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BYU Democrats and More Utah Pics

[Am at Dulles, getting ready to fly somewhere again. Boston, I think.]


[Brigham Young.]



[Buildings posing nicely for rookie photographer.]


[BYU is nestled against the Wasatch Front.]


[BYU students dressed up Monday out of respect for the passing of LDS President Hinckley.]


[BYU College Democrats, at the State of the Union watching party. They were great fun, and smart. By the way, several people have asked me about the Mountain Dew and whether that violates some kind of rule among Mormons against drinking caffeine. The students told me they can't drink coffee or tea, but it's left to their individual discretion whether they drink caffeinated sodas.]

[My story in the A section on Utah politics.]

PROVO, Utah -- The BYU College Democrats assembled Monday night in Diane Bailey's apartment to watch the State of the Union address. Like so many college kids in America, they weren't going to sit through a SOTU speech without turning it into a drinking game. So it was that every time the president said a certain word ("terror," "enemy," "evil") or mangled the language ("nucular," "Zimbawe"), they bolted down a beverage. Of course, as Mormons, they had to stick to soda. They ingested heroic, indeed sickening, quantities of root beer, ginger ale and 7-Up, even the rather edgy Mountain Dew.

They got louder as the speech grew longer.

"Terrorist!" (Gulp.) "Evil!!" (Glug.) "Nine-eleven!" (Burp.) When the president named America's greatest enemy, the students roared -- "Osama bin Laden!" -- and, as stipulated in the rules, ran outside to roll in the snow.

Brigham Young University is run by the Mormon Church and may have the most conservative campus in the country. Provo has been called America's most conservative city. You'd think a Democrat around here would be about as hard to find as Sasquatch. "It's the same as being a conservative at Berkeley," said Hyrum Salmond, a junior.

What's amazing about Utah this year is not so much the presence of outspoken Democrats, but the fact that the state is on the national radar to begin with. As one of the Super Tuesday states that will hold primaries Feb. 5, Utah is finally in play.

This may be a geologically spectacular place, with the jagged white wall of the snow-laden Wasatch Mountains forming a backdrop to the gleaming temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but when it comes to political machinations it has been one of the dullest states in the country.

The Republican Party has dominated the state, and the church has dominated the party. In the general election, Utah has been slotted, like neighboring Wyoming, as a redder-than-red state. And in past primary seasons, it held neighborhood caucuses late in the cycle, after the nominations were wrapped up.

So behold now the flowering of politics in the desert. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are running multiple TV spots. It's a bargain for the campaigns, what with just one media market in the entire state. It is also utterly novel: No one here can recall ever -- ever -- having seen a presidential TV ad in Utah.

Juicing interest all the more is the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Romney, the former governor (and current resident) of Massachusetts, is one of the nation's most prominent Mormons, famously turned around the 2002 Winter Olympics here, and might as well be a native son. Political observers expect him to win here Tuesday by a wide margin. "If he gets under 80 percent, I'd be amazed," said J. Quin Monson, a BYU professor of political science. Romney will be in Utah on Saturday, but not to campaign. He'll join thousands of church members at the funeral of Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Mormon Church, who died Sunday night. "Our Prophet has passed," said a text message that raced among BYU students soon after Hinckley's death. Students wore their Sunday best to class the next day.

The funeral forced Obama to cancel a campaign stop scheduled for Saturday in Salt Lake City. His wife, Michelle, will make the pitch for him here Monday. The biggest campaign event in recent days has been the appearance of Chelsea Clinton, who stumped for her mother at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. About 200 people showed up, many of them Republicans just curious to see a young woman who spent her teenage years in the White House.

She showed herself an able surrogate, deftly handling questions from the audience, then shaking hands and posing for pictures with anyone and everyone. She let several young men take turns giving her a hug, and then said, "That sealed the deal, right?"

One recent poll in Utah showed Hillary Clinton with a sizable lead, but Monson, one of the leading pollsters here, cautions that the lack of a history of primary voting makes it impossible to know how Democrats or Republicans will behave on Feb. 5. For what it's worth, Obama has an overwhelming advantage among the BYU College Democrats, who have an e-mail list of about 600 names on a campus with 30,000 students. Obama is pushing so hard in the state that he opened a campaign office in the remote southwest town of St. George.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 31, 2008; 10:07 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Chelsea Clinton in 2016??
Next: Some Basic Truths of Campaign 2008


Oh, Good Lord, I can't be first, can I?

Posted by: CowTown | January 31, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Ooo, oooo! The two last photos show what I mentioned yesterday. The domed building with the mountains in the background is the state capital. Wonderful building. The big dome in the last photo is where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs. There's also some "interpretive hallway" somewhere on the premises where you view diorama's that detail the story behind the Book of Mormon. It's very, um, interesting.

Posted by: CowTown | January 31, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Because I am a cynical smarta$$ rather than a mushy old romantic, "Casablanca" is not my favorite movie. However it is a very good movie with lots of memorable lines, and the Renault character has many of them-

Captain Renault: Rick, there are many exit visas sold in this café, but we know that you've never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.
Rick: Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.
Captain Renault: That is another reason.

Major Strasser: You give him credit for too much cleverness. My impression was that he's just another blundering American.
Captain Renault: We musn't underestimate American blundering. I was with them when they blundered into Berlin in 1918.

Captain Renault: This is the end of the chase.
Rick: Twenty thousand francs says it isn't.
Captain Renault: Is that a serious offer?
Rick: I just paid out twenty. I'd like to get it back.
Captain Renault: Make it ten. I'm only a poor corrupt official.

Captain Renault: How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Someday they may be scarce. You know, now I think I shall pay a call on Yvonne. Maybe get her on the rebound. Hmm?
Rick: When it comes to women, you're a true democrat.

Rick: I stick my neck out for nobody.
Major Strasser: What is your nationality?
Rick: I'm a drunkard.
Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.

Captain Renault: Ricky, I'm going to miss you. Apparently you're the only one in Casablanca with less scruples than I.

Captain Renault: No matter how clever he is, he still needs an exit visa... or I should say two?
Rick: Why two?
Captain Renault: He is traveling with a lady.
Rick: He'll take one.
Captain Renault: I think not. I have seen the lady.

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Rick: And remember, this gun is pointed right at your heart.
Captain Renault: That is my least vulnerable spot.

Captain Renault: Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.

Posted by: kurosawaguy redux | January 31, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Reposting since there is a new Kit:

Much has been made in the last month about the Old Black Guard reluctantly supporting Obama. Much has been made in the last several months about identity politics in the Democratic race where there is an historic first woman candidate and historic first black (multiracial) candidate.

It isn't hard to discern from my posts that I favor Hillary--in all likelihood because I'm four years younger than Hillary, part of the "Old Guard," a witness to the feminist movement in my lifetime. When I read the first chapters of Bernstein's biography about Clinton, especially the details of her family situation, I didn't sympathize with Clinton, I emphathized with her and uber-identified with her.

As Bernstein mentioned at the start of his second chapter of his book, admission to Wellesley even more than the other Seven Sisters colleges in the Northeast, was predicated on the assumption that, after graduation, you were demonstrably brilliant. More importantly, Bernstein points out, when Hillary was ready to head to college in 1965, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown and other traditional Ivy League universities were still all-male bastions.

Hree's Wiki's listing of when Ivy League colleges became co-educational. These are when the doors were opened wide; some, such as Harvard, had admitted a handful of women to advanced degree programs such as medicine and law:

If women wanted a really outstanding education at the time Hillary graduated from her high school, they would have picked one of the Seven Sisters colleges in the Northeast:

On this list, you'll see that Wellesley and Smith were founded only a year apart, in the 1870s. There is one important Loomis relative I haven't mentioned yet--a woman. Sophia Smith, the benefactoress, of Smith College, founded in Northampton, Mass., is a White descendant. As was the custom of that time, she has several lines of White in her genealogy (as described by my distant cousin Stephen Lawson--so helpful to me-- at his website). This is the same White family that included Mary White, married to Joseph Loomis, who settled Windsor, Connecticut, in 1638.

Famous Smith graduates whose names we recognize include Julia Child, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Sylvia Plath, Gloria Steinem, Julie Nixon Eeisenhower, Molly Ivins, and one who was important in helping form Hillary Clinton. (Famous Wellesley grads include Madeleine Albright, Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Nora Ephron, Lynn Scherr.)

Paula Allen, who writes the Sunday San Antonio history column in the Express-News, is a '78 grad from Smith, which is why I (and my husband) went last Tuesday night to the meeting of the San Antonio Historical Association, when they honored her work. As Gail Collins wrote in her book, "America's Women": Margaret Mitchell, the author, was an Atlanta girl who had walked out of a history course at Smith College when an African American student was admitted to the class.

As Bernstein writes in his Hillary biography, Hillary was in her freshman year when Betty Friedan cofounded the National Organization for Women, dedicated to achieving equal opportunity for women. Betty Friedan, a graduate of Smith College, wrote the "Feminine Mystique," based largely on her fellow alumnae's experiences after they graduated Smith in 1942. "Mystique" was published in 1963, and influenced Hillary, although Hillary was hardly one of feminists pioneers or even a firebrand of its second wave, as Bernstein points out.

"By the time of her graduation, she still reflected the traditions of her upbringing, but also had been hugely influenced by the movement's acomplishments, so visible on the two coasts of America especially," Bernstein writes. "Moreover, what was happening in America in regard to women--literally liberating them in a fundamental sense--was consistent with her mother's ambitious aspirations for her daughter. Who better than Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the exemplar of Wellesley's transition? She could toe the line with one foot and drag the institution forward with another."

This is getting long, my intent is to write about the "soft bigotry of low expectations" in my life (a phrase attributed to George W. Bush, although there is some dispute). I'll take a break and circle back to it later, perhaps this afternoon. I want to tell a bit of my story--and my mother's.

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse's Sleuth blog:
Posted at 8:10 PM ET, 01/30/2008

Clinton's LBJ Comments Infuriated Ted Kennedy

There's more to Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama than meets the eye. Apparently, part of the reason why the liberal lion from Massachusetts embraced Obama was because of a perceived slight at the Kennedy family's civil rights legacy by the other Democratic presidential primary frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.

One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a "meltdown" in reaction to Clinton's comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state's primary.

[*much* more]

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"If women wanted a really outstanding education at the time Hillary graduated from her high school, they would have picked one of the Seven Sisters colleges in the Northeast"

Wow, we're not being but a little teeny tiny bit elitist here, are we?

My wife did her undergrad at UT Austin and graduate school at Brown (Ivy enough? perhaps not). She thought herself better prepared than many of her Ivy trained classmates there.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I, quite unfairly, always assumed that the term Morman Democrat was an oxymoron. Shame on me for indulging in stereotyping. This article highlighted that even in a rigid environment dissent can occur and flourish, especially among the young. That alone is hopeful.

But I must assume that these young people were imbibing the caffeine-free kind of Mountain Dew. (Talk about an oxymoron!) For it is my understanding that the other kind would surely be considered sinful.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Important grafs from Joel's feature story today:

Still, Obama is something of a blank slate here, Monson notes. Clinton, by contrast, incites strongly negative reactions among conservatives, as any conversation with voters quickly uncovers. "I don't agree with any of her policies, or basically anything," said Randy Wood, a University of Utah student in the back of the room at the Chelsea Clinton event.

One factor may be that many Utahns have traditional views about the role of women. People here don't like a woman who is "outspoken and brash," said Jill Baker, 22, a University of Utah political science major. She'll go for Obama:

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

This didn't post, so will retry:'s Sleuth blog:
Posted at 8:10 PM ET, 01/30/2008

Clinton's LBJ Comments Infuriated Ted Kennedy

There's more to Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama than meets the eye. Apparently, part of the reason why the liberal lion from Massachusetts embraced Obama was because of a perceived slight at the Kennedy family's civil rights legacy by the other Democratic presidential primary frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton's LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.

One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a "meltdown" in reaction to Clinton's comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state's primary.

[*much* more]

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

A colleague in Hadley, Massachusetts found that friends and neighbors were scandalized when his talented daughter decided to attend the University of Texas, Austin. If I recall, she was attracted by a particular program in the arts.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 31, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So the implication is that Kennedy didn't endorse Obama because he felt he would be a better President but because he was throwing a hissy fit? I am going to need a lot more than circumstantial evidence for that. Show me memos or something concrete. I'm not going to believe that a respected Senator is going to screw with the political future of the country out of spiteful pique without a gun emitting a whole lot of smoke.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

My first thought when I saw Joel's pic was that he had managed to gather all of the Utah Dems into one place for a show of strength. After reading his article, that impression wasn't that far off the mark.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 31, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I can't recall from the previous boodles, but Rainforest are you able to check in, I was just reading about the large internet shut down.

Posted by: dmd | January 31, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, according to the students JA's interviewed drinking hot caffeine is a sin but the cold one is OK. This is as logic as not eating fish without scales or abstaining of meat on Fridays.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 31, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Toles is in top form today...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So they can drink Iced Tea, and Iced Coffee? (TeeHee)

But still can't drink a Long Island Iceed Tea. That's a shame.

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, K-guy, Loomis is right about the Seven Sisters. Sure, it's an elistist view--but If I know anything about Loomis, she was reporting it as a common perception of the times, and certainly not endorsing it as her view. And just because they are/were elitist schools doesn't mean they weren't/aren't also good.


I think I'm coming down with something...(cough, cough). I may have to leave work early and go in search of medications, and perhaps a hamburger platter. O if only there was such a dish available for a mere $1.99!! Er, not that I, a loyal gummint drone, am clock-weatching or anything, just because I'm 4 hours and 59 minutes away from relief.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

What you said, scotty. 8/10 on the warmonger quiz, missing the Voltaire question and the war-as-art question. I miss, therefore, I am.

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I have a Mormon coworker with six kids, many that went to BYU. His youngest son is taking off two years for his mission trip somewhere in Central America. Relink to my humble pictures from the few hours I spent in Utah a few years ago:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I should be doing housework, but I'm irritated at Ted Kennedy this morning. Where does he get off? Hasn't he read Taylor Branch?

In Branch's first tome of three, "Parting the Waters," Branch writes how, early in the JFK administration, entanglements of segregation (pp. 399-400) were always being presented for comment in Washington, only to be brushed aside by the savviest advisers as belittling to the President.

Bowing to pressure, JFK finally wrote a letter to General Ulysses S. Grant III, stating that all delegates [to the Civil War Centennial in Charleston, where reporters learned that a Negro delgegate to the National Civil War Commission would not be permitted to stay in the hotel hosting the commemoration of the battle of Fort Sumter) deserved equal treatment as officials of a goverment body.

JFK's feeble attempts to draft a voting rights bill..p 699

That it was O.K. for the JFK to visit Sammy Davis Jr. in California, but not to have him as a guest in the White House.

Deliberate attempts to keep LBJ from JFK's inner circle..and this passage on p. 863:

The racial crisis also helped lift Lyndon Johnson from the torpor of the vice presidency. For the first time since his formative experience as a New Deal congressman, an Administration was fighting for survival against domestic rahter than foreign crisis. The fate of the Kennedy Administration unexpectedly hinged on a legislative program for the downtrodden, and Johnson, who had felt so superfluous and insecure among the fast-track Kennedy globalists, responded as though to a shot of adrenaline. Insteading of cultivating the resistance among his fellow Southerners, he seemed to relish the chance to slough off his past as a regional politician. Suddenly he was in demand again as the Senate architect of the only two successful civil rights bills since Reconstruction. In private White House meetings, the Vice President changed from a sullen lump of self-pity into the gleefully rapacious arm-twister of the Johnson legend.

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I can get to the second part of what I intended to write today, but when I do, I'll explain how what Mudge wrote about his mother last Mother's day haunts me. Just haunts me.

Posted by: Loomis | January 31, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse


Now I gotta go try to find it...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The caffeinated soda rule is a big departure from the Mormons I knew when I was in school. I am sure some of them would be shocked, shocked, by this change. Sort of like my fourth grade teacher when they introduced guitars into church.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Try this Mudge.

Right after the post by Aloha 05:35 PM

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Put an 'at' in there between Aloha and 05

Heck, just search for 05:35 PM

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that post is even more wonderful the second time around.

Posted by: dmd | January 31, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"If women wanted a really outstanding education at the time Hillary graduated from her high school, they would have picked one of the Seven Sisters colleges in the Northeast"

IIRC Clinton is one year older than I, three years older than Dr. Kurosawaguy. We may safely claim to be contemporaries. The above statement does not reflect in any way my recollection, Mudge. You say "she was reporting it as a common perception of the times" but I would contend that it was elitist then just as it is now.

Look, when we lived in Providence while I put my wife through grad school I worked at a downtown photo lab run by a bunch of "trust fund hippies," young Ivy grads who lived carefree because they were backed by the full faith and credit of the Mom & Dad National Bank. All had been to Europe multiple times, all had been educated at prep schools in the Berkshires, none had ever experienced financial hardship (or really any other kind), none knew anything about life west of the Hudson with the possible exception of California. One woman told me she knew just what Texas was like because she had once been to Arizona! Another couldn't understand why we declined to spend the summer with her family on their island in Maine. Our story about needing to earn money to pay rent and bills might as well have been Urdu as far as her comprehension was concerned. There is a provincialism of caste and class at the upper end of the scale that is every bit as profound as anything in Arkansas or West BYGOD Virginia (both of which, by the way, I love).

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

OK, found it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yep, dmd, you're right. I cried the first time I read it and cried the second time I read it. I nursed both of my parents threw grueling illness before they died and the time I spent with them makes me sure that your presence was felt by your mom even after she lapsed into a coma, Mudge, and that you were a comfort and joy for her.

Posted by: Kim | January 31, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Misty eyes here, too, Mudge. Wonderful story.

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Circa 1968, undergraduate programs at the Ivys and such seemed exclusive in the country-club sense. I staged a small teenage rebellion by not applying to Penn, where I would have been an alumni kid.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 31, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

:O - that would be "through grueling.."

Posted by: Kim | January 31, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Kim.. I'm sure you would have thrown the grueling illnesses if you could have.


Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Just to complicate things, what exactly is meant by a "really outstanding education"?

Are logic, mathematics, and science considered important?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Well. I had to go look at Mudge's mother story and ended up reading the whole blog. Great stories.

8/10 on the quiz - missed #8 & 9. What kills me is that I picked the right answer first, then thought about it and changed them. Oh well.

Posted by: TLF | January 31, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

9/10 The "Conquerors, Despots, and Empire Builders" title threw me. To which category do the Little Big Horn victors belong? Seems to me Custer fills that bill rather more.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This boodle is creating a sense of deja vu.

Add this to the list of things you don't find on *most blogs* - people posting the same comment more than once. We're special, all right.


I don't understand the coffee-tea thing. I thought it was about the caffeine, but if Mountain Dew is not forbidden, that is clearly not the case. Never mind chocolate, that's obviously not on the radar. What I'm wondering now is, what about decaffeinated coffee and tea? What if all the caffeine were removed (this is just theoretical)--is there something else about coffee and tea that is objectionable? How about herbal tea? Herbal tea with caffeine added?

I am highly sympathetic to the idea of forbidding alcohol and caffeine. I think it's a very healthy practice. But the rules and the loopholes, that's just a fun mental exercise. I really should have been a lawyer. Or a Jew. Or better yet, a Jewish lawyer. (I know a lawyer who is an observant Jew and we have some great discussions)

Posted by: kbertocci | January 31, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Kber, my guess is that those were the beverages available when the rules were made, so the rules don't apply to beverages that have been created since. Just a guess, though.

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

IIRC the Mormon's dietary custom started from ol' Joe Smith himself and specified avoiding coffee, tea, and tobacco and stimulants generally, but this was more of a guideline than a commandment, you know, came from God in a memo rather than a burning bush and no golden plates were involved.There was also some other stuff about cutting down on red meat. It's been a while since I paid any attention to proselytutes, so my memory is hazy on this.

Posted by: K:LOTD | January 31, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-your post makes me think of a book I've thought about writing, but think it would be better if Joel did. The working title today is "How the Amish Got Weird." At some point they lived pretty much as everyone else did, only their faith was different.

Does drinking Mt. Dew, because it wasn't thought of back in the ancient Mormon times, mean the LDS are moving towards "normal?"

This whole thing of how an old system should change, or if it should, comes up more often than I thought. Languages must add words for new things or die (microwave in Hawaiian is pronounced mi-cro-vah-vay, just a transliteration with an r sound usually not found in the language). That there isn't always logic to it like Mt. Dew-yes, coffee-no, shouldn't be a surprise I guess since people are involved.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 31, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

This talk about coffee and tea restrictions reminds me of a line on a recent 30 Rock when Kenneth the Page says in his precious Georgia accent, "I don't drink coffee, sir. I don't drink hot liquids of any kind. That's the devil's temperature."

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The official proscription from the 'Word of Wisdom' is against hot drinks. There has been a lot of debate within the church, but the church actually has no official postion on caffeine in soft drniks or naturally occuring foods such as chocolate. Confusing the issue further, there seems to be no official proscription against herbal teas; or hot chocolate.

Actually there was one official statement in which they say the church has never taken an official position on this matter.

Still confused.

I think the closest thing they have to an 'official' position is caffiene as an additive is proscribed. So no Red Bull for Mormons.

Now you all understand my iced coffee joke?

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

LOL, TBG. Of course, there aren't many days in Georgia where you need hot liquids to warm you up.

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Okay, my post is all a mishmash that even leaves me confuseder than I already was...

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

From Celebritology:
Methin, KS: Liz Kelly,

Have you ever posted something in the a.m. and thought, "There's gonna be a ton of responses to -this-" and then it turns out the conversation goes in an entirely different direction. I would think that your job requires that you have a sense of what the readers will want to talk about.

I guess what I'm really wanting to know is: "What's it like to be Liz Kelly?"

Liz Kelly: Yes, methinks, that happens often. The prime example of this is Joel Achenbach's Achenblog, where the conversations that follow his posts often end up in a completely unexpected place and have nothing to do with his original post.

For me, though, it tends to go a bit more like yesterday's Marie Osmond post. I am utterly surprised to find there's a community of Marie-lovers out there lining up to defend their "all American" sweetheart. Who knew?

Also, there was the pony thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll have a double SSC grande to go

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I drink sodas from a glass. Because of that, I can't drink Mt. Dew.

Posted by: pj | January 31, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Is that kind of like "Big Love"?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

pj... that's funny!

frosti... I think that would make a GREAT book. I've often wondered what it was about a certain year, say a hundred years ago, that froze the Amish, or other religious folks.

I mean, buttons seem as complicated as a zipper. A modern plow in the nineteenth century was pretty darn modern. What makes it OK now?

Joel... forget about the campaign.. frosti's got your book idea right here!

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

What follows is a pot pourri of umbrage:

"often end up in a completely unexpected place and have nothing to do with his original post."

Often? OFTEN!?!! Harrumph. I am umbraged to the max. Where does she get off saying "often"? It's clearly "always," as any regular reader knows.


Hot drinks? They don't allow HOT DRINKS? What kind of mishugannah religion bans hot chocolate, fer cryin' out loud.

Bertooch, where I come from (Philly), "Jewish lawyer" is redundant. *rimshot * (Hey, I'm allowed to make those jokes, and Tim has a provisional license. The rest of you, not so much.)


And what's wrong with alcohol (in moderate amounts), Karen? There's actually considerable and increasing evidence that a little bit of it every day is good for you. People have been drinking wine since well before Biblical times. (I have first-hand experience.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

And, I expect, there are many places still today where alcoholic beverages are the only safe drinks, because of water contamination!

Right, Mudge?

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and 9/10 on the warmonger quiz.

Those lines from Casablanca that kurosawaguy posted are great. One that suddenly glared out at me was the line about Americans blundering into Berlin in 1918. Neither the Americans nor anyone for that matter got anywhere close to Berlin during WWI. One Web site suggested, however, that Renault was just being sarcastic to Strasser.

Casablanca gets about 14" inches of rain per year. Not exactly a desert but still pretty dry. Los Angeles also has a huge port and L.A. is basically a desert, too.

Posted by: pj | January 31, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, Marie IS a little bit...

Waitaminit... *thinkthinkthinkthink*

I actually think it's a GOOD thing I can't remember which one's country and which is rock n' roll...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, the word you are searching for is Stepford.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone watch Lost last night. I lost track of time and totally spaced out and missed it. Now I hear it's on tonight. Am I mistaken about last night? Was last night the season 3 finale and a a one hour recap? Are tonight's showings two new episodes.

I told you all I was confused. It only gets worser.

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

k-guy, I thought that was Nicole Kidman...

*head tilt*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

*burp* Ablosutely, Slyness.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The only unforgivable sin in American culture anymore is smugness.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Is "Smugness" available as a Boodle handle? If so, dibs!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

omni, last night's "Lost" was a TWO (!!!!)-hour recap. (I was furious, because the TV guide thing I use said it was a "new" show. Well, it was: a new recap.) Tonight is an additional one-hour recap, followed by an actual, new, never-before-puzzled-over episode.

The way I figure it, the "Lost" creators think that three hours of recap is necessary for learning-challenged viewers. (And they may be right.)

The 2-hour recap was accompanied by a pretty irritating text box at the bottom commenting and explaining what was going on above it. Drove me freakin' nuts. The only good thing about it was I got to watch Evangeline Lilly for two hours. (Have I mentioned that I want to bear all her love children?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

My grandfather used to claim that back in sunny Italy they drank wine partly because of the bad water. I believe that melons were also very popular for the same reason. He used to think that there were few things as glorious as a glass of pure Pacific Northwest water.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of being allowed to make certain jokes, I heard Edwards withdrew from the race to spend more time with his ambulance.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 31, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

All this beverage temperature stuff makes me laugh as it brings back memory of a funny line I heard last week on TV. An actor/ comedian/TV host was making a good impression of a local Dobbs-type talking head making a rant against the poor treatment offered to the elderly.

"All the old folks aspire to do is to eat soft food, drink tepid beverages and evacuate semi-solid stuff, is it too much to give them at least those three things?"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Wish I could join the BPH tonight, but family duty calls. My younger daughter asked me for help with a test she's taking tomorrow, subject: hydraulic systems components. Since it also may be *my* life in her aircraft-mechanic hands, I guess I'd better see to it that she knows her stuff. She says that I can 'splain things far better than her profs. can. That's scary.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 31, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mudge. That captioning would have really bugged me because I use the regular closed captioning and would have felt I was missing something. At least now I know. Except over on Celebritology there talking about last night's episodes like so much was revealed it seemed like they're all talking about new episode(s).

Late breaking news: Can't make the BPH. Instead of having each of you having a drink of Yuengling you all have one big gulp of for me. This way my acccumulated gulps will equal what's left over in each of your cups after the gulps, and we'll all have the same amount. sound fair.

OK that sounded funnier in my head when thought it.

Anyhoo, have fun and don't forget the photographic evidence for posterity.

Posted by: omni | January 31, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I believe the medical consensus is that a modest drink or two each evening promotes cardiovascular health. The catch, of course, is the term "modest drink or two." This involves a lot less than some might believe.

And the last I heard caffeine was also viewed as largely benign - if not actually beneficial in many ways.

Which is good, because they will take my coffee from me when they pry my Eeyore mug from my cold dead jittery fingers.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

BPH Tonight? I'll raise a glass of cold liquid to your health in a generally SSW direction in an hour or so...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 31, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

There are only two sins; incest and folk-dancing.
Drinking seawater isn't sinful but it makes people so crazy they mistake Canadian national traits as sin.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 31, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Incest taboos are interesting. Somebody told me recently that there are only 3-4,000 Kiowas left in Oklahoma and their kinship systems are so intricate and their incest taboos so strong that it is now impossible for any Kiowa to marry another Kiowa and they all end up marrying other tribes or non-Indians. This has very serious implications for cultural transmission.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 31, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Wish I could have boodled more today.

I'll see those of you who attend the BPH soon...


Posted by: bc | January 31, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mudge, I don't have a logical answer to your question, "what's wrong with alcohol (in moderation)?" I have tears in my eyes from contemplating the question, "what's wrong with alcohol?" so clearly it's an emotional subject for me.

I've watched a lot of good people suffer who, if they had followed my path (lifelong abstinence) would have had less pain in their lives. For all I know, if I wasn't a teetotaler, I'd be a homeless person begging for money for my next beer. I don't know, because I've never attempted to drink in moderation. I do know that there's no danger of falling into alcoholism so long as I never drink alcohol. And I don't think I need alcohol to stay healthy. I'm one of the healthiest people I know.

But please, don't mind me--I believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility. Please enjoy whatever beverages you wish.

Joel wrote a story once for Outside magazine about how great it is to combine camping and beer. After he has explained at length all the reasons it's so wonderful, he says this:

"Yes, there are those who disapprove of such activity, who believe that the whole point of camping is to refresh our physical and spiritual selves, to feel fully alive and virtuous. And it's good to have one such person around -- because somebody has to get up and make the coffee."


And that, I submit, is our standard at the Achenblog. Tolerance all around.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 31, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll be sorry to miss the BPH tonight. I've been fighting some sort of respiratory crud all week and decided not to share. Hope a good time is had by all.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 31, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

And OF COURSE, now my BPH arrival could be delayed by work...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

It looks like I won't make the BPH either...

because of excessive distance and or airfare.

Hoist one for me, and give mo a hug.

MO, you will be there?

Posted by: dr | January 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Going waaay off topic here (so there, Liz Kelly!). Heard this great story on NPR this morning about Lebanese immigrants in the Mississippi delta.

If you have time, listen to the audio, although the story is pretty much told in the written article. Something about the old mens' voices I just loved...

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Looks like bc and I will have to flip a coin to see who gives the vaunted, much-anticipated State of the Boodle Address.

Which is disconcerting, because half the Boodle is sick (me, too; I've got a cold) (sick and tired doesn't count), while the other half seems to be engaged in some sort of learning-related activity. Good thing CP is gonna be a doctor. Now, if she only doled out flu shots...

I'm outa here. bc, hold that front table...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Guess what? I'm sick too. I have what Cassandra has. After two weeks of coughing and honking, I went to the dreaded doctor who gave me antibee's for a sinus infection.

Is the whole world sick?

I meant that in a non-existential way...

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 31, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci - I was raise by an alcoholic. I still bear some of the psychological scars. And I have dogmatically denied the validity of the "controlled alcoholic." So I understand very well the dangers of alcoholism. I understand your tears.

What worries me is the underlying philosophy you express, that because something in life is risky it must be studiously avoided. The implications of this are unsettling.

What if one studiously avoided all things in life that involve risk? Would any of us dare risk loving? Or marriage? Or, horrors, breeding? For I have seen lives ruined through these things as well. Our neighbor lost their son two years ago. I cannot recall seeing either one smile since that day.

And I know that it could easily, easily happen to me. Yet I never question the decision to have children.

The point is, the the world is complex. It isn't always a dichotomy between that which is good and that which is evil. Sometimes it really is about striking a balance.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Don, sounds like an excuse for father-daughter bonding. Sometimes that part about family being able to explain better is true, because the nuances and thought patterns are easy to follow from long-experience. Other times, family is the LAST source to learn from, because of patience issues.

Enjoy your evening.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

RD...I think Kb has a valid point about feeing uneasy about hearing alcohol glorified, even in jest.

Fortunately we do glorify food and glaucoma test-piloting in jest here, too.

We must set up a think tank to explore fresher topics of depravity, of course.

(Thanks to Bob S., we've already covered De Sade, and SoC is always ready with lawyer jokes. So much already covered...)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod. You are right, in this case, I am a good choice for the reasons you mentioned. I'm a patient guy, and love to teach. It's God's good providence that I'm knowledgable in these areas. My daughter goes to her mom for proofreading of essays, etc. My daughter is sooo OCD about tests and grades that she gets herself worked up needlessly, though.

To her, being the only girl in the class means that she *has* to get everthing just right. It also means that she is wrecking the grade curve.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 31, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Daily lurker, semi-annual poster here. And, apparently, the sole Mormom regular reader of the Achenblog (although I'm not from Utah).

Re: food, drinks, etc.

Since the mid 1800s Mormons follow a dietary law we call "The Word of Wisdom" that encourages eating mostly grains, fruits, vegetables, and are told to eat meat "sparingly."

As part of the Word of Wisdom, we do not use any tobacco products. A radical idea in the 1800s.

We are told to avoid alcohol and "hot drinks" which has been _officially_ interpreted as coffee and tea.

There is no prohibition on caffeine. Nothing is said about it.

Some (many, perhaps most) Mormons think the coffee/tea thing is about the caffeine and choose to eliminate caffeinated soda.

My own experience is that I was addicted to Diet Coke during my BYU college days (about 64 oz a day). I had the same early- morning headache of coffee lovers, the rapid heart beat, and even a couple feinting episodes. I quit cold turkey and felt like I had the flu for about a month.

I decided right then and there that I didn't want to be addicted to any drug again, even if that drug is "harmless" caffeine.

A few years after that, I pretty much stopped drinking sodas because they are just too sweet and they are not good for you--they make you fat, fill you with chemicals, etc.

Don't get me started on alcohol. I come from a line of alcoholics and have seen it's destructive power span multiple generations. Even if I weren't Mormon, I wouldn't drink. And, I've never met an alcoholic yet who didn't start by thinking "a little, a moderate amount is OK."

So...the BYU kids Joel met with were not breaking any rules, they were not skirting any lines, etc by drinking their Mountain Dew, Red Bull, or hot chocolate.

Being a Democrat in Provo, that's gutsy.

Posted by: Kari in NYC | January 31, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"fainting" not "feinting"


Posted by: Kari in NYC | January 31, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

kb, obviously there is other stuff going on, but is your choice now more of a health decision for you? You do strike me as one of the healthiest people I don't know(!!) and I'm just curious if that plays a larger part in deciding to stick with your choice now than it did way back.

I've just been thinking about how sometimes our reasons for a choice can change over time, things I've been weeding through that I chose or did not choose, and I would be interested in hearing your perspective.

Posted by: dr | January 31, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Karl in NYC... thanks for popping in and answering our questions! Nothing like hearing it from the horse's mouth, so to speak and no insult intended.

We used to have a resident Mormon here, young Sara from Utah. She got married and has continued in school full time (and working, too!) so no wonder she no longer has time for us.

I did receive an invitation to her wedding and it was interesting to me (though not surprising) that I was invited merely to the reception and not the wedding, which was taking place in a Mormon sanctuary. Had I been able to get to Salt Lake City, I would have happily attended and would have partaken of whatever was offered, cold or hot.

Karl, I hope you continue to post more regularly than twice yearly. We love to add new voices to our earth-shattering conversation. I mean if Liz Kelly mentions us, we must be celebrities, no?

Alas, I am missing the BPH tonight. Parental duties call to me to attend the Rising 9th Grade Parents meeting at my daughter's school. Isn't it only January? Yikes.

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Have a lovely meeting, TBG. I trust that Son of G is well, as are all in your household. Thanks for the perspective, Karl. I, too, come from a long proud line of alcoholics and have witnessed the same as you. My wife and I have chosen to let our children know of the family past on a need to know and age appropriate basis. We drink very infrequently, although we both had our time in the fast lane, and have a circle of friends that do the same or don't drink at all. We've taken the kids to the races and to concerts in the presence of folks that are having too much fun; we are some of the straightest folks in the crowd. The kids have to see that you can go to those events and have a good time without being loaded. I believe that the best we can do for our three is to educate by example. There are times, however, when I fear that the kids will slip off into the ditch. I'm hopeful that our strategy will be effective in the long term. Can't watch them all the time, ya know?

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

...and hey, Don! Happy belated birthday. Remember speaking of the Massanutten and the comparative cost of a small airstrip? I'd bet the one in Weyers Cave was a low budget affair.

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Like RD, I coped with alcoholism in the family at a young age. I drink a little, a glass of wine now and again, but that's about all. Mr. T abstains, which is fine with me. It took a big fight for him to get to the point that he doesn't make it an issue with me when I have a little wine.

Jack, it's funny with kids. The older dottir drank (illegally) from a young age, but not in my house (except on one occasion she regrets to this day). She has simmered down considerably, I'm glad to say. She and her SO like a good wine and will drink a beer, but nothing to excess. Younger dottir won't drink at all.

If I have an addiction, I suppose it's tea. I never learned to drink coffee, so I drink a cup of hot tea upon rising and then iced tea for the rest of the day. I never learned to drink beer, either.

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm firmly in the coffee camp. Black, w/milk, burned, day old, anytime, anywhere. When I took our oldest daughter to see Bob Weir at Ovens, I stepped to the concession counter and ordered a Coke and a coffee. when the attendant came back, I jokingly said "I get my coffee for nothing, 'cause I'm driving the bus, right?" the attendant hesitated and said "Well, I guess so..." I don't know what bus she thought I was driving...

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

What this guy says about the Kennedy/Obama comparisons is good. RFK's trip through the south shocked him out of his classy cocoon.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 31, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

As a recovering alcoholic I can certainly understand Kbertocci's point of view. I also have no issue with people who can drink in moderation. I wish I could do that, as the relaxation from a drink or two would be welcome from time to time. But alcohol almost ruined me, although I did have some fun in my 20's, before it became a problem. My parents drank in moderation but there was alcoholism in both of their families so it apparently skipped a generation, lucky me. "S" comes from a family that didn't drink at all. Not from any religious or historical reasons, it just wasn't part of their lives. He rarely drinks, which makes my life easier. Most of our friends drink, but not to excess, and being around them is fine.

When I first got sober I drank a tremendous amount of coffee. I still like a good strong cup but can't drink as much as I used to, between the caffeine jitters and the bathroom breaks, it's just not worth it to me. I'm starting to appreciate herbal teas and mentioning that makes me want a cup right now.

Welcome Karl, thanks for the info on Mormon beliefs.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 31, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

RD, maybe I overstated. I agree with you, of course. I actually said to a friend recently that the object of life is not to "stay safe." Far from it.

But it is specious to compare love, marriage and childbearing with drinking alcohol. Love is the essence of existence. It's worth dying for. Marriage and childbearing are what facilitate our collective survival; they are worth any amount of risk. Alcohol, well, I've never seen what's so great about it. It's never been any temptation at all to me, and since I've seen the downside and never been convinced that there is an upside, it has been an easy choice. I've never been afraid of being an alcoholic--that homeless person imagery was just an extreme example to make a point.

I'm not a fearful person. On the contrary, I'm pretty free and have done things in my life that other people would consider risky or courageous, depending on their attitude. I was thinking of giving examples, but it started to sound too defensive, and I, as a self-proclaimed brave person, have nothing to prove. I use my real name on the internet, and that will have to be my only evidence for now.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 31, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I drink coffee, and frankly, I wouldn't want to have to listen to me all day long sometimes. I suspect whichever early Mormon came up with that, had been listening to a bunch of folderol spoken at twice normal speed by a bunch of coffeehouse overimbibers, and decided that's no way to live. Much as we see crackheads today. I find my occasional Mormon friends to be mellow and good. I would quit caffeine and go herbal, if I could avoid sleeping, napping, and loss of concentration. I credit our WWII victory with superior control of coffee supplies. But to be jacked up every day indeed causes us to lose something that is hard to describe. I sympathise with the anti-caffeine people. But I am indeed hooked.

Posted by: Jumper | January 31, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, Kari in NYC! Thanks for clearing up the caffeine thing. Wow - must be tough to be a Morman in Seattle. I don't think caffeine affects me much. I drank Coke as a breakfast beverage till I was in my twenties, then switched to instant coffee. When I was sick with a kidney infection a few years ago, the doctor said no coffee, and I substituted water - and felt no different, waking-wise, than I did when I had coffee. Now I'm back to instant coffee in the morning, but more for the hotness than the caffeine.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 31, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

SCC - Mormon! A thousand apologies.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 31, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Not boodling at the Porching Hour but taking a class, which I just finished. Hey, teachers need to sit in the pews.

In my huge family -- we rival numbers of descendants with Mormon peeps (am g-child 47 in a set of 63)-- the alcoholism "gene" appear regularly. We do not have teetotalers, save for the recovering alcoholics. One brave and astonishing branch of the family remains in the bar and restaurant biz, despite seven-sibs who are all mid-life twelve steppers. And, hey, this bunch is fine despite being surrounded by booze. By fine, I mean today, since the act of living-well is a choice made often in a day.

I have seen it all: alcohol in moderation but also whiskey hidden in a bag in the parking lot of a large and wonderful wedding party, but the very worst was (is) the

secret drinker, only about a shot per day, but hidden behind the dresser, in the garage tool kit, in the garden pots, next to the Draino, etc. BUT MOSTLY INSTEAD of

being with people who love you.

If alcohol comes between the drinker and the beloveds, then there is a drinking problem.

I guess this is a subset of the relatively common dry-drunk.

I do not know what the answer is, but teetotling has not been the family tradition. There is something sensuous about the fruits of the vine and the grace of grain. Roman Catholic Eucharist is not Welches, 'tis fine sacramental wine, typically Christian Brothers or Novitiate (Jesuit winery in CA, where Jerry Brown, former CA gov, picked and squished grapes.)

RD, my mom wanted us to live Italian-style, with wine at table on Sundays. Those of us who drink lightly during meal prep, with beloveds and friends, seem to be doing well.

KB, your strategy is fine. You are brave. We never know for whom the vintnered grape or fermented grain will be a vale of tears. I have told my children that the best advice from family members who struggled is this:

the first drink, the very first drink, was like sex, really: remember it, savor it, and recall that the world was suddenly new and glistening with exaggerated fullness.

I tell my children that they descend from two families, where the internal biochemistry and genetic make-up may respond thusly to alcohol. Be careful. Know this. Be wise. Be moderate.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 31, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci - I was also overstating to make a point. Clearly one cannot compare love with alcohol. (Although I must admit a profound affection for 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon.) My point, and I think we agree, is that one needs to assess risk verses benefit.

I take the risk of alcohol seriously, but I also get tremendous enjoyment from the flavor of red wine. The secret is to stop after a glass or two. (Something my Dad consistently had trouble with.)

You don't see the attraction, and so don't want to take the risk. I very much understand and respect that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

whatzzzzzzzzz up, folks. just got back in and so tired. I am happy. I had two new kids today at the math and reading program, and they did homework and spelling and math, it was great. and getting ready to get a little girl that needs help with her reading. God is good.

Love coffee, but drink it in spells. I haven't had a cup since this bug got me. And I'm still taking antibiotics,but just about finished with them. Still have some of the cough. I hope those of you suffering now will feel better. It isn't pretty, is it?

Slyness, sounds like you have what the g-girl had, but she's much better now. She went to school today.

I'm going to bed. It has been cold here all day, but the weather person is talking rain for tonight. I can't seem to warm up.

Will someone have a hot tea for me at the boodle porching hour? Enjoy yourselves everyone.

kbert, in my lifetime, I have drank enough to float this small town I live in. I'm so glad Christ took that away from me. I care for none of it.

And RD, you're right, balance is the key, but for some of us, we wouldn't know balance if it stood up and slapped us.

Night boodle.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 31, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

That is indeed a long time to detox from caffeine, Kari. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I also had side effects from too much soda in my teens and cut back. Health reasons forced me to cut even further back. Nowadays I'm considering the possibility I should cut back even more.

At the moment, I try to drink less than 100-150 mg of caffeine a day-- less than 2 cups of coffee, or 2 cans of soda. Right now I'm drinking decaf tea (shrug).

I think it is concerning that sodas, teas, coffee etc. do not have caffeine levels listed (even estimated for natural beverages). There are many people with health issues who need to avoid or minimize caffeine, and just "not drinking anything with caffeine" isn't always the desirable path, especially living in very cold climates.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Caffeine for me has a certain medicinal value. For some strange reason it helps me concentrate and focus.

Go figure.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 31, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I doubt I could solve the difficult Sudokus without caffeine, at least in the time allotted. I also doubt I could have gotten a bunch of people to call me "T-Bone," without the caffeine - at least in the time allotted. But I did. (secret: tell them NOT to call you "T-Bone.") I planned the whole thing.

Posted by: Jumper | January 31, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Why, Jumper, T-Bone Burnett is a fine musician.

He wrote the score for Brother, Where art Thou?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 31, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's why caffeine is popular, RD.

But too much of it, and you get insomnia, or get addicted and withdrawal migraines if you don't get the same next day when your body insists on more.

It's also a stimulant, acting to whip up the adrenals. It can also worsen low blood sodium or other electrolyte issues since it's a diuretic.

It can also cause pain (yes, pain) in breasts and other body parts.

The stimulant and diuretic aspect is why I cut back. That and the pain.

CP... what can I say. It is wonderful when the choice is made not to go down the path of alcohol.

As for me, my first taste of wine was when I was 4, my mom let me have a tiny sip once, and I found it incredibly sour and nasty and never had a desire to be curious about it again. Probably what she intended.

When I was 16 I was using alcohol for cleaning lab benches. That helped me associate the smell of it with soap, or pine-sol. When I tried drinking alcohol, it was small amounts of sweet mixed drinks. I then found that I am prone to facial flushing from alcohol to the point I've felt like I had a full sunburn-- on less than 1/4 of a glass, even.

I learned to minimize flushing, but still, the idea of enjoying alcohol is completely alien to me, and for that I am grateful, I must say. There is no health benefit for me in particular from drinking alcohol, all told.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I try really hard to limit the number of cups of coffee I drink but I find it difficult - I truly enjoy the taste of coffee, in fact I am having a fresh cup now.

I am kind of counting on the snow storm we are expecting to actually happen as I do not normally drink coffee this late in the day during the week, fingers crossed I will be able to sleep late since I will probably be up late - my attempt at balance :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 31, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I can't read the comments on alcohol without thinking of this recent tragedy in Saskatchewan.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 31, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

SoC that story is heartbreaking.

Posted by: dmd | January 31, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

How heartbreaking, SoC. Being drunk has infinite costs in decision-making.

400 meters doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot when you can't see, and are disoriented in snow. 5 hours in that kind of weather without a jacket... he should be dead himself also, really.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Random rant coming up:

Never mind FCC fines for wardrobe malfunctions and v-chips. I want something that blocks commericals-- ALL commericals.

I swear, if I see one more ad for Smiling Bob, vigara, or prescription medicine for embarrasing or graphic conditions during the daytime, I'll explode.

The inventor who comes up with a reliable commerical blocker will be rich.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

SoC, that's one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever read.

Posted by: dbG | January 31, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Guess I'm the first one back from the BPH. We had a small but very pleasant turnout: bc, PJ, mo, Scotty, me -- and a newcomer: Moose, an occasional poster but mostly longtime lurker, a very nice young lady who originally hails from the Denver area way back when. I could tell you more about her, but don't feel comfortable doing so without her permission. Perhaps sometime soon she will speak up and tell you about herself, or not, as she choices. But it was very nice meeting her, and I know I can speak for the rest of us BPHers when I say we hope she comes back often. (It is kind of humorously spooky that when she came up to the table, she was able to identify me, bc and Scotty on sight, having never met us before. Guess most of the rest of you could too, by now.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, jeez. Poor Hurley. He's having an "I see people!" moment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

And Jack dropped the hammer on Locke. omni, you there?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I think I could, Mudge, but then I've seen the pictures. ;-)

Posted by: Slyness | January 31, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

An interesting story:

However, some genetic disorders can cause blue eyes along with vision or hearing problems. There are blue-eyed albinos and also oculcutaneous albinism. This research did not mention Africa.

Blue-eyed africans do exist (and african-americans) and they are almost always deaf.

Still, the very similarity of mutation and the recent estimated date is interesting.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Moose is a girl! So sorry I wasn't there. It's always fun to meet a new Boodler... see them approach the table all nervous and everything... and then learn there's nothing to be nervous about.

My meeting was boring but I did learn a few useful things. And I had have dinner afterwards with a good friend. For some reason, I was craving Lebanese food. Delish.

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Slyness.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 31, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good BPH crowd, for sure. Glad mo turned up, and Moose!

I watched the very civil debate between Obama and Clinton. Thought they both did well. There were some very direct, uncomfortable questions at times, but they each turned them aside or answered without answering - but they weren't flustered or annoyingly evasive. At least, not to me, but then, I'm favorably disposed toward them.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 31, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I also want to say it's really nice to read the heartfelt tales people here are willing to share about their lives and their families. It's important to know these things sometimes if you want to have a good discussion. It's also brave to talk about them.

We have no alcoholism in my family, that I know of, but Mr. G's mom and dad both suffered from it for years. I think jack describes our current life almost exactly... moderate to no drinking these days, but we were no saints in our younger days. And our friends these days are also pretty much just wine-with-dinner folks for the most part.

I have told my kids it's in their genes and want them to know what to look out for. They have also seen others making drunken fools of themselves and seem to want no part of that business. But who knows?

I tell them I can't stop them from doing anything they set their minds to do (that includes drinking, drugs, sex... all the regular stuff), but will have to trust them to NOT BE STUPID.

As Son of G gets older and more independent, I've revealed more and more of my own experiences to him. I recently told him I think the reason parents in my generation are so freaked out about our kids driving under the influence is because chances are we have done it in the past and can't believe we survived.

Posted by: TBG | January 31, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I saw the article regarding the inheritance of eye colour, Wilbrod. My daughter and her boyfriend both have blue eyes.


Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

And the ayes have it for a two-gene model for eye color.

Liposome deposits in the eyes seem to cause golden eyes, and this might drive a certain heightened risk for macular degeneration in blue, grey, or hazel-eyed people.

And Eye think I'm done for the night.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 31, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't care HOW grizzled & hardened they wish to pretend to be... nobody who was a teenager (or younger) when "Abbey Road" & "Let It Be" were released; Martin & Luther & John were still alive; and the Moon was still untouched by human boots has any right to claim to be "Old Guard".

Posted by: Bob S. | January 31, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, TBG. My wife has said repeatedly, during the discussions we have about the kids, that neither of her parents ever sat her down to discuss relationships and sex. I like to think that our eldest daughter is going into the boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic from a much more informed viewpoint than either of us ever did. Being informed, however, won't keep her from having sex if she decides to cross that particular line. Similarly, nobody ever sat me down to inform me about the perils of drinking/addiction in the context of a thoroughly addicted ancestry. As I said before, we try our best to teach by example. I feel like if children see their parents in a healthy, loving relationship they will seek a relationship like the ones they see most often and be less likely to get trapped in a dysfunctional relationship. Likewise, if they are around adults that can recreate without being one to three sheets to the wind and are unencumbered by substance abuse, excepting things like caffeine and sweets, they will tend to live in a similar manner. This seems like wishful thinking or looking at the world through rose coloured glasses, 'cause there's always the kid from a sober family that gets intimate with a tree or something with a BAC in the vicinity of .18, or the kid from an upstanding family that still ends up pregnant or as a father in their teens. The big red flags are a radical change in grades, or a radical change in their circle of friends. If only parenting came with an instruction manual...

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Since I fit your description, Bob, I want to go on the record as having no aspirations to the title Old Guard. Middle aged suits me just fine.

Posted by: jack | January 31, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

jack - I certainly aspire to the grand status of "crusty old curmudgeon", but am well aware that I've got to put a few more miles on the treadmill before that's anything other than youthful pretension.

On the other subject, one of my good friends is the mother of two daughters, and is a very cool, got-it-together kind of woman. But she's trying to figure out how to wrap her head around the fact that she has become aware that her eldest (early teen-aged) daughter is groping around in the trousers of a special boy on occasion. No easy answers here, I think. By all accounts, she's raised a bright, thoughtful, and fairly fearless daughter; and has done a very good job of keeping the communication lines open with her. Admonitions against rash behavior, and extremely gingerly-worded offers of help in obtaining contraception have been proffered. At that point, I guess all that you can do is keep communicating, and hope for the best. It's definitely been my experience that draconian restrictions are... hmmm... what's the word for, "much worse than useless?"

Posted by: Bob S. | January 31, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

By the way, kurosawaguy, in addition to your semi-sorta-regular advice on films that I haven't seen but surely ought to [in the defense of my highfalutin' friends, they sometimes take me to see some of the films that you mention. Mostly, I eat my popcorn and shut up!], you've now reminded me that I'm overdue for a "Casablanca" viewing.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 31, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I come from a long line of people who insisted on having sex. To my knowledge, this behavior was not carried out excessively -- no more than a few times per lifetime, surely, and always limited to those wild times before having any children. Nevertheless, this scurrilous behavior has shown itself to be closely correlated with eventual death.

I know of only one alcoholic in my lineage, but she was pretty closely related to me (my grandmother), never a recovering alcoholic. Prior to that, they didn't call it alcoholism, they called it "enjoying one's drink" and made no particular mention of it. A cousin's husband, recently deceased, was an occasionally recovering alcoholic. This past year was pretty rough on her -- her mother died in April, her father died in August, her husband died 'long about October. Wasn't too great for them, either, but they have ceased from complaining about it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Tim - Drinking & loving. If one don't get you, the other'un will!

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and if you escape both of them, then eventually breathing will just plain tucker you out!

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

glad the boodle is discussing important topics as always.

joel, quite the well-timed visit to the south-west. great pics.

robinson's piece on the electability issue is quite good.

so we're down to the final four, but it feels like the elections should be over by now. oh wait, i have to vote on tuesday. that means i have to figure out what those seven propositions are about. grrrrrrrr.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I took some time out from the busy-busy life last night to watch "Clueless" with the Spouse and Kids. I'm pleased to see how well the movie has held up after 13 years. Much better than Amy Heckerling's earlier "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", a movie whose appeal I never understood. Except, of course, for the opportunity to admire a young (but over 18!) Phoebe Cates with her top off. Honestly, did that woman never meet "a tasteful nude or semi-nude scene" that she did not consider necessary to advance the plot? She's as bad as Jenny Agutter (who also presented a pleasant view for contemplation). I mean, sure, I see the aesthetic appeal, but maybe they could add another note to the song, y'know?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 1, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, Tim. I'll grant you that the several see-throughs in "Logan's Run" were gratuitous, but do you really think that "American Werewolf in London" would have been the same without the touching bedroom scene?

On the other hand, I'll concede that Goldie Hawn's watery bathtub full-frontal in "Wildcats" was cute but completely unnecessary.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

There are those who say "Clueless" was loosely based on Austen's "Emma", Storyteller Tim.

I never saw FTARH. Any movie that glamorizes high school even in its title, just makes me roll my eyes.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

L.A. Lurker - Some of the folks here [I'd never claim to count myself among them] are prepared to discuss weighty topics with verve and wit, but the Biblical injunction to avoid casting one's "pearls before the swine" inhibits some folks, sometimes, maybe.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

More than just "some say", Wilbrod. Although the movie credits do not mention "Emma", the writer/director mentions it casually while discussing the background of the movie's making. I've never read any Austen, so I cannot say whether it hews closely to the original in, for instance, its emphasis on colorful plaids.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 1, 2008 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - If you think that "James Bond" movies are basically spoofs of "real" secret agent movies, and that "Our Man Flint" was a fairly amusing spoof of "Bond", and STILL got a laugh out of the "Austin Powers" flicks, then you'd probably chuckle at "Fast Times ...". Otherwise, nope, probably not for you. It's a joke making fun of a joke making fun ...

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Tim - I'm thinking that maybe Wilbrod was being wry.

Either way, "Clueless" - derived from "Emma"? Survey says.... YES

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Wow... I really can't understand how I just spoke of "James Bond" spoofs without mentioning "Matt Helm".

Posted by: Bob S. | February 1, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Not a lot to report this morning. Between the BPH and "Lost," I missed the Dem debate. Ya gotta have priorities, ya know. I shall go on record here early and before Liz Kelley and her peeps get to it that I liked the "Lost" season opener a lot. Among other things, it was even fairly coherent, for a change. And I was unexpectedly happy to see Charlie's "return," (albeit as a ghost). (Dead people on this show have a way of returning, or not actually being quite so dead and dragging themselves off into the jungle to return for another scene or two.)

Liked Eugene Robinson's and E.J. Dionne's columns this morning, all the more so since both were echoing major themes of my "parallelism" rant from yesterday. Amusing to think I've become a muse.

Scotty, Cassandra, you guys up yet?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

good morning, friends. yeah, Mudge, I'm up. Hands swollen so big I can hardly type. They will go down, eventually. Haven't read anything this morning. I want to see the interview of Nick Mackie this morning.

Didn't catch the debate last night. Knocked out. Perhaps someone can bring me up to date?

Slyness, did catch a little of the news about Rev. Sharpton. He did emphasize that he was not so much there for Mackie as he was for the process of electing him.

Am I to understand that he was voted in for this position? And if that is the case, can one overturn people's vote? And if the council does that, how's that going to fly with the people? Slyness, you don't have to answer these questions, just talking out loud.

It's raining here. Glad to see some rain. We're still in great need of it.

When I talk about my life before Christ saved me, it's only to give testimony to the power of accepting Christ as my Lord and Saviour. It is not to offend, or hopefully not to embarrass folks. Just feel so much better now, and want to give that glory to Christ. And as Bob S said, some folks might not want to throw their pearls before swine, I just feel it is a testimony, and I think a good one. But that's just me.

Have a great day, everyone. I hope to see some pictures from the BPH last night. Will check in later.

Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, and all, a good morning to you.*waving*

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

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 6:14 AM | Report abuse

A drinking binge involving little girls was the last straw in my sister's marriage. She was working the night shift at a nursing home and left her unemployed husband home with their two infant daughters. She made the mistake of leaving him with only one twelve pack in the house. None of the neighbors would watch the girls, so he put them in the car seats and left them in the parking lot as he went into the liquor store.

Some condo commandos had called the police and as he left the store with his supplies, they arrested him for child endangerment. Since nobody caught him behind the wheel (how the car got to the liquor store is purely circumstantial) he avoided a DWI.

My sister has spent years of her life and thousands of dollars of my parents money keeping his visitation rights to the rock bottom minimum.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

The picture I took of a Walmart in Utah was unsolicitedly invited to be added to a Flickr Walmart Superstore group.
Nothing is too obscure to have a fan club.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I missed the BPH, but my work doesn't get me into downtown DC much anymore. Besides, last night I had to cover a promise I made to a teacher from China to take him drinking:

He had spent the day touring DC and thought the Mall area was like a great green park. I'm sure he would have liked the Boodle.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Ah, so delightful to wake up to the sound of rain. I see Mr. T left his umbrella by the front door, which means it was coming down hard when he went for the paper.

Of course, rain means no walk this morning, but that's okay, I have to be at the fire museum at 9 to volunteer. This will be my first time, and I'm looking forward to it.

Good morning, all. Hey, Cassandra.

Posted by: Slyness | February 1, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse


it can get ugly, can't it? good for your sister, and her children.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse


not good that it happened, but good she's doing what she needs to do to keep her family safe.

i always felt i was in a pit during those times. a pit i couldn't seem to get out of on my own. prayers is a powerful thing, and it does work. i am living proof.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

scc "prayer is...

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Coffee is always better without the odd ground or seven in the bottom of the cup... *ptoooie*

The BPH was marvelous, as usual, and pictures will follow this weekend. Hiya Moose! :-)

Very interesting home page today:
*doing the "Danger, Will Robinson!" dance*

And the Grinch is alive and well...

*not-sure-if-this-jittery-feeling-is-Super-Sunday-anticipation-or-a-bit-too-much-coffee Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Because keeping people from watching the commercials you charge millions of dollars for is such sound business sense.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Insanity. The NFL can CLAIM all the rights they want. I can claim it's illegal to take my picture at a park, but it really isn't. I think they ought to try to take one of those churches to court. The NFL would lose, big time. I think I will boycott the game, now.

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

we all have demons that we deal with in our lives, and maybe mine is not the same as yours, and vice versa, but we deal don't we? and we either invoke the power of the almighty or we "i can do it myself" because we feel the other is a fairy tale, and who wants to believe in fairy tales? i can only speak for myself, but i am so glad that Christ found me, and in finding me, loved me even when i did not love him. what a powerful love. who wouldn't want some of that?

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Easing into the morning. *not enough coffee yet*

Speaking of Eugene Robinson's column, Republican-wise...

Mitt Romney's hair reminds me of Loomis hair. No two ways about it. Richard Gere's got it, too. *w*

John McCain. I was working in the kitchen yesterday and had flipped on CNN to get the top of the headlines, listening in, since the TV is in the living room. I saw, before I reentered the kitchen, Schwarzenegger introducing McCain, with Giuliani in the background. They were at some plant in SoCal that develops tech for cleaner auto emissions. McCain moved to the mic and began to talk about global warming. Then there was the little trill of trumpets--or whatever--announcing breaking news.

So I ran to the living room, and read the text in the crawl area to learn that the U.S. has just announced that they'd caught the #3 al Qaeda leader al-Libi. No details. About 5-10 minutes later, CNN said in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. Does anyone thing the timing was weird, other than moi? *adjusting cynical ex-newspaper hat* No news about when al-Libi was caught and/or killed, how long the news was held before it was announced to the public. Much made of the identifying marks on his body and his dental plate.

Local news from yesterday:

Within the next few weeks, San Antonio doctors, hospitals and labs will be required to report all cases -- and it could be thousands -- of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

In Austin on Wednesday, the State Health Services Council approved the pilot study in three locations: Bexar [San Antonio] and Brazos counties and the Amarillo area. The pilot program, which still must be approved by Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins after a 30-day comment period, was authorized by the Legislature last year ...

"The hospitals for a long time were where you saw MRSA," Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, told the council. "It all stems from the overuse of antibiotics. What we're seeing now is a different bug, what we call community-acquired MRSA -- which sounds the same but it's different. It's more aggressive."

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Really, really, really reluctant to ask -- and I have a strong feeling I'm gonna regret this -- but exactly what is "Loomis hair"?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Have we run out of Number 2 Guys In Al Qaeda to nab/kill/waterboard? We seem to be slipping in our pre-election terror hyping capabilities.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Hi Kari in NYC, I guess my 2:48 PM post really was confusing. But I maintain it was almost exactly what you stated, minus the red bull part.

I did what I had to do, but missed the first 13 minutes of the Lost recap. Really liked the season opener.

Am now convinced I must have missed a few the last episodes of season 3. me and my memory.

I think I'll rent season 3 and watch it again. just to be sure

Caffeine addiction is different for different people. I drink any where from 40 to 80 ounces of diet coke a day. I can stop, as I have in the past, cold turkey. I suffer no withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol for me is the same. I've twice gone teetoler, once for three months; once for six. Didn't miss it lick either time. thing is, I like the taste of a good beer and red wine.

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

New kit...of course

I seem to be developing a habit of this

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I missed the BPH. I might have made it, but we had a brushfire flare up late in the day that had to be stomped down. One of these days, again. I found it interesting that neither Obama or Clinton dismissed out of hand the idea of being running mates. The real issue, of course, is who is going to be the Presidential candidate.

Posted by: ebtnut | February 1, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I have a friend whose first wife was an alcoholic. This guy is a college professor and teaches mostly graduate courses and does research. For years he struggled alone while he did everything he could to hide his wife's alcoholism from the world. He organized his schedule so that he worked at home at night while the children slept because he was deathly afraid that his wife would get drunk and leave the stove turned on or pass out with a lit cigarette in bed and burn the house down. Finally he couldn't take it any more and filed for divorce. She got the kids. He had done his job too well and no one could corroborate his allegations of alcohol addiction. It took an additional 2-3 years before he was able to get full custody of his two young daughters.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, whatever "Loomis hair" may be, I know for sure that *I* don't have it, or anybody else's, for that matter.

Aircraft-mechanic-wannabe daughter came home in high dudgen last night. She and some of her classmates were asked by a prof. to move a piece of very heavy equipment. Being ex-USAF, she immediately snapped-too, and started jackassing it around. Her classmates were less prompt at responding to the request, leaving her huffing and puffing, but making some headway with the big lump of machinery on the deck. She is quite petite, but unbelievably strong for her diminuative size, and also quite willing to roll up her sleeves for any task.

When the prof., a native born Nigerian of a very old-school type of disposition, noticed that she was laboring in solitude, he told her to back off, and "let the men handle it". That sent her into high orbit. While I could see from her accounts that the prof. probably thought he was being chivilrus, she took it as a belittleing remark. She held her considerable temper in check, but was absolutely livid at the whole affair. Because she is pretty and blonde, she hates it when she isn't taken seriously, for any reason. I'm sure that the women-folk here can relate.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 1, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

I enjoyed meeting everyone at the BPH last night. I admit I did feel like a stalker as I approached the table, but everyone was great. I look forward to future BPH events.

Back to work for me!

Posted by: Moose | February 1, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

The BPH last night was quite enjoyable, a nice bit of relief from the stresses of the day.

It was nice to see familiar faces (and mo's spiffy haircut!), to meet Moose and to enjoy the laughter of friends.

Yes, I drink alcohol, for better or worse, and it's my choice as long as I'm responsible about it. If I become irresponsible in my alcohol usage, then there's good reason to take that under review. Until then, or a reinstatement of Prohibition, we have all the rights that the Constitution guarantees us. Well, those that haven't been abriged by the Bush Administration, anyway.


Posted by: bc | February 1, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

You're supposed to yell, omni

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