Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Velociraptors and Hobbits; Plus, Study Says Studies Aren't True

Such interesting science news today! For example: Velociraptor had feathers. I'll try to find a link for it, but basically the research is based on little bumps on the velociraptor bones that are signs of plumage. New Scientist is all over the news:

'The scientists spotted the telltale bumps, to which feather quills attach, while re-examining Velociraptor bones unearthed in Mongolia in 1998. They say that the findings add to a body of evidence that feathers evolved for some purpose besides flight as Velociraptors were too big to lift off the ground.'

Probably for show, those feathers. Sexual competition. The velociraptors didn't just eat sneaky schemers, they also peacocked around, trying to get attention. A bunch of lounge lizards, they were.

'Turner suggests that feathers might have evolved to insulate body heat instead of to enable the dinosaurs to fly. It is also possible that Velociraptor used its feathers to manoeuvre while running or for mating display, he adds.'

Meanwhile, an analysis of the wrist bones of the "Hobbit" remains found on the island of Flores supports the thesis that this was an entirely separate species of human. New Scientist has that, too:

'The tiny, human-like creature living and using tools in Indonesia just 18,000 years ago really was a distinct species, not just a malformed modern human.

'That is the clear implication of a new study of the so-called "hobbit". It states that the creature had wrist bones almost identical to those found in early hominids and modern chimpanzees, and so must have diverged from the human lineage well before the origin of modern humans and Neanderthals.'

Newsweek has more, including a Q&A with the study's author:

What does this say about human evolution?
'It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief that our species, Homo sapiens, has had the Earth to ourselves for tens of thousands of years. It makes us realize how much more complicated our recent evolutionary history is. Before the hobbit was found, we thought that for the last 30,000 years or so, we'd been alone in the world, and that all the other earlier hominid forms that we see in the fossil record between one and 3 million years ago had died out. Now we know that not all of those lineages went extinct prior to one million years ago, and some lived all the way up to present time.'

The BBC site has lots of links to other Hobbit stories.

[The velociraptor and Hobbit reports are both in the latest issue of the journal Science.]


Speaking of science: This is a fascinating piece by Robert Lee Hotz, a science writer I've long admired (years ago when I judged a science contest and helped give him the award, but I can't remember what it was -- the AGU Walter Sullivan Award, maybe?). Hotz writes about medical scholar John Ioannidis, who believes that many scientific findings are exaggerated, at best. (As a nationally recognized Arbiter of Truth, I've long been pushing people to be more cautious in accepting the claims of "experts," especially those with grandiose titles like Arbiter of Truth.)

' These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. "There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims," Dr. Ioannidis said. "A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true."

'The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.'

You can read Dr. Ioannidis's study here. Great title: "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False."

I fear it's tough slogging. I can barely understand a word of it. But some of the sub-heads are pretty clear, such as: Claimed Research Findings May Often Be Simply Accurate Measures of the Prevailing Bias.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 20, 2007; 9:15 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hillary-Bashing Tryouts
Next: The Mind: It's All In Your Head


Sure Joel, you posted a new kit just to get omni off the thought of thong wearing Canuckistanis.

Boy if this dollar parity keeps up for a week or two, I might be able to afford Great Falls for the curling chamionship next come winter.

Posted by: dr | September 20, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

No need to thank me Omni.

Dooley, what is your blog link again? If you are out there. I don't know what happened to my bookmark for it.

Posted by: dr | September 20, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the Pythons aren't around anymore:

"Beautiful plumage on that velociraptor!"

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

So is this Google Ad keying off the "Hobbit" item or the false findings item?

Biblical Adam, First Man
Adam, first man per Bible records, archaeology dates him to 14,000 BP

Oh, and I didn't know British Petroleum was now a unit of time.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 20, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Feathers on the velociraptor: So should we believe this scientific claim or not?

Maybe the 'raptor just happened to have goosebumps at the exact time it was struck dead. And the goosebumps left the feather-like imprint.

Posted by: hoosier | September 20, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Your Mileage May Vary, or:
Everything is Relative, as Einstein put it.

BTW, I watched most of Seeing in the Dark last night, and enjoyed the heck out of it. I'm going to record and rewatch it with the kids this weekend.

More on this later.


Posted by: bc | September 20, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The Dooley Blog:

I keep a list of blogging Boodlers in my sidebar. Let me know if you aren't on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 20, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Canuckistani thong wearers for the ladies:

Dan Aykroyd
Raymond Burr
John Candy
Jim Carrey
Thomas Chong
James Doohan
David Foley
Michael J. Fox
Brendan Fraser
Matt Frewer
Robert Goulet
Graham Greene
Lorne Greene
Phil Hartman
Michael Ironside
Eugene Levy
Howie Mandel
Rick Moranis
Mike Myers
John Neville
Leslie Nielsen
Matthew Perry
Walter Pidgeon
Christopher Plummer
Jason Priestley
Keanu Reeves
William Shatner
Martin Short
Donald Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland
Alan Thicke
Joseph Wiseman

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Surely if velociraptors had feathers they'd have been shown that way in *Jurassic Park!*

Posted by: dbG | September 20, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Annoyingly, Science's new issue won't be available online for another two hours (5 pm Eastern time).

Feathery dinos have been popping up for a while now. Pre-birds, it seems they were.

The hobbit finding sounds spectacular. Now if only someone could find a thousand year old mini-mastodon on Santa Catalina Island.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 20, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I thought "Seeing in the Dark" was excellent. It would be great to see it in HD, too. Unfortunately all I have is a regular set.

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The thought of seeing Raymond Burr or Lorne Greene in a thong terrifies me.

Posted by: CowTown | September 20, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Howie Mandel did a thong bit at one point...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 20, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

It's Robert Goulet that does it for me Cowtown. He's alive but still...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 20, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused...the velociraptor used the feathers to attract a mate? Like this?

Maybe they're extinct because they didn't realize you aren't supposed to *wear* the feather.

Posted by: LostInThought | September 20, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

William Shatner for me....ACK! I've got to go find a picture of Christian Bale to erase the mental picture.

Posted by: Kim | September 20, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

A dozen or more computers running almost continuously since 1989 has solved checkers. Proving that if both sides play perfectly the game will always end in a draw.

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Christian Bale is Welsh. If you want to see him in a thong your best bet is the south of France not Florida.

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey LiT!! *good-to-see-ya Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 20, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse


You forgot Neil Young.

Or maybe you didn't.....

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

And what the hay am doing still at work. Tchau till tomorrow.

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Back at ya S'nuke. Just lurking, looking for a laugh, and found plenty (even though some of the thong images need mind-bleach).

Posted by: LostInThought | September 20, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My lists were limited to actresses and actors.

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the flat-earth bunch doesn't read much. I can envision it now: "So it's TRUE! Anything for which there is evidence IS false!"

Posted by: Mobedda | September 20, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd put my money on Leslie Nielsen

Posted by: omni | September 20, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I had exactly the same thought as your 3:09. Does this new discovery mean they are going to have to recall Jurrasic park and make a new one? This just proves what I've been sayin': ya just can't trust a Hollywood movie to get the facts right. Next thing ya know they'll be telling us the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz were really pre-hominid Hobbits, and should have been shown with big hairy feet. And that poor, misunderstood, much-maligned Margaret Hamilton was only a peace-loving Wiccan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 20, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Ah. Okay, omni.

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Renewed Home Page alert.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 20, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Just spent the last hour training two new high school interns to work in our lab. The local high school has a community service requirement, much to our benefit since we can't afford to hire a technician.

Feathered Velociraptor--that is SO 5 minutes ago! For example, there is this famous dromaeosaur specimen from China that was on exhibit at my museum earlier this year:

(For reference, the Dromaeosauridae is the dinosaur family that includes Velociraptor.) The thinking now is that all the dromaeosaurs had feathers, and there have even been suggestions that they are secondarily flightless (not sure I buy into that one.)

It is nice to have the Velociraptor feathers confirmed, though.

The hobbit stuff is pretty intriguing. There has been a raging, inconclusive debate about whether it is a real species, or a microcephalic Homo sapiens. This new paper is the latest salvo. Both sides have made very strong points. It will be interesting to see how it turns out, assuming it can be resolved.

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Much better title, Joel. That will really drag in the eyeballs.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 20, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the level of truthiness in publications, this article by Peter Lawrence is relevant:

Peter A. Lawrence
Current Biology 17(5): 583-585

A pdf of the article is available here:

Here is an excerpt:

"The journals are evaluated according to impact factors, and scientists and departments assessed according to the impact factors of the journals they publish in. Consequently, over the last twenty years a scientist's primary aim has been downgraded from doing science to producing papers and contriving to get them into the "best" journals they can. Now there is a new trend: the idea is to rank scientists by the numbers of citations their papers receive. Consequently, I predict that citation-fishing and citation-bartering will become major pursuits."

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

You forgot David Frum and Charles Krauthammer ..huuagh...huuagh...
*sound of running feet, door slams*
*toilet flush*
...'scuse me...omni.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 20, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

David Frum in a thong would classify as cruel and unusual punishment, as for Krauthammer didn't he just summer up here, he really isn't one of us is he - pleeeease no.

Posted by: dmd | September 20, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia, Chuckie K was born in New York to parents that were from that Citreon driving country but raised in Montreal and is an undergrad from McGill and MD from Harvard.

There are so many reasons to loathe him in just that one sentence.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 20, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

You're right dmd, Krauthammer was born in NYC, he was just raised and partially educated (McGill) in Montreal. The rest is the Brits and 'Merkin's fault.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 20, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I have to learn to refresh after returning from delving in the underbelly of the internets. Just washing my hands isn't doing the job.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 20, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I thought that everybody already knew that fully 87 percent of all statistics were made up on the spot.

Posted by: jus sayin' | September 20, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, the "Walking With Dinosaurs" series did indeed feature a feathered dromaeosaur/velociraptor, indicating how much the science has advanced since the Jurassic Park movie which is now what, 15 years ago now?

Posted by: ebtnut | September 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Which actually leads me to another question, maybe for SciTim. If the "event" of 65 million years ago virtually wiped out the dinosaurs (along with most other animal life), what dinosaur line survived to allow the evoultion of modern birds? Is there any "missing link" evidence from just after the event that gives some indication of how this progressed? I know that mammels were well along by then. Did birds evolve before that time, or later?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: ebtnut | September 20, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I linked to an article the other day on the subject of loss languages. I know that there is active research into the origin of spoken language, but I can't recall what the oldest languages are. Anyone know? It makes me wonder if the diminuitive Indonesian man talked, sang, or cussed. Arrrrghhh must certainly be an old expression.

Posted by: jack | September 20, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Pretty cool about feathery dinosaurs. They're still around, strutting and preening on K Street. Sometimes, you can see them with *really important* walkie-talkies (dinosaurs don't use iPhones).

Had sad news today. A friend emailed me (and a lot of others) notifying us that her husband had died on Tuesday up in BC on his annual fishing trip. Apparently, he told his companions at breakfast that when he died, he wanted it to be with a steelhead on his line. In the middle of the afternoon he reeled an enormous one in, had a massive heart attack and dropped. Whew! He was a very good guy, but was also a newly retired litigator who smoked and smoked and smoked. Don't know if he ever retired from that. I sent a donation to my favorite charity in his memory. Flowers don't last as long as a donation does. Very sad.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 20, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks yellojkt. Dooley is now listed in my favourites. I have to spend a day and update my sidebar.

Yeah, you have my blog listed, and I am not sure its a good thing. Its one thing to display my doily obesession to imaginary friends, and equally obsessed yarn people, but your blog exposes me to the whole world. If anyone asks what its all about, just shake your head and tell them its a sad story.

In the world of yarn obsession, here is a really great post not about yarn, but about New Orleans by the Yarn Harlot.

Posted by: dr | September 20, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, ftb. Sorry to hear about your friend's husband. He seemed to know it was coming.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 20, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

FTB, I assume that your friend's husband had not reached the Biblical three score and ten...smoking will definitely do that. Having seen various ways humans leave life, I think I'd rather die quickly, as of a heart attack or a stroke. This cancer thing, with prolonged suffering, doesn't appeal to me.

Condolences for the loss of a friend.

Posted by: Slyness | September 20, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Dooley has the expertise on this subject, but why let that stop me? Birds evolved in the Jurassic. That's when Archaeopteryx was around, still the record-holder for the earliest thing that is clearly a bird, I think. The Jurassic is the middle of the three dinosaurian eras, which comprise the Mesozoic period (Triassic, then Jurassic, then Cretaceous). That's interesting, because a number of the feathered-dinosaur finds are from significantly later than Archaeopteryx, which supports the contention that the feather was present in multiple lineages, only one or some of which became birds. In other words: feathers first, birds later, which shoots down one of the biggest anti-Darwinian shibboleths.

Mammals evolved around the same time as dinosaurs, way back in the early-to-middle Triassic, if I remember correctly. Dooley and ScienceKid #1 could address this topic with certainty, while I have to couch my comments in squishiness. The success of dinosaurs vs. mammals for 150 million-or-so years is a warning to us that we shouldn't get too cocky about how our survival and thriving indicates inherent superiority to reptiles or dinosaurs. Birds are the only kind of megafauna (critter) that are significantly younger than us mammals. Many paleontologists firmly subscribe to the theory that dinosaurs ARE birds, and vice-versa, rather than birds merely branching from dinosaurs. In that case, we are mere tyros on life's stage, and the older and more experienced members of the cast may ask the Director to pull us from the show. So don't step on the other actors' lines.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 20, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

ftb, so sad about your friend's husband.

You know, since we all go one way or another, I think that is a good way to go, doing something you really enjoy.

Posted by: dr | September 20, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dr.

ebnut, don't get me started on the end-Cretaceous extinction, but birds were well established by the early part of the Cretaceous, c. 145 million years ago. For example, from the Early Cretaceous of China there is the Confuciusornis (, which already had a reduced tail and a beak. In the Late Cretaceous there was Ichthyornis from Kansas ( Also from Kansas is Hesperornis (, a secondarily flightless seabird. By the time the other dinosaurs went extinct, birds were diverse and apparently globally distributed.

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Moreover, ScienceTim, today there are roughly twice as many species of birds as there are of mammals.

"What 'Age of Mammals' are you talking about", Alfred Hitchcock might ask.

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, SciTim. I'd hate to see a return to the days of bus sized crocs.

Posted by: jack | September 20, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I remain suspicious of the fact that what are called "non-avian dinosaurs" were wiped out at the end of the Cretaceous, while "avian dinosaurs" (birds) survived. This description requires that all dinosaurs and birds be recognized as basically part of the same phylum (have I remembered my taxonomy correctly?), but some of them happen to have developed flight and are still around today. I don't like this description because the "avian" dinosaurs include both flighted birds, and some that were already flightless and aquatic or ground-dwelling by the end of the Cretaceous but that clearly had winged ancestors. That seems like an awfully powerful selection criterion, that only those dinosaurs with winged and flying ancestors survived. I would claim that this is sufficient evidence to argue that birds are not just a trivial variation upon dinosaurs, but that bird physiology differed so much from dinosaurian ancestors that they really need to be considered as a discernibly new and distinct phylum. There is some essential structural or metabolic difference associated with wings that separates birds from dinosaurs, conferring an advantage on flightless or flighty birds but completely neglecting those dinosaur lineages that never developed flight, even those with similar size and lifestyle to birds. To argue otherwise is to argue that every modern phylum is false and that they really are members of the earlier phylum from which they evolved. By this description, every one of us ultimately is a specialized microbial colony. I argue that we are more than that. Despite the fact that we are certainly colonized by a lot of microbes, our basic organizational plan is not the organizational plan of a stromatolite or other microbial agglomeration. While we certainly are composed of individual cells, a microbial description fails to capture the significant characteristics of our corporeal existence and lifestyle.

I feel certain I have mentioned all this before, and probably Dooley has shot me down. Yet, I remain stubbornly fond of my doubt, and unable to recall why I am demonstrably wrong. Remind me, please? The only thing I can think of is that most of life suffered heavily from the K-T event, so maybe the birds were just lucky in the crapshoot. And the mammals. And the lizards and snakes. And the turtles. And the amphibians. And the spiders and the insects and the crustaceans and the mollusks. And the crocodilians. But not the dinosaurs, the most successful phylum of megafauna for the preceding 150 million years. Nope, they were just unlucky enough to be one of the few phyla eliminated by the K-T event, and the only one that was vibrantly successful right up to the end.

Nope. I just can't get myself to believe it.

Actually, I'm sure there were other phyla that were successful right up until they were wiped out, but I lack the expertise to speak knowledgably, so I mouth off, instead. Don't stop me with mere facts and evidence -- I'm on a roll!

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

ftb, your message came up while I was busy being self-indulgently verbose. Your friend went while doing something he enjoyed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 20, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

ftb so, sorry about the loss of your friend, he died doing what he loved in a magnificent setting, wish everyone could be so lucky when they meet their ultimate end.

Posted by: dmd | September 20, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

That Hobbit story makes me wonder if there are still undiscovered hominids on this planet. You know, creatures that look superficially similar to us but actual belong to a whole separate species. This would certainly help explain some of the things I've seen on You Tube.

And regarding the winged Velociraptors. I would bet serious dollars, either Canadian or American since it evidentially mox nix, that Spielberg will one day issue a "special edition" of Jurassic Park with all those pesky inaccuracies corrected.

And a certain amount of the population will pay good money to acquire it. Which again brings us back to the theory of undiscovered hominids.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

from Dooley's 5:39: "Moreover, ScienceTim, today there are roughly twice as many species of birds as there are of mammals."

Let's hear it for our feathered friends (most of 'em, anyway). Flap, flap, Flap.

Posted by: birdie | September 20, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, there's a lot to absorb in Dr. Ioannidis's study. I think the key observation is the need to tolerate a higher range of correlation values. This means that instead of attempting to draw a definite conclusion where no such conclusion is justified, the proper approach is to determine the range of possible interpretations consistent with the observed data.

This is, of course, exactly where thinking in the Intelligence Community is going. This approach is being resisted by some in the community as being mamby pamby weasel talk. (That's a technical term) I can foresee the same criticisms of excessive timidity being levied at the disciples of Dr. Ioannidis.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I also love the term "data dredging." In my world this is called ""cherry picking" but I think the intent is the same - to find support for a conclusion that "makes sense" by looking at huge amounts of data until you see what you want.

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

Thanks, all, for your condolences. My friend has said (in emails) that she is not able to talk yet, and I certainly understand. My job is to sit and wait and in a few weeks or so (or maybe more) to give her a call or send an email.

Grieving is such an individual matter. It takes as long as it takes and has its ebbs and flows. He was maybe 15 years older than she was and I think was, if not close to, may have already exceeded 70. Not sure. He was an intense guy (the litigator in him) but really a sweet guy, too. She has two daughters in their early to mid-twenties, so there is a supportive family (as opposed to, um, unsupportive families).

I spoke recently with Lars Forssell's widow (after his funeral) and not only was she gracious enough to allow me to practice my Swedish with her, we ended up just cracking up at one thing after another. We laughed and laughed and laughed. It's a different thing with different people. I hope my friend will be okay and that the passage of time will smooth the very sharp edges on her heart and soul right now. Actually, at the moment they're still working on how to get the body from British Columbia to Virginia. After he's "home" it will be time to plan the memorial service/funeral. I plan to be there.

I must note that one thing about this blog which is so lovely is that we all really do care about each other (okay, maybe not *all* of us) and it's a very nice community. The snarkiness coefficient is generally miniscule (except when required to be higher -- mainly during a full moon or the like), and it's really just folks communicating.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 20, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for hyper boodle hogging, but I've been trapped in a training class all day. Fortunately I passed and am now an official Technical Hiring Adviser. I've got a certificate and everything.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I totally missed your unhappy news firsttimeblogger. My condolences to you. So much sadness in the world.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Congrats RD, I just passed a MD pool operators course,perhaps we can both use our certificates for something cool.

I just found another yellow jacket nest the hard way. I got stung about 5 times before I realized what was going on. It is about 10 feet from the other one I gased a month ago. This time I am going to gas and torch those buggers.

Oh and Birdie, sorry for the late reply but I live in the eastern Panhandle of west by god,5 miles from MD and 10 miles from VA as the crow flies. We have Piliated woodpeckers here all year round, sometimes they sound like Jack Hammers.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 20, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Someone once said tht journals ought to print more results of failed experiments: "Failure of betainositol enzymes to affect growth rates of lagomorphic stem cells" or whatnot. The point being that research was done, and results were informative. At the least, it would help prevent reinvention of the square wheel, and at best such results might be data-mined for leads on true breakthroughs when the data is put together with other data from other sources.

Posted by: Jumper | September 20, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Proposal for a general strike in the USA November 13, for all Americans to strike continuously until the Pres and VP resign. From this month's Harpers, which is online but not this particular article!

Posted by: Jumper | September 20, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

FTB, keep in mind he left this world exactly how he wanted to. Not everyone is so lucky. But it is always sad for those left behind. Sending sympathies.

Regarding smokers, my organization will be enforcing a complete "no smoking on campus policy" in January which means no smoking on breaks even if off campus if the employee plans to return to work. How in the heck can they enforce this?

Posted by: birdie | September 20, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy--how nice...jackhammers in the morning. :-) But woodpeckers are cool. Very independent.

Posted by: birdie | September 20, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

ftb: I pass along my condolences. My hope is for peace for you and your friend.

Posted by: jack | September 20, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

It is a measure of my compulsiveness that I must do this (it's been driving me nuts for 10 minutes): when Padouk wrote "mox nix," it should be "machs nichts." ["makes nothing" auf Deutsch]


I feel so much better now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 20, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I haven't posted in a while, but since no one else took up jack's language question, here's my take on it. Basically, no one knows. It's pretty clear that language originated somewhere between 150,000 and 40,000 years ago (nice window, there) -- there's a good summary of that question here: (I'll take instruction on how to post links.) But since languages don't fossilize, there's no evidence what the earliest languages were. It doesn't make sense to talk about one currently-spoken language being "older" than another, since all languages constantly change, and they've all developed gradually from older forms, whether you call the earlier form by the same name (Modern, Middle, and Old English) or different ones (Latin and Italian (or French, or whatever other Romance language you care to name)). Historical linguists can look at current related languages, and older ones that we've got written records for, and plausibly reconstruct their ancestors -- they've got a pretty good idea what Proto-Indo-European was like -- but once you get far enough back and you're trying to compare various reconstructed proto-languages and reconstruct something from them, it just gets too squishy. So don't feel bad that you don't know -- if anyone told you authoritatively that "X is one of the oldest languages," all you know from that is that they don't know what they're talking about.

Posted by: bia | September 20, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, the link worked, great.

Posted by: bia | September 20, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, no, it didn't, but it does if you delete the period.

Posted by: bia | September 20, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

OK, I was going to avoid the Cretaceous extinction, but ScienceTim goaded me into it.

Your are completely correct to note the unusual fact that the avian dinosaurs (birds) are the only dinosaurs to have survived, even when their close relatives such as the dromaeosaurs and troodontids went extinct. It's a point that I emphasize when I lecture on the Cretaceous. But there are some assumptions need to be pointed out, and patterns to consider:

1) You're assuming that birds are monophyletic (i.e. that birds share a single common ancestor to the exclusion of other groups.) This is not necessarily a valid assumption, as the early history of birds is not well understood. It is quite possible that some living groups of birds could be more closely related to dromaeosaurs (for example) than they are to other birds. In that case, dromaeosaurs would technically be birds and represent a bird lineage that was wiped out in the extinction.

2) So far as we can tell, birds were as severely affected by the extinction as most other groups. Most of the Cretaceous bird groups, including flying birds like Ichthyornis, didn't survive into the Paleocene. Most of the modern diversity of birds seems to have evolved after the KT extinction, from an adaptive radiation of a small number of surviving lineages.

3) The bird survival mystery extends even further, in that the pterosaurs (pterodactyls), which were capable of powered flight and apparently endothermic, also went completely extinct. So, not only did the closest genetic relatives of birds go extinct, their closest ecological analogs did as well.

I think this does not indicate that birds have vastly different internal workings than other dinosaurs--that would require that those changes have no measurable affect on any of the skeletal anatomy, which is very unlikely. Bones are much more easily modified than biological processes.

Rather, I think it shows that we don't understand the mechanisms of mass extinctions very well. It's very simplistic to say that a meteor hit the Earth and everything died, but there a bunches of indicators that suggest that extinctions are much more complicated (including the differential bird/dinosaur/pterosaur survival rates.) For example, the Cretaceous extinctions are particularly harsh in rather odd categories (all large organisms regardless of taxonomic group, for example.) There are some very sizeable impacts on Earth that didn't cause any mass extinctions at all; in fact, geologic time is long enough that it's hard to find a time when Earth wasn't getting hit by something. Yet, some mass extinctions aren't associated with any known impact.

I believe when the bird survival is finally explained, we'll learn something significant about ecology and extinctions, but not necessarily about birds.

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

And let me offer my condolences as well, ftb.

Posted by: Dooley | September 20, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

If you're not sure you can test your links in the preview window bia.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 20, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, thanks Boko! I'll do that next time.

Posted by: bia | September 20, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Drive-by boodling (sis is in town) -

Condolences, Linda, firsttimeblogger.

CowTown, don't have time to read the story right now, but thanks - I'm sure it's great.

Went to an alpaca farm, got a bunch of yarn *and* alpaca manure (in a bag)!

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 20, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, if you Google "mox nix" (as I did, because it looked so wrong) you will find an interesting story about how that is an accepted form now. And why.

Posted by: nellie | September 20, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Different bags, right Mostly?

Posted by: dmd | September 20, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Mudge. If Aunt Bessie wrote "mox nix" that's gooden enough for me. We're talking PA Dutch here.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I read some of those links about mox nix', nellie. People who support the troops say mox nix;-)

Posted by: Boko999 | September 20, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Ha, dmd, absolutely, the yarn and manure were in different bags. I transported both in the trunk further down the road to the Puyallup Fair, and then back home, and I definitely was hoping the manure bag was tied tight. It was.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 20, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

'Paca Poop from Puyallup. Sounds like the name for or at least a song from a Weingarten musical. We'll have to get to work on that.

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone!
I've missed all of you. I hope everyone is doing fine since I visited last. This year is soooo different from last year, and I'm trying to make the most of that. Usually at this time of the year I have some problems keeping myself sane and happy. Last year things got messy, but I've been ok.

I figured I'd share this here and see what you smart and objective folks have to say.

Today my daughter said, "My teacher told me not to believe what I hear in the news." My eyebrows lifted up all the way to the traffic light I was passing and my eyes barely escaped popping out past the windshield. I asked why the teacher would say such a thing. Well, for some unknown reason, this group of first grade students was discussing war and my daughter said the US is not winning the war in Iraq.

I don't know. I don't lie to my children. When she asked this summer why people were arguing about the war on the radio, I told her some people didn't want us fighting the war. She asked if we were winning and I told her I didn't think so. I may have torpedoed my daughter's 1st grade experience by voicing an opinion.

Posted by: a bea c | September 20, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

But RD, the PA Dutch ARE German. Aunt Bessie was saying "machs nichts."

Posted by: nellie | September 20, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Catching up a bit,

My thoughts are with you, firsttimeblogger. As others have said, he died doing something he loved. My sister-in-law's father died on the golf course after birdieing a hole he always had a tough time with. That was over 25 years ago and we still miss him.

Good luck on your trip, TBG. I hope everything works out great.

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

dr-save your Great Falls money to go to Grand Forks, where the curling championships will be at the world famous Ralph! (as in Ralph Engelstad arena).

So sorry ftb.

a bea c- It's tough to help kids figure out that teachers aren't always right and that there is a difference between fact and opinion (without the unintended result of having them decide teachers are always wrong). I speak from experience, look behind you before using phrases like "mindless twit" in reference to any of your dear child's teachers-she just may repeat your opinion too. Other than that, I have nothing to offer. Good luck!

Hmm, wonder if Obama will regret skipping tonight's candidate do on PBS.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 20, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Kim, I'd LOVE a picture of Christian Bale in a thong. He is, well, Christian Bale. I just returned Newsies to Netflix today. My kids watched it about 50 times and can't stop singing "I'm the King of New York".

Posted by: a bea c | September 20, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to share this very cute video, too.


Posted by: a bea c | September 20, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, Padouk, "mox nix" isn't accepted by me. It's German, and it's macht (or macht's) nichts. I can't help it that GIs couldn't spell it; they weren't expected to. But I can, so I do (except when I'm messing around." Consider it as just a small fraction of my own little (admittedly futile) protest against phat, krazy, gansta, boyz, fiddy (for 50 or fifty), "Juan" being pronounced Joo-Wan, and a hundred other abominations.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 20, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: martooni | September 20, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Si, capice, Herr Mudge-san. (Thought I'd get all the Axis Powers in one sentence in recognition of the new Ken Burns series on WWII.)

I thought machts nichts was an idiomatic contraction of "Es macht mir nichts" - literally, it makes me nothing. I can't find 'machts' in the conjugation of 'machen' so I assume it's just a sloppy contraction (e.g. PA Dutch) or an inaccurate memory of high-school German (wouldn't be the first time!).

Or maybe I'm overthinking this.

Posted by: pj | September 20, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, my kids went to theatre camp this year and performed two plays (one younger group, one older), then they all did a song and dance number - it was "King of New York". I was really impressed with what they were able to accomplish in just one week.

Re the teacher, perhaps just letting her know that people have different perspectives on issues, and that the best way to make a determination on a topic is to get a lot of information and make an informed choice.

Posted by: dmd | September 20, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I am very sorry to hear about your friend's husband, although the fact that he died while doing something he loved has to be a comfort of sorts. My Dad, when hearing about someone who died in their sleep, would always say that he wanted to go that way. His wish was granted, it was a solace to us, albeit a small one.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 20, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Condolences, ftb. It's good when people go the way they wanted.

I want a week's notice.

Posted by: dbG | September 20, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I tell my students what you said, dmd. Lots. The trouble is that nearly half of the students in our building read a couple of grades below level and it's tough to get them to read anything. As a consequence, I've learned a lot about how predominantly aural learning occurs. I repeat a lot of things three times.

Posted by: jack | September 20, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

ftb... so sorry about your friend. When my mom was dying in Hospice, the nurse commented on how my three sisters and I spent every day there just sitting around and on her bed, talking and laughing and sharing our sorrow for our loss and the joy of the life we had experienced with Mom and each other.

The nurse said, "When I die, I hope my family and friends are with me, too."

Thinking about how my mom had suffered over the five months from diagnosis to death, I said, "Yes. Me, too. I hope they are all on the bus that runs me down!"

Posted by: TBG | September 20, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Look. PA Dutch isn't German. It is derived from German. And I actually speak some German so I know how to spell the German phrase.

All I know is that my wife's Mother spells it mox nix. As does her Father. As does her surviving Grandmother. And, if surviving letters are to be believed, so did her Great Aunts and Great Uncle.

If you want to go tell them that they are doing it wrong because it isn't how it's done over in Deutschland feel free.

I am sure they will appreciate being corrected about it.

Auf Wiedersehen y'all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... love the video. Thanks for sharing.

I'm sorry your daughter's teacher said something so stupid to her, but aren't you glad she shared that with you? You're doing right by being honest with her and by allowing her to be honest with you and with others. Make sure she doesn't lose that just because her teacher put her down.

Speaking of first-grade teacehrs, I was amazed in November 2000 when my daughter's first-grade teachers made absolutely no mention of the drama that was the presidential election. They never talked about the fact that we had no clear winner for weeks.

I mean, come on... they're first graders, they're not idiots. There's got to be some way for grownups to discuss current events with 6 year olds.

Wait! I KNOW there's a way... because my husband and I did it every day.

Posted by: TBG | September 20, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry if that last post sounded rude. It's been a long day. But this kind of mean spirited pedantic correction seems uncalled for. We are talking about a regional dialect expression I threw in as a throw away line. Is enforcing the purity of High German really worth it?

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 20, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, the video is great, a while ago I watched our friends son create one of those animation videos, it was really fascinating.

Posted by: dmd | September 20, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome. C'mon in.

Posted by: jack | September 20, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

RD, my father's family is Pennsylvania German, and I grew up on the same block as my grandparents. My dad and grandfather built every house on the block. Pennypack Creek was between our properties, and while I'd say *Pennypack Creek* (long e) or pronounce any other creek with a long e, the family section was called *the Crick.*

Some things are too good to give up.

Posted by: dbG | September 20, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Just visiting after a long time away. I am glad to see many of the "old timers" are still posting and chatting as usual. I miss the place but since I am working at two jobs it is too hard to tune in daily as I once did.

Sorry about your friend's husband, ftb. May time do its job of healing the hurt.

The corn is growing great here in fly-over country and the Cubs are winning for a change. Hello to all.


Posted by: bdl | September 20, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Science has an interesting perspective by Jared Diamond on Easter Island. I was struck by this paragraph:

According to a third view, deforestation was caused by introduced rats, as suggested by rat gnaw marks on many nuts of the extinct palm (15). This hypothesis does not account for all those palm stumps cut off at the ground and burned, nor for the larger number of palm nuts burned rather than gnawed, nor for the disappearance of the long-lived palm trees themselves (with an estimated life span of up to 2000 years) (16). If rats were responsible, they were unusual ones, equipped with fire and hatchets. Thousands of other Pacific islands overrun by introduced rats were not deforested, and many other tree species that survived on other rat-infested islands disappeared on Easter (16). . . .

Reference #15 is an article in American Scientist last year (emphasizing rats) and #16 is a fresh one from Rapa Nui Journal

I'm amazed at the notion of 2000 year old palm trees. They evidently belonged to the genus Jubaea (I think just one species, from Chile, which is quite big and gets quite old--there's one in the Temperate House at Kew in London).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 21, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

ftb, my condolences on the loss of your friend, and to your friend's family and friends.

To Dooley, Wilbrod, and SciTim's points; evolution of species has rarely been a straight line AFAIK. All of that genetic drift and mutation and natural selection for conditions that may change quickly from favoring one trait over another and whatnot results in many genetic lines that end up as dead ends. Those Hobbits are likely an example of that, as well as most of the dinosaurs (Republicans? We'll see, I suppose...).

Now, on to Truth, Studies, and (ahem) Bad Information. As we've noted before (and RD notes here as well), if you look around long enough, you can find data to support darn near any theory about darn near anything you may want to believe in. Hollow Earth? Extraterrestrials living among us (does Karl Rove still count?)? Moon Landings staged in a film studio? The earth being 6,000 years old? WMDs in Iraq?

There's information to support all of those theories and more out there.

I've always thought of the Internet as an analogy for the Universe; when I look at one of the Deep Field photos of the Universe and see all of the galaxies billions of years ago in just a tiny slice of the sky, and realize that there are something along the lines of 100 billion galaxies that are visible with our current levels of technology for astronomical observation (and who knows how many more billions or more out there as our observational powers improve), I think to myself that just about anything *might* be true somewhere out there in those uncounted and uncountable stars.


Posted by: bc | September 21, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Firsttimeblogger, sorry to hear about your friend's husband. The best way to leave this world is to die while doing what you love best. That way you die happy.

Posted by: rainforest | September 21, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I just went back and read the previous boodle to "catch up" and really enjoyed your story, CowTown. I still remember those cow jokes you posted eons ago - a year or two.

Condolences to you, Linda, on the loss of your mother, if you happen to be reading but not writing. One never gets over that, but it helps to remember the good times.

I'm glad to see so many of the familar boodlers are still boodling. I might be tempted to lurk again. You truly are a family.


Posted by: bdl | September 21, 2007 3:49 AM | Report abuse

Mornin all
Can someone tell me what star/planet is rising in the eastern sky before sunset?
It sure is bright and still looks brilliant even after sunrise.

It was an itchy night and I forgot to nuke the bees last night before work. Perhaps tonight.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 21, 2007 4:54 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Morning, Padouk. Didn't mean to prod a sore spot. But I *did* begin by announcing that it was my own neurotic compulsiveness that made me correct "mox nix." The fault is mine, not yours. (It is, after all, the hallmark of a little German ancestry, isn't it, to be compulsively neurotic?) I, too, grew up with the phrase all my life, from my grandmother and mother, and only learned how to spell it in 11th grade (the first year I took German), where "mox nix" wasn't an option. I knew the Pa. Dutch used it, but was unaware they had an alternate spelling, since our teacher, Herr Fink from Dortmund,never discussed it. So I've had it rattling around in my brain the German way for 46 years. Sorry. Old habits die hard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 5:56 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: GREENWITHENVY | September 21, 2007 6:01 AM | Report abuse

We Italians have been known to over-react a bit as well. No harm done.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 6:48 AM | Report abuse

GWE, I believe that would be Venus, wouldn't it?

Sorry about the itchiness. I hope it gets better today. Cortisone cream helps, if you pass a drugstore.

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Do you have to pass the drugstore on the left or the right for the cortisone to help?

Posted by: martooni | September 21, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh, oh. The Germans and Italians have made up. See what the Japanese are doing and send a 'heads up' to the Poles.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all! Family's still asleep in the hotel room. Gonna wake them up soon to get on with our day. Can't wait to see Son of G this afternoon. This is the longest I've ever gone without giving or getting a squeeze and a kiss from him. I know I have to get used to this, but... well... you know.

I'm sorry I missed the visit from boondocklurker out in flyover land! If you're here again today, bdl.... HELLO!

Posted by: TBG | September 21, 2007 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Does this headline make you say anything other than "Well, duh" when you read it?

Fear Drives Iraq's Housing Bust
With hundreds of thousands of Baghdad residents forced to flee their homes, prices spiral to naught.

Posted by: TBG | September 21, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Boy am I in a strange mood today (and that's sayin' something). I'm hoping this is a good thing.

It could be because the coffee is a little stronger than usual this morning. I spent about half an hour yesterday poking a pin through the million little holes in the percolator's metal basket (they were all plugged up), so now I'm getting the pure unadulterated stuff.

Gawd... this stuff is like crack.


Posted by: martooni | September 21, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

TBG... maybe you're onto the *real* reason for the war. Maybe it's not about oil after all, but cheap real estate.

Posted by: martooni | September 21, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!!!

*particularly-happy-and-not-just-'cuz-it's-TGIF-but-I-can't-tell-you-why-just-yet Grover waves*

ftb, my condolences, and your friend will certainly thank you for being there.

RDP, I don't think you want to know what first came to my sprained little mind when I read "mox." ;-)

martooni, as long as your coffee's not crunchy, I think you'll be fine.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

"*particularly-happy-and-not-just-'cuz-it's-TGIF-but-I-can't-tell-you-why-just-yet Grover waves*"

Maybe it's because you got to sleep in today?

What are you thinking, checking in with first Grover waves at 7:45 a.m.?

Posted by: TBG | September 21, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Scotty... it's not crunchy, but the spoon does stand up on its own.

Posted by: martooni | September 21, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse


I've copied your view of the Internet as the universe and will share with a few people today. September 22 is OneWebDay and some teachers are planning special activities for their students today.

TBG, I do tell my daughter to think for herself, and we discuss daily events from the news. She also had a run-in with a few people last spring when she said, "my mom thinks Bush broke the law and Bill Clinton and FDR are her favorite presidents." This was after the two of us spent a couple of hours following the links from Washington to Bush on Wikipedia. My son, all he wants to discuss is the Count Dooku versus General Grievous. He has LOTS of friends.

Posted by: a bea c | September 21, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Ooooh. A mystery!

ftb, Condolences. Your friend died doing what he loved in a beautiful place. All the fishermen of my aquaintance would smile and say, "That's how I'd like to go."
They're all a little screwy. But hey, whatever turns your crank.

Hi Martooni. The last time I had perked coffee was out in the bush a few years ago.
Reminded me of the reason drip coffee became so popular so fast.
Jeez, perked coffee, fishing trips, I'm getting all nostalgia-like.
There's a mist waist high on the fields and the air has that September smell I love so much. I just may take the dog down to the river and put a line in the water.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Not quite, TBG... ;-)

And I'll try and get those Grover waves in as soon as possible every day.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Sending you my condolences ftb.

And visits from a bea c, bdl and bia...nice.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I'm wonderin' if I have an idea why Scotty's so perky this morning. TBG, you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Just yesterday all this talk about dino-birds and what not got me to thinking: The thing I want to know about birds is why are there no poisonous birdies. I mean there are poisonous insects, spiders, lizards, snakes, frogs and toads. All kinds of poisonous plants: shrubs, trees, vines, flowers, even poisonous fungi. Then there are all kinds of poisonous animals swimming in the waters of the world. But no poisonous birds. I've even met a few poisonous people in my life. But no poisonous birds.

This AM I find out thare is a poisonous bird: three species of the passerine.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It's probably not what you're thinkin', 'Mudge...

Then again, it might be...

*devious little chortles*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I have a guess as to why S'Nuke is extra-happy today. I think I shall email it to dbG so that she can verify that I'm right, retrospectively.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

omni, you never heard of the pressure-treated woodpecker? Very toxic. And then there's the Undercooked Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I thought that might be venus but wanted to ask the experts.

Listened to Steve Miller's Fly like an Eagle on the way home. I forgot how much I like that album/tape/cd. I really like "Wild Mountain Honey" and "dance dance dance"

Wildlife report I saw that big woodpecker again this morning and a few females in the vicinity too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 21, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

omni - that's a very interesting observation about the relative lack of poisonous birds.

Now if by "poisonous" you mean offensive poisons, then my guess is it's because carnivorous birds usually kill their prey with talons as opposed to with bites. And since poison evolves from saliva glands and the like (I assume) more easily than from pointy toes, it is relatively rare in our avian friends.

If you mean defensive poisons, then my equally wild guess is that the ability to fly away is such a nifty defensive strategy that the advantage of being poisonous seldom gains an evolutionary toehold.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke. Thanks for that observation about mox. I learned something. But I must ask, if one stores this substance in cubical form, are they referred to as mox blocks? And if liquid oxygen is present, would they be lox mox blocks? And if they are stored with high security would they be Knox lox mox blocks?

Just askin'

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

70 years ago today J.R.R. Tolkien published the Hobbit...hhmmm

1970 the Browns beat the Jets 31-20 in the first edition of MNF.

1981 O'Connor becomes the first female supreme court justice.

26th Annual International Day of Peace

Counting today, two days of summer left.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

yes RD, defense. either against ectoparasites or snakes and raptors. the poison probably comes from the birds diet and is not something they produce themselves.

And SCC: thare=>there

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

RDP, I think lox mox blocks would have smoked salmon involved, actually...

But I sure wouldn't eat 'em!!! :-O


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

G'morning boodlers. On the CBC last night I heard this "The last time the Canadian dollar was at parity we had a minority government, gas prices were sky high, and the US was mired in an unwinnable war, (pause) just saying."

Question for Canuckistanis-Is Corner Gas considered a good funny show in Canada, or a stupid successful show? I've been watching it on WGN and scaring the Frostcats with uncontrollable laughter. Last night I had this thought, what if this is like the French and Jerry Lewis?

GWE and Slyness-Thanks for the Venus ID. Nearly blinding here this morning.

a bea c-loved that animation link.

TBG-run down by a bus full of friends. Sending that one to Ma Frostbitten, she'll love it.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I saw venus every morning this week but today. Wispy clouds in the way.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, send it to my work address. I'm all curious!

Posted by: dbG | September 21, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In our house, Corner Gas is considered a good, stupid show which is pretty darn funny. There have been times it has put us in tears.

But then I grew up with people like that. The father is particularly apt, and well done, a caricature to be sure, but a very good one. I know people like that. I used to serve them coffee.

Think of it in the same way as Red Green.

Posted by: dr | September 21, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I am going to go with funny as well.

For those not familiar - the wiki entry on Corner Gas.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks dr. The father from Corner Gas is on our city council.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Pretty birdie.
Between 1985-1986 and 1996-1997 the population size of Oriental white-backed vultures declined by an estimated 97% at Keoladeo, and in 2003 this colony was extinct. These declines were coupled with high mortality of all age classes.

research by The Peregrine Fund in Pakistan discovered that the major cause of the population decline was diclofenac, an non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used widely in veterinary medicine across South Asia (Oaks et al. 2004, which can be accessed from this web page of The Peregrine Fund)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Slapping forehead-of course there's a wiki entry. Thanks dmd.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

frosty, thanks for the correction. Grand Forks, Great Falls. There was about 8 hours yesterday where the brain was not fully functional. Well it was actually 9. I had one really good hour in the morning though. Sigh. Some days.

Scotty's got a secret. Scotty's got a secret!

Posted by: dr | September 21, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, Eric Peterson is on your Town council? He has always been politically active so I am not surprised, very interesting.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

dr-I laughed when I saw your comment. Back in the late 70s a Grand Forks radio station hired a dj who was rather notorious for abusing his brain cells. He spent his first week at the station saying "Good morning Great Falls." There was no second week.

Hmm, scotty's secret and yello's new persona. I am not good at making these kinds of guesses

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

This is just terrible!

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The 9:56 was me.
Vultures across Asia are almost extinct
due to the vetinary use of diclofenac.
In India the rotting cow carcasses left unconsumed due to the loss of these scavengers has resulted in an increase of the feral dog population with an increase in the incidence of rabies.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Good one dmd-not Peterson, the character he plays on TV (with a name change and a few added pounds). A scene from last month's council meeting-

Brent's Dad: "We just replaced that culvert" (under a dirt road beside the post office).

Further investigation revealed "just" was 15 years ago. Hilarity ensues as post master is in ankle deep water during a thunderstorm.

99 Locals quip as they get their mail- "I've got my boat (elongated MN/Canuckistani O) on the trailer if you need it, then."

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

That means the rest of us are gaining weight. I'm going for a pre-emptive walk.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The star of Corner Gas is Brent Butt.
Need I add more?

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

A reviewer on IMDB listed 5 reasons that account for the success of Corner Gas. I loved #5

5. There is NO winter!! - Have you seen any snow yet in Dog River? This is critical for a successful Canadian comedy - because snow complicates things. It is bleak, uninteresting, and unfortunately too much of a reminder of reality for those of us who have to live with it for 10 months out of the year. In fact, with out the snow - it makes this small town in Saskatchewan look quite charming, and all the more interesting and lovable.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm an Easterner but I like Corner Gas anyway. The little jokes make the difference. Like saying the cop is at THE bush doing a radar speed trap. Everyone knows where THE bush is. Large parts of Saskatchewan are Prairie grass only, any tree you see has been planted or comes from the seeds of planted trees. I have top go back to Tisdale one day, but not in January this time...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 21, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I've posted some comments and links concerning Velociraptors and hobbits:

Posted by: Dooley | September 21, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Couple of quick Boodle comments:

a bea c, I wrote a longer item in the 10thcircle last year about the Universe of Information, you're welcome to look it over here. I think even JA commented on it, probably to tell me I'm a dunderhead:

CowTown, loved the story from yesterday.

LiTs comments from yesterday made me think of a velociraptor wearing those feathered MB FMPs with a feather boa, lipstick, and eyelashes sitting alone at a bar with a martini (an eyeball in it instead of an oilve), coldly eyeing the Dinos in a very reptilian manner as they come in...

Today is also the birthday of HG Wells and Steven King.

Venus *has* been beautiful over the past couple of weeks.

I noticed that kilogram item last week, didn't worry about it because I'm American, and I still weigh just as many pounds today as I did yesterday, as all Right Thinking Americans do. Another reason the metric system, soccer and Formula 1 will never be as popular in the US as they are in the rest of the world, I suspect. People love to second-guess everything, but the Americans we love to vote for Stay the Course, Stick to the Plan, etc. Not so in the rest of the world; Tony Blair had to leave office, GWB is hunkerin' in the bunker as his staff goes job huntin'.


Posted by: bc | September 21, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Corner Gas is, well, a gas. Very very funny. Having spent 3 years in Revelstoke, BC I can say that small towns are *exactly* like Dog River.

I also love the truck (Ford?) ad where a young fellow drives around and around a gas station. One of the geezers on the porch says "He's been showing off his new truck all over town."

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Eurotrash, you out there? WaPo has picked up the story of what's going on in Belgium:

I hope you folks can work through the issues. Secession is not a good solution. We here in the South can attest to that.

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Just a little back boodle comment here. Mostlylurking made reference to the Western Washington State Fair, or, as it is known by the semi-rural intelligentsia, The Puyallup Fair. I will not subject this august body to yet another of my rapturous expositions on my childhood memories of this revered event. But I will express a profound jealousy of mostlylurking. For each year at this time I feel a primal longing, much like the Salmon seeking to return to the headwaters from whence it came, to return to my hometown and gorge myself silly on Fisher's Raspberry Scones.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. RD and Mudge, you're so cute. And thanks to RD for reminding me of my favorite read-aloud children's book. Knox lox mox blocks indeed.

Speaking of fairs, this week the Boy and I will be attending the Oklahoma State Fair. I have waited patiently all week. We may well see some examples of differently evolved humanoids, particularly on the Midway and at the fried mashed potato booth. [Yes, really, and no I wasn't planning to try any, even for Boodle research.] I asked if the Boy wanted to bring a friend and he said he'd ask a GIRL (or three, apparently they run in packs). Gulp. I'm hoping it is too short notice for them (her).

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

frosti, I don't watch Corner Gas, but I would say it is legitimately funny. Personally I would say the best current Canadian comedy tv is Rick Mercer, but it's too Canadian specific to be funny elsewhere, I think. I would vote for Kids in the Hall as the best ever Canadian comedy.

bc, re kilograms. Such a reactionary position! And all that on today, the last day of Fructidor.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 21, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I love Rick Mercer! (when I get it)

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse


*turning purple*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

So, Ivansmom, does this mean that you already thinking about how soon it will be when you are a grandmother?

No, no, no. I wouldn't dare suggest that the boy would do ever do anything inappropriate. Just commenting on the rapid passage of time. First he was a boy, now enter girls, next courtship, then marriage, then fatherhood. It takes about a week, or so, all in all.

Posted by: just sayin' | September 21, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I meant to say "fried mashed potato on a stick". Makes fried pickles and Oreos on a stick seem commonplace.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Bite your tongue, just sayin'. The Boy may procreate when he has moved away from home, finished college and graduate school, and can pay his own insurance. This is our regular litany (when can I have a motorcycle? a TV in my room?) and I see no reason to alter it for grandchildren.

I'm not worrying about grandkids just yet, since (a) he admires a new girl every week and (b) he hasn't yet plucked up the courage for so much as a phone call if not surrounded by friends.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

S'Nuke, the straw polls are in and if you check that hot place . . . ?

Posted by: dbG | September 21, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Ivansomom, my mother gave my brother this advice. A quote from she of all wisdom (aka, mom)

'you can have a motorbike when you get married. Till then you have to listen to me. When you are married you have to listen to your wife. She will say no.'

My brother cheerfully ignored her considering she didn't tell him this till he was 35.

Posted by: dr | September 21, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Why does the motorbike discussion remind me of why a grad school friend told me as soon as he'd bought a plane (age 24) and didn't tell his parents for 2 years? :-)

His now-wife let him keep it, but he sold it when the babies started coming.

Posted by: dbG | September 21, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

jus sayin', while I agree with the substantive aspects of your behavioural projections, I do disagree with some of the procedural elements as articulated. Some of my objections, inter alia, include the omission of a tree. I submit that it is an open and notorious fact that the first step must surely be the party of the first part, with a party of the second part, sitting in a tree. I suspect, but don't want to go too far astray on the point, that a deciduous tree would probably be most likely in the circumstances. In any event, once a tree is present, a certain amount of K-I-S-S-I-N-G most assuredly is indicia that the first procedural element has been satisfied. I am aware that some have posited that the passage of time has rendered this step as antiquated, but my submission on this point is that the involvement of a tree (acknowledging the possibly a more urban representation of the seclusion evoked by the pastoral imagery of sitting in a tree i.e. an otherwise unoccupied domicile or the passenger area of a motor vehicle) seems to be fundamental.

The remainder of my objections should not be considered decisive in terms of agreement with your position. I do wonder if the nomenclature used in terms of "courtship" represents the current consensus on that point. Also, I would point out that even the traditional conclusion involved the party of the first part pushing a baby carriage, which makes one consider whether our forefathers were actually more progressive than is sometimes thought, as your conclusion assumes a great deal not specifically considered elsewhere in both the procedural and substantive elements.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 21, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Made in Canada", produced and written by Rick Mercer, was brilliant. And I'm not saying that just because one of the cast members was my landlord when I lived in the big TO and the theme song was "Blow at High Dough" by the Tragically Hip. The fact that Leah Pinsent (daughter of Gordon) is absolutely gorgeous has nothing to do with my high opinion of the show either.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

dbG can see my hot place??? WHAT????

*hastily checking self in front of mirror*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

In the United States, France, Australia and Latin America, the show (Made in Canada) was syndicated as The Industry

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

And in the Almost-Darwin Awards department...


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 21, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, when I was The Boy's age I also developed a crush on a different girl every week.

It would probably be wisest if you didn't really think through the full implication of this observation.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I still miss Made in Canada.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Newsroom, was fantastic as well.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

boko999, Thanks for the unfortunate but oh so common news about another near extinction of an earth creature. Upsetting the applecart has dire consequences. So easy to difficult to learn. Hopefully it's not too late.

Posted by: birdie | September 21, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Ah, RD, I have told him that, thanks to hormones, that will be the case for some years yet. My conclusion is that he is not allowed to have a girlfriend or "steady" while this condition lasts, thus precluding any intimate congress. I do encourage him, within those limits, to enjoy it as it runs its course.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Not only is Peter Blais, who played the Parson on Made in Canada, and talented actor, costumer he's an acomplished painter.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Great link Boko, looks like a great place for me to explore next time I visit the in-laws.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on"

If you love hyphens Mudge don't look. The story is that people don't know how to use hyphens (me! me! me!) so the words get either fused together (bumblebee, waterborne, crybaby) or the hyphen simply disappear (pot belly, test tube, hobby horse).

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 21, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Just teasing, Ivansmom, just teasing, mostly about how these "life milestones" seem to set upon us well before we are ready.

That's why I wanted to make sure that there was no mistake about the boy's upbringing. On the other hand, it's like the situation you have when you have a number of kids in your house, playing. When there is laughter and noise and rambunsciousness, you can let them alone, within earshot. But when it gets real, real, quiet, it's time to stick you head in the room to see what's going on.

Ah, to be a pre-adolescent again. Kinda like being a frisky old geezer, in a way.

Posted by: just sayin' | September 21, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I shouldn't have posted that link.

Joel, please just remove the post. Don't hurt me.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The missing hyphen is a bugbear (LOL!) of mine. The blank, or sometimes hostile, looks I get from supposedly literate people when I say "adjectival phrase" makes my blood boil. Bloodboil. Blood-boil.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm about to do something I haven't done in ages...wish me luck.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What wine goes best with Boiled Blood a la Yoki? :-)

Posted by: dbG | September 21, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Would I still make your blood boil, if I altered my blank look to a cute puppy tilt of the head, (or is that puppy-tilt)? :-)

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no! omni's gonna go hang upside-down on the jungle gym!

Ya had it right the first time. Blood boil. "Boil" is a verb. Wine: Sanguia.

That hyphen article didn't bother me a bit, Shriek. I approve. It's lack of hyphens in compound modifiers (Yoki's adjectival phrase) and training in school on how to do same that make me (and Yoki) crazy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Son of Carl, your 12:29 got me thinking. For youths who get into a relatively minor scrape with the law, courts arrange a visit to an adult jail, where they are "scared straight", or somesuch.

Maybe it should be a pre-marital requirement that a prospective couple sit in on divorce court proceedings for a day or so. Beats sitt'n up in a tree, doin' whatever it was that song suggested. Sheesh, now I got a tune cootie.

Posted by: just sayin' | September 21, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Not word-nazis, Boko, just editors who want to be grammatically correct and clear. This is what all writers should aspire to.

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Ve haff vays of making you hyphenate. Zey are not pleasant...but zey are most...effective.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Having prospective marrieds visit divorce court is like scaring kids straight by having them watch a jail break. Better to have them witness the hard work of a good marriage.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I have shown a few friends the federal child support guidelines before. You would be suprised how less significant your spouse not supporting your desire for a motorbike is following a close review.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 21, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Additionally, their mere reference has been occasionally fatal to boodles.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

SofC, I think maybe it was caused by omni falling off the jungle gym. I think everyone ran over there to see if he's all right.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Not if being ungrammnivorous is more amusing Slyness

Posted by: N.Crosby999 | September 21, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think this may be, in my opinion, the worst Bush gaffe/Bushism ever. Linking Saddam Hussein to the death (a death that has not occured), of Nelson Mandela. Bush does have advisors correct?

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

dmd, maybe some "turnabout is fair play" is in order. Macleans magazine links GWB to Saddam.

Posted by: byoolin | September 21, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

A blood-boiling, grammar-induced rage Yoki?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 21, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I saw that byoolin, just before I saw Ms. Amiel complaining about having to live in West Palm.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Ha! NCrosby...

dmd, I'm very, very afraid to look at that link.

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

dmd - listening to GWB is absolutely cringe-inducing, isn't it? I particularly hated it when he had press conferences with Tony Blair. Mercy, he sounded like a blinkin' nincompoop next to Blair. (Ok - let me have that an improper use of the hyphen in cringe-inducing?) Youse guys scare me...I considered myself to have decent grasp of the English language until I started hanging out in the boodle. Is it *in* the boodle? Or would it be *with* the boodle? *at* the boodle? Somebody help me, please!

Do you think we'll find out Scotty's secret soon?

I'm taking my daughter to her first high school party tonight. She was very displeased to learn that I intend to walk up with her to ascertain that parents will be present and staying present. I don't think there's a problem, it is a birthday party for a girl on her field hockey team. But I want her to know right from the start that I will be making sure of these things throughout her high school years.

I wish I was taking her to a party with a bunch of little girls and a Cinderella impersonator who face paints. Sigh.

Posted by: Kim | September 21, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to stick up for President SNAFU he obviously meant to say,
"There are no Iraqi Mandelas because Saddam Hussein killed all the Iraqi Mandelas." Which is true.
I admit it's not as funny as Peanut Brain's way

I've read this phrase elsewhere on the intertubes. Gotta stop hanging out at neo-con websites.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Milbank covered the same incident at

He is such a goof.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Have a good weekend everybody. I am going to be spending a lot of it repainting the bedroom of my newly-minted teenaged daughter.

She wanted Vibrant Teal, her mother wanted off white, so they settled on "Bliss Blue."

We'll see how much bliss is involved.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | September 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

*snorting at all the funny grammar comments*

dmd, if you make puppy eyes all will be immediately forgiven. Something my children know too well.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Jeeze Louise, Kim. Couldn't you just phone?
Talk about cringe inducing.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I would not object to the blue, if I were you, RD. #2 insisted on BM "Neon Red" on absolutely every plane in her bedroom a couple of years ago. Three coats of primer for red, four coats of red. Days and days and days of painting.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah heck. Spent so much time fixating on proper hyphen usage that I mistyped my own handle.

Hasta lunes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 21, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I know, I you're making me feel bad, Boko! The junebug is new to the team and doesn't have the girl's phone # or I would do that! Honestly, I'm not trying to make her life miserable!!

Posted by: Kim | September 21, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I predict plenty of bliss for RD from that Bliss Blue if he just inhales deeply enough.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey, which of you Canuckistanis (or even red-blooded Muricans, sacre bleu) are really fluent in *that* langauge which dare not speak its name? I got a song that desperately needs transcribing, and then, if possible a translation made of it. I can even e-mail you the wmv. sound file and you can play it over and over again.

(Please don't suggest I Google for the lyrics on the Internet; it ain't there, very surprisingly, though you'd think it would be. But what *is* there is an interesting discussion by a lot of people trying to find said lyrics. So, you will be doing a favor not just for me, but for all mankind.)

(Furthermore, when we have said transcription and said translation, I'll post it here on the Boodle, and forevermore whenever anybody Googles this song for its lyrics, they will come here and be amazed and forever grateful.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a job for shrieking, 'Mudge. If he demurs, I'll take a stab at it.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Kim, I'd go to the door. I'd go in. I'd meet the parents and smile sweetly. As I told the Boy just yesterday, trust but verify.

After all, it is my job to make him miserable, isn't it?

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Milbank wrote.
'Yesterday's news conference was just minutes old when President Bush made a startling announcement.

"Mandela's dead," he said.'

If the Yahoo quate is correct, this is what Bush said.
"I heard somebody say, Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas,"

Milbank lied.

Why bother delibrately misquote Bush to make a fool of him when you know he'll do it himself if you wait 3 minutes?
Bush mis-speaks, big news.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I know Kim. But if you have a name, address and an internet connection finding a phone number is a snap.

Will you 'dopt me? I could use some looking after.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Ivansmom. I'm here to tell you that will be your job for the rest of your life. I went to dinner last evening with a group of friends; a major topic was how their mothers continue to drive them crazy. Mine did, fer sure.

Posted by: Slyness | September 21, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, ladies, do the mom thing, embarrass the kids with love and concern. My wife made me do all that kind of dirty work; something 'bout it being my responsibility and all.

My youngest was utterly and completely mortified when we agreed to chaparone a 7th grade dance, and then had the unmitigated timerity to go out on the dance floor and actually dance: traditional, arm-around-the-waist-full-body-contact type dancing. Talk about needing mind-bleech!! Oh, the humanity.

Posted by: just saying' | September 21, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, just sayin', and thanks -- I'll repeat your story to the Boy and point out it could always be worse.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

My mother used to dicuss every detail of my life, gastro-intestinal tract with her bridge club even if I was there. I finally told her that I had enough on her to make a good story. If she didn't want that blabbed all over the neighbourhood she'd better zip it. I beleive that's now called negotiating with a parent. Blackmail is a better term.
BTW If you think you can "allow" a teenager to have a boyfriend/girlfriend you've got another think coming.
Unless you lock them up of course.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Since we are on the topic of pre/young teens. I just noticed the review of Sydney White, a movie my daughter want to see.

I saw this disclaimer and thought - non of this bothers me - am I way to liberal? I do got to the do to meet the parents for parties, but most often they occur at our house.

Here's the disclaimer in the WaPo review.

It may be an iffy choice for some middle schoolers, as it includes considerable, though fairly mild, sexual innuendo, semi-crude sexual language ("booty" and other non-obscene synonyms), implications of promiscuity among college kids and a matter-of-fact portrayal of a club for gay, lesbian and transgender students. There are references to beer and implied drinking at parties, students who appear hung-over, young women in tight or low-cut outfits, modestly implied male nudity, toilet humor, mild profanity and jokes about overweight kids.

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Sniff, thanks Ivansmom.
I do intend to smile sweetly. I didn't actually plan on going in like gangbusters. I just plan on going in, introducing myself to a team mate's (hyphen?) parents and telling them that I'm glad to meet them, blah, blah...and I guess I could find the phone # if I really wanted to, but I would like to get to know some of these parents.

Trust buy verify is exactly what I said to her yesterday. I do trust her, but I don't know these people at all.

Boko - made me did your mom stop blabbing?

Posted by: Kim | September 21, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

In case you notice an increase in typos or other errors in tomorrow's Post, this may be the reason why:

Brad Pitt visited the newsroom.

Posted by: pj | September 21, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

RD and Ivansmom, your discussion earlier today about The Boy and dating made me chuckle. I don't have kids, but it brought back memories of back when I was his age. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

Posted by: pj | September 21, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

How old is your daughter, dmd?

I am not a fan of these movies that glamorize skanky behavior by teenagers. I'm really not a prude, although I know I sound like one. I have pretty much let go of the leash with my 16 year old son and what movies he watches...but I'm not there yet with my daughter.

Posted by: Kim | September 21, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Boko999, I know I can't allow the Boy to have or not have a girlfriend. I can, however, prevent him from physically going out with someone by themselves after school hours, or furthering an exclusive relationship on the phone, should it get to that point. I'm really not worried about first crushes, etc. Mainly I'm just trying to influence him by giving him an idea of limits and what's acceptable. I think there is too much pressure in middle school to be "dating" and it is just silly. Teenagers deal with enough angst as it is.

I would only embarrass the Boy about unimportant things in public, not personal ones. I'm glad you were able to negotiate a solution with your mother that protected your privacy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

She's 12 Kim, I use those movies as an opportunity to discuss how inappropriate skanky behaviour is and why she will not be like that. At the same time promoting the "good girls in the films".

She was a little upset the other day when a boy teased her for being a "goody-goody", my first response - Yea!!!

Posted by: dmd | September 21, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm back. My ears are ringing. another clue.

Posted by: omni | September 21, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Sky-diving? Real diving off the platform? Attending a 30-minute rock concert? Taking an overdose of ASA?

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Who knows Kim. At least she had the decency to do it when I wasn't there. When I confronted her she was surprised. It had never occurred to her I might be uncomfortable with her discussing my personal details with her buddies.
Parents are going to discuss their kids with their friends and relatives. That's perfectly fine.
But I only humiliate you because I love doesn't wash. What an adult finds perfectly innocent concern can seem needlessly embarrassing to a teen.
Parents should be stealthy IMO, it's their best weapon.
I think because I never had kids I look at them as little people instead of big babies.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

You climbed to the top of Mount Tintinitis, omni?

Yoki, I e-mailed you that stuff.

And it's FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAYYYYYYYYYYY!! and I'm running for the bus. Everybody have a good weekend. (Go, Redskins; boo, Dallas.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Are we talking about 12 year olds?

You watch 'em like hawks.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom. I realize it also depends on the kid and the relationship he/she has with the parental unit/s.
I was a particularly prickly little monster.
A friend of mine's Mum could walk into a gang of teens and start chivvying them like it was the most natural thing in the world. Kim (her son) would say, "Oh, that's just Mum."
I would have been mortified and furious.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 21, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Shameless attempt at getting my favorite new artiste more eyeballs. (Even features ukulele!)

Posted by: frostbitten | September 21, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Boko said "chivvying" which is one of *my* Mum's words. Lovely.

Posted by: Yoki | September 21, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Good news for me. The Boy couldn't talk to the Girls today long enough to ask about the Fair, so we're going with one of his good guy friends. Everyone is happy, especially Friend, who otherwise wouldn't go to the Fair. Deep-fried mashed potato on a stick, here we come!

I may see if the boys will try some scary deep-fried food, purely for the sake of research. You know, most fairs now require their deep-fry vendors to avoid transfats, so it must be healthy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what DID omni do? Did we ever find out?

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 21, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

No, Ivansmom, we never did. Now we have TWO mysteries to ponder over the weekend: What omni did, and what Scotty did.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 21, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with Son of G today. At one point, we were at our hotel and all four of us squished onto the queen-sized bed laughing and talking.

Then we got to meet the adorable (and adored) girlfriend and took them out to dinner. She's taking very good care of him; now I know why he's doing so well here.

He did bring up some things that made it clear he's a regular lurker here. Hi Sweetie!

Posted by: TBG | September 21, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

good evening folks. tbg, glad you're having a nice visit.

ivansmom, i for one would like a report on deep-fried mashed potatoes on a stick. perhaps the boy could be put up to it.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 21, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Have a great time, TBG, with your old, improved family. Between SOG, Ivan & Kerric (am I missing someone?) the Boodle will become an inheritance. Some lab who isn't even a wag in his great-gramma's tail will take over for Wilbrodog. Twenty years from now, it'll be the Child of Boodle taking over. :-)

Joel's daughter can write the kit.

Posted by: dbG | September 21, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

May we all pay homage to the hyphen. May it rest in peace. Change is so hard.

Posted by: birdie | September 21, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Just catching up with the Boodle...

I note that the WaPo newsroom does not come to a standstill when Mudge visits, but it does slow to a crawl.

Hi TBG, hi Son of G, la lurker, Yoki, and everyone else.

Have a good night.


Posted by: bc | September 22, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

That is good news all round, TBG!

Out for our official anniversary dinner tonight to the high-end Italian place where we are nearly regulars. Too much fun. We refused to order anything off the menu, asked Chef Liam (LOL!) to cook us what he thought we should eat.


Seared scallops on butter lettuce with crisped oyster mushrooms and white balsamic dressing

Butternut squash raviolo with fresh sage leaves and champagne sauce

More prosecco

Roast veal loin, morel and demi-glace sauce, fresh gnocci tossed with baby asparagus and a garlic butter dressing

A cheese plate with baguette toast and fresh fig chutney: Les Pouasses; Tete de Moine; Saxon Shires.


I feel rather like a python who's swallowed a goat whole. I'll now go sleep for six months.

Posted by: Yoki | September 22, 2007 1:00 AM | Report abuse

TBG, glad you had a wonderful time with Son of G.

Yoki, that anniversary dinner sound much better than the PB&J sandwich I had for supper.

Just back from an evening out with my friend where once again we decided we could easily solve world peace, North American politics and local financial sitations - now we just need people to listen to us, (well maybe just be, people do actually listen to her).

Night all

Posted by: dmd | September 22, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

*Happy Weekend Grover waves* :-)

Hey SonOfG! *manly handshakes*

Congrats on the happy day, Yoki!! *faxin' a Tums, for the sheer volume only of course* :-)

dbG, I think we might be able to include NukeSpawn at some point... *crossin' fingers*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 4:58 AM | Report abuse

I am highly peeved...

No Eagles?

No Interceptors?

No Barbara Bain?

No fishnet uniforms??

Man, that's an unimaginative bunch...


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 5:06 AM | Report abuse

And I'm glad we don't get political here... *whistling tunelessly*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Ever since it was confirmed that venus was rising in the east before sunrise. I can't get this verse from a song out of my head
"and Jesus he wants to go to Venus, leave Levon far behind, take a balloon and go sailin"

At least I think it is that.

Mornin everyone

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 22, 2007 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Good friend of mine
Follows the stars
Venus and Mars
Are alright tonight...

*off to the morning's chores*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, fingers were too fast... Hi GWE!!! *riverborne Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Hi Snuke, I'll be getting off soon and making my trek home. It is looking to be a nice warm weekend.

Everyone enjoy this soltice weekend.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 22, 2007 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Morning everybody! I can tell I'm getting old; I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep so I just went ahead and got up. Not that I mind - the peaceful time of early morning is my favorite of the whole day.

So today we pass the autumnal equinox. It's a bittersweet time. The heat of summer is behind us, but the cold of winter is coming. I like the light and warmth of summer a whole bunch more than the dark and cold of winter. Oh well, at least we have the change of seasons so we can appreciate what we like.

Posted by: Slyness | September 22, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody. I too got up early Slyness, but it was more because the alarm went off than because I chose to. "S" went to visit his daughter and grandchildren for the weekend. I am babysitting mine this afternoon so I am home alone. I think because "S" doesn't get to see his daughter and grandkids very often, he should get to see them by himself sometimes to get in some real quality time. It also gives me time to get major cleaning or other chores done here (and I can eat cereal for dinner or skip dinner altogether and the remote is MINE).

Looks like a nice day coming. Yesterday afternoon the fog rolled in very thick but patchy. Socked in at work, but 4 miles away at the grocery store the sun was out. It seems to be burning off now and the promise is for low 80's so it's a good day to take the granddaughters to the new ice cream store that recently opened nearby.

I'm dying to know what's up with Scotty and Omni.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 22, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Quoting blogs in political attack ads sure runs the risk of sock puppetry. Might as well quote your campaign manager.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 22, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, not to mention the shocking lack of violet wigs. I agree that someone must be held accountable for this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 22, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone.

Slyness - I think autumn is bittersweet as well. The weather is wonderful but I always feel a little blue (not bliss blue!) about it. I don't like winter at all. I think I would like it better up in the northeast. The winters here are drizzly, damp, gray and chilly. Ooh! I sound pitiful! Yuck. After growing up in California, I do appreciate the change of seasons though.

TBG - your visit sounds wonderful.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Posted by: Kim | September 22, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed NASA is building a polar moon base. I have a nifty design for screen doors.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 22, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody! I only wish the heat of summer were behind us, but at least it is only near 90 (F) rather than above it.

We'll have a nice warm day at the fair today. Animal barns, exhibits, giant slide, the Midway, exotic food, and maybe some rides for the boys. One advantage to having Friend come is I'm off the hook for rides. The Boy is conservative about midway rides, but he likes some of those things that go around. I can't go on those without being sick. I will try to coax the Boy and Friend into some fried fook on a stick; I'll explain my imaginary friends need to know.

RD, have you begun painting? Is all bliss?

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 22, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle. I'm off and running but want to drop this off, it's the transcript to the Achenback! diavlog:

I tried to leave it on the site but ran into problems: I typed a whole comment and then switched to a new window to look for a photo to insert (thought I should use all the bells and whistles since they are there) and my comment disappeared. And after that, the "post a comment" link wouldn't work any more. This is so typical of computer snafus. Just inexplicable, irritating, time-eating stuff. Ack.

But the sun is out and I'm off to do errands with my bike so I won't be cranky much longer. I will give it one more try at bloggingheads before I give up.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 22, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Those wacky folks at the MN State Historical Society kicked off the sesquicentennial year by giving out "State Constitutions on a Stick" at the state fair.

Ivansmom-hope Boy, Friend, and Mom all have fun today.

KB-"Inexplicable, irritating, time-eating stuff." A succint and useful phrase to be sure!

To all our regulars who find personal circumstances putting them in read only mode, I will think of you today. It is our first day of sunshine in ten. We sorely needed the rain, but what joy to drink in warmth and light after so much darkness. Wishing you the same.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 22, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Scotty, thanks for that link to the proposed Ft. Luna. The pole's a good place for sunlight all month 'round, making solar energy a very attractive proposition. Also, the nuclear reactors can be stationed on the moon's equator to power the magnetic mass drivers (though the additional input of the moon's axial rotation is negligable, isn't it?).

No Eagles, though I'd like to have a look at data from close-up magnetic survey of Tycho.

As I've mentioned here previously, Ft. Luna will make a dandy temporary home for the GW Bush presidential library before the put it in it's final location in New Texas:

As far as the legal and political implications of blog postings and comments, I think there'll have to be some more lawsuits before that gets sorted out.

Until the Civil Unrest of the Zed Years comes, I mean.


Posted by: bc | September 22, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

kbertooch, thanks for that transcript.

Now neither Joel nor Bob can claim to be misquoted.

I wonder if either will have a copy of your transcript sitting in front of them when for reference when they divaflog again.


Posted by: bc | September 22, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Is that like "Kneel before Zod!"?
Maybe Zed is Zod's older brother.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 22, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the transcript kb.
Just as a 'heads up', I found a spelling error.
"Sleeze" should be spelled "sleaze."
Funny I should notice that.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 22, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Just finished putting up the tape. I'm going with the blue stuff because, gosh darn it, I'm worth it. Spent the morning sanding and smoothing so as to achieve the geometrically perfect painted surfaces for which I am well known. (Fortunately, my wife doesn't read this blog.)

So after a refreshing luncheon I shall begin the wet work. I am hopeful that bliss shall be achieved, but I'm not sure. For I am using low odor paint.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 22, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

boko, thank you--I fixed it. As you know, I am unacquainted with the concept of--what is it? sleze? sleuze? I have no idea what Joel is talking about there.

If you find any other typos please feel free to email me at my hotmail address. Thanks again.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 22, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

it rained last night, as in pouring on and off for 12 hours winter storm type of rain. kim and other californians will appreciate that this is highly unusual for september. however, there is a perfectly scientific explanation for this. an organization i know planned a huge outdoor party last night, the beginning of yom kippur, even though affiliated educational institution has a policy of not holding events on said holiday. god was punishing them.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 22, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone!
Just to share the good news -- I'm free! After almost 5 weeks of being homebound, I can drive again. What a liberating feeling.

Now what shall I do?
Where should I go??

Posted by: Maggie O'D | September 22, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

um, disneyworld?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 22, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

just kidding. glad you're up and around, m o'd.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 22, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's Joel's article from tomorrow's Outlook section. It's called "What Makes Up My Mind." (No spousal jokes, please.)

Posted by: pj | September 22, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Maggie! Walk around town for a while and then stop to get an ice cream cone?

Posted by: pj | September 22, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Steven Pinker said, "basil ganglia" on the CBC this morning. I was waiting for him to say, "chili dangly bits." *giggle*
Sleazy is as Sleazy can.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 22, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I developed a candy appetite late in life (or more properly, resumed it). So I stocked the candy dish with mini heath bars, mini peanut butter cups, and cubes of caramel. Decided to finally keep a few of the little wondrous nuggets in my truck, as it was now cool enough.


Happy solstice everyone! Thanks for reminding me, Greenwith

Posted by: Jumper | September 22, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

NOBODY TAKES OVER FOR ME! Especially no-wag labs. Nobody can replace wilbrodog curlos wilbrodog, ever.

Sheesh. I'm not even 4 and y'all are already planning my estate. If I had access to your yards, I'd show you EXACTLY how I feel about that.

That said, bc also thought the gnome was on here today commenting. Excellent. Wilbrod's little flashing light device is working very well so far.

... You will not remember we made this post. You will go love your family.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 22, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Solstice? Didn't feel like it at a palm sale in the Palm Beach County agricultural suburb of Loxahatchee. But the mosquitoes did vanish after 9 am.

Getting there took some effort. I drove down yesterday, but the car abruptly overheated and didn't quite get out of the dealer before closing time.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 22, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's the Autumnal Equinox today.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 22, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Excellent! I've been arguing that hobbits are not human at all since this boodle first became hobbit-infested.

(You know who you are, and take your hairy feet off your desks!)

I'm with bc. There could be more hominoids out there on the boodle. But let's not hurt anybody's feelings by discussing it further.

I looked at those chinese dinos and those "feather-like" stuff looks just about as much like hair as they look like feathers. Both are supposed to have evolved from scales, so perhaps dinosaurs simply originate from a lineage that had a similar scale adaption, without necessarily being cousin to birds.

I saw another study that suggests that the biped dinosaurs do not seem to be that related to the birds.
Which makes sense; most of these dinosaurs have such tiny arms that they seem to be evolving in the opposite direction from birds altogether.

As Dooley mentions, we might learn more about ecology and extinction when we understand more about the K-T extinctions.

Here's what we know: when it comes to land tetrapods (we're excluding amphibians here), after the mass extinction:

1) We wound up with cold-blooded reptiles with very tight scalloped scales and shells. They sunbathe to get moving, and go into a torpor when it is cold. Lizards, snakes, alligators, turtles, tortoises-- all reptiles who also are adapted to water. Their ancestors that survived the extinctions might have dwelt in water as well as on land.

We also know that fish also survived the extinctions, and that they often evolve rather quickly when they recolonize new waters.

We do know that pleiosaurs and large water-dwelling saurians did not. This might be a function of their larger size and rapidly changing water habitat which would favor smaller animals that were better-adapted to quickly colonizing new waters (such as the surviving reptiles or water).

2) We wound up with small mammals and birds, all warm-blooded that rapidly evolved into larger animals.
Those large birds and mammals mostly then became extinct later on.

Large animals are specialized and have lower birth rates and larger range needs, which makes them vulnerable to climate changes that change their range.

On the local level, large animals are well suited to migrate and withstand extreme seasons as occurs in the interior large land masses. However, because they have large populations linked across large areas, they are less suited to colonize new places; and a disastrous event separating part of one population from the other can well reduce the genetic pool of both populations beyond sustainability.

This analysis of large mammals and the factors involving rarity:

Now what was the world like right before the K-T boundary?

Europe and Canada were still linked, which would have provided a vast band of area with uniform ecosystems throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

This was very ideal for large animals to exist in.
I believe the climate even in the north was quite warm and humid, with temperature extremes that would favor large animals and insulative scales, with appendages to help warm and cool at will (frills, back scales, odd heads, etc.).

Most of the large dino fossils have been found in eurasia and North America.

The current hypothesis about the extinctions involves a meteor impact that would have caused a worldwide nuclear weather and a rapid cooling of the climate, keeping much of the land below freezing.

I suspect the subtropical species with the widest climatic range did best; from Alberta to new mexico, all land plants were devasted.

Birds tend to migrate north and south, and the birds well-adapted to flight survived, while the more primitive birds died at the K-T boundary.

The mammals that survived were likely small ones well adapted to burrowing and living underground where it wasn't so cold, and to scavenging seeds or carrion. (Snakes also burrow).

Still, it was a massive extinction globally. Here's another article on the extinction event. He quibbles about the species with temperature-based sex determination surviving.

However, parthenogenesis has been found in snakes and it's entirely possible that it can also exist in crocodilians and other reptiles.

A species devasted of males that lays eggs after temperatures have warmed would indeed re-stock the population with young males without difficulty. And that's assuming that there was absolute devastation of males by the time temperatures recovered. Reptiles have quite lengthy lifespans.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

*checking my feet*

Wilbrod, can I help it if I drank a little too much Entwash growing up???


Maggie o'd, CONGRATS!!! Might I suggest an autumnal equinox visit to Tai Shan and the other denizens of the Zoo?

*Boodle Alert -- watch this space (or subsequent Boodle) about 24 hours from now for A Startling Announcement.*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 22, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Getting married, Snuke?

I think that I'm going to take PJ's suggestion for a walk and an ice cream. The zoo is a little too adventurous for me at this point.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | September 22, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Shh... the 24 hour wait is to see if she'll say yes or no. Don't ruin it for him!

Of course, there ARE other starling news to be made. Let's wait and see.

(But if the news has anything to do with car insurance, he's a dead man walking).

Posted by: WIlbrod | September 22, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course she'll say yes. How could she say anything else but "yes, yes, a thousand times yes!"

Posted by: Maggie O'D | September 22, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen this?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | September 22, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, that cartoon made me laugh out loud!

Posted by: Slyness | September 22, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm at a symposium today, so I don't have time to comment on everything Wilbrod said, except that I agree with much of it. A few points I don't agree with:

"I saw another study that suggests that the biped dinosaurs do not seem to be that related to the birds."

Those studies are out there, but there are, like, 5 paleontologists that agree with them (literally--all the recent papers rejecting bird-theropod relationships are written by the same 2-3 people, and alsmost no one agrees with them.)

"Which makes sense; most of these dinosaurs have such tiny arms that they seem to be evolving in the opposite direction from birds altogether."

An incorrect public bias caused by all the press Tyrannosaurus gets. To vastly oversimplify, there are two big groups of theropod dinosaurs, the carnosaurs and the coelurosaurs. These two groups are only distantly related to each other; they probably split in the early Jurassic.

The carnosaurs are mostly big--they include the Jurassic Allosaurus and the Cretaceous Carcharodontosaurus, Carnotaurus, Acrocanthosaurus, and others. They mostly have short forelimbs, and some of the late ones (Carnotaurus) they're ridiculously short.

The coelurosaurs are mostly small, and include the groups thought to be close to birds. There is one group of giant, highly-specialized coelurosaurs, the tyrannosaurs. One of the specializations of this group is that the forelimbs are reduced. There are a couple of other isolated examples of short-limbed coelurosaurs (Compsognathus in the Jurassic, Mononychus in the Cretaceous.) But almost all of the coelurosaurs had long forelimbs (dromaeosaurs, oviraptorosaurs, troodontids, ornithomimids, etc.). Moreover, even if you have a trend of forelimb shortening, it will change in a hurry if selective pressures change. Hesperornis, clearly a bird, had completely lost its forelimbs before the end of the Cretaceous.

"Europe and Canada were still linked, which would have provided a vast band of area with uniform ecosystems throughout Asia, Europe, and North America."

This only occurs at the very end of the Cretaceous--during most of the period, Europe was a series of islands, and North America was bisected by a seaway. The eastern and western North American faunas are completely different right up to the end of the Cretaceous. But the increase in land mass connectivity in the Late Cretaceous may have contributed to extinctions; uniform ecosystems almost always lead to drops in diversity, not increases. Late Cretaceous geographical changes would have led to a drop in diversity regardless of the effects of the impact.

"Most of the large dino fossils have been found in eurasia and North America."

Only because that's where most of the paleontologists are. When corrected for collecting bias, large dinosaurs were as common in the southern hemisphere as in the northern.

"Birds tend to migrate north and south"

No evidence to either support or refute this in the Cretaceous. To my knowledge, all known Cretaceous birds have only been found in single formations.

"... birds well-adapted to flight survived..."

But it seems that the majority of birds, including the flying ones, went extinct. So did all the pterosaurs, all of which were supremely well-adapted for flight.

"The mammals that survived were likely small ones well adapted to burrowing and living underground where it wasn't so cold, and to scavenging seeds or carrion."

This may well be the case, but again, there is no fossil evidence either way.

One other point--no large vertebrates from ANY group survived. But that trend does not necesarily hold for invertebrates.

Posted by: Dooley | September 22, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Dooley. I intended to indicate that there would have been a relatively homogenous ecosystem in the north.
It may be that studies of the south will show a different rate of extinction of dinosaurs before the K-T boundary.

Given the difficulty of finding bird fossils, I would not be surprised to find our concepts of the antiquity bird evolution changing once a few more fossils are found.

Bc is correct-- there are a lot of specialized adaptions birds have, enough to say you can't really call birds the same class as the dinosaurs.

Just because they have some features in common (and/or feathers), presumably sharing a common ancestor to a class of dinosaurs, doesn't mean they evolved from that class, any more than rabbits are rodents.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod (and bc), I don't think you realize how similar birds (especially primitive birds) and dinosaurs are. Modern birds have been evolving for 65 million years since the other dinosaurs went extinct, so of course they are quite divergent now. To determine relationships (and classification) you have to look at the early examples.

It's almost impossible to distinguish early birds from advanced theropods. The differences are so slight that some people are considering classifying Archaeopteryx as a dromaeosaur, or alternatively, placing the dromaeosaurs into the birds. Some have even suggested that birds are polyphyletic (that they have multiple origins within the theropods.)

It's not that birds and theropods have "some features" in common with dinosaurs; they share so many features that it's hard to find a set of characters that allows you to define "birds" as opposed to "theropods."

Posted by: Dooley | September 22, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow, not quite up there with the ongoing discussion, but there is a young teen girl in Northern Virginia who absolutely loves her new, very mature, room color. She thinks her daddy is just the greatest.

But don't worry. It'll pass.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 22, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Umm, equinox it is. We have boblinks flying overhead at night, making chirps on their way to Argentina. It seems they thrive at airports.

Didn't a lot of modern bird groups radiate out from Australia? Seems a nice, calm place compared to end-of-Cretaceous North America.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 22, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Anybody look at Joel's Outlook article on consciousness? Good stuff.

Posted by: Yoki | September 22, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking at Archeopteryx right now. There are similarities between both dinosaurs and birds, yes. That is placed in the late Jurassic-- 9 fossils.

That is well before the tyrannosaurs etc. appear in the fossil record in the Cretaceous.

A few paleontologists, such as Gregory S. Paul, have suggested (Paul 1988, 2002) that some or all of these advanced theropods were actually descended from flying dinosaurs or proto-birds like Archaeopteryx that lost the ability to fly and returned to a terrestrial habitat.

Your example of flightless birds having shrinking wings is apt enough, and would explain much about the reduced forelimbs AND the furcula.

I'm not disputing the link, I'm just saying that we don't really understand it well enough yet, to say that "birds are dinosaurs" or that therapods are monophyletic with other dinosaurs.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow. If I get a double post, sorry. I hit "submit" and Yoki's showed up. Here goes again, I hope:

First, congratulations to RD on your exalted parental status.

I, too, was a good parent today wrangling the Boy and Friend through the Fair. Here's a brief summary: Animals were seen. And smelled. And petted. Exhibits were perused. Darts were thrown and stuffed Stewies (Family Guy) were won. Also balls and inflatable ball bats. Fresh-squeezed lemonade and corn dogs were consumed. Rides were rode. Airbrushed tattoos were acquired. Giant hats (velvet, feather rims, bright colors) were purchased and worn.

I'm a little worn myself. We're off to my aunt's, where someone else will fee me and bring me wine. I'll check in later.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 22, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Haven't had a chance to look at Joels column yet, we spent the day, a perfect early autumn day, at the amusement park with the kids. Despite only have one daredevil in the group (the youngest) a good time was had by all. However the sunshine and walking have done me in. Spent much of the time simply taking in the beautiful clear blue sky, the colours of the fall foliage and the warm breezes.

RD, bask in the glory of a job well done, I still remember the thanks I received when I redecorated the girls rooms - made all the effort so worthwhile.

Here's a question, we have a large ash tree in the front of our house for the last couple of weeks, starting around dusk some animal/bird has been make a racket for most of the night. Baby raccoons? bats? Anyone know what it might be, until the leaves fall we are unable to get a good look that high up the tree.

Posted by: dmd | September 22, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It is a little known fact that I've invited you all to the Philadelphia area BPH on October 13 so we can redecorate my house. Please, hellllppp meeee! :-)

On the bright side, got a free gift from Estee Lauder today because I purchased something. I don't wear perfume, but a small bottle of *Pleasures* was included in the gift.

I took the unopened bag into the living room, closely followed by a black female lab with an excellent nose. She normally shadows me, but this was a higher following, truly dogging my footsteps. She was so interested in the bag, it could have contained raw steak or a chattering squeaky toy.

Anyway, I ripped open the protective plastic bag, unwrapped all the tissue paper, then put a little perfume on. She jumped on the couch next to me and snuggled as close as she could get. Sighed deeply, and breathing heavily, put her head on my shoulder and gazed into my eyes. If only it worked as well for men. They could charge anything!

On the other hand, now we know why there are lab puppies in their print ads.

Posted by: dbG | September 22, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

LOL, dbG.

Off to a dinner party I really really don't want to attend. Am I a good friend, or what?

Posted by: Yoki | September 22, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

You're a good friend, period!

Posted by: dbG | September 22, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

dbG, that is the difference between your high class labs who love the scent of perfume, my mutt goes nuts for the scent of sunscreen (truth be told anything with a scent) :-). Funny story thank you.

Posted by: dmd | September 22, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse


Your anniversary dinner sounds absolutely superb! It's great that you have a relationship with a local restaurant that you can walk in, turn yourselves over to him, and know he'll give you something great.

Posted by: pj | September 22, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it contains puppy breath scent, dmd?

Thanks for the tip, now I know what never to put on Wilbrodog if I want him left alone on walks ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

DbG, fax me some Pleasures now!!! My social life is dying here, I tell you.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

That was me, not Wilbrod. But you knew that.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 22, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

As always, Joel explicates the question of consciousness clearly and succinctly. I'm glad there are still some mysteries in life. Where would we be if we thought we knew everything there is to know? I shudder to think what some people might do to others. Let's let the 20th century be behind us and create peace in the 21st.

RD, glad to hear that the blue is blissful. May it stay that way...Ivansmom, good to know that you all had a happy time at the fair.

Mr. T and I haven't left the lot all day. He's working on his project, and I dug up irises and daisies to divide and replant them. He has come down with the cold I've had all week. With him, it's not nearly as mild as it was for me. He's so pitiable when he's sniffling.

Posted by: Slyness | September 22, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

One of my sisters tells a story of her husband catching her cold, but somehow, when it got to him, it included a limp.

Posted by: LostInThought | September 22, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

LostinThought-- was that mumps?

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 22, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

What a cool moonlit night tonight, I just went for a short walk and heard a big crash in the woods to my left and something running, thank goodness the other way. But it sure freaked me out. Safe indoors now. Note to self: always take along a walking stick and maybe a whistle.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 22, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

LostinThought... that is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Thanks!

Posted by: TBG | September 22, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

LiT - oh my, made me laugh. The hubby and I catch these bugs from each other or the kids and then indulge in a running battle of aches and pains to see who was sickest...until we laugh and give up! Next time, I'm going to limp. That'll beat him.

RD - enjoy the adoration. I'm sure you deserve it. Painting is the worst! Parents of teenagers have to take those quick moments of appreciation and store them away for winter.

Posted by: Kim | September 22, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, I sure do realize that birds and dinos hung out on some of the same branches of the evolutionary tree.

All I'm saying is that a lot of those dino branches were pruned millions of years ago.

And plenty of bird branches have been pruned since then.

I guess it depends on how one looks at those phylogenic trees, if you prefer rooted bifurcating trees, things look fairly straightforward since you're starting at a known end (the existing common ancestor of all), but I'm more of an unrooted multifurcating tree kinda guy, since evolution seems as much as chancy drunkard's walk as anything.


Posted by: bc | September 22, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

LiT, thanks for that chuckle.

Sometimes ya really gotta hustle to catch a cold, don't 'cha?


Posted by: bc | September 22, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I did not know that the phrase "cogito ergo sum" is as apocryphal as "Play it Again Sam."

Posted by: bill everything | September 22, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

And on the seventh day He said 'Let there be marching band competitions." And there was, and it was good, execpt all of the beings in the world, even those that crawled on their stomachs, had to awake at 6.30 in the morning, and all were wont for rest. There's mosquitoes on the river. Fish are rising up like birds. It's been hot for seven weeks now, Too hot to even speak now. Did you hear what I just heard? Say, it might have been a fiddle, Or it could have been the wind. But there seems to be a beat, now. I can feel it in my feet, now. Listen, here it comes again! There's a band out on the highway. They're high-steppin' into town. They're a rainbow full of sound. It's fireworks, calliopes and clowns --Everybody's dancing.
Come on, children. Come on, children, Come on clap your hands.
Sun went down in honey. Moon came up in wine. Stars were spinnin' dizzy, Lord, the band kept us so busy. We forgot about the time. They're a band beyond description Like Jehovah's favorite choir. People joinin' hand in hand While the music plays the band. Lord, they're setting us on fire. Crazy rooster crowin' midnight. Balls of lightning roll along. Old men sing about their dreams. Women laugh and children scream,
And the band keeps playin' on. Keep on dancin' through to daylight. Greet the morning air with song. No one's noticed, but the band's all packed and gone.
Was it ever here at all? But they keep on dancing.
C'mon, children. C'mon, children,
Come on clap your hands.
Well, the cool breeze came on Tuesday, And the corn's a bumper crop. The fields are full of dancing, Full of singing and romancing, 'Cause the music never stopped.

Posted by: jack | September 22, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

bill everything, please read more carefully. from the article you linked:

"Cogito, ergo sum" (Latin: "I think, therefore I am") or Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (Latin: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am") is a philosophical statement used by René Descartes, which became a foundational element of Western philosophy. "Cogito ergo sum" is a translation of Descartes' original French statement: "Je pense, donc je suis", which occurs in his Discourse on Method (1637). (See Principles of Philosophy, Part 1, article 7: "Ac proinde hæc cognitio, ego cogito, ergo sum, est omnium prima & certissima, quæ cuilibet ordine philosophanti occurrat.")

descartes wrote principles of philosophy in latin, so the phrase is not spurious.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 23, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

And the actual Casablanca quote was, "Play it, Sam."

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 23, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.
Sam: [lying] I don't know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
Sam: [lying] Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Ilsa. I'm a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum...
[Sam begins playing]
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.
Sam: [singing] You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply / As time goes by. / And when two lovers woo, / They still say, "I love you" / On that you can rely / No matter what the future brings-...
Rick: [rushing up] Sam, I thought I told you never to play-...

= = = = = = = =

Rick: You know what I want to hear.
Sam: [lying] No, I don't.
Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
Sam: [lying] Well, I don't think I can remember...
Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!

* * * * * *

Man, I love that movie.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 23, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Just a formality: New kit.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 23, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

wcibj xgwlroy wighaevu brhm iljz nocqde lszcpxud

Posted by: xobmwy qkextv | November 23, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

lvrofe obevdzum ywxerpqt lrofjc mpalrfd umehylbxd raipoljbf

Posted by: biwjtuns uvjrngxc | November 23, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company