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Republicans Get Militant, Fred Gets Mad

Huckabee reduced.jpg

[Huck posing for photos at The Citadel]

Fred in Newberry reduced.jpg

[Fred marveling at the local sights in Newberry, S.C.]

Jeri reduced.jpg

[Jeri Thompson in steak house in Prosperity, S.C.]

[Cross-posted from The Trail]

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Mike Huckabee got a hundred or so people [Wednesday] night at The Citadel as a cold rain pelted the Low Country. Huckabee hits some notes that other candidates don't attempt, notably his references to the people at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum. After listening to some of the other pro-growth Republicans, it's almost jarring to hear Huckabee say, as he did last night, that although the economy might be going great if you're a CEO or a Wall Street trader, it's going badly "if you're the guy working in the kitchen, if you're handling the bags, if you're the one in the front seat driving the cab, not the one in the back riding."

But Huckabee, like his rivals, all but flexes his bicep when talking about how he'll use decisive military force as commander in chief.

"We win, they lose, and it would happen with overwhelming force. Ladies and gentlemen, we'll practice the Billy Jack school of foreign policy: This heel, on that side of your face, and there's not a thing you can do about it."


The Republican candidates ritually invoke the name of Ronald Reagan, and they also echo him in a way that might make fiscal hawks uncomfortable. They want to spend more money on the military, but also cut taxes. Balance the budget? Not on the agenda. It just doesn't get mentioned much these days, unless you're at a Ron Paul rally.

Mitt Romney said yesterday that he wants 100,000 more soldiers in the American military. He didn't say how he'd pay for it or how the military would find the recruits. And Rudy Giuliani has pushed hard in recent days for expanding the Army and the Marines, adding ships to the Navy and building "a new generation of long-range bombers." He also wants to cut taxes dramatically. He says his plan would cut taxes by $3,000 a year for a typical family of four with an income of $80,000. He'd cut the corporate tax from 35 percent to 25 percent, cut capital gains taxes from 15 percent to 10 percent, and end the estate tax altogether.

Giuliani told Reuters that increased economic activity would make up for lost tax revenue. He'd also try to cut 10 percent of the spending by every civilian agency. He downplayed the deficits of the current administration. "Yes, we have deficits, but, no the deficits are not as great as were predicted when the Bush tax cuts were being enacted."

In Jacksonville this week, Giuliani criticized the Clinton administration for, he said, cutting the military as part of the so-called "peace dividend." Giuliani called that a big mistake.

(In fact, the military draw-down began under President George H. W. Bush. A group called the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments visited this issue when it came up in the 2000 election. Conclusion: The "peace dividend" was a bipartisan decision. And, had Bush won a second term, he would have continued the defense cuts, the group reports.)


PROSPERITY, S.C. -- You rarely see Fred Thompson get too riled about anything, but steam was near about shooting from his ears today when he heard at a campaign stop that some of his supporters had received "push poll" calls from a group supporting Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

At a steak house in this small town west of Columbia, a man in the small crowd told Thompson that many people had gotten such calls in the past 24 hours. Thompson asked anyone who had received such a call to raise his or hand. At least a dozen hands shot up. The former senator said he'd heard of push polls accusing him of supporting partial birth abortion.

"They're taking the most outrageous, easily disproved things that they can come up with. It's amazing to me. Its so ham-handed," Thompson said. "I had a 100 percent pro-life voting record over 8 years."

Trey Taylor, 41, told The Post that he'd gotten a call in which, after he'd revealed his preference for Thompson, a recorded voice said Thompson had lobbied on behalf of a "radical" pro-abortion organization. The recording then cited Huckabee's anti-abortion record.

Speaking with reporters, Thompson looked like he was ready to strip the bark off Huckabee. He suggested that Huckabee isn't trying to "win the legitimate way" by focusing on the issues. At the most recent debate, he said, "I confronted him man to man, with regard to the issues. This is the response I get."

Thompson said he expects the governor of South Carolina to respond to the push polling. The state, he said, has gotten a "bad rap" for nasty campaign tactics in the past. This time, he said, "The only one I know that's doing any negative campaigning here is the Huckabee people."

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 18, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
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Me, me!

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I read these pieces yesterday and I still giggle when I see Huckabee's Billy Jack foreign policy. As a foreigner, all I can say is after the Bush foreign policy don't we deserve better? Help!

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't know who this "Billy Jack" is, but he sounds like a prick. Let's not emulate him.

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Don't miss out on the kit betwixt this one and "rack 'em"

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee scares the bejeezus out of me. Personally, I don't want to live in a theocracy.

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

dmd, "Billy Jack foreign policy" is a brilliant phrase.

Gomer: see for a little primer about Billy Jack.

Posted by: byoolin | January 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Found this on wikipedia under "Billy Jack" the movie character, and if it doesn't sum up what we are doing overseas, I don't know what does. This came from a song that was apparently a big hit after the second "Billy Jack" movie came out in 1971.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven, you can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after, one tin soldier rides away

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Gomer, may have to hurt you for that tune cootie and for making me feel old.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee is scaring me, now. Is there a dieter's equivalent of "dry drunk"--is he just cranky because he can't eat fried chicken anymore? Maybe he'd be happier if he was still fat.

(I'm speaking from personal experience: the January weight-loss program is ongoing, and my stomach is growling at this very instant. It doesn't make me wish I was Commander in Chief so I could blow up people in other countries, but I'm less jolly than, for instance, on Thanksgiving afternoon...)

Posted by: kbertocci | January 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Try Huckabee's Constitutional policy: rewrite it to match the Bible. So, with a few breaks & a lot of MSM complicity, we could have the Billy Jack Biblical Constitution!

Posted by: No.9 | January 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Read all you want about the "Billy Jack" films, just don't attempt to watch them! I've had quite serviceable vacuum cleaners that didn't suck half so much as those flicks. Makes "Rambo" look like "Hamlet."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Gomer... you're such a young'un. We love you, though.

I can hear that song in my head right now just as if I'd heard it on the radio this morning. Don't remember who sang it (one hit wonder?) but it was a very dramatic, high woman's voice.

I do love the comment on The Trail about the Billy Jack line... something like "and this guy says he's a Christian?"

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Here is the all time best version of the Billy Jack song. I remember it like yesterday. It was our favorite song at St. James school in Hopewell, VA. An island of liberation theology in a sea of rednecks.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, it sounds as though Gomer never heard that song in its original incarnation. That makes me basically ancient.

You mean Lizzie marries Mr. Darcy?!

Posted by: Yoki | January 18, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, please sit down, it gets worse. Jane marries Mr. Bingley too. Oh, these happy endings!

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wiki wiki says the group that sang it was Coven. And yes, I suppose I am a bit young for it, as I wasn't even a meiotic twinkle in my father's teste in 1971. I was decanted in '76, a bicentennial vintage. I used to think they made the quarters and $2 bills just for me.

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, come on. Next you'll be telling me Emma married Mr. Knightly!

Posted by: Yoki | January 18, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Went ahead and put "People Of The Book" on reserve at the library. 94 people beat me to it. It may be a while before I get my shot.

Billy Jack the Movie was too violent for my tender age when it first came out, but Billy Jack the Mad Magazine Parody made an indelible impression on me. It was in the Walking Tall vein where a mild mannered guy is provoked into action. 80 minutes of turning the other cheek, and 20 minutes of kicking @ss.

Pretty much every episode of "Kung Fu" followed this formula as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Fred's mad because he thinks that Huckabee's trying to recruit his staff before he withdraws from the race.

Sorta like NFL teams poaching other team's coaches while the season's still going. Huckabee's looking like he's going to make it to the postseason.

Fred...well... doesn't look so good at the moment.

We'll see how much that changes on Saturday.

I'm sad that Bobby Fischer's dead. Dag. I was playing a chess match with him online, and I had him on the ropes, mate within five moves and no escape for him.

I mean this person I was playing *said* he was Bobby Fischer...

Seriously though, Fischer was a very interesting guy and when I think of him I always consdier the occasionally blurry lines between genius, eccentricity and mental illness.

And how far one has to go to find true happiness inside your own head. Apparrently, Bobby found it in Iceland.


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

From Eugene Robinson's column, late start this morning, directed there by Mudge:

On Iraq, the difference is even more stark. It's true that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards voted to authorize the war and that Barack Obama opposed it from the start, though he wasn't in a position to do anything about it. And it's true that Edwards has apologized for his vote and that Clinton hasn't. But they all promise, basically, the same policy going forward: Bring the troops home.

I heard a pundit say that Cindy Sheehan did more to oppose the war than Barack Obama ever did. Just sayin' since y'all know I been to Crawford several times.

Speaking of Crawford, did anyone hear Brian Williams report last night that People magazine is publishing a story that the Bush-Haggar (sp?) wedding will take place on the Crawford ranch on May 10? At least Rove won't have far to go from his little bungalow in Ingram. Providing he's not writing another Wall Street journal op-ed or granting an interview to Express-News Washington correspondent Gary Martin. *l*

Posted by: Loomis | January 18, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I am a Christian. Huckabee is a nut. And he scares me. And under no circumstance would I vote for him. Period.

Posted by: Tangent | January 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki, and Harriet married her farmer, what was his name? Oh yeah, Robert Martin. I think they were happy, unlike Mr. and Mrs. Elton. Now *they* deserved each other!

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Finally, a flimsy excuse to mention that Frostdaddy was David Carradine's platoon sgt circa 1960. The draft made for many interesting contacts between arty types and the military. I like to think both were better for it.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

YJ -- me too, on encountering Billy Jack in Mad mag format. Also, ditto on 2001: a Space Oddity. No movie theaters near us at the time, but a few Mad mags made it into town courtesy of the brood of boys next door: seven Marsh brothers! God pity their lovely sister whose middle name was LeVeda.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Bobby Fischer's life will, for me, always be the archetype of what happens with a guy when he can't find a woman to love him. He dies young, too.

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Remember when the Republicans were supposed to be the part of fiscal responsibility? I guess the thinking is that when you are at war you don't worry about such things as massive deficits. And that's fine when was is temporary, but when war has become the norm, what then?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" should only be experienced under the following conditions-

1.)in a Cinerama or Imax equipped theater while seated in the center of one of the first ten rows

2.)in a chemically enhanced state of consciousness. That's what the intermission is for- to go to the john and replenish your enhancement before the Star Journey to Fetusville starts.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

There is also something to be said for creating the proper military, not just a bigger military. Building more billion dollar bombers and more ships with real big guns doesn't deal with the kind of asymmetric threat we are facing. We need to think more about regional stabilization and tactical control and less about how to fight a massive conventional war.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Bingo, k-guy. The book is pretty good too.

Billy Jack style of diplomacy, indeed. I guess that's another iteration of the shock and awe strategy in Iraq. What you said, RD.

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, RDP, conventional weapons and tactics won't work when we are fighting the Chinese for control of their moonbase. No oxygen to make the big guns go BOOM. We need to equip our boats with awesome laser cannons. After all, the moon DOES have seas...

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I remember well the Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky match in 1972. It was huge. There were even television commercials based on it. It encouraged my older brother to start playing the game. I tried a couple of times, but was never very good. I always messed up the endgame.

And since I am exercising seldom used brain cells, I recall seeing "Billy Jack" in college. By then enough time had passed to understand the underlying cynicism of the film. It replaced "love your enemies" with "love those that agree with you and kick the livin' snot out of those who disagree."

I do remember the Mad Magazine spoof. It was one of the only two I ever read. Evidently unwashed feet were Billy Jack's true weapon.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"We're whalers on the moon,
We carry a harpoon,
But there ain't no whales,
So we tell tall tales,
And sing our whalin' tune."

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I also first saw 2001 in college. Maybe it's because we had been spoiled by "Star Wars," but many of us found the pace painfully slow. I remember this guy sitting next to me muttering "Oh Lord. Not the Pod again."

Also, I remember thinking the ending was simply too obtuse for me. I sit through twenty minutes of freaky lights to get this? A giant fetus? What was that all about? Perhaps it would have worked better if I had followed k-guy's advice.

Still, the debt that later SciFi films owe to 2001 is undeniable. I mean, the original "Alien" is basically "2001" with dripping fangs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that heads up about the previous kit, Frosti. I would have missed it. Sounds great. For some reason, after I posted first in this kit the comments section had "0" comments for a long time, even after refreshing and then had 28 comments all of a sudden. Hmmmm, I'm easily confused.

"One Tin Soldier" always set my teeth on edge. I hated that song. Perhaps because I hated the movie. So, the whole Billy Jack foreign policy bit by Huckabee makes me nauseous. These guys (Republican candidates) seem to have come completely unhinged.

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Fred and Jeri.

The Lord doth work in mysterious ways.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Kim - obviously I agree about the movie. And I always viewed "One Tin Soldier" as overwrought tripe. But my musical opinion is probably influenced by the fact that I associate it with being dumped by my first kinda sorta girl friend.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I thought 2001 came out before the Star Wars flicks. At least those were within my lifetime. Also, 2001 was a lot easier to follow after reading the book. In the book, they go to Saturn, but Kubrick couldn't get his special effects people to make a convincing Saturn. So, with A.C. Clarke's blessing, they went to Jupiter in the movie.

"Open the pod bay doors please, Hal."

"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that."

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm sure your kinda sorta girlfriend was a perfect dope, RD.

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Why can't a country, say the US, capable of conventional war respond with asymmetric warfare (minus suicide bombing and torture*)? Don't we seem like the musty old redcoats sniveling about those dastardly revolutionary militias hiding behind rocks and trees?

* I was going to say "minus suicide bombing and torture, of course" but to our great and lasting shame "of course" can no longer modify torture in ref. to my government.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

2001: A Space Odyssey: 1968
Star Wars: 1977

It did help if you'd read Homer before seeing 2001. D'oh!

Posted by: Yoki | January 18, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

A scene from Cheech and Chong's 2001:

"Open the pod bay doors, Hal. It's me, Dave."


"Yeah, man, open the pod bay doors!"


"D-A-V-E! Dave, man, would you open the pod bay doors?!"

"Dave's not here."

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You gotta love the Billy Jack picture i put in there.

I have another, better Jeri picture but I'll save that for my slide show if i ever figure out how to post these pictures correctly.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 18, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Tanks, Joel, Huckabee's "heel-to-the-face" comment makes a lot more sense.

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I think the Billy Joel pic is a very impressive addition. But now I can't get that dang song out of my head.

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Woody Allen is 72!?! Wowza.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I know, Kim, I'm having trouble shaking it off, too.

We may have to resort to some rash counter-tune-cootie tactics here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse


Since my wife is a _P and P_ groupie, I have to make one defense in favor of the 2005 movie. The art direction and set design is so much better than the BBC version. The pigs and filth make you realize how much more desparate they are. Also Donald Southerland was great.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 20, 2007 10:03 PM

Funny how we keep rolling back to the same stuff.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Pri & Pre = Jane A stuff
Pla and Ple = Plaid and Pleats stuff

Recall that SD is the Prince of Plaid and Pleats.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes "2001" came out before Star Wars. But I was 8 when it did. I didn't see it until 1981. But this was a much more innocent time before videotapes and cable television became truly mainstream. We saw many older movies for the first time at the graduate center theater.

For example, believe it or not, neither I nor most of my classmates had ever seen "Psycho."

And, I can report most reliably, that even a group of kids who had seen "Friday the Thirteenth" and "Halloween" we were blown away by what Hitchcock had done.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Kim! That made my day.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I can't remember if I've used this one before to replace a bad tune cootie, but it's always been pretty effective for me. So let's go:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to shake the Billy Jack song off with "Mellow Yellow" by Donovan. I just got a new car (yea! only the 2nd new car I've ever had!) and it has a 3 month freebie of XM radio. I was flipping around and landed on the '60's station. I bet I haven't heard that song in 20 years.

They call me Mellow Yellow...
Quite rightly
Now that's a kookie song but I can live with that tune cootie

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you CP, thank you very much.
I'm not living up to my name though, medium green jeans today.
k-guy, the Star Wars series also benefits from the addition of gaseous chemicals, trust me. Man, that Empire Strikes back Movie was funny the first time I saw it.
The Huckster is just plain scary.

It looks like the Safe Third Country status of the US is in jeopardy because Foreign Affairs suspects the USA of torture. It may mean Canada has to keep all asylum seekers coming from the US for fear they could be tortured if returned back to the US. This is mostly BS but still it's pretty sad.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

But I wore a plaid shirt last night to go shopping. Nice one with two tones of brown with black and goosesh1t-green lines.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Joel's fine pics inspire this one question boodle quiz.

Complete the analogy-
Fred:Jeri cadaver:________

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

there be pix up top...

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. "Mellow Yellow." I thought I had killed those brain cells by now. Now I'm going to be humming this to myself all afternoon.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I was to comment on Freddy's rapid deterioration but you did it better. He makes McCain look like a young man.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, RD, it's better than One Tin Soldier!

frosti -
cadaver:Playboy bunny?

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I see Fred and Jeri I keep thinking of that old Joe Jackson song "Is She Really Going with Him." Especially the line,

"They say that looks don't count for much
And so there goes your proof"

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your doing just fine with the photos by me. I do have that little vision problem though so what do I know.

Star Wars was said to be immeasurably improved with a little chemical addition too. I think I was the only sober person in the theatre when I went for the first time. Made me wish I had taken the time to learn to inhale. Now I'm just glad I didn't, and I still like the movie. 2001 is just plain painful to watch.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Note to self: refresh then post!

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Kim. "Mellow Yellow" has a nice sunny sound to it that puts me in a good mood.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Fred needs to get mad with the person that dressing him and doing his hair. His looks are not improved one bit. If anything, he looks like he's tired. Of course, that may very well be. After looking at the photo of his better half, no wonder.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

2001 I saw when it first came out. I was 6. boy did it go way-way-way over my head. Read the book in early 80s, then saw it again. That's the way to do it. Read it. Watch it. Don't forget the Glaucoma Test Pilot meds...(for watching only, not for reading, of course)

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"...suspects the USA of torture." That's like suspecting Kevorkian of assisting suicides, or Arbusto of lying to the public.

Posted by: Obnubilator I | January 18, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra's mind is the gutter and made me laugh.

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for drawing the obfuskibator....

At the National zoo yesterday. What is that stuff falling down?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

See, this is the danger when one reads the Boodle before the kit: I thought that the phrase "Billy Jack foreign policy" was dmd's creation used as a clever way to describe dangerously simplistic ideas regarding the projection of American power (a la Bush, Cheney, Rove, Wolfowitz, and Ripper), but then I find out that it's Huckabee himself using the phrase with not an iota of ironical intent.


Posted by: byoolin | January 18, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Not in the gutter, omni, just thinking about keeping up. It's hard for old people to keep up a certain pace. They want to sit down and catch a nap. And when they can't, it makes them cranky. There are exception to the rule. Perhaps Fred is that exception, but he looks tired to me.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Fred's looks are beyond repair, but I would hate to be a person who votes according to candidates' looks.

So, Huckabee is in South Carolina, likening himself to a movie protagonist who beat the living crap out of rednecks, throughout the movie? Interesting strategy.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The lion must be missing his homeland.

Posted by: daiwanlan | January 18, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

With the right hooded accoutrements, Sen. Thompson could pass for Sen. Palpatine's action double.

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes people do vote according to how a person looks. I don't think we have too many bald Presidents. Most of the last ones have a head full of hair. I'm not advocating one should vote according to looks.

If Fred looked like a Viking prince I wouldn't vote for him. Anybody that wants to emulate Ronald Reagan is not on my "to do" list. These are mean-spirited folks.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

SD, disagree with you I must. Watching Yoda and following his dialogue requires total concentration. "The Empire Strikes Back" and wacky tobaccy- mix them can you not!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I believe we elect presidents based on height...

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

All tax info is in the house, in fact in this room, glaring at me, daring me, making my life nervous. I will do the taxes now.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Easy one, Frosti:

Complete the analogy-
Fred:Jeri cadaver:stiff

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

RD, you reckon the Lord had anything to do with that match-up?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I was trying to figure what word to put there, and you did it so much better than I ever could.

I laughed out loud. Of course, without the hearing aid, I can hardly hear that. *sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

You are right Cassandra. What was I thinking? Please forgive the blasphemy.

Fred with Jeri clearly suggests the forces of darkness.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Watching Yoda and following his dialogue requires total concentration."

Truer words were never spoken. The first time I saw Yoda in a movie I couldn't understand a word he said. I found my mind wandering whenever he spoke.

The next time I saw Yoda I had a small child, so all I could hear instead of Yoda's wisdom was Grover's voice.

But this reminds me of when we took my young niece to see Empire Strikes Back (that is the first Yoda appearance, no?), her parents were anxiously waiting for her reaction to the movie when it ended. All she said was "Why did Yoda take Luke's flashlight?"

I guess you had to be there.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

byoolin, I can understand your confusion when I first read Joel's piece I thought that quote was something Joel wrote in fun. Could not imagine that someone would actually say that and people would not laugh.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

And in the "Gee, the idea worked so well the first time around" category, Golfweek has fired one of its editors.,28136,1704872,00.html

And yeah, editorial judgement THAT bad is a firing offense. *rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra: Thanks for all that you bring to the boodle. I missed your broadcast the other day, but from what I gleaned from the feedback the message, as always, was positive. I hope your appliance is repaired posthaste. My grandma had a hearing aid, one of the oooold boxes with an earphone that she could turn up or down as the situation dictated. When she was tired of everyone telling her how things should be, she'd turn it off and sit back with her toddy and have a good time.

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Re; frostbitten's 12:03, yesterday's Doonesbury was a bull's eye-

Posted by: crc | January 18, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Scotty saw an article on that this morning, and I couldn't agree more. I actually watch the golf channel and know who Kelly Tilhman is, what she did was st*pid, what the magazine did is hard to comprehend.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Any list of Fred and Jeri Thompson analogies has to include a comparison to the Flintstones:

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 18, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Have at you, good sir knight...

Posted by: jack | January 18, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

if Huckabee can even get 25% done for America as he did for my state of AR, then it might be the greatest success story ever. he was a great governor. a conservative one. and a uniter.

Posted by: Anti-wimp | January 18, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Cassandra, thank for both picking up the baton and bringing smut to the boodle. I was tempted but since I had already sullied the "Rack 'em up Romney" Crazy Joel earlier I abstained from it.

Appropriate name.
"The captain of the Boeing jet that made a dramatic crash landing at Heathrow airport admitted today that it was his co-pilot, John Coward, who was the hero of the day."

The problem with these heroes is that 6 months later the investigation report may show that the very same guys forgot to switch on some critical system. Ooops.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Anti-wimp is:

a. A citizen of The Natural State
b. Mrs. Romney
c. Bill or Hillary Clinton

My admittedly liberal Taxachusetts relatives had little good to say about Romney's tenure.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Change choice b to Mrs. Huckabee. Never mind, it's not any funnier that way either.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it, Shriek.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

wait, is that right?

Posted by: Anti-wimp | January 18, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I seems to me that with exception being McCain all the repugnant candidates need the Billy Jack treatment. You know, may be a swift kick upside the head is just the thing to knock some sense into them.

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"I took on the worst road system in the country, according to Trucker's magazine," Huckabee said. "When I left, they said it was the most improved road system in the country."

He is referring to an annual survey done by Overdrive magazine which asks truck drivers to name the best and worst highways.

When Huckabee took office in 1996, Overdrive's survey said Arkansas' roads were fifth worst in the United States. The state kept slipping in the rankings and by 2000 it was indeed the worst in the nation.

The governor and the legislature raised taxes, and by 2004, Arkansas was rated the state with the most improved roads in Overdrive's annual survey.

In the January 2008 issue, Arkansas is rated fifth worst - the same as when Huckabee took office.

Posted by: crc | January 18, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, jack.

And shrieking, you too.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Woody Allen 72 in WoPo front page. Overlooked 'Cassandra's dream' as our Cassandra. But we do have a dream, don't we?

Posted by: daiwanlan | January 18, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

You guys do realize that the whole list of nations to watch (re torture) is just come back from the remarks made by a certain US secretary about how other nations were not doing their part, right?

Tit for tat is just plain silly. such are the games of international oneupsmanship and they help no one and nothing.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

dr, you are a fine human being.

I disagree with you only to the extent that tit for tat is the prime mover behind international diplomacy, which does sometimes accomplish what we would wish. If each side to negotiations did not have some tat for tit, and backwise, not much would get done because there would be no leverage. It can work to the world's advantage.

Posted by: Yoki | January 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Taxes are done. I remember 14 hours doing them when I ran my business. And that was doing them honestly. I think I didn't have the stamina to cheat!

Back on the wage train with standard deduction. EZ.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

And to add to what Yoki said, the torture statement comes from the beaurocratic side not the political (beaurocrats don't work quick enough for tit for tat). There is a fuss as the statement is contrary to the PM's policy.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the Billy Jack pic, Joel, that movie was *huge* when I was younger.
The original "Walking Tall," too.

Saw 2001 for the first time in the theater when I was 6 years old, and I've seen it in just about every theater release since then. Watched it with my oldest two kids a few months ago; my eldest (16) "got" it right away after I explained some of Clarke's "The Sentinel" (a story on which "2001" was based), and the book "2001" itself. My middle child (13) hung with it but found it dull even when I explained to her that the interplanetary space flight sequence was intentionally written and filmed that way to make viewers feel like they were on that seemingly endless flight, too. And to see how Hal's increasingly eccentric behavior contrasts with the near-robotic human astronauts...

Eh, I love that movie, but I have for 40 years (!) now.


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

To clarify not a shot at beaurocrats, just a recognition that they look at and study the issues before responding.

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

44 years ago today in cultural history: the Beatles release "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in the U.S. (Sweeping off eyeglasses for dramatic emphasis) and that's the way it is...

Posted by: K:LOTD | January 18, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I see on the front page that Chris Matthews is "in hot water" for suggesting that Hillary Clinton's political career was fueled by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. So, he's suggesting that one of the most embarrassing of possible public humiliations inflicted upon Hillary Clinton is the source of her political career? I suppose this is somehow retroactive, since her political career extends decades earlier, albeit without seeking elective office.

I have heard the nonsense, also, suggesting that Hillary's heartfelt moment in New Hampshire was "clearly" a put-on, a fake, a play for a sympathy vote. Considering that her campaign has emphasized that she is tough enough to take on "the big boys", that the history of emotionalism in politics is bad, and that all the political prognosticators immediately proclaimed it the end of her campaign, it is a little hard to swallow that it was a grand plan to win New Hampshire. She's succeeding, and since "we" already know that she is evil and wants terrorists to do unspeakable things to our babies, her success could only come from cynical manipulations. Right?

These people are crazy.

Posted by: Tim | January 18, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I kept getting Fred Thompson confused with this other guy, for a while.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

TBG, but quotable Yoda is.

He uses an OSV (object, subject, verb) word order which is extremely rare in human languages which certainly makes him sound alien and definitely not thinking on the same plane as Luke. But then nobody's on the same mental plane as a teenager.

If Yoda's grammar-twisting was a mindtwister, imagine how I felt having to switch over from English word order to ASL word order at age 11. Same signs, mind you.

So it was like learning to speak English words with French or Greek grammar instead.

Fluent now I am.

Now getting back to real literature, this Austen gossip is reminding me of the excellence of Jasper ffordes' Thursday Next books.

To you them I recommend.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Me, too, Jumper.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Ah so true, Yoki and dmd, I guess I find myself so tired of all games lately, and these things sound just like games, just larger in scale.

Oh the games people play. Put me in my house on my hill, and just let me be a hermit. 3 months was too much notice.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty easy to tell Fred Dalton Thompson and Joe Don Baker apart actually, although I know the three name thing may confuse those not raised among throngs of Billy Bobs and Jimmy Joes. Fred plays high level authority figures- admirals, police officials, presidents, DAs (no, not THAT kind, the other kind). Joe Don plays street level authority figures- cops, sheriffs, sergeants. When the subject is the spy world, things can get tricky. CIA agent=Joe Don.
CIA Director=Fred. Joe Don will occasionally open up a can of whupass, Fred OTOH signs the contract to order 50,000 metric tons of whupass.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I like your analysis.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

On topic.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, "First among sequels" the book I just finished . Very entertaining this book I found. The cliffhanger without I could do though. The first of a number of sequels the book was that we knew, so a surprise it was not really.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 18, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

RD and Joel, I noted that comment from Huck about building more long range bombers, too, and said to myself, "Why?"

I hope someone asks him that, if they haven't already.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I'd want to hear his answer. Probably only serve to cheese several countries off.


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

bc, I think that's a telegram to the military-industrial complex that if they are on his train, they won't mind the ride.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

In "Are Men Necessary?", Maureen Dowd makes a pretty convincing case that if it weren't for Monica we would have President Gore, but no Senator Clinton. It's a debatable thesis, but definitely defendable.

Media Matters, which has been orchestrating the anti-Matthews campaign, is a hornet's nest of pro-Hillary partisans that are more than willing to lash out at anything that hints at sexism. They seem to be pretty effective at eliciting obsequious apologies. Shock collars anyone?

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 18, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

While you're mostly right, K-guy, I should point out Joe Don has played two governors (although I suppose the one in Dukes of Hazard doesn't exactly count; the other was Gov. Jim Folsom of Alabama); a Congressman (Hale Boggs), and a Senator (McCarthy).

But yes, Thompson clearly outranks him. He appears to have played president three times (one of them Andrew Jackson's offstage voice), a CIA director once, a presidential chief of staff once, two senators (one was himself), a rear admiral, and a major general.

With luck, he'll never get to play president for real.

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

Wilbrod... Yoda's grammar difficult to follow is... but his voice is very quiet and mumbly and hard to hear and understand, as well. Too much trouble apparently for my brain.

And because he is voiced by Frank Oz, who also does many Sesame Street characters, he just sounded like Grover to me once I had immersed myself in Sesame Street as a mom (I was too old for it as a kid).

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day to everybody.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the games.

Posted by: omni | January 18, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

A quick question re. JA's pic of Jeri Thompson - is that Pat Buchanan I see standing behind her?


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Kind of a cross between Grover and Miss Piggy, with mixed-up syntax.

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Er, that's Yoda I was talking about, not Pat Buchanan.

Posted by: Gomer | January 18, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I definitely believe that with no Monica, we'd have President Gore. Without a doubt.

But Senator Clinton would probably still be Senator Clinton... and likely still running for president this year!

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I put that Jeri Thompson pic through Photoshop but it's really Joel's pic. It will go down soon.

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, Tom Laughlin got to play "Lover Boy" in "Gidget," so I guess it's a wash.

(Unbelievably, he was also Lt. Buzz Adams in the original South Pacific movie. Never knew that until now.)

I'm not sure any of us is up to watching "Billy Jack Goes to Washington" (1977). Here's the IMDB plot description (Scotty, please avert your eyes): "After a senator suddenly dies after completing (and sealing) an investigation into the nuclear power industry, the remaining senator and the state governor must decide on a person who will play along with their shady deals and not cause any problems. They decide on Billy Jack, currently sitting in prison after being sent to jail at the end of his previous film, as they don't expect him to be capable of much, and they think he will attract young voters to the party. Billy is pardoned, released and nominated, after which he begins his duties. He soon notices that things aren't right, and starts trying to find out just what is going on."

(One might note that usually, the guy gets elected to office first, and then goes to jail. Apparently BJ did it the other way round. But he11, this was 1977.)

Swear to god this is true: Walter Cronkite's daughter and political writer Joe Klein were in it. Less surprisingly, so were Suzanne Somers (as "Party girl") and Lucie Arnez.

Can't believe I missed this one. Some days ya just get lucky.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about Grover... makes me think fondly back on his skits as the waiter. There's even a page dedicated to that character on the Muppet Wiki...

One of my favorites...

Grover has a new method of remembering orders: He makes a poem to remember what is ordered and who ordered it. Mr. Johnson orders a hamburger with pickles and french fries. Grover's poem is "Round and tasty on a bun, pickles, french fries, yum, yum, yum!" However, he brings Mr. Johnson a grapefruit on a bun.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll make this as simple as I can. If you're not sure who you're watching- Fred Thompson's appearance reflects gravitas, Joe Don Baker's appearance shows the effects of gravity.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. K-guy's clearly not a Tom Laughlin fan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tom Laughlin, nah. If I want to watch someone devoid of humor, personality, and talent, I'll go for a Steven Seagal flick. More money yeilds higher production values.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

And how does THIS guy fit into the pantheon?

Posted by: Jumper | January 18, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, not completely believing that you didn't make up that movie, I googled it.

Sure enough it exists, the trailer

Posted by: dmd | January 18, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey, another talent he doesn't posses- who knew?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

*muffled gargles and gagging noises*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Now, now. Barry Corbin played Deputy Roscoe in the original and still best "Lonesome Dove." That alone is enough to protect him from scorn.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra's comment made me remember a joke:

An old man was sitting on the curb, sobbing bitterly. A younger man comes over and sits down next to him to console him.

"Hey, Buddy, what's wrong?" the younger man asks.

The old man replies, "I'm 87 years old, and I'm married to beautiful, fun, sexy, 28 year old woman who thinks I'm the best thing in the world! And she's waiting at home for me right now!"

Confused, the younger man asks, "Wha - So why the tears?"

The old man replies in anguish, "I can't remember where I live!"

Budda Boom

Posted by: CowTown | January 18, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The no-Senator Clinton prediction is the harder part of the counterfactual history. Her ambition is not in question. Part of it is how much Hillary's image as a wronged woman contributes to here electoral success.

Her taking of Moynihan's seat required some buy-in from high level party leaders or it never could have happened. How much of that discussion involved any implied non-boat rocking over Monicagate. Trust me, an off-message Hillary during that time could have sunk the Clinton presidency and it didn't hurt the fortunes of now-candidate Hillary.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 18, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Barry Corbin is also in No Country for Old Men. Didn't realize he was till the credits rolled.

kguy, thanks for the Beatles note. Now I feel really old, but not as old as I will 6 years from now. If you know what I mean.

I went through a Donovan phase last year. Lately I've had "Hurdy Gurdy Man" going through my head - believe me, Mellow Yellow is preferable:
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy, he sang...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oooh! ooooh! I get to make a pedantic statement on usage!

k-guy - an employee of any part of the American intelligence community is called an "officer."

An "agent" is someone who is recruited from another country.

(BTW this also means that the term "secret agent" is redundant.)

Anyway - have a great weekend!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

But "Secret Asian Man" is a hilarious DaVinci's Notebook parody song as well as a popular webcomic.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

All right, K-guy. Tough question time. Strap on your guns. Are you ready?

Who is worse: Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Norris in a close decision. Less unintentional humor.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I can handle that one, 'Mudge...

Segal is worse -- not enough juice to carry a TV series.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I was just reminded: Monday's a fed holiday. It's the start of a three-day weekend, boys and girls.

Padouk, have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, and fondue... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 18, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet that on some dark night back in the early 80's I watched Billy Jack Goes to Washington. I think that I saw all of them.

But its not my fault.

A lot of bad movies were watched late at night by this a desperate me whilst a babe cried and spit up down my back. When you had few tv channels and no vhs, you watched what was there. It kept me sane. (I alos saw some very very good ones this way)

Or did it? I should probably check that with mr dr.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This just in- Phrase "damning with faint praise" redefined, now exemplified by "Seagal is a better singer than actor."

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Tim on some of the Hillary-world sensitivity.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 18, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

dr, that is a definite no fault-no foul situation. I was known to watch late night "Fear Factor" re-runs while waiting for the Percocet to kick in after my back surgery in 2004.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 18, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary is not playing the sympathy card, then why is she discussing Monicagate with Tyra Banks? I have a hard time not interpreting everything Hillary says or does through a filter of the coldest possible political calculation. She is the Coors beer of cynical opportunism.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 18, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Keeping myself entertained with my infant son while my wife took night school courses is what I blame my 'Clarissa Explains It All' addiction and my subsequent slightly unsettling fascination with all shows featuring wise-cracking tweener girls.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 18, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

dr, looks like the Spokane station is re-airing the Jane Austen shows several times - in the wee hours of the morning, but Sunday at 10 pm and Thursday at 8 - sometimes it's Sunday at 8 pm. Ai yi yi. Maybe I should tape them for you!
Northanger Abbey is coming up - I have that, but have not read it yet. Maybe I should start it...

Also, Bud Collins is doing commentary for ESPN2 for the Australian Open. In case anyone cares. I have yet to see Federer play, although I did catch the last part of an interview where he looked very happy and relaxed (I think he had just rolled over some low-ranked opponent).

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, I like your Thompson/Baker analysis. At least Joe Don Baker looks like he's having fun in the James Bond flicks. That's more than you can say for Thompson.

bc and omni, you saw 2001 when you were six?? That is mind boggling. Did you stay awake?

Posted by: pj | January 18, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

cowtown, very funny.

I'm going to bed, cold really getting me down,plus the fact I can't hear hardly anything. Not even the phone. Forget the doorbell.

Have a good evening, folks. Enjoy your long weekend. And remember Dr. King and his mission of peace and non-violence.

I'm hearing on the news that the stimulus package will not include the poorest of the poor. In other words, it's the same "ole thang", right? Why am I not shocked at this news?

Sweet dreams, boodle.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 18, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, Northanger Abbey is my least favorite of the Austen novels, but that's not to say it's not wonderful. It's a satire on the Gothic novel genre, which I never got into.

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Geez. Great Kits, no time. Technology achievement alert: I learned to use Drawing in Word to drag little boxes and lines around and make a sort of flow chart! Messy because not precisely aligned, but a skills breakthrough nonetheless. Next up: text messaging. The Boy says he will teach me. I don't know where he learned; he doesn't have a cell phone.

Must run to errands, retrieving Boy from dance, evening reception.

Tomorrow I will be able to post, on-topic or at least coherently, and alas, probably the Boodle will have decamped for the three-day weekend so many of us gummint workers enjoy. Ah well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 18, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I'll be around, Ivansmom, after taking Mr. T to the airport first thing in the morning. It's supposed to snow here, so I will definitely not be abroad when flakes begin to fall.

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

If Huckabee is going to use that analogy, someone should remind him that, right after Billy Jack said that line, the bad guys beat the snot out of him.

And, at the end of the movie, Billy Jack went to jail.

Posted by: Dooley | January 18, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

A few days ago I got a very long e-mail encouraging me to write a very nasty letter to MSNBC protesting Chris Matthew's misogyny. Today I got the victory gloating complete with links to Matthews kow-towing. The e-mail ended with this:

'We need your support now more than ever to ensure that Matthews and others in the media act with accuracy and accountability. Please continue to lend your voice and support for our mission -- tell your friends about conservative misinformation in the media and encourage them to sign up for our alerts, so they can be the first to know about important calls to action.

'Again, thank you for your continued support; we've only just begun to play "hardball."

David Brock '

They weren't attacking Matthews for saying mean things about any Republicans. Anyone in doubt about their agenda should be careful about crossing them.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | January 18, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Dooley! Good to see you.

Yeah.. him using that Billy Jack line makes it clear he's forgotten what it really means.

Like the local politician here who wanted to use Born to Run as his theme song... my son pointed out to him that he might not want to use the words "Baby this town rips the bones from your back.. it's a death trap... a suicide rap.. we better get out while we're young."

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I sometimes think these youngins get these things in the water!

Mostly, thanks for the heads up. I can easily do the 4 a.m. airings. That means 5 a.m. local, and well, maybe I will just go in late to work. I will have to come up with a good excuse. Since I've already used the dog ate my homework with the accountant, I don't think, I can use it again so soon, certainly not twice in a row on Mondays. And the boss knows me too well to fall for for the 'slept in excuse'.

I have an Austen confession. I've never read Emma all the way through. I have no idea why, but Emma just doesn't capture me. I've tried, but so far no luck. Its not like Gone with the Wind where I falter at the same place each time, its more that Somewhere about the middle, I just seem to find better things to read. Northanger Abbey is short, which is its chief blessing, but you can see her growth as a writer going from it to Persuasion.

I've often wondered where she would have gone in her writing had she lived longer.

Hey wait a second. It just occurred to me, is the Persuasion that just aired the version with Ciaran Hinds in it as Wentworth?

I ask because I caught the new bbc version of Mansfield Park early in January on PBS. The girl who was in the first of the new Dr Who episodes plays Fanny. It wasn't bad but over all the 1999 movie was better.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I think maybe to some folks comparing different versions of PBS Jane Austen movies isn't much different than comparing fighter jets.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC multiples of times. Ignore them please, edit whilst reading.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm also not saying I'm one of those folks.

Hey.. I forgot to shout out to Gomer today. Hi Gomer!

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they're all shiny, sleek, fast, deadly, and LOUD, TBG. Exactly like PBS Austen films.

Hey, Barry Corbin-- I remember him as Maurice Minnefield the ex-astronaut on Northern Exposure. What a riot.
In that famous dream transmigration episode, he wound up with the erotic dreams of one half of a gay couple he hated... and then worried HIS erotic dreams would come out in the open too.

You could argue that the writing would have given personality to an cadaver, but the show's ignoble death proved otherwise.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Handy conversion kit for Jane A/ fighter aircraft discussions:

Elizabeth Bennett: sensible, yet stubborn: F-4 Phantom II

Fitzwilliam Darcy: Intelligent, wealthy, handsome and reserved, often appears haughty or proud to strangers: F-15E

Jane Bennett: the most beautiful of her sisters. The depth of her feelings is difficult to discern by those who do not know her well, due to her reserved manner and pleasantness to all: F-16C

Lydia Bennett: extremely flirtatious, naive, headstrong and reckless: F104

George Wickham: Nemesis to Darcy. dashing, charming, and handsome officer of the militia: MiG-29 Fulcrum

Mary Bennett: the most serious, but least attractive sister: A-10 Warthog

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 18, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Dr, I like Emma, I have read it a couple of times.

Your problem is probably the fact that book has three major storylines going on, which may seem to make the book a little amorphous in the middle, because Emma is kind of wrapped up in her world and doesn't fully realize what is going on until near the end, even though as she is thinking she is superbly observant.

It'll all come together as you get past the slow parts... skim it if you want to, put it down, etc. Emma's /Weltanschauung/ can get rather twee, but it'll explode eventually.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

LMAO over your 5:57, TBG. Zackly!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

A sentence I could not have written in 10,000 years: "Emma's weltanshauung can get rather twee."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, only you would make those analogies, and get away with it!

dr, Wilbrod is right. Skim on through till you get to the chapter where Knightley meets Emma walking in the garden after a couple of rainy days. It starts with a sentence that just blows me away:

"The weather continued much the same all the following morning; and the same loneliness, and the same melancholy, seemed to reign at Hartfield; but in the afternoon it cleared; the wind changed into a softer quarter; the clouds were carried off; the sun appeared; it was summer again."

Pure Austen.

Posted by: Slyness | January 18, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

This Persuasion had Sally Hawkins as Anne and Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth. I haven't seen any other version - and I did a marathon of what my library had available. Love the P&P with Colin Firth. I can't remember at the moment who plays Elizabeth in that, but I liked her better than Keira Knightley - I think because she reminds me of one of my cousins - sly smile. Heaven knows if I have any of the names straight...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what travesties Barry Corbin has committed, or will commit, as an actor. His Northern Exposure years completely absolve him of any association with the "talents" of Fred Dalton or Joe Don.

Here is the closing scene from Northern Exposure. The series could have been about our fair city in the frozen north of MN. This song is played at every funeral in the Frostbitten clan and closes our annual memorial ceremony at the family cemetery.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Northern Exposure is so good. A local station has started running it when football games disrupt the schedule. I nearly got the DVD's for Mr Ml for Christmas. It was filmed down the road a ways from here, and some of the actors (Elaine Miles, Peg Phillips) were from Seattle. At least parts of it were filmed in Roslyn - not sure how much, actually, over time. I haven't been to Roslyn for quite awhile - resorts have taken over so it's probably changed a lot now.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I found more than one song titled "Our Town"... I assume those are the right lyrics.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

It was Jennifer Ehle playing Elizabeth Bennet.

SoC, you've ended my preposterous day with a laugh and I thank you.

Since its Friday and everyone has gone home, I think its safe to say, I like it when the guys talk planes and ships. Gives me goosebumps.

I don't own a whole shelf of Tom Clancy's for nothing, and all those manly adventure movies? They are mine. Star Trek fan Club. Mine. Sigh.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-sorry, I should have provided the lyrics or pointed you to them in the first place. You found the right lyrics.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Ehle. Apparently she's a natural brown-eyed blonde (relatively rare) and her hair went dark for the role.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Dear dr:

P-38 Lightnings, P-40 Warhawks, battleships, submarines, destroyers, B-17 bombers, B-24 Liberators (the most produced and most successful heavy bomber of WWII, even though the B-17 tends to get most of the press), the British Supermarine Spitfire, the great airplane (along with the Hawker Hurricane) that won the Battle of Britain and which was designed by the great Reginald Mitchell (played by7 Leslie Howard in the movie, BTW). Say, did I ever mention that my dad was chief quartermaster about the subchaser P-1138 in the South Pacific, and which sunk Japanese submarine I-26 off the island of Wotje in the Marshalls with their very last round of "Hedgehog" depoth charges? When I was a kid growing up near Williow Grove Naval Air Station in the Philly suburbs, the Blue Angels used to do air shows there every year; this was back when they flew Wildcats (propellor airplanes) the great carrier aircraft of WWII. We used to see them coming over the treeline in back of our house...

Hey, can't blame a guy for trying.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 18, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Frosti... thanks for that great reminder of the wonderful show Northern Exposure. I'm going to have to set a Tivo wishlist to find it if it comes on TV.

Excellent song, too. The Greek church has its own cemetery in Annapolis where many of my mom's relatives are buried. Funerals there are so comforting in that we are surrounded by family and friends... I always feel their presence as if they're in rocking chairs like in "Our Town."

Posted by: TBG | January 18, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Frosti - yes, that was great. I hadn't watched the last season or so...I'm not sure why, I think perhaps I was up to my eyeballs in diapers. I didn't realize that Maggie and Chris ended up together. I loved the episode they used the Robert Plant song "Addicted to Love" and did a takeoff of the the music video with Maggie and Joel. Wonderful show.

I think I mentioned that I liked the "Persuasion" that aired last Sunday, but not great. The Ciaran Hinds version was much better.

We are sitting down to watch "Little Dieter Learns to Fly" which a boodler, can't remember who, recommended. We got some take-out buffalo wings for an extra special treat! Yum!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Not Robert Plant; Robert Palmer. Yes, great episode.

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

I liked the episode with Adam Ant.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Northern Exposure was a delightful show. Although other shows have attempted to duplicate it (remember the one about the Caribbean medical school? Of course you don't.) none have fully succeeded. One of the more salient results of watching the program was a modest obsession with building a trebuchet. Remember the episode when they flung the piano? No matter. I do. For this episode prompted me to spend far too much time and money building a machine capable of flinging a citrus fruit the length of a football field.

Alas, my wife insisted I dismantle it after that whole unfortunate "commons area" event, of which we shall speak no more.

But sitting on our back porch, to this day, is a concrete counter-weight.

And one day, it shall be used again.

Oh yes. It shall be used again.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the details are escaping me! Thanks Mudge...and I hadn't even had a glass of wine yet! Also, it's not LEARNS to fly, it's NEEDS to fly. We just turned it off after 15 minutes because it's so intriguing and we realized our son is going to be home in a couple of minutes and that he would enjoy it as well, so we're waiting for him to watch it with us!

Cracked me up, RD!

Posted by: Kim | January 18, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I remember that episode very well, RD. Sometime around 2000, PBS had a series of four shows where they had modern folk try to duplicate engineering feats of the past. One of the show was to build a trebuchet. When I started watching it, the first thing I thought of was that "Northern Exposure" episode.

When you retire to your palatial estate, you can pull the counterweight out of storage and build yours again.

Posted by: pj | January 18, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from a very nice day-after-birthday dinner. Thanks to all for the good wishes. Nice restaurant in the next town, the building dates to the early 1700's. At the end of his program Olbermann played this video -, quite funny but also a bit scary considering how things are going. It seems that all of the Repub candidates are crazy, just in different ways. I don't know who looks rougher, Thompson or McCain.

Wish I could contribute to the conversation but I've never read Austen (she's on my list for when I retire and have time to read properly) and although I watched Northern Exposure for the first year or two, my memory of it is very sketchy. It was a charming show though.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 18, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

You can see trebuchets at work in "Little People, Big World." Of course, they have a whole farm to work with. However they did have an accident that hurt a boy and a family friend (not permanently thankfully).

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I do so love the internet:

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 18, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Who can see a trebuchet and not want to build one for his/her very own?

Posted by: frostbitten | January 18, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I already built a 1 foot toy trebuchet for physics class. It's not too shabby a toy, I agree.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Northern Exposure was treacly, cloying, sappy saccharine from start to finish.

But what about The Vertical One bringing The Billy Jack Foreign Policy! First Big Chuck [Norris] and now Billy Freakin' Jack!

Huckabee/Loughlin '08

Posted by: ed | January 18, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Who was that madman anyway?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 18, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

It didn't sound like Chigliak.

Happy Birthday, belatedly, Sneaks!

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 18, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Could you post or link to the plans for your trebuchet please, Wilbrod?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 18, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Um, I don't know if I have the plans anymore, Boko999. I'll find something.

This is bigger and uses more wood than ours did but:

And the HQ for trebuchet plans:

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 18, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom: I'm up too late so maybe this won't be coherent, but I have to tell you, I've been down that flowchart path myself, and maybe this hint can help you: there are Word templates for various kinds of flowcharts. Go to File=>New and where it says internet templates or something like that, type in "flow chart." It is probably going to be easier to work with a template than to create the thing from scratch.

AND, way late with this comment, but:

Joel, that cemetery photograph has been haunting me (sorry). It's so beautiful. I couldn't see it very well on my work computer because the monitor is dark, but when I was at home, I saved the picture and then viewed it full-screen, with the lights off and it looks like something out of National Geographic. Paris isn't ahead of you, yet.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 18, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, really - was the P-40 that great of an airplane? I mean, they got all the good press from "God is My co-pilot," the Flying Tigers movie, and the fact that Chennault's squadron had all the cool tiger mouths and eyes painted on the planes, but I seem to recall - possibly incorrectly here - that they weren't so good as fighter aircraft, so they ended up being used for ground attack duties. Mebbe I'm wrong here.

I'm all for the P-51s and the Spitfires myself. A friend of mine once said (and this is for you, dr) after being in London for the the 50th anniversary Battle of Britian festivities, "There's nothing like a bunch of big reciprocating Rolls Royce Merlin / Allison V-12s roaring less than 100 feet overhead to make your jeans fit tight."

pj, I dunno, I stayed awake for 2001 even when I was a kid.

Ivansmom, you may want to invest in some MS Ofc Visio. If you're doing flowcharts and things, I like Visio a lot more than trying to adapt other tools.

Though I *have* tried.

Trebuchets are cool, but give me a compressed air cannon for chunkin' punkins a mile or so downrange...


Posted by: bc | January 18, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers I have forgotten to wish you a very happy birthday. Yours as mine falls on a Friday, and I can highly recommend milking the whole weekend, by saying 'well, its my birthday'. People round here did not fall for it but maybe it will work for you.

Mudge, you had me at Hello... ok not that kind of had, but well, I was goosebumpy at Lightnings.

You forgot the Lancaster bomber. The R family has a personal attachements to Lancasters. Uncle Roman was a navigator and was shot down 60 miles (or minutes?) SW of Stuttgart on March 14/15 (his dating) 1944. He was captured by a home guard while trying to steal some eggs from a farm. The story rambles and is often unclear, but is absolutely fascinating. He talks of the food often :"one bowl of thin barley,cabbage soup a day and 1 1/2 inch of black bread once a week and perhaps a handfull of raw potatoes" and "our first good meal of choclate rasisins, milk, and bully beef or pork spam with biscuits" when they got their first Red Cross POW parcel. That same night, American bombers bombed Frankfurt Aux Main. He says he was expecting it in a way. It was a clear and moonless night and before their last flight, his crew had briefings about raids there, that were called off due to weather. One bomb hit the cookhouse of the POW's prison, and he writes, "You could hear the cans of butter, spam, and bully popping off like guns all night". In the subsequent fire, the POW's lost their bunkhouse, blankets and all the food they had just been given that they had not consumed. He spent time in Stalag Luft 6, near in Lituhuania, but he also speaks of April to July of 1944 in Heydekrug, as a " as a spring and summer holiday - playing bridge, watching football games amongst prisoners attentign symphonic concerts and dramas, borrowing books from the library and listening to dirty stories at night". They had a radio and could pick up BBC signals, and he talks about July 20, 1944 when Hilter was nearly killed. They went next to a camp in Poland (Thorn, I think - we could not make out his handwriting here) when the Russians advanced,
and eventually to a Stalag near Falings Bostel. He says the camp was ok, but they were always hungry. In March of 45, after Remagen, they were marched for 3 weeks, to somewhere south of Remagen, and were eventually liberated May 2 of 1945.

I remember the first time I read it his letter thinking how matter of factly he wrote, how removed from it he sounded. He went here here and here, it was a holiday, he was hungry.

I never ever doubted that the things he did not say are the real story and I hope that mr dr's dad never searches the internet for the information that can be found so easily about what it was really like.

Roman came back from the war a broken kind of man. He lived his life in the far north, as far away from people as possible. He could not stand noises, and he hated anyone telling him what to do, even in the smallest way. When he passed thorugh, he ate enough for 3 men, and ate so fast it would break your heart, as if he was afraid it was going to dissappear before he got his share.

He is known to have spoken only one other time about his POW experience, one dark night when the guys were harvesting round the clock he and mr dr were sitting in the truck waiting to empty the combines. Mr drs father wanted to know more, but Uncle Roman absolutely and utterly refused to talk about 1944 and 45 and refused to even look at what he had written again.

Even in my quick search to verify camp names and locales as I wrote this tonight, I read enough to make me cry. A lot. I found another fellow who talked about the radio and the BBC Broadcasts and several who remembered about the food. So very very sad.

The thing is, I know no matter how bad it was for them, there were many who suffered so much more.

I think I'll stop now. I need to go find something beautiful, maybe some Bach, maybe some soft sweet poetry, to remind me that even though humankind is capable of great evils against one another, we also are capable of great beauty.

Posted by: dr | January 18, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Happy belated birthday, Bad Sneakers.

dr, great story, and very sad.

A couple of boodles back TBG said, "We're learning points of view that just weren't available to us a few short years ago."

This is so true. A couple of years ago, I don't think I could listen to music online. Now I listen to Beethoven radio, a Hartford, CT, classical music station (There's no classical music station here), daily. Occasionally, I'll tune to Oklahoma to listen to country music.

Posted by: rainforest | January 19, 2008 3:07 AM | Report abuse

When I was in upper secondary school (16-17 yrs old) I often watched the TV programmes of our neighbour country. Pre-university (2 years) students read Shakespeare and works by other authors in their literature classes. Closer to exam time, around Sept/Oct, weekend TV programmes would include shows like Midsummer nights dream, Macbeth etc. I remembered watching P&P. The guy who played Mr Darcy looked exactly like what JA had described him in her book and he played the part very well. It was an excellent movie. The story wasn't butchered in any way in the movie.

Posted by: rainforest | January 19, 2008 3:40 AM | Report abuse

SoC, most excellent conversion guide!!! *LOL*

dr, thank you for keeping your uncle's memory alive, and I hope you found some appropriately beautiful passages to listen to. *HUGS*

I can recall a few late-night-TV jags while I was stationed in Germany. Armed Forces TV and the few Deutsche fernsehn channels made for quite the ecelctic mix...

*hoping-for-a-productive-Saturday Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2008 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Very touching, dr.

For my son's physics class they had to build a catapult or trebuchet. It was about four feet high and could throw an orange from the driveway to the other side of the parking area. We used scrap bicycle tires that we wound for the springs. It didn't win, but we had fun building it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Morning, friends. I do wish this cold would go away and haunt someone else. I'm just tired of it.

I used to watch Norther Exposure. I thought it was pretty good, but then I'm not a television critic.

The cemetery picture reminds me of a project we had to do in school. We had to visit this old house that had been renovated to get extra points in North Carolina history. After traveling quite a few miles I reached the destination. There were a number of people there besides students. And there was a guide to give historical details. One of the details she gave was about the cemetery. She said that not only were the homeowners and family buried in this cemetery but so were their slaves. She said this as if it really was so kind of them. My aunt had traveled with me, said they worked them to death, now to show their love for them, they buried them in their family cemetery. I think she asked the guide the question, why, which totally caught her off guard.

My passion is old houses. I love old houses that have been remodeled and retain their original designs.

Of course, anything old in the South has the taint of slavery connected with it, one cannot get away from that. So people view it with different eyes, and different feelings. For many white Southerners it's their heritage, and they hold tight. For most African-Americans, it is the source of their less than human treatment and pain, so they would probably like to see it all go up in flames. Therein lies the friction.

Slyness, we're suppose to get snow too. Bad weather in the forecast. So far, just cold.

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

Hope you're doing okay, Nani, and still telling beautiful stories.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 6:48 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what impact the weather will have on the voting today. People in the South aren't that good at driving in snow and ice. They usually opt to stay in, hopefully that won't be the case.

Anybody out there know if winning South Carolina and Nevade will have any direct impact on the candidates, such as some dropping out if they don't win? I know for the winner it's all good, but what for the losers? I guess what I want to know is will this narrow the field?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Morning. I think I ate considerably more than I realized at what amounted to a Chinese banquet here in Ciudad de Panamà. There is absolutely no need to go hungry here.

Yesterday´s highlight was poking around the local zamias (equivalent to Florida coonties) growing like so many little palms in a lovely tropical forest in Chagres National Park at the edge of a reservoir that supplies the Canal. Think of being in a lush Washington-area forest with far more kinds of trees, some palms, some beautiful little bamboos, and those zamias with their exotic-looking cones.

The old city of Panamà (Casco viejo) is far more impressive than you´d think from looking at Google Earth. It seems to be gentrifying the way Georgetown did back--whenever it turned from slum to fashionable.

Late night TV--years ago, while I was installing tile in the living room, PBS ran the entire Wagner Ring cycle. Valhalla burned somewhere around five in the morning.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 19, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse


I went back and read your story, and that was so sad. Yes, we are capable of incredible horrors to one another, but there is also beauty. And I, among others, need to seek that beauty. Sometimes that is just so hard. But we can't give up.

I can understand the hunger to some extent. Being hungry is so "less than human", for lack of a better word, because when hungry, that is all one thinks about. The mind will drift to other thoughts just to get away from the hunger, but then it comes back because the body needs fuel. I believe it also affects the mind in not so good ways. And to be hungry for any length of time is a killer on the body. I believe hunger is the worse tool to use against our fellowman. The only way to survive is to distance one's self from it. I cannot imagine all that gentleman went through, but I can speak on hunger in a small way.

When people start talking about war, I just wish they could experience that horror for a few days, and see if they still feel the same way before the experience.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

"I believe it also affects the mind in not so good a way.

"and see if they feel the same way after the experience.

Haven't had the coffee yet. I'm getting to it. It's sitting right here in front of me, but can hardly drink because of the sneezing and all that.

I guess everybody is sleep or did I kill the boodle?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I wish I were sleeping, Cassandra. Had to come in to work today.

Very touching, dr. Thanks for posting about your uncle.

We watched "Little Dieter Needs to Fly" last night and it was largely about his experience as a POW early in the Vietnam war. It was really compelling, I heartily second the first boodler's recommendation of it.

We're supposed to get snow as well, Cassandra. They're saying 3-5 inches which will put everyone in Tidewater in a tizzy!! My kids are trying not to count on it as the last several times there has been a forecast of inches of snow, they remember that we didn't even get one "stinkin' flake" as my daughter so elegantly put it.

Posted by: Kim | January 19, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think everybody's asleep.

To while away the time, I found this piece by Robin Givhan regarding the difficulties of language in discussing matters of race to be very interesting, and I found myself thinking of you while reading it.

I think it's worth a read, ma'am.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

dr Uncle Roman's experience very much mirrors my father-in-law's as a POW in Germany. He too does not talk about it. Since the day he was released, he has never put a piece of cabbage or any root vegetable except potato in his mouth, and that aversion comes from the cabbage soup/turnip soup he had to eat every day.

I've always admired him because he did not, for a long time, look back. He went to a reunion of his RAF squadron once and came back shaking his head. He said that many of the pilots and gunners and bombardiers, even at the age of 70 or 75, thought that the war was the best time of their lives and spoke about nothing else. FIL rather believed that the post-war life with wife and family and peaceful pursuits was the thing to cling to.

The years of FIL and Roman's incarceration exactly overlap; I wonder if they were in the same camp at the same time? Was Roman RAF? Did he train with the Commonwealth trainers in the Claresholm area?

Just about two years ago the remaining members of the RAF persuaded the Alberta government to put up a memorial to the fallen airmen from that training program; it gives me shivers to see FIL's brother's name among the many. It is the brother after whom Himself is named.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

dr... thank you for that beautiful story. I'm still crying after reading it, sitting here with my morning tea waiting for the rest of the family to get up.

Cassandra... your message of peace is right on, too. We talk about how a woman has to be tough to be elected as president, but will her feminine understanding of war help us if she does get there? Will there be a little less inclination to Billy Jack our way with the world? I hope so, and I wish Hillary could run with that message. I imagine more folks than not would vote for it. More than you'd realize.

Think we're going to visit the Smithsonian's American Art Museum today. When we took the girl downtown last week for Hannah Montana we were reminded that we want to visit there.

There is a piece of art there by "visionary artist" Jesse Howard, a sign painter from Fulton, Missouri. Mr. G bought a sign of his for a couple of bucks back when Mr. G was in college there in the mid-sixties. We still have it today, one of the few things Mr. G has kept through all the years. It's beautiful in a rustic way, but the message is so depressing; we brought it in from the garage when we found out that Jesse Howard is hailed for his outsider art and the sign might actually be worth some money.

We've always loved the look of it--a long, painted green board with silver words--but the words are so sad...


Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse


You are so right. It was worth every word. And I am shocked that Cornell West couldn't come up with words to describe race and all of its hideousness, yet I agree it is difficult. For one thing, we don't talk to each other, sometimes we talk at each other. And I think because it is a subject that neither group really wants to talk about, that poses some problem. We just want it to go away. The guilt is incredible. And as the article states, we just don't have the language to use in these discussions. It's like walking through a mine field. If we want to get serious, we have to apologize first. It is maddening. But I don't think that should put us off. We need to blunder on through. If we offend, we apologize, re-phrase, and move forward. We can't stop trying to talk. The language will come if we keep talking. There's just so much hurt, and it's never far from the top. It's like a cancer waiting to erupt anytime. That in itself makes the need to talk even more pressing. It needs to be buried, but we have to have funeral first.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Morning. Grmph. Grph. Darn stiff shoulder.
Where's the dang coffee...

Hmmm. Oh yes.

Greetings and most felicitous salutations.

As always, I am tremendously impressed by Robin Givhan. Talk about an intelligent and articulate columnist. Ms. Givhan doesn't touch upon matters of race often, despite, I assume, endless opportunities to do so. Therefore, when she does broach the topic, you know she has something really important to say.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yes, bc, the P-40 was a fairly crummy airplane--but it sure looked cool. (The main reason it was crummy is because it was old, very pre-war.) But my attachment to it was that the very first .049 engine flying model I ever had was a P-40 I got for my 12th birthday.

Yes, dr and Yoki, I didn't get around to the Lancaster bomber, but I could have--one of my favs. When I was a rookie reporter at the Allentown Morning Call, circa 1970, the guy at the next desk to me was an old-timer named Pete Stevenson, a Canuck who had been a Lancaster pilot in the RAF. He just got in toward the end of the war and didn't fly too many missions, but he did get a few. The best advice I ever got about reporting I got from him: always buy an expensive pen. That way you'll never loan it to anybody, bite it, stick it someplace, etc., ... and that way you'll never lose it. And he was right. He was one of about six of us who always used to go across the street from the paper when the night city editor (Roy Hefflefinger, a good guy) let us out about 1:50 a.m., in time to make "last call." And we'd get there and order five beers at a time, so we could drink until 3 or whenever. Pete was a great reporter and a great drinking companion. I still miss Pete.

Sorry to hear about Uncle Roman. The father of one of my best friends in high school was in the Army Air Corps in WWII in B-17s and was shot down and captured, and spent a couple years in Stalag III. My friend said his dad never liked to talk about his experiences, either.

On the other hand, after the war in the 1950s, one of my father's best friends was a guy named Larry Vigers, who'd been a B-17 co-pilot, and who used to tell great tales and stories about the war.

Gotta go do stuff. Everybody have a good day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see the paradigm shift from "peace" verses "war" to a specific strategy of security.

The world has become too small, interdependent, and complex for classical war to be very productive. But that doesn't mean we don't have a legitimate need to keep ourselves safe. The question is strategy.

It's like when you live in a big city. You don't go firebombing the "bad" sections of town. Neither do you hide indoors and read poetry while your world crumbles around you.

Instead, you invest in some good locks and generously support a well-regulated and supervised police force.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I will read a Givhan article when she is writing about something more substantive than fashion. The major weakness of her column today is that she is writing about only one race (vs. Anglos)--her own. Would we be having this discussion if the most experienced of the Democratic candidates was among the top three contenders, and by that I mean Bill Richardson? Why has his time serving his country not resonated with voters?

I have just finished reading this morning at the breakfast table the op-ed by local Metro columnist Carlos Guerra, "Election has similarities to 1960 but these are different times," in which he discusses the importance of the Latino vote.

(Note: I tried to get the link which caused my Internet connection to go into convulsions this morning, so I'm recreating this post as best I can--without the link.)

Guerra opens with, "Not since 1960--when the Kennedy-Johnson ticket successfully courted Mexican American voters have Hispanics gotten the attention they're now getting in Nevada." Thoughtful analysis follows.

He ends with these two paragraphs, the first dealing with some pandering:

That might explain why Democratic candidates are sputtering Spanish phrases at the drop of a--ahem--sombrero, and proclaiming that they will reform immigration.

Fine. But Latinos are far more concerned about how candidates will fix the economy, end the Middle East wars, provide affordable health care and better public schools, assure elder care and secure borders other than the southern one--you know, like the northern one that all identified terrorists have breached.

I invite Givhan to write about Black and Hispanic race relations, as well, as the NYT has done.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

A very good piece by Givhan, bc.

"The only way to survive is to distance one's self from it." Cassandra I do think you are right.

When I reread Uncle Romans letter last night, what struck me was how very much it reminded me of 'Three Came Home" the novel of Agnes Newton Keith's experiences in Japanese Camps in WWII. They both wrote from the outside, perhaps because they could not look inside at it again.

I admit to being overwhelmed by some of what I read while looking up place names last night. This was not just the war in history books, this was not happening to some other man, this was Uncle Roman who sat at my table and ate my food, whom you could see slide off into a tangent of something harmless but not quite sane, in the middle of a sentence about children at play.

Your right, too Cassandra, that I won't ever look at war stories in the same way again. I know how easy it is for me to forget these things, to put them aside, to foucs my more immediate concerns, like laundry and groceries and making some more socks to keep the toes in this house warm. In a way, though, Uncle Roman fought and suffered so that I could put it aside and I could worry about socks and warm toes. I think I'll say a prayer for him today.

Man, I don't know how to end this thought process, but I''ll quote fromDotC, "Valhalla burned somewhere around five in the morning." Strikes me as right somehow. I need more coffee.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm glad you liked that piece.

It gave me a lot to think about, and reminded me that there are lots of things to consider on all sides of discussions or race and that words and how we use them matter.

dr, that story is terrffic, and ought to be a Kit all on it's own, IMO.

Love the Lancasters and the Lightnings, too. Speaking of the "looks cooler than it flies" pre-war P-40, I always dug the mid-engined P-39 Air Cobra.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

A bit slow moving at -24F this morning, heading lower tonight.

I think this is worth pulling from Givhan's column:
"But no other debate is as linguistically lawless as race. The definitions of words don't matter as much as the perception of them or even the sound of them. Let us all recall the story of David Howard, the D.C. mayoral aide who in 1999 lamented his meager budget for constituent services by noting that he'd have to be "niggardly" in funding various projects. He ended up resigning because fellow employees were insulted. 'Niggardly,' meaning miserly, sounded too much like a racial epithet, even though there was no linguistic connection." When this happened I thought the insult to his coworkers was not what he said, but that their educations were so inferior they didn't understand what he said.

The language issue is always at the forefront for Mayor Frostbitten as the first word in our town name is considered a pejorative toward Native American women, who according to a recent memo sent out by a variety of native organizations want to be called American Indians after all. I would be fine with changing the name of the town, my grandfather was on the first city council and a recent reading of the first year's minutes confirms what he always said. It was incorporated primarily to issue liquor licenses and the name was chosen because the post office of the same name was already here not to recognize anything meaningful. Nevertheless, we have city council members who get all hot about "giving in to them." This even though no one has officially demanded a name change. Many have just taken to using First Initial 2nd Word in both writing and speaking about our fair city. That both the tribal government, and a very large local foundation that pumps lots of grant money into our area, have both foresworn use of the full name drives one councilman to apoplexy. His term is up this year and it would be nice to see someone run against hem. One AI woman could win easily, but she is vehemently opposed to changing the name. (You see it's not whites who are keeping the Indian woman down, but Indian men.) I'd like see any one of the presidential candidates come and work out a solution here, as practice for more difficult problems.

Sigh, Error in '08.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what this adds to the discussion, but it is always a thought that comes back when I hear about WWII. I asked my Dad once why our town didn't have a legion and didn't have any ceremonies on Rememberance Day (Veteran's Day in the US). He said around there, no one wanted to fight in the war. You see, half the people of the area were of German descent. Dad said you would never know if you were fighting your relatives. dr's Uncle Roman grew up in that same Canadian prairie district and has that same heritage.

Posted by: GD | January 19, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

This Post graphic about the SC primary is hilarious. Put the mouse over each Repub candidate and see what areas of the state they are expected to win. Look at Guliani... up pops a picture of FLORIDA!

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Very good story, dr. Reminds me of my friend's father, who was in the camp Stalag Luft III (of "The Great Escape") but was later moved to Germany somewhere, and right after the fall of Berlin the gates were essentially thrown open. He thought about walking away but figured the back roads and country was still pretty risky, so waited for a week and Allies soon arrived.

I must dispute Ed's summary of Northern Exposure. It was hilarious, and often had the courage to not beat the viewer with the theme or point of each show, but let people figure it out if they wanted to. Seems the entire thing was almost out of control, revolving around the central Joel character, who although the anchor of sanity, was himself not completely sane...

Let us hope the other Joel does not find himself swallowed by a whale.

Any Flight Simulator fans out there? I rate the program realistic enough to determine some similarities in handling with the real airplanes the simulation duplicates. Not that I have flown real planes. But at least some real pilots agree. I got hooked on the DC3 for several simulated years. What a history, what a feeling.

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I agree that would be an interesting article to read. But I also feel that it is the right of a columnist to write about what they want to.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Very powerful story dr. I know that there are some wars that need to be fought but it still fills me with great sadness to know its effect on the survivors.

I shouldn't have had regular coffee last night as I ended up taking an over the counter sleeping pill at 2 am. Now I'm groggy but sort of awake. Yesterday was a great day, got a year-end bonus check from my employer and found an extra hundred dollars in my checkbook. Told "S" that the bonus will go toward our summer vacation during which we think we'll travel to D.C. I've never been there and "S" hasn't been in years. I'll be asking you for suggestions when the time gets a bit closer.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 19, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra asks:
Anybody out there know if winning South Carolina and Nevade will have any direct impact on the candidates, such as some dropping out if they don't win? I know for the winner it's all good, but what for the losers? I guess what I want to know is will this narrow the field?

John Edwards claims he will stay in the race until the Democratic convention later this year in Denver. He could be the queen-maker or king-maker, depending on whether he continues to get a small number of delegates in each of the states' contests (whether it be primary or caucus). For the Democratcs, winning the state isn't as important right now, but each upping the number of his or her own delegate count is. Then the superdelegates have to be factored in--later on, this may or may not be important. So it's a bit complicated at this stage of the game, Cassandra.

There are only three Democratic contenders now, but there are six in the Republican field. Because there are twice the number, the results in South Carolina and Nevada today are more important. Depending on the results, the frontrunners will probably come into sharper focus. One might see one or two drop out, and Giuliani is placing his hopes on the Florida and New York contests. After Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, things will become clearer for Republicans, although the contest could narrow to two or three.

I'm focused on Nevada, on a smaller segment of the vote--the caucuses on the Strip. Forty percent of the Culinary Workers are Hispanic and roughly 40 percent are female. The vote isn't in a voting booth, but public. Will the female delegates bow to union pressure and vote for Obama, especially since all eyes will be on them? And if they feel like voting for Hillary, will they have the gumption to publicly do so and oppose the union endorsement? Many in this union are also under the age of 40, so don't know much about Reagan's opposition to unions--given Obama's recent remark about Reagan's impact while Reagan was in office, perhaps hoping to draw a sly comparison between himself and Reagan.

The results will be coming in tonight and should be known by tomorrow morning.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

TBG, what is interesting about that graphic to me is that the further South Carolinians are from the coast, the more socially conservative they are. There is something to being a littoral (coastal dweller) in terms of one's world view. I have written before about people and ideas bumping together at water's edge, at port cities, at commercial centers, at hubs of industry.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The coastal communities of South Carolina also have a very different demographic from the interior. The coast is where all the retirees and newer residents live.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Several years ago a gentleman in my church spoke to a group about his experiences being shot down over Budapest and being in a POW camp. After the first session, I was ready to run out of the room screaming, but since it was his story and he was telling it, I figured it worked out in the end. It would make a he11 of a movie.

Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, which starts with his account of being at Auchswitz and Dachau (sp?), absolutely blew me away. This quote has gotten me through tough times:

Everything can be taken from people but one thing - the last human freedom - the ability to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, there is a very good chance they were, but in a way, I hope he faired better. Yes Roman was RCAF. Uncle Roman probably was one of the 2500 from Memel spoken about in this link.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

dr's story is for us all, and all the Uncle Romans who are quiet and still marked. One line of relatives missed WWII, because of the way the generations came of age. Stories about WWI, and even the Spanish American War, filtered through sometimes. Then, people were in Korea and, Vietnam.No stories from the Korean Vets, who hated Mash; nothing from the Vietnam Vets, who preferred silence.

My WWI grandfather was very young during the midpoint of the war, serving as a medic. An outbreak of a throat infection was running through the barracks. He was told --- first week of duty -- to paint several bed-ridden soldiers' throats with silver nitrate. He did not dilute the solution and two soldiers died within an hour. I did not hear about this until after he died at 98; in his papers he left money for perpetual memorial masses to be said for the souls of those two boys, who were likely close in age to him.

After he retired from the railroad, he volunteered four days a week for more than 30 yrs until the week he died, at the VA in Leavenworth, KS. When he was in his 80s, Ann Landers wrote about him in a Valentines Day message about neglected veterans. She though he was an example to us all. I think that the volunteer work was partly a penance, partly an interest in helping.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse


don't worry about how to end it because you honored him so much just by telling his story and the stories of all of them. I agree, you piece should have been a kit. It was so heartfelt and timely, and it is good to hear these things. Just think, dr, those of us that read your story will hopefully be better people by reading your uncle's story.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The link, dr, and the quote, Slyness, fit like lock and key. Thank you.

Off to the projects of the day. Tawdry snow and ice remnants everywhere....chilly sky of pewter, Pat. Strangely enough, two robins in the neighbor's yard! Blown up from the chilly south?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

All these war stories are very moving.

The only relative I know of who was actually sent to a shooting war was my wife's grandfather. He served on a plane flying "the hump" between India and China. And although these trips were intrinsically dangerous, he never took enemy fire. We have been lucky that way.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The funny thing is last night when I pulled out the his letter, I really thought, deeply thought, it would be a simple story. It is I suppose, just a simple story. It just isn't the story I thought he was telling.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I just dropped my son and a friend of his off at Stamp Student Union for a big Magic: The Gathering tournament. The tourney goes on until at least midnight, but my wife made him promise to be ready to pull the plug at 8 pm if the weather turns bad.

I was at the SI-AAM/NPG for their grand opening but want to go back to see the new atrium. I better do it in the next six weeks while Stephen Colbert's portrait is still on exhibit. You hate to miss blockbuster exhibitions like that.

When I was in middle school in the Philippines, we used to explore the off-limits parts of Clark AFB (now buried in volcanic ash, so it goes) and we found a small airplane graveyard. It had a very decrepit P-39 fuselage. That plane was much small and shoddier built than I imagined. The big find though was the DC-3 used by the president of South Vietnam to escape from the Viet Cong. The plane had been badly looted, but you could still climb into it through the cargo hatch and admire the private lounge. Just funny to find a piece of history like that abandoned and rotting in the sun.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

dr, we have several projects, including the Library of Congress, about veteran's letters. Can a copy be made for historians, for us all? Especially the Canadians?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I would add to RD's well-reasoned, "Instead, you invest in some good locks and generously support a well-regulated and supervised police force." that we should also invest some time and money in causes for social justice and poverty alleviation.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Of course, Yoki. Just like in a big city, it isn't enough to just have a powerful police force, you also need to have outreach and strong social services.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm the pacifist in the family. My dad flew F-4s in Vietnam. I once met one of his buddies that had been a POW for several years. He had become a very successful financial advisor and loved to talk. Don't know how much his captivity affected him one way or another.

My grandfather was in the Signal Corps under Patton. I don't know how much of his militaria still exists. My dad saw in a gun shop in Easton a German pistol selling for quite a lot of money that my grandfather had but that my grandmother gave away after he died.

My father-in-law was a Green Beret with six tours in Vietnam and retired 75% disabled. After he died, we photocopied some old letters and pictures and gave them to a historical group that had somehow heard of his death. Most of that stuff is now with my brother-in-law. We spent an afternoon once sifting out pictures my wife wanted.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I take the global village idea seriously.

The world is turning into a huge interconnected city with distinct islands of ethnicity and radically different levels of affluence and education. It is like New York on an enormous scale. So why on earth would the former New York mayor advocate long range bombers? Would bombing have helped him as mayor?

Now, clearly, I am pressing my point. There are still situations where conventional military power is crucial.

But I really do think we need to fundamentally rethink the way we view the world, and not simply try to force current events into paradigms extracted from the past.

And I would like to see this new thinking happen for a wide range of issues.

Perhaps this is why I respond well to Obama. Many people of my generation, who really were not forged in the 1960s, are kinda sick of seeing every issue facing the country recast in terms appropriate for the Johnson Administration.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

yello-I do so want to see the Colbert portrait, but fear I won't make it to DC while it is still on display at the NPG.

There are still hulks of '60s and '70s aircraft sitting in the sand at Cairo West Air Base in Egypt, remnants of the Soviets' contribution to the 6 Day and Yom Kippur wars. In the '90s it was sorely tempting to explore these modern versions of Ozymandias during exercises in that desert, but disciplinary action was threatened and capturing scorpions had to suffice for fun. Alas, the biennial joint military exercise that was Bright Star, which provided so much boredom interspersed with idiocy was suspended in '03 because of the demands of the GWOT.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I remember right after 9-11 "they" pushed through a new, major B-2 Stealth Bomber purchase. The one that more reasonable heads had finally managed to kill. I remember all the disingenuous propaganda used to try to sell it to the public, including a very deliberate attempt to confuse the B-2 with the F-117A "Nighthawk", and even claims that the B-2 had been widely used in the Gulf War, which as far as I can tell was a deliberate bit of misdirection. I remember my local PBS station ran a documentary stating the B-2 was used in the Gulf War. I was angry, because I knew the difference.

It is very difficult for me to track, now, the manufacture of the additional B-2s ordered after 9-11.

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The "Billy Jack" comment by Governor Huckabee is indeed scary. I didn't think we (the U.S.) could get any worse than GW's approach to foreign policy, "it's us against them". It has made more enemys than ever. Yet here comes Huckabee with double digit support... suggesting that many Americans have a persistent, ignorant approach to dealing with the world. "God is on our side". Kicking everyone in the head that don't agree with us just doesn't work. Come on GOP, get real!

Posted by: Rock Hound | January 19, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm tempted to respond with an essay to your 11:05, but I can't, we're heading out the door. Makes me wnat to pull up a graf from a recent Frank Rich (NYT) column as well as one from Judith Warner. So, in the interest of my lack of time, here's Warner, from this past week:

Can progressives part ways with identity politics? Is it a betrayal of their liberal principles to do so? Or is it time, as Obama has consistently suggested, for a new generation to redefine what is truly, productively, "progressive"?
And is it realistic even to hope - as both candidates appear to - that voters will make their ultimate choices based on policy, philosophy and personality differences, and not by falling back on gut-level feelings of racial or gender allegiance?
What I have always particularly found fascinating and admirable about these two particular candidates is the fact that they are both sui generis - true individuals who transcend received notions about what a black or female candidate should be. Yet Obama, with his mixed race parentage, multi-national upbringing, upwardly mobile education and generally self-created way of being in the world, has had to fight accusations, early on at least, that he wasn't "black enough." Clinton - wonky, cerebral, controlled, hyper-logical, has had to battle perceptions that she isn't "real," because, by the standards of pop culture and received opinion, she comes off as not-woman-enough. ...

I know it's dangerous to repudiate gender or racial identity, and not just because the left has for so long conceived of itself in terms of identity politics. Any denial of the importance of these categories of self-conception (and, given the opportunity, I'd take a swipe at ethnic and religious identity, too) is necessarily a slap in the face to the many people -- the majority of people -- who find these forms of identity deeply meaningful.

Which is why, I think, as this political contest has heated up, we've seen so many direct appeals based on gender and race and we will, despite the candidates' repeated pleas to the contrary - continue to see even more.

"Individuals" do not constitute a political constituency.

C,mon, Padouk, you're being disingenous. Many presidents have been invoked in these current campaigns, on both sides, not the least of which is Reagan. You're old enough to remember the Reagan years, right? And if you want to refresh yourself on the '60s, there are bookstores and the local library. *w*

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Loomis is sometimes a bit fonder of the trees than the forest, I think.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I have heard no weeping about Richardson's loss being a blow against Hispanic progress in the U.S. Just sayin'!

I thought he was acceptable to me.

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

dr, thanks for sharing that about Uncle Roman. I may have mentioned this before, but the best memoir of wartime experience I have ever read is the Franco-German (from Alsace) Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier.

On a happier note, that link to the trebuchet video led to some happy internet wandering later last night. This also coincided with a recommendation to find and watch the American Idol audition of a young Welshman named Paul Potts. He sings an aria from Turandot and it's very moving.

Oh, and by the way, yellojkt, saw your music video. Very courageous to post that. ;)

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 19, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

And welcome to GD!

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 19, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Good morning. My, what a busy Boodle. That was a wonderful story, dr, and thank you for sharing. My dad served as an Army lieutenant in the Pacific theater during WWII, and got the Bronze Star for bravery, defending a hill. He hated MacArthur with a passion. He seldom talked about his experiences, but I have a box of the letteres he wrote to my mother (then still one of many girlfriends) and his family during the war. They are heavily censored and more reassuring and matter-of-fact than anything else.

Thanks for the Word tip, kbertocci; I will try it. bc, what is this "invest" of which you speak? Although I am of course delighted to learn a new skill, I'm constructing this flow chart for a one-time only project loosely connected with work (yes, my boss owes me one for this). The only reason I'm using my home computer is I didn't finish it before the Three-Day Weekend. Not that we have any such programs at work either, this not being what we do.

Thanks, SonofCarl, for that handy Austen/Fighter comparison chart.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Talking of politics (there was a political theme here somewhere, wasn't there?) I had a brush with the efficiency of the Hillary Machine this week. Thursday morning I attended an informational coffee for a bunch of women, with Q&A from Senator Clinton's Senate chief of staff (on personal leave for this event, visiting friends here). I pointed out that Oklahoma is unique in that we have at least 37 federally recognized tribes (and no reservations) and asked whether the Senator had a tribal liason for her Oklahoma campaign. At that point she didn't. By that night the suggestion, along with contact information for the tribes, had been relayed to her national campaign committee and they'd dedicated resources to tribal outreach. Impressive. I haven't been invited to anything similar for Obama or Edwards but I'd have the same question and suggestion for them.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

All over the net, and it seems there is zero mention of further B2 Stealth bomber construction. Yet I distinctly remember hearing it broadcast amidst the various mass hysteria going on right after 9/11. I was appalled that an expensive biscuit to special interests would be so blatant in a time when seriousness was required.
1. My memory is gone; it was never announced.
2. It was announced but the broadcaster was totally wrong about it.
3. It was announced but subsequently the order was cancelled.
4. Leak squelched, black budget.

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Jane Austen, TMC is showing the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier at 8 pm tonight.

And in TOday's NYT, there is a review of the JA/PBS series: A Most Proper Marriage:Jane Austen and PBS.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 19, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - I'm a bit confused. I certainly understand the 1960s in the same way I understand any other decade of historical significance. My rejection of the paradigms of that era is not because I fail to understand them. My point is that it is time to move beyond the narratives in vogue 40 years ago because the dynamics of the world have changed. Isn't that pretty much what Warner is saying, at least in regards to identity politics?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers, I reread by posts and I am still perplexed. How am I being disingenuous? What does Reagan got to do with this? Am I just missing something?

Oh well. To quote my son, "whatever."

I have a date to go see "B Movie" at the local dollar theater. Maybe if I am lucky I will win a cookie by identifying the mystery quote. This never fails to impress my daughter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: reread both posts.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Al Franken for Senate ad that just started running here in MN. Haven't seen any ads from any of the prez candidates. Does our Feb. 5th caucus mean nothing?!

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

dr, that was breathtakingly lovely. I find it equally breathtakingly appalling the notion by those not in it that war is romantic -- "heroic" (especially if you die) -- that it is the truest form of manhood (so to speak). Those who design it, those who manage it in government agencies or very-far-away from the action headquarters of sorts, where tea can be served and cigarettes delivered. . . .they are the ones who know nothing of suffering, whether they are on *our* side or the *other* side.

The word *heartbreaking* doesn't even come close in capturing the emotion.

When I hear the likes of Romney, McCain (even him!), Guiliani and the like, huffing and puffing up their testosterone levels, hoping to be able to roar instead of squeak -- it is all I can do not to let out a never ending scream.

dr, Roman lived it and his experiences lived inside him throughout the remainder of his days. Your post was beautiful, but in an agonizingly, maddening way.

"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I was an Al Franken supporter back in 1980:

I'm sorry. I have a hard time watching that commercial with a straight face. He impressed me when in 2000 he drew free hand a map of the US on a whiteboard with all the electoral vote counts proving how Gore was going to win the election. Missed it by THAT much.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

frosti... great ad! Do you think he has a chance?

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

yello-that was a kit worthy entry on your blog.

Only 300 more pages of reading to go on the MN DNR's "Trail Planning, Design and Development Guidelines." I have some concern that there is not enough coffee in the world. And I love this policy stuff...

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Franken has a great shot at the nomination but incumbent Senator Norm Coleman is not an easily knocked off right-wing nut. A republican,Coleman appears to play well with others, including our democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesotan's are wary of any party having too much power. Besides, a MN Rep. would be a left of center Dem. in many other places (SC for instance).

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, Thanks for sharing that OK has only tribes but no reservations. Stillwater is the town I visited every year when I was a graduate student. Can you tell us more about this part which I know very little?

Posted by: daiwanlan | January 19, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Snow here now, and cold rain in South Carolina.

Posted by: Jumper | January 19, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Great letter to the editor today...


George F. Will's trademark brand of smug conservatism rarely gives occasion to chuckle, but that was not the case with his Jan. 10 column where he complained of the "tiresome phenomenon" of "geezer rock groups catering to the baby boomer nostalgia" ["Start of a Marathon," op-ed].

Geezer? Well, what of the phenomenon of geezer columnists gracing your op-ed page? On the same page was David S. Broder, who is 78, and Robert D. Novak, who is 76. Of course The Post, ever sensitive to inclusiveness, also gave space to the youthful E.J. Dionne Jr. (55) and Harold Meyerson (57).

Perhaps Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, who is seven years younger than the 66-year-old Will, might agree to quit rocking when Will sheathes for the last time his beloved quill.

-- John Keller, Huntingtown

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

TBG-thanks for sharing that letter. At least Joel is younger than I (by 48 days).

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, it is snowing to beat the band, but not sticking,too wet. I suspect if it keeps up, it will be ice in the morning. I stepped out on the porch, but quickly came back inside.

I don't know if we'll be able to have church services tomorrow. Guess we will have to wait and see.

Whazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzup, Ivansmom?

Slyness, are you folks getting snow?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 19, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, rain changed over to snow around 3 o'clock, but it's not sticking here either. There definitely will be ice overnight. Probably no church in the morning, either.

Just got an email from Mr. T. He made it to Jacksonville on a non-stop fight, but his luggage did not. Go figure.

Posted by: Slyness | January 19, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr dr and I have talked, and I think we'd like to do some more research into his letter. He mentions only one person by name, and with 2 names from his crew perhaps we can find a little more out about what happened, and what happened to the others.

GD is right, it was very quiet about these things back home, because it could have been family standing on the other side of the battle lines.

thanks for all the stoires. So many things to think about.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dr | January 19, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Read the thread; RD is his usually clear and generous and thoughtful self.

Amazing stories; and we on this continent to be so relatively free of the worst of war. I mean that war has not been fought here recently.

Frosti -- my Crow Nation relies say, hey, name my tribe if ethnicity matters. Otherwise, leave out the label....but Crow people tend to be contrarian and unwilling to be pinned down.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 19, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

bc.. CP... good game today.

Alas... No biscuits in the G house tonight.

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

CP-I hope we are headed that way as well. Specificity deprives stereotypes of their power to paint all with the same bigoted brush.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 19, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I have an uncle whose mantra is "I'm STILL younger than Keith Richards."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I'm getting my Glimmer Twins mixed up. It's really "I'm STILL younger than Mick Jagger."

I'm not sure Keith counts as being any age. The classic quote about him is "He sure looks good for someone who is dead."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks. Good game.
I am still agog that MD won that game. I figured they were *done* when the blew the big lead in the Dean Dome.

But I'll take it. I 'spect the results could be different the next time they play.

Sorry about the biscuts.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yello, I think that the definitive quote on this subject runs as follows:
Garth: How can you sleep like that?

Del Preston: Listen, sonny Jim. Sleeping like this will add ten years to your life. I learned it from Keith Richards when I toured with the Stones. This may be the reason why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 19, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 19, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Dr, a cousin on my mother's side was also stranded in France on D-day... parachuted down in the wrong place, wound up hiding out with a French family because he couldn't find his way to the front. He spoke French fluently, being a Franco-Canuck, so that helped.

My mom tells me that he stayed good friends after the war with the host family and they hosted each other a few times afterwards.

As for hunger... the book on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment says so much of what Cassandra's talking about. I also have a book of the memoirs of the priest who married my parents.
He was a Polish Catholic priest imprisoned in Dachau (of the Jews, he writes that they had it even worse than everybody else). He nearly died a few times, was starved much of the time, and subjected to a high level of sadism, much mostly hinted at. He wrote the experience was probably his greatest test as a priest (and his most faith-affirming years). He also wrote that he was sure the Nazis would never win when he saw them destroying shrines to the Virgin Mary.

He later emigrated to the United States and wound up working in Minnesota. The memoirs end with various letters and comments of people who knew him (since the memoirs basically are confined to his Dachau experiences), and how he suffered from PTSD afterwards; he would break down everytime he had to do an emergency call when a millworker got injured or killed, funerals were rough for him as well, and he was unhappy at an earlier posting because he was working with a German-american priest who was brusque reminded him way too much of his earlier captors.

I think anybody who talks about the glory of war hasn't really faced the horrors of even the most just war.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 19, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, will get back to you on your question. We've just come through the front door a few minutes ago. And we're checking the TV news about caucus and primary results.

Hope you enjoyed your B movie.

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