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Big Mistakes

I could never be a TV journalist. I can't talk. When I talk the words emerge in random order, mispronounced, illogical, syllabically fragmented. My words lurch and halt and stumble. My diction trips over my syntax. My vocabulary is just incredibly...not good, you know?

(Plus there are some very common words that I don't know how to use correctly, such as "chthonic" and "integumentary.")

Sometimes I listen to myself on tape, conducting an interview. What an idiot!!! You'd think every time was the first time.

But it's conceivable that I'm not the only preposterously inarticulate journalist in America. More precisely, perhaps it is the norm for people to be less than super-smooth on both ends of an interview. The sloppy, clumsy, halting bits get edited out. So our perception of what a TV interview is like might be skewed.

I was thinking about this after seeing Katie Couric (did I ever mention that I knew her in Miami and that I also know David Duchovny?) extract some confessions from the presidential candidates. She asked each candidate to name his or her biggest mistake. Check out the exchange with poor John Edwards:

Couric: What's the biggest mistake you've ever made? How did you recognize it and what did you do to change course?

Edwards: I got too many of these. Picking the biggest one, I mean, if I had to say one, I'd probably say voting for the war in Iraq, which took time for me to recognize what a serious mistake it was. And what I did about it is announce to the world that I was wrong in exactly that language. And I learned a lesson from it, which is you have to be skeptical of information that other people give you and be - judge it very critically.

Couric: If there was another one that wasn't as political, can you think of one sort of in your life? I know these are really hard, 'cause they're ...

Edwards: Yeah.

Couric: ... very, sort of, deep. You have to think about ...

Edwards: They also ask about - you want me to list one, and that's hard.

Couric: Yeah. I mean, I'll use your Iraq one. I'm just curious, though, 'cause that could be seen as kind of political.

Edwards: It's - it's completely political (LAUGHS).

Couric: Yeah. (LAUGHS)

Edwards: There's a reason.

Couric: But I just wonder if there's something in your life that you did that you really thought was a dopey thing.

Edwards: I've done a lot of those things. I have to just think about it for a second.

Couric: We got a lot of videotape. So don't worry. (LAUGHTER)

Edwards: Lemme think about that for a second. What did I do?

Couric: As a lawyer or ...

Edwards: I know. I'm thinking through my whole life right now.

Couric: I've tried to ask - answer these questions and, believe me, they're really hard.

Edwards: This one is particularly hard. I can't think of anything.


In the boodle yesterday, "Dee" wrote: 'I wonder when the Wash Post company is going to catch on to the fact that only about 20 people actually participate in this Achenblot.'

Dee, this is why I'm worried about Kaplan get too much power around here. Those folks can count!

(But fyi, I wouldn't trade those 20 for, like, 2,000 of the typical commenters on most blogs.)

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 6, 2007; 10:33 AM ET
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I'll risk it again. First?

Posted by: DLD | December 6, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach, consider me No. 21. Greetings from Nashville.

Posted by: liz garrigan | December 6, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the boodle Liz in Nashville

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

RDP-"I think that would be a great handle. But to really generate the proper gravitas I think you need to add a colon.

Kurosawaguy: Lord of the Disconnect"

Thanks anyway RD, but I'm fighting gravitas constantly as it is, and the medical implications of adding another colon are downright daunting. I'd either have to bifurcate and rejoin at the off ramp, or add a buttock!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

DLD? Are you the Dark Lord Denizen? Reveal? (a verb, not a noun)

Best words in kit today are:
+ lurch
+ chthonic

(KC said Dopey; JA reported.) Woo Hoo!

Phun Phrases:
+ syllabically fragmented
+ halting bits

Posted by: College Parkian | December 6, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

That talkability thing can be scary. I am relatively articulate, as are many lawyers. Also, the older I get the less I try to say. I find I make far fewer mistakes that way. Of course, using less words does not make the words I choose any more coherent.

Fortunately, verbal coherence doesn't appear to be the norm, so nobody notices. I am always surprised when I am in a meeting with a bright, knowledgable person who has a valuable opinion or insight into a topic, and that person offers it, and is completely unintelligible. Sometimes it leads to a whole discussion where people talk around, past and through one another. I spend a lot of time in such meetings listening until I can't stand it anymore, then saying, "What I'm hearing from everyone is (a, b and c, etc). Is that about right?" Such experiences also strengthen my resolve to keep my mouth shut.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 6, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry but I hve to ask for the entire boodle for forgiveness for the picture that flashed thorugh my mind there. But yes it had to do with things and that extra buttock.

I am so ashamed.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

See how upset I am? The whole extra buttocks/thong picture destroyed coherent thought. Yeah, that's the reason it came out like that.

If you read anything written by me, you know exactly how I talk. Badly. Cannot talk my way out of a paper bag.

Properly spelled and easily understood posts are the product of long effort and spell check.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Mind you, the prospect of harmonic flatus does have its appeal. There you go, dr, now you have an aural image to go with the visual.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Check out the exchange with poor John Edwards:

Dont you mean, "Check out the poor exchange with John Edwards"?

Notably, Ms. Couric's overall audience was down over a million (or 13.5 percent) when compared with the same month [November] a year ago.

If Dan Balz is going to write about history, why not Thomas Jefferson's letter in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association? If Cillizza is going to blog about Romney's speech, you'd at least think that he'd get the name of the church right, wouldn't you. You guys sleeping?

Posted by: laloomis | December 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I talk, particularly to groups of people, pretty well. It's part of the tradecraft. My big mistake was not realising my potential at an earlier age. I could have been...a contender...

Posted by: pigpen | December 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Full disclosure-

Posted by: KLOTD | December 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

But didn't kbert point out this ayem that St. Nick has three balls? Three buttocks, three balls, I mean, really, what's the dif?

Posted by: laloomis | December 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Negative, CP. I know not of this "Dark Lord Denizen." DLD is (are?) my real initials. I've never been a good one for originality. "Spunky Monkey" just didn't fit.

K:LOTD - What I think RD was saying was to use your CURRENT colon in your TITLE. The use of the phrase "add a colon" is unfortunate. Therefore, no surgery is required. Just use the one you got in a textual context.

Posted by: DLD | December 6, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Three buttocks, three balls, I mean, really, what's the dif? One man is a human bagpipe, the other a pawnbroker.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Integumentary would be a funny word to use in public.

For some reason I visualize football commentators attempting to show off they DO have a college-level vocabulary (and they're really incoherent anyway).

"I hope that was an integumentary injury and he'll be back in the game soon."
"Dunno, Bob, that looked like it could have been an intestinal hit."
"All right guys, what clown school assigned you doctor-- medical degrees? Now if you want to talk about injury, how about the time that Patriots quarterback had an internal decapitation?"
"Oh yeah he had no integumentary injury at all."

Chthonic is a nice word. I have no idea how anybody can pronounce it without a severe throat infection, but it's a nice word. Oh, the ch is silent? Carry on.

Let us go back to the football announcing booth.

"Dem Iggles are burying the Ravens so deep, the Ravens gotta think they're in a chthonic nick."

Those are merely suggested guidelines in the eventuality that you want to sound like a brainy football announcer, Joel.

I am certain Mudge will give you expert editorial guidance on the art of using five-dollar words extemporaneously.

(Mudge: "Don't.")

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Aww, Joel, you're so sweet (returning to the kit for just a mo).

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 6, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I can't keep all these changed handles straight. I'm not even trying really. So there.

there were two parking garage collapses today. In one a women crashed her car which caused the collapse and she is now dead. The other was under construction and about two dozen were injured, two critically. One man maybe missing.

Posted by: omni | December 6, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Garrison Keillor, asked about disasters, mentioned the Lake Woebegone segment in which someone led a cow upstairs as a prank. Keillor said that once the cow was upstairs, he couldn't think of any way to lead it back down, so he had to butcher the poor beast upstairs and carry down the meat and other bits and pieces. The audience was horrified (including me--it was the most surprising of all Keillor stories).

Amazing how the fate of a fictitious cow that is merely spoken of (not rendered with sound effects, much less video) can have such effect.

My own disasters tended to be of the teen hubris variety (applying to colleges that would never admit me), pratfalls (not spotting a snowbank blocking a dirt road because of a fresh, light snowfall), or the do-it-myself variety (not coordinating with interested parties before doing something. I think I've finally been cured of that, the hard way).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 6, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't therea mythos named Chthonic?

Posted by: B9 | December 6, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

My brief disastrous second marriage, but I won't speak of that again here.

Here is my best advice for feeling toasty warm outside in 14 degree weather. Go out in -13 weather the night before.

We have had a gentle snow falling all day. With no wind it is piling up on bare branches and frosting the evergreens like gingerbread house icing. Feels like living in a Christmas card.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 6, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. 20 comments and the boodle is already in the gutter. The tune cootie I have right now is Bob wills' Big Ball's In Cow Town.

Posted by: pigpen | December 6, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel, you should find out where Liz Kelly is sitting right now (she's in the office, doing her Celebritology chat) and walk over there and ask her why her chat is suddenly entirely in italics, and you can't even get one lousy letter to tilt a little to the right in this here thing of yours.

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I like this kit, I neither speak nor write well, and tend to go from one mistake to another to it makes me feel good to know I am not alone.

Just receive a tourism email from Nova Scotia, with a great link to a show called DRUM - it is a music performance of the four main cultural backgrounds in Nova Scotia - Aboriginal, Acadian, Black and Celtic - there is a short video giving a sample.

Posted by: dmd | December 6, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the mere threat of a stern talking-to from JA has caused Liz to fix her italics issue.

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

OK, Wilbrod, I won't.

Laloomis, I've been meaning to tell you I like the new variation on your handle. In my mind I pronounce it as "La Loomis," kind of like royalty...or The Donald.

Joel, the reason you feel yourself to be (and to a minor extent, yiu are) a bit inarticulate is because most writers are inarticulate speakers. This is widely known and has remarked upon for quite a number of years. (My own view is that is the reason we write: because that is how we best express ourselves, rather than through talking and verbalizing. 'N' stuff.)

Oh, and what Maggie O'D said.

Just got an e-mail asdvising us that Bush has announced the entire fed govt. will be closed (except the usual qualifiers, etc.) on Monday, Dec. 24th. Which means no work that day! (Now, I just hope my company doesn't do something *&%$#^%$#@*& typical and require us to work from home or some d@mn thing.) Mo, you're off! Scotty, I suppose that applies to you, too. Mr. TBG, you've got the day off! bc, does this include you, do ya think?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, here's the link:

Posted by: Le Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten-- same. Anyday I'll crack and start screaming "Help, I'm imprisoned in a Christmas Card and can't get out!"

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course, some of us type inarticulately. See immediately preceding.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Chthonic sounds like one of those words Morgana uttered whilst conjuring up the fog in Excalibur.

Posted by: pigpen | December 6, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is that after yesterday's bout with traffic both a.m. and p.m., my gravitas is dragging today. Other good thing is that meeting originally scheduled for tonight got postponed, so I actually get a whole week going home on time!

I have to do public presentations on a semi-regular basis, and it does get better with practice. Best thing you can do if you have to be out there is practice ahead of time in front of your video camera and watch yourself. Other hint--unless you are a well-enough known personage, audiences will cut you some slack on presentation skills. Just be sure you know your facts, and don't weasel. If you don't know the answer to something, say so. Don't try to invent something, especially in this neck of the woods. There are bound to be folks out there who are more expert than you, and they will nail you on it.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 6, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"...the entire fed govt. will be closed... Which means no work that day!"

That's a big fat one right over the plate, isn't it?

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

(Optional version for my fellow 'nucks: "That's Eric Lindros crossing the blue line with his head down, isn't it?")

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

My verbal miscues range from inserting the wrong word in a sentence (often from a stray thought I'm having as I'm speaking) inverting the first letters of a phrase (as in almost referring to a "Copacabana coon tootie" yesterday"--fortunately caught and averted), and general brain-to-mouth filter failures.

Posted by: Pepper West | December 6, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Copacabana Cantata?

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

byoolin you know the Canuck government works hard, did you see these stories?

Posted by: dmd | December 6, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I read his explanation yesterday and my first thought was, "can't be as hot as Mrs. Kucinich."

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

COURIC: What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?

EDWARDS: Expecting an intelligent question from an airhead like you.

Posted by: B9 (Bokoshorthand) | December 6, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Methinks B9 is thinking of H.P. Lovecraft and the Dread Cthulu... *shudder*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, maybe there's around 20 boodlers who participate *regularly*, but there's a cast of thousands who lurk; and some of them even participate on occasion.

Posted by: jlessl | December 6, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Everyone have a good afternoon. My daughter is in a local stage presentation of "A Christmas Story" that opens this evening. (Stage Fright tune cootie)

Posted by: jack | December 6, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Let me say I am always happy to see new Boodlers joining the crowd here.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

No work on Dec 24th? Not fair! We are expected to work half a day.

Scotty, the regulatory underpinning of the Tc99 mess is showing its ugly head. That is a really BIG mistake. Nordion is losing millions in sales because of the shut-down at AECL. I smell a lawsuit of some sort.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 6, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What day does the gummint get off for Festivus?

Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmph, mmm mmmPH!


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

jack, is that "A Christmas Story" as in, "You'll shoot your eye out?"

Posted by: Pepper West | December 6, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG, gummint gets no days of for Festivus. Add it to your list for the "airing of grievances."

Posted by: Pepper West | December 6, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Lovecraft! Augh I was trying to remember who came up with that. Ranks Rooke. rooby rooby roo

Posted by: Kerric | December 6, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ro robrem, Rerric!! :-)

Posted by: Rottyrooke | December 6, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Got that memo byoolin. Thankfully our office is closed that whole week. The referee is on our side. Repeat the refereee is on our side.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Ruh ro, rer's rat rode raren...


Posted by: Rottyrooke | December 6, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse


I mean, Wow.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that, S'nuke.

I'm kind of hoping her appearance in the talent portion of the competition includes a choreographed musical number that was once popular and may still be:

"This is your rifle/
This is your gun/
This is for shootin'/
This is for fun."

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing that, Scottynuke. This may be the first time I actually approve of the Miss America pageant -- and Oklahoma has had three within the last ten years. I kind of wish her talent WERE assembling that gun blindfolded.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 6, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"(But fyi, I wouldn't trade those 20 for, like, 2,000 of the typical commenters on most blogs.)"

Maybe you wouldn't, Joel, but I'll bet the Wash Post Company and its advertisers would.

Posted by: Dee | December 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

For the sake of equality I offer the ladies of the blog this article and accompanying photo, the latest of the Sutherland clan, 6'5" former Princeton Student Rossif Sutherland, Donald's son and Keifers half brother.

Posted by: dmd | December 6, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Mudge, I'm private sector enough that I don't get th 24th off free of charge, though I was taking it off anyway.

I'll be cooking most of that day, believe it or not.

I suffer from a different problem from Joel - I can be a tad too glib. What little maturity I have has helped me rein that in...

Now, I'm off to the game. Look for me on TV, I'll be the guy in the old-school Washington NFL Franchise knit hat, yellow on the bottom, burgundy with the fuzzy ball on top with the round logo in the front.


Posted by: bc | December 6, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

OK, bc. Try to stay warm. And fa cryin' out loud, bring us some luck, especially in the fourth quarter. Short out a couple of light towers, anything.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dee,

Care to share more than the quip? You are very welcome to settle in, if you like. Let's hear details on the quantity-posts v. quality-posts arguments.

I'd like to think that civility matters in the mission or narrative of the Post, despite the need to generate clicks, etc.

Here's to meaningful clicks and the electronic agora.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 6, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Mention of Donald Sutherland recalls to my mind a favorite question I love to ask fellow cinephiles- What good actor has made the most crappy movies? My own opinion is a tie between Sutherland and Michael Caine. Both Peter O'Toole and Dustin Hoffman came late to the game and have not produced the steaming mass of work to compete with these two. Then there's Jon Voight, who is a strong contender with "Anaconda", "Pearl Harbor", and "National Treasure". Olivier made a bunch of junk for bucks late in life. Joan Crawford sank pretty low (Trog) before retiring. But for shear volume of merde, I put Sutherland and Caine against anybody.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Charleton Heston!! then again I guess you ment good actors.

Posted by: dmd | December 6, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the lady had a heart attack or something similar, and caused the parking deck collapse:

Hey everybody. I made it up the mountain okay. It's 29 on our porch, and there is snow where the sun doesn't hit.

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I did specifically say "good actors". We have our standards. They're low, but we have them.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I hope Miss Utah wins. She'll be able to go to the Miss World Contest, kill all the Islamofacsists and sneer at countries who question the the USA's right to T&A hegemony.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 6, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The thought of that lovely young lady having to perform in the swimsuit competition (but brains matter! really they do!) does make my skin crawl a bit.

Thanks for the clarification, k-guy, 'cuz I was going to chime in with Will Ferrell.

Slyness, way back in the day I worked right across the street from that mall.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 6, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Excellent question to ponder, K-guy. Would you consider a nomination for John Wayne? Especially early in his career, there were a tremendous number of low-budget turkeys he made that are really schlock. I count only three or four he made that I'd rate as "good" or "very good," and maybe another three or four I'd rate as "adequate" at best. And maybe 50 that stank.

Perhaps we need to convert the question to a ratio, good versus bad.

And the other side of the coin: who has a very high ratio?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Really, Raysmom? I didn't realize you had a Charlotte connection. If you haven't been there recently, you wouldn't recognize the place. It's gone waayyy upscale.

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah but then we'd have to decide what film is good and what film is bad. Really bad and stinker are easy but good and great films are harder to define.

Are there famous actors who have done nothing but stinkers?

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

How about Nick Cage? He's laid a bunch of lumps over the years.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 6, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe Bronson?

Posted by: ebtnut | December 6, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Lopez, dr-- but she's famous more for being a singer, and that fame followed her into movies. Likewise, you could argue that Elvis never made a single good movie.

Go, G.I. Jill, go.

I thought the Edwards exchange was interesting. I read the rest of the responses.

Biden's response stood out in particular. He found Helms rather anti-ADA and was ready to impute his motives, before realizing that he in fact did have a stake in the disability community after all, and was not motivated by malice.

(Although, every disabled person can name some family members who just do not understand, no matter what, so having a disabled family member doesn't confer sterling judgment on what is good for them).

As time has gone by, the ADA suffers from vague wording and lack of enforcement, especially in employment. There are rulings that have particularly gone against the whole concept of the ADA, because the bill addresses "discrimination against disabled people" rather than "discrimination on the basis of disability."
As a result, the most popular way to stop a valid lawsuit under the ADA is to try and haze the suing party and impute the person is not disabled at all, when the whole point is that they did discriminate against the person ebcause they perceived him as disabled. (on the basis of disability).
Congress is now working on a bill to restore the ADA's original intent. I hope it will succeed, and not permit extra wording or loopholes to infringe further on civil rights.

And what he was told then, to find what the voters like about the person thus voted, and to work accordingly, is important.
Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn't mean they're evil people to be torn down or shot. Or invaded. Or swiftboated.

Kudos to Biden for making a very meaningful answer about how politics should be done, in response a rather silly question.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

My vote for most movie turkeys has to be Michael Caine. the man can't turn down a paycheck.

The American equivalent is Gene Hackman. It's a wonder they have never done a film together.

Pre-Sting Robert Redford has a lot of clunkers in his past. The Great Waldo Pepper anyone?

I had beef brisket today at Texas Pride Barbecue outside of San Antonio just east of China Grove as made famous by the Doobies.

This place is a great looking mega-dive with an outdoor area for live bands. Tonight is Biker Night. Don't think I'll be going by.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I did not (repeat, DID NOT) change my handle. I go make one post on Cillizza's blog (for some reason, I like the sound of Cizzilla, kind of like "gorilla," better) and make another in response to Balz's (or in the spirit of the day, is it Ball's?) reporting about history and Romney's speech, then what I type in for my handle on the Achenblog just disappears.

How long before the clock runs out on this, or do I have to go monkey with something, invent some potion to tame flyaway hair, or twist some magic Washington Post button befer I gets ma real name back? Ya know, kinda like that bobsewell fella the other night?

Posted by: Le Loomis | December 6, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't quite grasp what's happening with the handles.

Let me contact my people. They may ignore me, but I'll squawk.

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

Lord Guy Kurosawa of Dys-Connect:

My Lord, I submit Messrs. Sean Connery and Kevin Costner for your consideration.

I remain,

Your humble servant

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

I think it has to do with registration, Loomis. I was going to comment on another blog, and criminee, my name appeared. I'm going to reregister as my current user id and hope that takes care of it.

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

We're working on it.

How widespread is this?

Maybe if someone can summarize the problem and post an explanation here, I'll get the masterminds to ponder it.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mike | December 6, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so, SoC. Come on, I mean Shaloko is a great film.

And Costner? If it wasn't for Connery, he wouldn't have been IN any great movies. (ok, ok, there was that hot baseball movie and that Dances thing, but really, its a lot to make up for Waterworld.)

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I took care to register as Wilbrod, so I wouldn't know if the boodle handles are wonky in my case.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for filling me in about the parking deck collapse. I maintain that the concrete should have been engineered to not give way. It is not as if impacts in those structures are unplanned for.

When I was forced to take a public speaking course in Journalism school, (which it is pretty obvious, sometimes, anyway, that I did not complete,) I did learn one great lesson. Which is that if one has a legitimate desire for the audience to hear your opinion, you are far better off. If you are up there because you have been cajoled, persuaded, bullied, and have no innate desire to make those knuckleheads listen up, then you will likely fail as a speaker.

I had some TV experience too, strictly amateur, but noticed how some people simply freeze. It's amazing how some people can just act, and some just don't get it. As one of our better naturals put it, "Have you ever lied to your mother? Yeah? Well, then, you already know how to act." One of my friends developed the advanced ability to stare into the camera and speak to the audience. This sounds simple but it's not. You are, after all, looking at a lens, and your audience is simply not there in the room. You have to "see" them. I think this is why all our grandmothers thought the TV could see right into their living rooms - because the best TV personalities actually, sort of, do.

Posted by: "Jumper" | December 6, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Michael_Corones | December 6, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Am I still me?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 6, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you came across as yourself.

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel is asking for an articulate summary of the exact problem. I am registered at WaPo under a different name, but it never transfers to here.

Posted by: Jumper | December 6, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel is asking for an articulate summary of the exact problem.

Posted by: Jumper | December 6, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I am registered as kbertocci so I haven't had any issues either.

Posted by: testing | December 6, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Using an illustration of Slim Pickens riding a nuke to illustrate a blog entry about potential Iranian nukes and the crazy people that believe in them. Sounds familiar.

Yesterday Dowd used another film classic, Seven Days In May, to illustrate the complete loss of cognitive function in the Bush Administration.

She also examines of Dubya's daddy issues. The man is incapable of admitting mistakes.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | December 6, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

But then again, I just posted with another handle and it didn't get switched. So, sorry, I can't help explain what the problem is.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 6, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Joel, there is a real art to speaking and to do it right requires much practice and probably a group such as Toastmasters. I never joined it myself but did attend a few of their meetings when "S" was a member. Lots of fun to watch people learn how to speak properly - much harder than you'd think. And I'm sure the added stress of speaking on camera is just like what Jumper said.

It sounds like people are having the type of problem I had when I posted to your Trail piece a few weeks ago. I had to register for it and it automatically used my name instead of my nom de boodle. I had to update my registration and change my user name. I haven't ventured from this place since. Here, I know who I am.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 6, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

dmd, thanks for the equal time and I totally concur with Yoki, as usual.

Here, the heat has been back on for a day and it's miraculous. It hadn't occurred to me (duh!) that while a 54 year old house/water heater could be working, that it probably wasn't working *well*. Much better here now.

Posted by: dbG | December 6, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

When I posted that suggested regarding adding a colon, I thought about the double meaning. But I figured that this was just because I am slightly disturbed and normal people wouldn't notice it. Talk about your big mistake.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

We've had this phenomenon several times before. The news articles require registration to leave comments. The comments appear under the registered name. If that user then goes and comments on a WaPo blog, the userid from the news story comment remains sticky and over-writes any other alias used in the Name box.

There is a work around to flush the buffer, but it requires a full moon, the eye of a newt, and hopping on one leg.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, please. I have seen the diavlog. You are scary articulate. I mean, unlike me, you seldom have to stop in the middle of a sentence to regroup.

Ironically, though, I am actually very good at talking before large crowds. There's something about the adrenaline surge. Of course, now and again someone comments that I sound like a politician.

That really hurts.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Did they give you any specific politican names to compare to, RD?
Maybe they meant "policy wonk". Which would be better.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I have found that Persistent Handle Phenomenon (PHP) can be cured by un-clicking the "remember me on this computer" button in the sign-in dialog, signing out, closing the browser, and then opening it again.

Your results may vary.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

That's ok RD. Imagine how it must be for Scotty, who in my opinion, sounds like 'the voice that could be president'

I should probably trademark that phrase.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

And then again, I must ask, what does your voice sound like, RD. Deep? Resonating?

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

As in, "AAIEE! It's the Voice that could be President... again?"

What did Scottynuke do to you, dr?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

dr - I wish. I sound like Woody Allen with inflamed adenoids. When people call me they sometimes call me ma'am. (If only I were kidding about that.)

The thing is, when I get in front of a group I get this surge of energy. I like it. I get wittier and much more fluent. It's like how I have heard cocaine described, but without the loss of nasal material. Public speaking really is one of the few things I do well.

But the bit about being pretty inarticulate one-on-one is painfully true. Invariably I end up abandoning partially completed phrases. Ever see the Monty Python "Spanish Inquisition" bit where the guy is trying to list their weapons? That's me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

RD, that sounds good. I know all about that adrenaline. The thing is, if you get the rhythm right in public speaking, the words come somehow. Even if it's a monotone.
In one-on-one conversation there's more of a dance going on, and a change in expression or an slightly glazed look can distract you from what you were gonna say.

I once had a career counselor who was tall and tended to frown and look impatient. I am sure she thought I ALWAYS stuttered and couldn't piece two words together. To this day, I believe she does not know how offputting her body language is when she looks down at somebody significantly shorter.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I think you have it. A conversation is much different cognitively than I speech or a lecture. You have to process both incoming about outgoing information. In other words, you have to do two things at once. I find this tricky.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC "than a speech."

Clearly, I find typing real fast tricky too...

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

About the kit...I generally don't say all that much (I really do live up to my handle), and I have worked for years at mastering the non-responsive answer ('Wow. Is that so? Hmmm. I hadn't considered that. I'll have to give it some thought.') You wouldn't believe the info that spills out of people when you give them the chance (or the rope).

But get me angry, and I can be wicked articulate. And brutal, though that part might have something to do with the eyetalian in me.

I try not to go to the dark place though.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 6, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I think I hit a sore spot when I pointed out dr's clever use of code...


And I can't possibly win no matter what I say about that phrase, so the accused stands mute and nux vomica is entered into the record.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

LIT, we know you only use your powers for good. Or to get socks picked up.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 6, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

RD, Wilbrod, I think you both hit it on the head. I used to be a pretty decent (in my mind, anyway) meeting facilitator, even though I'm usually pretty reserved around people I don't know. So it's that "performance mode." RD, I'll add that you probably speak publicly as you write.

Slyness, I spent about a year in Charlotte almost 30 years ago, so it's barely a connection. The last time I was there in 2000, I was a few blocks away from where I used to lived and it took me a while to realize it. Very different!

Posted by: Raysmom | December 6, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, you were in elementary school then, right? You couldn't have been working there 30 years ago, you're not old enough.

It's funny about public speaking. Sometimes I'm fine, sometimes I'm not. There doesn't seem to be a pattern. It does help when I know the subject matter and am comfortable with the environment. Meeting facilitation is generally easy for me, because I'm focused on what's going on and not how I'm doing.

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I see him! I see him! I saw bc! That's him, the guy with the hat! Up there in the whatchamacallit row!

Looks like we just knocked Rex Grossman silly and out of the game. Brian Griese's in. For the moment, anyway.

May I intervene a bit here? I'm sure Joel and Padouk are both sincere about what they believe to be their various peccadilloes: Joel's supposed inarticulateness, and Padouk's Woody Allen voice. But I have personally heard both men speak -- and they're both wrong. Padouk has a very pleasant (non-Woody Allen) voice. He may hear it differently inside his head, I dunno. But there's nothing wrong with it. And (this will come as no surprise to you) he's mentally very adroit on his feet.

Joel, on the other hand, does have a bit of a "thing" with his speech patterns, as anyone who has watched his hour-long debates with Whatshisname can see. But in Joel's case it isn't inarticulateness (though he perceives it as such); rather, it is that his mind is racing way ahead of where he is in his mouth; he's already a sentence or three ahead. He's one of those people whom you can see thinking in his face, you can see the wheels turning. And therefore when you are in the "now" Joel's about ten seconds into the future, and so there are periods when there are disconnects going on, and he has to stop and catch up with himself. (POeople who are inarticulate don't know what to say. People like Joel already thought of what to do a minute ago, but have moved on to the next thing. That's not "inarticulate," though it may appear to be.)

OK, hope I haven't made them self-conscious now.

bc, was that you who threw that paper airplane down on the field and hit Rex Grossman? You scamp, you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

D@mmit, bc, get off the field!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

JA-the handle problem as I experienced it.

Went to the The Trail some weeks ago and posted there, not previewing my comment, and it gave my "registered" name automatically and would not let me enter frostbitten. Not a big deal, I thought.

Returned to the A'blog and entered frostbitten as I have always done and it kept defaulting back to my registered name. I tried logging out of WaPo and back in, and restarting my computer. Nothing worked.

Finally, at some smarter boodler's suggestion, I re-registered with WaPo as frostbitten with an e-mail address I created just for this purpose. (Is anyone wondering how crazed I must be to have spent so much time and effort on this? I am as I type the tale.)

I'm still a bit gun shy about posting to other blogs or commenting on articles, but I've made it over to The Trail and back without losing my identity.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 6, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Now Jason Campbell got dinged and is out, don't know how bad or how long.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

What, did everybody go to the game with bc? Shopping at the mall? Watching Ugly Betty?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, Mudge. Just back from a lovely soak in the bath and feeling warm and relaxed. *Happy sigh*

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Campbell's hurt again; this time they're taking him off on a stretcher. Looks like somebody rolled up the back of his left leg. This could be bad.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they can bring Jurgensen out of the booth to throw some passes.

Posted by: pj | December 6, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Skins touchdown.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Nicely done.

Posted by: pj | December 6, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sort of here too. Been so busy at work this week that I haven't even been able to lurk much. Also not sleeping well this week, probably a combination of work and the holiday to-do list. That game must be on the NFL network as it's not listed on my tv page.

Frostbitten, your description of the handle problem is very similar to mine. I just don't post anywhere but here. The problem for me is that my last name is rather rare so I'd prefer not to use it to post comments.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 6, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

You've got beautiful snow and Christmas card scenes. We've got fry your eggs on the pavement weather (6 mths out of a year). Not fair.

Posted by: rainforest | December 6, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, your smiley face is so annoying. Do you really think it's unique?

Joel, your blog is becoming very jockish. Too bad. Your 20 faithful members are mostly a bunch of old f@rts with nothing better to do except worship you.

I think you are entering a mid-life crisis phase. They think they are part of something big. Dream on.

There, I feel better now. Carry on. I know what your're why is this person reading the blog? A question I ask myself as well.

Posted by: Eidrib | December 6, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Be sure to come back and tell us when you've figured it out.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 6, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Eidrib - you forgot that we are also vain, silly, and have questionable personal grooming habits. Oh! And some of us have silly voices. And many wear women's clothing.

I mean, come on, if you are going to make pointless random accusations, at least try to be good at it.

Sheesh. I'm going to bed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Criminy! What's up with these folks? It must be my sainted mother's voice in my head saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" but I can never get over folks feeling like they have to say something snotty.

Hi rainforest!

Posted by: Kim | December 6, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, wonder what phase of the moon it is? Trolls have been out in force today. That's so unusual for Achenblog.

Maybe it's just pre-holiday stress getting to people, Kim. Of course, we all agree with your mother.

Posted by: Slyness | December 6, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Just a drive-by to see whether Mudge was watching the game -- just saw the guy go down -- and of course he was. That was an excellent description of the ahead-of-yourself syndrome of public speaking (as applied to Joel but I mean more generally).

Eidrib -- jockish? what do this mean? Either you can't mean "fond of sporting events" or you've missed the threads where sports lead to retaliatory discussions of doilies. Curling aside, of course. Worship? We appreciate good writing and have a high opinion of Joel's intelligence, but just backboodle and you'll see all kinds of comments which might have been made by a doting aunt about a promising but untested nephew. You may even find mild criticism. Affectionate, of course.

Anyhoo, glad to meetcha. Stick around.

Off to bedtime. Vaya con queso, fondue, and y'all northerners and easterners watch those slippery roads.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 6, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Did WaPo have the picture of that idiot Bolton prominently featured today thinking that this would drive people back to the print edition?

I figured the Krautmeister for that article; guess Snowlip beat him to it.

Posted by: bill everything | December 6, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, "jockish."
Well, you feel better now, Eidrib, (French is it?) and that's all that matters.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 6, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Eidrib... No one can tell it like it is like The Lone Mule.

Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I notice that Eidrib is 'Birdie' backwards, but instead of our Birdie, I like to think it's some Random Commenter. (ha ha ha... sorry Birdie).


Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that, TBG.

Eidrib, ouch! (clutches upper arm). You got me! That hurt (staggers offstage in search of a soft place to land).

Posted by: dbG | December 6, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

The first thing I thought of when I saw Katie Couric's questions for the candidates was that she was doing what Mark Halperin did, only in a more superficial way. He wrote a book called The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President, where he asked some unusual, "fluffy" questions in addition to researching their views, etc. (The library has the book now, so my decision not to buy it has not backfired.) I suppose it's TV coverage compared to print, not all Katie's fault (although I don't like her on the Evening News - Joel would be a huge improvement!).

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 6, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm planning my foray into Washington the evening of the 14th and all day the 15th. Looks like the 1507 world map at the Library of Congress will be the big deal.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 6, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi, again. I look in every now and then, but haven't had time to post for a month or so. As for what name shows up, I would put "LTL-CA" in the "Name:" box, and haven't been asked to register or sign in for years. At work I registered using my home e-mail address and user name (I never remember what that is and have to try a few likely candidates), and could post from there, too. So it looks like you have to register, but if you choose the same handle as someone else, the system doesn't catch that.

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm here. I was out drinking margaritas at Rio Rio on the Riverwalk, but now I'm back in my hotel with nothing to do for twelve hours. I can't even find what channel the DC Ethnic Slurs are playing on so that I can try to spot bc. I might end up blogging. Mo MoDo has blogged twice since I last did, but those posts are on a deadline schedule.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

That was not posted by Loomis, BTW.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 6, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Since I've been posting again....

Let's hope the Dems don't try to outdo Romney and Huckabee in the credulity contest and confine themselves to issues relevant to governing (managing) the country. What a contrast between Kennedy in 1960 and Romney today.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 6, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Worship Joel? I don't even know the guy.

Personally, I suspect he's a sock puppet written by a third-grade dropout psychic channeling the soul of George Washington... the Barber Bomber from the Bronx. With a good editor. Fun to read though.

But no more real than any of us. I'd recommend you read up on solipism, except that that's probably fictional, too.

Personally, other than to vent some gnomic angst, I'm just here to throw popcorn and get some knitting and editing tips.

And my extremely fictional dog says that you sound in need of fur therapy for your bad day.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Since I have met both Wilbrod and Wildbrodog, that means the three of us are all the imagination of the same kid looking at his snowglobe.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Boodle, for saving me (and Birdbrain) from myself.

bc, you can come home now. We won. Nicely done. I give you full credit. You did, guy. (Except that tiome in the first half when you ran out on the field and the cops had to haul you away. But I saw you whisper a play to Collins. Don't deny it.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge.
[bc takes a Riggins-esque bow from the 50-yard line]

Just got home, waiting for feeling to return to my toes. Was 24 deg F by my thermometer, and pretty damp due to the snow. I'm not sure if it was as cold as the Ravens' game on MNF and certainly not as windy, but it was pretty bone-chilling.

That wasn't *me* who ran out onto the field in the first half, but Collins' ear wasn't the only one I whispered into on that sideline tonight (per your suggestion for an on-field distaction, though the guy didn't wait until the game was late)... [at least *Collins* didn't get arrested for what I suggested].

G'night, all.


Posted by: bc | December 7, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse


While I may have stirred a few things up on the Washington NFL Franchise sidelines this evening, please don't refer to this day as "a day that will live in infamy" on my account.

A lot of Americans died on this day 66 years ago; I'm taking a minute to think about them and the war that we entered because of it.


Posted by: bc | December 7, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm jumping ahead without having caught up to all of the boodle-posts.

Testing... testing...

Posted by: Bob S. | December 7, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Aaahhh... that feels better! Now, I'll go back and catch up!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 7, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

I apologize for the empty posts above, but I just hadda know how the "handle" thing wuz working.

bc - I imagine that you've already called it a night, but:

1) I was a little surprised (actually, I was a lot surprised!) at how many folks had no idea why I thought that December 7th was a special day. It ought to matter for a lot of reasons, I think.;

2) [Much more trivially] It was definitely colder for you at the game tonight than it was for you/me/us on Monday. It was only around "freezing" (pick your temp scale. I like to think of it as about 273 degrees Kelvin) on Monday, and it was definitely colder tonight. On the other hand, the wind at the Baltimore stadium was not wafting at all gently on Monday night!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 7, 2007 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Welcome, liz and jlessel(?). We love company.

As for public speaking, I teach two Bible studies on Wednesday. That can be tough. I love it. It is the best part of my week. I don't have that many people, small group, but it's nice. I'm not a Bible expert or anything like that, just teach from a perspective of the love Christ has for all.

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

Slyness, I see on the news your fair city and county has a new sheriff? Please, details.

It is so cold here, and the weather person is talking freezing rain. Time for me to get the g-girl up and do battle with the toothbrushing. It takes thirty minutes for that, and it's an uphill climb all the way.

Have a great day, twenty people. I think you're a geat bunch.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 7, 2007 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Welcome, eidrib. Had to go back and see how to spell your handle.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 7, 2007 6:06 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Welcome back, jlessel; I know you've posted once or twice before, if only briefly a year or two ago. Don't be a stranger--and don't be shy. (And you can push us up to 22.)

Bob, I always shake my head, too, when somebody doesn't recognize Dec. 7 as a major date in history. And then I start trying to rationalize it by thinking things like, "Well, I'm a history buff, so of course I know dates," "Or the reason I remember these things is just that I have a good, "sticky" memory, especially for that kind of stuff." But then I think, no, that's not right. Schools just don't teach history any more, and what little they do teach they no longer fill up with all those little factoids that you and I know. They teach the massive entirety of World War II, the largest, single-most important global event in the history of the world, in three days. Well, no wonder people don't remember Dec. 7, or June 6, or Guadalcanal, or Kursk, or Dunkirk. And it's not just day dates, and not just WWII: try 1066, 1215, 1666, see if anybody can date the Hundred Years War within a hundred years plus or minus. How about 1754-63? Who was Frederick the Great? Wilhelm II? Martin Bormann? Clarence Darrow?

So Dec. 7, a Day That Will Live in Infamy? Easy. It's Lindsay Lohan's birthday.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Well. Well. Well. Little Mitty Romney made a nice speech yesterday but I noticed he didn't mention Joseph Smith, golden plates, or scripture delivered via a hat.
Why, that nice Mike Huckabee wouldn't even say that Mormonism is a Christian faith to tiny Georgey Stephanopolis.

Now who could have led poor Gov. Romney astray, could it have been?

Posted by: Church Lady 999 | December 7, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

*saluting to the West on this solemn day*

And no, I don't think being nice and smiling is all that unique...


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

'Morning, boodle! TGIF!!! Peace be with you, Cassandra and Martooni. Warmth be with you, bc. This has been a long week. I'm thankful to be able to get a bit of rest this evening before heading off to drive the band to two parades tomorrow. Oy.

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Glad I started a little American History discussion.

From bc's "Department of Signs," I picked Chicago to win last night, though my heart is (and always has been) with Washington.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to the game through the kindness of a friend who knows I'm a lifelong fan, and when he handed me the ticket on the way into the stadium, I looked at it to see which player - the Burgundy and Gold always feature a picture on the tickets - was on it.

You guessed it.
Sean Taylor.

More later.


Posted by: bc | December 7, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Was Peal Harbor allowed to happen, as a catapult into the war; or was it a clusterf**k with people running around with their hair on fire? Was Pearl Harbor a paradigm for 9/11? Good morning!

Posted by: D | December 7, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

My husband's coworker said yesterday, "Hmm... December 7? Isn't that D-Day?"

Posted by: TBG | December 7, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of World War II disasters, the Washington Post and NY Times reviewers have very different takes on the movie version of Atonement. Hornaday: "In the almost spookily capable hands of 34-year-old director Joe Wright, the film version of "Atonement" has achieved that to which every literary adaptation should aspire." Wow.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 7, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I am repelled by the notion that Pearl Harbor was intentionally "allowed" as a spur to get America into a war that the people would otherwise not support. This is the sort of vile calumny that is what we mean when we decry "revisionist" history, the imputation of evil subtext to the actions of bygone persons. You can't take on FDR on the basis of his real actions and real policies, so you invent evil motives that allow you to reinterpret the facts of history to mean the opposite of their plain significance. That's despicable.

Posted by: HistoryTim | December 7, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I should have said that I was responding to D's post of 8:23 AM.

Posted by: HistoryTim | December 7, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Goon morning, Cassandra. Good morning Martooni. I am also wondering why I visit Achenblog. I first learn of NH kidnapping from Joel and Dec 24 gov off from Murge. I like the way people talk here. And I learn my TOEFL words here.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 7, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh jeez, TBG, that's pure ignorance!

Cassandra, the current sheriff retired and has taken a job with the Department of Homeland Security. His second in command was his pick for a replacement, but this attorney came out of left field and won the vote:

Good morning, everybody! Slept in this morning, so I'm off my normal routine.

Posted by: Slyness | December 7, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I can't never remember if Pearl Harbor (highly tempted to write Harbour here but I'll let it go) is the 6th or the 7th. The 6th is my kid brother's birthday and the 8th my alma mater's anniversary so I should remember it but just can't.

Speaking of alma mater the NYT is doing a nice piece on skiing around my home town.
I use to go to Stoneham, a 30 minute drive from downtown brings you to this fairly decent ski hill. It snows a lot in Québec city (everage 115" a year). They got 17 in. last Monday to our 10 here for example. It's good for skiing but when March comes around, there is 4-5 feet of the stuff on the ground and it takes until late April to melt it. Overall, I like it better here.
I like that many opinionators are taking the Mittster to the woodshed for his slight of the atheists in his Mormons-are-Christians speech. He is really pandering to the evangelicals, isn't he?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 7, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

It's true about the difference in history awareness. In fifth grade, we somehow found out that one of our least favorite teacher's birthday was on December 7 and that was a big joke to us--we were highly aware of Pearl Harbor Day, "live in infamy" and all that. Try telling today's 11-year-olds a joke that depends on their knowing the significance of the date. But now that I think of it, we hadn't studied WWII in school at that point. It was more of a cultural meme, something that "everybody" knew, and people talked about. What I remember about history education in elementary school was that we spent a lot of time on Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cortez, Ponce de Leon, and their ilk.

In high school I had a class called "American History" that was taught by the wrestling coach. All he liked to teach was WWII, so that's what the class was, for the whole year. I don't remember much about it, other than I have held a grudge against that teacher for a lot of years. Not just because he wasted a lot of my time in that class, but also because when I went out for track he made fun of me in front of the class, some clever remark that made the point that when he saw me at practice I was running pretty slow (some reference to long distance, implying that I was no sprinter.) I often think of him now when I run, because I still run slow and I have run more than 10,000 miles since he made his thoughtless remark. Living well is the best revenge, people.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 7, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I will second Shrieks recommendation for Mte. St. Anne, spent a week there on a ski vacation in university, plus Quebec City is certainly one of our greatest cities.

Posted by: dmd | December 7, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I think this alleged historical ignorance amongst our young people is greatly overstated. I am confident that a significant number could identify December 7th as the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. By the Germans.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 7, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The Germans attacked us in the Europes RDP. It's the Russians that attacked us in California.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 7, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

What's scary is that with my notoriously bad memory I knew all those dates (except 1215) and names Mudge. But I can't say I learned any of this stuff in school. This is all self taught stuff from reading after graduation. What's even scarier is that I know you're wrong about the signifance of today's date. LiLo was born July 2nd 1986. Today in 1971 is Chasey Lain's birthday.

Posted by: omni | December 7, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

And Martin Borman, I didn't recognize that name.

Posted by: omni | December 7, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

What Tim said at 8:31. And just let it be noted that D's ignorant 8:23 post has caused my office mates to place me in restraints.

We just had a *&^%$#@&^% fire alarm here, so they evacuated our building and made us all go out into the *&^%$# sleet. (This just as I got back from the cafeteria, and now my food is cold.) So we went next door to the other building and hung out in the lobby for five minutes--until they evacuated that building too, in case the first building burned to a cinder and they didn't want us in the adjacent building laughing and appluading. So we walked down the street to CVS and hung out there (I bought a big thing of Folger's coffee for our office coffee pot, and some Pringles).

So now I'm back at my desk, my breakfast is cold, my coffee is cold, my blood is hot, my hands and arms are restrained and I'm Boodling with my tongue.

I am not anybody's sweetheart at the moment.

And yes, bc, I had da Bearz, too.


*faxing myself some valium*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Yes, Mudge, I was watching Ugly Betty last night. And knitting. I dredged around in my old crafts box and managed to find two needles the same size and a skein of yarn. Scarves are about all I'm capable of, but at least it keeps my fingers busy and out of the chip bag.

I'm with daiwanian--the boodle keeps me up-to-date on events I might have overlooked, sort of like a clipping service. With knitting, sports, politics, and fart jokes thrown in for good measure.

And yes, let's all remember the events of 66 years ago.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 7, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

So who the he11 is Chasey Lain? name is NOT, repeat NOT, Google-safe in the office folks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of 1215, anyone who is interested can own a piece of this very important date in history.;_ylt=AujJB51fGcvWRB0Pd1LGPLms0NUE

Posted by: dmd | December 7, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I would argue it's no less safe than LiLo or Britney

Posted by: omni | December 7, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Just kidding. really, don't google that name at work. In fact don't google it at home guys if you wanna stay out of the dog house.

Posted by: omni | December 7, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

see, 1215, I forgot that I knew that. Stupid memory.

What you may not know about 1666 is that in Roman numerals it uses them all. The only year to do so. MDCLXVI

Posted by: omni | December 7, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, wish I had the cash sitting around to buy that copy of Magna Carta. The last one I saw was in the British Museum.

Maybe if I chat with my financial planner he can make the funds stretch...


Posted by: Slyness | December 7, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Belated good mornings, all...

It is snowing here like crazy. I can't even see my neighbor's house and that's only like 100 feet away.

Glad I bought new tires for Mrs. M's van. She's out in this stuff right now.

I agree with Mudge that they just don't teach history properly anymore. My favorite history/civics teachers were curmudgeonly -- nothing like a "harumph" and a "when I was there" to emphasize the importance of a date like today's. Maybe if history was a bigger percentage of the "no child left behind" testing, it would get better treatment. But then "no child left behind" was invented by an administration that goes out of its way to revise history.

As for public speaking, I never had a problem with that. Back in the day when I wore suits, I'd travel around and give presentations to large groups of Internet wanna-be's all the time. My days as a rock star (even if only in my own head) were great prep. I never even had to imagine my audiences in their underpants.

Which reminds me... they used to teach "extemporaneous speaking" (as well as spelling and grammar and other things that existed before "texting" and email was invented). I remember picking a card with a random topic on it out of a fish bowl and having to stand in front of the class and speak about it for three minutes. Great training for politics and used car sales.

Off to the shop now unless I die of pneumonia first.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | December 7, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of good drugs, I am delighted that for the first time in the better part of a month my rotator cuff isn't causing me discomfort. Granted the drug in question is nothing but prescription strength Alleve, but man, it feels good. Chronic pain, even low-level chronic pain, can really wear you down.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 7, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

' name is NOT, repeat NOT, Google-safe in the office folks'

Thanks fo the heads up Mudge. See ya in bit.

I hope googling 1666 is ok.

Posted by: B9 | December 7, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

At RD's suggestion, I asked my 1st block students to answer this XC question: Why is 7 Dec. significant in American history? What was attacked and by whom?

Responses (n=24): 19, Pearl Harbor attacked by the Japanese; 2, didn't know; 1, the British attacked the Americans; 1, Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Vietnamese; 1, no response.

The results of this unscientific poll may be skewed, as all of the responses in the affirmative were made by students that viewed a video about the attack yesterday. Thus, at least their STM is intact.

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Excuse me. That last sentence is awful.

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

1666 ought to be OK, Boko, as long as you don't drop the "1" off the front. Then you're in a whole nother world. (I always thought "nother" should be a perfectly acceptable word, "as is.")

Another date that I think should be close to automatic is Nov. 22, with or without 1963 appended to it. Also the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, with or without 1918 attached. The trouble with Nov. 11 is the same as with Columbus Day--now they keep moving it around, so it loses its date anchor.

Certainly 9/11 is now permanently enshrined, as it should be.

I had a bad rotator cuff injury once, Padouk--took nearly 6 months in the pain stage, and a full year for full mobility. Worst pain I ever had, though, was from cellulitis when my lower leg was swollen from a germ I'd picked up swmming in Chesapeake Bay. (Curiously, my quadruple bypass, when they pretty much butterfly your chest, involved almost no pain whatsoever. Piece of cake, actually. Surprised the heck out of me how painless it all was. Ditto angioplasties.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Romney quoted John Adams as saying: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. ... Our Constitution," he said, "was made for a moral and religious people."

The American Spectator's Jennifer Rubin:
(And no I don't for a minute think Romney 'wrote it himself' unless he's spending time pawing through books for John Adams quotes.)"

Adams got this one wrong (Jefferson writing about Adams):

The President's title, as proposed by the Senate, was the most superlatively ridiculous thing I ever heard of. It is a proof the more of the justice of the character given by Dr. Franklin of my friend. Always an honest man, often a great one, but sometimes absolutely mad.

Thomas Jefferson on the proposed presidential title of "His Highness the President of the United States and protector of their liberties" advocated by Vice-President Adams in the Senate; in a letter to James Madison (29 July 1789)

Perhaps Adams was right on this count?

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1789)

As I said yesterday, still wish Romney had included some thoughts about separation of church and state as penned by Jefferson --and Madison. My distant cousin just lost me, totally lost me, sentimentally with his address yesterday. I think this NYT op-ed about the Romney speech is a thoughtful piece. It appealed mightily to me.

(Also, no local news this morning about where Romney had his lunch in San Antonio yesterday--a departure from the norm. Usually the paper mentions that so-and-so politician was the guest at a fundraiser at such-and-such attorney's home. Most of the times a local lawyer hosts.)

In other Texas news, Huckabee's friend, the televangelist Kenneth Copeland, decided to meet the deadline and cough up information to Sen. Grassley's committee:

One North Texas-based televangelist missed a Thursday deadline to answer a Senate inquiry about his ministry's finances, while another responded and insisted it did nothing wrong.

Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark [Tex.], in Wise County, delivered a packet of information Thursday to the office of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, who last month launched an investigation into whether six nationally known ministries had abused their tax-exempt status.

Grapevine-based Benny Hinn Ministries did not meet the deadline for answering questions put to it by Mr. Grassley, but released a statement saying it planned to respond by Jan. 30.

Posted by: Loomis | December 7, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, what about 9/11/57?

Posted by: Loomis | December 7, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

This article describes the struggles of children living in the areas where Katrina came ashore. A good arguement could be made that this is the result of the big mistake made during the crafting of the material and financial response to this disaster.

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Was it over when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor? He11 no!"
"Forget it, he's roling."

Earlier this week my uncle was fondly remembering sitting on the porch of my dad's base housing overlooking the Pearl Harbor channel while watching two Japanese destroyers sail in with the Rising Son billowing from the stern.

For true irony, go to the Arizona Memorial and count the Japanese tourists posing for pictures while smiling and flashing the peace sign.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

If Chasey Lain is too dangerous to Google at the office, I'd also recommend not watching this musical tribute to her:

Whatever happened to The Bloodhound Gang?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I am not casting aspersions on your physique in any way, Mudge, but typically, bypass surgery in nowhere near as painful as others because surgeons are not cutting through a lot of muscle. I spent years in a CT-ICU and it's a source of surprise to lots of peeps how little pain is involved. That's not always the case, but generally. Believe me though, your family was in pain when they came back to see you while you were still under-- post bypass patients usually look awful, even when they are doing quite well.

Posted by: Kim | December 7, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I spent the morning walking the entire length of the Riverwalk. On the southern stretch, it ends at the Edward Steves Homestead. Since the place hadn't opened yet (and I didn't have any cash on me anyways), I have no way of finding out who he was or what he did.

If only I knew someone familiar with San Antonio history.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

9/11/57: Birmingham v. Sunderland, GB Div. 1 football? Orioles v KC Athletics, game 1??????

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Sept 11, 1957? Not nearly as important as Dec 22, 1957.

Posted by: TBG | December 7, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

1957 as a whole was overrated. So much so, in fact, that some European countries skipped it altogether and instead opted for a re-run of 1826.

Posted by: byoolin | December 7, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Howdy and a Pearl Harbor Day to you all. My dad was an officer in WWII in the Pacific theater and I've got a lot of history books on it. They're intruding by osmosis into the Boy's consciousness. Aided by my frequent comments, of course.

RD, congratulations on lack of pain. I myself find over-the-counter naproxen highly efficacious, even for that jammed finger which still hasn't quite healed.

Cassandra, here's a toothbrushing suggestion. Drugstores sell a pre-brushing rinse for kids that turns their teeth a different color (ours is blue) where the plaque and stuff is. There's several different brands. The Boy surely got a sense of satisfaction from rinsing with the blue stuff, then brushing until it was all gone. Your granddaughter might enjoy it, and it makes the rewards of clean teeth more tangible.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I recall dye tablets that turned the dirty parts of your teeth bright red. Unfortunately, they turned nearly everything else red. A busload of seventh-grade kids equipped with freshly-issued dye pills could turn an entire fountain pink.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 7, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Yes, that's what I learned, Kim. The nice thing about being heavily medicated is you're the only one who doesn't know (or care) that you look like he11. And that's exactly what they told me: there's not much muscle over top of one's sternum (and of course they didn't slice through my rippling 6-pack of abs. Still, it did pretty bring my sideline career as a male model for GQ to a crashing halt).

(I had a really terrific CT-ICU nurse, by the way. You guys are tops in my book.)

9/11/57? OK, a date that will live, Loomis, I give up. I even Googled it. Elvis fired two members of his band. It was the first official observance of the "Battle of Plattsburgh Day." Webb Pierce sings "Bye, Bye, Love" on American Bandstand? The fire in the plutonium plant at Rocky Flats? What?

But thanks for the link to that NYT editorial--it was much better and much stronger than a similar one in the Post.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

No respectable American citizen would ever forget the Battle of Plattsburg.

Posted by: jack | December 7, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I always celebrate Pearl Harbor Day by drinking kamikazes until I'm bombed.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

11 Sep 1857: Mountain Meadow Massagre

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 7, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC I have a talent for massagring the English language.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 7, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Uh, mudge, Lindsay Lohan ws born on July 2, 1986 unless Wikipedia is wrong again. However, today is the birthday of Johnny Bench, Larry Bird, Harry Chapin, and Tom Waits.

And tomorrow we can commemorate the death of John Lennon.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Whoa! 1957 overrated? NO way. The Braves beat the Yankees of Mantle and Maris and Ford in 7 games. Hammerin' Hank Aaron hit .393 for the series and Lew Burdette pitched the Braves to victory with three complete game wins (look it up, no one knows what pitching a complete game is anymore), two of them shutouts, to win the series MVP. I was nine at the time. IT WAS EPIC!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 7, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

TBG we have in fact a party planned for December 22! OK it is a coincidence but I will turn and toast in a southeasterly direction :-)

I also remember those pink pills, they gave them to us after the hygenist made their school visit an gave us the floride treatments.

Posted by: dmd | December 7, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

K-guy's right. And let the record reflect that Loomis didn't specify 1857 but just "57." I assumed that referred to the closest one (1957).

But it does raise the interesting question of whether any pundit will raise that embarrassing anniversary (Mountain Meadows)to the Romney campaign.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I remember being bored by the history of the 20th century. I've always been more fond of the middle ages, in particular the British middle ages.

WW 1 and 2 were not talked of a lot in our very German community and my dad was just a kid when the war began. People served but it wasn't talked about, and our town had no veterans association. There were no big memorials. There were only 2 men I knew who ever displayed their proud service. 20th century history wasn't personal, it was one of those remote things.

Till I was 17. A visit to the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The first thought I had this morning was Pearl Harbor. Those lost souls are in my thoughts.

Posted by: dr | December 7, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Even I think that would be wrong Mudge.
Not that I wouldn't enjoy it big time.

I think it would be OK to ask Romney when he expected to become a god.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 7, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree it would be wrong, Boko.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 7, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Anyone remember this Oldie but Goldie? Check out the upper lefthand corner of the page.
Hint. SciTim was involved.
There will be an interview with Chris Comer later at the same address.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 7, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I haven't boodled for the past two days, because I've been locked in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-270 for that long. Well, OK, not really two whole days, but it sure felt like it. Sheeesh. So, catching up, my $0.02 worth:

Mudge, count your blessings 'bout not feeling any pain from your CABG. My zipper was excruciating.

I guess that I should be thankful that I was even born. My dad was in Navy flight school just before Dec 7. During his first solo flight, he realized that flying was NOT his cup of tea, so to speak. Read, he became scared spitless about piloting a plane. He dropped out of flight school. The rest of his class were all shipped to Pearl three weeks before it was attacked.

While I was at the academy, (USMMA) I could always count on a surprise quiz from the Navy Science folks on Dec. 7th.

One of the most enjoyable things I've done in front of an audiance was to play Ebeneezer Scrooge in a church adapatation of "A Christmas Carol". It was fun to be the character that everyone loves to hate. For weeks after that, when the kids in church saw me, they would yell out, "Scrooooooge". In our version, Scrooge regains his humanity because his confrontation with the three ghosts is also a confrontation with God. Guess who wins.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 7, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

New Kit from the Trail!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 7, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I tried to find Joel's Two Cents in the Trail. It is not on the front page. No direct link to the Trail. I need to go to the and scroll down to find it. Or even search in the The difficulty to find the article I am interested to read may be the reason I just skip it in the past.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 7, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Cur, that wasn't my original idea, but thanks for giving me credit. It can easily be argued that rigid thinking such as yours allowed both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to occur. Ignorant questions?! You're not very wise, are you? Just old and verbally diarrheatic. Hey! You started it. Better stick to synopsizing TV shows and a rundown of your health problems.

Posted by: D | December 7, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Cur, that wasn't my original idea, but thanks for giving me credit. It can easily be argued that rigid thinking such as yours allowed both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to occur. Ignorant questions?! You're not very wise, are you? Just old and verbally diarrheatic. Hey! You started it. Better stick to synopsizing TV shows and a rundown of your health problems.

Posted by: D | December 7, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Scheiße! I've kicked the hornet's nest again.

Posted by: D | December 7, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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