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How to Fix The Baseball Record Book


Everyone knows that statistics and records are, for baseball fans, even more important than things like world peace. Now they're all in a twist because of the discovery that many of the best players are walking chemistry experiments. The new scouting report says: Throws left, bats left, injects right.

So what do we do with all the stats and records of players who were clearly cheating during the Steroid Era? There is, in fact, an obvious solution to this mess.

Any home run hit by a player on steroids simply will not count -- unless he hit it off a pitcher on steroids.

In other words, if you're a hulking, refrigerator-sized slugger who all but has "Steroid Abuser" stenciled on your uniform, your homers don't count unless you've had to hit a pitch hurled by an equally monstrous, snarling steroid freak.

Similarly, any non-drug-using runner thrown out at home plate by a steroidal outfielder will be recorded as "safe." The run counts. Also stolen bases count even if the freakazoid catcher nails the runner at the bag. Any hit by a clean player that is recorded as a "single" becomes a double if the pitcher is a moose; doubles become triples, triples become home runs, and a home run counts as a "homer-plus-a-single." Again, these bonuses only apply when the player is known to be clean, or looks like a normal, non-human-growth-hormone-injecting person, and has been forced to compete against Godzilla.

Would such corrective measures to the record book become unwieldy? Perhaps. Further refinement might require a distinction between a player who used steroids only once, or just "recreationally," or on a dare while under severe peer pressure, and those who used steroids the way most people use salt and pepper.

Without question, major league baseball today is a tarnished sport. All the more reason to take dramatic corrective measures involving annotations, asterisks, weighted values, and footnotes. There is no crisis here that cannot be fixed with the right algorithm.


By Joel Achenbach  |  December 14, 2007; 7:25 AM ET
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Forget real baseball... what does this do to Fantasy Baseball? Think of all those middle-aged businessmen who will have to Give Back Their Trophies!

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Didn't MLB make record-breaking amounts of moolah last season? I believe the number I heard this morning on NPR was "scads".

To me, that says the fans don't particularly care that the players are chemically enhanced. There's simply no way a person could be a fan of baseball at any time in the last five years and not know something was up. Tacit acceptance of players' drug use is still acceptance.

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is not a problem, but an opportunity. It's time for the companies that make and sell steroids, HGH, amphetamines and other better-living-through-chemistry type products to get in front of this and sign guys like Bonds, Clemens, Pettite, et al to huge - major-league, if you will - sponsorship deals to tout the benefits of their products.

Imagine the synergy! Imagine the Brand Recognition! Imagine the Waves Of Cash Raining Down Upon Players, MLB Owners and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers after people start clamouring for their local health food store to start selling "that stuff that Clemens had shot up his a**"!

Then the fans will care. And they will care in the way that counts in America: they will care with their wallets.

Posted by: byoolin | December 14, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

A little inspiration for martooni perhaps:

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Damn Yankees!!

Posted by: Boko999 | December 14, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

byoolin... you remind me of the old Chesterfield cigarette ad hanging in my son's (new and improved) bedroom. They have obviously retouched the photographs to add cigarettes to the hands and mouths of baseball players IN THEIR UNIFORMS.

Like those commercials with doctors touting their favorite brand of cigarettes.

These things are so funny to us now... why weren't they then?

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Joel, don't be silly. Nobody uses the "algorithm method" anymore.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

A small part of a poem by Viktor Rydberg:

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Omni -- thanks for finding the Tomte pictures. Nobody does gnomish cute kitsch like the Nordic. Martooni may have to develop an international model to increase sales and his corporate fiefdom.

Tomte and Niske, etc.
LOTR creatures
My Little Pony TM
Brownies, Girls Scouts TM


Posted by: College Parkian | December 14, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

and this one is great, too...

No unpleasant aftertaste? Really?

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, I wrote a long comment that was eaten by the Wordy Durd filter, but suffice it to say that the Worldwide Leader in Sports Marketing - the US of A - has led the way in sponsorship deals for Personal Enhancemment products.

For example, Red Bull, Just for Men, Speed Stick, the variety of ED treatments (Vi@gra, Ciali$, etc.) and even Enzy+e all have deals with athletes, teams, or organizations.

Maybe Joel will write something about Gatorade and the University of Florida, too. I think that's where all the trouble started...


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Winstrol: I'd rather fight than switch."

"I'd walk every batter for a Stanazolol."

"Throw a lucky strike - it's shoot-up time."

"HGH tastes good like a growth hormone should."

Posted by: byoolin | December 14, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Just remember that Gnomes live in the woods and Tomte lives in town or sometimes a ship.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

oops, I was mean again over on that other blog

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

But what will happen to my beloved infield fly rule?

Old Infield Fly Rule: The batter is out if, with less than two outs and runners on first and second, or first, second and third, he hits a fair fly ball (no bunts or line drives) that can be caught by any infielder with ordinary effort.

New, Post-Steroidal Infield Fly Rule:

1) No player on steroids would hit a puny, girly-like fly ball into the infield, unless it went high enough to achieve geosynchronous orbit. Therefore, if the fly ball remains visible to the naked eye, the batter is out. If the fly ball rises above visibility, the batter is out, all the runners are out, and play continues with a new baseball even though the old baseball is aloft somewhere in the jet stream and theoretically still in play. If the old ball eventually comes back to earth within the fair or foul field of play, the defense has the option of keeping it for possible later use (for instance, in the first baseman's back pocket, so that in the events of, say, a scorching potential triple off the Green Monster, the first baseman may disregard that hit, take the old ball from his hip pocket, tag first base and declare the steroidal batter out.

[Note: the old ball may be used only one time in this manner. Then it is retired from play and sent to NASA for further study to see if it has collectred any space dust.]

2. With alternate side of the street parking in effect, the batter is not out if a pitcher on steroids delivers a pitch that the non-steroidal batter hits weakly and in girly-man fashion into the infield, if there are less than three outs, and there hasn't been a runner on base in the last three games, even if the ball is caught. The batter gets a two-pitch Mulligan (a do-over) which must be thrown by the shortstop standing behind second base. Except on Wednesdays and major Jewish holidays.

There, that ought to take care of it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I find confusing about the old Infield Fly Rule is that people are confused by it.

With the new rule I'm confused with along everyone else. I like it.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

oops on that second sentence. see what I mean.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

As manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team, Arbusto George, born with a silver coke spoon in his mouth, counted on steroids to give his team an unfair advantage. As Commander in Chief, AWOL George had other tools to give the Bush Friends and Family Plan an unfair advantage; domestic surveillance of his political opponents, domestic torture of business competitors of the Bush Pioneers, Fredo, redistricting, Jeb, and various unorthodox approaches to duck hunting.
In his state of the union speech a while back, he outlined a bold new policy vision - he was going to oppose steroids. This flip-flop stunned his audience who had never seen such visionary thinking in Our Leader before.

Posted by: The Arbusto Bandido | December 14, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This whole thing has been baseball's worst-kept dirty little secret for the past generation. There is lot's of blame to go around, but I'll give top honors to both Selig and Fehr. The first just chose to ignore the situation, kow-towing to the owners who kept seeing the turnstiles spin as folks ran in to to see how many dingers were going to be hit that day. The only concern Fehr and the union had about the players was filling their pockets and setting compensation bar higher and higher. Health concerns? H*ll, they were ATHLETES for Christ's sake! In 1968 the average player was making about $25,000. Now, the average is what, $2 million? A pox on all their houses. Read Boswell today for a good take on things.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 14, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

There was a case around here recently where a pro wrestler on steroids killed his wife and children and then himself. Everybody was saddened. The question is, of course, why no one recognized the psychological impact of the drugs and intervened to help him before he took all those lives.

Posted by: Slyness | December 14, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Heck, TBG, tobacco advertising is still all over auto racing, even though worldwide bans are going into effect soon.

Note that Dancing with the Stars winner Helio Castroneves drives for Roger Penske's Indy Racing League team sponsored by Marlboro, even though Marlboro's name is not even on the cars or uniforms anymore (that's Helio leading NASCAR-bound Team Penske driver Sam Hornish, Jr.):

I'm not a lawyer or legal analyst, and certianly not the right guy to make a judgement about whether such things are right or wrong, but if it's legal and in compliance with the letter and spirit of the law, I have no problems with it.

As the tobacco industry has pulled back from worldwide sports marketing, I see that the alcohol/beverage and telecommunciations (cell phone, etc.) industries have stepped in to fill those financial voids...



Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut's right... you've gotta read Boswell.

"Bud, this is George. We're going to need a bigger boat."

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Meant to note that the Penske cars are painted in the Marlboro chevron, only in more photographic dayglo red, than the darker red used on packs of Marlboro.

Here's a good pic of a pitstop that has a LOT of Marlboro in it without actually saying Marlboro anywhere:

And as far as cheating in sports goes, to many people's point: with so many billions of dollars tied up in sports and athletes worldwide, the finanical incentive - and resources - to look for advantages becomes irresisitable for many, even on an industrial scale, as we've seen.

I need to write more on this later...


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

SCCs: too many to list. Just remove a couple of commas from my past couple of posts and they may make more sense.

Or not.

Feh. I need more thought-enhancing coffee.


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm sticking my head in the sand on this hemorrhoids thing.


Oh. Aargh, steriods, hemorrhoids, whatever. I'm leaving my head where it is.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 14, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The sound bite I heard on Bud Selig's reaction to this translated to this in my brain: "Gentlemen! We must save our phony-baloney jobs here. Harumph! Harumph!"

Posted by: Raysmom | December 14, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't have much to add on the steriods in baseball story - is anyone really surprised? I really like Joel's piece though.

Completely off-topic I just received a list of the top 25 webcams from around the world - some pretty interesting ones on the list. It is a grey day here need some nice to look at, the temps have increased an our fresh clean snow is turning to mush, to be followed by rapidly falling temps turning mush to ice - Joy!

Posted by: dmd | December 14, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The physicists among us may correct me but I thought that a fastball hit off a McPitcher by a McBatter would have more energy than one put in play by non-juiced humans, making a home rum more likely. If this is the case then a home run generated by McPlayers should only count if it kills someone in the stands.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 14, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I think one of the biggest casualties of the steroids scandal is sportsmanship. Somebody with foresight realized that the use of these drugs would be unfair. That's why they are illegal and against the rules. Anyone who uses them to get himself ahead is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct. The sad thing is that this does not seem to matter to the fans of the game. There was a day when being a bad sportsman was something people cared about. I don't know, maybe I'm a throwback.

Posted by: Gomer | December 14, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I should have added that the Mitchell report didn't surprise me one bit. Again, as others have pointed out, performance enhancing drugs have been all over baseball and most of the other big money sports for decades.

I wonder what Jose Canseco would have said if he'd been able to get into that press conference yesterday?

And I wonder what people would have said to *him*?


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Mmmm...Home Rum

Posted by: b9 | December 14, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

dmd, that webcam link is pretty cool.

But I have to wonder: if *I* can see that one in Pittsburgh that appears to show me at my desk surfin' the www, does that mean my boss can see it too?

Posted by: byoolin | December 14, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it, statistics in baseball have never been especially rigorous. There are too many uncontrolled variables to allow rigorous statistical comparisons.

Indeed, the ambiguities inherent in baseball statistics have been fodder for more than one late-night debate regarding the relative merits of various players. That whole pesky moral question aside, all steroids do is add a pharmaceutical twist.

Instead of just arguing about how you can't compare stats from Yankee Stadium with those from Fenway Park, baseball aficionados will now be forced to evaluate the relative advantage of a player on oxandrolone with one on decadurabolin.

Won't that be fun.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

How to Fix the Walter Reed Record Book

How much different the reporting is here than there--especially in tone. Wonder if Washington Post reporter Dana Priest would have any interest in this?:

..."The last few months have tested our mettle," Pollock told 700 people at Fort Sam Houston. "We were strong enough to weather the accusations [Accusations? I think there was some preety solid reporting about the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed, lady.] and disappointments of the American people, and the warriors and families who depend upon us." ...

The scandal broke early this year when the Washington Post reported that hundreds of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan had lived in squalor, one residence soiled by rat droppings and dead cockroaches.

The paper said more than 700 soldiers and Marines, some suffering amputations, brain injuries, organ damage and post-traumatic stress, had been released from Walter Reed despite needing continued treatment.

Those taking the podium on a cloudy, chilly day [yesterday in San Antonio] sidestepped the scandal's particulars, neither specifically referring to the Post's stories nor conceding that any military leader failed to care for those troops -- a commander's fundamental duty.

[Are they in a state of denial? *&%f$#@)^!!!)

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Boko999 - I think you are correct. A faster ball hit by a stronger batter would go much farther. Which is why I kind of wonder about the advantage to a pitcher of being juiced.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Anyone catch ABC News reporting this morning about the rapes of female Halliburton employees by rogue male Halliburton workers, having occurred in Iraq, and DOJ refusing to look into the allegations because the supposed perps were contractors? Brian Ross to report more tonight.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think the buiggest joke of all is that people are focused on steroids and baseball, but no one is remotely thinking of football, where the average weight of a lineman is about 800 pounds.

Meanwhile, there's this piece of good news:

Rove, Bolten Found in Contempt of Congress

Senate Committee Cites Top Bush Advisers in Probe of U.S. Attorney Firings

By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 14, 2007; A08

A Senate panel found former presidential adviser Karl Rove and current White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten in contempt of Congress yesterday for refusing to testify and to turn over documents in the investigation of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved contempt citations against Rove and Bolten on a 12 to 7 vote, rejecting the White House position that the work of two of President Bush's closest advisers is covered by executive privilege.

Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee cited Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers for contempt. But action by either chamber of Congress is still weeks or months away. Lawmakers and aides said neither house will take up the issue until late January at the earliest.

More than six months ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee requested Rove's public testimony on the firings of the prosecutors and issued subpoenas for internal White House e-mails, memos and other related documents. As custodian of White House documents, Bolten was cited for his refusal to turn them over.

"White House stonewalling is unilateralism at its worst, and it thwarts accountability. Executive privilege should not be invoked to prevent investigations into wrongdoing," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.).

Two senior Republicans, Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Charles E.
Grassley (Iowa), supported the contempt charges.

The White House yesterday repeated its offer to allow Rove and other current and former senior aides to testify about the firings behind closed doors, not under oath and with no transcript. White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Justice Department would refuse to convene a grand jury if either the full House or the full Senate approved the contempt citations; that would leave Democrats unable to force the question of the limits of executive privilege into the federal courts.

"The constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile effort for Congress to refer contempt citations," Perino said.

The contempt vote came a year after seven of the prosecutors were removed on one day. The firings provoked a furor on Capitol Hill and led to the resignation of former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales.

The Justice Department's inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility are conducting an internal investigation of the firings and whether Gonzales obstructed congressional probes of the matter.

Despite the likely need for 60 votes to cut off a GOP filibuster in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said he would "look very favorably" on forcing a roll call vote on the issue. "We'll take a look at that when we come back in January," Reid said.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think that the advantage of steroid use to a pitcher has more to do with enhancing durability and recuperative power as opposed to a pure strength boost as is the case with hitters.

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

The image that comes to mind when I think of athletes and steroids is that of the late Lyle Alzedo. He was interviewed regarding the dangers of prolonged steroid use. H.S. athletes are alleged to use steroids. Insidious is a good descriptor for steroid abuse.

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

Yes, Loomis... I heard one particular horrifying tale about a young woman who was raped by her Halliburton coworkers I believe the day she arrived in Iraq. When she reported what happened, they sequestered in her a shipping container and put her under guard.

She managed to talk her "guard" into letting her use his cellphone and called her dad, who in turn called his Congressman, who got the State Dept there the next day to rescue the girl and get her medical treatment for her brutal attack and got her back home.

Halliburton is claiming that since her employment contract calls for arbitration in cases of conflict with the company, there is no need for criminal charges to be made.

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Arbusto Bandido writes at 9:13:
As manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team, Arbusto George, born with a silver coke spoon in his mouth, counted on steroids to give his team an unfair advantage.

Well, I think Arbusto is not the only one to have had White House aspirations and is alleged to have used cocaine... Drugs are in the news and it just doesn't have to do with a national sport. It begs the question of whether alleged former drug use is any of our business as voters for candidates running for the country's top executive post.

Has anyone brought up Marion Jones in response to this Kit yet? Brian Williams mentioned her but fairly rapidly brushed her and her penalties aside last night during his newscast.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Between Gulf wars I worked at Walter Reed. At that time it was a quality institution with a budget that seemed adequate to take care of the service members who had the misfortune to be there. The entire Iraq imbroglio has been under planned and under funded. You can't overwhelm a system, under fund it, and then start taking names looking for blame at the hospital level. Blame goes much higher.

Posted by: aka21 | December 14, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This one sentence in your post, with its semicolon, says it all, Mudge:

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Justice Department would refuse to convene a grand jury if either the full House or the full Senate approved the contempt citations; that would leave Democrats unable to force the question of the limits of executive privilege into the federal courts.

If executive privilege is badly used or abused, shouldn't the nation be owed serious deliberations or legal opinions about when that misuse crosses the line? That question can apply to any and all scandals, including the steroid scandal. And if such transgressions occur, then deliberation and action regarding the penalty(ies) should follow.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

crc - that makes sense.

I think we are more horrified by steroid use in baseball than in other sports partly because of the schedule. Since the baseball season seems to include something like 12 million games, the individual players become very familiar to us. We feel as if we know them. This makes the betrayal seem that much worse.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse


The heating repairman has not yet arrived. I called the company at 8 am yesterday, only about 2 hours after the heat went out. A repairman was supposed to come between 12 and 3 and never showed. I was supposed to be the first call this morning.

I have called three times this morning. The service rep said she tracked down the repairman and he had gone to an installation first. In McLean. He drove from Manassas, passed by my house probably, and went to McLean to install a system and will be here "in an hour."


This is a company that has been incredibly good in the past. A dream contractor with incredible service. So I asked the woman on the phone, "Do you have new owners or new management or something?"

Meek voice answers simply, "Yes." Well that explains it. This is the last contract I'll have with them.

Anyone have a recommendation for a heating & cooling company in Northern Virginia?

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, a juiced pitcher still has the advantage. You are correct that a juiced batter will hit the ball harder, and a faster incoming pitch will add to that. However, a juiced pitcher throws faster than even a juiced batter can hit, except kind of by luck, and presumably his breaking pitches snap faster and break sharper, etc. I don't know enough about steroids to know if they increase reflex action, but I doubt it, nor would they increase the ability of the batter to "see" the ball better.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

TBG, do I have this right Haliburton is claiming they are above the law? Arbitration for a criminal offense, actually multiple offenses.

Posted by: dmd | December 14, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Note to Yoki, hoping you had an uneventful, non-stop return to Calgary.

Posted by: dmd | December 14, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Interesting 10.08, 'Mudge. I suspect that the Justice Department hasn't changed all that much, despite a change in leadership. Moreover, I also suspect that, at the end of this particular debate, the outcome will be similar to that of the budget "showdown" and all of the rest of the showdowns of late: the administration will get their way because of a lack of legislators willing to vote on principle.

Posted by: jack | December 14, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

dmd... the report wasn't clear how Halliburton thought they could get away with claiming arbitration in this case. In fact, the reporter wasn't clear, it seemed.

Loomis.. I think the Marion Jones case isn't getting as much attention because it doesn't involve as much money--and track & field isn't as much a part of the American psyche. There's no expression "As American as the 100-meter dash."

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - thanks for that insight. I can see how this could turn into a pharmaceutical arms race between pitcher and batter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I would think that would be the reports first question after the issue of arbitration was mention.

Posted by: dmd | December 14, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Mudge's answer makes sense to me. The probability of hitting any pitch thrown by a juiced pitcher should decrease. On the other hand, the probability of that hit being a home run will increase. An interesting exercise in probabilities. I think it would take a full-up computer model to determine whether there is a balance of power in steroid usage. We would need to address the effect of the pitcher's steroid use on the probability of any pitch getting hit, the probability of a hit being a home run for a juiced pitcher vs. non-juiced pitcher, the probability of a hit being a home run for a juiced batter vs. non-juiced batter. It would require playing full-out games (virtually), since the distribution of men on base affects the scoring potential for a hit -- if hardly anyone hits, but the few hits are home runs, what is the probable final score vs. more hits but fewer home runs? If batters are juiced (more likely to hit a home run every time that any hit is made), then it behooves the picther to be juiced in order to keep down the probability of any hit at all. That keeps men off base, which reduces the scoring value when the inevitable homer is hit. You can decrease the value of juicing by enlarging the field and moving the shortstop into the outfield, since nobody is able to hit short any longer. That would place a premium on batters who can hit more often, but hit short, making them competitive against juiced batters.

We forget another attribute: juiced fielders should be able to throw farther and run faster, decreasing the probability of in-the-park homers and non-homer hits greater than singles.

I think the upshot is: steroids distort the heck out of baseball, but do not invalidate it. For every individual advantage gained by a player, a clever manager should be able to develop a strategy that can minimize the advantage. Strength is important, but it is not everything.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 14, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Congress is not required to rely upon the DoJ to execute its legal oversight functions, that is an arrangement that developed in order to avoid duplication of efforts and resources, in a day in which the DoJ could be relied upon for professionalism. Now that DoJ has been successfully suborned by the "law-and-order" party to become an entirely political tool, Congress may have to recover its own real police force and investigative capacities.

Ivansmom? Joel (former political science major)? What say you?

Posted by: Tim | December 14, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

What's a fan to do? I love baseball and have been troubled for years by the steriods problem. Do I give up watching the game and rooting for my favorite teams because a lot of the players were cheating? Do I try to ignore it? Do I rationalize it: "Everybody's doing it, so that evens the playing field"? But I can't stop loving baseball. I just hope that MLB uses the report to clean the game up and keep it that way and can be come a history chapter we learn from and not gloss over.

Boswell's column was great. Here's another good one:

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I was working around the house this week and flipped on NPR. The following program was on and it was my full intention to turn it off. But the women were so bright, their responses so knowledgeable and forceful, that I was drawn in. The author duo and Diane Rehm raised many interesting and troubling questions and examples:

Wednesday 11:00 Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano: "Playing With the Boys" (Oxford)
In 1972, Congress passed Title IX. The law was meant to address gender inequality in school athletics. But authors McDonagh and Pappano argue the landmark legislation helped codify policies that establish separate but equal in sports. A look at sports in American society and why equality in sports is an important step in achieving social, economic and political equality for men and women.

NYT's coverage of the baseball scandal rqises the question of why Bud Selig didn't wield a stronger hand in investigating the use of steroids one or possibly two decades ago?

I see something more troubling in all of this. People used to have a greter sense of honor and decency and fair play (politics may be the exception, I can think of a number of examples), but these days it seems that the ethics or modus operandi is to get away with as much as possible until one is caught or some father-figure (or mother figure?) comes in and lays down the rules or the law. What do you think?

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I don't think there's much left to talk about re Marion Jones. In addition to what TBG said, Jones voluntarily gave all her medals back, and the Olympic Committee re-awarded them to the "proper" winners of her events.

What would be interesting, Padouk, would be to go back and look at Bonds' homerun stats. As a juiced batter, he has the advantage over a non-juiced pitcher--in other words, he hits what would otherwise be an "ordinary" catchable fly ball a little further--hence a home run. But how did Bonds do against juiced versus non-juiced pitchers? That'd be REALLY fascinating to know.

The funny thing is, the conventional wisdom in baseball is that pitching is mainlyu about "location" and "control," (tho' I'm not sure I entirely agree with this) -- and that hitting is mainly about timing. The "funny" part is that it seems to me that neither control nor timing would significantly be affected by steroids. If I'm right, then steroids increased the second-most or third-most important factors-- speed and strength. The whole point of baseball over the last 150 years is that it is and was *never* about brute strength; it was always about quickness, and speed and the perfection of practice (not making errors). From the very beginning and even now (steroids notwithstanding), there was *never* any particular reason why a 5'7", 150 lbs. player couldn't be an all-star and as good as anybody else in the game; baseball history and lore is full of players who were quick and agile and had various non-strength skills. Even most of the really great pitchers earned their reps not on strength/speed but on control, strategy, intimidation, etc.: think Whitey Ford, say, or Koufax, Hoyt Wilhelm, Maglie, Robin Roberts, etc. The few guys who became famous because of their speed did so because they were built by nature that way: tall, lanky, very long arms, etc.: think Randy Johnson and Warren Spahn, and probably Walter Johnson and Cy Young. But until the last decade or two, muscle mass in and of itself never counted for much. Hank Aaron was one of the greatest hitters of all time because of his wrists; Ted Williams was a great hitter because of his eyes/vision and to some extent reflexes. Willie Mays had reflexes that were plain spooky.

To me it is a crime of the first rank that the skills of an Aaron, a Dimaggio, a Williams and a Mays can be superceded by a muscle-bound, juiced Bonds.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I think it is true that the idea of personal honor seems dead. But was it ever really prominent? People that do not purposely transgress, ever, even when they know they will get away with it are very rare and likely always have been. I think the biggest difference between today and earlier periods in our history is that it is harder to get away with stuff than ever before.

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

'these days it seems that the ethics or modus operandi is to get away with as much as possible until one is caught or some father-figure (or mother figure?) comes in and lays down the rules or the law.'

I have to agree with that Loomis. It isn't just in sports but all through things these days. Mr dr was up at Ft McMurray this week, and he said the much the same thing about the atmosphere there in boom country. You sure can feel the difference in the air here.

No one has a sense of community anymore (grand generalisation alert) but whatever happened to communities and a sense of having a stake in the place, or the game, or the people around you?

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Very nice headline in the hard copy of the sports section of the Post:

Baseball Is Called Out

Posted by: pj | December 14, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry I disagree that we are more will to bend/break rules now than in the past, I think the main difference is the numbers due to increased populations and that it is out in the open.

I am sorry to hear about Ft. McMurray though, my Dad used to go there on business a lot 15-20 years ago and really enjoyed it. It was small then and they were still struggling to produce oil at a profit when the price of oil was about $20/barrel.

Posted by: dmd | December 14, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Yeah but this report only names a fraction, I would think of those who use steroids. What about the rest? Sosa,Macguire,Bagwell.....just because they were not named in this investigation does that mean they are clean? Or just haven't been caught yet?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 14, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think that value in community has diminished because so many people now live in non-descript places with nothing distinct to make them important or special. The spread of corporate franchises, especially food, has destroyed regional character. Why should any care about their neighborhood if there are thousands just like, with the same kind of houses, the same restaurants and stores, the same kind of people, dressed the same way? Small town America ain't what it used to be and most of the large cities are being homogenized too.

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Loomis writes: "People used to have a greter sense of honor and decency and fair play (politics may be the exception, I can think of a number of examples), but these days it seems that the ethics or modus operandi is to get away with as much as possible until one is caught or some father-figure (or mother figure?) comes in and lays down the rules or the law."

This is a good question, one which I've thought about from time to time, too. On the whole, I don't think I agree. At least in sports like baseball, there has always been a fair amount of "cheating" and trying to find ways around rules. Instead of the Patriots videotaping the Jets' coaches giving signals, baseball and football have a long and almost honorable history of stealing (or trying valiantly) to steal each other's signals; the only difference I can see nowadays is the technology is electronic. The most famous incident in baseball was the time (in the 1940s or 1950s) when one team (Yanks? Dodgers?) has a spy out in the scoreboard with a pair of binoculars, who tried to steal the catcher's signals to the pitcher. That's been going on for 150 years. (And you see its effects all the time: notice how when pitchers and cathers and coaches talk to each other, they put their gloves over their mouths to prevent lip-reading? Ever notice how footnall coaches put their clipboards over their mouths when they call plays? Same reason. It's just that the culprit, TV and electronics, makes it easier than it was 50 yuears ago.)

Pitchers have been juicing the ball (instead of themselves) almost from the beginning, too, using virtually every kind of liquid or gelled substance to load the ball, and all manner of tools such as sandpaper and razor blades to cut it. It is so widely accepted and "routine" that people hardly get upset about it; it is only the poor umpire who routinely has to deal with it (and by now they know what to look for). Corked bats? Old, old hat.

On balance, I don't think sports is any more dishonest today than it was in 1900; I think we just know more about it and see it more often than in 1900, when the limited media hushed up a lot of stuff.

As to whether society as a whole has less honor and decency than it did in say, 1920 I don't know. My inclination is to say it's about the same. One only has to say a few phrases such as "robber barons" and "meatpacking industry" and "child labor" to abolish a good bit of the argument. Hypocrisy was as high or higher. Media wasn't any better (say "William Hearst" and "Spanish-American War"). Politics was different--but surely no better and probably no worse.

And one can write a fairly decent list of topics where, as a society, we've made tremendous strides: all you have to do is say "civil rights." And for some crazy reason we let you women vote, Loomis, god knows why.

Maybe it's all just a giant glass-half-full or glass-half-empty question.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think there are many people who live by a personal code of honor and decency. They just don't brag about it, because to do so would violate that code.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The trouble is that in 1900 sports was sports. Now it's big business not to mention the land of unfulfilled dreams for millions of kids.

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

It's the end of second period and I just realized my fly was down. I didn't feel a breeze, so I don't think anybody saw anything they shouldn't have, but still, teaching for two hours with the possibility...

Posted by: Gomer | December 14, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"....the advantage of steroid use to a pitcher has more to do with enhancing durability and recuperative power as opposed to a pure strength boost as is the case with hitters."

I think crc's right. I don't see greater strength helping a pitcher's junk and even if a player could double his power he'd only gain 1/8th on the velocity of his throw. (1/4?).

Posted by: Boko999 | December 14, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I still believe in the value of data personally collected by a skilled observer, so I will take Curmudgeon's word for his first-hand account of news and news-coverage back in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 14, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tim. But I admit to personal bias: I had $10 on Chicago in 1919. The b@st@rds.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Running for the bus. Will report back in Sunday night some time. Viya con queso and antipasto, as Ivansmom always says (did I get that right? something looks funny. And my French never was very good).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 14, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

bc. I like the shirt you wore to the BPH.
I wonder if sometthing like that would be available in Canada.

Thanks for the pics S'nuke.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 14, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Gomer, what a coincidence. I was told to XYZ during first period.

Regarding a sense of community: the fabric of community began its decline, IMHO, when expansive front porches were replaced by patios and decks in the back yard.

Posted by: jack | December 14, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

dmd, about a year ago Ft Mac city council begged industry to please assist with infrastructure. The water and sewer system barely copes. Industry felt they could do it cheaper,so in the last year, maybe even year and a half, BC is feeling the boom, Saskatchewan is feeling the boom, in substantial ways. Companies are flying people from all over the west, in fact some plane loads of employees are coming from the Maritimes.

there might not be a wild west anymore, but the guys are telling me, there sure is a wild north.

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think you nailed it jack.

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

OMG. Both Gerson and Krauthammer have reasonable and persuasive editorials today. Surely, the end time are upon us. What does George Will have to say?

Posted by: FlabbergastedTim | December 14, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Roger, say it ain't so.

Posted by: Bill from Michigan | December 14, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, I think Will's still recovering from the shock of reading the report...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: George Will | December 14, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

crc was right. I know a couple of juicers (Mr&Mrs Bodybuilder) and they have tried to explain to me how it works. The way I understand it both human growth hormone and steroids permits the quick repair of microtears in muscle fibers caused by exercise. HGH can even help repair cartilage, tendaons and other non-muscle tissues. Taking the stuff thus help sustaining a high regime of exercise if the goal is to build muscular mass. In the case of baseball pitchers, the 'roids and HGH can obviously help negate the abuse the guys are doing to their throwing muscles, tendons and cartilage. The Rocket added years to his careers and tens of millions to his bank account using the juices. I find difficult to throw the book at a guy like Gagné who was taking HGH when he was on the disabled list. Sure he should have got it with a prescription and under medical supervision but if the HGH is easily available in the clubhouse...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 14, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Paging CollegeParkian 24 hours later:

No, the station wagon's not dead, but the middle of the market is being abandoned, pretty much.

The Dodge Magnum -a real classic RWD station wagon - is still being produced through the end of this model year in '08 then being discontinued. This means that you should be able to make a good deal on one. And yes, you can get that thang with AWD and a rubber-vulcanizing Hemi, though the steroid-injected Darth Vaderesque Magnum SRT-8 is only (ahem) RWD.

BMW, Mercedes and Audi make a variety of mid-size station wagons from their mid-size sedans - nice cars, but kinda pricey.

Subaru makes wagons from it's Legacy and Impreza models (yes, I *do* want a new WRX STi 5-door, why do you ask), and they're all-wheel drive. Good values for the money.

Mazda makes FWD wagons (to compete with Subaru), in their 6 and 3 models as well. They're both quite nice IMO, and less expensive than the Scoobys (less hardware w/o AWD) (and yes, I *do* want a Mazdaspeed 3 5-door, why do you ask?).

Ford still makes a Focus 5 door wagon, Dodge makes the Caliber (including the wackyfast SRT-4), and there are some other wagons floating around out there, including one based on the Cadillac CTS (did I mention I love the STS?) and STS.

Also, I think there will be a new Pontiac wagon from the G8 model, based on the mighty Aussie Holden Commodore VX/VT. On a side note, I think the Holden Ute will be coming here as a Chevy ElCamino, too, BTW.

Fear not, CP, there are wagons out there to fit any size and budget you want if you look around. If you want to talk more about it, please feel to drop me an email...

Oh, thanks for the compliment on the shirt, Boko. I like it, too.

Now back to SteroidTalk, on Achenblog Sports Radio.


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

bc, a good friend (who is MUCH richer than I) had a Benz station wagon and found it to be way too small for her two growing boys, 15 and 13, and her husband. They traded it for a Volvo SUV that she detested, so now she has a new Benz SUV that she likes very much. It's big enough, not to mention elegant and engineered sooo well.

My Rav4 is likely to be with me for a long time, I'm glad it's paid for.

Posted by: Slyness | December 14, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Marion Jones "voluntarily" returned her medals--under great pressure, I might add.

Now all that's left is for the International Olympic Committee to drop the axe on her and strip her of the five Olympic medals that she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Jones should not wait for that to happen. She should voluntarily return her Olympic medals. It won't make her any less the cheater that she was, but her voluntary return of the medals will add real meaning to her public apology, help restore her name and integrity, and send a strong message that cheating and unfair play to win is not the Olympic and American way.
Marion, you owe yourself and your fans that much.

If this op-edder can be this forceful about Marion, doesn't it beg the question of what baseball players owe themselves and their fans? Or are winning and multi-million dollar salaries everything?

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I also regret the demise of the real full size station wagon CP. There was a late 80's buyuck on sale at a garage near my place recently. A real gem, complete with the wood imitation mack-tack on the sides. That thing looked like it had been around, twice. But still, it caused me a small amount of station wagon envy.
I think the cheap minivan has replaced the station wagon. I bought a short one from a dodgy company this summer (the one they don't make anymore, you must purchase the +25K Grand edition now) for less than $18K. The way North-American cars depreciate it should be worth about $100 plus whatever gas is left in the tank in 3 years. It's a cow to drive, I have the small 6cyl option, but it is surprisingly frugal on gas. Last summer I redid a gas consumption calculation so much I was surprised at getting almost 8Lper100km on the highway (let me find an envelope... just about 29mpg). Mrs. denizen didn't like driving our first minivan in the mid 90s but she quickly adapted and has grown to appreciate them. Maybe you should try it.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 14, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, think how little respect these people had for themselves, for their sport, and for their fans. They were willing to treat their bodies like science experiments, to cheapen history by achieving records by ill-gotten means, to ignore any responsibility as role-models for children. I don't see any of them willingly giving anything back. Plus, they can't undo the past. If Jones gives back her medals, they can award the gold to the second place finisher. If Clemens gives back his Cy Young awards, who do they give them to? No one? It's not like a race, where 1st and 2nd place are so clearly definied. And what's Bonds to do? "Sorry about the cheating. Please pretend I didn't hit all those home runs."

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

We had a '70 Chevy Kingswood Estatae wagon wtih the trailer towing package. That was quite a car.

Posted by: jack | December 14, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

My mother could not stand the idea of owning a purely family car, so growing up we never had a station wagon (she got sports cars we could not afford instead). But my father had steadily progressing polio and eventually had to give up his crutches and use an electric wheel chair exclusively. He got himself a large, white mini-van (vanity plate: WHTWHL, I think MBYDCK was taken) and had a lift installed in the back that could pick up his chair for him and stow it in the trunk, then he'd lean against the car and slide to the driver's seat. As you might imagine, he was not the best driver and the car bore the evidence of many a fender bender. My sister still fondly recalls my father's visits to her in New York City, the only time she'd seen New Yorkers brake for anybody: the big, dented van, with out-of-state handicapped plates and wild-eyed guy with a shock of white hair behind the wheel.

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

CP, I have a Subaru Impreza Outback, I like it a lot.

It's not the Jeep or Austin of my former life, but it's been very reliable and comfortable.

TBG, ACK! Here's hoping your heat's working by tonight.

Posted by: dbG | December 14, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, Mercedes makes a couple of different flavors of wagon, and I'd agree that the old C-class wagon would be somewhat tight for four adults.

I don't think they bring that one in anymore; the E-class and new R-class make more sense, and they're a bit bigger...


Posted by: bc | December 14, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Took me all day but finally found confirmation of my ppoor memory. In 'The Puppet Masters' by Robert A. Heinlein there is a drug call Tempus analogous to speed which stretches subjective time. This would be the drug of choice when facing a juiced pitcher.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Pop some soma and you won't care who's juicing. You won't even care if you're watching baseball or paint dry.

Posted by: Gomer | December 14, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

WE also had a 1966 Ford Country Sedan. We took a tour of Wisconsin, St. Joseph's Island and Southern Ontario one summer. It took a couple of weeks, kwith many miles logged on the Queen's Highway, IIRC.

Posted by: jack | December 14, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC: We...My fingers didn't mean to shout...

Posted by: jack | December 14, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

D'oh: Tempus Fugit, is the name of the drug.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Baseball interrupt: On some version of the WaPo home page is Ted Leonsis in a photo by Mark Finkenstaedt SITTING IN EINSTEIN'S LAP. I have always thought that we need a boodle moment and pix there.

Thanks to all about the wagons, especially bc, but unless I am dense, bc, most of the wagons only seat five. I am one of seven and when the relies descend we need those way-back seats.

Besides, the cargo space is great for swim team gear, flats of pansies, and the occasional costume event like a Chinese New Year's Dragon head the size of Rhode Island.

But, tis the SEATS...does the Magnum have seats for 7? (Although two grandfathers would read up out of their graves on this....Ford men. Ford 350 pickup trucks, thank-you-very much.)

Posted by: College Parkian | December 14, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

CP, this is what you're looking for-

and if not, then maybe this-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Magnum max seating is 5 for all versions I believe CP.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

El Camino, making a comeback? Ohmygoodness: the cutest boy in the world circa 1976 drove a white El Camino with baby blue leather interior....he was named Dino with a long last name with tons of syllables and vowels....blonde blue-eyed Milanese...My heart is fluttering, in a long-ago sorta way.

Posted by: College Nostalgian | December 14, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and did I mention Ford=Mazda=Ford. All same same.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks K-guy,

2007 Mazda CX-9 seats seven with a way-back machine, er...make that way-back seats. I'll put in on my list of think-abouts. This is not an emergency since I tend to drive cars a long time. Trick for me, who knows nothing about cars is three-pronged:

change the oil all the time
keep the same mechanic (since 1983)
ride my bike as my main to-work transport

The other car is very romantic in a Gatsby sort of way. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 14, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If you doubt the carrying capacity of the Pierce Arrow touring car, check this out. Seats fourteen-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I see a picnic BPH in our future, checkerboard sheet spread out in front of Einstein's statue...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

...and a little paper hat on his head.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 14, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The area around Einstein isn't very condusive to a picnic. How about TR island? Plus, given its size, it would be much impressive if someone can get a hat on Teddy's statue.

Posted by: McJacob | December 14, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

off-topic (is there a topic?) I can't wait to find out who got Raysdad's gift in his office's Dirty Santa exchange. He made up a redneck date kit, consisting of a package of organic(!) beef jerky, vienna sausage, a Paris Hilton movie, those confetti-spewing party poppers, some Kentucky bourbon, and a package of hangover pills.

on-topic, I did read the Mitchell report, at least the section on the players and the evidence they had for each one named. While some of the evidence is extensive, some, to my untrained eye, looks a bit thin. Copies of checks written to a personal trainer seem inconclusive to me. Granted, he was dealing in performance-enhancing drugs, but one does not necessarily equal the other. Ivansmom, could you jump in on whether this guy's word plus cancelled checks would be enough evidence to convict?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 14, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Evidence to convict? Hey, this is the court of public opinion. Misspelled bathroom graffiti is enough to convict in this venue.

Posted by: crc | December 14, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

What the heck, it's Friday. Here, continuing today's baseball theme-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG, are you in heat, yet?

That didn't come out right. You know what I meant, did a (any) service tech. show up?

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 14, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, I can't agree. Ford does not equal Mazda at all. I have a Ford Focus, and my friend has a Mazda. Sometimes I am very disgusted at myself and how much I covet her car. But hers isn't yellow.

It might be a Focus but at least, it's yellow.

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG, those chesterfield posters would be funnier if they had multicolored hookums hooked up, and tell-tale white powder on their philtrums. Especially if the players were the "Rockies".

Just my mental re-edit. I still fail to find cigarettes particularly funny.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 14, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes.. apparently we have heat! I say "apparently" because I made Mr. G come home from work so I could go TO work.

The technical came and replaced some motor. Then presented Mr. G with a bill for more than $400, which included a steep 'diagnostic fee.' I told him not to pay a cent and have negotiated a much-fairer price... basically their cost of part only.

And a name and personal extension for when I call again.

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

What I meant is that Ford owns a major block (33%) of Mazda stock.

Posted by: K:LOTD | December 14, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Glad you're all warm and toasty, TBG. Doesn't it make you feel all so warm and fuzzy to sit and stew for literally days on end, only to be handed an exorbitant bill when the work is finished? Warm, yes, as in hot under the collar. Fuzzy, not so much.

I'm in the wrong business.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 14, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

We will allow jobs to disappear in the name of "free trade" but try to buy a furnace fan motor as a civilian and you will find the home handyman is excluded. This happened to me. One outfit wanted $1000 for the $100 motor. I finally had to deal directly with a GE motor supplier, making sure to not mention furnaces.

Perhaps weight class leagues should be instituted. The adult PeeWee baseball league might be interesting.

Posted by: Jumper | December 14, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"I think there are many people who live by a personal code of honor and decency. They just don't brag about it, because to do so would violate that code."

RD, you are my role model.

Posted by: Jumper | December 14, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

From a prior boodle (nobody's posting to it any more) but I just had to say...

Dude, just say NO to Comcast. Every dealing I've had with them showcases their incompetence!

When I had them switch me to digital a couple of years ago, they managed to disable my DVD player and had to come out again. The "technician" was surly and condescending when he returned to fix what he'd messed up.

The last time they came out (about four weeks ago), it was to simply swap out a regular digital cable box for an HD one. It took the guy ALL day. He unsuccessfully tried all the boxes on his truck, called the office for configuration help, and argued with them repeatedly, cursed out his supervisor, then discovered that he had boxes for the wrong part of the county.

On a side note, he complained that he was homeless (lived in a shelter) and that Comcast did not pay him (as a contractor) enough so that he could find an affordable place to live in the entire area. I'm in Prince George's, a supposedly low-income area. Shouldn't this be a skilled technical job? I asked him how long contractors lasted at Comcast. He said that six months was an average time.

He went back to "headquarters" to get the right ones, went through three or four more boxes, more arguing on the phone, more badmouthing his employer (very unprofessional but I understood) and after he left, we still couldn't get all the channels.

When I called Comcast and told them I still wasn't getting all the channels, they scheduled another visit three weeks later.

MYSTERIOUSLY, moments after my call, all my channels came through JUST FINE. They'd had several weeks to change my account to HD after my original request, but never did until I threatened to fire them as my provider.

You will receive your monthly bill IN ADVANCE of that viewing month. So if you overlook your bill by say, the second of the next month, suddenly you are TWO entire months overdue and will get a stern reminder and threat. Let's just say that you pay that bill immediately (in my case over $300 just for TV!!!), and two or three weeks afterward, even though the payment has cleared long ago, you'll get another late notice/dire threat.

Their accounts receivable is so much slower than you're allowed to be...

In my area, Comcast is the only option for cable. It is NOT "Comcastic" at all, contrary to their massive ad campaign. If DirectTV or The Dish Network could broadcast my local city council meetings and other local gubmit things, I'd switch so fast... I hope Verizon will give us relief. I'm not optimistic, but that's just me.

They are currently installing wiring in my neighborhood as I type.

I reiterate -
Just SAY NO, Joel. Did you read about Gene's experience when he attempted to use Comcast for his phone service? Just ask him. It was another Non-Comcastic episode.

Posted by: px3123 | December 14, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Or height class, Jumper.

Baseball isn't on the list of DAAA sports, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 14, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

If everyone ran two wires to two neighbors, soon we would have our own internet. For free. If everyone had an antenna, and bought a signal booster, we could do a similar deal with TV.

Posted by: Jumper | December 14, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

And if everybody used mercury in mascara, we'd get rid of all that mercury?

I feel so much better for never having liked mascara.

This newest from Cassini on Saturn provokes this Dylan tune cootie:

May Saturn's moons keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always ring Saturn
And astronomers bring pattern
May you build a ladder to the stars
And orbit every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you surround planets gaseous,
May you glower as debris,
May you always know the braids
And echo lights surrounding you.
May you never be epigeous,
May you pass Titan's song,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your moons always be busy,
Methane seas always run swift,
May you have a strong formation
When gravity's ranges shift.
May orbits always be joyful,
May Saturn always be rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 14, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Next up in breaking "blame mercury for autism": autism is caused by heavy use of mascara during pregnancy.

(Photo inset: shocked-looking Mother and baby with heavy eye makeup like Tammy Faye Bakker, God rest her soul)

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 14, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Aaahhh... this feels better. I've been internet-less for a couple of days.

Jumper - I don't think the TV signal booster thing would work with analog signals (noise problems), but should be fine once digital broadcasts are in place.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 14, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - what a kind thing to say! Thank you so very much.

Now, if only my son felt that way...

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 14, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - With the possible exception of myself (I learned bad habits running with bad crowds as a youth), this really IS quite a decent group of folk hereabouts!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 14, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and as heretical as this will probably sound, I think that Barry Bonds is (approximately) telling the truth when he says that he didn't (really, completely) knowingly take (absolutely, categorically) banned substances. I strongly suspect that his willful ignorance and the desire of those around him to help support it may well have left him with the (semi-)honest conviction that any information he heard about how his treatments were "bad" was untrue, cuz', you know, he's not like those "other" guys!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 14, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

My new computer is faster, but I'm boodling slower. Why???

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 14, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

mostly - Hmmm... You've become wiser and more contemplative?

Posted by: Bob S. | December 14, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I wish that were true! I fear it's that I will never be able to take full advantage of the increased cpu speed, as what I mainly do is email and web browse. True, the email downloads much more quickly, but I still read at the same pace. And there are enough different things that I have to hunt for familiar places and functionality. Not to mention I have to find all my old programs and files that have been tucked away, but I'm not sure where. (This is why I kind of wish that Mr Ml and the kiddo had asked me if I wanted a new computer for Christmas. It is wonderful, but also kind of more work than I can deal with at the moment - if you know what I mean.) Lovely flat screen, and quiet. Probably I need to go to youtube and while away the hours, and have a good stiff drink. Relax!!!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 14, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately internet speed constrains how fast you download stuff, Mostlylurking, not the cpu speed. The cpu speed enables you to run things that already are on your pc faster. So you're not going to see much benefit from it.

I love LED screens-- easier on the eyes-- no flicker.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 14, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but another great cigarette ad from the glory days of yesteryear:

Sure liked the spousal division of labor suggested there. ;-)

Posted by: bill everything | December 14, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Slow night on the boodle. This is an amusing story about Christmas lights done to excess (LindaLoo, never live on a street called Candy Cane Lane):
(no, it's not really called that)

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 15, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Bill Moyers had a very good show tonight - Keith Olbermann, Media ownership, Ron Walters on Clinton and Obama candidacies (had a heck of a time spelling that - just doesn't look right - candidates - I'd never make it as a political reporter). The transcripts aren't up yet, I don't think, but will be.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 15, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Hi mostly! I just got a collect call! When was the last time any of you got one of those?

Turns out, when Son of G reached for his phone, after settling in at the Amtrak station after his roommate dropped him off, he remembered it was on his bed, charging. Does he know his roommate's cell phone number? Of course not... it's stored in his phone!

"Go on Facebook, Mom, please.. his number's on there!" Mom calls roommate, roommate is returning to the station with Son of G's phone. I'm waiting for the "I've got it!" phone call before I go back to bed.

Posted by: TBG | December 15, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

He's got it! G'night all!

Posted by: TBG | December 15, 2007 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Double-good news on the heat and Son of G, TBG!! :-)

*deep-into-present-buying-and-wrapping-mode Grover hugs*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 15, 2007 5:57 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The storm that rolled over LindaLoo's SanA and buried Ivansmom under ice is coming here to die. dmd's expecting 10 in. of snow, we should get only 4 to 6. Oh joy. It's -26C/-14F right now, it was a quick walk with the Puppy. The long walk will wait until the sun is up and had warmed up the air a bit.
the Keystone cops and the Arrogant B@stards have restarted Old Faithful. Tc99 should be available shortly.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 15, 2007 7:07 AM | Report abuse

TBG, do you mean your son allows you to have his Facebook password? How nice.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 15, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I hadn't thought of that, daiwanian. You're right! It is nice. I guess it's like knowing where they hide their diary, but not looking under the mattress for it.

Gotta go head out to meet his train. It's actually scheduled to arrive a few minutes EARLY. When has that happened?

Posted by: TBG | December 15, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Good to know that the old technology is sometimes still useful, TBG. That's why *I* still have a landline.

Mr. T is outside getting up leaves, ahead of the storm that socked Ivansmom. We hope we get some rain, but it's not forecast to arrive till tonight. We're the only folks on the block whose leaves are still around, which is sooo embarrassing. This should be the last big effort. I hope.

Posted by: Slyness | December 15, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes Shriek the storm is on the way, anywhere from 10-12 inches. Weather bulletin is in full panic mode.

I do hope it doesn't pan out, it is my Mother-in-laws 80th birthday today and we have a family gathering in Niagara tomorrow which means travelling through the worst of the storm. Relatives in from Alberta.

Today I am feeling a little rough and tired from my work party and in a few hours 10 7 year olds will descent on my house for a birthday party - need Advil :-)

TBG I take it this means SonofG is home for the holidays - have a wonderful time.

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh yea the weather alert, it is quite amusing to read the dire warnings.

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

It's funny dmd... when you read "A major winter storm will move into southwestern Ontario with snow beginning this afternoon..." you know you can believe it. When we hear that around here we tend to say, "Yeah, right."

Son of G is home and just climbed happily into his own bed, which is where a college student should be on Saturday at 11 am. He got on the train at 2 am, so this nap is totally justified.

It's so nice to have him home. We've already had our first family philosophical discussion--as soon as he walked in the door.

The only downside is that I've already heard That Voice come out of his sister. You know, the one I haven't heard since Thanksgiving break. The one that only little sisters make.

Posted by: TBG | December 15, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh do I know that voice, with a birthday and christmas days apart that voice is being heard often in this house.

As for the likelyhood of the storm, despite the warnings ours often don't amount to much unless we get a specific lake effect snow (rare here) most snow goes to Buffalo but sometimes it turns around and hits my area or Toronto.

My only fear is that it will keep everyone from getting to the party tomorrow, snow is one thing, snow with 70-90 km/hr winds is something totally different.

Here is an example of our normal weather panic mode in this area, it is funny and so true.

If it doesn't go right to the video select Ricks Rant (byoolin quoted from some of it the other day).

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh dmd, that video could have been done about Boston too. The tv people are still talking about the gridlock caused by the storm we had on Thursday. One article is today's paper complained that from hearty New Englanders we are turning into a bunch of whiners (which is true). "S" and I marvel every winter at how the tv stations here send people out north, south and west to report on the snow that we can see right out the window (or not, depending on the peculiarities of NE weather). Today they are warning us of tomorrow's storm, driving everyone to panic mode and I'll be the grocery stores are running out of milk already. We are supposed to get mainly rain and lots of wind. A nice twist to this is speculation on how the storm will affect the Patriots-Jets game tomorrow. Will Brady be able to pass, will we have to use our almost non-existent running game, will we only beat the Jets by 2 or 3 touchdowns instead of 8 or 9? I'm just happy that I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow. I do wish the weather people would get a grip. When a truly bad storm comes, no one will believe them after all this crying wolf.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 15, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

SCC: article in; I'll bet - I must be worried about the storm ;-)

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 15, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

TBG - My wife is an only child, so she does not fully understand that special relationship between a boy and his younger sister. You know, what I like to call the Kabuki dance of mutual provocation. My offspring have it down to a science.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 15, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers I used to always enjoy watching football games (on TV) in bad weather - certainly always made for the unexpected.

I do believe our weather service in now in fully panic mode, this is the latest update. Note I just sent the husband to purchase firewood in case the power fails.

"A near-crippling snow storm with very heavy snow and blowing snow as well as some ice pellets tonight and Sunday.

This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements."

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Mr. T finished gathering the leaves just as there started to be mist. No rain yet, it's still in Tennessee. At least we have no wet leaves to fall on.

Posted by: Slyness | December 15, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd, you are the Mom with the Mostest!

Posted by: dbG | December 15, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Looks like almost everybody is getting a white christmas.

Even Loomis down in Texas and L.A. Lurker could get some fluffy white surprises in their stockings.

Merry Christmas-to-be!

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 15, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't look we'll be getting any snow in Tidewater, Wilbrod. As my daughter said today when she found that her Maryland cousins will be once again frolicking in snow,
"We never get any stinkin' snow anymore!"

I hope everyone has fun snow, not trouble snow.

dmd -stay warm and safe!

TBG - happy son home from college day!

Posted by: Kim | December 15, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Did you know that if you type a phone number into the search bar of, you get the name, address, and a map for the person who's number you typed.

Just perfect for stalkers!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 15, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 'whose' not 'who's'

Why do I never Preview before I submit?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 15, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

You can still put something white and fluffy in her stocking, Kim.

And I do remember how sparse snow can be in VA. Usually the best snows come in late January and February. Best being such a relative term...

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 15, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Maggie, and if you type define:(any word here) you get a definition, too.

As my boss and I like to say, "The Google" can do more than most people know. Try their free 411 service on your cell phone. It is absolutely the best.

We're supposed to get snow, but I doubt it. Too bad. I love watching it fall, at least for the first hour or so.

Off to get my task done: getting the candle wax off everything Hanukah before I pack it away.

Posted by: a bea c | December 15, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse



It's very very very very very bad juju for the powdered wigs to start overriding the people who are charged with maintaining safety. And even worse when they start making the affair a political football. This is one Canukistani movement I sincerely hope stops at the border.

Apart from that I have no strong opinion.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 15, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey, who's this Segal guy and why is he encroaching on Joel's territory??


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 15, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

there's no snow in the forecast for los angeles, but since i'll be in the harrisburg, pa area for christmas, that'll increase my chances.

if it does snow in los angeles, i'll be sure to preserve some snow in my freezer.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 15, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Scotty can you cc our current PM on that rant, Thank you!

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke, Dr. Tyson sounds like a cool guy. I'll bet Joel doesn't mind the encroachment, especially since he's now the national enterprise reporter. Or should that be National Enterprise Reporter?

Posted by: Slyness | December 15, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

May I rant for a moment? (*thank you* *thank you*)

I just received a solicitation in the mail from Wells Fargo about a special deal on refinancing (ohhh, yeah, financial institutions have soooooo learned their lessons. . . ). Every time one of these things comes in, I call and have them take my name and address out of their database. So far, it's been fine (even though they tell me that it'll take 90 days to do it (*snort*). This time the sweet little computer voice told me that I'd have to give them my SSN. Now, I don't *have* any kind of relationship whatsoever with Wells Fargo -- they are not *entitled* to my SSN for any reason if I *don't* have a relationship with that institution! I still can't get anyone who's an actual person on the phone if I *don't* give my SSN. Therefore, on Monday (afternoon, my time) I shall call corporate headquarters in San Francisco and ask for the CEO's SSN! Geeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!


Still waiting for the storm, BTW.

Sorry for the grump, but you all are far enough away, you don't have to duck.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 15, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I hate to see polical interference in scientific and regulatory agencies too, S'Nuke. I'm glad you don't experience it down in the States.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 15, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Completely off topic, but I like this version of The 12 Days of Christmas.

And here's Snopes on the supposed religious links to the song, which is an interpretation that seems way too complicated for me.

Posted by: pj | December 15, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

FTB, are you sure that was not a scam? Sounds like it to me... Scam or not, good idea not to give your SSN on the phone to a machine. I don't, even when activating a credit card. I ask to talk to a human every time.

Posted by: a bea c | December 15, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Should MLB or the Hall of Fame (which actually isn't related to MLB) start studding the record book with asterisks, they will be sending exactly the wrong message.

Baseball is an esoteric game played by physical freaks who have talents that are basically worthless in the real world, but which are particularly entertaining when put to use in their normally esoteric surroundings.

The ability to consistently throw a major league curve ball, or to consistently hit one, is so rare that even in the Major Leagues, less than half of the active pitchers, or half of the active fielders have either talent. The ability to hit a major league curve with enough force to drive it out of the park between the foul poles more than a couple times a season, belongs to less than perhaps fifty active players in any given year. The talent requires excellent eyesight, fast reflexes, incredible judgment, and exquisite timing.

None of the drugs or hormones actually taken positively improve any of those physical characteristics. Were any of those drugs capable of improving eyesight, for example, all of us four eyed geeks would love to use it to remove the weights from our noses. Could those hormones increase our speed or dexterity, all of us slow and less than steady old farts would make trillionaires (hey, neat, Webster doesn't yet have that word as in the language.) out of the chemists that developed them.

By putting asterisks on those records, the powers that be suggest that those substances, which really produce characteristics, like muscle bulk, or mental impairment, that IMPEDE the talents most needed to excel on the diamond, CAN improve such performance, thus ENCOURAGING the coming generation to want them.

It almost seems that Barry Bonds best defense against charges of rampant steroid use is that he did get to be a more effective home run hitter as he got older. Instead of getting slower and less supple, by careful work and training he got more supple, and quicker. Not one substance in the pharmacopoeia that has been suggested has the ability to regularly bring about those results. If they did the FDA would be being besieged by drug companies to approve them for geriatrics use. Being now a geriatric my self, I would certainly want to know such things.

Just put the numbers in the book, save the ink for little stars, daggers, and other nigori and nigiiri, and let the next generation of players proceed to remove them the natural way.

Posted by: | December 15, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

What Scotty said.

Posted by: dr | December 15, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I've been mulling over what to buy my grandfather for his belated Chanukah gift (which will most likely be given from under the Christmas tree...we like to court lightning bolts in my family. anyhow.). I'm thinking of a book, but what book? Any boodle recommendations? He's a thoughtful, active 90-year-old who runs a very successful current events discussion group at his retirement place. Non-fiction, I think. I thought of _Founding Brothers_, which I read not long ago and liked a lot, or the Boss's _The Grand Idea_, which I'd like to read... but I don't know that early U.S. history is quite right. For something more current, I thought of the Boss's _It Looks like a President..._, but I don't think that presidential election stuff is quite right either. Who's read something really good recently? History or current events or world affairs or cultural studies or something. Given how much effort he had to put in to clear out his bookshelves to move, it's got to be good enough to justify its bookshelf space. Help?

Posted by: bia | December 15, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The Nuclear Jihadist, for something very current,

or what I bought yesterday that comes highly recommended by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post: What Hath God Wroght: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

or Gitlin's: The Bulldozer and The Big Tent

or the new book on Marco Polo looks good, but that's going way back in time; however, certainly a read in cultural studies...

Posted by: Loomis | December 15, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

No, a bea c, I don't think it's a scam. I found the telephone number for corporate off the Internet, and I'll take care of it this week.

Now, I'm in the market for a new computer. My current lease with Dell runs out at the beginning of March and it looks like I'm going to be still stuck in the PC world for the foreseeable future (*sigh*). I talked with a guy at HP, who could get me a great price before xmas, but (of course) not after. I suspect I'm going to have to buy (and, yes, I'm finally going to buy this time) between now and xmas. A wee bit of a load on my credit card, but it'll be okay in the long run.

And I am bound and determined that this new machine is going to be chock-full of estrogen -- enough power to blow everyone's socks off. Of course, I'm at an age where I'm nostalgic for estrogen, but I vaguely remember that incipient power.

So, there we are. Has anyone around DC seen a snowflake yet?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 15, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse


bia, The Grand Idea is an excellent book, but if it's current events for your grandfather, check out anything recent by Thomas Friedman.

Posted by: Slyness | December 15, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. Just getting here, a slow day and a wet one. A bit cold after such warm weather. Yesterday I sat out in the yard with my neighbor and the sun was so bright. Today it is gray and cloudy, and now it's raining, plus cold.

I watched a documentary of Darfur produced by a writer at the New York Times, and needless to say, I feel very sad and blue. In tears, and feel helpless. I will pray for the people of Darfur and for those of us that have neglected them so long, including myself. We go from one event to another event, and in the process it seems we never learn.

Good night, boodle.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 15, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

No snow here yet. Baltimorons are famous for emptying grocery stores of anything white at the first hint if snow. That rant was hilarious.

Glad your son is Home For The Holidays. I watched that movie last night and I'm so glad I don't have Holly Hunter's family.

That first holiday season after the kid has flown the coop is the hardest adjustment. They lose the habit of telling anyone where they're going or when they'll be back.

My son won't friend me on Facebook, but he leaves it open on his computer all the time so the point is moot.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 15, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd be recommending a beer commercial, but these made me laugh, and that has to be good. From Thailand:

Posted by: kbertocci | December 15, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Howdy and good evening to all. We were supposed to get one to three or more inches of snow today, so everyone drove around in the absolutely dense fog yesterday (really, it was like old London in the movies) and did Christmas shopping and stocked up on groceries, then today we had maybe half an inch of snow and the roads are fine.

The family sallied forth and purchased a fine, if short (about my eye level), Christmas tree, which will be decorated this evening (and perhaps tomorrow as well). Between yesterday, the bookstore today and the Internet, we have officially finished shopping for everyone but myself & spouse. I think our present should be getting the house fixed (soffits, eaves, wall the dogs ate). I'm going to wrap things in a minute. Also, I cleaned out the Boy's dresser drawers and put a lot of T-shirts in the "giveaway" bag. Perhaps tomorrow I'll bake cookies. It already feels like a day well spent.

Raysmom: evidence is always a jury question. For a jury inclined to convict (mad at the players), checks plus a personal trainer's word is plenty. For a different jury, it won't be enough.

dmd: you had 10 seven-year-olds for a party? you are a brave, brave soul. Go have a glass of wine.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 15, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Busy day. I made suger cookies, gingerbread cookies and a bolognese sauce. "S" has been out all day helping his son with some insulation and visiting cemetaries. I talked # 2 daughter into helping me decorate the gingerbread cookies on Tuesday night. I just have to feed her and her fiance and the dog. I have water on to boil for the lobsters I bought for tonight. Just waiting for "S" to arrive. Most of the baking is finished, except for fudge and toffee which can't be done until the end of the week. I'm tired as I also cleaned, vacuumed and did laundry. Hope everyone is staying warm and dry, if your weather isn't nasty now, it will be soon. (East coasters, that is.) I wonder where Mrs. Mudge took Mudge. Can't wait to hear about it.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 15, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Look out, North Carolina, here it comes.

Posted by: Jumper | December 15, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A happy robotics tournament is finally done Saturday evening to all. McJacob, too lazy to scroll back to ID the specific comment but you made me laugh and snort as I backboodled.

Our little tournament was a big hit. Just 5 teams, vs. the 45 or more they have at Twin Cities tournaments, but it was a huge success-so successful everyone wants to come back next year.

S'nuke-thanks for the link to the article about Tyson. So many good points, but I particularly liked his reasoning for not becoming a male stripper. The desire to see children become literate about science, even if they are not scientists, is a big part of why programs like Lego League robotics are so valuable (so I say anyway).

I am going to uncork a bottle Shiraz and have a glass before I fall into a post event coma.

Toodles boodle, and fondue.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 15, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Another long, stressful oncall day. I need to find something else to do. For money - there are plenty of things I like to do, when I'm not totally consumed by my #@^%#!*&# job.

Glad the robotics went well, frosti. Sounds like you did a great job.

I liked the article about Neil DeGrasse Tyson, too. I've always enjoyed him as a commentator on astrophysics - he has such enthusiasm, and a good sense of humor. I saw him talk about his latest book awhile ago on Book TV. Speaking of Book TV (C-SPAN2), it seems to have disappeared from my Comcast basic cable offering. I'm crushed. I love Book TV.

Bill Clinton was interviewed on Charlie Rose last night. I caught most of it - I love to listen to Bill Clinton. I suppose he was there to talk about his new book, but most of what they talked about was the campaign - and he had some very interesting things to say, from an "inside politics" point of view. He took some digs at Obama, but in a logical way (substance over symbol), and pretty much tried to point out Hillary's good points, not run down the other candidates. Or at least not in a completely obvious way. Which is vintage Clinton. I don't agree with everything he said, but I like to watch him at work.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 15, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Evening all, It has been a busy day. I cut a tree down out of my yard. I have a nice plump Christmas tree this year and it kinda goes with me and my cat "the professor". You know I would think he would be as excited as me when I get a tree, but he just looked at it,like the dumb human is putting a tree in the house again.

Had friends over for dinner, cooked a turkey,taters and veggies and watching former terps quarterback Shaun Hill playing for the 49's.

It started sleeting about 2 hours ago and I would say we have and inch or so now. I am more worried about tomorrow and the wind. Ice ,trees, and wind don't work to well here in the woods.

I got the fire a crankin, plenty of candles and oil lamps in case we lose power.

Have a nice evening everyone!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 15, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I survived the 7 year olds!! Actually they were great just played and made lots of noise, their party was followed by dinner out (adults only) so I am nice and relaxed now. We dined at at restaurant overlooking the lake, large breakers were crashing in ahead of the storm.

Headlines have already gone into frenzy mode but it is just softly snowing at the moment and windy, expectation of 10-16 inches but we shall see.

Somehow I may look back at how easy a group of seven year olds was compared to two sisters being stuck in a house all day during a major snow storm.

Posted by: dmd | December 15, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

At around this time of the year, my eldest sister would pull out her fake Christmas tree and decorate it. After New Year, she'd take down the decorations and start hanging red packets on it in preparation for the Chinese New Year. My niece would make little lanterns with the red packets to use as decorations on the tree. Everything will be put away two weeks after Chinese New Year and the same thing will be repeated when the next Christmas/Chinese New Year comes around.

Posted by: rainforest | December 15, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

We used to live next to a family from Vietnam - their son and mine were about the same age, so he got red packets from them. We still have Christmastime dim sum with some people from that family. Actually, I missed it today because I was in the midst of a work problem - I got dim sum takeout, but missed the company of good friends.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 15, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Home from the Christmas party in my group. We do a present swap where you pick one and if somebody likes it who hasn't already picked, they can take it away so you have to pick again. Much hilarity, too much food. Exactly as a Christmas party should be.

As Jumper noted, we have rain! It won't be enough, but it's a nice, gentle, soaking kind of precipitation. Just wish it would do that for, oh, say, ten days straight. You folks who have the solid precip, stay warm and safe.

Posted by: Slyness | December 15, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Did you Canadians post this already and I just slept thru it? Glad I finally saw it, it is impressive.

Posted by: nellie | December 15, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Seize the joy in every day, eh, Kbertocci? Very funny commericals.

I guess if we practiced gratitude more for the simple pleasures, we wouldn't overdo anything (even beer).

Speaking of gratitude, I sense a dog wanting his daily ego-stroking before bed.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 15, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the storm is upon us!
We have enough food to last a week or more and the oil stove is fired up, we should do OK. I will get to play with my Christmas gift too as I finally cracked: I bought a snowblower.
I'm thinking of doing Boulu's braised lamb shanks with prune and Bourbon for Witch no.1's birtday. She turned 18, the legal age for drinking and voting around here, last thursday. Man I'm getting old.
Scotty, they gave up the powdered wigs a few yers back; the politicos have been on toupees since.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 16, 2007 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning,friends. I'm up and trying to get dressed for church. Leg still hurts so it's an effort. Rain here most of the night, and quite cold. Haven't been out this morning, don't know what's on the ground. I hope not snow.

It seems everyone has done everything they need to do as far as Xmas is concerned? It's so nice when one can get it all done before the big day.

I have a busy day, a lot to do, don't know if I'll get a chance to do it all. Our church will have the Christmas dinner after service, and then a candlelight service at a local church. I will whisper a word of prayer for my friends here.

TBG, give my regards to son of G, and tell him I hope his Xmas is great and he enjoys the time home with family.

And, Slyness, forgot to thank you for the lovely Xmas card. It was fun.

Morning, Mudge,Scotty, Martooni, Slyness, and all.*waving*

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 16, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Let it snow
Let it snow
Let it snow

I'm going skiing. Maybe I'll meet a ski cougar!

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

We are currently receiving ice pellets here, sounds like little pebble hitting the window. Worst of the storm is still supposed to hit us but not quite the dire preditions yesterday (at least where we are), under a foot expected now.

Lake is putting on a good show (note this camera spans over four shots).

Posted by: dmd | December 16, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse


I'm not aware of any legislative attempts to override decisions down here. I said nothing about interference...

(STILL AT HOME AND STLL EXPRESSING PERSONAL VIEWS, just in case anyone's interested)


And better a ski cougar than a snow snake, eh?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Good Mornin All!!!

Ice on everything here today,but so far no wind and we still have power. hopefully it will hold out for at least a game or two today.

Ravens vs Dolphins to see who can end their losing streak.

Wonder of the Patriots can still put up 70 against the Jets.

Skins and Giants,I will be surprised if it makes it that long.

But all in all, a good day to stay indoors.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle. I'm welcoming myself back, before diving into the backlog of work. I kind of enjoy working at home in these crunch times; the coffee is higher-quality and the lunch selections superior.

I feel inadequate. I've done nothing about Christmas; no shopping, no tree, no decorating. Himself is my rock; he begins his vacation on Wednesday and has offered to do everything except bake.

bia, your Grandfather might like one of two biographies from the pen of Conrad Black, media mogul, intellectual, member of the House of Lords, arrogant b*st*ard and convicted felon, soon to be inmate of the US federal prison system.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. (2003)

The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhouse Nixon. (2007)

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers,
I prefer a marinara sauce on my cookies to a bolognese.

My son got a kick out of robotics last year. Glad yours is enjoying it so much.

My son found out that his early action application to that Cambridge school got deferred until the regular cycle. Statistically, that hurts his chances a little. Now he's feeling the pressure to polish off the essays for some of the other colleges he's applying to, like that other Cambridge school.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki,

Christmas comes whether we bake or decorate or not, as you know. I like the Charlie Brown Christmas take by Linus, and the miracle of the little tree made beautiful by acceptance and affection and some carols.

Glad you are working from Chez Stampede, the most excellent establishment on the northern prairie.

And, such news; I head to Toronto in April with the music program at school. Which of the Canookies are near Toronto? BPH in April in that fair city.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 16, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Yoki!

We went out to dinner last night with friends in Georgetown. I feel like such a fogey when we're leaving, exhausted and sated, at 10:30 and the city is just getting started.

We got some rain last night but I think that's it. Still hovering around 40° F so I guess we won't be getting anything frozen.

I think we'll put up our tree today. I put up a silly silver tinsel tree in the new living room, but the kids insist that's not The Tree.

bia... I heard the folks on Science Friday last week recommend the Walter Isaacson biography of Albert Einstein. I know some folks here have spoken highly of it. That might be what Mr. G is getting this year.

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

That might be what Mr. G is getting this year? It just became what he IS getting this year, thanks to Amazon's quick ordering process!

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

That is me near Toronto CP, let me know your plans and hopefully we can meet up.

Posted by: dmd | December 16, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Where's the Big Bad Winter Storm?
Where's my 5 inches of snow?

My kids threw salt over their left shoulders and slept with their pajamas on backwards and spoons under their pillows.

And we got nuttin' but rain.

I'm a Tyson fan in in the sense that he's a wonderful spokesman for science, but I'm scratching my head over this 'Tyson's Tip Ten Favorite Facts About the Universe' sidebar to the main article:

I posted this as a comment, but it seems to me that #s 8 and 4 as written are contradictory or at least somewhat misleading. If we don't know what 94% of the universe is or how it works (per #8), how can we say that the laws of phyiscs as measured here on earth apply everywhere in the universe across space and time? For example, how on earth can we explain the acceleration of cosmic expansion 7 Billion years ago -- the evidential cornerstone for dark energy theories? I could cite other examples, but if I understood 6% of something - and that rather incompletely, such as the natures of light and gravity - I personally wouldn't say that

I'd add that #3's pretty misleading, too. We can only 'see' (via microwave radiation) back to the clearing of the smoky cosmic fog about 400,000 years after the Big Bang, and visually only millions of years after that (when there was actully something to see...). If we could actually *see* the Moment of Creation, I suspect that science and philosophy would be far less complicated.

I thought about adding theology and politics to the previous sentence, but I stand fast to the idea that science, politics, and religion don't mix well, and can be quite volitile when groups of people do so. Best to keep them separate, IMO. On a personal level, I adopt whatever belief systems I feel inform me best intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, but I would not want to inflict my limited relative perceptions of everythig on anyone else.

Whatever I believe about life, the universe, and everything, it's almost certainly wrong to some degree.

And I'm OK with that. YMMV.
The personal adventure continues.


Posted by: bc | December 16, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "Top."

I'm sure there are more, but I don't have a lot of time at the moment.

Also, Tyson's #9 -- based on *what* evidence? How does he know what any possible 'life' in other star systems may be based on? And for all we know, there could be non-baryonic life, based on organizations of dark matter. Presumptious to believe that everything in the unverse is exactly like we see it in our little corner. Sort of like ants believing that the universe is just a bunch of anthills, because that's all they can see.


Posted by: bc | December 16, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Yoki!

TBG, if the silver one is not THE tree, I'd be happy to take it off your hands, maybe throw in some cookies to sweeten the deal.

Spent a lot of yesterday doing Springerle, Stage 1. I'll start baking them this afternoon, make some more, then add on a few other kinds of cookies--extra short shortbread, maybe some rugelach, those deadly chocolate cookies which outdo brownies.

Finishing up tomorrow, which would leave me Monday (vacation day) to decorate and hang out. Since I generally give things I make for Christmas (jewelry and money), it's easier to stay out of those crazy malls.

Hope everyone's day is safe and warm.

Posted by: dbG | December 16, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

There's a holiday coming up? I'm just thankful I don't have to supervise a group of 4th graders building a tree of Legos.

Mr. F and the dot have put up our fake 9ft tree with the base of decorations and are waiting for me to arrive next weekend to fill in with the special ornaments. It's the same every year and for a few petulant pre-teen years Frostdottir made a great show of her preference for the real tree we'd cut down on a VA farm and put up in the family room with home made lovelies and garlands of popcorn. Little did she realize I always loved "her" tree best. This year they decided we only needed one tree and Frostdottir insisted that it be the formal one with ornaments "exactly the way Mom always does them." Perhaps this will be her last Christmas at home while it is still her home too. She and the bf are making plans to move to Georgia together when he gets back from Iraq to stay. I've about bitten through my tongue as I have been around long enough to see a potential train wreck coming when he gets home on leave a few days after Christmas. Having said that, Ma and Frostdaddy have been married nearly 50 years. She the same age Frostdottir is now, and he not much older.

Rereading my earlier post about the Tyson piece, I see that for those who didn't read it, it could appear that he chose not to become a male stripper because he was interested in children becoming scientifically literate. It actually involved asbestos jock straps and the song "Great Balls of Fire." Worth following the link just for that, don't you think?

Posted by: frostbitten | December 16, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I notice the ad for the Fairfax County Public School's Adult Ed program has been changed from "Where's Your Head At?" to just "Where's Your Head?"

Glad someone was paying attention. I just wonder who had to see that ad before it went live?

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, all, for the book ideas! I knew I could count on the boodle.

Posted by: bia | December 16, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Oooh. I have to begin spending considerable time in Toronto in the new year; with sufficient notice I'm sure I could piggyback work and a Toronto BPH in April.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

With any luck this snow we are getting today will have melted by April - it is white outside, can only see about half-way down the street.

Posted by: dmd | December 16, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I've now moved on to beef stew (could also be good one the sugar cookies but maybe not on the gingerbread, yello). My cookie decorating evening may incude #1 daughter and family as well so the stew in cooking in my largest pot. I hope they all come, it would be even more festive and fun.

"S" and I shoveled 4" of new snow just as it was turning to sleet. Now it's all rain and he is out there shoveling what the plow piled at the end of the driveway. I imagine it is like shoveling rocks, weight-wise. Just checked on him, there is a puddle at the end of the driveway that is about 4 inches deep. As he breaks thru to the street, the water is spreading further towards the house. I think my car will be skating out of the driveway tomorrow.

We've been taking dancing lessons (swing/jitterbug) and I've decided that we should have a recital on Christmas Eve as a surprise for the family. Today, after the game, I need to find a good song and start choreographing.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 16, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I must be in the mood for umbrage today, given the dark, wet weather, but I was miffed at two particular words in the otherwise excellent front page article on St. John's College: first, its great books curriculum is cursed with the epithet "eccentric," and a bit further down, liberal arts curricula in general are sniffily described as "unorthodox." Did anyone else have the same reaction, or am I simply eccentric and unorthodox?

Posted by: Woofin | December 16, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Woofin - Well, St. John's is an extremely cool place (& concept), and it's sad that there aren't more places like it. Two of my friends attended, years apart from each other.

But it's certainly the case that there aren't many places like it, and "eccentric" & "unorthodox" are not entirely unfair, when the place is viewed alongside other college programs.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 16, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Haven't read the St. John's story yet, Woofin, but my impression is that the SJ curriculum is based on the universal humanistic tradition and is thus more orthodox and enlightening for the individual than what is taught in business schools or engineering departments across the US.

But I was an English major, what do I know?

Posted by: Slyness | December 16, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

One of my friends who attended St. John's opined (only slightly tongue-in-cheek, I think) that the country would be a better place if all undergrads had to attend at least a couple of years at St John's before they went off to attend some trade school like Harvard or M.I.T.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 16, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

By the way, since I didn't see it mentioned previously today - Fisher's column throws a spotlight on a program that I don't hear about too often (of course, it's not intended to be very high-profile, except that it would be nice if other able backers got involved), and is definitely a feel-good story.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 16, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I got way behind in my blog reading this week and missed this slam on the WaPo wall-to-wall Thompson coverage.

I don't agree with the analysis, but the post from the title on is pretty funny.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

yelloj - That IS pretty funny. I can't quite sign up for the (unstated-but-assumed) assertion that all "MSM" coverage of anything is hackneyed bullcrap, and it probably requires some context to appreciate Givhan's & Achenbach's "take" on things.

But even only-mildly clever criticism is a refreshing change from witless rants!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Gee - the stuff you realize that you didn't know. [This will be of interest only to the DC-area folks, and they probably were already aware of this]

I just now became aware (as a result of Rob Pegoraro's computer column today) that during rush-hours, all lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway are HOV lanes in the direction of rush-hour traffic. Wow! I don't use that stretch of highway very often, and probably haven't ever broken that rule, but I definitely didn't even know that it existed, and I've lived here for a decade. Gosh!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 16, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-I'm glad you didn't discover this I-66 info as Mr. F did, with a ticket.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 16, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

How low can we go?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think one of the unrealized strengths of St Johns is its adjacency to the Naval Academy. They have a daily reminder of what they aren't. Both schools are excellent at their approach, but they are very different. I knew one kid that went to St Johns just because his brother was a middie.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Yipes, Lieberman to endorse McCain!

Posted by: frostbitten | December 16, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Now, if Bush endorsed McCain, THAT would be a surprise.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 16, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming all the major rep. candidates have quietly asked the prez not to issue an endorsement.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 16, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Except Mitt Romney, I bet. He's just waiting around for that call.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 16, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse







Hah. Yee..



*doing cartwheels*

Held Romo to his lowest QB rating ever, 22.2. (Lemme hear a chorus of very insincere "awwwwwwwwws," please.)

O Joy to the [Non-Texan] World!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 16, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

It was a 30 minute drive to the ski hill and a 3 hour drive back. 2 hours of the return trip were spent pushing people out of the snow. Well, not people; their cars. Altough the people might be in their car. Sometimes you didn't have to push the car, you could yell, "Just straighten your wheels lady."
It was beautiful skiing today, the snow was falling just fast enough to renew the surface without reducing visiblity too much. Usually the expert hill is a 700 ft rink tilted at a 45 degree angle that only the suicidal or 'edge work' fans dare venture out on. (out on? oh dear) Today you could carve long sweeping curves in the fresh snow. Even the teenagers slowed down enough to enjoy the scenery.
I was going to quit after my third run ,because of the worsening blizzard, when I ran you to an aquaintance who had had the foresight to have a 20 year old son to act as the designated driver of his firm's 4WD Jeep. I haven't seen this guy (the Dad) in 30 years. We go to the bar and, yak, yak, yak, several scotches, it's like I last talked to him last week. We haven't learned a thing! I'm surprised he has surviving offspring, I think "Least likely to have surviving offspring" was written in his yearbook.
Anyway, I've been deposited at home with a promise to collect me and go pick up my car and go skiing tomorrow.
I know I'm going to be near crippled in the morning. The only question remaining is how hung over I'm going to be.
I must be missing something subtexty again.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Boko... it sounds like you had The Perfect Day.

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Dan Fogelberg is dead. If I had a dime for every moment of angst I experienced while listening to his music I would be retired now.

I hate it when people die.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 16, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

It was great TBG. The hill is second rate and the rental equipment is third rate but it's a family place and what's the point of playing in the snow if you don't have little kids bouncing off of you.
The wonderful thing about tiggers
Is that tiggers are wonderful things
Their heads are made out of rubber
And their talis are made out of springs
They're bouncy, bouncy, etc...

Sorry I misled you, the hill is a 700 ft vertigal? drop with an hypoteneuse bumpier than Ingrid Bergman.
Will Mudge be ok?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Fogelberg died of the same thing that took dear Error Flynn. damitall.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 16, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Very sad about Dan Fogelberg.

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll play "Just Another Band From LA"
Every time I put on Tull or Zappa I think of Error.
Who will get my Firesign Theatre allusions?
The Fugs? WC? Marx Bros? Trotsky Family Singers?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll be fine, Boko. But very sad about Dan Fogelberg. And thinking of EF, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 16, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry to hear about Dan Fogelberg as well.

Boko, you day sounds like my weekends in high school going to the local spot to ski, not a lot of power, but you learned how to ski on ice - fun all the same.

Snow has stopped here, amazing how much accumulation you can get in a short period. We were house bound all day as the roads were to dangerous to drive on but hopefully things will be plowed, sanded and salted for the morning.

Posted by: dmd | December 16, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I must admit I am a little surprised by how hard the passing of Fogelberg is hitting me. Naturally, the death of anyone at 56 from cancer is an obscenity. But with Fogelberg there is something more involved. I guess it is just my age. When I was in high school Fogelberg was huge among my little circle of friends. I can't listen to his music without flashing back to those days. I guess his death makes the passing of time uncomfortably salient.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 16, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I'm jealous. I moved to VA over ten years ago, and still haven't been brave enough to try skiing. I fear the cold. It looks like soooo much fun.

My husband is streaming Dan Fogelberg on the other computer. Some people should live much longer.

Posted by: a bea c | December 16, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I also remember that whenever my little sister couldn't sleep she would put "Netherlands" on her stereo. This would invariably wake me up. I would known on her door to find her sitting on the floor staring at a candle. We would sit and talk until she felt better.

Jeepers I'm getting maudlin. I think I need to log off and call a certain mother of two in the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 16, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Knock on her door. But you're smart folks. You probably got that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 16, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I spent many hours listening to Dan Fogelberg's music, especially in college, where his "Captured Angel" lp really expressed the energetic melancholia that often gripped me.

+ + + + +
There is no Eden, no heavenly gates
That you're gonna make it to one day
But all of the answers you seek can be found
In the dreams that you dream along the way...

Love when you can, cry when you have to
Be who you must, that's a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
And someday we'll all understand
Someday we'll all understand...

+ + + + + +

Posted by: kbertocci | December 16, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

That's sad about Fogelburg.
I'm really more of a Prine guy. And The Blasters and Molly Hatchet.
I once fell asleep at a JJ Cale concert. Early.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

RD, if this artist touched you personally, you have a right to be upset.

I can think of some people whose deaths I got upset over precisely because I loved their oeuvre.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 16, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I knew a guy in college that thought "Twin Sons of Different Mothers" was genius and he wasn't far off.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Precisley? That's pretty particular. Can you recall any deaths of people possessing uncongenial oeuvres that left you unmoved?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 16, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

That's sad about Dan Fogelberg. I didn't know his music well, but Run for the Roses got a lot of radio play, and I like it a lot:
Born in the valley
And raised in the trees
Of Western Kentucky
On wobbly knees
With mama beside you
To help you along
You'll soon be a growing up strong.

All the long, lazy mornings
In pastures of green
The sun on your withers
The wind in your mane
Could never prepare you
For what lies ahead
The run for the roses so red --

And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined
In the dance
It's high time you joined
In the dance --

From sire to sire
It's born in the blood
The fire of a mare
And the strength of a stud
It's breeding and it's training
And it's something unknown
That drives you and carries
You home.

And it's run for the roses
As fast as you can
Your fate is delivered
Your moment's at hand
It's the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it's high time you joined
In the dance
It's high time you joined
In the dance --

I miss Error, too, although we certainly didn't see eye to eye on everything - but that made for lively discussions. Boko, I and many others here get the Tull, Zappa, Firesign Theater, Marx Brothers allusions. I have no fondness for the Monkees, however. (Glad you had such a good time today.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 16, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad to hear about Fogelburg. It is always sad to hear of someone dying that young. I'm still voting for Error in '08, though.

Mudge, have you ever seen anyone take a dive like Westbrook did at the one? I don't recall ever seeing that. Whoever came up with that play was very, very smart!

Posted by: pj | December 16, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

SSC: Fogelberg

And mostlylurking is right, Boko. I may not be here as much as I used to be (and I'm working on that), but give me a Firesign, Tom Lehrer, et al. allusion and I'm a happy guy.

Posted by: pj | December 16, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

So...? Mudge? Where did YOU spend the weekend?

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

pj, I was flabbergasted. Among other things, it was a superb act of self-sacrifice, declining to add to his personal score for a greater good--icing that win. And at first, I thought it was a bad, bad mistake, a bit of showboating. But jeez, it worked brilliantly. It has to lead all the highlight reels this week.

I thought Philly's defense was phenomenal the whole game, too. I know Romo had a bad thumb--I don't care. They kicked Cowboy booty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 16, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Dear ---.

Yes, tons of people's deaths leave me unmoved when all I know of them is that they're famous and I don't really care for their work. They're strangers to me.

Was that an attempt at trolling? You could do better.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 16, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

We went to Williamsburg, TBG. We have friends who live there (he is an ex-minister, who performed our 25th wedding anniversary renewal of vows ceremony back in Ocftober on Martha's Vineyard). It was a weekend house party, with a total of four couple. On Saturday morning we went to Williamsburg Lodge for breakfast, but not just any breakfast. They had a buffet, but the main part of the event were six chefs, who conducted cooking demonstrations for the audience (there was only the one "seating" for breakfast, at 9 a.m.). And as each chef presented his/her dish and made it up on stage, the wait staff passed out samples to everyone at the tables to taste (there must have been 200 people in the audience). The featureddemo dishes: a mushroom quesdilla with a salsa (to die for); a ginger souffle (to die for); a sausage-and-pastry pinwheel (so-so), roasted sweet potato bisque (to die for), and making and decorating a gingerbread house. Friday night (while waiting for the fourth couple to arrive) we played Rummikub, and game similiar to Rummy but with plastic tiles number 1 to 13 instead of playing cards. It was a lot of fun. Saturday afternoon was just hanging out around the house, reading and napping and socializing; Saturday evening was prime rib dinner (to die for). After dinner (too bloated to move) we watched "Miss Congeniality." Despite a gin-and-tonic before dinner, and another after dinner, I alone made it as far as the 11 p.m. news, and actually saw about half of SNL (Justin Timberlake re-run). This morning was a lazy breakfast, then leisurely drive home, arriving about 2 p.m. to discover our son had his own little house party with about 8 people over (all against orders), during which he closed the door to our bedroom, accidentally locking it. And we didn't have the key. So we arrived home after a great weekend to discover we were locked out of our own bedroom, and I had to take the door jam apart to get in.

I need another gin and tonic right now, only my gin bottle is mysteriously empty. Wonder how that happened.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 16, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - the hubby was very impressed with Westbrook, but it was bittersweet. He has him on his fantasy team and apparently the touchdown would have meant the championship for leaves me unmoved, but he's down about it.

RD - I'm feeling the same about Dan Fogelberg. He was a large part of the soundtrack of my youth.

Boko- it does sound like you had the perfect day. Remember that when you get out of bed tomorrow!

Mostly - come on! Daydream Believer isn't a fave?

Goodnight all!

Posted by: Kim | December 16, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Stop torturing me Ethel

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh sorry Wilbrod, that was me. I just thought your sentence, "I can think of some people whose deaths I got upset over precisely because I loved their oeuvre."
was kinda bizarre. Like "Oh They're protecting child rapists but I like their theolgy."

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

This is for mostly, dr and CP.. and our other knitters... a random stripe generator...

Posted by: TBG | December 16, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Kim, "Daydream Believer" is a fine John Stewart song and The Monkees did a very good version of it. Apparently Davy Jones had a little trouble understanding how straight-forward the song was, but they still did a good job.

And Boko, just remember that Abraham Lincoln didn't die in vain, he died in Washington, DC.

Posted by: pj | December 16, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Back in the day when a mix tape was the deepest sign of affection I had a couple musically discerning, but loutish, love interests in a row. Fogelberg was my favorite "cry till I get good and angry at the @$$hat who thinks he can do that and make up with a stupid mix tape" sound track.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 16, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I can breathe again. We had a 12-point lead going into the 4th quarter, and I thought, oh, boy, here it comes.

Redskins beat the 9-4 Giants; Eagles beat the 12-1 Cowboys. I mean, it just doesn't get any better than this.

'Nighty-night, Boodle mine.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 16, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thank you! If you don't see me again, you'll know where I am. Very interesting site - the home page is full of yummy looking food.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 16, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

If you lived here you'd be home by now

Posted by: Anonymous | December 16, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Sleep well, Mudge. All in all, you had a very good weekend!

Posted by: pj | December 16, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Fogelberg's death is unhappy news, but unfortunately entirely too believable. I'm finding that with age comes ailments.

I arrived at Dulles a little before lunch time, soggy but pleased at the lack of ice. There were a lot of sleepless customers inside thanks to bad weather elsewhere.

In Rosslyn, the 5A bus passed by a young runner, wearing only shoes and shorts. And people think that surfing in 50-degree water in Oregon is a bit crazy?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 17, 2007 1:57 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Got a little shhhhpring in my step this morning (on 5 hours' sleep). 'Morning, Cassandra, Scotty. C'mon, up and at 'em.

No especially distressing front-page news or commentary this morning, tho' I expect Pop Socket will be beside himself with joy over Ron Paul's fundraising. I'm actually pleased about it myself: the more confusion and discord he sews within the GOP camp the better.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 17, 2007 5:47 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's about time to dig out of the snow. We got about 12-14" of it but it's over, for now. More to come later this week. It was a perfect day for snowshoeing, a little too windy for skiing I would think. Boko must be one of those frost resistant individuals. OK, lunches for the kids and then back on the snowblower.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 17, 2007 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Trying harder, I see, Boko.

I've never been much into the cult of personality as a rule. Here's an example. Your favorite teacher dies. You're upset on many levels.

A favorite writer who taught you a lot dies. You're upset on almost as many levels-- maybe more because you've only had your favorite teacher for a year or two, but that writer you may have read for years.

So even though the writer is physically a stranger compared to the favorite teacher, there's still a connection felt there. I'm not entirely sure how it works with musicans, mind you, since to me the music is always there, right? We're still playing music that is centuries old.

This is why I worded it how I did. I'm not certain what RD is reacting to, never having heard the musician. Maybe it's the words, maybe it's the music, maybe it's associated memories, maybe the music is so obviously personal and connected to who the musician is. I have no idea. All I know is he's a fan of the guy because he likes his music.

There are other famous people that seem to be famous more for being famous, looking good, or being arrested repeatedly. If I was into that kind of stuff, I'd be reading Celebritology.

And while I'm blinking at your odd mental jumps, appreciating somebody's work doesn't mean you must personally know and approve of every last detail of his private life, especially as reported by others with their own interpretions of his character.

Would YOUR private life and what goes inside your own head bear up to the strict scrutiny of an all-knowing world, including your own relatives and friends?

You think you've never befriended or worked with anybody with a shady past or future sin/crime to commit?

Are you so sure it could never be said of you, "he ate and drank with wife-beaters, rapists, or murderers?" (Or worse, gave them any kind of assistance as related to your work).

I didn't think my perspective needed clarifying. Oh well.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 17, 2007 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you're up early this morning!

Good morning, all! Nice and cool here in the Carolinas, exactly what we need for mid-December.

Ah, death, a perfect topic for the holidays. We went to a funeral last week, for a wonderful man who retired from the fire department a number of years ago. He was 81 and died of cancer, so while he will be greatly missed, his passing was a relief to those who loved him best. It was a good service. Somehow a good service is getting more and more important to me.

One thing did rather bother me: the sanctuary of the church was entirely enclosed, with no windows at all. That's the second enclosed sanctuary I've encountered, and I don't like them. There is much to be said for windows and natural light.

Posted by: Slyness | December 17, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Yes, 'Mudge a good football day all around, I'd say. 'Cept maybe where greenwithenvy's concerned (sorta sorry!!!), of course. Had to put up with crappy Sirius reception to listen to the Pats game, but such is life.

RIP Dan, and Error's still on the page... *SIGHHH*

*once-more-unto-the-breach-dear-friends Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle. Good morning, Martooni. Good morning, Cassandra.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 17, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Have some tournament pics up on our community nonprofit's blog.

Now I'll be playing catch up all week to accomplish the things I didn't get done in the last two and to get ahead so I can leave for Tampa on Sat. with a minimum of work. Need more coffee!!

Posted by: frostbitten | December 17, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

new kit!!

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