crowded, as yet.

Posted by: nellie | August 15, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, we both see 'Mudge as an Audrey Hepburn type. We are discerning connoisseurs of human pulchritude, n'est pas?

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

The vision of Curmudgeon as Audrey Hepburn blasted the Boodle. Sorry, 'Mudge.

Good night imaginary friends and comrades.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, are you of an age, as am I, to remember travelling by air all dressed up - including hat and little white gloves? There are some fashions I do not regret passing, and those are among them.

Ah, Mudge! Midnight blue velvet in a svelte sheath, with pearls. You look divine.

Posted by: Slyness | August 15, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I even have a black and white photograph of myself, age 3, getting on my very first flight in 1960 wearing... a hat, white tights, short white cotton gloves, Mary Janes and a pretty frock. Toronto to Edmonton.

5 years later I attended my second-cousin's wedding wearing much the same.

2 years after that we dressed up for the trans-Atlantic flight to our new home in Switzerland.

After that, the standards fell until now, it is a matter of survival. What won't set off the scanners? What is easiest to take off in the event of a strip search?

I am nostalgic for the days when air travel really meant something other than harassment and inconvenience.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Greetings to the late night boodlers across the time zones. Hello to Kim, who is in the time zone, but sometimes boodles. No moonflowers tonight, but I see at least four blooms in the wings. Wings make me think of Birdie, she of the scepter of Denver. Think on TBG who I believe will be without a boy in the house.

Take care Aloha and all the others who may, this night, contend with water.

We need some here. From our mouths to God's ears....

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you done good.

Posted by: YOki | August 15, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

And, this codicil to Yoki and Slyness. I adored the dear little purses of that era. I had a red patent leather one, with a little latch that clicked. Loved that sound; would latch it over and over and over.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Good night noises, everywhere. RD, are those bunnies in bed?

PoodleParkian needs one last trip to the yard. She hopes that bunny smells will be in the usual spots.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 15, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

5 feet, Slyness? You're a giraffe. Why would you ever wear heels?

As for me, heels would just make me hit my head on everything that I forget I'm no longer short enough to walk under... and I have lousy ducking reflexes compared to taller people.

I once hit my head hard on a taxi door frame because "duck" wasn't in my motor skill set for going through car doors.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

First, take care, Aloha. I'm glad the hurricane fizzled and the tropical storm didn't overtake you. I hope the tsunami will be similarly anticlimactic -- and watch out for that fire.

And now --

drumroll pls... The Great Ivinskya!!!
is starting yet another year of so called "school" or as my friends like 2 call it unwilling confinement. This year i'm going to 6th grade... yey. The joy and such chaos of class and H/W and other strange text and heres anothR one- we call text small tiny letters that teachers expect us to read clearly. By this point u r probly laughing . THIS IS NO LAUGHING MATTER. I have to spend another year stuck at a "desk" or small space in which we are demanded to work! we r not adults this is our time to do the most amazing things!!! BUT HOW CAN WE DO THIS TRAPPED IN A SMALL SPACE?! This is an issue my friends and i have a solution 2 we r going to go on strike! as soon as we figure out how to and the right time and alot of other stuff that i dont want 2 take the time with. but it will happen... well enough strangeness 4 2night time 2 go to bed... or as i like to call it dark strange solitary confinement. CHOW! g2g

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 15, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

LOL! I'm imagining Wilbrod and me walking down the street together. Mutt and Jeff doesn't begin to describe the mental pictures.

Our dogs, though, are roughly the same size.

And with that, dear friends, I bid you adieu to the morrow.

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, just remember: anarchists can be pronounced 'anarchists' and "good minds like a think."

Posted by: Yoki | August 15, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking D-I really frenvy your whole garden, but the delphie most of all. I shall swipe the copper trellis idea next spring.

I know what set off the tropical storm, earthquake, tsunami, fire chain of events- I have at long last RIPE tomatoes. Ate 2 today, will eat 4 tomorrow. I'm not going to can or freeze any of the little buggers, just gorge until frost.

G'night boodle. I'm at a total loss for ideas about the best course of action in Iraq. Not a big deal since I'm not involved in the decision making. The problem is that I believe the decision makers aren't in any better shape.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 15, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Not to flog my favorite dead horse any more, but I put together a rebuttal to Pinatel's suspicious numbers.

This is the last I will bore or anger you on this topic. I just thought that phoney numbers floating around some very sharp minds would have caused greater umbrage.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Tsunami advisory has been canceled. They say there may be changes in sea level at 2:14 a.m. but no tsunami. Not that I'm gonna stay up and wait to see what those changes are.

The fire is about 25% contained and is burning in the Waianae mountain range which is sparsely populated. A rancher has lost over $150,000 in feed, fences, water lines and maybe some cattle, but otherwise, no major casualties. It's just a very stubborn fire that the FD can't manage to put out. The hope was that Flossie would bring enough rain to distinguish the blaze but she has petered out to just a light drizzle.

Thanks to all for your concern. With all that's happened, I think only locusts and plague are left, right? Well, better to have near misses than direct hits I guess.

Posted by: Aloha | August 15, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I got "mutt and jeff" a lot in high school, Yoki. My regular lunch pal then was a skinny 6 foot boy (who is now a much happier woman).

I think Wilbrodog is the perfect Mutt to my Jeff now, although he's been getting a little chunkier lately.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Just back from the days events, it seems I missed a very amusing day on the boodle.

Martooni hope your family is safe, we heard the news of the earthquake on the drive home tonight.

Shriek great photos, hopefully my garden will look as nice as yours when it matures and if we ever get rain here.

Yoki, I too remember having to dress up to fly and I remember a particular Easter Bonnet that I was forced to wear one year, the elastic under my chin drove me nuts the entire time, it is extremely rare that I wear any hat now.

Well had my first fishing tournament experience, actually first fishing experience too, managed to catch about 5 or 6 fish, they were small we finished last but got a lovely parting gift for it :-).

TBG how are you?

Posted by: dmd | August 15, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Chipping in briefly to say I enjoyed Joel's kit and other health-related news. I would enjoy all else but I am knee-deep in barcodes. And it keeps raining here, every late-afternoon. It is looking somewhat tropical. Hmmmmm. Cassandra, relief is coming.

Posted by: birdie | August 15, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh backboodling... Cassandra, your comments on hunger and how it contributes to obesity is so true. I was reading a very good book on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment-- worth reading because it details how it developed, who volunteered and why, etc.

Anyway so many of the symptoms the men mainfested under starvation conditions, I did find all too familiar.

We are still studying how the body controls hunger, how fullness is signalled, how the body goes into panic mode, and so many things, that the answers won't be found for a few years more.

All I know is when I am with my skinny friends, I am often astounded at how often they eat.

I remember a doctor once saying to his thin patients who ate and ate and couldn't gain, that if they wanted to gain weight, they should go on a diet for a week.

They'd come back and complain, "Doctor, we lost weight!!"

"Now you can eat all you want, but careful-- you might gain far more than you intended." He usually was right; they'd gain 5 pounds the next week and keep gaining.

Is going hungry once in a lifetime for a week enough to make a person fast-track to obesity? How can this be reversed?
What makes a person anorexic?

How do we manage our body's set weightpoints, and how do we change that downwards?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Glad you are out of the woods, Aloha.

I find the persistance of weight set points very frustrating. I blame our obesity epidemic on New Coke. I'll let you connect the dots.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I found an article on the very point you raised:

Also a key point about distribution of healthy food to poor neighborhoods... so true.

The leptin connection between hunger and obesity...

Apparently weight loss (fasting against will) can help reduce the problem. Easier said than done, as long as the refrigator has food... ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt... umm, not MY obesity epidemic. I can't stand the taste of any coke products. Even coke zero gets lukewarm reviews from me.

Instead, I blame Dr. Pepper for nutritional malpractice.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmm maybe the foraging pattern is healthier, especially if you exercise for your food...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I just got an email from one of my friends in Lima. Apparently things in Lima are not bad, only minor damage and a few injuries.

South of Lima, in Ica, things are much worse. At least 17 were killed there when a church collapsed, and local television is reporting that some of the farming villages in Ica region were almost completely destroyed. The Panamerican highway is closed due to landslides.

Posted by: Dooley | August 15, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, Curmudgeon, your 8:56...picturing your oft-described physique in a Lady Di outfit. Well... :-)

Posted by: birdie | August 15, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you cad...

The drumbeats are getting louder WRT the Iranian conundrum. The administrations declarations and posturing are reminiscent of the run up to Cheney's quagmire:

On this cheery note, I bid you goodnight...goodnight...goodnight...

Posted by: jack | August 16, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

But, before I retire for the night, wish me luck. For on the morrow, I must brandish my trusty Porter-Cable circular saw and some Liqid nails to transform a ruddy chalkboard (the so-called blackboard that is really Masonite clad in flat green paint, not the cool slate kind) and a bulletin board into a gleaming expanse of dry erase board in my wife's room. It's open house and we must put on our best face. Strapless, with the hair up, in my case.

Posted by: jack | August 16, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Just figured I'd post something uplifting after jack's comment

Posted by: shek | August 16, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Aloha, I am glad you are safe. I hope there isn't much damage from all the weather you folks have been through. Thanks for the comments.

Mudge, perky is a word that when I think about it in connection with you, I can't help but laugh. I hope you don't mind.


Why in the world would the WashPost write a story about Ethan Hawke and that dribble he sprouts? I mean did they want for a story? And with the picture no doubt. In the piece they quote him in describing how he gets women, and he uses the "a" word quite loosely. And he's trying to justify being ........., and I leave you to fill in the blank. Does someone really care what this used to be actor thinks? And not a good actor at that.

I'm up so early this morning. Had a bad acid reflux episode yesterday. Did not go to church last night. It is so hard eating small meals all during the course of the day. A fat person does not want to be seen eating all day long. I ate a full course meal, and I should not have tried that. Boy, did it come back and bite with a vengence.

Have a great day, folks. It is still hot here, but whose complaining? That crowd of mine is back, and g-girl brought Grandma some shells from the beach. She was knocked out when she got here, hasn't woke up once. The grandsons went too.

Ivansmom, my grandsons are in the sixth grade this year also. They're going to a magnet school. I don't know the difference in magnet schools and regular schools? Plus it is an inner-city school. I hope they like it. If everything works out, I hope to check it out before they start.

Scotty, take it from here. Morning, Slyness, Mudge, and all.*waving*

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 16, 2007 3:58 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Morning, Cassandra. I occasionally get acid reflux, too, and it can sometimes be serious, so don't fool around with it. Tell your doctor. And maybe try an over-the-counter med called Prilosec.

And if my general perkinese has made you laugh, then I've accomplished my mission.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 16, 2007 6:10 AM | Report abuse

SCCC: Meant perkiness. Perkinese is a small dog from the Brooklyn section of Hong Kong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 16, 2007 6:12 AM | Report abuse

*raising a hand from a sea of work to give an overdue Grover wave*

I'll check in when I can, and backBoodle as soon as possible...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 16, 2007 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody. Hi, Cassandra!

Being in a magnet school is a good thing, Cassandra. It means the school has a focus on something (academics, communications, foreign languages, arts, International Bacchalareate, etc) that gives the kids an extra push. My younger child went to an IB magnet in middle school; she didn't like it, but what child likes middle school anyway? What's the focus of your grandsons' school?

Today's the day for Son of G, I'll be thinking about him all day. Move-in day for freshmen: the first day of a new life!

Today is the day my new dishwasher is to be installed, yay! Three weeks ago, I got around to replacing the 15 year old refrigerator, with the result that the 6.5 year old dishwasher died last week. Rather than repair the unit, which I never particularly liked, we decided to replace it. The appliance salesperson at Lowe's now knows me by name.

Posted by: Slyness | August 16, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A busy day ahead of me, but I'm checking in to say hi.

Dooley, thanks for the update from Lima, hopefully martooni will hear from his people down there soon and know that all is well for them.

A thought: I wonder if we read all the seismographs all over the world over the past couple of weeks (which have been quite busy from manmade and natural activity) and correlated the input into a timeline, I wonder if it would tell us anything. Might be as simple as morse code, saying something like "ALL OF THIS WORLD IS YOURS TO USE EXCEPT THE ARCTIC SEA FLOOR. ATTEMPT NO FURTHER LANDINGS THERE. USE THE WORLD TOGETHER. USE IT IN PEACE. OR ELSE. AND I'M NOT KIDDING" or, "CHENEY'S NEXT."


Posted by: bc | August 16, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to all for the compliments on the garden but I must say that Mrs. Denizen is responsible for most flowering things. I do the green stuff such as hostas, trees and shrubbery (I'm a shrubber then!), peonies, the vegetable garden and the digging chores but flower planting, weeding and stuff is her territory.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 16, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

New kit! (Actually a faux kit.)

Posted by: Raysmom | August 16, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company