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1968 and 2008

[My essay today in the Outlook section. I'll add annotations and links tomorrow.]

Forty years ago, this country entered what would turn out to be the most politically charged, disorienting, violent and tragic year in modern American history. The year we're now heading into has some surface similarities to 1968: a protracted and wrenching war in Asia, an unpopular president, a wide-open presidential campaign and raw-nerve controversies over civil rights (with gays and immigrants this time) and geopolitics (featuring jihadists instead of communists). The murder of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan is another awful reminder of 1968, when two American heroes, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, lost their lives to assassins.

History repeating itself: It's a tidy premise. In fact, it's irresistible -- and wrong, but wrong in interesting ways that shed light on both years. Sure, elements of '68 persist in the world and in America today (because folly is durable), but the difference between 2008 and 1968 is the difference between needing psychotherapy and requiring a brain transplant.

In 1968, the country came close to political disintegration. Authority wasn't merely questioned; it literally lost control. The Tet Offensive in late January 1968 shocked those who had assumed we were winning the Vietnam War. President Lyndon B. Johnson essentially quit his job on live television. Days later, the apostle of nonviolent resistance was gunned down in Memphis. The cities burned.

Just like today, millions of people vehemently opposed the war, but for many of them it was a highly personal matter: The military announced in early 1968 that it would draft 300,000 more troops. Americans were dying in Vietnam by the dozens and even the hundreds every week. Countless young people lost all confidence in the ordered, officially sanctioned version of reality.

My Washington Post colleague David Maraniss, a college freshman in 1968 (he wrote a book, "They Marched Into Sunlight," about events on campus and in Vietnam in the fall of 1967), recalls: "There was a mood that anything was possible, good or bad, that life was changing by the week, that something a week or a month ago seemed old all of a sudden. You didn't know what was going to happen. It was kind of dizzying and exhilarating and tragic -- all of those things at once."

The big question is not why 2008 has so many echoes of 1968, but why the two years are so different.

No draft, obviously. And technology may have supplanted politics as the dominant agent of change. Information runs riot, not protesters. The news cycle spins so much faster; for every action there is an instant reaction. The odd result is not a world where things are out of control, but one in which issues get quickly categorized, organized, bureaucratized and, if necessary, outsourced. Everything is more precisely measured and calibrated. There's an expert for every problem -- just ask Google.


On the campaign trail, you will occasionally feel an aftershock of the '60s. Sen. John McCain is still tweaking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for earmarking $1 million for that "hippie museum" at the site of the Woodstock festival, which took place while he was a POW in Hanoi. A demonstrator at the Iowa straw poll a few months back carried a sign saying, "Defeat Hillary Clinton and Jane Fonda." Sen. Barack Obama, trying to cruise a high road, declares that we shouldn't re-fight the battles of the 1960s.

This may be the most unpredictable political year since 1968, when President Johnson, stunned by rising antiwar sentiment and Sen. Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, announced that he wouldn't seek another term. Robert F. Kennedy jumped into the race. Long viewed as a ruthless operator and Cold Warrior, Bobby had transformed himself into a liberal, inciting frenzied adulation -- rock-star stuff -- as he took his campaign into impoverished rural towns and inner-city ghettoes.

Where is the spirit of that Kennedy campaign? Certainly with Obama, who's so often described as Kennedyesque. But you can also find it in the candidacy of John Edwards.

A week before Christmas, Edwards stopped in Keene, a small city in a valley in the southwest corner of New Hampshire -- prime turf for liberals, leftists, artists, organic farmers, college professors. Edwards brought Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne as his warm-up act. They sounded terrific, the lyrics saturated in idealism.

Things like hunger, greed and hatred

One way or another, gonna be eradicated

Out came Edwards, and he was on fire. The former senator talked about ending the war in Iraq and taking power away from big corporations. He said 35 million Americans last year went hungry. He talked about the uninsured Americans who must take their sick kids to the emergency room in the middle of the night and beg for treatment. He talked about a man who spent 50 years with a cleft palate, unable to talk, without money or insurance to pay for an operation that would finally let him speak. "In America," he said. His rhetoric could easily have come from Kennedy or King in early 1968. He predicted that he will ride a wave of popular sentiment that will shock the mainstream. He was, in essence, describing what in the '60s would have been known as The Movement.

Therein lies his challenge: Can a candidate inspire a popular movement in a society that over the last 40 years has cubbyholed itself into self-selected social groups and generally been co-opted by consumerism?

The polls indicate massive antiwar sentiment in America, but if 500,000 people descended on the Mall anytime recently to protest what's happening in Iraq, I missed it. The only way people would riot in this country is if you announced that Best Buy just got in a new shipment of Wiis. There are only about three or four people in America who still talk about The Revolution, and they all live in treehouses.

The feverish rhetoric and verbal mayhem of the blogosphere is deceptive: America on the whole isn't as political as it was in 1968. In Iowa, many citizens told me they have no intention of going to the caucuses. Why not? It's simply not something they do. What they don't articulate is the obvious fact: They just don't care.


Todd Gitlin, a Movement veteran and the author of "The Sixties," says 1968 still stands apart.

"You have one president who's disgraced by a war and cuts short what had been one of the brilliant political careers of the century, you have the Democratic Party cracking up, you have two major assassinations, you have a growing number of American students who think they're on the brink of, or on their way to, a revolution. You have a political secession of the white South amidst a civil rights revolution," Gitlin told me. "You have millions of people thinking the end of history is at hand."

You can see that side of 1968 in the face of Bobby Kennedy in a framed photo in Frank Mankiewicz's living room.

Mankiewicz served as Kennedy's press secretary for those thrilling, chaotic, ultimately tragic 85 days from March to June of 1968. The black-and-white photo shows RFK conferring with Mankiewicz on April 4; they're aboard a plane flying from Muncie, Ind., to Indianapolis, where Kennedy is scheduled to go into the black part of town and give a speech about race and poverty. But Kennedy's forehead is furrowed, his whole face heavy with the weight of horrible news: Martin Luther King has been shot in Memphis.

They got to Indianapolis and motorcaded toward the event, but the police peeled away because they didn't want to go into the black neighborhoods. Mankiewicz had thrown together a speech, but by the time he reached the stage, Kennedy was already speaking, extemporaneously. To gasps, he told his listeners that King had been killed. He said he understood their pain, because he too had lost a family member to violence. Then he quoted his favorite poet, Aeschylus, by heart: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

Mankiewicz still has the yellow sheet of paper with the notes he jotted down for Kennedy's last speech, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of June 4. Kennedy, celebrating his victory in the California primary, extemporized once again.

"I think we can end the divisions within the United States," Kennedy told his supporters. "[W]e can work together in the last analysis . . . We are a great country, an unselfish country and a compassionate country."

Minutes later, Mankiewicz was helping Ethel Kennedy off the stage when he heard what at first he thought might be firecrackers.

He rushed to Kennedy's side. He heard him say one word: "Noooooooo."

Charles Kaiser's book "1968 in America" quotes a young college student who despaired after RFK's murder: "It really was like the last straw -- that there was no longer reason to hope for anything; that the world was now just totally off its rocker, and that evil was ascendant."

Evil may have been ascendant, but ultimately, it could not vanquish the dream of King and Kennedy. People do, in fact, prefer to work together. And so it is that, 40 years later, the world is so much smaller, so highly networked. No one in 1968 had heard of the Internet or the cellphone or nanotechnology. Or the Human Genome Project. Or the "Information Age."

Today's America looks rich and fat and comfortable compared with the 1968 version. In fact, many of our chief challenges come from the consequences of our economic successes: transferring carbon from Earth to the atmosphere, income inequality, suburban sprawl.

At the moment, no one can tell who the presidential nominees will be. What's also uncertain is how much the identity of the next president will matter, at least compared with other cultural and technological vectors. Truly revolutionary change seems more likely to come from physics than from politics.

Of course, we can't predict anything about the future with confidence, except that it will surprise us. It's highly probable that 2048 will be radically different from 2008. History replays certain notes, but it shouldn't be slandered as circular. The world is just more interesting than that.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 30, 2007; 8:28 AM ET
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Next: Campaign Trail Odd Couple: Iowa and NH


Oy, primo?


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

As I mentioned last night, I found this a profoundly moving piece. Thank you very much for reminding me that 1968 meant more than just the Banana Splits Club. (As epic as they were.)

I suspect that politics doesn't capture our imagination the way it did in 1968 partly because we have lower expectations. Over the last 40 years we have seen a lot of those radical new ideas put into practice and the results have not been what was expected. It is the cynicism of experience.

And yes, I enthusiastically agree that technology is the driver of change today, and will be for the foreseeable future. For example, I assert that the impact of this "internet" thingy, which seems to be more than just a passing fad, swamps that of most political decisions. Although not always in predictable ways.

And, naturally, I think that physics will lead the way. Because physicists are, you know, cool. Perhaps not as cool as Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snork. But we have our moments.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I also wanted to mention the only thing, outside of Saturday morning television, that I really remember of the outside world in 1968. The circling of the moon by Apollo 8.

Wouldn't it be nice if in 2008 we are treated to some event that captures the wondrous awe of that moment.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Again, a very thoughtful piece, Joel. Good stuff.

What did America learn from '68, and did we really do anything with that lesson?

I don't know the answer to that one...

The Kennedy political legacy is something that many Presidential candidates measure themselves against, and frankly, I don't know if it's useful. In this econonomic/political climate, is Edwards doing himself a disservice by invoking the Revolution and turning his back on Corporate Consumerate America? I think so, unfortunately.

I also think that American political liberal idealism was mortally wounded in '68, and that any real resurrection of it today - one that had a chance of making it into the White House and Congress - would by necessity be a bit of a compromise Frankenstein's monster, Idealism powered by [YourFavoriteCorporateSponsorsHere].

Is it a worthy comparison to look at what the Conservative Revolution of the mid-90's, powered by the Religious Right, Big Oil, and the Defense Industry has wrought - the GW Bush Administration's rendition of "Puttin' on the Ritz," perhaps?

Maybe the Unity08 folks have a point, though in these days, who'd notice anyone talking moderately about anything without the big GOP and Dem political engines behind them?


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

RD, that comment about physics caught my attention, too.

As much as I am a physics and cosmology guy, I suspect that the real revolutionary changes over the 21st century are more likely to come from the biosciences.

Some of them might even be intentional.


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Ah, RD, Apollo 8.

What a great Christmas present that was.


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'll stop Boodlehogging now, but since you brought up the Banana Splits Hour, I'll just answer you with, "Uh, oh, CHONGO!"

Feel free to let loose with an "Aiiieeeee-yee-yee-yee-yeee!" and swing from the nearest vine.


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. This excellent column has, and engenders, lots of Big Ideas to squeeze my poor small brain. I think Joel is correct in saying that the country as a whole is less political than it was in 1968. Partly, I agree with RD, this is because we have lower expectations.

I would go further and say that many people no longer believe they can affect or influence government at all, with their vote or their voice. Here in the land of Outsourced or Obsolete Manufacturing Jobs (replaced with lower-paying service jobs), Falling Real Wages, Inconsistent Health Care, Rising Fuel Costs (which lead to rising costs in food and goods), and Home Loan Foreclosures, people tend to view themselves as affected by economic and political decisions made far away by people they don't know for the benefit of others. Many of the factors most directly affecting people's lives may not seem overtly affected by politics at all. While I don't believe this is true in the larger sense (isn't everything political?) it does encourage apathy towards the political process.

I also think the rise of technology plays a huge part in the difference of 40 years. One could say that, because we knew less, less quickly, the world was smaller in 1968. However, I believe in an odd way the world is just as small today in the Information Age. The smallness is qualitatively different. One can choose only to receive information from sources with which one agrees, or which reflects one's own point of view. Even isolationism is affected by a global outlook: it advocates going it alone on a bigger scale.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 30, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Great, a Banana Splits Tune cootie. Thanks

One Banana
Two Banana
Three Banana

Posted by: Bokko999 | December 30, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I was 8 in '68. My parents tried to shield us from the worst of those times. Living on the prairie helped as we were busy with skipping rocks in spring sloughs;
skating on them in winter (cheering for home-town neighbor and skating Olympian John Misha Petkovich in various events); Apollo moments on early morning TV; PF-Flyers in summer, Buster Browns in winter;
Cracker Jacks and metal prizes later giving way to plastic;
4-H and rabbitry; the Banana Spits/HR Puff-n-Stuff, etc.

But, two teen boys came home in boxes at about that time: a Boland and a Murphy. I went to school with a slew of their cousins and younger sibs. That brought home the wide events of the world to me. Oh my, the funerals, with guitar music by boys in turtlenecks and sport coats, with two tambourine gals to the back. I recall the mild controversy about the singing and playing of both Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and the Birds' "A Time for Everything/There is a Season." Women and girls still wore black lace mantillas to Mass, which like Benazir Bhutto's head scarf, create a feminine shroud that might say, "in the midst of life we see death."

Rebellion and revolution came late to Great Falls, MT. But, Californians on their way to Alberta came through hitchhiking on the Alaska Highway, a strange contrast to the hobos in town via the Great Northern Railroad line. Later, B.D. Cooper would fly out of Great Falls toward the Pacific and jump into oblivion with his bags of money.

I thought that M. Boland and C. Murphy died protecting us from Viet Cong by way of dominoes....such is the interpretation of a child. I was grateful, yet relieved to be the oldest so that my brothers were little.

Later, my parents would part company on politics with mother supporting McGovern and my dad, Nixon. They had voted a strict Catholic-working-class Dem ticket like their parents and grandparents but the world made my father react with conservatism. The deaths of two Kennedys and Dr. King soured him on possibility and broke his heart.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 30, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

My memories of 1968 are pretty indistinct since I too was watching Sid and Marty Kroft and the the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner hour, but I don't see the parallels. We haven't turned the corner on popular outrage over our Land War In Asia.

1968 was also about the time that my dad spent a year in Vietnam. We would gather around a little reel to reel tape recorder like Mr Phelps used and listen to my dad tell us that he loved us and would be coming home soon.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 30, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I was really more of an H.R. Puffenstuff-er, as it were...

And my memories of '68 are not terribly well-formed, as one might imgaine.

My loss.

*cat-on-my-lap-but-still-enthusiastic-New-Year's-Eve-Eve Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 30, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to a pest for a while and flog a meme that I've been pitching for a couple of years. Take your Christmas (or Festivus) money and buy (or go to the library and borrow) some novels, not non-fiction, memoirs, or cookbooks, and read them. I call January National Just Read More Novels Month.

I've even set up a Library Thing group for those of us boodlers that are into that.

Thanks for your support.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 30, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I was fond of Sigmund and The Seamonster. I still think Stephen Spielberg owes the Kroft brothers some royalties for ripping off the idea for ET from that show.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 30, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

After refelcting on things awhile - and discussing it people who are much more knowledgeable on politics than I am - I can see that my take on the Unity08 party may have been a little hasty.

I wasn't thinking far enough out of the box enough.

Someone pointed out to me that a Unity08 Party ticket (comprised of a GOP and Dem for Prez and VP) might face some obstacles, but in a larger sense, they'd be free of many of the constraints that candidates from the major parties face: the whole resource-draining primary process, for example. A third party could name candidates and focus resources and effort on the general elections whenever they felt it best suited them. ASAP, if necessary. They could purchase ads for the General Election campaign during the Super Bowl or Amercian Idol if they wanted to (though would a third party message be best suited to Americans comfortable in front of their TVs? Perhaps if the ad were spectacular enough...). There are some other advantages to a well-managed, well financed third party that could outweigh those maintained by the GOP and Dems.

Maybe the time for a small "r" revolution has come. And maybe it won't be televised so much as YouTubed.


Posted by: bc | December 30, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse


The home page repeats the teaser package for the Pats-Giants coverage. Then again, the game WAS twice as nice...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 30, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Mr. G's reading Joel's piece right now. He said, "Anything good to read?" and I replied, "Joel's got this piece comparing 1968 to 1908--I mean 2008!"

Waiting for him to come out.. er, finish it.. and then we can discuss.

He graduated from college in 1968 and I, like dr, was in 4th grade. (Of course, he and I didn't meet for another 14 years.)

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

My wife has been waiting for me to come out for years. I disappoint her every chance I get.

That sure didn't come out right.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 30, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

YJ, nice bookish gauntlet you threw down there regarding novels. I can propose two for the boodle bunch.

Atonement, because the RULE of life is to read the book BEFORE seeing the movie.

(Read Seamus Heaney's Beowulf version before you see the abomination of the movie; sorry Mr. Gaiman, but making Grendel's mother so visible and so delectable violates the laws of the universe.)

I think people here might really like John Crowley's Little, Big, which is a fairie story/American magical realism/social commentary/good yarn. Harold Bloom adores this book and so does the Sci-Fi fantasy crowd.

This is two books plus a bonus recommend. Thanks, YJ, for the stimulus.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 30, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

bc - you are probably right about the coming primacy of Biology as it transitions from a descriptive science to a creative one. I'm just in denial.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

CP.. I have tried to read Atonement several times and cannot get past the first couple of chapters. I even picked it up a month or so ago, before I even knew it was a movie.

I'll try again, because everyone I know absolutely loved it.

I finally saw the movie Dream Girls last night. Wow. I knew people said it was great, but I didn't realize how good. Excellent movie. Beautiful to look at and to listen to. Eddie Murphy was amazing. They all were.

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I finished reading Atonement before I saw the movie. Both were excellent. I wouldn't say "best ever" or "life-changing" but definitely quality productions.

I was reminded after I read the book that there was a plagiarism controversy, discussed here on the A-blog about a year ago. Now that I've read the book and reviewed the controversy, I'm disappointed to realize that the passages McEwan borrowed from another book are not just incidental, but pretty important to the book--and form the basis for a vivid scene in the movie.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 30, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you should break the rule and see the movie (Atonement) first. It's very good, sticks closely to the book. I looked for the book at Half Price Books yesterday, but it wasn't there - I'm on a long list at the library. I read it when it first came out and loved it.

I saw Dreamgirls in a packed theater with people laughing, commenting, applauding, crying - it was great.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 30, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Describing biological nature is terribly difficult. In plant systematics, it turns out that the pre-molecular methods of the past were pretty effective, but only now is it possible to construct decent phylogenies of vascular plants and their relatives.

Forty years ago, figuring out single-celled critters was nearly impossible. Now we know of whole distinct new kinds of wee beasties.

Genetics and developmental biology have grown incredibly--Science magazine decided that human genetic variation was the "breakthrough of the year". But even so, people were using practical applied genetics thousands of years ago. An ear of maize is morphologically so weird that it took decades to figure out how it had developed under the tutelage of Mexican farmers.

I'm impressed that the development of new drugs is finally becoming a rational, by-design, purpose-built pursuit. I'd guess that internal medicine has a bright future. I'm waiting for effective weight control pills--they may actually arrive one day.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 30, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The reason there have not been 500,000 protesters on the Mall in Washington is that Cheney and the ghost of Rumsfeld would have all of them under CIA surveillance and on a No Fly list so they couldn't come back a second time. If we thought the police and the FBI were bad in 1968, just look at what happened to peaceful protesters or simple on lookers at George Bush campaign rallies in the last election or folks who get tasered by speaking up at the "wrong"time.

Posted by: Tired Atlanta hippie | December 30, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

2048? Given my family history I will probably still be alive. And 86 years old. I'm trying to decide if I am pleased by this or not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm plunged into despair by Joel's piece. I am reminded of all those things that happened in 1968 when I was a senior in college. The sit-ins, bombings, teach-ins, mobilizations, walk-outs, take-overs, sanctuaries, kill-the-pigs, kill-a commie-for-Christ, demonstrations, speeches, politics, war criminals, pacifists, deserters, Canada-bound boys, SDS, PL, Trots, marijuana, LSD, Timothy Leary, Henry-the-K, Johnson, Curtis LeMay, Bobbie, Martin, and SNCC, CORE, Gene McCarthy, Kent State, the hope that 'we can change the world, rearrange the world...'

The result? I dunno.

WB Yeats - The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 30, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe I'm just sad because my dog is dying.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 30, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Magie O'D, I really loved that post.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D. The loss of a dog is sad. Here is something I wrote when our last dog died. It is one of the few things I have written that I really like. I hope it helps you realize that there are others who understand your pain.

Our old dog, Brandy Alexander, died last night. She was 16. She went quietly in her sleep. I guess she just finally became too tired to wake up. This morning I buried her with her favorite stuffed toy.

Brandy was a cocka-poo, that is, a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. The theory was that such a cross would yield a dog with the intelligence of a poodle and the temperament of a cocker spaniel. Of course, sometimes the genetic wires get a little crossed - as they did with Brandy. Her habit of snarling over tiny pieces of trash on the floor was the stuff of family legend.

Although Brandy was neither the most intelligent nor even-tempered of dogs, she was low maintenance. She neither shredded nor shedded. She could be counted on to defend the homestead from strangers who dared knock on her door, yet remained blissfully silent when said strangers walked on by. And she was tolerant when it mattered.

When we first brought Brandy home, my wife and I were alone. I think we viewed Brandy as a surrogate child, because we shopped with the enthusiasm of new parents. However, Brandy soon had company. She had to endure the invasion of not just one, but two strange little people. She never threatened either. She managed to keep up with my baby son. She would pull the giggling child across the floor while they played tag. And she chased the flashes from his mirrored toys for hours on end.

When my daughter arrived, Brandy treated her gently, as if somehow sensing that this one was a little more fragile. Brandy used to enjoy snuggling with my daughter as they sat on a soft blanket. Later, Brandy tolerated being lugged around by a poorly coordinated little girl without complaint.

Finally, Brandy had to put up with the ultimate insult - another dog. And a noisy one at that. Yet I don't think Brandy minded. Indeed, I suspect having Nikki around added much to her life. They bonded in the way that dogs do.

Brandy will be missed. It is a painful life lesson in loss for both children - that some things are not forever. For my wife and I, of course, the experience is not altogether new, nor unexpected, yet still one that hurts. And poor Nikki doesn't get it at all.

She is still sniffing around the house looking for her old friend. I think she expects Brandy to trot out from some secret hiding place.

For a while, at least, I imagine we all will.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

JA, your piece is very good, with a lot of stuff to think about.

My experiences in 1968, not so good. I finished high school, which was good, but I was so shy and afraid of everything. My self-esteem was rock bottom. As for politics, didn't pay that much attention, and that did catch my eye, was dubious. It was suppose to be better. We were going to live good lives, and have a piece of the American dream. Every one you talked to had an answer for whatever the problem was. We need to do this, and we need to do that.

As a child I attended a small church wherein the person that arrived first had to make a fire in the winter time. There's wasn't any air conditioning in summer. Ministers hugged the pulpit as if they were going to fly away any moment. And people came faithfully on Sunday. They cried, they prayed, they paid their tithes, and trusted in God to remove the feet on their necks. They had faith.

God heard their prayers, and gave them some relief. Now they wash their cars on Sunday, and talk junk about ministers, complaining the church looks more like a corporation than the place where God resides. Of course, ministers are partly to blame for this. Their greed does not inspire people to faith. We got a chance to explore the world to some extent, but we forgot our faith-based world. We made a substitution, and I can't say it was a better trade.

And we all got caught up in it.

There is evil in this world. And until men and women of this planet realize that their salvation is found in Him that died for all, we really cannot expect any better. I believe God sent His Son into this world to be a Saviour, and I, for one, thank Him for loving me, when I did not love Him.

Slyness, it is raining to beat the band here. I mean just pouring down. I love it. Even the folks that don't believe get a chance to eat from the table of God's bounty. Isn't God good to us.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 30, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O, I am so sorry about your dog. I don't want to get started on pets leaving because the tears will flow. I haven't had cats in a long time, but when I think about my cats, I could cry.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 30, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, so sorry about your dear pup. They leave us far too soon, don't they?

RD, I seriously doubt you were able to write that piece about Brandy dry-eyed. Very well said.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 30, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, I am very sorry about your dog. RD, very well written piece on yours. The dogs lovers here all understand the pain of losing a beloved friend. I was looking at pictures from past holidays and seeing pictures of the dog my daughter lost last summer made me tear up.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 30, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

At 11:15, Mr. T said, where do you want to go for lunch? So we left and have just gotten back. So much important has been said in the meantime! RD, Brandy was obviously the perfect dog for your family. Cassandra, you are so right about how we have at least misplaced our moral moorings and are adrift.

Lots of rain in the mountains right now also, Cassandra. And it's as foggy as I have ever known the weather to be. The poor folks from Florida who came to ski are out of luck until Tuesday.

Speaking of moorings, I bought Mr. T a GPS for Christmas and we got it set up to use as we rode around today. Not that we didn't know where we were going, but it was fun to play with it.

Posted by: Slyness | December 30, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, sorry to hear about your dog.

RD, I think that was before my time here, but sad nonetheless. Thank you for sharing something that touches many of us.

Posted by: dbG | December 30, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra... you should be a preacher. You do have a way with words.

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Calling all boodlers! Dave Barry will be online Thursday chatting live...

I'm sure we can come up with some boodle-oriented questions for him, don't you? When kbertocci and I met him last year and asked him if he read the Achenblog comments he said, "You mean The Boodle?"

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Thank you all for your caring

When Doris Lessing picked up her Nobel Prize in literature earlier this month, she delivered a speech that was so searingly eloquent, so blazing with anger, so impassioned, that the ocean temperature around Stockholm -- just this once, unrelated to global warming -- must have risen a few degrees in response to the heat. You can read her address at: iterature/laureates/2007/lessing-lecture(underscore)en.html

Read the rest at,0,6451584.column

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 30, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

THe beginning of my post was somehow deleted (by me, of course). Just as well. Lots of maudlin thoughts about dogs and death and sickness and health.

Phineas is failing rapidly, but right now he's lying in my lap (in his diaper, which TOTALLY doesn't work very well)getting all the love I'm capable of giving to him.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 30, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

So did Wade Phillips just overshadow Joe Gibbs' stupid double time outs by getting his QB hurt on that goofy final play?

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, my last kitty slept in my lap the last evening he had on Earth. I was glad for that time with him, because he hadn't been very social toward the end of his days, poor guy. Very hard to lose such good friends.

yellojkt, I had just gone to librarything yesterday after nearly forgetting about it. Thanks for starting the new group. There's also a knitting group there - and one of the largest ones, for librarians, has over a million books cataloged - pretty amazing. After reading Doris Lessing's speech, it's even more so. Here's the link again -
This struck me as particularly relevant for us here:
"And just as we never once stopped to ask, How are we, our minds, going to change with the new internet, which has seduced a whole generation into its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging and blugging etc."
But I think she would approve of how much we talk about books here.

TBG, good idea for the Dave Barry chat. Hmmm, boodle-oriented questions...

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 30, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

mostly, what a powerful speech. And a great storyteller. Can you imagine wanting books that bad? Can you imagine reading anything, just for the love of reading. I feel ashamed.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 30, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Yowza yowza yowza. Who'd a thunk the Redskinseseses would be goin' to the playoffs? But we is. Am. Do.

I've had two large gin-and-tonics. My brother sent us for Christmas a gift package from Omaha steaks, which included two lobster tails, which I just broiled and we just finished a few minutes ago.

My son is at the Redskins game, in section 101. He's probably wasted (at least he isn't driving). If anybody sees a tall, good-looking Korean kid in the fetal position hugging the base of a bleacher seat and rolfing his brains out, that's probably our youngest spawn. We're so proud.

With just 2 minutes left in the game. Dallas has rushed for a total of, ahem, one yard. 36 inches. Of, course, that's on 15 carries. Which averages out to 2.4 inches per carry. Just thought some of you might find that a tad whimsical.

I wonder if it's safe for me to have another G&T?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

A win.....Happy New Year!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 30, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Go for it, Mudge! You can tee it up again (or G&T it up again) next Saturday for the playoff game.

Wow, the Redskins got all the help they needed with Chicago and Denver winning but they didn't need it. That was a great way for the Redskins to end the regular season!

Posted by: pj | December 30, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo!

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Great news for all the 'skins fans. But I believe I saw the Cowboys go spinning away in their Tie fighters. We haven't seen the last of them.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

What a great performance by Todd Collins these last 4 weeks.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 30, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to share Mudge's calculations with Ivansdad, perhaps against my better judgment. RD, are you suggesting the Cowboys are denizens of the Dark Side? No argument here.

Tree is down and ornaments are put away. I left the festive entrance greeting for another day, though; after all there are still several days of Christmas left. Or perhaps I could just leave the poinsettias out until the gifts are paid for. They'll enjoy that balmy spring weather.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 30, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, I am so sorry about your dog. They give so much love and ask so little in return. I know. Every old dog story now just hits me harder.

What a beautiful tribute. We have so much to share on this little blog.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 30, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to all Redskins fans! Love it when someone beats the Cowboys. I'm still emotionally hungover from the Pats game last night. I didn't think they were going to win it, but as almost always, they find a way. The interviews by our local stations after the game were fun. Matt Light, one of our tackles, and a very bright and funny guy, was asked how long Belichick would allow them to celebrate the win before getting back to business. He said 'six minutes, and we're on the downside of that right now.' When asked if he had anything to say to Mercury Morris, he just smiled sweetly into the camera and said 'sorry.'

Yesterday was a good day, got to visit my friend who has ovarian cancer. She's finished her last chemo treatment and so far, so good. We had a nice visit with her and her husband, and seeing their house which has undergone major renovations in the past year. Gorgeous. They sit up on a cliff overlooking Cape Cod Bay, a view to die for. I hope she has many years left to enjoy it.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 30, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I know what you mean. But I thought about you working so hard to reach the kids in your community and instilling in them a love of reading. So, we do what we can, where we can. I could do a lot more myself.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 30, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess one of my problems is I don't know any politicians personally. Maybe I will figure out politics before I die, but I won't bet on it. I feel smug in my superior wisdom which acknowledges that all men and women have feet of clay and are as imperfect as everybody else. This opens onto the entire debate of whether we need heroes. But I guess we do. I think there are lots of strange social strictures people have against giving assistence to their rulers. This passes as populism. But our rulers, our leaders, need our help. I mean NEED it. And the vox populi just smears and sneers and says, 'so what have you done for me lately?' Who wants to be a politician? I don't need anyone with a new chimney made of human skulls, but a lawmaker who knows the law is smeared as a lawyer. 'Dang lawyers.' Somebody screamed. The people need to develop a positive attitude. If everyone feels beset by thieves, then they will turn into thieves themselves. At least many will. Around the corner an icewagon flew.

Bringers of hope, that's what we need. Whether they are politicians or whatever, those who bring hope are valued. It just goes around and around, hucksters will appear who just pretend to bring hope, so they can cash in. The sky is black and the sky is blue. Who do you trust? Who do you love?

Posted by: Jumper | December 30, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, thanks for the kind comments on my post. I originally wrote it in the summer of 2005 as part of one of my semi-weekly letters back home. And yes, I did shed a manly tear or two or three when writing it. She was a very good dog.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Memories of 1968

We got our television in 1965, when I was seven. It was entertainment--comedy, song and dance, movies. But it became something else as well, a window on the world. We watched political speeches and news reports, rocket launches, ABC's Wide World of Sports. I remember the events of 1968 exclusively through the medium of television. I remember seeing reports of hippies, drugs, the inner cities, poverty, and the war in Vietnam. I was living in a small Oklahoma town, isolated from the unrest that we saw on tv. The assassinations did not impress the 10-year-old me. The two events I remember my parents being upset about in 1968 were the election of Richard Nixon and the Russian invasion of Czechoslavakia.

Then, as now, the vast majority of people were largely untouched by the big events of the day. I know, too, that most people didn't care much about politics in 1968, probably no more than they do today. The term "apathy" was used a lot back then. Remember that? In the film "The U.S. Versus John Lennon" there's a clip of John saying, "Now, we came here . . . to show and to say to all of you that apathy isn't it and that we can do something."

Even with the idea of Revolution all around, there was still a huge amount of complacency and inertia. In the end, the Revolution didn't happen, basically because people didn't show up for it. By that I mean, there just weren't enough people who believed strongly enough to change their own behavior so that once their generation inherited the system, it could be operated based on a new set of values.

But as John Lennon said in regard to his song, "Revolution," "Eventually it will happen. .. it has to happen. It might happen now, or it might happen in fifty or a hundred years."

John was a little crazy, a little drug-addled, he had his problems. But he understood this better than the people running our country today, in my opinion: the inevitability of higher consciousness (just waiting for that next Robert Wright book to explain it to everybody...)


You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out (in)
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright


Posted by: kbertocci | December 30, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Bringers of hope? Bah, humbug. Bringers of pizza, that's what we need more of. With more than just one topping. And bringers of Chinese food. (I'm just disgruntled because my favorite Chinese restaurant, Szechuan Gardens, and my favorite pizza chain, Lido's, won't deliver. Failure to deliver Chinese and Italian food--why, that's just plain un-American.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I don't live in a treehouse.

But I wish I did.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 30, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, kbertocci. I was 8 in 1968 and remember some of it. I always thought the revolution did come; it just took a little longer and was a little less dramatic than it looked like then. Of course, time rolled on as it inexorably will and that revolution (civil rights, women's rights) got superceded by others (Reagan Revolution and the Era of Greed, the Clinton years, the Consumer Years). I still believe in revolution, and we still teach the Boy that (x) will be first up against the wall when the Revolution comes. Only the persons have changed. And, when you get right down to it, the real people in power haven't changed much (insert conspiracy theory here).

Jumper, I know a lot of politicians on the state and local level. One thing that always surprises me is that most of them are pretty smart, and most of them genuinely do want to work for the common good. Of course, we sometimes disagree as to what that is.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 30, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, our favorite Chinese restaurant here is called the Lido (Chinese/Vietnamese). Here's hell for you: living out where I do, NOBODY delivers. Not pizza, not nobody. I cannot tell you how much I miss delivered Chinese food on cold wet nights. DC was paradise, I say, paradise.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 30, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

from kbertocci: "We got our television in 1965, when I was seven. It was entertainment--comedy, song and dance, movies. But it became something else as well, a window on the world. We watched political speeches and news reports, rocket launches, ABC's Wide World of Sports. I remember the events of 1968 exclusively through the medium of television. I remember seeing reports of hippies, drugs, the inner cities, poverty, and the war in Vietnam. I was living in a small Oklahoma town, isolated from the unrest that we saw on tv....

"Then, as now, the vast majority of people were largely untouched by the big events of the day. I know, too, that most people didn't care much about politics in 1968, probably no more than they do today. The term "apathy" was used a lot back then."

But at least back then you would see some real news at 7, not just the antics of Britney and her ilk plus the weather in impressive computer graphics.

I was even luckier, as we didn't get a TV until I was 14 in 1958, so I don't even have a TV habit at all! Have you read those studies that letting kids watch TV before they are 2 or 3 or whatever makes them STUPID? Especially considering how the TV has deteriorated in terms of the depth of historical-political content.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 30, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - I felt the same way when I started working with a bunch of lieutenant colonels from the Pentagon in the early 1990s. Some of the smartest and least pretentious people I have ever met. Imagine my surprise.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 30, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I think I have to disagree that the "the Revolution didn't happen, basically because people didn't show up for it," Bertooch. I think the Revolution didn't happen because, in fact, no one was trying to have one. The "Revolution," despite all the talk, was largely metaphorical; no one was proposing to storm the White House and take over the government [which in any event would have been illegal as well as treasoinous]. Rather, there were lots of groups who were seeking to change specific things within society (as opposed to "the government").

The Civil Rights contingent was concerned with that subject, and they had their hands full with that agenda-- and by and large they DID show up, and by and large they were successful. Maybe not as quickly or on as broad a scale as any of them/us hoped, but still. I think if we consult the scoreboard, the good guys eventually won a limited victory. But it wasn't a loss, and it wasn't a deadlock.

On the peace front (where most of the "revolution talk occurred), the primary objective wasn't a revolution, it was to stop a war and "turn around" the opinion of the nation about that war. On this front, I think that yes, a lot of people DID show up. On the giant scoreboard in the sky, I think that one turned out pretty much a draw. The war itself was discredited and after several years came to an ignominious end -- perhaps largely due to its own internal failures rather than because of the activities of its opponents. (And I think we're seeing an "instant replay" of the same positions of 1968, re: faux "patriotism" versus anti-war, etc., because nothing was indisputably "settled" back then.)

In terms of "real" revolution -- meaning total overthrow of government and/or the major institutions of society -- I think that only a fairly small hardcore group of radicals and zealots (SDS, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and others of that ilk) actually had that as an agenda. And those kinds of groups have been around for hundreds of years, in their own little pockets, and nobody has paid them much attention in the grand scheme of things. Patty Hearst and Mark Rudd had about as much chance of launching a revolution as Guy Fawkes did.

Lennon was singing about a revolution, but it nwasn't a real one, one that was supposed to take place in the real world. That one didn't happen, true enough. But I think a lot of smaller, less "earth-shaking," all-encompassing social revolutions did indeed take place, and people did indeed "show up." There was a revolution in sexual mores, no question about it (for good or ill, or some combination thereof). There was a revolution in the role of women, no question.

I think what bothers me much more than the lack of a "revolution" (which I was never generally in favor of in the first place) was the "backsliding" that went on among my peers and generation over the decades that followed.

And I think a lot of the problem lies in the use of metaphorical language, such as "Revolution," and a lot of the attendant language and ideas that rode along with it in the same wagontrain. In my reading of history, almost all "true" revolutions have been nasty, bloody, brutish, violent, murderous events (whether the revolutions themselves were "justified" or not). So the fact that we didn't have one, to me, is a good thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

We haven't been able to get pizza delivered for a few years now - too many bad checks at the last place, I guess. So Mr Ml makes pizza himself now. We do miss the convenience of delivery.

I caught Obama on C-SPAN today - he was talking about hope, and why he thinks that's important. I like him a lot. He took questions from undecided voters after his speech, and he handled them quite well (on nuclear power, prisons, special education).

I've got to say that, as disillusioning as the '60s and '70's were (followed by the awful Reagan years), I'm still out here, idealistic and liberal as ever, if more realistic. And I've always been somewhat cynical (I blame the Bullwinkle influence). I thought things would be much different by now. Turns out I didn't factor in the backlash, the culture war, the ability of the Republicans to lie (and for the public to accept their lies). But I continue to hope.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 30, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the Republicans and neocons waged a very successful revolution. They changed the way the game is played. They made the "lie to make it true" work to their advantage.

The new revolution has got to be a return to truth. Do you think that can happen now?

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Me too, Mostly. I'm that rarest of birds, a liberal in the South. I don't have the sin of voting for Jesse Helms on my register; I hope that compensates for having voted for Nixon when I was so young and impressionable. I've never voted for a Republican for president again.

Posted by: Slyness | December 30, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hope so, TBG. Hope we're moving from the faith-based to the reality-based world.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 30, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I strongly object to calling the Republican "reality" faith-based. Fundamentalist maybe, but not faith.

Posted by: Slyness | December 30, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I've been there Ivansmom, I hear you!

Here in Philadelphia, almost everybody delivers. Two problems: you're their last delivery and everything has steamed itself to death and, even worse, the best places don't deliver. They don't have to. So your choice is mediocre Chinese, pizza or Greek, or driving someplace good and picking it up yourself.

Best delivery places I've lived were Madison, WI and Oxford, OH, both university towns. Now I'm hungry for SDS pizza; they delivered warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies in pizza boxes, as well as some of the best pizza and subs I've ever had.

Posted by: dbG | December 30, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes. We turned the tide on those b@st@rds, TBG. The restoration is underway. It just takes a long time, and we ned to be patient.

The Reahanites like to think they were responsible for the collapse of communism and the fall of the Soviet Union. But as most of the rest of us know, that wasn't it. It collapsed internally, due to its own inherent problems and contradictions. In a similar vein, the great Neocon/Conservative Revolution (which you correctly have identified as a kind of revolution) has already begiun to collapse because of its own inherent, internal problems and contradictions. Among them:
a) it inherently depended on decption and lieing; that strategy just never, never works *in the long run.* That's the one thing Karl Rove has never figured out.
b) It has no firm internal logic and ideological base. It is built on a thin web of half-assed notions, many of which have proven to be untrue
c) It was a revolution of a pretty small clique of people [Neocons], who managed to persuade a larger block (the Republican Party in general and its Conservatiuve Wing in particular) that they were one of them. They weren't. That charade could only last so long.
d) Revolutions almost always spawn counter-revolutions. The GOP is about to take the most serious drubbing it's had since FDR because it strayed from its core idealogy [which isn't "conservative" at all].
e) The GOP has succeeded in the last four or five decades largely because its numbers swelled as a result of the South (which was largely Democratic) defecting to the GOP over the issue of Civil Rights. As that issue recedes (as it must), some of that wave of defections will come back to the middle (or die out). Keep in mind that Virginia, the heart of the Confederacy, has elected a couple of Democratic governors, and its last couple of senators. The Reagan Revolution is dead. The Bush Revolution is in its death throes. It may take another couple of decades, but the South will slowly equalize (it has no choice; it's been slowly equalizing ever since it "lost" the civil rights revolution of the 60s).
f) The Hispanic/"illegal immigrant" issue will swing slowly toward the Dems and eventual victory. There's just no way you can put 12 million people on a bus and send them back across the border-- not when they are picking your lettuce and cutting your grass.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but dbG... you've got drive-thru hot pretzels!

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Haven't had much time over the last couple of days but have checked in and really enjoyed everyones memories of 1968 and the pet stories.

I was only 5 in 1968 and my memories are vague.

Jumper I really enjoyed your 7:59 post.

Posted by: dmd | December 30, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, throwing roses at your feet for the Reagan/Cold War comment, if I recall Yoki and I had a similar conversation when we met for dinner a while ago.

Posted by: dmd | December 30, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I agree with you that an overthrow of the government was never a widely held objective, nor a desirable one. That kind of revolution is usually like Animal Farm, just a replacing of one regime with another. When I was hanging out with the Socialist Workers Party, they really did believe the government had to be radically changed, but they thought it would just sort of happen, they weren't advocating or planning any kind of violent agitation to make it happen.

But there were people in 1968, a lot of them, who had an idea of what society would be like if enough people achieved a "higher consciousness." The Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement is not just a joke, you know. It's real. And that is more or less a model for my idea of the real revolution that needs to happen and that eventually will happen. When people celebrate life and express themselves through art and culture and just do not have the time or energy or the interest in killing people in the name of political objectives, then we'll be getting somewhere.

I'm all Beatle-centric this week because Santa brought me the Beatles Anthology on DVD (with Special Features!) It's fresh in my mind what George Harrison said about "All You Need is Love." He said that when they were invited to represent Great Britain on this international tv show, they chose that song because it was a chance to sort of sneak in a plug for -- and here, George grins sort of slyly -- "God." And that brings us back to the discussion we were having a few weeks ago about spriritual references in 60's folk songs, and to the idea that the revolution is not political, but rather is something that will happen in people's minds and hearts. Once it happens there, then society will be transformed from the inside out, as it were.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 30, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Screw the roses, dmd; if ya wanna throw something at me, about some of your and Yoki's cooking?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

We were talking about DC shopping institutions... well, Son of G just told me that Tom Sarris Orleans House restaurant is closing for good on Jan 15.

Talk about an institution. Rosslyn really does need another high rise.

Posted by: TBG | December 30, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I will throw Yoki's cooking but I like you and throwing my cooking would not be kind - trust stick with the roses.

Posted by: dmd | December 30, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, the Beatles Anthology on DVD! I'll have to ask Santa for that - it's still the 12 days of Christmas, no?

You hit the nail on the head, kb. That is indeed the idea...just takes awhile to achieve it...a few more millenia, maybe we'll get there.

It made me sad to hear that Benazir Bhutto's son is being named the head of the PPP - too heavy a burden for a young man in a family that has sacrificed so much already.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 30, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I like that Yeats poem, it's inspired so many book titles. Dying dogs make for great grief; I've already had to say goodbye to one. RD said it well. Dogs have their place in the family.

And here's a wagging dog-tale.

As Yellojkt also points out, such experiences can make every dog story hit harder. You probably should NOT be watching "Old Yeller" for the next few years, or until you have a new dog.

I got nuttin' to say on-topic about 1968/2008. It's a fine article but I'd have to go recover my past-life memories to compare.

So I'll lob a bromide-laden grenade instead:

Life is always brighter, better, more serious, more sparkly when you're a kid. You grow up, get old and tired, worn out politically, and nobody seems to care anymore about how the country's going to ruin, except for religious wingnuts or the liberal wingnuts who play tug o'war of values across the country.

You sigh and fall asleep right after hearing about yet another animal-rights act of terrorism, and lawmakers running scared and deciding to write laws that will exile animal breeders to Xanadu, open up avenues for would-be pet owners to get fleeced, etc.

I think there is a lot of culture wars going on across this country, and that the problem is that too many people ARE using the legal process successfully to advance their agendas without regard for the welfare of society.

I don't think America is any less political; it's just that more of us are moderate and finding ourselves struggling to be heard between the strident extremists on all ends of the spectrums, lobbyists, and corporate crooks, that we are giving up and waiting to see what happens.

Of course, I wasn't there in 1968. I can never say how "politicized" the country was.
I do remember when I was growing up in the 1980's just how aware I was of the politics and significant events, and how things were changing like the wind. I first heard about PETA, etc. then.

As a kid, I wasn't impressed with them. Practically, I saw that if I wanted somebody to take care of my pets, I'd sooner trust a farmer who spends his entire life taking care of animals and is always at home, than somebody who spends weekends stripping naked, protesting, and committing acts of vandalism such as defacing fur coats, etc.

I always wondered where THEIR pets were when they were doing that, or getting themselves arrested.

Dogs need to be fed daily and walked. Cats, same. Horses need considerable care. If they loved animals they'd be busy taking care of them, not protesting or hurting people.

It has always surprised me that people actually do contribute to PETA.

So that's my memory of say 1988, including in 1994 how Ronald Reagan's daughter's pornographic ad for animal welfare?

Now for an amusing aside on flaming:

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 30, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

And thanks, karen, for the tune. Revolution is swirling around in my head. A good tune to end the day!

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

O Maggie...I treasure the words of cassocked Fr. Slain -- circa 1968 as it happens -- who told me in all seriousness that dogs do go to heaven. So, fair Phineas, enter in where the good dogs live in such earthy splendor. All our dogs earn this:

You brought joy in life and tears when you died. No one could do more.

Jumper, good post. Many good posts here and such a range of memories.

Sad about the Bhutto children; wish they could simply be ordinary in a stolid, solid Pakistan. Sigh.

New Year is fast upon us. What will boodlers resolve? I will enjoy reading them over the next few days.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 30, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Bertooch, you wrote: "...there were people in 1968, a lot of them, who had an idea of what society would be like if enough people achieved a "higher consciousness." The Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement is not just a joke, you know. It's real."

I know that. And back then I knew all those people well; I lived with and among them; they were among (and some still are) my best friends. I love those people, as wild-eyed idealistic as some of them may be (and some still are). They are not a joke to me; they never were.

But they were only a small, small portion of society. Back from my earliest days as a reporter, one of the first things I ever learned was how to count. Not literally, but figuratively: how to count crowds, how to count votes, how to analyze numbers, how to gauge the size of a group or a crowd or a movement, or whatever. And groups like that (and I remember quite vividly that 350,000 people where there that day to surround the Pentagon and put daising in the rifles of the Nationalk Guard) tend to be somewhat inward-looking, and aren't good at seeing themselves within a larger framework. In a limited way, they were "good at organization" insofar as they were able to assemble a very large antiwar movement that eventually helped turn the country around. But in a larger sense they were NOT good as organization, because they recruited only among themselves, and they tended to preach to the choir. I make no value judgement upon that; I simply state it as what I believe to be a fact. They were NOT good at recruiting and organizing and bringing along the larger subdivisions and sections of society. They didn't know how, and even if they did they refused to do all the things national movements require. So they never grew. And they couldn't "lead." And so they ultimately went nowhere, and gradually withered away. All because they didn't know how to count. They just expected that "We're the good guys; therefore, everyone will flock to us." Well, you WERE the good guys --- but people didn't flock to the movement.

Movements are either inward-looking or outward-looking. Inward-looking groups and movements ultimately shrink because, by definition, they aren't focused on what English majors would call "the Other."

Karl Rove counts pretty well; but he only knows how to count to 51%. That's his fatal error.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 30, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 30, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Just want to wish fair Phineas peace and bid fondue to a very interesting boodle today.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 30, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

greetings from dial-up-ville, central pa -

i've caught up on kits but only today's boodle. i was only a gleam in my father's eye in '68.

hope folks had a nice christmas, and happy new year to you all!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 30, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

TBG, as wonderful as drive-through hot, soft pretzels are, woman does not live by soft pretzels alone.

Posted by: dbG | December 30, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I agree with your 10:00 comments, but think our fellow citizens tend to vote on their beliefs, not a rational calculus of which party will bring long-term benefit to people like themselves, like the people in Europe. Beliefs take a long, long time to turn around. In the face of TV, to boot, which tends to keep them trivialized.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 30, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Finally got a chance for some quick Boodling before bed; oh, am I a happy boy about my Washington NFL Franchise beating Dallas to ensure the final spot in the NFC playoffs. Sweet.

Maggie, I'm sorry to hear about your dog, I'm glad you're lavishing love on him in his last days on earth. We should all be so fortunate. And RD, thanks for sharing that piece.

More, later.

Er, maybe tomorrow.
A little too much celebratory red wine and coffee laced with homemade kahlua this evening (G&Ts a summer drink for me, Mudge).

More about Revolutions, 1968, 2008, and 2048 then.

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the fact that in the future of 2048, we'll all be voting for World Hegemon and Most High Admiral of the One Gloablly Warm Sea from inside our windmill-powered houseboats. Mudge - of course - will win that election, being the most experienced seaman of all time.


Posted by: bc | December 31, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

You know, of course, that the Redskins (how I hate that name) play in Seattle next Saturday. Tell them to bring their galoshes and brollies. I'll be rooting for the DC team, so as to squelch the local football brouhaha as quickly as possible.

We'll be watching the Sugar Bowl tomorrow night - Hawaii vs Georgia. (Hi, Aloha!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 31, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The joker in the deck is the economy. The indifference to politics in middle class America comes simply from an economy that has worked for middle class Americans and if the economy ceases to work for them they will become politicized. Nouriel Roubini, who has been predicting the crisis correctly for some time now, says that today's housing crisis may be the worst in history. If the economy cracks that will mean the end of Reaganism.

The resonance of Mike Huckabee's populism on the right among social conservatives is an indication of where the wind is blowing.
As Clive Crook wrote in the Financial Times, "The surge from nowhere of Mike Huckabee(...) threatens to split and even destroy the Republican coalition, by dividing social conservatives from economic conservatives."

Posted by: David Seaton | December 31, 2007 2:38 AM | Report abuse

If my calendar is correct, I believe that today is the birthday of one Joel Achenbach.

Happy Birthday, Joel!

And thanks for everything you've done for all of us in and out of this here Boodle.

Enjoy your day, sir.

More later.
Going back to sleep to demonstrate my commitment to celebrating Joel's Birthday.


Posted by: bc | December 31, 2007 4:56 AM | Report abuse

Maggie, I hope you can take some solace from knowing Phineas and Murphy will take great pleasure trading tales of their respective silly humans who loved them so very, very much. *HUGSSSSSS*

Ah, that irrepressible bc, partying the day away... *L*

Happy Birthday, Bringer of all things Achenbachian!

*all-done-up-in-a-New-Year's-Baby-theme Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. It seems I have picked up one nasty cold. What a way to enter the New Year, but I hopefully, it's all good.

I am about to embark on a new project. We want to bring awareness to folks about the killing of our children. The "we" I'm referring to would be me and some of my sisters and brothers in the church. I believe it happens so much people don't pay attention. They get used to it. I'm seeking higher counsel.

My grandsons are still here. I went to sleep on them last night. I don't know what time they finally went to sleep. They stay up a long time. They wanted me to play a game with them, but grandma was so tired, and the leg was hurting. I took the meds, and it was all over. I will try to make it up to them today. The g-girl is with her mom and dad. We don't have to get up early, so we can do whatever we want. Plus the sun is suppose to come out today, although it will probably be colder outside.

I think fear is the culprit. People seek change sometimes because they're afraid. In this country, and probably some of the others, fear was used to set the political agenda. Instead of calming people's fear, those in power used it to set their own agenda. And the people, looking and needing assurances, bought it hook, line, and sinker. We forgot that no man can save us. We forgot no one person can make us safe. It's like the guy selling the elixer that will keep one from getting sick, therefore he or she won't die. It just doesn't add up to what people think. When I pray, I say, "Our Father ....."

People tend to vote for what they believe will satisfy their fear. I remember Reagan's State of the Union speech where he talked about making government smaller and taking back. He answered that fear wherein people believed their country was getting away from them. He was selling a time they remembered that was good for them. He forgot or didn't care that it wasn't so hot for others.

And in this country the person running for President of the United States of America has got to be selling the remedy that says the country still belongs to the ruling majority. When people go to bed at night, they don't want to feel that their past mistakes are catching up with them. They want to know that control is in the right hands.

The old history books used to describe America as the melting pot of the world. It is that, as long as the right people have rule. No one wants to share what they believe to be theirs. The Clinton administration was a nightmare for some. Imagine having a government that reflected that melting pot. Oh, the horror. They didn't care about his sexual exploits, because, lets get real here, these same folks were having their own little trysts, too. Most men that have second wives got them while being married to the first wife. That's usually why they leave the first.

Until we acknowledge some truths, we will always get what we get. It really does start with "us". And I so include myself in these thoughts. We all come to the table stinking, with some kind of smell.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Scotty, and all.*waving* Martooni, we need to hear from you, man, bad, real bad. Check in if you can.

As always is the case sometimes, I've talked too much. Have a great day, folks. The count down is almost over. We will have a "watch night" service at our church tonight. I hope to go.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 31, 2007 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Happy, Happy, Birthday, JA.

I'll bet the house, and the children too, you, sir, were the perfect Christmas present in year of that birth.

Enjoy your day, and do something for you. Yet try to keep it sane.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 31, 2007 5:22 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. JA, happy birthday, dude!

LTL, I agree with you that [most] people vote based more upon (semi-irrational) beliefs rather than the "rational calculus" of which party...yadda yadda. Be that as it may, I strongly suspect that no matter which Dem wins the nomination, one of that person's major themes is going to be: "Look, we've just had eight years of 'Conservative Republicanism.' You wanted a religious, rightwing Conserve, and that's what you got. How has that worked out for you?"

That argument (and likewise any other major Dem argument) will do nothing whatsoever to win/sway the rightwing. I have no expectation that will ever happen. But the Right has so damaged itself that they have no appeal to the middle, which is much more malleable than people think. If the Dems can only hold things together and not do anything (typically) suicidal, they'll win. (What many, mnay of you are forgetting is that the Dems actually WON the popular vote in 2000, yanno. It has been a fundamental Rovian piece of legerdemain to make people forget that, and for the Right to appear dominant. But the rightwing "majority" is -- and always was -- a house of cards.)

OK, on to a grueling 5-hour work day (work? bwahahahahaha) and then off to a friend's villa for a New Year's house party (every year we enact a "murder mystery" to wile away the time until midnight; this evening I am cast in the role of Cal Q. Lator, the pocket-protecting nerd at the 5th-year high school reunion circa 1959).

I'm still gathering my thoughts (tho' I've boodled upon the subject often before) about 1968. The best line of Joel's essay, however, was the first sentence, containing this point: it was "the most politically charged, disorienting, violent and tragic year in modern American history." Indeed, it was. And for people who were in their late teens and early 20s -- Maggie, kbertooci, Don, TBG's Mr. G, Cassandra, me [and a few others I may have missed], it was a formative experience well beyond what those of you who only read about it can know.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 31, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Now that we have thoroughly analyzed 1968, maybe someone can explain 2008 to me, because I'm pretty much stymied by our present course.

Happy Birthday, Boss! I will commemorate the day with, in your word: "toil."

Posted by: kbertocci | December 31, 2007 6:28 AM | Report abuse

I think there must be at least five of us seeking Revolution, 'cause I remain one of them....
And I dont live in a treehouse-just a modest abode in America's last colony.

Posted by: reuben | December 31, 2007 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Joel. Many happy returns ... have a wonderful day ...

Posted by: rainforest | December 31, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Maggie, RD, I echo what yello said in his 7:57pm

Martooni is some what caught up and is re-listing his fairy doors :-

Posted by: rainforest | December 31, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Joel.

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2008. Stay healthy.

And just to put this "on record": Obama will be the 44th US President. Yep, you heard it here first! (Or 45th if you count that guy who was president for a day...)

Posted by: ot | December 31, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeeeeeesh... A little fog and chilly temperatures, and even an "off" day like today can back up I-270 in a heartbeat.

Hopefully it'll be all cleared up this afternoon. 'Mudge, you betting on 1 or 2 p.m.? :-)

I'm looking forward to a "Twilight Zone" marathon evening of quiet revelry. And rainforest, be sure to tell us what 2008 is like, K?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Joel, and many more happy ones for you!

Lots of good discussion overnight, I certainly hope Mudge is right about middle America and the Democrats.

Am getting ready to wander down the mountain and will check in when I get home.

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Hi Dave S. Welcome. Cassandra and LTL-CA, I agree.

Mudge, some of us were on the catbird seat studying the older ones. I want to hear more about what your cohort experienced. I tend to remember the cultural oddities, like gals rolling their hair in 7 or more orange juice cans to achieve the perfect "fall."

Happy Birthday to JA. Let's make sure he gets lots of presents because I bet his birthday has been subsumed oven under the two holidays.

Gift cert: Frosti and I arrive to Chez A. and develop a garden plan. Non-negotiable item is the planting of three goldenrod "Jethro Tull" Coreopsis plants for EF. I need italics!

BC -- homemade Kahlua? Will wonders never cease. An Italian buddy outdid himself with winemaking this year. Hard to press him for more (a pun!) since he cannot sell it. But, I boldly asked for another bottle of the red elixir. I save bottles for him, sometimes picking them out of recycling bins on the street. Apparently, this irked an older neighbor who thought I was placing the bottles to spread out my bottles....glad she left for a planned, gated, retirement community.

Martooni is over 200 doors. Thanks, rainforest, for the sleuthing.

So, how will New Years hit us in boodle land?

Rainforest and Dawainian are first? Then, Eurotrash? Will Aloha be last, unless SciTim is atop a volcano in Hawaii?

Posted by: Collge Parkian | December 31, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday JA! And a sheepishly late good wish for Son of G on his 19th.

Nose to the grindstone today with work brought from MN, but CP has proposed a most pleasant diversion-planning for a DC garden. Heaven!

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, thanks for all the b-day wishes here on the A-blog. And thanks, too, for everyone showing up here regularly at all hours of the day and night and making this such an excellent online community/roadhouse.

It's kind of hard to believe I'm 47 -- at some point I guess I need to get serious about growing up.

Last night a bunch of friends came over and I made the requisite giant pot of chili to accompany the Redskins game (HUGE victory, nothing but fun to watch, so glad I wasn't out there in the rain), and afterward we watched my friend Angus's documentary on a North Face climbing expedition in the Amazon. It was much fun. Near the end of the night someone brought up birthdays and my friend Geoff mentioned something his father once said, at the age of 87: "If only I were 75 again..."

I hope everyone has a very happy and SAFE new year's eve. I'll probably be posting a new kit at some point today but am trying to finish a story on Iowa and New Hampshire that, at last report, was scheduled to run in tomorrow's paper.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 31, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

This has just NOT been the year for Antarctic cruises... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

JA, Happy Birthday. May it be yours to sleep in, and have coffee brought to you by bonny lasses.

No? Well maybe someone at the office could fill your cup with the lukewarm peevish brew settling at the bottom of the pot, that serves for office coffee most places.

My biggest highlight of New Years Day is always the Rose Bowl Parade. Our in town Grandma had a colour TV and when we lived down the street from her, we got to go to her house to watch it. The Eatons Santa Claus parade is long gone, but at least I still have the Rose Parade.

Posted by: dr | December 31, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Loved the kit, but I spent all of 1968 thinking of different places to make out with my boyfriend.

New Orleans cold-brewed coffee makes really good homemade kahlua, btw!

Posted by: dbG | December 31, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Joel. Here's a list of other people born in 1960. I hope it reminds you that you aren't traveling alone.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I'm thinkinmg more like 3 p.m. But 2 would be nice.

My wife, ever the one to fuss about the cost of heating, was fussing this morning about the silliness of the federal gummint paying "all that money" to turn on the heat in all our federal buildings today, onkly for half or two thirds of a day, and then turn the heat off again until Wednesday morning.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 31, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I'd notice if they left the heat off, 'Mudge.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Me, either, Scotty.

Here's an interesting tidbit:

Baltimore Sun Gives Control of Editorials to Newsroom
Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times 26 Dec 2007

"The Baltimore Sun is taking the unusual step of placing responsibility for its opinion pages with its top news editor. Newspapers usually try to keep a firm wall between the news-gathering operation and the editorial side, to make sure that the lines do not get blurred between the pages of objective journalism and the pages that explicitly voice opinions. But The Baltimore Sun is changing its system and has dismissed its editorial page editor."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 31, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

RD, looking over that list, I have two comments: 1) Joel is younger than everybody on it, may he take comfort in that...

and 2) Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt were born almost at the same time--just one day apart. They are a freaky pair. In their movie "The Imposters" they virtually reincarnate Laurel and Hardy (note the first names). There is some serious kismet going on here.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 31, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

*straining my eyebrow-raising muscles*

(Pardon the poor Arte Johnson impersonation) Vellly eenterestink, Herr 'Mudge...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Joel!

dr, while you are watching the parade keep an eye out for my hometown band, they are in the parade again this year - our neighbour across the street is there with one of his kids - missing our lovely melting/freezing weather - the sacrafices we make for our kids :-).

Posted by: dmd | December 31, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's just me, but I tend to identify more strongly with people born in my same birth year than with those who are not, even if the latter are closer to me in actual age.

Maybe it's just because less math is required.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Joel, and many happy returns. Being 47 is a lot like being 46, only with an extra syllable.

Thanks to Mudge for your memories and observations about 1968 and about voting. I also like Cassandra's take on voting our fears. I think that is one reason I liked the Clinton years: it felt to me as if, for the first time in a long time, people were voting for our hopes. I miss that. I miss being encouraged to do it, rather than the full-court press focus on the terrible potential for terror. That's one thing I like about some of the Dems this time around. They want us to vote our hopes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 31, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Joel, It seems like a great day for some Cake.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 31, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Paging bc, paging bc!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The horrors, changing KITT from a Trans-am to a Mustang just for some stupid product placement reasons.

Old news for BC I'm sure, and misses that coveted demographic that grew up in the '80s, but I would much rather have the Bullit limited edition Mustang-

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

They added heated seats but took away the flamethrower? What are they, a bunch a wusses?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 31, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd be careful about wishing people vote their hopes. What with New Years resolutions and all Huckabee could get a real boost from all of us hoping to trim some pounds in '08.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

All that blather about the car and Hasselhoff, and not one word about William Daniels, the voice and personality of KITT. Daniels has made a career out of playing prissy, pissy characters verging on OCD, the most famous of which are Dr. Craig from "St. Elsewhere" and tightly wrapped social worker Albert Amundsen in the wonderful "A Thousand Clowns" with Jason Robards and Oscar winner Martin Balsam.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 31, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

K'guy-Don't forget Mr. Feeny in Boy Meets World. His prissiest role ever.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Joel!

But RD.. when your birthday is at the end of the year, it's harder to do the math. Yeah... Joel turned 47 in 2007, but for virtually the entire year he was 46. That's just crazy.

Oh.. to be 47 again....


Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

TBG - but that's my point. It's easier to just keep track of the year you were born in and claim affinity to all others in that year.

For example, this is why I feel such a kinship with others in my birth year.

Which was, of course, 1982.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

RD, I see your point, but I think the more appropriate age-cohort demographic is your high school graduating class. I had a good one: 1976. The Bicentennial Graduating Class!

...and who can forget, "Where were you in '62?"

That was also a good year to graduate from high school.

People are fleeing my office like rats from the Titanic--when you talk, you hear echoes, it's so empty. Unfortunately, I have actual work that needs to be done before the end of the year, so I'll be here for the duration.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 31, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

My resolution:

to convert to rechargable batteries, beginning this week with
Radio Shack is an easy place to commence with this.

If you are winding your way through replacing incandescents with CF, this Environmental Defense Fund page helps. I will replace the decorative wall sconces (two) and the hanging dining fixture (x6 but dimmers) this month.

IKEA carries many CF options. No dimmer-ones yet, but Strosniders has carried dimmer-ones but cannot keep them in stock very long.

As for CF recyclying, you should do this but don't worry too much about it yet. I have had three CFs lighting my outside for about nine years now. Haven't replaced them yet.

And, for the bathroom or vanity light, well, if I look blue at the gills in the AM, I happily blame it on the lights and not my certain age, which turns in mid-January; I am one year older than the boss.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 31, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Boss! Great Outlook article too. I thought the comments were particularly fun to read. Does Outlook advertise to cranky people?

Happy New Year, Everyone.

Posted by: CowTown | December 31, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The sun is shining; it's a whole new world!

Phineas woke up this morning a whole new dog. He totally forgot that he was/is so sick. He ran around the yard like a puppy, came inside and wolfed down his meal. Now he's sleeping comfortably in his doggie bed.

I guess I'll have to rethink the unthinkable.

Joel, I can't believe you're so young!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 31, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci - You are right that high school affinity is important. I graduated in 1980 (fer real) and find much in common with those who did also.

I will be bugging out here soon as well, although there will be others to take my place. We are open 24/7. Much like a pancake house.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

CP, I've had a CF burn out and haven't figured out what to do with it. It's rolling around in a drawer. I'm okay with the changeover, but so far I haven't gotten bulbs that are bright enough. I need to look further. The ones I have strain my eyes.

Got down the mountain, with the low tire pressure icon lit. Stopped twice to fill the ones that looked low, so now it's probably the spare that's out of spec. It will have to wait for Mr. T to get home tomorrow because I won't even try to take the cover off; I know my limitations!

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, most colleges through a technology support unit will recycle CFs...check it out...or deliver to an electronics recycle site, but put it in a box and label it. Some mercury to worry about; HOWEVER, the mercury emitted by power plants far exceeds the HG leakage we may see from land fill storage.

Phineas into 2008! Phineas in 08! Error would love that. Oh, Maggie, such good news. Now, if the 19-year old Bhutto boy would just go back to college and stay there!

Posted by: College Parkian | December 31, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, we just got an early out, retroactive to 1 p.m.!! Caught us all unawares. Now everybody is scrambling like crazy to wrap up stuff and get outta here. Me, I got timesheets to review and sign, etc. I'm stuck here for another half hour at least. Grumble grumble.

In case I don't get around to it, Happy New Year, my Boodle and Joel and Family! Drive carefully!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 31, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Hi, guys. I'm back (sort of). Had a busy week off, but didn't get to the 'burg as originally planned. Spent way too much on Xmas stuff. Saw the new National Treasure; a fun diversion, but I don't think it quite lived up to the first film. I guess I had this disconnect as to how that Mayan/Olmec city got moved from Yucatan to South Dakota without anyone knowing about it.

Office is virtually dead today. I'm in charge by default (woe is them!). Probably take off early so we can go out to an early dinner and go home and drink a bottle of Asti.

1968? I was in sonar school in the Navy at Key West for most of the year, then went to my first duty station in Lewes, DE. We were sort of "out of loop" with all that was going on around us back then. We got a lot of guys rotated in from 'Nam, and the (real) war stories would curl your hair. Some of them were so wired up that you had to be real careful waking them for guard duty--they would come up swinging!!

Posted by: ebtnut | December 31, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I would guess about a third of our employees showed up today for some period of time. The mills of justice grind ever more slowly at the holidays. Of course, since most of the cases we see involve people who aren't getting out of prison anytime soon if at all, and the lower courts aren't sending us any rush requests today, our sense of urgency is lessened.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 31, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Our plan to do nothing (again) for New Years is likely to be a good plan this year. We are expecting a snowstorm to start about midnight, no dire warnings this time but a good night to build a fire and relax.

Posted by: dmd | December 31, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Joel! You're still younger than I am. I noticed that yesterday it was the birthday of Bo Diddley and Tiger Woods, among others.

Maggie, good news about the pup!

We've had quite a few CF bulbs burn out - not sure why, although I could blame the dim light here in the NW which causes us to have the lights on nearly continually from Sep till July. I tell you, it's like living in a Tim Burton movie. Sunny today, though.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 31, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

it has long been my sense that 1968 was the worst year in our history since the civil war. i was 19 that year, strong, smart, idealistic, and innocent--not unlike many of that time. the war in vietnam was escalating and kids with whom i had played little league baseball were coming home in plastic bags. one evening i sat in my dorm lounge and watched lyndon johnson 'resign' the presidency. a few weeks later dustin hoffman came to the campus (the graduate was the big movie that year) to recruit us for eugene mccarthy's campaign. it was a warm spring day. a couple of weeks later king was killed, and my roommate (who was a black Vietnam veteran) wouldn't talk to me anymore. one night that summer my mother woke me up at 4 in the morning to tell me that robert kennedy had been killed. a couple of weeks after that i watched mayor daley's police destroy the democratic convention. that fall i was too young to vote on the war even though i was about to be drafted. george wallace got 13 percent of the vote in that election, with humphrey and nixon tied at 43 percent. we were stunned and nixon became president. it was apparent to us that the country was coming apart.

it did, and it has not yet been repaired.

here's a wish for a good new year to all the good people who frequent this space.

Posted by: butlerguy | December 31, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Crazy weather here in West by God. Yesterday was sleet, rain, freezing rain and then snow,about an inch or so.

Today it is sunny and 50, heading out for a walk and think about a few things.

You sure it is December 31?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 31, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not quiet here. Flying solo, so I've got Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" cranking. Follow that with some ZZ Top, Meatloaf, Dire Straits, George Thorogood- you get the idea. Make solitude a good thing.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 31, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Classic Tribune photos
Summer of 1968

on the Chicago Tribune home page

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 31, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, thank you for sharing your experiences--that was quite an effective (and affective) summary.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 31, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut - you did sonar training? One day we will have to compare some notes. I used to do work with sonar in the late 1980s.

Well, outa here. 'twill be an exciting evening sitting around the Padouk household nursing a bottle of Spanish Cava and waiting for that ball to drop. I hear it will be extra sparkly this year.

Happy New Year

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

And today is George Thorogood's birthday as well. (and Anthony Hopkins and Henri Matisse too.)

Posted by: Jumper | December 31, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Been busy today, and need to get back to the grindstone, but wanted to make a few comments:

I know how old JA is, but didn't want to say when I posted my birthday greeting . As much as he thinks this blog is self-indulgent and -referential, I think the more mystery about him the better, like James Bond, Capt. Kirk, and Austin Powers. Ageless, and timeless.

The new KITT, well, I've driven one of the new Shelby Mustangs, and it's a dandy. Granted, I'm biased about it because Carroll Shelby is a friend of some friends, and I've spent some time with the man. And guys who developed the engine and brakes are friends of mine. Combine those facts with the fact that I've actually owned some real Shelbys in my life, and well so much for journalistic integrity.
I'll look over Scotty's link closely later, but at first glance, I'd rather have the rocket boosters than the DNA sequencer, but in truth, I'm more likely to win a Darwin Award than a Nobel Prize.

And CP, I did not make the homemade kahlua, I was just a very lucky recipient of a bottle from some very dear friends who know me pretty well...

Slyness, please be careful with those underpressured tires.

Maggie, I'm glad to hear about your dog. I hope he returns to health soon.

More later, ya'll.


Posted by: bc | December 31, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

RD: I started out with basic sonar, but then got into special training for the SOSUS system, if that rings a bell. Quite a system, actually. I think the Navy deactivated it in the late '80's.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 31, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thanks, butlerguy. I had forgotten that George Wallace got that much of the vote. And, Maggie, thanks for the link to the Chicago photos. The protesters look so clean-cut, so mainstream, don't they? And the signs - Bring the troops home, Stop the war - sound familiar?

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope it's a good one. We've got a wild night planned here - cheese and crackers, some champagne, and a rare (for us) football game.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 31, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut - SOSUS is what I worked on! Out of that building off Quincy. 'tis a small world indeed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

William Daniels also played Dustin Hoffman's dad in "The Graduate."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 31, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy... excellent post. As are many here in response to Joel's essay.

Here's the link that Maggie was talking about...,1,6772352.photogallery?coll=chi_home_util

A striking thing about the pictures of the protesters is that none of them look like the dirty hippies they were made out to be.

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone - hope everyone's holiday season went well. Happy New Year to all!

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 31, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

*scrambling to find that retroactive early release memo 'Mudge mentioned*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmm... More Huckabee hijinks...

*rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmmm George Thorogood

one burbon, one scotch and one beer!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 31, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

For a little bit of the feel of 1968, rent "Medium Cool" (available from Netflix), Haskell Wexler's story of the synergy of electronic media and violence in society (If it bleeds it leads) made in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention and featuring a fair amount of unscripted real confrontation between the kids and the cops in Grant Park. At one point a tear gas canister lands right in front of the camera and a voice shouts "Watch out Haskell, it's real!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 31, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

How long before the "banned" Huckabee ad appears on Youtube? 20 minutes or less? 10? 5?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 31, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

A question, RD. Have they declassified the system performance? Even 30 years after the fact, I'm still reluctant to tell people what the capabilities of the SOSUS system really were. Is it safe to come out?

Posted by: ebtnut | December 31, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, and fondue, all!!

*off to the hopefully less-hectic roads*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 31, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

It's not the pulled Huckabee ad, but it's a good one:

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Joel. In another ten years you'll realize how young 47 truly is. I figure you were 7 in 1968 and not old enough to be aware of the impact of the events that year. This is of course not your fault but it brings up the point that those of us who were mature in '68 are getting up there in years. Some day in the not so distant future, there won't be anyone left with direct experience to reflect on that time. The years go by very quickly.

Hardly anyone in my office today, we finished what we had to, and got out at 2:00. I think I'll treat myself to a nap. We older people need lots of rest ;-)

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 31, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the warning about the tires, bc. Because of the issue, I came home the short way, which takes longer than the interstate because it's a 2-lane road and the speed limit is 45.

Neat pictures of the 68 convention in Chicago. The protesters couldn't have been hippies, they were all wearing coats/ties or dresses! The one of the guardsmen in face masks cracked me up. I'm glad to say that technology has improved in 40 years.

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, all. I hope both the Boodle, including all it's agents and assigns, as well as the world at large (micro and macro) have a safe, healthy, happy, and indeed prosperous 2008 and beyond. We owe it to ourselves and to our planet to grow up (please!) and make nice with one another. This Boodle is the microcosm of that world. We don't throw sand (ordinarily outside the gardening metaphors) and we are (oh, yes WE ARE) the model for the world.

So with that exuberant shoutout, have a good one, my friends.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 31, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut - It's been declassified since the early 90s. Although the details of certain ops might still be sensitive. So prudence would dictate some discretion.

For those who don't know what the heck we are talking about, here is what wiki has to say on the topic:

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Fondue Boodle! Mr. F made reservations at a steak house and already purchased tickets for Charlie Wilson's War. I suppose we have a shot at still being awake at midnight, a longshot though.

I guess I better see if I have any grown up clothes clean. The best of 2008 to all the boodle, both seen and lurking.

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

I most definitely will not be staying up to see the new year in, although my neighborhood likes fireworks so I may be awakened periodically. It is my tradition of many years to get up early on New Years Day and get outside to enjoy the peace & quiet while most people are still sleeping. I plan to hike over to the beach tomorrow morning in time to see the sunrise. Happy New Year, everybody!

Posted by: kbertocci | December 31, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Check this out.

Posted by: Maggie O' | December 31, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ha! You're all amateur New Years Eve celebrators!

Do it the G way... we're going to dinner at an Irish pub/restaurant in "Old Town" Fairfax with friends where we'll ring in the new year... when it happens in Dublin!

Which means we'll likely be in bed by midnight.

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Maggie... that Amazon link is priceless! Well... actually worth about £0.13.

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Maggie those comments were funny - thanks for the link.

Posted by: dmd | December 31, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Maggie - that link is brilliant. Even my son, who as a matter of sacred principle finds nothing I point out to him amusing, laughed out loud.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Still laughing. These are the listings for the three used pens for sale via that Amazon link...

£1.50: No ink left, but otherwise still serviceable

£5.00: Worn without lid. Slight cracks at the end due to mastication.

£10.00: Only used once, decided it wasn't for me - small scratch on lid.

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, butlerguy, for that picture of 1968. Kurosawaguy, I like the sound of your music. The Boy got the Wii Guitar Hero III for Christmas, so Ivansdad & I are endlessly reliving "classic" rock 'n roll. Some more so than others -- quick name a song by Foghat other than "Slow Ride". That you'd want to hear, I mean. Couldn't do it, could you?

Every year OKC has a downtown "Opening Night" celebration to ring in the New Year. Tonight features an early concert by our own Flaming Lips (really, they're good. Try the one with Yoshimi and the Pink Robots. Tasty.) As usual, we'll join the festive throng. In addition to fun and frivolity, we've acquired several excellent funny hats over the years. Then we'll come home, have a glass of champagne, and that's it. I didn't even party like it was 1999 in 1999.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 31, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone- back after a week in Frederick, MD visiting with the our assorted siblings and their side is up to 15 nieces and nephews and the hubby's side is up to 8 and my kids partied 'til the cows came home with all of them. A whole lot of gnoshing and imbibing later, the hubby and I are going to see "Charlie Wilson's War" this evening, like the frostbitten couple and that's probably all we're good for...maybe a wee glass of chardonnay before the New Year's resolutions kick in.

Happy birthday, JA! 47 is looking pretty good to me right now. I've been toying with saying that this upcoming Sunday is my 47th...if Nancy Reagan can do it...I can do it.

I'm happy to say that I blew threw the I-270 corridor today at about 10:30 and all was clear. I hope the boodle commuters can do the same.

Maggie - I know your time with Phineas is sweet and comforting. I'm sad for you but I love all the boodle pet stories.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted by: Kim | December 31, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Forty seven? At that age, I was still trying to roll a kayak. Joel needs to commune with the shad this spring.

The truly fearless have of course advanced on to riverboarding.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 31, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The truly arrogant ignoramuses have moved on to waterboarding.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 31, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

From the Boy:

Mom, why do they call it "politics"?

[Say: I don't know.

I don't know.]

Well, from the Latin poly meaning "many", and tics are bloodsucking fiends.

Give a Boy a joke book. . . .

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 31, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ravens have fired Brian Billick. A sure case of "Happy New Year! We love you. What have you done for us lately?",0,3641484.story?coll=bal_sports_outdoors_xpromo

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I just saw that Billick was fired today... GWE, how do you feel about that?

Also, what do you think the chances are that the Ravens are going to pull out all the stops to hire Bill Cowher? [note: I sure would]

Also, as good as Thorogood's cover of "One Bourbon..." is, it was written and originally performed by the late, great John Lee Hooker.

Kim, Scottynuke and I live less than 15 minutes from Frederick, if we knew you were there, we'd have made arrangements to meet you somewhere for an informal BPH. Ah, well, c'est la vie. Perhaps next time...

Huckabee... I'm beginning to think of his campaign as some sort of performance art/comedy piece, like stuff Andy Kaufman used to do.


Posted by: bc | December 31, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, the younger dottir and I both laughed at that one. Good job, Boy!

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Move over little dog, big ole dog is movin' in."

"B-b-b-bad to the bone."

I pretty much had the office to myself Friday and had the iPod cranked on the computer speakers to my Rawk Out Loud" playlist. Lots of AC/DC, Meat Loaf, Who, Zep, but no Delaware Destroyer.

TMI warning: Off to get my back waxed for the new year.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 31, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Heading out the door for dinner with friends, Happy New Year's everybody!


Posted by: bc | December 31, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Ewwww, yellojkt.

I got my hair cut (a little shorter than I envisioned - I felt like a sheep getting shorn, or a poodle - maybe that's TMI, too). And I took my car through the car wash for a treat. Went to the video store - there's a clerk there who makes me feel like I'm 5 - she always tells me, Good choice! for my movie selections (Eastern Promises and La Vie en Rose today). If you need your self-esteem lifted, she can do it (she's mildly annoying to me, although I smile and chit chat with her). Then I cleaned the car windows and weeded the flower beds because it's sunny and feels warm, even though it's only in the forties. Very nice day.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 31, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year!

Go, Phineas, GO!

I've spent the day alternating between making jewelry for a wedding and running server scripts to update software for 2008 (so, at home, but claiming only half a day's vacation time). The jewelry has to be finished by dinner time tomorrow, when I deliver it.

And now, to retain a certain certification, I have 18 CPU credits to finish off by taking 6 quizzes online. Nothing quite like open-Web tests. Ya think they'd be bright enough not to file the quizzes with the coursework, but they're not. . . or maybe they just take them as seriously as I do. :-)

Have a good evening, everyone!

Posted by: dbG | December 31, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

SCC: That would be CPE hours, not CPU.

You know you work in IT when . . .

Posted by: dbG | December 31, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I am Not surprised by Billick being fired. Also I hope we do not pursue Cowher, we don't want that/him. I would be interested in the Patriots offensive coordinator(whoever that is) and rebuild the team.

Everyone have fun tonight,I am unfortunately working tonight late, but looking forward to food, friends and football tomorrow.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 31, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, thanks for the interesting post.

I celebrated my birthday by leaving work and going on a hike near great falls with No. 1 and No. 2 daughters -- a really great winter day, excellent angled light on the bedrock cliffs rising from the water. I got several nice presents including darts (excellent for garage dartboard) and I can't wait to try them out. Also I got a barbecue apron/tool holder that looks like it is bulletproof. Seriously it looks like I could climb INTO the fire when grilling if I wear this thing.

Have a fun and safe night everyone ... see you next year...

Posted by: Achenbach | December 31, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow Joel, what a great way to spend a birthday!

I just got back from the last walk of the year with my little dog Nikki. Those of you in the DC area should run outside and gaze at the beautiful clear sky. Mars is still there glaring balefully at us.

Now it's time to break out the Cava and shut down the computer before I get all sloshed and sentimental and all.

And although I know it is traditional to make resolutions for self improvement in the new year, it is also a good time to celebrate the simple fact that we have made it through another year.

And think of those who have not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Well said, RD. Looking forward to a quiet evening with "S" if he ever awakens from his after dinner nap ;-)

Maggie, very pleased to hear that Phineas is doing better. Have a safe evening all. Happy New Year.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 31, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, RD, it's the perfect time for counting one's blessings. For me, that will take most of the evening. I am particularly grateful for my so-called imaginary friends here.

Happy new year, everybody!

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

mr dr and I wish each and everyone of you a Happy New Year. My goal for the day was to stay awake till midnight, but I'm so sleepy right now that I can't see how in the world I'm going to make that goal. Its only 6:10 mt time. It has nothing to do with drinking wine when I should be sipping coffee.

Posted by: dr | December 31, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Joshua Bell is appearing on "Live from Lincoln Center" on PBS tonight (right now in the DC area) and in introducing him, the announcer mention him playing for tips in the DC Metro. So fans of Weingarten's article have a listen.

Happy Birthday, Joel! Thank you!

Posted by: pj | December 31, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Uh, oh, 75 degrees is forecast for the Rose Bowl and parade. At least it's supposed to be windy. I always used to hope for dreadful weather on New Year's Day, which around here means chilly, windy and rainy with flash floods, because unfortunately snow and sleet aren't available in this climate. Otherwise, another 50,000 folks from the frozen north would get in their cars and come here to live the next year. Maybe I don't need to worry, though -- apparently California now has a net migration loss to the rest of the country.

Here's another version of the mortgage bubble --,0,7553960.story?coll=la-home-local

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 31, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, interesting post, and welcome.

Ivansmom, your 4:47 cracked me up. You and the Boy need to hit Vegas.

Happy New Year friends, lurkers, and every one. I'm suppose to go to watch night service at church, but I am so sleepy. And I haven't had any wine. I just want to curl up in the bed. My grandsons have their game thing going, and I don't think they know I'm in the room.

JA, that barbecue apron sounds heavy. Glad you enjoyed your day.

Slyness, aren't the weather folks calling for snow in the mountains? It was so nice here today, sunny and bright. Of course, all this is going to change. We're going to get that cold blast.

I can barely hold my eyes open. Maggie, I'm so happy your puppy is feeling better.

I wish peace, and more, peace. Night, boodle.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 31, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

That's because they're all moving here!

Texas is gorging on people, taking in more newcomers than any state in the country.
The Lone Star State gained almost 500,000 residents from July 2006 to July 2007, according to recent estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The influx means that the state, for the second year in a row, has led the nation in population growth, the Express-News reported.

A different type of disaster -- the sub-prime mortgage crisis -- led people in Florida and California to try their luck in Texas this year, Karl Eschbach, director of the Texas State Data Center, told the Express-News.

"Those two states have been particularly hard hit by the housing market bubble bursting ..." he said "It's not like we're unaffected, but compared to other places, it's not much."

I'm fighting both a virus and a bacteria--Boodle as I'm able. Happy New Year, y'all!

Posted by: Loomis | December 31, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Feel better soon, Loomis!

Posted by: Slyness | December 31, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Some time I'd like to go see the Rose Parade in person. But don't worry, I won't move to CA (although my son and a niece did).

pj, thanks for the reminder about Joshua Bell. My PBS station is showing that tonight, too, but heaven knows if I would have remembered. Turns out the Sugar Bowl is tomorrow evening...

See ya next year.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 31, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone selling Nomex grill aprons?

Today, I drove a rented cargo van to Orlando, returning with furniture. It was kinda cool looking down on the Suburbans.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 31, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

From the Joshua Bell program tonight: A guy I went to high school with plays trombone with the New York Philharmonic. He's the guy with the ponytail.

Posted by: pj | December 31, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

See you next year. I love that. Every year. We're all comedians in the G house on New Years Day... "Hey... I haven't taken a shower all year." "I've been in my PJs all year."

We're hilarious. Every year.

See you next year!

Posted by: TBG | December 31, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

TBG - my parents were married on New Year's Eve, so each year they used to go out. As they left we used to always say, "See you next year!"

Man, you just can't improve on the classics.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 31, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

How did it get to be NYE already? Life is just so . . . daily.

Well, I can take tests but I can't count. I needed =>22.5 CPEs by midnight/3 per course = 8 course tests. Passed all 8, but next year I think I may reconsider the motivation of last minute panic. How I ever made it through school is beyond me.

Huckabee's sanctioning the Romney ads then tossing them in front of the MSM is slimy. If he's going to take the high road, why does letting us know make a difference? The comments on this site about it were pretty good, including the one which used the word *preterition.*

56 minute to go, but I suspect most of us are already living in the future. All good things! dbG

Posted by: dbG | December 31, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Four hours to go here. The NYE show on is pretty good as always.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 31, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

83 degrees today. The night smells of citrus blossoms.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 31, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

happy new year all you boodlers; i'm out of here. may next year be better than this year.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 31, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

DotC-just drove home from Charlie Wilson's War in the Miata with the top down. The air is sweet in Tampa tonight, when it's not acrid from fireworks smoke.

Loved, loved, loved the movie. Mr. F and I were laughing non-stop. Avert your eyes if you do not want the best line in the movie ruined. Wilson is trying to make a deal with an Israeli arms dealer and pleads "For the love of Christ" That was the end of any composure for me, my ribs ache. If you don't like Aaron Sorkin written material you probably won't care for it, but if you do, he was at the top of his game when he wrote this. Mr. F and I also give it 2 thumbs up for authenticity in scenes meant to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night-especially dear Phineas.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 31, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw New Years roll round last in 1996 when one of the boys came in and woke me up by shouting Happy New Years in my ear. No sense in wrecking a tradition now.

Good night, farewell 07. It was a good year, but may 08 be better.

Posted by: dr | December 31, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Happy New Year Boodle!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 1, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year!

Posted by: The 999s | January 1, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

A most joyful and hope-filled 2008 to all!

Now I'm gonna go to sleep 'cause it's way past my bedtime.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 1, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year!

Error in '08!

Posted by: pj | January 1, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, boodle!

A belated happy birthday to you, Joel!

Posted by: jack | January 1, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, thanks for sharing that amazon link. I had fun reading the smart-ass reviews, laughed enough I went into a coughing fit.

Here's another advertisement of sorts (on E-bay) which has a different point than simply selling an item, so scroll right down to read the description.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 1, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Achenbach said: "Today's America looks rich and fat and comfortable compared with the 1968 version."

This is a laugh. The average Joe was much better off 40 years ago than he is today. My parents were both teachers, and yet were able to have 3 kids, a home, a pension, and medical insurance. Hell, they even retired fairly wealthy. Show me 2 teachers married with children who can do that today.

Thanks a lot, free trade fundamentalists!

Posted by: ignatov | January 1, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year to the boodle, and let us be glad that Joel has another long year before the next horrible, gnarly birthday.

At least he can get fireworks for his birthday. Some guys have all the luck...

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 1, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Years Boodle. Too much champagne and strawberries tonight. tomorrow morning I have to go out for orange juice for mimosas. Night all!

Posted by: yellojkt | January 1, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, everyone.

I get to sleep in because I did my shopping last year.


Posted by: bc | January 1, 2008 2:11 AM | Report abuse

I hate NAFTA, won't hear any argument from me about that one.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 1, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, everyone - boodlers and lurkers. Hope 2008 would be a fruitful and prosperous year for everyone.

There are a lot of private parties at homes on New Year's eve. That's where people do their countdown. A couple restaurants had advertised their new year's eve dinner specials. It was kind of subdued compared to the year before last. Last year, a couple of hotel restaurants planned a big event for the countdown but told to cancel at short notice by the authorities. This year, I mean last year, like yesterday, they played it safe and didn't make a big fuss. Although one six-star hotel did have a display of fireworks for a few minutes. There are no town squares or any kind of square around here. Even if there is, a gathering for countdown would be frowned upon as this is a muslim country. According to the law, for a gathering of 5 or 6 people in public, you need a permit though it's not strictly enforced. M'sia has the same age-old law.

Rose Parade : I attended the parade every year when I was living in Pasadena. I always don't get there early enough to secure a good place so I usually ended up looking at the back of somebody's head. At 5' 4", I would be okay in this region but not tall enough to be a late-comer in watching the Rose Parade. However, I do go get a close-up look at the floats the next day where they are parked.

Maggie, I'm very happy for you about Phineas.

Posted by: rainforest | January 1, 2008 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year, friends and lurkers! Yes, I'm up, and battling this cold and the cough that comes with it. Just tired of coughing. Grandsons are knocked out. I don't know when they went to sleep. I laid down to watch television, and hey, it was watching me. Did not make the watch night service. In fact, did not see 2008 come in. My daughter called to wish me a happy new year, and I was still asleep while talking to her.

Morning, Scotty, Mudge, Slyness, and all.***waving****
Loomis, sorry you're feeling rotten, so am I. Hope you feel better soon.

Most of you get a chance to sleep in. Get some rest today, and enjoy the time off.

I think I'm going to go back to bed.
Oh, please read Eugene Robinson's op-ed piece. He's talking about John Edwards' trek through Iowa, and what a fabulous talker he is. I figure anyone as rich as John Edwards knows how to use the King's English and some. Robinson states that Edwards shows a bit of anger, which answers to the anger felt in the population now. I agree people are probably fed up. Lets just hope they come out and vote, thereby, expressing that anger, and not through some other means.

It is hard out here. And so many times those in charge don't realize how hard it is for some of us. Perhaps they have a glimpse at some point, but have already sold their soul to the Devil. I watched yesterday as the cable man was here in the complex, around the back of the apartments,never a good sign. On my side. I went around and asked, are you cutting my cable off. He said no, but he certainly was putting someone in the dark. It just simple stuff that I believe leads to bigger stuff. Gas is above three dollars a gallon, and that's regular, which impacts food and everything else.

When the things at the top get heavy, the little on the bottom can't hold that up, and the whole thing falls down. I know I'm not saying this good, but I think you get the drift.

Anyway, don't want to be gloomy this first day of the year. I going to look at the news and try to see that ball that I missed last night.

Already cold.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 1, 2008 4:37 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Cassandra

I hope you have a wonderful new year,stay warm.

I wish everyone love, laughter and peace this New Year!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 1, 2008 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Happy 2008 to everyone in Boodleland!!

May we continue to spread our particular brand of intelligent, slightly skewed merriment and good cheer throughout the 'Net and the world in general.

Error in '08!

*confetti-throwin Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 1, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

The birthday boy's latest piece is up!!

Now THAT'S the way to start '08!! Front page!!! *L*

And we were right, Huckabee got plenty of free airtime for the "disavowed" ad...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 1, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy new year!

As always, the Boss has an interesting story on the contrasts between New Hampshire and Iowa. If nothing else, the election will make 2008 an interesting year.

Good morning, Cassandra, I hope you slept well and are rested this morning so you can cope with the kids.

Everyone, sleep in and enjoy your day!

Posted by: Slyness | January 1, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

And above the fold as well. Way to go!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 1, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The Independent newspaper had an article on the Bhutto boy :
"He [Bilawal] read out to the meeting Benazir's hand-written last will and instructions for the party, a document few others knew existed. In the document, which Mr Zardari said was dated 16 October, two days before Benazir's fateful return from exile to Pakistan, she decreed the succession, fearing for her life.

What was not made clear in the press conference but emerged from other party sources is that the will apparently named Mr Zardari alone to lead the party. However, during the meeting he went over to Bilawal and announced that he had asked him to be co-chairman."

It's really sad that such a heavy burden is being placed upon the Bhutto boy at such a young age. It would be sadder still if he doesn't want to be in politics.

Posted by: rainforest | January 1, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

While I think the father has marked the son for death, the biggest tragedy is that Benazir Bhutto made no move to correct in death what she could not, or would not, do in life. Transitioning her party away from the dynastic would have improved her country's chances of moving toward democracy. That would have been a silver lining from the dark cloud of her assassination.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 1, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I was the first on the scene of an accident this morning. A WV state trooper hit some black ice and slid off the road and hit a tree. Luckily he hit the tree with the back end of his car. He was cut up pretty bad and was saying he wasn't able to move his arm that much. I wrapped him up in a blanket and had him sit down till the paramedics arrived. It took them about 10 minutes to get there. He thanked me for stopping and helping. I am sure he will be alright.

I am sure glad I went grocery shopping, after work this morning and was able to give some comfort to that young man.

Please be careful everyone.

Off to bed, whew what a way to start off the new year.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 1, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Black ice has to be the most treacherous weather phenomenon known to humankind, GWE. You did the right thing by keeping the trooper warm and still. Good response time by the paramedics, too. At least you start the new year by helping someone, and doing it well!

Posted by: Slyness | January 1, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Nice job GWE, new kit!

Posted by: frostbitten | January 1, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: xyytzcxku4 | February 14, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I am really excited. Very useful. All the best!

Posted by: opah | March 7, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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