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The More Things Change ...

I'll be taping a bloggingheads "diavlog" (loathe that word!) with Bob Wright later today. Not sure what we'll talk about, but I'm guessing it will be a combination of big-think bloviation and digressional cleverisms. A dash of solipsism. A dose of cant. Some grandiosity crashing on the shoals of trivia. Eschatology frothed and poofed with the usual prattle. And then at some point we can link to it.

I think Bob will want to talk about Iraq. Can I just say I think despair might be a good option?

Here's Gerson's best spin on it:

"Grass-roots progress, the argument goes, will eventually produce more responsible, pragmatic political leaders -- Sunnis who oppose al-Qaeda and Shiites who fight Iranian influence -- as well as more capable and professional Iraqi military forces. And this would allow America to provide the same level of security with fewer and fewer troops."

Which reminds me of the Dave Barry line: And someday sheep will pilot the Concorde. [Dated, but still makes the point.]

Not that I'm cynical. I'm hopeful! In fact that may be topic 2 with Bob, whether it makes sense to be hopeful about the prospects of our nation, as I argued here recently so cogently. Many emails said, in essence, "You're insane."

Environmental optimism is the subject of a Gregg Easterbrook book review in the journal Democracy (free but pain-in-the-arse registration required):

'Traditional environmentalists are fundamentally wrong, the authors contended, to think that "the environment" is a rainforest or wildlife preserve, while the places people live are artificial, or that men and women should bear shame about reengineering the planet. A pristine fjord isn't "good" while a streetcorner in Brooklyn is "bad," they reasoned: Both are different aspects of the same biosphere. Human alteration of nature is nothing to be squeamish about, since nature continuously alters itself, whether we act or not. "Fragile environment" is a nonsense phrase-nature has survived ice ages and comet strikes. The living world is not fragile; it's a green fortress.'

It comes down to having the economic resources to battle the very real problem of global warming:

'The authors "emphatically disagree" with the doomsayer's belief that ecological problems must get worse before voters will support change-the dialectic underside of the environmental movement that actually longs for bad news about rising sea levels and melting glaciers. "In our view," Nordhaus and Shellenberger write, "things have to get better before they can get better." Immiseration theory, which holds that suffering is the instigator of reform, "has been repeatedly discredited by history." Postwar progressive events like the Civil Rights Act and the Clean Water Act came during times of prosperity and rising expectations. Break Through contends that a booming global economy and good international relations will likewise prepare us to face climate change: The better things become, the better the chance of staving off harmful global warming, which is the book's leading concern.'

Count me as someone not persuaded that economic growth solves all problems.

As for optimism, the conundrum, as always, is that it may be adaptive to be pessimistic even when the hard data would argue for a less jaded assessment. The serene don't survive. The complacent get eaten alive.

More optimism: This Ray Tallis piece is interesting, via Arts & Letters Daily:

'The most often repeated claim is that we are on the verge of technological breakthroughs - in genetic engineering, in pharmacotherapy and in the replacement of biological tissues (either by cultured tissues or by electronic prostheses) - which will dramatically transform our sense of what we are and will thereby threaten our humanity. A little bit of history may be all that is necessary to pour cooling water on fevered imaginations. In 1960, leading computer scientists, headed by the mighty Marvin Minsky, predicted that by 1990 we would have developed computers so smart that they would not even treat us with the respect due to household pets. Our status would be consequently diminished. Anyone seen any of those? Smart drugs that would transform our consciousness have been expected for 50 years, but nothing yet has matched the impact of alcohol, peyote, cocaine, opiates, or amphetamines, which have been round a rather long time.

'It was expected that advances in the understanding of the neurochemistry of dementia in the 1970s would permit us not only to restore cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease, but also to artificially boost the intelligence of people without brain illness. The results have been a little disappointing, as the recent judgement by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence that anti-dementia drugs have only modest benefits reminds us. Gene therapy that was going to deliver so much in the 1980s is still waiting to deliver.

'So don't hold your breath; you'll die of anoxia.'


Maybe nature didn't get the memo. Inbox has nature-in-peril stories, starting with the hemlock trees:

'Entomologists at Virginia Tech are now studying a beetle from Japan that may be a natural predator of Adelges

tsugae, or hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Scientists hope the Japanese beetle will curb the rapid spread of the HWA without damaging forest ecosystems.'

Gray whale also still in trouble:

"Despite our best efforts," Palumbi said, "these genetic results suggest gray whales have not fully recovered from whaling. They might be telling us that whales now face a new threat - from changes to the oceans that are limiting their recovery."

"Decades ago, whales were the first creatures to tell us that we were overfishing the oceans," Palumbi concluded. "Maybe now they trying to tell us the oceans are in deeper trouble."


Japanese prime minister quits:

Support for the political blue-blood was also damaged by his concentration on ideological issues - such as patriotism and constitutional reform - at a time when many Japanese are concerned over the widening gap between rich and poor and other bread-and-butter worries.


Via email: Obama campaign releases the senator's plan for Iraq. Highlight:

Obama's comprehensive plan to turn the page in Iraq has four parts:
1. Obama would immediately begin to pull out troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year.
2. He would call for a new constitutional convention in Iraq, convened with the United Nations, which would not adjourn until Iraq's leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation.
3. He would use presidential leadership to surge our diplomacy with all of the nations of the region on behalf of a new regional security compact.
4. He would take immediate steps to confront the humanitarian disaster in Iraq, and to hold accountable any perpetrators of war crimes.

[This is the part that jumps out at me: "which would not adjourn until Iraq's leaders reach a new accord on reconciliation." Or until Hell freezes over. Whichever comes first.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 12, 2007; 8:41 AM ET
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Next: Debris Fields


Holy Moses, I'm first!

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

Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil.
Diavlog, really?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Further proof that the world is out to get me... I post something and Joel starts a whole new kit.

So here it is again (I may get around to reading the kit and posting something relative, but don't hold your breath)...

jack... the only option we've got for "quick" service is the ER. Another reason to punch GWB in the nose. He says "you can always go to the emergency room" and he's right... but have you seen an emergency room bill lately? I had to resort to that not too long ago (being uninsured) and I'll probably be paying that bugger off for the rest of my life. Seriously, my bill was in the thousands and they basically just patted me on the head, gave me a couple of aspirin and showed me the door.

If I had good insurance, I'm sure my treatment would have included treatment. But so it goes in America.

Our tax dollars get funneled off to pay for bombs and bullets when what we really need is universal health care and the shoring up of Social Security. But then we've got an a$$hat dry-drunk frat boy who's never worked a day in his life running the joint, so we should be happy for what we get.

I'll ask again... anybody know how to launch a revolution on a shoestring budget without having to hurt anyone?

I got the beard and ponytail (and a sometimes running 1970 VW Bus). All we need is lawyers, guns and money (and maybe another lawyer or two, just in case).

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Joel could that one type be any smaller, I am just adjusting to the diminishing eyesight that developed post 40 please don't rub it in.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

shrieking D... I love it when you talk dirty.

(just kidding... that was spanish, right?)

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Having established a beachhead, let me say something substantive: life is tough. Life will survive. However, an ecosystem is not the same as Life-with-a-capital-L. Individual ecosystems can be quite fragile -- a delicate equilibrium, balancing the rapacity of predators against the fecundity of prey. And don't even get me started about the botany, what with those dang flowers screaming all day about satisfying the sexual and gastric hungers of insects. Inter-species romance? Inter-phylum! Inter-Kingdom!

I'm sorry, where was I? Oh, yes:

Put a snowball at the top of a snow-covered mountain, and it will be happy and in equilibrium. Give that snowball a push, and things get exciting, as an avalanche heards toward the valley below. The snow survives. The mountain survives. The ecosystem survives. The snow assumes a new stable equilibrium on the valley floor, and peace is restored. But the idiot skier who tried to outrun the avalance after bumping the snowball -- he's a nasty smear on the mountainside. He's us.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

This Gerson guy has his head very deep inside his gastro-intestinal tract. I read him once and stopped there, even before knowing he is a former speechwriter for El arbusto. He was explaining the statistically insignificant difference in the rate of pre-marital sex between the general population and the religiously-educated-no-sex pledger thusly: the liberals talk liberally but act "morally", his own words. As in "liberal" is the opposite of "moral". Sheesh. What an a$$.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, SciTim: "We've met the enemy and he's us." Pogo

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


I hear you. It's enough to drive one insane. I've thought about revolting, too.

Get as many people as you can in as many states as you can where you have friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc. registered to vote and then, if you are certain that they are going to vote the "revolutionary" way, make sure they do vote.

2008 is our chance. We just have to make certain that we get the right person in.

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

Omni -- that you for a quiz that I can dig: 5 of 5. Flowers matter, as does talk about fossils, driving fast with the top down, growing tomatoes with names like German Maid, Zebra, mortgage-lifter, etc, and whatever optimism fancies appear on the boodle. I believe that this optimism message fits with the kit.

Do both DR and SD have progeny with bone infections? Horrors! these can be quite serious and hard to get rid of! IV antibiotics, especially the last line of defense types, can be harsh AND even cause mental wackiness. Sorry. Take care.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous Boodling:

martooni, there's little that's more distressing than dealing with insufficent health care insurance for your children. I sympathize with you.

I've spent hours on the phone with Customer Service (ahem) representatives trying to right wrongs and make sure that people who need to be paid are, and that services are rendered when needed.

My thoughts go out to those in Indonesia right now...

... and maybe in Russia, too. Putin's firing of his PM and dissolving the government causes me concern. On the other hand, just about anything Putin does may be cause for concern.


PS Holy cow! The Boodlers are revolting!

Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Omni, that would be THANK YOU for a fun quiz. Can you do a gearhead one for certain unnamed boodlers?

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

Tsuga canadensis is my favourite tree. I hope the release of Japanese beetles achieves the desired biological control over the offending herbivore.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Emaciated whale in California? I'm not surprised, the peer pressure for thinness out there is vicious. Have you seen Bertha lately? She must have lost at least 4 tons!

No College Parkian, no infection yet in the Fungi's foot (knocking head). It's just that the 4 weeks cast became a 6 weeks cast then a 10 week light cast. And you know that patience is not one of 19 yo boys forte.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

West Covina is gearhead city.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Martooni -- not that this is the best strategy, but have you considered the paperwork about religious or ethical exemptions for vaccines? You can fill out the papers so that BeanieDear gets into school while you wait for the appointment?

I know two families who have NEVER vaccinated their children against ANYTHING. They are in public school each day.

Could this be a work-around? And, BTW, we boodle-dispense you for the little white whopper you may have to sign.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

shrieking D... feel free to use the full "a$$hat". I've not copyrighted it or anything (probably because I've stolen it from elsewhere, but feh... sue me).

btw... idiots of the "Gerson" ilk give "muther-forders" a bad name.

And now I'm thinking (which could be dangerous)...

Maybe we can do an a$$-kicking field trip. I'll attempt to get Stella to traverse the few hundred miles between Ohio and DC, pick up whoever wants picked up, and then we'll go straight to whoever is exhibiting idiotic tendencies in a professional capacity and punch him or or her in the nose, followed by a swift kick to the bum.

I think that would make for a wonderful day -- kinda gives BPH a whole new meaning (Bum Punching Hour).

Of course, these are only my opinions and are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Boodlers or the Kitter.

I will now go sit on my hands and be quiet.

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

SD, glad to hear this. Your Fungi-boy name makes me think on this true-life, real boy story. CeePeeOoy has been wearing shoes and socks now for three weeks, this after a summer of sandals and bare feet. At the end of a long day, little dog makes cozy at his feet when he either reads or does homework. She licks them as if she were a kitty cat. Salty, no doubt. CeePeeBoy thinks that the doggy massage-session keeps down the odor.

Boys: you gotta love the earthiness of duditude....and encourage baths, despite the doggy ministrations.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Broken leg man just popped in to say he will be free of hospital visits soon, but that we will now be paying the cost of the prescription, 80 bucks a week. Its cheaper than gas and parking though.

Martooni, via the self same person, he said if its urgent have you considered driving to Canada? There are signs all over the hospital about how to get care when you are out of country/province. I know that signs are also up at the public health clinics (for shots and such) for out of country/province people.

Of course you'd probably have to check how long it would take (in Alberta Public Health clinics are open all the time, with clinic days for shots at least once a week), and what the costs are, but shots shouldn't be much different here than there. And any doctor can do them for money too. There is the drive, but you know with a little research, maybe its not too odd a suggestion.

dmd, you're closer than I to his locale, any idea how pulic health offices work in Ontario for out of province people?

Nah, its a totally odd suggestion, but what the hey, it can't hurt to suggest.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

haha... I called Joel a "kitter"

And now that I've typed it out, it doesn't seem as funny as when I thunk it.


Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Kitter, knitter: surely these are complimentary roles!

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-The answer to a gunless revolution is "show up." Not just at the polls, which is necessary but not sufficient. Extend your volunteerism beyond the wonderful charities you support to some citizen committees of your local government.

Of course I say this after our city council was forced to raise the property tax levy by 30% for '08. The city portion of the property tax bill is small, but it will have to go up the same amount for at least 2 more years to make us healthy. Part of the problem was previous mismanagement (cutting taxes when they shouldn't have) but a big part of it is the reduction in $ coming back to the community from the state. Where is that money going? It used to come back from the feds. Where is that money going? You know the answer to that one. On the bright side, when people get their tax bills they will quit talking about how I fired an 85 year old granny.

Garden report-frost last night in some areas, but Chez Frostbitten North was spared. Morning Glories are blooming and setting seed like crazy. We will have at least a dozen more days with highs near 80 so if I can cover flowers through the first hard freeze we can enjoy many bug free hours enjoying the blooms.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 12, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's unreadably small. Darn. Hang on.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 12, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

SD, I've thought about the Fungi while sitting waiting.

The whole iv drugs at home things is silly. They gave him an iv line on his inside upper arm where his drug pack will connect to. Now picture using crutches and having a drug line on your inside upper arm. He pointed this out to them, and was advised, 'don't walk much'. (Pounds head on floor )

Loomis, your comment on the new veterans rehab place is apt. I think of those men a lot watching all the crap that a simple break has created in my life and it isn't even my break. I cannot imagine what these guys go through. I hope that they don't get the run around. I really hope they simply are helped.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

dr... i got a map and could easily find my way north. (which would probably be a good thing).

I'm just ticked off that health care in the Most Wonderful Country Blessed By God and "The Frat Boy From Hell" can't figure out to give my little girl a shot required by law, which I have the cash to pay for, yet they're too dang stupid to allow this to happen.

And people wonder why I drink...

They're just damn lucky I don't play with gunpowder.

Posted by: martooni | September 12, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Frosty, forgive my mirth, but your bright side comment made me laugh out loud.

And so it goes.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The phrase "surge our diplomacy" made me snicker as I pictured a bunch of guys in striped pants and top hats charging across a field.

Yeah, diplomacy is the answer. I think that is code for carving Iraq up between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I think I noticed a problem in Obama's plan for Iraq.
Many of the people who are targeted by point 4. are the ones he needs for point 2.

But it's refreshing to hear him mention talking to all nations in the region.
The problem can't be solved without involvement of Syria and Iran. At least by talking to them you might get them to hold of on supporting this or that insurgent group.

Posted by: Eurotrash | September 12, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Just got to my desk after "going under the knife" this morning (had my broken tooth extracted). Have I mentioned that I LOVE nitrous oxide?

I LOVE nitrous oxide. The guy (gal? just in case) who invented it should get the Nobel Prize for Bliss (OK, that's a new category I made up. Thank Joseph Campbell.)

I have fairly good (but not great) medical insurance through my company, including dental--and you know what my co-pay was? $304. Yup. I didn't ask what the procedure cost in total (too blissed out). I think there was a major one-time deductible or something like that going on. For that kinda money, I shoulda asked for a doggy bag of nitrous to take home with me.

Unfortunately, walking downtown from the dentist's office to the subway, I happened to pass a Border's bookstore at 18th and L. That turned out to be a $50 mistake. And I don't have a deductible there, either; it was 100% co-pay.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Just call first. You never know, martooni, my brightest suggestions are usually dumb. I don't see why it wouldn't be worth a shot (haha) though.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I did some preliminary work for you if you want to head north - wasn't sure if you would head Buffalo way or Detroit. One consideration is how the vaccinations are administered. Here for Kindergarten it is the MMR vacination that is required - given over a period of time - you would need to describe what Bean has had and check to make sure she would be getting the correct booster. If did find a few Urgent Care facilities just across both borders. Too bad our dollar is essentially at par right now as it will up the cost.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

According to Ohio law the Bean can attend school for 14 days without her shots.

As CP wrote, I believe it's a national law that you can be exempted for religious, ethical or moral reasons if you so choose.

The irony here is that there is a program called VFC (Vaccines for Children) which is federally funded. Ohio has 34 healthcare providers enrolled in this program. Because you have healthcare (SCHIP), you are ineligible.

How difficult would it be to drop out of SCHIP, get the shots, and then get back in?

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does there seem to be an increase in the number of posters who lack the guts to sign a name/boodle handle to posts?

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

no guts

Posted by: no glory | September 12, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I invoke the OZ proviso against the unsigned posts:

Pay no attention to man behind the curtain.


Omni -- great find for Martooni to invoke, even if he only temporarily gets the NO VACCINE religion fever.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

That's a heckuva drive for vaccinations. I would talk to a pharmacist. One could probably offer some suggestions.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

(repost from last kit)


Thanks for the link about yellow-headed blackbirds. That is indeed what lands in my backyard. But not often, as I mentioned. I also get many red-wing blackbirds since I live near a pond. The reds are much noisier--guess it's the color. When the sun shines on the yellow heads they look regal.

Bob S. -- we are always learning new things on the A-blog!

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of birds: RIP, Alex, dead at 31:

The New York Times September 11, 2007

Brainy Parrot Dies, Emotive to the End


He knew his colors and shapes, he learned more than 100 English words, and with his own brand of one-liners he established himself in television shows, scientific reports and news articles as perhaps the world's most famous talking bird.

But last week Alex, an African gray parrot, died, apparently of natural causes, said Dr. Irene Pepperberg, a comparative psychologist at Brandeis University and Harvard who studied and worked with the parrot for most of his life and published reports of his progress in scientific journals. The parrot was 31.

Scientists have long debated whether any other species can develop the ability to learn human language. Alex's language facility was, in some ways, more surprising than the feats of primates that have been taught American Sign Language, like Koko the gorilla, trained by Penny Patterson at the Gorilla Foundation/ in Woodside, Calif., or Washoe the chimpanzee, studied by R. Allen and Beatrice Gardner at the University of Nevada in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1977, when Dr. Pepperberg, then a doctoral student in chemistry at Harvard, bought Alex from a pet store, scientists had little expectation that any bird could learn to communicate with humans, as opposed to just mimicking words and sounds. Research in other birds had been not promising.

But by using novel methods of teaching, Dr. Pepperberg prompted Alex to learn scores of words, which he could put into categories, and to count small numbers of items, as well as recognize colors and shapes.

"The work revolutionized the way we think of bird brains," said Diana Reiss, a psychologist at Hunter College who works with dolphins and elephants. "That used to be a pejorative, but now we look at those brains -- at least Alex's -- with some awe."

Other scientists, while praising the research, cautioned against characterizing Alex's abilities as human. The parrot learned to communicate in basic expressions -- but he did not show the sort of logic and ability to generalize that children acquire at an early age, they said.

"There's no evidence of recursive logic, and without that you can't work with digital numbers or more complex human grammar," said David Premack, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pepperberg used an innovative approach to teach Alex. African grays are social birds, and quickly pick up some group dynamics. In experiments, Dr. Pepperberg would employ one trainer to, in effect, compete with Alex for a small reward, like a grape. Alex learned to ask for the grape by observing what the trainer was doing to get it; the researchers then worked with the bird to help shape the pronunciation of the words.

Alex showed surprising facility. For example, when shown a blue paper triangle, he could tell an experimenter what color the paper was, what shape it was, and -- after touching it -- what it was made of. He demonstrated some of his skills on nature shows, including programs on PBS and the BBC. He shared scenes with the actor Alan Alda on the PBS series "Look Who's Talking."

As parrots can, he also picked up one-liners from hanging around the lab, like "calm down" and "good morning." He could express frustration, or apparent boredom, and his cognitive and language skills appeared to be about as competent as those in trained primates. His accomplishments have also inspired further work with African gray parrots; two others, named Griffin and Arthur, are a part of Dr. Pepperberg's continuing research program.

Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said:
"You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you."

He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Mudge - that makes me kind of weepy.

Posted by: Kim | September 12, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Loomis, it could be exactly what Martooni said--dealing with SCHIP is a nightmare of disorganization, unavailablity, waiting in lines for hours only to be told to come back tomorrow, and similar activities.

A large part of my childhood was spent with either public insurance or no insurance--we couldn't afford it even then. My nieces and nephew are on SCHIP now, as is Son of D's best friend (and his four siblings.) The effort they have to go through to even get information is not something I would wish on anyone (other than the people responsible for causing the difficulties.) And in my experience school systems are not much better at disseminating information; we still get calls from friends with young children (who know that we used to be teachers) seeking advice on how to navigate school bureaucracies.

I'm certainly willing to assume that's the case.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, twice in two days your empathic ways have rendered me speechless.

If there is justice in the universe, the same the kindness, thoughfulness and understanding we have shown others will be shown us when we really need it.

Yup, I'm talkin' 'bout Karma.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I heard an interview with Dr. Pepperberg on NPR's "All Things Considered" on Monday evening.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

USGS now reports the earthquake as an 8.4. My tsunami guy tells me that if reports coming in are accurate, the tsunami did not do what they expected.

Interestingly, he also said (a few hours ago) that the reported tsunami from Pedang seemed too large for an 8.2 earthquake.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Kinda felt that way myself, Kim. But then, the nitrous has worn off and I think I need some Tylenol, so maybe that's all it is. I'm even thinking about a Tylenol III, but I'd just as soon not get into the recreational stuff if I can help it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

It would appear I'm wrong about national law, as it varies by state.

Martooni, it would seem you should be able to argue for a temporary medical exemption on the grounds that no doctor will see Little Bean for two months. Just get a doctors note. Of course that would probably take two months as well.

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, if you need a shot of nitrous for the road you can do what some kids do. Nitrous oxide is the propellent for that horror; the white preparation looking like whipped cream in an aerosol can that must kept in refrigerators. Hold the can upside down and give yourself a blast. Seconds, if not minutes of fun but, as always, YMMV.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I will put in a rare good word for the civil servants who are charged with getting programs like S-CHIP to actually work. The people who administer these programs probably are no dumber than average, but they are stuck with administering a program that is a political compromise that must be coordinated with other political compromises. Oftentimes, programs are larded-up with some stupid provision to prevent cheating by recipients, which has no real effect on cheaters but that makes life agonizing for the honest. These programs demand that doctors accept a level of pay that is far below what they charge private insurers, while requiring a tremendous overhead of paperwork that private insurers do not require.

Imagine the consequences for the poor civil servant who declares "I will file useless paperwork no more, forever!" He lets doctors slide with never filing this junk, and he refuses to file his own junk acccurately (the system will demand that he has to file *something*, so he files fakes). He greases the wheels, gets things rolling, and puts money into the hands of the program's intended beneficiaries. Things go well, 1000's of lives are made better, and finally he is audited. It is found that he has filed bogus paperwork for most of those people, and that one of them actually was a cheater. Goodbye government job, hello minimum security prison. The incentives all point toward encouraging clerical workers to slow the system as much as possible, because a friendly bending of the rules for even one "undeserving" person will destroy that worker's life.

Posted by: Tim | September 12, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There's kindness, and there's enabling (or co-dependency) which doesn't do anyone any favors.

Take some responsibility, Martooni. Maybe you should have done this months ago, but acknowledge part of this failure is yours.

Posted by: dbG | September 12, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

They use nitrous for that? Really?

That's all I need: to become a Cool-Whip junkie.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I believe I can trump that dental co-pay, Mudge. When I was a medical photographer, the university where I worked operated a dental school. I had two impacted wisdom teeth removed for $10! This required a little gaming of the system. I became a patient of a friend of mine who was a second year dental student, then when he discovered that the teeth were impacted (no surprise to either of us), he turned me over to a faculty member because he as a second year was not yet qualified to handle the procedure. Got a faculty job at the student rate and my friend got to assist for credit. I agree wholeheartedly on the nitrous- a fine high without all that squinting and coughing- but you have to be careful. A fair number of folks have dozed off under the nitrous mask and never awakened. These are usually medical professionals abusing alone a la Steve Martin aka Dr. Orin Scrivello in "Little Shop of Horrors." I have a friend whose dad was a small town dentist with his office attached to their home and her brother asphyxiated himself that way.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 12, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Zap the 1:58.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Loomis. It's a shame martooni doesn't love his child enough.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, *Tim. As one of those civil servants, I'm generally sympathetic to the employees.

Governments, however, will readily spend a million dollars in paperwork to prevent $1,000 in cheating.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know it can be abused, and I'd never play with it alone, anyway, K-guy. But I'm fascinated with how I feel when I'm under--the "chill" feeling of coldness, and more-or-less "sudden" relaxation of the fascial muscles, and the thought processes inside me head whe I start quizzing myself: can I feel my fingers? Can I feel my toes? How come I can hear them talking, and I hear all the words, but it's like the words came two minutes ago, and there's this wonderful lag in processing. And I keep having all these wonderful insights about what it's doing, and when I come out of it I can never quite remember what they were. For many years I used to think I couldn't open my eyes, and then one time I actually forced myself to do so: and I thought, wow, I can see! And then I thought, well, that was interesting. I think I'll close them now because it's much better that way. And then I don't remember the rest.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Tim: your comment about provisions to stop the cheaters is beautiful, and all too true. I can see why Edwards said "it must be compulsive universal healthcare-- everybody's in, no matter what."

Mudge, lovely post. I think dogs can be the next parrot, although they also show similar logical limitations... but then again, it takes some fluency to learn that kind of grammar point.

I'd also want to explore native parrot communication and see if there's cognitive interference impeding grasp of higher grammar, rather than lack of cognitive ability.

Dogs are used to communicating with body, voice, and posture, and smell, so they have to learn that your posture doesn't inflect what you tell them in order to reliably obey in all circumstances, and even then, many dogs will simply take the body language more seriously than voice. That doesn't mean they're incapable of following voice alone, it just means that the handler must not project confusing signals.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Breathe deep that nitrous and resist the urge to talk because (a) your mouth is wedged open with a bite block, and (b) those lucid insights you wish to share will emerge as infantile gibberish.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 12, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room...

Thanks for the (good) tune cootie, K-guy... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

> Edwards said
> "it must be compulsive universal healthcare --
> everybody's in, no matter what."

Ohhh, I really hope that he actually said compulsory, or we shall be an entire nation of hypochondriacs.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 12, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CB | September 12, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CB | September 12, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Martooni: It's okay. Just go with the flow.

No one really means to be judgemental. I know what you are going through. Sometimes you just can't keep up with the world as it spins/speeds up too quickly.

Please, don't give in to despair and don't get angry at the remarks that others may make. You keep your eyes on what you need to do and keep embracing your truth, as best you can. Only Buddha/Christ/Krisha, etc. (or no higher soul if one is an atheist/agnostic) is perfect. The rest of us just keep trying to keep on "keeping on." And if you are an idealist you are hardest on yourself.

I, for one, who only comments infrequently, do understand.

Love and all the best and positive vibes sent to you, and the others.

Posted by: Aroc | September 12, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

A jeweller friend of mine would have his gas guy deliver one of those 5 ft blue tanks of nitrous. We'd attach one of those valves used to inflate helium balloons and the party would commence. Inhaling the gas from a balloon was a safety measure because the person couldn't inhale too much, as he reached nirvana he invariably let go of the balloon.
If you don't have your own gas guy make friends with someone who owns a speed shop.
Oh ya. Don't leave a large bottle of gas at the top of a stairwell. If it gets knocked down the stairs (blush) there's an anxious few seconds while you wait for it to come rocketing back up. We were lucky, the valve wasn't knocked off.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Aroc, maybe you should comment more often.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 12, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"...or we shall be an entire nation of hypochondriacs."

One could argue that this is already the case.

"We'd attach one of those valves used to inflate helium balloons and the party would commence."

As I said this morning with respect to non-dairy creamer, it's a wonder anyone survives their 20's.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse


Youngstown Health Clinic
330 743-3333

Mahoning County Health Ctr.
330 270-2855

Posted by: CB | September 12, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

What Aroc wrote, and kbertocci.

Peace out...

Posted by: omni | September 12, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

If a man has twisted his ankle and fallen to the ground, there are many legitimate responses. One can reach down to pull the man up. One can encourage the man to do his best to stand. One can even scream at the man like a deranged drill sergeant to work through the pain and rise.

What is not especially helpful, it seems to me, is to lean over the man and state, "Sir, your problem is that you are lying on the ground."

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse


My thanks for your kind words. I, myself, this day, this week, this instant in the eternal now need the positive.

On a lighter note, are we all getting ready for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" on the nineteenth of this month?

Posted by: Aroc | September 12, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, from the all-knowing wiki
"The gas is approved for use as a food additive (also known as E942), specifically as an aerosol spray propellant. Its most common uses in this context are in aerosol whipped cream canisters, cooking sprays, and as an inert gas used to displace bacteria-inducing oxygen when filling packages of potato chips and other similar snack foods.

The gas is extremely soluble in fatty compounds. In aerosol whipped cream, it is dissolved in the fatty cream until it leaves the can, when it becomes gaseous and thus creates foam. Used in this way, it produces whipped cream four times the volume of the liquid, whereas whipping air into cream only produces twice the volume."
They touch on recreational use:
" Users of nitrous oxide often obtain it from whipped cream dispensers that use nitrous oxide as a propellant (see above section), for recreational use a as a euphoria-inducing inhalant"
Inhale hard while opening a bag of chips, you may get a buzz.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 12, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Alex would thank you if he could (your 2:19 PM.) Birds are underestimated. Birds are cool. Okay, their aim may not always be appropriate but whatever.

Um, Loomis, who made you the judge? You must like stones.

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

In an attempt to lighten the spirit here and to commence good natured competition, I give you the Rachel Ray - competition to find the next chef "So you think you can cook".

Mudge, Yoki, et al get those applications in - I am ready to dial/text in my votes for you.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yikes! Talk today of: murdering the President, making IED's, ingesting mind-altering substances, circumventing the established bureaucracy. Is this a flashback to the '60's, or did I stumble into the Mommy blog?

Does anyone else hear the black helicopters?

Posted by: no guts | September 12, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wooowhooo!! Can't wait for Joel's diavlog with Bob Wright on be the premier of new episodes for the Fall Season. It's been much too long since the MUCH-LOVED Joel Achenbach diavlog from more than a year ago:

Whatever the topic, good luck staying on it, Joel!!

Posted by: YAY! | September 12, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Nicely put, RD.

Mudge, just be sure you're inhaling from a bag of chips, not a freshly brewed bag of microwave popcorn.

And remember everyone, the black helicopters are our friends.

They made me say that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 12, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Just popping my head out of my big pile of, you know.. work.. to say I hope Rain Forest is OK.

Rain Forest... if you're out there, give us a shout please!

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Ah, maybe that explains why I like nitrous so much-- it's fat soluable.

dmd, if you've seen any of the BPH photos, you know that I have a face made for radio. And if you've ever heard my voice, you'd know it was meant for silent movies, or perhaps PowerPoint presentations. There's no freaking way they are getting me on television, much less the food channel. I'd have the only food show where the host wore a paper bag over his head and talked with a pitch-shifter voice modulator gizmo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Aroc you say this so well, Nothing could possibly be added and a thousand things all of them right and all of them wrong.

I wasn't going to say anything about Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I am practising. I've been very busy wondering how to knit like a pirate. Thankfully, they have it covered.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

You forget I met you in person, I think you would be great. They say they want "real people".

Yoki how about you fulfill your dream to be a chef?

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

You have a pitch shifter? Call the Washington Nationals ASAP. I think they have immediate openings.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 12, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Re "getting better before things can get better." I sorta see their point. It is kind of like losing weight. Nothing motivates you to lose more weight like successfully losing that first pound.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I would definitely apply except I'm not only a good cook, I'm shy (really!) and also clumsy. I'm thinking they don't want someone who will clam up on camera right after having broken the elegant French ceramic casserole and cutting or burning herself into the bargain. Other than that, I'd be perfect (well, except for being old and fat).

Posted by: Yoki | September 12, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I would so watch that Yoki because then I could say look - there is someone on TV JUST LIKE ME. Well except that I don't cook that well, but I am right with you in the shyness, clumsy etc.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I think we might make our fortunes by founding a new cable channel called "Just Like Me." We'd feature people setting out on their daily run and making it about half a block before lurching to a halt. I could host the cooking show. You could do the gardening (well, actually, you could do gardening for real) hour. Anyone else want to volunteer? Just think of something you do frequently but not well, and you're in as the "JLM Next Top..."

Posted by: Yoki | September 12, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Only six more shopping days 'till 'Talk Like a Pirate Day.'

That is all.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 11:18 AM

I never know when something is important enough to re-post.

Would a tsunami watch count?
Should it be called a tsunmi watch?
A tsunmi skeddadle might cause fewer casualties.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant Yoki, I am sure the world is dying to see me stab myself with a garden implement, trip over a rake, bash my head on something and run like a crazed nut when a bee buzzes.

Posted by: dmd | September 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Good grief. So we're finally into the nitrous? I wouldn't poo-poo the danger of that stuff. Minimal brain hypoxia doesn't sound too good. They mix the stuff with 40% oxygen at the dentist's.

Talking of medical care, I was in the hospital once (gunshot) and the nurse came into my room at 3:30 with a big syringe. "Oh, are you awake, Mr. Wilson? Time for your injection." "I'm not Wilson," I said (I'm not) "Get the heck out of here!" At 5:30, the scene was repeated with a different nurse, about word-for-word. Fearing for my life, (what WAS Wilson supposed to be having injected in him? Who knows?) I decided to check out against medical advice. They asked me where I would go. I said, "To the drugstore." They said, "Why?" I said, "Well, to get a bandage, for one thing, because not only are you trying to kill me, you can't even seem to put a &%$@#ing bandage on this wound." They found this highly amusing. I, knowing of highly resistant staph strains found in hospitals, was not amused. I got my bandage. I decided to stay and at least eat the breakfast. Then I left. I am glad the bill was no less than $20,000. I would not have laughed so thoroughly when I received it, had it been in the realm of maybe-I-can-pay-it. That was well over 7 years ago. My credit rating is almost restored.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, we baseball umpires never go anywhere without our pitch shifters, even in retirement.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Gunshot wound and no insurance. You are definitely leaving out the best part of that story.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Birdie and the other one who posted recently about birds: I had no idea about the yellow-headed blackbird. Good to know and I hope I see one before I die. I shall add that to my list.

Finch heaven (haven) in my yard these days, as the sunflowers (Cassandra's favorite) are nodding, pregnant with seeds.

After the glorious soaking rain -- thank you GWE for sending some liquid manna -- I find scads of stripey caterpillars that are either swallowtail and/or monarchs. Curiously, despite a surfeit of butterfly weed (asclepsis), no crawlies on this plant.

The last neighbor who looked askance at my habitat-ty front yard is gone. We all love the butterflies and assertive, higglety-pigglety, upstart flowers on the street. I have converted two additional families this summer to devil-may-care gardening. We shall, shortly, take over the earth, one block at a time: flowers and butterflies, unite.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We may be uniquely qualified to merge to of the hottest genres in reality TV. Between dmd and me, we can host lifestyle programming *and* feature Life in the ER. You know how most reality shows have ambulances standing by? On ours, the paramedics will have repeated walk-ons.

Posted by: Yoki | September 12, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The "best part" for you, maybe! The part I'm ashamed of!
I will speak of it here no more. Suffice it to say, I can tell you I heard "You're lucky!" so much it nearly drove me nuts. I didn't feel lucky; no, not at all. But I dragged home and holed up like a tough old cowboy and healed up on my own. I didn't even have to get the buddy with the hot iron, nor the whiskey and the leather to bite on. Peroxide, while definitely uncowboylike, works wonders.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Yoki and dmd, you guys are reminding me of the classic SNL skit where Dan Ackroyd played Julia Child, and accidentally cut his thumb off. Blood and hilarity ensued. (Don't you do the same.) (Cut your thumb off, I mean.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm howling here Jumper.

"Don't you guys know nitruos is dangerous?"
"Gunshot? Pfft."

To tell the truth dmd, I would pay good money to see that.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

So you dyed your hair blond while recovering? This gets better and better.

Oh, wait. I see.

Never mind.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Our reality show should be one of US-Canadian Friendship....but instead of pen pals, we should somehow show the digital connections. We are enriched by the trans-oceanic connections to the

exotic rainforest

elegant Belgii Eurotrash

Now cue the music from the Friendly Giant, which sounds like the German folklieder of

Early one morning
as the sun was rising....

Posted by: College Parkian | September 12, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The credits on Yoki's show would be so cool:

"Also starring:

Himself, as Himself."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

>I didn't even have to get the buddy with the hot iron, nor the whiskey and the leather to bite on.

If you want this, the code is three foot taps, followed by two waves.

Or so I've heard.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Try it, SonofC, and see what happens. I had not heard of this. Report back to us soon.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

You heard this where, SoC?

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

My dog Lucky went to live in the country where he had a nice home with a lady who had birds. Lucky's job was to bark when a vehicle drove up the driveway. But he was getting old and tired and his hearing was not the best either. And he was inside a lot, and the air conditioning would run, making it difficult to hear. Kingston the cockatiel had a perch next to the window, however. They worked out a system. Whenever Kingston spotted an unfamiliar car coming up the driveway, he would squawk "Lucky! Lucky!" and Lucky would wake and jump up and start barking. Thus the proper order of things was preserved.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Funny, Jumper.

I hope Wilbrodog never needs a hearing-ear cockatiel in order to work as a hearing-ear dog for me. He'd probably enjoy being a bird dog though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I want my own bird!

Roast it until the skin is crispy, please.

Thank you!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Regarding optimism driving reform. I think this is true. For when a person is so beaten down by life that the idea of personal happiness seems laughable, the notion that *anything* in the universe getting better seems pathetically absurd. So why even bother.

I think it is this kind of paralyzing pessimism that Joel was confronting in his recent article on America. To really wish to improve things in America you have to be optimistic enough about its future to think that you are doing something more than just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

And the same goes for environmental reforms as well. That is, once you have given up on the the environment, the logical thing to do is just chuck it all and dream of nice underwater bungalows. Or become a fanatic advocate of orbiting space colonies.

Or say "Why bother" and buy that mega-Hummer because you have concluded that things are so hopeless that another CO2-belching land yacht won't make a lick of difference.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC "of *anything*."

(I will eliminate typos! I will! I will! I will!)

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

It's baaaaaaaccccckkkkkk!

Storm drain to blame?,,2164397,00.html

Posted by: Loomis | September 12, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

You know, I just hate being accused of being an a$$hat when I was rushing yesterday and made a mistake of excluding the phrase, "Where will it end?"

I was working on important questions such as these for last night's meeting.

Rhode Island didn't want its Prudence Island to be used as the site for research into exotic animal diseases and wealthy Newporters fought it. Neither did the citizens of Long Island, New York, want the site to be on Plum Island. Will the wishes of San Antonio citizens who are against locating the lab in Alamo City be heard? Is this hearing rigged as the New York hearing was back in the 1950s?

Will DHS, as the USDA did, ignore OSHA's and EPA's lengthy list of workplace safety violations, including repeat infractions? Problems on Plum Island include massive landfills and bunkers filled with rusting metal drums filled with toxic materials; inoperative wastewater treament, effluent, and storm drains; incinerator problems; sewage spills--in short, multiple problems with the Clean Water Act and environmental laws prohibiting the storage of hazardous materials.

Will we continue to perpetuate a germ-ridden utopia where lab directors like former director Roger Breeze buy expensive ferries and gym equipment for scientists while shirking important security measures and precautions?

Will workers be silenced and forbidden from speaking out? Will they be fired like employee Jim McKay if they do?

Ask yourself this: Do Plum Island's past catastrophes, the present level--or lack--of safeguards, and its future plans justify the lab's existence in San Antonio? One thing is certain: the public must not allow the government to continue animal biological research without being fully supervised nor allow the government to run the next-generation Plum Island pathogen lab like a game of Russian roulette.

Posted by: Loomis | September 12, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Who put those words in my mouth?!
I resemble that remark!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

For some reason this triggers the Genesis/Phil Collins tune cootie:

"I can't dance, I can't talk.
the only thing about me is the way I walk..."

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Emma Rose did it, Wilbrodog.

Posted by: dbG's dogz | September 12, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Ah. Bad dog! But I forgive you, sweet-smelling Emma Rose.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TBGcat | September 12, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I'm alternatively misremembering things, I think. A month ago I would have said that such activities would get one some more TP. Shows how little I know.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Bonsoir, TBGCat!

Mi'oau pres mia oui meu euque, n'est ce pas est?

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Pardonnez-moi-- that was me, not Wilbrod.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

CP you must go west, woman, to see the yellow-headed blackbirds. I had never seen one til I moved here. But remember, I had to give up viewing the majestic eastern cardinal. Such is life. I like the yellow (golden?) finches, too. And the sunflowers...there is not a cheerier flower.

Also, three cheers to Joel for his great use of obscure words in the opening of the kit. Makes my head swoon.

Loomis, okay, you made a mistake. Join the club.

Lastly, I must admit I eat birds, too. Oh well. But only the dumb ones, bless their souls.

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Now a 7.8 earthquake in Indonesia, in addition to the 8.4 this morning.

Posted by: Dooley | September 12, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Il est agréable d'entendre le français. Boko stupide ne le parle pas ainsi le temps seul je peux l'utiliser est quand nous visitons Joanne.

Posted by: Buddy999 | September 12, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Cool, you speak french? Je parle françat mais pas français, mais oui.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Ah, come with me, handsome Wilbrodog! We'll root through the garbage together as only labs can, and I'll let you roll in the really smelly stuff first.

I'll show you where the skunk lives under the porch next door and we'll all play. Do you like the taste of tomato juice?

We'll slip through the fence slats and run, run down the streets leading to the Expressway, snickering as dbG and Wilbrod struggle behind us.

We'll take candy from that baby in his stroller and frolic in front of the opened fire hydrant.

Believe me, I know how to be a bad dog!

Emma Rose

Posted by: dbGs dogz | September 12, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

You had me at the rolling in stuff, Emma Rose.

For the rest, uh, I'll leave it up to you as the expert. I have to live with Wilbrod, you know.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, concerning my post in the last Boodle. When we toppled Saddam's regime, the "war" was over. That's why W was on the friggin' aircraft carrier.

That was the WAR, pathetic as a fair fight as it may have been.

We have for four years since, and will continue to be, in a peace-keeping mode a la Bosnia. Except the Eastern Europeans weren't trying to kill us with IEDs.

I severely edited my post last night. I had a sentence that said something to the effect that, sometimes, semantics matters.

Why is the Washington Post still calling this a "war." It simply isn't. And it will help understanding what we are trying to do there if we stop calling it that.

Of course, I could be wrong. So it goes.

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Asseoir. Séjour. Venez ici. Ne le mangez pas. Tous les animaux sur la ferme étaient j'ai grandi parle le français.
Boko croit qu'il est intelligent parce qu'il sait comment utiliser un traducteur en ligne.

Posted by: Buddy999 | September 12, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I took your point. I was just being flippant. It's not war, it's not peace, what is it?

The correct word from a policy viewpoint would be "occupation", which does sound very WWII... the wrong side of WWII.

The phrase "Nation-building" is a truckload of (*^&*.

The reality is that we are in the middle of a nascent civil war over there, whether or not we're officially warring with anybody.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

So I'm standing there in the checkout line at Safeway, where I went to get my prescription for painkillers, and some dinner stuff, and I'm scanning the trashbloids and magazine covers, and what do I spy but the current issue of Cosmopolitan. And her'es the lead story: "The Blended Org@sm." and the tag line with it: "You can have one tonight."

Now, I tended to be a single-malt guy myself, but heck, whatever floats your boat. And then I got to thinking, "OK, what do they blend it with?" It's part Big O and part ... what? A belch? A charleyhorse? (Been there, done that, don't ever wanna do it again.) A frozen daiquiri? An infomercial? I thought of some other things, which I surely won't go into here. But for the life of me I couldn't think of a single pleasurable, non-gross ...something else... one might want to blend a cheery-O with, and couldn't think of a single thing. Closest I came to was a sneeze.

I didn't have the nerve to buy the darn magazine to find out.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I just am too busy to keep up with the Boodle and was mad at myself for not expressing myself clearly.

But, seriously, for this paper to keep calling this a "war" is just not accurate.

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Assez! Bon garçon! Absentez le couche. Bon! Tu veux manger croquettes? Oui? Oui! mangez-le toi-même, alors! Bon garçon!
Tu veux l'excursion? Permitons sortir d'ici peu.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Buddy999 and Wilbrod, I simply cannot eat my Patriot Fries while you prattle on in that pig latin. At least link me to a friggin' french-english dictionary (unless you are being mean, in which case, make believe you went to bed).

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

How come Wilbrod's never THAT nice with me? Treats and a walk for getting off the couch? Folks, I'm not even allowed ON in the first place.

I'm just putting the truth out there.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Curmudeon, you shoulda looked! Now I'll have to see what they were talkin about. It prolly means together. No further comment.

Plus, I shouldn't be called a war anymore...ridiculous. It's an occupation. We should get out and go from there otherwise the hole just gets bigger.

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Mudge

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, if I was a bettin' man, I'd bet that the Cosmo article was referring to the combination vulval/uterine orgasm, discussed briefly here:


Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

It could be that Cosmo was talking about a nation coming together. But I haven't read the article.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Bill everything, Buddy said:

To sit. To stay (soujourn). Come here. Don't eat that. All the animals on the farm are. I have grown to speak French.
Boko believes he's very smart because he is like using a on-line translator.

Wilbrod, that lousy gnome, said (not to ME):

Sit. Good boy! Get off the couch! Good! You want to eat biscuits (dog food)? Yes? Yes! Eat it, then! Good boy! You want a walk? Let's go soon!

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, he is always provocative.

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

hahahahah, Shiloh. Good one. :-)

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you've never heard of le petit homme dans le bateau and the spot de G?
That's a double header man.
I'm shocked. The things you married men don't get up to.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW, thanks Wilbrod. Funny, I would have never guessed dogs speak French. No wonder I can't communicate with them.


Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

For those who really need the nuts & bolts (so to speak) info on physical relations, there's always:

"The Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality"

It's rather on the academic side, but SOMEONE has to do the pure research before the rest of us can turn it into fun applications!

Posted by: Bob S. | September 12, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Boko, he grew up in the Paleolithic, remember? Back then they didn't even have boats or the letter G.

However they knew their ogg-asms back then; in fact the primitive Oggham was derived from carving notches to count 'em.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm reminded of the National Lampoon Driving Manual, Rule # 5: Coming and going don't mix.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, correct me if I am wrong but, back in Paleolithic Age, wasn't the biggest knee slapper "Is that a club in your loin fur or are you just glad to see me?"

That just killed them at the "Last Neanderthal Standing."

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly, the little man aboard a boat in a position of authority is called the coxswain.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, Oh my. Figures it's from San Fran. But really, academic research on such fundamental human activity was so long overdue. My father was raised in a very puritanical culture. We've come a long way, baby. Maybe too far, really.

Posted by: birdie | September 12, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

This is a pretty good translator although if I said "asseoir" instead of "assez" to Buddy he would give me a disparaging look worthy of a Paris waiter.
Buddy also understands basic commands in Objibway.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Good one, bill.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

This is too good. NPR telling a story of a park in China where the Cultural Revolution generation relives the heyday of Mao:

I can't wait to download "I Contribute Petroleum to the Motherland" onto my IPod. If you can stick with it there is an interesting thing at the end that sounds like John Hurt if he left the Mississippi delta for the Yangtze.

Posted by: bill everything | September 12, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Har Hee Hee. This is great. The next time the boodle gets cranky we can just turn it smutty.
How do say "Get off that leg, you don't know where it's been" in french? I like to be prepared.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 12, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a lotta catching up to do on the Boodle.

Mudge, if you want some nitrous oxide, come on over to the garage where we keep the race cars, we've got 3 full blue bottles...

Er, I have some stories, but I'll save 'em for later.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that old Yangtse delta blues classic "I Can't Think 'cause I Eat Lead Paint", bill.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet that 'Mudge was the one that started selling nitrous balloons in the parking lot whenever the Dead played.

Just wondering, because I cught a lot of flack over my nickname, why would anyone in their right mind name their son Dick?

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | September 13, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

SCC 您居于是疯狂的

Posted by: Boko999 | September 13, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

gesundheit, boko.

george will pans fred thompson's campaign:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 13, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

joel, it might be worth enforcing the no unsigned post rule. anonymous snipey posts are annoying, even when they are, at times, correct.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 13, 2007 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Hi everyone. Thanks TGB, I'm fine. The earthquake wasn't felt in Bn. The 2004 earthquake happened the day before Christmas. Yesterday's quake happened the day before Ramadhan, the beginning of the fasting month for Muslims. It's bad when it happens on a normal day. It's much worse when it happens during festivities. It makes it hard for people who are affected to celebrate the festival when it rolls around in the ensuing years.

Posted by: rain forest | September 13, 2007 5:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey, waitaminit... I'm actually posting in the wee hours again.

Life might be returning to normal!

*almost TGIF Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 5:10 AM | Report abuse

*extra-special-happy-to-see-rainforest Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 5:17 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Morning, Scotty; I've missed you on the morning wake-up watch here lately. Good to have you back.

Who killed off the Neanderthals? This story says (I'm not kidding) the butler did it. .

Not only did George Will trash Thompson's candidacy, LAL, but now Novak is doing it, too. I just love it when Conservatives, who pride themselves on their mindless solidarity, start sniping at each other. Where was this kind of scrutiny in 2000 when a mentally challenged draft dodger from Texas was running?

Boko, I always though the Little Man in the Boat was Admiral Horatio Nelson. (I kinda liked my "I'm a single-malt kinda guy" joke, but I guess that was only for scotch drinkers. But I liked my sneeze joke, too, so what do I know. I guess it was only funny to sneezers. Very slightly more seriously, the G-Spot wasn't even hypothesized until 1981 [more properly 1982, when the book came out], which was nearly a decade later than would have done me any good. It was preceded by years of debate about whether there was only one kind of O or two, with a lot of debunking going on. Kinda like global warming and the hole in the ozone, now that I think about it. And yeah, as any married man knows, after you get married the whole thing becomes largely academic.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 13, 2007 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Bawdy boodling beats acidic boodling hands down. However, we need some science for a pointy-head spin just now.

Rainforest, glad for the news.

Mudge, every time you talk about old boats, I think of the Bladensburg dueling grounds, near me, where Stephan Decatur fell, fatally, to the ground.

Last night was such perfect sleeping weather. Fall is pussy footing around in these parts.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 13, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Hi Scotty, good to have you back in the wee hours again. You are beginning to worry alot of people not showing up at 4+ in the morning.

Posted by: rain forest | September 13, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I'll do my best to get back to my night-owl ways then, rainforest. :-)

Now if my regular PC at work would function normally... *rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Ignatius writes one of his characteristically thoughtful columns on "how this ends."

I like the comment about how Petraeus is "winging it" in Iraq. This gives me some hope. The best leaders are the ones who make it up as they go along.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 13, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody.

I liked the Ignatius column too, RD. He generally gets to the heart of the matter.

As always, Trudeau has the last, best word on Larry Craig:

Posted by: Slyness | September 13, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Cripes, I leave the puter to the progeny one night and I miss the official French boodle. That's my luck. BTW some of those online translations were horrible, as expected. We have an expensive software to do translation at the office and it is actually doing a fair job, after 18 months of "training" it that is.
Nice clear and cool day here, I could see the stars walking the Puppy at 05:45. It appears that there may have been frost in Yokiland. Ouch, that's a bit early, no?
Watch out with the automotive grade nitrous bc, where legal the gas supplier add a bit of sulphur dioxide or even mercaptan to prevent recreational use of the blue bottles. Excitement comes from burning it, not shiffing it.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 13, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

SCC sniffing, of course.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 13, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle
It looks like Texas is getting a bit more rain today.

The west by god weather is simply gorgeous this morning, a crisp cool 47 this morning at dawn. A nice day to do anything outdoors, even painting....ugh.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 13, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

sd, you're 100% correct about the blue bottles, and IIRC there is something in there to discourage recreational inhalation - I think our supplier uses sulphur dioxide, based on the smell.

And to your point, things do get *very* exciting when I invoke the button.


Posted by: bc | September 13, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Beautful day up here too GWE, I will be outside working for the next 4 days, just 10c right now a little warmer would be nice as there will be a cool breeze coming from the lake where I am.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather everyone.

Just read this article on possible negotiations between the US and the Taliban, I am having a hard time with the idea that we can now accempt them.

Posted by: dmd | September 13, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

One more thing before I head up on the ladder.

Even though I live in WV now my football allegiance still remains with UM when these two border rivals play. I will be working tonight and will be unable to attend. Let's hope it is at least a close score and everyone has fun.

It will be a Glorious night for Football.

Go Terps!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 13, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle. Thank goodness rainforest is fine.

I'm a little cross to have missed last evening's conversation.

Special greetings to the absent Error Flynn, Annie, Cassandra. Oops, might be trouble with Curmudgeon and TBG for comma usage.

Posted by: Yoki | September 13, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear that rainforest is fine, too.

I'm curious to hear how the Achenbach/Wright diaflog came off. Could be a tangentfest; with a topic diagram looking like a blueprint of a nervous porcupine.

I'm looking forward to watching the WV/MD game tonight myself, hoping the Terps can keep WV under 35 points. [hopefully not in the same quarter].


Posted by: bc | September 13, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

SCC: the semi-colon at 9:20.


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

Good morning, everyone.

It is a glorious day here in the Tidewater area and I'm off today! 77 degrees now, supposed to hit 81, not a lick of humidity and a few beautiful fluffy clouds drifting across the sky. We were supposed to get a lot of rain last weekend but didn't, which is a special disappointment to the hubby since he spent last Saturday aerating and seeding. I have very strict instructions for sprinkling today and I hope I can carry it off. I had plans to tackle a couple of closets today, but now I'm really thinking more along the lines of yakking with my neighbor and parking my behind la fouma and reading my book. Or re-reading it as the case may be... "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

I had a fairly good grasp of where rain forest lives, but all the news and thoughts of rain forest sent me to the atlas to confirm. I was pretty sure there was no danger to Bn, but it's good to hear from rain forest that everything is ok there.

Go Terps!

Posted by: Kim | September 13, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, twas a crisp morning here. The leaves are looking crisp, the lawn is looking particularly crisp, anything not touched by previous crispness is now. Most of the way in this morning the thermometer was reading -2 to -3 C. Of course I'm north of Yokiland, but she is at a greater elevation.

I love the fall. Its like at the end of a good days work, sitting in the glow of a a job well done. Its like the part of the day where you get to sit and read with a warm cup of cocoa or tea before you pull the blanket of winter up over your head. Autumn is all the promise of spring fulfilled, the intensity of summer at rest. Autumn is a sigh.

I know there are a lot of things wrong with the world here and far away but soemtimes you just have to go for the poetry.

Posted by: dr | September 13, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

And lovely poetry it is, dr!

Posted by: Kim | September 13, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

And in the "You Gotta be Kidding" department...


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The more they stay the same...

What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

There's no Messiah in here! There's a mess, all right, but no messiah.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Omni, stop that! You'll get people too confused!

That was a funny story, Snuke...Poetic justice is a wonderful thing.

Currently 61 degrees and 91 percent humidity in the high country. We lucked into a great sale on a cool weather station that does everything. I set it up a couple of weeks ago, which was an hour and a half effort for this non-scientific type. In addition to temp and humidity, it shows barometic pressure, daily forecast, UW intensity, moon phase, date, time, and day of the week. All in one cool little package. Gotta love technology.

Posted by: Slyness | September 13, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Thank you all for your concern. Kim, you're right, there's no danger in Bn. Bn will hold its breath if there's a big one in Taiwan or the Philippines with a tsunami warning.

Posted by: rain forest | September 13, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l'ai pas fait exprès.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Am I dying, or is this my birthday?

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

This is a good one:

Je vais ou je vas mourir, l'un et l'autre se dit ou se disent.

That was Dominique Bouhours; a French grammarian

OK, enough of the famous last words.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I kill boodle. As Marie said, I did not do it on purpose.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Give us some time, ommi, we're just resting from yesterday's exertions.

Posted by: Slyness | September 13, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

No you didn't, omni. I'm listening and laughing.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I would like to apologize for the insult in Chinese characters I posted last night. As the boodle got silly I thought it would be fun to paraphrase my favourite character, Obelix the mehir deliveryman, from the graphical novelette "Asterix the Gaul". Whenever Obelix encountered a person whose cultural idiosyncrasies he didn't understand he'd twirl his forefinger 'round his ear and pronounce, "These Romans (or Egyptians, or English, whoever) are crazy. After typing "These Americans are crazy" I thought it would be a hoot to post a translation in Chinese. I was quite surprised that the WaPo postum thingy rendered the characters so attractively and was giggling at my cleverness when I began to feel uneasy. Considering the rancorous tone of the boodle over the last two days, the unreliability of online translators, not to mention the way comical or profound thoughts fall flat when written down and posted, I thought it prudent (after that fact, I know Yoki, I know) to run the phrase back through the translator. You can imagine my horror when the phrase "These Americans are crazy" had become "The American people are crazy."
Besides being an unintended insult the phrase isn't even accurate. Two presidential elections have proven that only half the American people are crazy, or perhaps, the American people are half crazy. Be that as it may, I am mortified.
I hope you can forgive me and accept the SCC as reflecting my true feelings toward you wonderful people. When translated into English the Chinese characters say:
"You occupy crazily thereupon"

Your friend,

Posted by: Boko999 | September 13, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Omni -- is this your natal day?If the language stuff continues, I shall be forced to mangle something into German.

Go Terps. Few know this but the original UMCP colors were black and yellow -- a bee-like effect. Mountaineers are yellow, now, I believe.

All I can say is faculty have been kicked off campus by the all hallowed parking czar. Out by 2;30, which means that classes are largely canceled, some as early as the 12:30-2 ones.....ahhhhhhhh, football trumps classroom-based knowledge time yet again.

However, Coach Ralph is a joy to work with, regarding this: student-athletes should be in the classroom on most days. And turn their homework in. And work hard in the classroom. Really. He supports the quaint notion of the scholar-athlete-gentleman.

Off to ride in the glory of fallish weather.

Blessings to all celebrating the Jewish New Year and the beginning of Ramadan. I feel fondness and affiliation with those as they enter fasting days: the month for Muslims and the feast of Yom Kippur that waits in the wings.

Shall we all take time to examine our conduct and attitudes? Yes. Why not? We can resolve to do better. We can say "I am sorry." to those we have hurt or neglected.

And, give a girl some science to chew on!

Posted by: College Parkian | September 13, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

No need to apologize, boko. I rolled off the table a long time ago. My students tell me so.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

That wasn't language stuff, it was movie quotes followed by famous last words.

You want language stuff??? Try this quiz:

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

8/12 with much guessing, and I disagree with the explanation for one of my "correct" answers...


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I have to wait until I'm home to do the daily quiz. The results never come up when I click the appropriate button.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Science fodder:

A researcher has devised a way to use RF to ignite saltwater. This has the potential for ray gun technology.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Oops, not my natal day.

Posted by: omni | September 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Taking the long view, here's a good-news headline from NYT: "Scientists' Good News: Earth May Survive Sun's Demise in 5 Billion Years"

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 13, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

And for some "Ya REALLY Gotta be Kiddin' Me" news...


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The Sunni cleric that organized the resistance against the insurgency in Anbar has fallen victim to a car bomb. The *war plan* has a problem.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi, folks. Back from a much needed breather down east. From CP: "ahhhhhhhh, football trumps classroom-based knowledge time yet again." My wife was a teacher in the Pittsburgh area back in the '70's. She taught high school French and Spanish. Came one of the periodic budget crunches in the school district and it came down to this: Do we buy new helmets for the football team, or do we eliminate the foreign laguage class. Give you one guess what happened.

Posted by: ebtnut | September 13, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, with those two stories you linked to today, it's amazing to me that the human race has lasted *this* long.


Posted by: bc | September 13, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Now I know why I'm relatively short. The first born among sibs may well affect the growth of the rest of the cadre. More science for you, CP.

Posted by: jack | September 13, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Height is generally a good proxy to health."

That sure wasn't how it turned out with my kids. Kerric is the tallest by a very long shot. He effortlessly is inches above the rest. Well 1 and a half anyway but Kerric was the one who always was sick, had infections, and on and one and on.

In my personal opinion height is connected to how much peanut butter a kid eats.

Posted by: dr | September 13, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

That perfectly explains, dr, why I am short and indeed shorter than my younger brother by eight inches.

Posted by: Slyness | September 13, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everybody, tomorrow is Torqueberto's last day. Should we give him a little going-away send-off? Somebody wanna stop by Dunkin Donuts and bring in some donut holes or something? Maybe we should get one of those giant cards and everybody can sign it. Maybe we should call Hallmark and see if they have a special card for outgoing worst-attorney-general-in U.S.-history. Or else maybe a card that plays a tune, like "You Took This Job and Shoved It" and on the front is says, "Don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out, you malignant putz."

Too harsh? Maybe we could tone it down a little.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 13, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Dumb crooks reminds me of a great movie that I really enjoyed called "Disorganized Crime". It is worth a rent if you ever see it.

Off to work everyone, enjoy your evening.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 13, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel, you got a link to that new Bob Wright conversation yet?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 13, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't look like they have it up yet Mudge.

Posted by: dr | September 13, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I think they should give Torqueberto a pair of golden handcuffs as a going-away present.

Think about it.


Posted by: bc | September 13, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jack, for the sciencey links.

Here is one back at you:Tangerine peels may fight cancer.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 13, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

New Kit, filled with debris.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 13, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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