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The Mountain View


When working it's important to take a break and do a little hiking. South Mountain Park has excellent trails, though you don't really need a trail at all in the desert, just decent boots. The rocks invite scrambling. Watch for prickly things. I assume the rattlers are asleep this time of year, or lazy.

After bounding around for a while I drove to the top of the mountain and took this picture, which doesn't do justice to what it's really like. Phoenix sprawls at night as though it's Los Angeles. Western cities grow sideways, the streets are wide, billboards huge. Zoning appears to be non-existent. On the way to the mountain I drove through the industrial area on south 19th Avenue, a realm of junkyards, refineries, towering piles of scrap metal.

From the mountain you can't see any of that. Economic and cultural and ethnic divisions are blurred. It's just civilization, splashed all over Creation.




[Photos by J.A.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 26, 2008; 2:26 PM ET
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Good Morning all

Posted by: Pacifica | January 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Second! Hi, Pacifica. Beautiful pics, Joel. I've never been to the southwest - on my list.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The last time I saw Phoenix, I was stunned at how much it had grown, especially up the hills. And all the swimming pools I could see from the air!

The wide sprawl is characteristic of cities founded or doing most of their expansion post-automobile, unfortunately.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from tail of last kit...

It is completely true enough that humans are the more deadly species, Bob S.

However, people get hysterical over dogs and attempt to legislate them to a degree that they would never be allowed to do to another human being by the law... at least at the moment.

I was simply pointing out the "danger" of scary lunging dogs goes both ways, and that existing animal welfare laws can be used to curtail problem dogs, rather than creating even more micro-zoning types of laws targeted specifically to curtail pet owner's property freedoms without commiting any crime in the first place.

There is no city in the U.S. that could get away with zoning children out of existence at the moment (although some landlords manage with senior citizen housing).

You said it more bluntly than I did, though. Thanks.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The shots on the mountain remind me of being in Gate's Pass outside of Tuscon. While we were out that way, we stopped in Winslow and snapped a picture just to say that we had really been standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

What, no "Breck girls" from the lobby of the Dial building?

Speaking of the sleeping rattlers, have you have a rattler appetizer yet? Rustler's Rooste, where I think you can also get Navajo fry bread. I think this is the place because when we ate there I remember it being up on a hill.

Found their website. Yup, that's the place. Recognize it by the "I Ate the Snake" T-shirt. Don't forget to bring home to the office the scorpion paperweight. *w*

Hey, my LAPD cousin is over in Gilbert. Not far. You might have a lot to talk about re: the Simpson trial.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Over-55 housing is the most common type of new construction here in HoCo because it doesn't strain the schools and they give it exemptions they wouldn't give other residential developments.

Great pictures. We'll turn Joel into a photoblogger yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

LA Lurker - actually I did post last night attempting to give away some of this wet stuff.

TV last night, reported small creek flood advisory in San Anselmo and the recommendations for evacuations. The county paper today has a photo of a kayaker on a street in Moss Beach.

Although dry at this moment, the forcast is for rain thru Sunday evening. The good side of all this rain, high temperatures are now above 49F.

Posted by: Pacifica | January 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

hmmmmm. i'm either losing it or boodling in my sleep. i recall making the comment about rain but feel like it was a week back or so. perhaps ambien and stress are messing with my brain. i'm kind of troubled by this. *sigh* off to dissertate somewhere where i won't be tempted to boodle or check the news. have a nice weekend everyone.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 26, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, JA, to get to see these wonders in so many parts of the world is truly beautiful, and then, to have the heart to share them, I can't say enough.

I love the pictures. I would probably be afraid if I were there, but looking at the pictures just calms me to no end. Thanks.

Just think about all the lovely memories you're going to have, and you can share those with the many grandchildren. You have so many talents, it will be like, science teacher, writing instructor, photographer, all rolled up in one. Of course, you're all that now with your lovely family.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

slyness, great way to spend the day. and the chili sounds sooooooooooo good. too late to fax me some?

"shendig and hootenanny?", love the words Ivansmom.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, 'fraid it's all gone by now. The deal is that you go around and get an ounce or so from each chili maker. There was a contest to declare a winner for the amateurs, the restaurants obviously didn't want to participate.

Great pictures of Phoenix, Joel. It's a great place to be this time of the year. July and August, not so much.

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link on cast iron and smooth top stoves, Jumper. It was very helpful.

Mostly, Deep Gap, where Doc Watson lives, is about ten miles from our mountain place. That is a cool story about him.

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful pictures! I was in Albuquerque once, some 23-odd years ago, and was stunned by the contrasts -- mesas and desert on one end of town, and Alpine peaks on the other. Good food, too.

Did tons of errands today, laundry's on the list for first thing in the morning (in my aged condo, we don't (*sob*) have our own washers and dryers, so I've got to get down the hall when it opens at 8). Then what my mother used to call "book work" -- getting the numbers in the book for my accountant, while waiting for all the various forms to come in, and all the other c r a p that's on my desk to go through. The pile by my shredder is growing ever higher -- one of these days I'll get to it (yeah, sure).

I've gotten to the point (segue alert) that I'm not too fond of Dan Snyder. Anyone else around these parts feel the same way?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 26, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Sooo, Weingarten has used his seminar experience for a column, since he couldn't get the story published:

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Instead of wandering around in real spaces, I was wandering around this oddity:

Posted by: Jumper | January 26, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Frostsis #1 has been attending school in Santa Fe for "restoration carpentry" for 3 years now. That she has fallen in love with the southwest is clear since it's a two year program. Now I must say she was delayed one semester when her husband had a health scare and she stayed home in Hampton VA, but the hanging around one last semester for a stone cutting class can only be explained by her love for scrambling around the rocks.

On the good news front- after a near two month bout of unemployment Frostdottir starts work on Monday. She hastily quit a job the first week of December without having another one set, and without two weeks notice-the kiss of death in the minimum wage world. She didn't want to listen to Mom, who has only moved a million times and taken all kind of scut work just to have a job and no gaps in the employment history. After all, jobs are like boyfriends, they're easiest to attract when you already have one. She is a poorer but wiser young woman today after spending all her Christmas present money on keeping the Bank of Dad from repo'ing her car.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Great pictures Joel. Never been to Phoenix except for the airport and I don't think I can count that.

Spent a delightful afternoon with my friend who is recovering from ovarian cancer. She's done with chemo and has had good test results so has been given the green light to go have fun again. We went to her favorite clothing outlet and got some great bargains, three dollar pants, ten dollar pants and tops. She and her husband have been invited to stay at a college friend's place in St. Croix for a week in February and she now has the wardrobe for it. I do too, but I'm not going anywhere, ah well. It was soooooo good to spend time with her as I was worried for a while that she wouldn't get better.

Going to get "S" to fire up the grill and cook a steak outside. I am tired of winter and January isn't even over yet.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 26, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I like that concept map, Jumper.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

From the air, Phoenix is a spectacular city. It looks like an ocean of civilization with unpopulated hilly areas poking up to form dusky islands. I always notice are the many swimming pools. Even very modest homes seem to sport them. I have been told they are considered a survival tool.

In the summer, which is when I invariably end up visiting, you learn to respect the sun. Items left on the dashboard are guaranteed to melt. As does, occasionally, the dashboard itself. You begin to fully appreciate the ability of the human body to cool itself with sweat, and the dizziness that can result when you don't replace that sweat promptly. Full hydration seems, at times, an impossible goal.

On cooler days you can make the trek up Camelback mountain. And although smart-mouthed visitors might question the definition of this summit as a mountain, such individuals usually find that these complaints are difficult to express with parched lips. The trails demand respect.

Phoenix is a place with great restaurants. The best food often seems to be served in the dingiest restaurants. I once visited a small establishment that looked like a chicken coop. Nevertheless, they served a black bean burrito that brought me closer to understanding the mind of God.

And, finally, of course, in Arizona you can order Margaritas by the pitcher.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Anybody read Colbert King's piece on the Clintons? If he doesn't burn them, grits don't stick. I don't think he cares much for the Clinton. Very interesting article.

Saw my dad today. He lives just down the street from the radio station, so I asked the minister to stop and let me check on him. He was cordial. I guess he didn't want to show off in front of the minister. It takes a pretty tough person to cut up in front of a minister. Of course, we have some of those tough customers.

When I lived in the trailer, there's a church next door. My neighbor who lives across the street used to park his truck in the church's parking lot. He told me that sometimes the church members would block him in, and when he mentioned this to the pastor, I don't think the pastor took him serious. He told me, he was going to pop the preacher one. I said to him, whatever you do, don't hit that preacher. Perhaps you need to find another place to park that truck. He did find another place. Preachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, missionaries, aren't perfect people, but they work for the one that is.

I am here alone. So quiet. I can hear the quiet. If someone was talking to me, I would not be able to understand them, but I can hear the quiet. I am blessed. Thank you, Jesus.

I do hope you can go to church tomorrow, and give God some of your time. Who knows, it might become a habit.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say, "A black bean burrito that brought me closer to understanding the mind of God." made me laugh in appreciation.
(I had such a burrito in Ann Arbor of all places.) You either get how great black beans are, or you don't.

I once happened on a take-away in Alexandria that served real Salvadoran food, which was a pleasant surprise to the tastebuds. If the whole neighborhood knows how good the food is, there's so much less need to advertise or dress up.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Cassandra... or if not Christian, at least remember Emily Dickinson's poem about a bird celebrating the sabbath.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse


What a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing.

Got to get in here and find something to wear tomorrow. I like to know what it is before time to go. Don't want to have think that hard in the moring. It is still cold, so there won't be that many choices. Pants. Pants. Pants. And more pants. If I could just get rid of this cough. It hurts so bad. I will get something for it Monday, your suggestion, Wilbrod.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse


I went back and read your description of Phoenix. You do have a way with words. It sounds like that area has the sun without the humidity that nearly suffocates us here in the South. I've been out during the summer when the air was so heavy it felt one could cut it with a knife and see the cut. I do believe I am partial to cool weather. Probably would love to visit, but not live there. But then, I hear the place is good for those of us that suffer with respiratory problems?

For me, the only place to be during the summer and the extreme heat is at the beach. I seldom get to do that. I haven't been to Myrtle Beach in years, and the last time I was there, too many people. You could touch people's elbows while walking. Not good. Not good at all. I only went for the day,and was so ready to leave. And with all the hotels lining the beach, one cannot see the beach. Too commercialized. It used to be a beautiful place,the beach. Of course, when my dad took us to the beach during our childhood, we were not allowed on Myrtle Beach(African-Americans were not allowed). We went to Atlantic Beach. And now Atlantic Beach, the last time I was there, looked so bad. They've almost took that away from them too.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - Thanks for the nice words! Yes, Phoenix makes true the old expression that it ain't the heat, it's the humidity. You don't really feel the heat all that much - until you suddenly find the world has started to spin.

My family and I have been visiting Surfside, just a bit south of Myrtle Beach, for over 17 years now, and the growth has been frightening. Still, my wife so loves the beach that we will doubtless end up there - especially since my in-laws are moving down this summer.

Perhaps one day you and I might visit the beach together and watch our descendants frolic in the water.

As long as you don't mind being seen with a disreputable figure like me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, whaddya know? Barack Obama is the big winner in NC.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 26, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Good evening. What lovely pictures, Joel, and a description to match. I'm very fond of the Southwest, though not so much of the big cities there. I've got to the point that everytime I see that sprawl, I wonder just where they think their water is coming from. Of course, I'd love to move to northern New Mexico, so I'd be guilty too. [Speaking of which, I hope Nelson is well and thriving. Wasn't she going to ABQ, or Albuquerque?]

I was near Phoenix once, about 35 years ago (ouch) and we ate at what was then a local legend and probably still is. I don't think it was the restaurant Loomis linked to, though it was like that. The big thing about this one was that, although it was the type of restaurant that normally would cater to the business and dressy tourist crowd, men couldn't wear ties. If you came in wearing a tie they would bring over scissors and cut it off. There were severed ties hanging all over the ceiling. Of course, that was part of the "fun".

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I was a child on that visit to Phoenix. A very young teenager. Really. You can tell because all I remember is that restaurant, and that everywhere we went seemed to be full of old people.

Of course, we were visiting friends in a retirement community.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

RD, I had a horrible thought. Does this mean you will no longer vacation by visiting your in-laws in the heart of Amish country, with the concomitant excellent and idiosyncratic local food? If so, I'm so sorry (in advance).

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: NC. SC. Whatevah.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 26, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

SOUTH Carolina, Maggie. We here in NC don't vote till May. *Sigh*

Everywhere you go in Phoenix, Cassandra, they hand you bottles of water. I didn't appreciate that till we had been out a little while and I really, really needed a drink. Like RD says, it sneaks up on you.

Myrtle Beach isn't the fun place it was when we were kids and you could see the beach from across the street and even a ways off from there. Mr. T and went for the weekend, oh, about four years ago, and I recognized exactly nothing. Atlantic Beach was just so sad. I hope it comes back and does better than the rest of the Grand Strand.

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Ivansmom, that is exactly what it means. Since we have been making those visits every couple of months for the past 20 years, the change in our life will be profound. And I really do not know how this is all going to work out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow - Obama really mopped up the place. This race just gets more and more confusing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, the dry heat is AMAZING. The sweat evaporates off your body quite quickly so you never get sticky with sweat the least bit. That can fool you into not realizing you're dessicating like a raisin from the heat.

DC has it sometimes (not often); most often its the muggy heat that you know and depise all too well.

Phoenix rarely gets snow, maybe a dusting before dawn every dozen year or so; it always melts once the sun has woke up and gotten to work.

And in such a dry desert climate, the nights can be cold and the days very hot, so at least you can sleep comfortably even after a 100 degree day, unlike out East.

But there is not always that much green around unless you water it every day, though-- it's very easy for the ground to turn to blow-away dust.

When I was in Delhi, my first thought was it reminded me of Phoenix, and so it did, the drive from the airport, with the tall palm trees, and a few things here and there, including the architecture adapted for hot climates, etc. The resemblence faded the more I saw of it, but the first impression remains strong in my mind.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Slyness and Cassandra, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disrespect the Carolinas, both North and South. It's just that I'm so inattentive in proofreading. I almost flunked Typing on that account. I was taught to proofread using a ruler and my fingers to do it backward so that I could focus on each word, not the whole paragraph. I never do it though because it's sooo tedious.

And, I've even been to Charleston, a lovely city!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 26, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

's okay, Maggie, I was just giving you a hard time for the fun of it.

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

RD, that was predicted. Somebody in fact claimed that the Clintons would then point to their loss to polarize on the basis of race.

Never mind that Obama won Iowa and has always finished strongly in all state primaries he has been in even when not winning.

Now Hillary is apologizing for Bill's snappishness... somewhat.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama destroyed her. Two to one.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 26, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all sentimental records,
All saws of books, all forms, all Flippers past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious dolphin!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables,--meet it is I set it down,
Dolphins may smile, and smile, and be true villains;
At least I'm sure it may be so in oceans:

This is not news to me actually.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that's no stinking plurality, that is a clear and gen-u-wine win for Obama. He slayed 'em in SC. He went over big time.

Posted by: Tim | January 26, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

A great speech from Obama, don't you think?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 26, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

My orchid is going to have flowers! The buds look like they won't be drying up on me. Finally, in a couple of weeks, I'll see some flowers.

I inherited a plant when I moved to this place. The trunk is just a stump and the branches grow out of that stump. People who have the plant always trim away all the branches, leaving only 3 to plait. With only 3 branches the stump would expand in size. I think the plant look freakish having a big "head" but people here think it looks pretty. I've seen a few very nicely plaited ones selling in the supermarkets. Mine at 5' tall is too late for me to plait the branches. So far it flowered only once and only 1 flower. It bloomed at night and withered by morning. I don't know the name of the plant. Perhaps, Dave of the Coonties could give us a name. It's probably grown in FL.

Posted by: rainforest | January 26, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

rainforest - that is so cool about the orchid. About five years ago, when I worked as a contractor, my office was full of plants. They are good for the soul.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

rainforest - sounds lovely! I wish I could see it.

RD - your 6:05 was delightful! Cassandra's right. You have a way with words. As someone who grew up in the desert southwest and was raised on burritos, I think you're appropriately appreciative of what makes a really good burrito...especially for a guy raised in PA! (I'm right, aren't I? PA?)

Posted by: Kim | January 26, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Have fun with that huge orchid (five feet tall?). The cheap, easy-to-grow orchids from Florida tend to be various sorts of Dendrobium, which do tend to have pretty long stems. Two are showing off in the yard right now.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Kim - Thanks! No, I was raised in the Pacific Northwest - where my family still lives. I moved to Virginia in 1987.

My wife, whom I met soon after I moved to Virginia, is from Pennsylvania.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on the orchid, rainforest. The orchids I was given a couple of weeks ago are still alive - yay!

Great speech by Obama - yay, Barack.

Maybe WA's votes on Feb 9 will mean something - we have weird Iowa-like caucuses - and a meaningless primary for the Democrats this year. Not sure why...

And there's this:
Wild cats in Seattle.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 26, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm excited about the orchid and thanks for being excited with me.

No, Dave. Not the orchid but another plant that I don't have a name. The plaiting of the branches is not instant but plaited as the plant grows.

Posted by: rainforest | January 26, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Everybody go to bed?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 26, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Almost everyone. And me too!

Posted by: nellie | January 26, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Still awake, just preoccupied with other things...skating championships, knitting...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 26, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

This is unusual punishment but I think it thoroughly fits the crime. Whaddya say?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Hi all.

I've been to Phoenix a few times, beautiful southwest desert scenery nearby, as Joel's pics indicate. Yes, it is a dry heat, but it's HOT.

Obama's win was not too surprising to me, but the margin of victory was. As RD and others point out, the Dem Pres nomination gets more and more interesting.


Posted by: bc | January 27, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

great day for obama and keeping the primary wide open. let's hope the dems stay more positive. romney and mccain appear to be in knock-down drag-out.

i thought this was funny - obama's top ten campaign promises on letterman:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 27, 2008 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Come in number 51, your time is up.

Posted by: Jumper | January 27, 2008 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I love your description of quiet. I do wish more people would take time to hear the quiet instead of rushing around all the time.

I was thinking I had been to Phoenix. And then I realized that yes I was, one rainy Sunday night in 1980. We drove right through, looking for a place to stop. We were all over Arizona, but not Phoenix. They are lovely pictures, Joel.

Rainforest, great to hear about the upcoming flowers. Since you first said you had some, I've been watching the smallest buds dry up on mine. There still is one big bud that looks like it will open, but I think my dry and cooler (when we're gone, the thermostat goes down) house is not really what orchids want. I've been misting and trying to keep them warm and moist and in the best cat free light I have (the bathroom). The original flowers are still looking wonderful. I'm pleased they have such staying power.

Posted by: dr | January 27, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Obama blew them out the water. I still keep my original bet, if African-Americans go to the polls and vote, all bets are off. I don't believe the Clintons did themselves any favor by putting Obama down or seen as doing that. It was like ganging up, and no matter who does it, it's not pretty.

RD, I would enjoy visiting with you. And if you don't mind being seen sitting with me, I'm sure I won't have a problem with you.

dr, I don't get those quiet moments often, they are precious when they show up. I think most people have gotten used to being around noise so much, quiet kind of throws them off guard. In my case, the hearing-impairment at times can be a blessing, especially now that I don't have a decent hearing aid.

Maggie, don't worry about it. At one point we used to be one, but that changed. I don't remember the history on that change, perhaps Slyness does?

Get up, get up, time for church. Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, a good morning to all.*waving*

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

Posted by: cassandra s | January 27, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I watched Obama's acceptance speech last night and I realized something. I cry every single time I hear one of his speeches, starting with the convention in 2004. I had to wonder why I was still considering myself "undecided" in the run-up to the NY primary on 2/5. I've become so politically jaded over lo, these many years, that I actually forgot what it was like to be inspired. No doubt now who I'll be voting for.

Cassandra, after Bill Clinton's bone-headed statement about Jesse Jackson & the SC primary (I liked Jackson but I always knew he wasn't really a viable candidate) I'm afraid we're going to have to change our relatively civil "CHILL, BILL" to "SHUT UP, BILL. PLEASE. JUST SHUT UP"

Posted by: TLF | January 27, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Laundry's achurning and the rest of the days tasks lie awaiting. But first, the boodle calls.

I've been a feminist since the day I was born. And it's not that I'm against Hillary. But I'm really, exceptionally tired of all the cr@p that's coming out of her (and, let's face it, Bill's) campaign. There is an amount of super-narcissism in him and in her and in the both of them together which is off-putting. I still like Edwards -- a lot -- but after wavering back and forth (not that I won't continue to do that) I'm now edging towards Obama.

Gotta reboot now.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 27, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning again, all.

Watching the last few hours of the Daytona 24 hr sports car endurance race on the Speed Channel this morning, and thinking of Error Flynn. He and I discussed going down to watch the race this year, and if we couldn't go, we'd normally be exchanging email and Boodle commentary about it.

Obama might have won the Dem delegates in SC, but in my mind there's plenty of room for Error in '08.


Posted by: bc | January 27, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

ftb, I'm doing laundry, too, while watching the race.

Ooh, the race leader's right rear suspension just broke after almost 21 hours of racing, a darn shame. There was some good driving to keep it from hitting the wall at 190 mph - no fun when a wheel decided to suddenly point a different direction at that speed.


Posted by: bc | January 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning.
I'm a litte fuzzy this morning so I'm not sure I should be confused by the HuffPo headline, "Obama Rout in SC."
Shirley that ain't right.

Posted by: Tribble999 | January 27, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse


as printed in our local paper's book section this morning, "Project President: Bad Hair & Botox on the Road to the White House," by Ben Shapiro, reviewed by Dinesh Ramde, AP:

The first three grafs:

With the presidential election still 10 months away, voters seem to be tiring of political posturing, endless debates and negative ads. It's enough to make a voter nostalgic for the good 'ol days.

You know, the days when politicians put the country's needs first, when informed voters favored substance ovr style, whn campaigns were free of the endless mudslinging of recent generations.

The only problem is, those good 'ol days never existed.

Last graf:

But the biggest benefit of "Project President" may be that it reassures us. Yes, we voters may be shallow, but no more so than the centuries of of voters before us. Maybe it's time to stop blaming TV and just accept that our political decisions have been influenced by superficiality.

Yes, Barack gave an exceptional victory speech last night, full of PASSION and EMOTION and ANGER.

Cokie Roberts had an interesting summation on George S.'s program this morning about yesterday's Dem vote in South Carolina, saying (paraphrasing fairly closely): "Voters voted for people who looked like them. Black voters voted for Obama, white women voted for Hillary, white men voters voted for Edwards."

As one pundit pointed out overnight, the demographics of South Carolina are mirrored most closely by Georgia and Alabama. Can't recall if the pundit mentioned Obama's victory in Iowa with white voters and the fact he wasn't far behind Hillary in New Hampshire and Nevada.

George S. really gave Obama a tough line of questioning on his talk show this morning, mentioning Obama surrogates Harpootlian and Hildebrand (IIRC), and the extremely recent article by the Chicago Sun-Times (Or was it the Chicago Tribune?) that delved into Rezko.

Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 26., 2008, "Obama's Rezko problem spills over":,CST-NWS-rezko27.article

Chicago Tribune, Jan. 27, 2008, "If you look closely it's plain: Resko is Obama's problem":

I see that Baltimore Sun is already out with the story about the Obama-George S. interview (My bad, George S., referred to an endorsement of Obama in the Chicago Tribune this morning, the link embedded, and with the following grafs below):

One more time, Senator:

You need to divulge all there is to know about that relationship. Until you do, the journalistic scrubbing and opposition research will intensify. You should have recognized Rezko as a political seducer of young talent. But given that you've not been accused of any crime or ethical breach, your Rezko history is not a deal-breaker.

Nor do we know of similar lapses during the 12 years we've been watching Obama.

To the contrary, the professional judgment and personal decency with which he has managed himself and his ambition distinguish Barack Obama. We endorse him convinced that he could lead America in directions that the other Democrats could not.

I say, let the vetting begin, might as well now rather than later, whoever the Dem candidate eventually is. I will say that Obama dodged so many of George S.'s questions this morning, I was quite tempted to ask, "Obama, where's the beef?"

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

SCC: missing link for Chicago Tribune, Jan. 27, 2008, "If you look closely it's plain: Resko is Obama's problem":,0,4210213.column

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

History of political usage of "Where's the beef?"'s_the_beef%3F

The phrase was associated with the 1984 U.S. presidential election. During primaries in the spring of 1984, when the commercial was at its height of popularity, Democratic candidate and former Vice President Walter Mondale ridiculed the candidacy of his rival, Senator Gary Hart, by using the phrase during a March 11, 1984 televised debate prior to the New York and Pennsylvania primaries.

Hart had moved his candidacy from dark horse to the lead over Mondale based on his repeated use of the phrase "new ideas". When Hart once again used the slogan in the debate, Mondale leaned forward and said, "When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad, 'Where's the beef?'" The line got a great response from the audience. Subsequently, the two campaigns continually clashed using the two dueling slogans (Hart presented his book, published later, to the press between two slices of bun).

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

A couple days ago, I beleive I was griping about our warm winter weather and how everything was covered in brown sandy schmutz.


Posted by: dr | January 27, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, I think i've buggered Calgary too.

SoC, yoki, sorry. My bad.

Posted by: dr | January 27, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Bill mentioned Jesse Jackson in his concession speech last night, the one he gave for Hillary (not cool, as it reinforces Billary), but Obama wouldn't even extend an invite to Jesse Jackson during the South Carolina campaign, choosing to distance himself instead. From last night's WaPo blog, The Trail:

By Kevin Merida
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Where was Jesse?

In the last several weeks of the battle for South Carolina, a slew of comedians, actors, congressmen and other notables have traipsed into and out of the state as surrogates for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. But one of the most prominent figures in Democratic politics over the past 25 years, and a native son of South Carolina, was absent.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has endorsed Obama and who won the state's 1988 Democratic caucus with 64 percent of the vote, was not asked to campaign here. [Or was Jackson asked by the Obama camp not to campaign there?]

"A candidate has the right to choose his own surrogates and choose them strategically," Jackson told The Trail by phone on Saturday night.

But though Jackson was diplomatic, some of his supporters were not.

Kevin Gray, a longtime South Carolina activist and state coordinator of Jackson's '88 campaign, said white Democrats have long operated on the fear that if you bring Jackson into the state you scare off white voters. "And Obama has taken the same position," Gray said. "You can't invite Jesse to campaign in his home state, but you can invite all the people who fought our agenda to be on stage?"

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

dr, sorry to hear about your temps, just keep looking at Joel's pictures. It has been snowing with big fluffy flakes here for the last day, just an inch or two but pretty, the kind of snow that glistens in the light.

Posted by: dmd | January 27, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It seems an astonishing number of people voted in yesterday's South Carolina Democratic primary. I'm happy to see such enthusiasm.

The Times (London) has a fascinating story on the big French rogue trading story.

And on Monday there'll be a Post Discussion about the new palm from Madagascar!

It's a remarkable find, even for this island of marvels. Now if only a population of elephant birds would show up.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 27, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza being slightly disingenous about the white male vote in South Carolina last night in his WaPo blog:

...but he [Obama] ran almost dead even with Hillary Clinton among white males (29 percent for Clinton, 27 percent for Obama).

My math adds those two figures, 29 and 27, and I come up with 56. Which means that Edwards got 44 percent of the white male vote.

Joel wrote last night: "Obama destroyed her. Two to one."

I find this a bit hyperbolic. "Destroyed"?
Not that the contest wasn't a trounce. But let's look at some of the history behind why Hillary or Barack may not have picked up more of the white male vote in a Southern state (defender of Jim Crow and the cultural corporate base [Atlanta HQ] of Hooters *l* Please recall that I wrote, oh, a week or so ago, about the tension between the abolitionist/civil rights movement vs. the suffragette/feminist movement):

Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

We pick up the story as a bill prohibiting discrimination in education and employment due race, color, religion, national origin is about to be voted on by a House subcommittee and conservative southern Congressmen are determined to defeat the bill.

Attempting to make the bill so unpalatable that it would be defeated, Howard W. Smith (D-Va), chairman of the House Rules Committee, a Southern archconservative, sponsored the amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which added sex to the protected categories. His support guaranteed 100 or more votes of deep South Congressmen. And he reasoned that if the bill became law, at least (white) women would have the same rights as black (men).

Congresswomen Martha Griffith (D-Mi) and Katherine St. George (R-NY), strong women's rights advocates, decided to back an amendment adding sex to the bill but stepped aside to allow Smith to sponsor the amendment. Though Smith later denied he was insincere in introducing the amendment, Griffiths has said that it was Smith himself who told her he had proposed the amendment as a joke.

Fearing that they would endanger its chances of passage, President Johnson and other liberals reluctantly added the sex provision to the Civil Rights Act. As with the 14th Amendment of 1866 which enfranchised black men but excluded women, it was once again "the Negro's hour." Many conservatives were blind or indifferent to discrimination against women or believed that such discrimination was reasonable to protect women's traditional role.

But, as the ribaldry of the debate swelled among the male representatives, it betrayed, not a patriarchal gallantry, but a deep-rooted contempt for women. Every Congressman who spoke in favor of the sex discrimination amendment, except Rep. Ross Bass (D-Tn), voted against the bill.

By coalescing with the reactionary Southern strategists, and in the absence of a widespread national women's rights movement, a handful of feminists had succeeded in pulling off a major political coup.

But the battle for equal opportunity for women had only begun because no one had any intention of enforcing the sex discrimination clause of the new law. Women's organizations which could have fought for women's rights were afraid of being branded extremists and losing their insider positions. After three years of fruitless efforts to get the new EEOC to enforce the act, women realized that they needed an organization devoted to fighting for women's rights, an "NAACP for women." Under Pauli Murray and Betty Friedan, NOW was founded in 1966.

Gail Collins tells a slightly different version of this history in her book, "American Women," and points out a few pages later that one of the first sexism law suits, agains Newsweek magazine, was filed under the Civil Rights Act (before the EEOC was created).

Enough of politics--and Boodlehoggin'. On to my day, tree trimming with Loomispouse.

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

A few boodle moments this weekend.

I'm down for "mauve" rhyming with "stove".

Next, the Targa 2008 was on last night - thought of bc and Mudge.

And then there's dr. Oh dr, you know better than to be challenging the weather gods when we're not even out of January. See the fun on the road cams here:

Bob S., you were mentioning a cold weather experiment?

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 27, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

And on kit, I love that first photo.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 27, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Back to Rezko and Obama for a minute. Loomis didn't link to this John Kass article. He is a local Chicago columnist who concentrates on city politics and has uncovered lots of shananigans and corruption among all the politico bigwigs.,0,4210213.column

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I don't think they've shown the 2008 Targa Newfie on my local system yet.

I am looking forward to seeing it, that's for sure.

As far as Obama's victory, I don't know what it portends, but as I said last night, it's sure going to make things interesting as the Obama, Clinton, and Edwards campaigns escalate their intramural battle.



Posted by: bc | January 27, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

In getting a drink. Warm outside. Sorry, Maggie, but I did link to the Kass article in my SCC.

*l* We could go wwwaaaayyy back in Chicago politics and talk Lincoln and Trumbull, Norman Buel Judd, Long John Wentworth and a few others thrown in for good measure. *w*

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Loomis. I must have missed it when I skimmed through earlier posts.

Did you link to the Editorial Obama endorsement? It's very strong.,0,3012467.story

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 27, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Just got back and checked some stuff, and I can't stop laughing. I know I shouldn't but I just can't help it. The Achenblog is something else.

Not staying long, I've got to find some food. I'm starving. It has been two weeks since I've had my hearing aid, and now I have to wait two more weeks. *sigh*

It is so frustrating, but it can't be helped. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 27, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

chris cillizza reports on his blog that -
more than 530,000 people participated in the democratic presidential primary in s.c. and 445,000 people participated in the republican primary.

that is awesome.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 27, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

John Kaas was the originator of the nickname "Obambi."
Just sayin'.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 27, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I believe that he coined "Barry O'Bama" as well.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 27, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Maggie, I did link to the Obama endorsement. It was so strong (ahem) that it was the only endorsement Obama *didn't* mention during his appearance on the George S. gabfest on ABC this morning. Mostly likely because of the graf about Rezko.

As far as the Caroline Kennedy endorsement of Obama in today's NYT, there is a lot I could say. But we're just coming in from the outside. It's mid-afternoon, and we really need to get cleaned up and have a late lunch. Need some R&R. Will probably head to see the Denzel Washington-Oprah film, "The Debaters." Anyone here seen it?

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

You know, the deal on ABC this morning is that Obama claims to have returned all the Rezko campaign contributions given to him (given to charity[ies], IIRC). But as George S. brought up there apparently are some (dollar amount unknown) contributions to the Obama campaign from Resko associates (don't know who or how shallow or deep their ties are to Rezko himself). More reporting--and more vetting--to be done. We'll see...Obama said he's investigating the issue himself.

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Holy Jamoly -- just watched the last few seconds of the Orlando/Boston NBA game. The game was all tied and Orlando got a 3-pointer as the clock went to zero. That's terrific. Boston is very hot this year (um, maybe not weather-wise), and it was good to see, at least from my Pistons perspective.

Got my gumption up today and filled in all the blanks in the organization book for my accountant. Yeah, I know it's still January, but I'm usually not a last-minute person, mostly (given to occasional lapses, admittedly), and it's *done*! Just gotta wait for all the "attachments" to get in. Got the mortgage one already and a couple of others. My accountant loves me -- really. I get all my stuff to her early and I don't bring in shoe boxes of receipts. [getting a cramp while patting self on back]

Forgive the smugness, but, hey, you know???? *ducking*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 27, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Whew, can't believe I'm just now getting the computer fired up. Had to do some grocery shopping for next weekend's Chinese New Year party and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to find almost everything I needed in Bemidji, MN-home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox! I also scored some great Argentinian Parmesan that is a dead ringer for the twice as expensive Parmesan Reggiano. Unfortunately I won't have child labor to help me make the spring rolls but Mr. F arrives on Wednesday to say "how high?" when I say "jump."

Which brings me to how Bill C. has sealed the deal for my caucus vote going to Obama. Mr. F and I, in our own hinterlands way, could be Bill and Hill writ small. Though not as high powered, we are both intensely devoted to our missions in life and both know when to step back and be the mostly silent helpmate. Bill would do well to hide his light under a bushel lest he suck all the oxygen from Hillary's flame. I'm tired of them both and think we'll have a woman president when we have a male first spouse who would qualify for an obit like this:,,985508,00.html

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Is this thing on?

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Is it supposed to be?

Busy day here, activities including coming home from the mountains, picking up older child, and going to a baby shower for a cousin. My carbon footprint is heavy today. But it was a fun party, and worth the trip.

Posted by: Slyness | January 27, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi Boodle. My daughter and are I taking a much needed break after spending the day in The Village, SoHo and shopping on Canal St. Had a delicious lunch at an all mac n cheese place in Chelsea. We're having a great time, meeting all sorts of nice folks. The kid working at Supermac was so much fun.

We've been on the subway a few times. Taken a few cabs and even caught a bus this afternoon--my favorite way to see the city cheaply.

Going to MoMA in the morning then on the train around 2:00.

Posted by: TBG | January 27, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Obamamania is breaking out on the Boodle!

I agree, frosti. WA state's governor has a husband like that. I couldn't even tell you his name.

It's been on the verge of snow here for a couple days. We'll probably get dumped on tonight, as I have somewhere to drive to tomorrow, and the forecasters are predicting only a couple of inches. Sunny at the moment.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 27, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow, there certainly are a lot of the pundits around the blogosphere mercilessly spinning the results of this Primary. Everyone seems to be suggesting causes. What I don't always hear, though, are specific mechanisms for how a postulated cause actually influences voter behavior. Without a concrete mechanism, all of these pundits might as well be discussing astrology.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 27, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree Frosti that the campaign tactics of the Clintons has been a huge turnoff. Apparently it turned off our senior senator as he is endorsing Obama tomorrow. Caroline Kennedy endorsed him today. As "S" said this morning, the Clintons seem to be the politics of the past, Obama is the future.

Snowing pretty good here tonight, but only a few inches expected. Snow was on and off all day but with big gusts of wind. One gust blew right through me when I went out to the store for crunchy peanut butter. Meant to vote for that last week when the subject came up, but as usual, I was in the no-boodle zone at work. I only buy the natural one at Trader Joe's. It needs to be stirred and then stored in the refrigerator, but it tastes soooo much better than the stuff in the supermarket.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 27, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link to the Thatcher piece, Frostbitten. It is germane, and has been passed on to the thinkers in my circle of acquaintance.

Posted by: Jumpert | January 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, interesting link, frosti.

RD - duh! I had worked too many hours yesterday and then was on my second glass of wine! I knew you were from the Northwest... maybe I can chalk it up to Obamamania! At any rate, it's always a pleasure to meet up with a burrito connoisseur.

I thought Caroline Schlossberg's op-ed endorsing Obama was very eloquent. I'm also impressed that Gov. Sebelius from Kansas is apparently endorsing Obama. I think that the list of those endorsing him tells the tale. McCaskill from MO, Napolitano from AZ, Kaine from VA, among others, all seem to be progressive, pragmatic, competent and intelligent. If they think he's up to the job, I'm willing to believe it.

Lots of yellin' and screamin' going on in the K household. The Terps are playing....
pfffft...DUKE! I guess it's going well right now, I'm just going to lay low and hope it continues to go well.

Posted by: Kim | January 27, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm staying FAR AWAY from that game, Kim, even though Mr. T has it on the TV.

Best comment of the day:

"It's glaringly obvious that George W. Bush never has taken performance-enhancing drugs."

Posted by: Slyness | January 27, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't know, Slyness. After all, performace-enhancing drugs enhance your natural abilities. W has had a remarkable run of ineptitude, cluelessness, arrogance, and general incompetence. Could one man have done this without the aid of pharmaceuticals? You decide.

I had a busy weekend of little things: putting photos in the album, putting away laundry, finding a home for Christmas DVDs, putting away Ivansdad's makeup kits (he taught it last semester), etc. Also, getting the iPhone has caused me to take a serious look at my "contacts" list, and do some deleting. I promise not to let these things go again. At least until next week.

Also, the Boy & I finally got our Christmas thank-you notes written - a month late but still in January. For years I've told him that if you don't hand-write a note you have to give the presents back.

Picadillo on the stove (ground beef, onions tomato garlic, spices, almonds & raisins), sipping lime vodka, not thinking about politics. I'm enjoying the comments, though.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 27, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, post that spring roll recipe. I'm getting in the mood for new year hijinks myself.

I'm looking forward to my first MN Caucus myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow are we ever getting the snow here in the banana belt of southern Oregon. Over eight inches since 1:00 PM today. On the radar the storm seems to be stalled right here in in a fifty mile radus. The I-5 freeway is closed at Grants Pass due to numerous smash ups. The pass over the Sisklyou is requiring chains even on 4wds. Bad nightr for the truckers

Posted by: bh | January 27, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I hope you're in front of a roaring fire, bh. Perhaps with a little Bailey's Irish Cream or some such warmth inducing adult beverage.

Where's Mudge? I wish he would come and channel Jane Austen and do a play by play of the Terps/Duke game. I'd enjoy it ever so much more!

Posted by: Kim | January 27, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. Hope everybody had a good weekend. I had a good day--did a lot of cooking. Our next door neighbor, who is our estate planner, had to go to Massachusetts yesterday for his mother-in-law's funeral. My wife suggested we make them some dinner for when they get back, so today I made a gigunda pot of corn-and-crab-shrimp chowder (*faxing samples to all the Boodle*) as well as a big batch of cottage pie--part of it in a small casserole to give to our neighbors.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 27, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Ivansmom!

Did I just see that Duke's leading?

Posted by: Slyness | January 27, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

They must be leading, Slyness, it's gotten very quiet in our house.

Posted by: Kim | January 27, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Kim sure has the power to summon up whomever she wants! Kim, can you bring back Natalie Wood?

Haven't been watching B-ball; was watching "National Treasure" and trying to stay awake long enough so I don't wake up at 2 a.m., so looks like no Jane Austen play-by-play tonight. Sorry.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 27, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, ok, Mudge. I understand.

I was quite impressed with your magical boodle appearance. I have lots of things I'm going to start wishing for right now.

Posted by: Kim | January 27, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

My bad... delayed on the sky report from Phoenix.

Regarding Joel's pictures: there is one day picture and one sunset picture of cacti/desert, and likewise for the panorama of the city itself.

The sunsets have orange, greys, haze, clouds, and some blue, and very deep black shadows.

Now, it's time to haiku 'n' roll.

Gunsmoke and bullets
Haze sunsets above Phoenix
Cacti sheriffs watch

Dawn clears for high noon
Unmasking hillside charrpal
Hands up, you cactus!

Skyscrapers toot, drum
Townhouses play harmonicas
Mountains in back-up

Clouds flock soft, sunwards
Orange blaze bows to faint claps
Black valley twinkles.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I just noticed something. Everybody go look at the top photo Joel posted. Is that Giuliani with his &*%$#@%$# finger in the air again?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 27, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Yum, Mudge, could you give us the chowder recipe? We're still consuming my second batch of Curmudgeon's Vegetable Soup, and loving it.

Posted by: Slyness | January 27, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I see cactus sheriffs standing upright, you see prostate checks, Mudge.

Each to their own.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

My wife is watching figure skating. Back in the good old days you watched figure skating once every four years. You listened to Dick Button get all worked up over a triple Lutz and hissed at the obvious bias of the Soviet judges. Alas, those days are gone. Now it seems like there are, you know, whole channels devoted to diminutive little Asian women and sexually ambiguous men defying gravity through the use of copious amounts of glitter.

Oh well. I'm safe down here with the bunnies.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 27, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I see cactus sheriffs standing upright, you see Giulanai describing his personal nether-end check, Mudge. Each to their own.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Apparently they lie when you say your comment failed... who knew? Sorry for the double-axel post.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Apparently they lie when they say "your comment has failed"... who knew?

I apologize for the triple-klutz posts.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh Wilbrod, it's more a technique than a recipe. I learned this from a Thai neighbor in Hawaii. Here goes:

bean thread noodles 2 pkgs
ground pork 1-1.5 pounds
cabbage 1 head
carrots several large
yellow onion 1 large
salt to taste
wrappers 45-60ish(I don't know the brand, there's no English on the package, but they are sold in the frozen food section of Asian markets)
1-2 eggs beaten with a little water to help seal the wrappers


soak the bean thread noodles in warm water until soft

cut cabbage into very, very thin strips. A food processor blade will not cut them thin enough, a mandolin may work, but I use a sharp knife and watch my fingers.

peel and grate carrots, the finer the grate the better

dice onion into very, very, small pieces.

Mix all vegetables in a large container. Heat a bit of sesame oil in a wok (not too hot, low burn point) and put 1/4th of the vegetables and 1/4th of the pork in the wok. Stir and cook until pork is cooked through and vegetables are very soft, add salt to taste (it may take quite a bit to taste at all, the final taste should be slightly sweet with a hint of pork flavor). Immediately turn into a strainer and press all the juice out. (Straining is the key to a light and crispy result.) Repeat until all the vegies and pork are cooked.

Now you will need a very large container. Drain the bean thread noodles thoroughly then use scissors to cut into manageable lengths (8" or so). Mix the noodles and the pork/vegie mix thoroughly-might as well use your hands, it's a lot easier.

While the filling is still warm start rolling. The wrappers have a picture showing the technique but suffice it to say this is the difficult part. Better to use too little filling than too much and roll as tight as you can manage. Aim for a uniform size. Brush a little egg/water mixture on the end flap to help seal the roll. These can be frozen at this point and held for up to 6 months.

To cook use your favorite cooking oil in a deep fat fryer, or a few inches of oil in a saucepan. Be careful not to crowd the rolls while cooking. If they stick together a hole will develop when you pull them apart. Oil gets in the roll, vegies get in the oil-a real mess. Cook until crispy and golden brown. You may have to turn once to brown evenly. Drain for a minute then serve while still hot and very crispy. I serve these with a dip made of Vidalia Onion or Maui Onion Honey Mustard mixed with Vietnamese hot pepper sauce-ratios to taste, but a little of the hot pepper sauce goes a long way. The dip will be a pretty orange color.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow Frosty - those sound wonderful. But just what is "Maui Onion Honey Mustard"? Besides being a googlenope, that is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 27, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to fix my early to sleep problem by making a couple cups of coffee. That ought to fix things so I see the whole of Mansfield Park. If I do fall asleep I should be able to catch some of early in the morning.

SoC, that AMA link? neato. I can't be too far from the first camera east of Edmonton on Highway 16. Weather seems to be looking like more of this tommorrow, which is going to cause all kinds of trouble in the house of R, but this too shall come to pass. I will be spending the evening visiting progeny.

Unless he comes home. In which case I am totally buggered. We are going to be short one good vehicle with the roads so ugly. The kids car has some low sporty tires, and though we have been looking since well before Christmas, there are no snow tires available at a price they can afford.

Posted by: dr | January 27, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Frosti - sounds great! No wonder you need Mr. F. at your beck and call as you make them!

Posted by: Kim | January 27, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Oops, thanks RD. The original Sweet Hot Maui Honey Mustard has been discontinued. Instead:

Use this- (or a Vidalia onion subsitute)

honey, and the hot pepper sauce to taste. I guess it's about 2 parts mustard to 1 part honey, with a generous squeeze of the hot pepper sauce.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd be at Frosti's beck and call to EAT them.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Rd -- funny bunny manny, you.

I grew up with John Misha Petkovich, 1968 skating of the last of the red-hot, real mean skaters. He said something about ten years ago about the glitter and sequins that are now de reguier.

About to snuggle down with tea and newly cropped doggie to watch Mansfield Park...if you watched Northanger Abbey last time are were disappointed, try this. NA was Jane's odd and not-quite-the-ticket book. She was, however, making fun of Gothic, titillating we shall give her lots of points (petite points?).

Also, the priniciples in the screenplay pronounced this both ways:

1) SOFT G: Nor thanger like Belanger (Canookies will get this) or melange.....

2) HARD G: North-hanger like doppleganger.

Gotta go. Jane is at the door.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 27, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Figure skating on a major sports network is the signal I use to determine if there is real sports on some other channel. Poker, billiards, and strongman competitions serve the same purpose.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was supposed to be North- Anger abbey... or North-thanger abbey (north-danger). I never could figure it out. Looks like I'm not the only one.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Kim-that's not the half of it, I'll be stuffing about 5 dozen "pork hash dumplings" (dim sum to some, I like the Hawaii 7-11 variety, they don't put on airs).

But, the true labor intensive task is the silly signature of the event-the fortune cookies. After many attempts I've decided it is just too darn hard to make fortune cookies from scratch. Instead we buy a couple dozen of the boxed LaChoy brand and use tweezers to pull out the fortune then insert ones appropriate to the guest list. After the new fortunes are inserted one end of the cookie is dipped in chocolate-a good thing too because most cookies end up with a hole on the end from whence the fortune came. In Hawaii we could order chocolate dipped fortune cookies and all we had to do was deliver the fortunes already cut to fit a few days before the event.

Ah, I see it's time to settle down with a spot of wine and the teacupalooza.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

For you, Slyness, anything:

Curmudgeon's Corn Chowder/Crab and Corn Chowder

For the corn chowder:

2 stalks celery, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
15 baby carrots, sliced/diced
2 pieces thick-cut bacon
4 small red potatoes, diced small
1 quart Half and Half
1 quart, "Imagine" brand "organic" (that's what the label says) creamy sweet corn soup (available at Safeway, in special gourmet/organic aisle) (you can subsitute two cans of creamed corn)
1 20 oz. bag frozen white corn, thawed to room temperature
3 cans cream of celery soup (standard 10 ¾ oz. can size)
3 cans, cream of potato soup
salt, to taste (about a tablespoon)
ground white or black pepper (about ½ teaspoon)
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning (accept no substitute; if there's no Old Bay, might as well not bother)
½ cup sherry
2 tablespoons real butter (not margarine)
Chopped parsley or chives, to sprinkle on top when served

In a large (10 qt.) stock pot, soup pot, or dutch oven, put two strips of bacon, and cook until well done, making sure entire strips are crispy. Remove bacon from pot and let drain on paper towel. Leave bacon grease in pot. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in pot, add diced celery, diced onions and sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of salt, cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes. When bacon has cooled and dried, crumble into pot in smallest possible pieces or crumbs. Add diced carrots, thawed corn, and diced potatoes, cook for 5 more minutes, stirring so everything is mixed. Add corn soup, celery soup, potato soup, remaining salt, white pepper, sherry, Old Bay, stir to mix well. Cover, cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat so soup doesn't quite boil and making sure nothing burns on bottom.

This is the corn chowder, ready to go. To convert it to corn and crab chowder, in the final stage add:

1 lb. crab claw meat (half the cost of backfin or lump, but does the job)
2 Knorr's fish bullion tablets, crushed if they are hard (sometimes difficult to find; try an Asian market; instead of the word fish, they may say "Caladora" on the box)
8 oz. package of imitation crab meat, diced or shredded
another ½ cup sherry

For an extra jazzy presentation, go to a seafood market and buy half a dozen large crab claws, steamed, if they have them, or even king crab claws. The claws from blue crabs are about 2 inches long or longer, and you want them already steamed and seasoned with Old Bay. With a very sharp knife and a mallet or hammer, carefully cut the claw at the joint. Then pull off the lower, thinner pincher, leaving the main part of the claw with the top pincher. With a paring knife, the meat inside the claw should now come out fairly easily from the end closest to the joint. (If you buy the claws with the next full arm segments, crack them open with a nutcracker or with the knife and mallet, and remove the meat from them to add to the pot.) Remove the meat from all the claws and put into the soup. Keep the large, main part of the claw shells, and when serving the soup in a bowl, place one large claw on top of the soup in each bowl.

Sprinkle some chopped parsley or chopped fresh chives on top when served.

Note: for an interesting variation, instead of the crab meat, use 12-16 oz. of salmon. To make it even better yet, first grill the salmon.

In today's recipe, I also tossed in about 2 dozen medium-sized shrimp (peeled). You can add them already boiled, if you want. This recipe is very flexible -- you can kind of add whatever seafood you want or have handy.

The trick toward the end is to taste it and add pepper as necessary; it should have just a wee bit of kick to it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 27, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge and frostbitten, for the vicarious pleasure of grazing. Yum.

The problem with watching anything on television is that I'd have to turn it on. Now that the Simpsons are over I have insisted that the thing go off, and (Simpsons excepted) it can stay off the rest of the week for all I care. I can get news & weather on the Internet.

RD, I sympathize, and Ivansdad would sympathize even more heartily. The Inlaws, for whom no television is ever really off, enjoy watching figure skating.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 27, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Billie Piper is NOT a convincing 18 year old. Other than that, the lack of subtlety on Maria Crawford's part and the first-person voiceovers, it seems OK enough... for now.
I suspect this is going to be the first Austen adaption with a nude scene from how it's going, tonewise.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Mudge's recipes evoke saliva. No other way to put it.

I find that as I grow older, I cook less and less. But I still COOK almost every dinner, I just cook dishes with less and less work. And I cook by hand -- or by pan -- not in the microwave.

Posted by: nellie | January 27, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge, that sounds wonderful!

The TV thing: We tore out the built-in desk between the chimney and the wall (because it had water damage from a leak) and found a computer armoire that fit perfectly. The TV sits on top, and my laptop is on the pullout shelf below. I bought Mr. T earphones so he can watch and listen, and I don't have to hear a thing. Commercials get on my nerves, so this is a very good solution. I basically don't watch TV at all.

Posted by: Slyness | January 27, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The snow stopped. 8 inches in 5 hours. Making Paul Sorvio's Pasta Fagioli. Like in the Wiseguys. Shaved garlic, lots of olive oilive "Not Extra Virgin" Cannellini beans, tomato juice and butter fly pasta.
Mudge, No corn with crab. Only cracked with lemon and San Francisco sour dough french bread with real butter. Reminds me, check with the butcher to see if the boats got in yesterday. It's been stormy out for the crab boats.

Posted by: bh | January 27, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

We just gave up on getting along, TV wise, and have two sets. One in the living room for my husband, one in the bedroom for me.

I sit in there and knit and have HGTV playing. Perfect knitting companion, not demanding, often not interesting, but, as RD described it, rather like ice skating. Without the glitter.

Posted by: nellie | January 27, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I watch TV at night - background noise, mostly. But tonight, even with the writers' strike, I've got:
Figure skating
SAG awards
Mansfield Park
CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame - I like Amber Tamblyn
All at the same time, or slightly overlapping. So I'm watching the skating/SAG awards (flipping between), taping CBS, watching MP. And knitting and reading the Sunday paper. And hoping I don't have to abandon it all because I get called from work.

Gotta go!

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 27, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

If someone gets nekkid in tonight's AustenFest, I'm going to be very mad we watched the SAG awards and saved Mansfield Park for tomorrow.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-I agree. This is from the San Francisco Chronicle review:

"Most of the cast is spot-on here. Blake Ritson brings winning warmth to Edmund's character, James D'Arcy does a nice job with Edmund's high-living older brother, Tom, and Douglas Hodge and Jemma Redgrave are convincingly distant as the elder Bertrams. Haley Atwell and Joseph Beattie are wonderfully oily as the Crawfords.

Billie Piper may be a competent actress, but she looks and sounds out of place as Fanny. With her hair arranged in what must be an early 19th century version of "bed head," it's not just that Piper doesn't really look as if she belongs in the movie, she doesn't convey the sense of secret wisdom that informs Fanny and other Austen heroines. She seems like a street urchin most of the time, to be honest."

Posted by: frostbitten | January 27, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I wouldn't see Billie Piper in a Jane Austen. But she was pretty good on Dr. Who.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | January 27, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

An insider's perspective or take on the writers guild strike. You did hear Julie Christie mention unions in her acceptance speech, right?:

So Nick did his usual dance - pretend to negotiate with Writers, and then try to cut a deal with Directors that can be used against the Writers. Why does Nick prefer the Directors Guild? Because it is more reasonable or powerful than the other Guilds? It's not necessarily either of those things. No, Nick prefers the Directors simply because they are the least expensive Guild. Half of the DGA's members don't depend on residuals, as do all of WGA and SAG. Nick has given DGA preferred status over the years, granted it early negotiations, and declared it "powerful," simply so he can try to use DGA deals to apply pressure on WGA and SAG.

And just as Nick tries to use DGA as a front to pressure the Writers, he tries to use the Writers as a front to try to weaken SAG. SAG is Nick's ultimate quarry, not just because it is large and beloved by the public - but because it's the most expensive Guild. Every residual WGA gets, SAG contractually gets three times more. Nick's cynical strategy of using the Directors to force a bad deal on the Writers, so that the Writers deal will apply to the Actors, has worked more or less perfectly for thirty years.

So what's different this time around? The stakes. Just as the Companies are looking at higher stakes than ever before, so are the Writers. This time around, probably to the consternation of the Companies, Nick has gone too far. The deal he laid before the Writers is bad in the short run, but in the long run, disastrous. "New Media" is an inaccurate term. It's no longer new, and in a few years, it will encompass all Media. By trying to cut writers out of New Media, Nick has declared that he wants to cut them out of the business altogether.

Posted by: Loomis | January 27, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Our boss can really turn a phrase:

"Just about every room in Sitzes's dental office has a signed, framed photo of Huckabee in camouflage, dangling unfortunate ducks."

"dangling unfortunate ducks" is really nice.

(WaPo Monday, front page)

Posted by: nellie | January 27, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Not a 18 year old street urchin. 25-year old one maybe.

She just seems to play the role too old. Maybe it's the overplucked eyebrows, but she comes across as unfortunately artifical in the role.

I wonder if Amber Tamelyn could manage a British accent?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 27, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Bah! Got a call from work at 8:30, so missed everything. I should be able to catch a repeat of Mansfield Park. So glad I'm off tomorrow.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 28, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

rainforest, I fear America is not a nice enough place to allow delivery of fortunes to be inserted, a few days prior to the event.

I can only imagine the fortunes that would be delivered!

Posted by: dbG | January 28, 2008 3:45 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Here's the link to Joel's piece on Huckabee, Clinton (Bill) and Hope, Arkansas. Nice piece.

This subhead on the WaPo front page sends chills down my spine: "For speechwriters, Bush Is Editor in Chief." If so, god help us all. (And I prefer editor-in-chief with hyphens, though some misguided people don't.)

This was not an easy read:

Gotta hustle: got a leg doctor appt. at 7:30 two hours away.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 28, 2008 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Whew! Long bout of backBoodling there, compounded by a power glitch...

Yesterday was somewhat melancholy, what with taking down the tree and all. The evening made up for it, however, with some delightful bluegrass music at a local roadhouse.

Ah well, another week of fun and frolic calls... ;-)

*making-sure-the-power-strip-is-still-active Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2008 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Saturday was the BBC America premiere of the new season of Doctor Who. No Billie Piper in sight. She is presumably busy with her new series, "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." The scariest thing about the Dr. Who episode wasn't the giant red spider monster woman, it was the fear that the whiny stolen from the altar bride would be his new traveling companion.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to be picky, but it's irresponsible to suggest that people should go off trail in the desert. In addition to the ecological havoc done by off-trail hikers, it's just plain dangerous as well, particularly in warmer weather when the rattlesnakes are out in numbers.

Posted by: Michael Webster | January 28, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

good morning, friends. I read the Post story of other countries buying up American companies because of the weak dollar. It all sounds scary to me. Does it mean we're basically own by these countries? Can someone explain that to me?

Is anyone looking forward to tonight's speech?

I was really surprised that the Kennedys' endorsed Obama. I thought for sure that honor would go to Hillary Clinton. I'll bet Bill isn't looking too good this morning. You think?

Morning, Mudge(good news at doctor's appt.)Slyness, Scotty, and all. *waving*

The media is saying that Obama is bringing the young vote, and I suspect he is, and anyone that can do that, hey, you got to listen. Most young people could care less. You might get their attention if their cell phones don't work, and not for long then.

Slyness, I hope you did not take offense at my comment concerning the sheriff mess in your city. It is constantly on the news, and I suspect the larger media outlets will probably start at some point. It just looks like all the time is taking place to find a reason not to install this person. I mean if there is a legitimate reason, why hasn't it been announced? It's like someone is looking for a reason. And I'm pretty sure most folks understand longer is not better in these situations because it's like stalling, and for what? And then there is Rev. Sharpton, which brings an entirely different perspective to this situation. The perception of it all being about race. Which takes it back to the beginning. I know I tend toward the doomsday, but the longer the uglier. Expediency wins the day.

Time to go. I want to study a little bit this morning. I hope everyone that has had the bug is feeling better today, and that by the end of the week, won't even remember being sick. And for those that are still sick, prayers have been made, and sent.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | January 28, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, your 7:52 comment yesterday, had me laughing out loud this morning. I mean that was kind of low, don't you think? Not scolding, just laughing, and I know I shouldn't, but can't help it. Still laughing, can hardly type. We need help. I know I do, and so do all of you.(still laughing)

Posted by: cassandra s | January 28, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse


In order to pay for our war, we are devaluing our currency. It has dropped by about 40% since 2001. In the domestic market, you don't notice it much, but if you travel overseas everything is outrageously priced. Likewise, to a foreigner, everything in America looks like a bargain, so the Chinese are using all those WalMart bucks they have stashed under the mattress to cherry pick the bargains in US industries they would like to do better in.

Maureen Dowd went to the Middle East with Dubya at came back astonished at how low the fire sale prices on the US are:

There's an update to an old joke:

"Isn't it terrible the Chinese are buying up the United States?"

"How can they do that? I didn't know the Arabs were selling."

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 28, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Here's a thread at the Palmtalk forum on Tahina, the big and surprising new palm from Madagascar. Including a photo of a seedling grown here in Florida. Not to mention that the big feature is a lecture at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami.;f=1;t=9576

There seems to be a quandary--the single palm that flowered, fruited, and died must have left an enormous number of seeds. But no one in the area can remember seeing another of these palms flower (a sight that would be hard to miss). So seedlings growing now might be the last batch for many years to come. So how do you divvy up seeds for conservation purposes?

Another quandary is that if each palm lives a long time (maybe 100 years) and flowers once, you need a lot of palms of different ages to ensure that several of them are flowering at the same time, allowing cross-pollination. But because a lot of trees will be siblings (thanks to those big seed falls from individual palms), it seems that you'd need a big population to ensure that non-sibling palms are flowering simultaneously. Maybe at least a few thousand? It should be possible to make a simple model using Excel--maybe a science project for someone's high school kid.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 28, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

357 days left in the Bush administration. This pretty much spells out Bush's accomplishments, albeit from a Democratic perspective:

Good morning, all! Cassandra, the problem with the sheriff candidate isn't his race, it's that he's not competent for the job.

Posted by: Slyness | January 28, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the answer, modo. so if those markers are called in, we're up the creek without a paddle?

I still think the crust of the problem lies in our country not being creative like we used to be. We don't do that anymore. Creativity is the key, because time marches forward, not backwards. We should not have to use oil as we did say, twenty or ten years ago, because there should be something else. And as to manufacturing, health, technology, any of it, if we had been more creative,even with the war, perhaps we might be in better shape. It's like we're putting all our wealth into one thing, and that is oil. And I don't miscalculate the value of oil, but creativity in the energy arena would certainly take the punch out of it.

I'm an old woman in North Carolina that knows absolutely nothing about finance, and certainly not about something this big.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 28, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse


Isn't this person a practicing attorney? In what capacity is he not qualified? Was the former sheriff a lawyer?

Posted by: cassandra s | January 28, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, the former sheriff was a career police officer and supervisor who ran the sheriff's department well and was popular. The candidate was a police officer who resigned just before a hearing to determine if he had falsified his time worked records. He got a law degree and is a practicing attorney, but was dropped from the list of attorneys called on to defend those who cannot afford their own lawyers because he is unreliable. As best I can tell, he has no experience in managing a large, complex organization like the Mecklenburg Sheriff's Department. It also appears that the process used to nominate him is suspect, as the precinct organization was not done properly. It's a total mess, and I don't blame the county commissioners for not installing him.

Posted by: Slyness | January 28, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: nflbabegiirl | February 29, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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