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Sledgehammering the Planet

[Logistical note: Having found rain in Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas, I've finally fled to the desert southwest, and now type in one of the finest motel rooms in Phoenix, with a small porch that boasts an excellent view of the adjacent I-10 and the incoming airplanes just beyond that. It's a room that reassures you that things are going gangbusters in the world of transportation. Oh yeah, forgot to mention: It's raining here, too. Next stop, the Gobi Desert?]

If anyone should appreciate the explosive nature of human efflorescence on the planet, it's the scientists who study the continents, the oceans, the atmosphere, the forests, and all the physical and biological process that work together to make Earth habitable. These are the people who study worlds. So if there is a failing in the American Geophysical Union's revised position on climate change -- see the whole thing at the end of this item -- it is simply that it doesn't adequately capture the dramatic fact that in a very short period of time one species has proliferated like a weed and proceeded to conduct a massive, uncontrolled, half-baked (at best) experiment on the only world known to harbor life.

Yeah, all that stuff is in there, sort of, but I'd have run it through the typer one more time and thrown in a few more active verbs.

Life has existed on Earth for upwards of 3 billion years, maybe darn near 4. Only in the past billion years has life finally figured out how to become multi-cellular. Intelligence of some kind or another has been around for, let's see, maybe a few million years, though you could argue that either way. Technology is the new trick; it was only 10,000 years ago that people learned how to grow stuff and eat it. Only in the past 150 years has industrialization taken hold, and with it has come a startling spike in human population.

To provide energy for all those people, we've yanked carbon out of the ground and transferred it to the atmosphere. But we've done so many other things as well, from dumping nitrogen in the oceans (via industrial agriculture) to burning and clearing the rain forests to wiping out much of the natural habitat of countless species. This direct obliteration and contamination of the environment isn't happening over centuries, but day by day.

Biology on Earth is intertwined with geology; you could take a living specimen of earthlife, take it to a laboratory on some distant alien world, and the ET scientists would know, just from looking at it, what our world looks like, even what kind of star our planet circles. The chemistry of the atmosphere and the oceans has never been static, but the rapid rise of a technological civilization may prove to be geologically the equivalent of an asteroid impact.

No one knows how this will pan out.

Climate change is but one symptom of the human footprint on the planet, and -- key point that lately gets lost in the debate -- it may not even prove to be the most calamitous.

It seems unlikely that the current way of doing business is sustainable - not just because of climate change, but also because of direct pollution to the planet, destruction of ecosystems, resource depletion and the social and economic hardships that go along with that. Reducing carbon emissions may be a partial fix to a more systemic problem, which is that the core value of so many cultures is economic growth rather than economic, social and environmental sustainability. (Even Bill Gates wants some revision in the way capitalism operates -- see the front-page piece yesterday in the WSJ.) [Searching for the link, I see this bulletin that the WSJ will remain largely a pay site.]

The ultimate problem is a moral and ethical and even aesthetic one: What kind of planet do we want to give our kids and grandkids and all the generations of people (and plants and animals etc.) yet to come?

Let me parse a few lines:

The AGU says that climate change in the past half century "is far beyond the range
of climate variability experienced during the past thousand years and poses
global problems in planning for and adapting to it."

True, but humans are problem solvers. We're also good planners and highly adaptive. So that line by itself doesn't exactly get me out of bed any earlier in the morning, ready to save the world.

Next line: "Warming greater than 2 degrees Celsius above 19th century levels is projected to be disruptive,
reducing global agricultural productivity, causing widespread loss of biodiversity, and--if sustained over centuries--melting much of the Greenland ice sheet with ensuing rise in sea level of several meters."

You can hear every global warming denier's obvious response: Give me several centuries and I bet I'll have time to move to higher land. The AGU's description of warming as "disruptive" seems a bit understated. As for agricultural productivity, that's an incredibly complex issue in and of itself; an emphasis on agricultural yield ignores the reality that industrial agriculture has already created an unhealthy diet built around a few high-yield crops. (Don't get me started on corn etc.). And predictions of reduced agricultural productivity have historically failed to pan out due to technological advances. Meanwhile the rather off-hand reference to "widespread loss of biodiversity" seems a bit casual given the seriousness of what we're talking about.

Seems like somewhere in there it should say we're sledgehammering the planet from every direction.

And that's just wrong.

My two cents.

Here's the revised AGU position on climate change, via email from AGU:

WASHINGTON - A statement newly released by the world's largest scientific society of Earth and space scientists--the American Geophysical Union, or AGU--updates the organization's position on climate change: the
evidence for it, potential consequences from it, and how to respond to it.

The statement is the first revision since 2003 of the climate-change position of the AGU, which has a membership of 50,000 researchers, teachers, and students in 137 countries. The society adopted the statement at a meeting of
AGU's leadership body, the AGU Council, in San Francisco, California, on 14 December 2007. AGU position statements expire in four years, unless extended by the Council.

Following is the text of the revised statement (also available online at ).

Human Impacts on Climate

The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system--including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons--are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and
aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century. Global average surface temperatures increased on average by about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the period 1956-2006. As of 2006, eleven of the previous
twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850. The observed rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is expected to continue and lead to the disappearance of summertime ice within this century. Evidence from most
oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities. Recent changes in many physical and biological systems are linked with this regional climate change. A sustained research effort,
involving many AGU members and summarized in the 2007 assessments of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, continues to improve our
scientific understanding of the climate.

During recent millennia of relatively stable climate, civilization became established and populations have grown rapidly. In the next 50 years, even the lower limit of impending climate change--an additional global mean
warming of 1 degree Celsius above the last decade--is far beyond the range of climate variability experienced during the past thousand years and poses global problems in planning for and adapting to it. Warming greater than 2 degrees Celsius above 19th century levels is projected to be disruptive, reducing global agricultural productivity, causing widespread loss of biodiversity, and--if sustained over centuries--melting much of the Greenland ice sheet with ensuing rise in sea level of several meters. If this 2 degrees Celsius warming is to be avoided, then our net annual emissions of carbon dioxide must be reduced by more than 50 percent within this century. With such projections, there are many sources of scientific uncertainty, but none are known that could make the impact of climate change inconsequential. Given the uncertainty in climate projections, there can be surprises that may cause more dramatic disruptions than anticipated from the most probable model projections.

With climate change, as with ozone depletion, the human footprint on Earth is apparent. The cause of disruptive climate change, unlike ozone depletion, is tied to energy use and runs through modern society. Solutions will
necessarily involve all aspects of society. Mitigation strategies and adaptation responses will call for collaborations across science, technology, industry, and government. Members of the AGU, as part of the scientific
community, collectively have special responsibilities: to pursue research needed to understand it; to educate the public on the causes, risks, and hazards; and to communicate clearly and objectively with those who can
implement policies to shape future climate.


[Phoenix, AZ, Jan. 25, 2008, getting ready for the Super Bowl.]


[Morning in downtown Phoenix.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 25, 2008; 7:54 AM ET
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First for once.

I love the phrase "human efflorescence" makes sound more than a trend and less than a blight.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

SCC: insert and replace with "...makes us sound like we are more..."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of agriculture and changing climate, and corn monocultures, why are sodas with real cane sugar overpriced novelty drinks? That question is mostly rhetorical. I've ranted about the Fanjuls before. I found one of my favorites just over the Potomac from Great Falls. I know some Carolina boodlers may have some familiarity with one of my favorites:

Maybe when the waters rise we can grow some sugar cane on the banks of the Potomac.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I'd wait for Monday for this post, but just know I'll forget.

Black Winged Bird
Lyrics © Emm Gryner



A touch of melancholy for Friday. I love her finger work on the ivories

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Given the damage we are causing to the host body that sustains us, perhaps 'human metastasis' might be more apt.

Posted by: mphirschhorn | January 25, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Have posted some photos of the Civil War artillery surrounding White Point Park (AKA Charleston Battery) for those who may still be interested. The mystery of the cannon balls is revealed.

Click on the photos for the full resolution versions. Enjoy.

Posted by: DLD | January 25, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm an optimist. I have to be to keep breathing.

It is clear we are doing grave damage to the planet, but I think we are smart enough to figure a way to make things better. That is, as long as we don't simply give up, hide under the blankets, and watch reruns of "Space Ghost."

(Not that this approach doesn't have its merits.)

Further, no matter how much we muck up the planet, I think there will always be people around to worry about it. And although we might find the future incomprehensibly barren, those who live in it will probably just accept it as normal.

Finally, even if we are all headed to The Final Days of Environmental Sustainability, we need to accept that our efforts as individuals are swamped by powerful international forces. I am not preaching fatalism here -the world is a product of human decisions- but a plea that we do not let our anger and fear about the big issues blind us to the importance of the small.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

yello, you are welcome to all the Cheerwine you can find and more. I detest the drink, never have liked it. My daughter would kill for one. Go figure. And yes, they are hard to find even here in the Carolinas. Every time I look at a Cheerwine, I'll think about you.

The kit sounds like a dire warning concerning the planet. There are many people that don't believe we are harming the planet, and then there's just folks that don't pay attention. I've always thought, if we destroyed this planet, where are we going? If one has enough money, is there a planet one can live on like earth? And will someone tell me if that Mars video with the human looking person is for real?

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of transportation going like gangbusters, I was planning to report an experience I had last week. I was riding my bike on a four-lane road that runs along the train tracks. Within 10 minutes I saw cars, trucks, a motorcycle, an airplane, a train, a kid on a skateboard, people walking, and (the clincher) the Goodyear blimp. (I live near the blimp base; lots of potential for diet jokes there). Also rode past the Jetski dealership and a marina. I did not see the guy in the motorized wheelchair whom I often see in the afternoon--that would have been too much.

Whenever we drive somewhere on I-95 my husband always says, "Where are all these people GOING?!"

And my dad likes to note that usually about the same number of cars are going in each direction, which leads me to conclude that if you look at the system as a whole we're not accomplishing anything.

All this is not irrelevant to the issue of global warming. It could be that in order to save the planet some of us are going to have to be a little more content to "be here now," and stop being in such a frenzy to GET SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 25, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

DLD-Thanks for the overview of the artillery at Charleston. What I find interesting about the plaque re: the mortars is that it says they were used by "Federal" troops to bombard Ft. Sumpter. I wonder if that is a typo? OTOH, maybe since a lot of the men manning the guns were theoretically still in the U.S. Army, maybe they still referred to themselves as "federals"?

Posted by: ebtnut | January 25, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that my request would be a bit off topic, but upon reflection, maybe not.

So -- calling all boodlers, here's my concern. I'm considering getting a satellite dish, which would attach to my condo balcony. My particular issue is that of a more concentrated radiation bombardment which would/might occur. Mind you, the satellite dish is not one of those humungous transponder types attached to television studios and embassies. It's an itty-bitty dish. Nevertheless, it would be attached to the balcony at a point nearest my bedroom, and I've been concerned enough about this issue to hold off on getting it.

Science Tim? Snukie? Any thoughts?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 25, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Hope we can get Chez Frostbitten South sold before water is lapping at the front steps.

Slyness- Seven degrees is a respectable amount of cold, but we were at -15 this morning and thankful for the warming trend. Now the fear is that it will get too warm. We have above freezing temps predicted for Sunday and Monday. Our frost depth is at 30" now. With some melting this weekend and the month of Feb. still to come the frost could be driven to 40"+. So many of our seniors, and younger folks in substandard housing, will have frozen pipes.

DLD-thanks for sharing the Charleston pictures.

Time to quit stalling and get ready for my third trip "to town" in three days. I think I'll gather strength with a cup of coffee and a quick lie down in front of the fire with Frostcat#3.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 25, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, sure, the AGU gets italics. Not us.

Statements from scientific organizations go out of their way to be ridiculously neutral and calm. The AGU and AAS positions on evolution are pretty placid, too. You have to balance the need to be noticed against the need not to be ignored. There are too many people, especially people in responsible positions (I'm thinking of you, Inhofe!), whose immediate personal interest is best-served by ignoring the writing on the wall: "Is there an immediate danger to my life or my quality of life? If not, then forget you and your offspring and my offspring." It's the job of individuals (Joel, for instance) to interpret the placid statement and make clear that it placidly expresses terrible consequences.

Personally, I have already decided on my course, as I believe I have previously mentioned: buy land in Maine, inland. Teach my progeny to care for themselves and learn martial arts. Teach them how to sail. I intend to provide an adaptive advantage for my genes in preference to the genes of oil-sucking reactionary Republican Creationist pinheads. Evolution at work.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 25, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

somehow this posted to the previous, but here it is again:

still catching up on the previous boodle, and just got the word from jumper

I amaze myself sometimes

'Hansel and Gretel' was what I was thinking

'...part of the forest. We will light a fire...' was the clue I went by.

for another looksee:

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

B&O turntable? I think Jack is correct:

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

And flowers, and cats, and butterflies, and a reindeer... How can you not like this blog:

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

kb, you mean my dream house overlooking the splashing seashore with ocean view is but a dream?

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

Mudge, I hope you're okay. Haven't seen anything by you this morning. And you too, Ivansmom. And all the sick and shut-in this morning, get well and take care of yourselves.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

ftb, you probably need not worry about "more concentrated radiation bombardment" from a dish, unless you set it up in such a way that you sit at near the spot where its receiver thingy is.

All that radiation is already flying through the atmosphere anyway. The dish focuses it on the receiver, which transmits it down a cable to your tv set.

On the other hand, you *should* worry about overexposure to the upcoming Oprah World Network, which will fry your brain from a distance of several parsecs.

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger - There is no danger.

Realize the radiation you are talking about refers to electromagnetic waves of a frequency that is not going to do you any harm. Which is good because you are being inundated with them all the time. What a satellite dish does is reflect and concentrate these existing waves to a single focal point where they are picked up by a receiver. Therefore, a location with the lowest concentration of electromagnetic waves is directly below a satellite dish.

Think about it in the visible domain. Imagine that satellite signals were visible light. A satellite dish would be like a large mirror focusing this light to a single point. While this point is pretty bright, underneath the mirror is nothing but shade.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh my, I have a short enough attention span as it is.

Firs DLD's pictures of Charleston had me thinking of a cherished childhood vacation stop we made on the way to Prince Edward Island.

Pictures on that site of the new Penobscot Narrows bridge had me thinking kb's thoughts exactly. Where are we all going that transportation, particularly roads and bridges, gobble up so many resources?

Finally, Sci Tim wants to retreat to Maine. I'm not sure the Narrows fit his locale requirements, but the fort would help him keep the Canuckistanis out of his food cache.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, kb, someone once said that everyone has to be someplace. And obviously they haven't yet found that place and are still on the hunt. One of the biggest problems we face as an urbanized culture is the whole matter of affordable housing. That old real estate maxim about "location, location, location" still hold true. Many of the most desireable and convenient neighborhoods are way beyond the means of most homebuyers. The affordable stuff is out in the hinterlands, so folks wind up trading mortgages for gasoline and more than one (or two) cars. There is also, in most places, an unspoken bias against apartment projects. Because apartments are somewhat more affordable (except "luxury high-rises"), they tend to draw "those people" (whoever "those people" happen to be at any given point in time). The bias is further enforced by the tax code, which allows mortgage interest deductions on your income tax. Home ownership is probably a good thing in general, but someone needs to think through all the implications.

Along with this is a local gripe that also stems from national policies--the idea that mass transit systems should pay for themselves. That may have been the case a hundred years ago, when trolley conducters made 50 cents a day. Here in metro DC, the local jurisdictions have yet (after more than 30 years!!) to agree on a permanent subsidy formula for the Metro system. In these modern times, mass transit is a necessery public utility, and needs to be made as safe, comfortable and reliable as possible. Look what's going on right now with the proposed Metro extension to Dulles Airport. The feds are THIS close to killing the project. The I-66 corridor is already a disaster. Not having a rail alternative is just crazy.

End of rant. TGIF.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

A science-y day...the story of the rise in C-cup sales, the short version:

The story starts with a woman, an educated woman from a wealthy Boston family, a scientist in her own right who earned a degree from MIT in 1904, Katherine McCormick.

After college, Katherine married Stanley McCormick, a childhood friend and heir to the McCormick reaper fortune.

As you may recall, Abraham Lincoln spent much of the summer and fall of 1855 preparing to participate in the patent infringement suit that Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the reaper, brought against John H. Manny, who was building closely similar machines. Manny's defense was headed by a team of leading patent lawyers in the U.S., headed by George Harding of Philadelphia, who considered adding a local Illinois attorney--Lincoln. Joining the defense team was brilliant Pittsburgh lawyer Edwin McMasters Stanton, who snubbed Lincoln by remarking, "Why did you bring that d--d long armed ape here?" Long, fascinating story, see David Herbert Donald's biography, "Lincoln," pp. 185-187.

Unfortunately, McCormick's husband Stanley developed schizophrenia. She thought her husband's problem was medical and possibly hereditary. She decided not to bear children with him, which led to her interest in family planning.

It was a friend of Katherine McCormick's, Margaret Sanger, who had also been married to a millionaire and was widowed, who introduced McCormick to research scientist Gregory Pincus, whom Sanger had met in 1951. (Google revealed that WaPo's Walter Pincus's father was Jonas, so I still wonder if there might be some family relatedness, say uncle or distant cousin.) Sanger had been involved in passing out birth control literature to working-class housewives in Brooklyn and and her passion was giving women the means to control their reproductive abilities.

McCormick and Pincus became friends. Stanley McCormick died, and Katherine McCormick inherited his vast wealth. Her aid to Pincus started with $10,000-per-year gifts, eventually culminating in $2 million of support.

Gregory Pincus would go on to develop an oral contraceptive. Questions swirled about the new drug's market potential, many men doubting that women would want to take it, especially since it was almost a daily regimen when those swallowing it weren't sick. Others thought it would fly off the shelves. (Guess which side was right.)

The first contraceptive pills released in 1960 had high amounts of estrogen--far more than necessary, about 10 times as much. The sale of C-cups in the 1960s increased by 50 percent because all that unnecessary estrogen caused women's breasts to swell. (Not an increase in appetite as I think CP guessed, IIRC. Too tired at this point to return to yesterday's Boodle transcript.)

My retelling based on the longer version in Gail Collins' book, "America's Women." Now back to bed for a few winks, since we were up at 4:30 for the Cowboy Breakfast--in the cold, the dark, and the mist, along with several thousand other folks.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Homo Sap is a curse upon the earth... Not to fear however, ye old Terra has withstood far more than we can do to it; major impactor rips off a huge chunk of earths mantle that becomes the moon, hundreds of millions of years of volcanism with belching carbon monoxide and sulfur, the mantle repeatedly ripping apart and drifting into new continental configurations, the tropics becoming permafrost and the permafrost becoming the new tropics, and on, and on...

So, what to expect? Well, I expect Homo Sap to continue to breed at a rate that rabbits can only envy, to continue to burn fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow, to wage wars with devastation of the earth's surface, to continue foul the nest until toxins, pestilence, and major climactic change makes this easy life go away...

Will we survive as a species? Unknown, but my gut feeling is probably... We are too adaptable to die out easily... Never fear, your 10th generation grandchildren will walk the earth; and maybe walk is the pertinent verb...

Posted by: Dr. O | January 25, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Cool pictures, DLD, thanks for sharing! I love the Battery anytime except late June, July, August, and early September.

I'm willing to make changes to my lifestyle. I'm even willing to downgrade it. I can ride my bike to the grocery store, but now I would worry about my safety. Just let me know what I have to do.

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

oh, omni, that blog with those wonderful pictures of the kitty cats, and the flowers are just beautiful. For a few minutes I could breath real good looking at those flowers and imagining the warm breeze blowing across them. I really love the cats. Did I tell you I'm a cat lady?

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I believe as you do, RD, that humans are resourceful enough to develop and implement technology that is much more environmentally friendly than we use at this writing. The problem is 20/20 hindsight. I would make an educated guess that many of the environmental phenomena were observing and recording now ere predicted via computer models of GCC back in the '80's. Despite this, development, particularly in coastal areas and in large cities in desert/arid biomes, has continued unhindered for at least 2 generations. Recent models relating to agricultural output and changes in the global coastal topography don't bode well for a global community that will double in size in the next 40 years or so. We'll probably make it as a species, but not before something radically Malthusian occurs. Responsible world leadership that focuses ,in part, on solutions to this dilemma would be helpful. Unfortunately, chasing profit and a misinformed public both conflict mightily with conservation technology.

Posted by: jack | January 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Great Charleston pictures. Between Joel and DLD, I want to go back. I'm pretty certain I haven't been there in at least a decade. All my memories are starting to flow together.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Scarlett Johansson is releasing an album of Tom Waitts covers and one original...I remember this from 'Lost in Translation' and I'm not sure I'm ready...

Karaoke of the Pretenders 'Brass Pocket'.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Didn't know Katherine McCormick's birthname, so Googled was Dexter.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, all.

Got a call this morning from my friend in Zambia who forgot about the time change. It was 4:45 my time. Oops. We decided to move the trip over there to 2009. I'm okay with that, actually. We're getting absolutely inundated w/ work right now, and it looks like it'll be a good year. The postponement will also give me more time to prepare (and, um, get back to the gym (repeat as required)). And his son will be about 18 months old then. He will be sooo spoiled by his American auntie.

So, again, thanks for *dishing*. Gotta go.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 25, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

ftb, go ahead and get the satellite dish. The dish concentrates and collects the radio signal that already bathes you and everything around you. The dish merely collects the portion that is distributed over the dish's surface and concentrates it onto the detector so that there is enough signal to be detected. There is no signal specifically directed towards you and your dish. If you use satellite internet, then the satellite dish also is used for transmitting data. That could result in some leakage of radio-frequency radiation. As far as the hazards of modern life go, however, I have to think that it is pretty unimportant. You probably get more microwave radiation from your cell phone (this is just a gut feeling -- I have no specific data on this point).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 25, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Oil-sucking Reactionary Republican Creationist Pinhead is *not* available as a Boodle handle.

We have standards here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think I have a clue as to the inevitable failure of the McCain campaign. It is contained in a line from todays Milbank column- "His spokeswoman now carries a lucky Chuck E. Cheese coin she picked up in South Carolina." No voter who is also a parent can possibly believe in someone who thinks that a coin from that torture chamber of flashing lights, screaming offspring, and inedible overpriced artery clogging sludge smeared over baked cardboard could conceivably convey luck.

Combine this with Huckleberry and his desire to make the Constitution conform to the Bible, and you've got to have real doubts about the survival of the republic.

Posted by: K:LOTD | January 25, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Very sunny here this morning, but all that brightness is deceiving -- 5F and holding. Boy oh boy... I just can't wait to get out to the shop so I can watch my fingers turn black and fall off.

I could go for a small dose of global warming today.

Regarding the explosive proliferation of transportation thing: I think the need to constantly be on the move is directly related to the need to constantly consume. I highly doubt that a large percentage of those traveling are doing so to visit friends or family. The vast majority of people on the roads or in the air are on a mission to make money and then spend it on stuff they really need to survive -- like designer handbags and overpriced lattes.

Posted by: martooni | January 25, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Joel, we're not *sledgehammering* the planet, we're just Venutiforming it. Making it more hospitiable for other life forms, like those found on Venus [wait, there *is* life on Venus, isn't there? Actually, I suspect there's a helluva nightlife on Venus, probably the location of the Best Hooters in the Universe. And then there's that guy Klaatu who's from there, isn't he?]

For some more good news on the Gloabal Warming front, see the UN-sponsored International Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report (I've posted this link before:)

Good data for bad news.

Again, I'm buying SPF 1,000,000 sunscreen, one of yellojkt's flopppy hats, and some hip waders.

FTB, I see SciTim answered your question. As long as you don't stand at the focal point of that dish, you're not getting any more radiation than you are anywhere else... which takes us full-circle back to the Kit, doesn't it?


Posted by: bc | January 25, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

It's a small, small, blogosphere. The author of the kitty and flower pictures blog is The Mistress Of The Dark who is one of my favorite commenters at my blog. She also writes a more music oriented blog called A Little Night Music:

Her tastes are much hipper than mine, as are most people's, but she is a huge Elvis Costello fan.

While I'm rambling about music, my wife is a big fan of U2 and we have tickets to see the new U2:3D Imax movie at the Maryland Science Center tomorrow at 4:30. WaPo has been giving it great reviews.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm here, Cassandra, and good morning to you. I'm just playing catch-up from my lost day yesterday. And glad you went to the hospital and are taking meds. You had us worried.

omni, thanks for that Emm Gryner link. I never heard of here before, but she's terrif.

Loomis wrote: "As you may recall, Abraham Lincoln spent much of the summer and fall of 1855..." I think I'm the only one here who may actually have a recollection of 1855; the rest of you may just have read about it. (As years go, you didn't miss much. It was the year "Bleeding Kansas" started bleeding, the Crimean War was going on, Congress passed $30,000 to start the U.S. Camel Corps [you remember how well that worked out], King Gillette Percival Lowell were born and Soren Kierkegaard and English naturalist and artist William John Swainson both died. Explorer David Livingstone "discovered" Victoria Falls; the b@st@rd beat me to it by a hundred yards because I'd stopped to put on some more sunscreen.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

FTB, you'll like satellite TV. Mr. T got mad enough at the cable franchise to switch a number of years ago. The only time we have problems is during thunderstorms. And that's not much of an issue, who wants to have the TV on when there's lightning about anyway?

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

OMG, today is Criminon day:

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

On the plus side it is Dydd Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh Saint Valentines Day:

I wanna a button that says 'Kiss me I'm Welsh'.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I was just looking at a report on CNN in a small town in SC. The town looks so much like the one I live in,and the problems are the same. NO JOBS. The guy was talking about we don't even have a theatre here, and I thought, we don't either. And then there's a teacher and his family, and they're living on less than thirty thousand a year,less than twenty-five thousand a year. His mother is supplementing their income. One woman said we're going to have to move to China in order to work.

It is so depressing looking around at America and seeing this ravaged, war torn, landscape. It looks like Iraq, only the bombs used here are unemployment and resources going elsewhere. People are looking for someone to change the tide, and I don't know if the candidates we're faced with have the ability to do what needs to be done. The nature of the beast may not permit that.

And then we have the different groups that have different thoughts on what is needed. The high middle income and the working poor see light through a different prism. And that won't work. The rich are out of the loop any way one looks at it. And what matters to them seldom matters to those without, and vice versa.

Why haven't we invested in our country anymore? I know the world has become global, but does that mean, America is suppose to be a dumping ground? We're talking adapting and changing in relation to the environment, but we used to do that for other stuff. What happened, what did I miss?

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

St Dwynwen's church Llanddwyn:

The Saint of Love

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Greetings, Inhabitants of Third Planet

The satellite dish of which you speak will deflect the harmfull rays from the evil planet Kanleptu and thereby save your dwelling from the Skin Eating Scourge. You can also get ESPN Classic.

Very wise, Earthling.

Posted by: CowTown | January 25, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

*laughing, Mudge, of course, YOU'd be the only one here to remember 1855..giggling*

In response to Cassandra's last post, interesting that in the debate last night, Huckabee was the only person on stage to mention "the two Americas," a la John Edwards.

I was rather stunned by attack dog Tim Russert in his two questions directed at Mitt Romney last night. In the second, he asked Romney to disclose the amount Romney was spending in Florida. The first was this--which I thought a bit over the top (p. 20 of the transcript posted at the NYT):

MR. RUSSERT: Governor Romney, as has become apparent over the last few weeks, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she'll be running as a team with her husband. Specifically -- specifically, how would you run against Hillary and Bill Clinton in November? (Laughter.)

Lest we forget, General Electric owns NBC:

General Electric is a diversified technology, manufacturing and services company, which produces transportation equipment, aircraft engines, consumer and industrial appliances, lighting, nuclear reactors, medical equipment and plastics. It owns the NBC television network, a global media powerhouse with significant holdings in broadcast and cable television and the Internet.

Not surprising given its size, GE spends considerably to advocate its interests. In 2001 and 2002, the company spent more than $31 million lobbying Congress, federal agencies and the Executive Office of the President on issues touching on virtually all aspects of its operations: defense appropriations, environmental cleanup, energy, science and technology, aviation, banking and finance, telecommunications, domestic and foreign trade, foreign relations and taxation. GE spread its lobbying business among many individual lobbyists and lobbying firms, both in-house and outside. It spent $16 million on overall lobbying in 2000, twice what it spent in 1999.

GE's reconstruction activities in Iraq were not disclosed in documents the Defense Department provided to the Center for Public Integrity in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Media sources, however, indicate that GE has or had post-war business dealings in Iraq.

It turns out NBC isn't a disinterested party in all of this. It is owned by General Electric, one of the biggest defense contractors in the United States. Among other things, they make engines for F-16 fighters and Apache Longbow helicopters.

As long as people perceive that the war is going smoothly, and it remains popular, orders for those engines will keep rolling in. If people begin to have doubts about the war, it could hurt GE's business. It is therefore in their best interest to paint the war in as positive terms as possible.

Really now, back to bed for 90 winks.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra... "We're talking adapting and changing in relation to the environment, but we used to do that for other stuff."

Yup. We sure did. But then the leaders of industry and big business decided it was better to play the "short game" and line their pockets (and their shareholders' pockets) instead of investing in their companies' futures. When I look at all the rotting steel mills around here, I can't help but wonder "didn't they see this coming?" If they had used their profits to upgrade equipment and modernize their plants instead of pocketing it all and blaming the "overpaid" workers and global competitors, maybe those plants would still be in operation.

Nothing makes me more sick than hearing a CEO who takes home millions in salary and millions more in bonuses and stock options complaining about how American laborers are paid too much and need to take pay cuts for the company to remain competitive. Makes a long-haired hippie pacifist want to kick the bastage so hard in the cajones that they come out his nose.

Posted by: martooni | January 25, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut - That plaque bothered me somewhat also, but not for the same reason. Yes, Federal (Union) troops may have used the mortars DURING the bombardment of Ft. Sumter in Oct. of 1863 [Union troops did not occupy Charleston until 1865 however] but they were probably too far away to actually hit the Fort, unless they were located elsewhere. The Pittsburgh made model 1861 13" mortars had a range of about 2.5 miles using a ball of 218 lbs with a 20 lb powder charge. The mortars are about 3.3 miles from Ft. Sumter in their current placement. There are a number of land positions to the East located within a mile of the Fort were they could have been used by Union forces for such a bombardment. Manipulating the map included with the photos will show this clearly.

As Charleston and Ft. Sumter were still in Confederate hands in 1863 it is further unlikely that these mortars were fired at the fort from their current positions.

The plaque is either incomplete, inaccurate, or both. But what do you expect from a bunch that piles up the wrong ammunition next to their mortars?

To address the question of whether the Confederate troops may have considered themselves "Federal" in 1863, well, that would be a No. Even during the Confederate shelling of Ft. Sumter in April of 1861, right after a few may have traded their blue for gray, I don't believe there was any doubt in anyone's mind which side they were on or what they called themselves.

Posted by: DLD | January 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

More on Emm: Nelly Furtado named Gryner's album Science Fair one of her desert island discs in a VH1 interview, and David Bowie named Gryner one of his two favorite Canadian acts during a promotional interview for his Reality album. In the November 2006 issue of Q, celebrating the magazine's 20th anniversary, U2 frontman Bono recognized the track "Almighty Love" from Gryner's new album as one of six songs that he wished he had written from the last twenty years of music.[3] The song "Angel" by Matt Nathanson is written about her.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The title of this post keeps vaguely reminding me of a Heinlein novel. And John Carpenter's "Dark Star". That movie proves that the quality of a John Carpenter film is inversely proportional to its budget.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to get past "human efflorescence."

Posted by: Boko999 | January 25, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Republican Creationist pinheads being countered by Evolution. Love it, *Tim.

Posted by: DLD | January 25, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"I wanna a button that says 'Kiss me I'm Welsh'."

Blackadder: Have you ever been to Wales, Baldrick? You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the placenames.

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Here ya go Mudge:

'Almighty Love':

What does that song mean to you?
EMM: The song is one of the most personal, most difficult songs I've written. I wanted to write a simple song with a simple melody that described the duality of love and hurt, and I think it captures that.
more here:

couldn't find the lyrics (sorry Wilbrod) but here's an excerpt:

I've got the cigarettes you smoke
Burned into my brain
I've got sympathy and silence
And no way to explain

This almighty love
Can't deny it when it comes
But baby baby it's all wrong

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I thought "Super Bowl" was now the game you could not name because its use had been copyrighted.

Martooni, dawanda, trunkt, rubylane--all are selling sites.

Posted by: dbG | January 25, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Could I just use "Reactionary Republican Pinhead?" Cause, like, I do believe in evolution, just not the way the GOP is evolving.

Posted by: DLD | January 25, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hi all. Boodling from the train. Sitting in the Trenton station. Just passed the bridge with "Trenton makes. The world takes." makes me think of Error, being in his part of the world and all. Waved to dbG as we passed through Philly.

Beautiful day. Looking forward to getting to The City.

Posted by: TBG | January 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to get past "human efflorescence."

I'd suggest wearing hip waders and remember to breathe through your mouth.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ha, byoolin. Unfortunately I've never seen Blackadder, sob.

Update: JA added pictures.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

ebnut, dld:
United States forces bombarded Fort Sumter for a very long time. The pulverized remains of the brick fort provided effective cover for its South Carolina defenders and presumably delayed the capture of Charleston, which nevertheless suffered a great deal of damage from shelling, not to mention a big fire that destroyed a strip of the city. Photographs of the ruins looked piteous, indeed.

If I remember correctly, US forces managed to capture some of the Sea Islands fairly early, but the collapse of the seccesionist regime in South Carolina came about only in early 1865 as Sherman's troops moved through the state against relatively light opposition. While Georgians did a great job of portraying themselves as victims of Sherman's tactics, it was South Carolina that suffered the greatest destruction of plantation houses, churches, etc.

Incidentally, Savannah, Georgia surrendered (offering a huge ransom of cotton) around Christmas 1864. Charleston seemingly got the message.

[all this is off the top of my head as I'm at home with a cold. Quality of info not guaranteed. Do your own fact-checking.]

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 25, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

In honour of Robbie Burns Day:

O Death, had'st thou but spar'd his life,
Whom we this day lament,
We freely wad exchanged the wife,
And a' been weel content.

- Epigram on the death of a Henpecked Country Squire, 1784

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Have fun TBG!

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure this explains a lot, I'm just not sure what.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 25, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

That goth chick from Efflorescence is really cute but I think she is secretly a Reactionary Creationist Pinhead.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

*offering ftb a quick thumbs-up on the satellite dish before diving back into a very busy day*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 25, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

As to the proposed dish installation, all previous replies were correct in that the dish itself will not cause any more radiation to be directed your way. Some technical clarifications though.

The frequency of the digital service which you are considering is in the Ku band of the radar spectrum @ 11.7 - 12.2 Gigahertz.

The dish, as a reflector, focuses that signal on a LNBF. This is an acronym for Low Noise amplifier Block down-convertor Fixed probe.
The LNBF amplifies the signal roughly 3000 times and down-converts the frequency from the 11.7-12.2Ghz range to the 950-1450 Megahertz range. That is the signal which you receiver will process.

The satellites which beam down these signals are in a geosynchronous orbit roughly 22,500 miles above the equator.
You must have a clear line of sight in order to receive adequate signal for reception. So, trees and building cannot be between you and the satellite from which you expect service.

A famous quote seems apropos. "All men live under the same sky, but they don't share the same horizon."

Posted by: curiously anonymous 1:27 | January 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Dang, no discussion about your fascinating primaries today. Unfortunately, just drive-by boodling:

1. I had a summer job installing the ye olde satellite dishes - the 10-12' size that had a motor so you could switch satellites. Don't ask any more- I was just labour. This was the same summer job where I once got to spend an afternoon taking a sledgehammer to old TVs.

2. Gates wants to change capitalism? That sounds like the lead in to a funny list maybe entitled "If Microsoft was in charge of the economy".

3. I read the "explosive nature of human efflorescence" as JA's effort to keep the C-Cup explosion thread going. But maybe that's just me, minding my own business and driving along in my inexpensive Indian-made car.

4. Just to clarify, JA still means Joel, right? The Tempestinateacupalooza on PBS is over?

5. Omni, get thee to a video store and find Blackadder.

6. My eternal gratitude to anyone that can find that story mentioned in Scientific American here a long while ago about the oceans, CO2, and the previous extinctions.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 25, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

SCC article in SA, mentioned here.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 25, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Huh, yellojkt, I was thinking that the title of this Kit was a sort of mashup between Pournelle/Niven and David Drake.

Scottynuke, yellojkt, and (maybe) SciTim - we are arriving in DorkConLand, please put your tray tables in the upright and locked positions, and stow your costumes and props in the overhead stowage bins until the DC-8 arrives at a complete stop. Thank you for flying EllRon Airlines.


Posted by: bc | January 25, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I'll return that wave on your trip back, TBG!

Shame they don't let you out. There's a wonderful little dive called "The Squirrel's Nest Cafe" close to where you are. Breakfasts to kill for.

Posted by: dbG | January 25, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Larry Sabato is good today-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 25, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I second SoC. Blackadder is a must.

Posted by: dr | January 25, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Ecktually, you can find efflorescence on the inside of hip-waders. Just saying.
I'm off to the big city, Ottawa, to visit friends and check out the progress of the World's Longest (for now) Skating Rink on the World Heritage Rideau Canal. What fun!

Posted by: Boko999 | January 25, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Blackadder is good stuff.

A good piece in WaPo Outlook a couple of weeks ago regarding Global Warming and the six extinctions on Earth...


Posted by: bc | January 25, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy a beavertail with cinnamon and sugar for me Boko.

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

SoC : Here is a pdf of the SA article.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. My apologies in advance; despite the application of extra memory my computer is having a slow day. Of course, I am too - the Boy is ill and I'll be joining him at home soon. The plan is for him to attend science class this afternoon. We hate for him to miss science class. I'll have to show him this Kit. He'll like it.

Remember, Martooni: global warming means extreme weather conditions. I said that exhaustively during last year's unusually cold and snowy winter. Ah, Inhofe - an embarrassment to the state.

K-guy Lord of the Disconnect is absolutely right about the Chuck E Cheese "coin". Any adult who believes this to bring good luck is obviously cursed with bad judgment. If the adult works for a presidential candidate you have to question the candidate's judgement as well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

pix of my goodluck charms:


Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hold on - Many apologies. I think the article SoC is looking for is this one. It's way scarier.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks RD.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 25, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Just had to crosspost my comment from the celebblog:

In the movie 'Lost in Translation' where Scarlett Johansson does the karaoke bit she really sounds like a karaoke singer. On stage with The Jesus and Mary Chain she actually doesn't sound bad at all. Very soft and sweet. Not sure how her sound will translate to Tom Waits. Something is bound to be lost in translation. hehe...

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I am sorry the Boy is still sick. He must have some of the same germs I've inherited. I'm still feeling lousy, but trying to move forward, although much of that forward moving is to the bed.

Thanks for the information, Loomis.

Martooni, you so got it right.

I knew all that warm weather we were having wasn't going to be good for some of us later on. They call it pneumonia weather, and that is a good name for it.

I see there is a discussion of all things southern, especially memories of the Civil War. I guess for some that is a history that they want to embrace and cherish, but I don't think it warms up African-Americans to the extent it does some of our southern neighbors or northern friends. Sure it's history, but a hateful one. Those shrines of past glories and happenings keep the focus on what might have been, and doesn't place us in drive, only reverse or park.

If there's a different connatation to those shrines please enlighten me? The "heritage" thing is what most people use in regard to the continued use and exhibition of the confederate flag. You know it's my heritage. How can I part with that?

And then there is the other end of the spectrum. We lay out our wounds and keep them to the front, and lay all at that door. We embrace them, and don't want to part with them. That is fine as long as it makes us stronger, and in making us stronger, moving us forward.

Of course, if one cares to get real picky about the whole subject, I suspect laying out wounds might be
perceived and tolerated a little better than creating those same wounds. Yet that too is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

DLD, Thanks for the pics. It's pretty much much standard operating procedure for historical park authorities to pile up the wrong size of ordnance beside guns and mortars. As I reported the other day it's common practice along Quebec City's fortifications. Them trees are palmettos, right?

Somebody should send a clipping of this article to Sec. Gates, the guy who complained that NATO troods in Afghanistan (UK, Netherlands and Canada) don't know how to fight insurgencies. US trooped opened fire on Afghani police, killing nine officers and a civilian. Making plenty of friends in the process, no doubt. Fighting an insurgency is difficult for everybody, the US army has been at it since October 2001 and, as far as I know, the insurgency ain't in its infamous last throes yet.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 25, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC US troops. I'm getting worser and worser.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 25, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

My old alter-ego "Reader" wants you to see this Onion article:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 25, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

This from Carl Hiaasen's column on the Florida (sort of) primary-

"For reasons difficult to fathom, the former mayor (and self-proclaimed savior) of New York has chosen to bank his presidential ambitions on a victory in Florida, which is full of people who bailed out of New York as soon as they could afford to."

Which reminds me, Joel. You're an ol' Florida boy. Do you know Hiaasen? Man, he can really write and he has great, great hair.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 25, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, thanks for the link.

SonofCarl, since you're a lawyer and for the lawyers out there... Doris Kearns Goodwin discusses "the Reaper suit" at far greater length than Herbert does in his biography of Lincoln. McCormick is not in her book's index, but the Reaper suit is listed under Stanton. And we all know what happened to Stanton, right, after Lincoln forgave him his foolish utterance? Headed Lincoln's War Department.

The original Reaper case apparently went to the Supreme Court in 1857, by which time Manny had died and the case was renamed McCormick vs. Talcott [my best friend's birth name].

Representing McCormick was former AG Reverdy Johnson. In 1845, Johnson was elected United States Senator, resigned on March 8, 1849, when he was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President Taylor. He resigned as Attorney General in 1850 when Fillmore became President. In 1861, he was a member of the Peace Congress in Washington. He was appointed Minister to Great Britain in 1868, and recalled by President Grant in 1869.

And you do know Goodwin is employed by NBC as its on-air historian, right? As Doug Brinkley is employed by CBS. Not sure who Michael Beschloss is affiliated with these days, but he formerly appeared a lot on ABC. Does CNN have one?

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I wouldn't be blaming the Civil War (not that you're wrong, by any means--you're right), as much as I would the Virginia "code of silence" about slavery, as detailed in Joseph Ellis' recent book, "American Creation."

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

k-bert, read the article, and my mouth is still hanging open. Did the article describe this as "deviant behaviour"? Have we come that far on the other side? They make this young man sound as if he's looney or weird, and all because he reads a book from the beginning to the end. You think they might start sending people to jail for reading? And I don't know who the heck is "they". I didn't understand that.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, thanks for the book suggestion, although I doubt I get to sit down and really read it. Got so many things going on at once,but just might.

I was crazy about the Black Adder.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Say, JA, is that the Heard Museum you happen to be across from? (last photo) Worth the time if you've got it. *Authentic* (no Asian knockoffs) Native jewelry, too. Prices reasonable. Historical collections--priceless.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Your Onion story guy qualifies as a winner in my National Just Read More Novels Month (or NaJuReMoNoMo in bloglish):

Other blogs kind of make fun of it because it's so easy. I challenge people to read one novel within the month of January. But since only 40% of the US reads a book in any given year, I think its a big deal. Only five days left in NaJuReMoNoMo or you have to wait for 2009 to gain the accolades and recognition the official winners get.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, the Onion is an interesting website, no? With just a tiny twist they create humor out of the sad truth. You know, just peel the layers...

Posted by: kbertocci | January 25, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Goodwin is a frequent guest on Meet The Press. Russert rarely asks her "Who did you steal that from?" Speaking of plagiarism (and only I was), The New York Press (an alternative weekly like City Paper) had to fire their sex columnist for stealing from Dan Savage.

It would be like copying an astronomy article from Carl Sagan. You're gonna get caught.

I'll let someone else explain The Onion to Cassandra. Like Randy Newman songs, sometimes their articles are a little too pitch perfect to be recognized as satire.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This Onion article had me laughing out loud, something I don't do much. Any Cowboys (America's Team TM) hater read it too?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 25, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Another good Onion Sports story from yesterday:

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Yellowjkt, I've actually finished one lone novel (I can't beleive it is only one, but well, one obesseion at a time), I gotta go get the logo changed one day soon.

Posted by: dr | January 25, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

More satire, really really good satire:

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I recently finished 'Shield' by Poul Anderson and 'Zodiac' by Neal Stephenson. Currently readining 'Silas Marner'. So far it seems more than half this book is about all the other people in the town of Raveloe. I'm about 70% into and it is just getting back to focus on the title character and the abandoned girl finally showed up (sheesh, 70% of the book finished before we start getting to the point of it). If I can just manage 50 pages in a week that will put me at 3 for Jan. Hurray me...

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Romney and McCain are going negative on each other in new web ads. The reason I mention this is I caught a bit of the anti-Romney windsurfing ad after turning on CNN for a few minutes during the noon lunch hour.

Of course, the point is to paint Romney as fellow and former Massachusetts presidential contender and Democrat Sen. John Kerry. Now, Willard Mitt and Kerry's kids are distant Loomis cousins, but to paint Romney as a windsurfer is meaner than eight acres of snake--Arizona snake. Romney's ad uses a Strauss waltz (I think) and McCain's own words on tax cuts to paint McCain as a flipflopper.

Huffington Post has the story and the negative ads from both camps--as well as a Schwarzenegger tango--on Youtube.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It was the 'unique brand of cunning' line that made you laugh, sd, wasn't it.

There were times when reading a novels was a 6 or so a month adventure. The boodle is responsible for my downfall, in a way. I've started reading other stuff (remember that set of history books) and that plus the usual needlework stuff consumes all my spare time. I did read How Green was my Valley during Christmas break, but since only the last couple of chapters was in January, I didn't think it should count.

For you editorial and writerly types, you'll enjoy this take on getting a book to print.

Posted by: dr | January 25, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I move that we declare February NaLeYePiAbFoOtMuTaMo (NAtional LEt YEllojkt PIck ABbreviations FOr OTher MUndane TAsks MOnth).

Whaddya think?

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

'unique brand of cunning' takes us back to Black Adder The Third:

I've got a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Posted by: byoolin | January 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

From Mr. T, and in honor of the major sports event of the year, enjoy:

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I live in a town whose economy depends on grapefruit and affluent people who bailed out of New York and don't want anything much to do with it. Carl Hiaasen similarly has bailed out of Miami and the Keys (except he rather likes both).

I've gotten into the business of foisting novels on my mom. She took a while to warm up to "Atonement" (ended up loving it) and got totally wrapped up in "Tree of Smoke". Since her tastes run to Grisham, I would suggest that the latter novel is not just a book for the critics.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 25, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I used to read more than 6 a month back in the days of school. Now, unless its a real page turner (like SciFi) I hardly ever read at home. Just on my commute, which depending on the style I can cover about 12 pages each way. SciFi being what I grew up on is easy reading for me. I can usually read SciFi twice as fast as anything else. Hence the two finished books so far this month. Histories and Biographies typically 8 pages each way.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm on a non-fiction kick this month. Finished 'In Harm's Way' and am working on JA's 'Grand Idea.' Also doing about 5 pages/night of 'An Incomplete Education.' Although I am listening to Hiaasen's 'Double Whammy.' Can I get an Incomplete?

Posted by: Raysmom | January 25, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Now THIS bring a tear to my eye. A happy memories tear, but still...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 25, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Scotty I just finished reading that article and thought of you when I read it.

I learned to ski at one of those places just outside Montreal, it was a family vacation with lifetime memories - falling off the tow will do that!

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Much the same, dmd, as will being hauled up a slope on a T-bar so frozen it couldn't extend, leaving me (AND my brother) hanging on for dear life!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 25, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - are you suggesting that "Short People" was, in fact, *not* a vicious indictment of the vertically challenged?

I'm still plowing through "American Visions" by Robert Hughes. It is about the "Epic History of Art in America."

It is engrossing, but requires a lot of concentration since nary a word is wasted. Fortunately, there are many nice pictures.

It's also hard to lift. I guess that's what makes it epic.

Anyway, heading to meetings. Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, the clip from "Der Untergang" with the fake subs is very funny, but they lost me when Adolf said he bought a T.O. jersey. Nobody, but nobody, buys T.O. gear. "Gosh Dad, I want to be a talented maniac jock when I grow up!" is not heard too often.

Incidentally, the flick, which translates as "The Downfall" was nom'ed for lots of awards including the Best Foreign Film Oscar and lots for star Bruno Ganz's turn as Hitler in his last days. It's very good but also very grim. Definitely Ganz's best since the 70's when he made "The American Friend" with Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley (as in Patricia Highsmith, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" etc.) and Herzog's "Nosferatu" with Klaus Kinski as the ol' Exsanguinater himself and the then 24 year old Isabelle Adjani as the object of his (blood)lust.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 25, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

kb, I have a good friend in Wichita who wonders out loud where everyone is going, especially when it's the middle of the day. Why aren't they at work? She cracks me up. We have no mass transit here, except for a badly designed bus system. Light rail is getting built and I'm hoping it will help things, but it's probably too little too late. I want to see the U2 3D movie - but it means a trip downtown to the Seattle Center, where parking can be an adventure. I thought it was going to be at a suburban mall theater, but I'm not sure now, and it probably isn't Imax. Decisions, decisions.

Oh, I was watching The Unbearable Lightness of Being last night on a VHS tape from the library - it jammed, unravelled about half an hour from the end (sort of like Roger Federer). Can someone tell me what happens? I can't believe I've never seen this...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 25, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The one and only time I went skiing, senior class trip to Quebec, at the top on my first day for my first attempt at downhill the damn bar that keeps you from falling out of your seat sprung up suddenly and rapidly and bent one of my ski poles. It broke in half when I tried to bend it back. Necesity forced me to learn to ski-skate on level ground. I actually got pretty good at it and could get around faster than a friend who played on the hockey team. Depending on who you asked he was the fastest or second fastest skater on the team. He was actually a little peeved that he, a skater, couldn't master the technique. And was slower getting around than me, a non-skater. That night we went out to a skate park (outdoor skating on trails in the woods) and we found after a race that he was the second fastest. But he had excuses.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Monte Carlo casino in LV on fire...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 25, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

maybe this can help mostly

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

A student season pass to the area at which we used to ski cost 75 bucks or so. What a bargain, and what fun. Being stuck on the chair in the blast of a snow making machine at 15-20F is no picnic, though.

Posted by: jack | January 25, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Well that's all folks. I'm calling it Miller Time, except I'll actually be drinking Boddingtons Pub Ale. And maybe some Guiness Draught a little later on.

Since tonight is movie night I think I'll stop by the video store and look for a Vanessa Paradis movie.

I know, I know...English ale, Irish stout, French movie. What AM I thinking...But I really doubt this particular store carries 'Blackadder'.

Posted by: omni | January 25, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

SofCarl writes: "...The Tempestinateacupalooza on PBS is over?"

I am still laughing. Say it three times for full effect.

But the answer dear, SoC, is that NO, the teacupalooza continues THROUGH MARCH!

Posted by: College Parkian | January 25, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if they want to win, they had better not let the Patriots have the ball at the end of the game. Or maybe AT ALL during the game, forcing them to use their superior telekinesis powers to make the Giants' offense run the wrong way and score for them.

Cassandra, sometimes the truth is funny and scary at the same time. I remember having such reactions at COLLEGE when I was carrying around a book to read for pleasure. I was pretty much ready to organize a group read-in to show people it's okay to read a book for pleasure and it is indeed thoroughly normal. So I back yello's reading awareness movement.

SciTim, I'm no geologist-- my knowledge of mass extinction theory involves iridium-rich asteroids for the dinos and iceball earth for the earliest mass extinction.

However, ocean warming is indeed a major issue in global weather, and I wrote a note on that over a year ago.

I'm not sure how H2S figures into the sulfur cycle in the oceans, but if the top layers are sufficently oxygenated, sulfate should result. Ozone, chlorine metal ions, and other chemicals can also react with H2S, and those are also present in seawater. Even sand can serve to filter out H2S from water.

Bottom line: seawater is more than just water, and extrapolating from what we know happens in land and in hot water tanks seems overly simplistic.

I'd be more worried about the short-term effects of hurricanes and other results of disturbances to the web of life in the ocean; disruption of the sulfur cycle is more likely to lead to man-made disasters and ecological degradation long before we start debating whether the sea is boiling hot or merely flatulent from excess H2S.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Good times, jack. Ten years or so ago I used to ski in upstate New York on a night ski pass. $95 or so for 6 nights. 'Course you did have to dress for below zero temperatures, but I kinda needed the extra padding if you get my drift.

Reality check: I saw in the WaPo's ski guide a few weeks ago that a daily lift ticket at Massanutten is $72.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 25, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

omni, you were at the Mont-St-Anne ? They had those skating trails for just a few short years. The place to go for that is the Village de Valcartier, great place to bring a date. I lived a few miles south of that place in the early 80's.
A t-bar tow at a small ski place I was going to near Quebec city had some bars with very weak springs, so you were getting the full kick in the backside when the spring bottomed out. Then the unsuspecting patron would get propelled forward when the fully extended spring finally got to pull back. Fun times.

My boss showed me that article at lunchtime, it was on the front page of the dead-tree edition. Cassandra S. might be a fellow Canadian after all. And we are honored by it.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 25, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, SD! I'm not proud about that emerging "code word", given the implications.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, SD, thanks. How discouraging. Sometimes I think it would be ok for us to be wiped off the face of the earth...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 25, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

yep Wilbrod, makes you wonder what those 19th century-educated morons are calling "real" Canadians.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 25, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"A similar case in Kansas City was reported last year on a Listserv, or electronic mailing list, used by linguistics experts. A University of Kansas linguist said that a waitress friend reported that "fellow workers used to use a name for inner-city families that were known to not leave a tip: Canadians. 'Hey, we have a table of Canadians.... They're all yours.' "

I can believe that this usage has two sources, code by racists, and stereotyping by waitstaff. I haven't waited tables in many years, but back in the day in both Grand Forks, ND and Nasvhille, TN Canadians were notorious for not tipping well. In Nashville blacks and Canadians were both painted with the stereotype along with "redneck" suburbanites.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 25, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

SD, we never really run out of ways to be mean and hateful to one another, do we? I've never heard that before, but certainly not shocked. The only way some people feel good is if they have their foot on someone's neck. Just shows how empty they are. I would be proud to be a Canadian. I've always wanted to see that part of the world. Just the urban part, I'm mighty afraid of bears.

I'm so tired of coughing and feeling lousy. Everything hurts from coughing. The nurse suggested some over the counter cough medicine, but I have high blood pressure so I don't fool with that stuff.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, hope you get better soon. It's good you got checked - I heard on the news that older people can get whooping cough, because of not having booster shots (who knew?). I had a terrible cold and cough a few years ago that hung on for about a month - in the summer...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 25, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I had always heard from folk in the early bird belt that Canadians were notoriously bad tippers, but I never thought it was racist code. I just thought waitresses hated Canucks.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I never heard that one, SD. I guess I live a sheltered life.

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

We would be proud to have you Cassandra, faxing a maple leaf flag off to you.

I do believe we honestly come by the low tipping stereotype.

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I never heard that code before, either. It's just appalling.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

just think what I have to live everyday. I'm a woman, an African-American, disabled, and fat. I miss absolutely nothing. I have several umbrellas and none of them shelter me.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

thanks, dmd. a maple leaf would go nice with my decor.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot, I'm also bald. My barber keeps my hair short because I have a donut right in the top of my head. If my hair grows out, it looks like rats have been feasting on the top of my head. I'm serious.

Don't feel sorry for me. I'm laughing as I type this. If you placed me in a room of movie stars, I've got enough moxey not to be intimadated. I'm shy, but not intimadated. There is a difference. Last time I checked, we basically have more things in common, than different.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

When I first read that article I thought of my Texas relatives, and had a quick flash that they might have been on the jury - then remembered they are all Americans now or were born there.

Cassandra if it is any consolation I believe there are many here, myself included, waving virtual umbrellas.

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Things could always be worse, Cassandra: you could be left-handed and Polish.

(OK, lame Polish joke.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey I am left handed! :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

...or be working as Britney Spears' rehab councelor.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Some of us don't find that funny. Or even half-funny.

Posted by: LeftHanded1/2Polish Babe | January 25, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

...or William Hung's road manager...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

...or a humor-impaired, left-handed hermaphrodite of Polish extraction...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Canadians" have a reputation as bad tippers because they are. So are "foreigners, women, teenagers, the elderly and anyone bearing coupons." Some stereotypes have a basis in reality.

Note picture of columnist. He gets the Chris Rock pass on being able to tell the truth. And he admits that some minorities under-tip.

Posted by: Reactionary Racist Creationist | January 25, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

If I can't laugh at myself, I am totally undone. I am talking about me, not someone else, but me. I'm not hung up on beauty in the sense of outward beauty. That is fine, don't have problem with it, but it's the inner man that counts. I did not mean to offend you "left hand", but it just my way of dealing with issues that must people go bonkers over. Really, I consider my self an attractive person. I am shy, but I like people basically.

What did you find offensive? The rat story? I am a serious person, but I need to laugh at me sometimes too.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think she was offended by me, not you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

move along, folks, nothing to see here. enough about me.

Mudge, you know you are something else. When I finally look in your face one day, I'm going to think about some of your quotes here, and probably go into uncontrollable laughter.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, here's a preview, then, Cassandra:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like time for some Norwegian jokes:

1: What's the difference between a Norwegian and a canoe?

Give up?

A canoe tips on occasion.

Posted by: CowTown | January 25, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

2: "Mom, they say I've got the biggest feet of anyone in the Third Grade! Is that because I'm Norwegian?"

"No, son. It's because you're thirteen."

Posted by: CowTown | January 25, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Running for the bus; everybody have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, try corcidin cold and flu, it's high-blood pressure safe.

I've used it and it helps. I happen to be intolerant of certain pill fillers, that was the only objection I had.

Also don't forget steam and vicks vapor-rub, that stuff really helps too.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

And then there's: "A thousand Swedes, running through the weeds, chased by one Norwegian!"

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 25, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

But Mudge, there's no blue bottom.

Posted by: dr | January 25, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I want to get back to Don from I-270s wisecrack yesterday and why I laughed.

You may recall that Don proposed the bumpersticker "Vote for Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife."

My response: "You mean Kate Bleiler?"

(Sorry for the 24-hour delay, but it's an Oregon story--Lewis and Clark College-- and I had to find it.),9171,138553,00.html

It had been a trying week. On Tuesday evening, 10 minutes before the State of the Union address, a slight, ponytailed man named Andrew Bleiler, 32, stood with his wife in front of their home in Portland, Ore., and confessed to a five-year affair with Lewinsky. He said it started when she was 19 and he was a stage-production teacher at Beverly Hills High, that he tried to end the entanglement in 1993 after both had moved to Oregon, but that Lewinsky threatened to tell his wife Kathlyn. And so the affair lasted until last April. The Bleilers' lawyer, Terry Giles, said that after moving to Washington, Lewinsky sent the couple letters and White House souvenirs.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, RRC. I like Jerry Large's columns - I probably read that when it came out, but had forgotten about the "Canadians". He lives in my part of town, so often there are references to places I know quite well (and which tend to be under-reported, except for bad things - crime, etc). I've been missing his column lately - maybe he's not in the Sunday paper anymore, or I'm skimming too fast...Yep, Monday and Thursday - have to catch him online.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 25, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Not offended at all, I was laughing.

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

All youse Austen fans, hands up if you're thinking "Lydia Bennett" or "Marianne Dashwood" when reading that article on Monica.
(Or just hands up, Austen fans, and back away slowly...)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

*phew* Glad you were laughing, dmd; sorry I slurred your sinister-handedness. Didn't know you were hermaphroditic. BTW, which half of you mind.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

We were going to head up to the in-laws tomorrow for a visit, but just found out they have to meet with potential buyers for their house. Oh well. So instead we are sitting around playing "Endless Ocean" on the Wii. The graphics of the underwater coral environs are impressive, but, in the spirit of the kit, I hope that there is still hope for the real thing.

My daughter thinks the name I chose for my character is quite silly. But I explained that I have grown quite fond of the name RD Padouk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't be knocking left-handed women. They are not without their subtle charms.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 25, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh, absolutely, Wilbrod--any mention of Monica Lewinsky *always* makes me think right away of Marianne Dashwood.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Kindly please note that I have self-censored every one of the 27 hilarious, filthy punchlines I had to my set-up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the Onion: it's too true. Give me fanciful humor.

Thanks for tipping me off about Neal Stephenson's new book, Omni.

Here's about the silliest thing I ever wrote:

Posted by: Jumper | January 25, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse


I loved that Onion article you linked to earlier. Especially this fabulous sentence:

According to girlfriend Jessica Kohler, he even uses a special cardboard marking device so that he can keep track of where he has stopped reading and later return to that exact same place.

Posted by: pj | January 25, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Science, crinolines, and furbelows all in one article.

"Cooked up in a laboratory by a scientist who thought, like that other earnest young scientist Dr. Frankenstein, that he was beating back death, mauve is the first artificial color. And like Frankenstein's creation, mauve is vital but unnatural, a little monstrous. Even pestilential: "The Mauve Measles," quipped Punch, are "spreading to so serious an extent that it is high time to consider by what means [they] may be checked." Everyone is wearing it. And since skirts are enormous, and worn with crinolines, not to mention the unmentionables, mauve unfolds by the yard (or the meter) out of dye-works across Europe. It is followed in quick succession by other synthetic colors, also derived from coal tar: aniline yellow, aldehyde green, bleu de Paris. An entire industry foams up out of furbelows, demonstrating the power of both science and the female consumer."

Read it all here:

I should note my colors for my only real wedding (marriage #2) were mauve and gray. It was the '80s, what can I say? Imagine a mermaid with a blonde mullet and shoulder pads atop mutton sleeves, basically something out of "The Wedding Singer."

Posted by: frostbitten | January 25, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that picture of you is from around 1750, right? You've aged incredibly well.

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I'm back. Yellojkt, I got a big stack of novels for Christmas and I've read several, so I'm participating at least in spirit. Of course, I took a break to read the "Imperial [something] in the Emerald City", about the Iraq occupation, and I'm getting mad on every page. Knew I would.

I knew a guy in high school who'd lift me up and carry me down the hall singing "Short People".

I love Neal Stephenson. "Zodiac" is an oldie but goodie; "Snowcrash" is my absolute favorite for a fast-out-of-the-box experience.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading today's conversation as usual. I printed out the Kit for the Boy (who didn't make it to science or the fencing tournament after all).

You were wise, RD, to choose a name which will enhance your mystery in the eyes of your offspring. The Boy takes Ivansmom as his due.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If Monica Lewinsky makes you think of Marianne Dashwood, Lewinsky's kinks (typo--I meant "links"-- but I might as well leave it) to Oregon make me think of Bob Packwood.

A very woody night, indeed.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to break up my posts. Can you tell?

Thanks to you all, I have to go convince my family to hold our own BlackAdder marathon tonight.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Ooooooh, *very* nice double entendre there, Loomis. Very nice indeed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

My thought about Monica Lewinsky was, where in the he11 is her MOTHER?!

I realize now, of course, that her mother is probably no better than she. Let me tell you, no child of mine would have done anything like THAT and survived. I would have KILLED her first. And they both know it.

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I look good in mauve. And royal purple. Should I be proud or ashamed?

And I like short people, for the record. They're easier to strategically sniff, if you know what I mean?

Speaking of sniffing, I hear the wind whistling through some spruces, helping them moan to me for some more canine cologne.

That's the call of nature! Gotta go!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | January 25, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

HOUSTON (AP) -- The former chief executive of Chuck Norris' martial arts program for inner-city children has pleaded guilty to stealing from the charity, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

What I think is interesting about that old Time magazine article about Monica is how Monica was attracted to the media types. George S.--when did he start working for ABC? And she dated Jake Tapper, who is now an ABC reporter/correspondent and no longer writing for print.

And Monica's mom's connections to the NYT Sulzberger clan. They moved in some circles.

Posted by: Loomis | January 25, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Mauve, pronounced to rhyme with suave


Mauve, pronounced to rhyme with Rove

Let the poll begin.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 25, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Suave, certainly.

Posted by: forstbitten | January 25, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Suave, of course.

Posted by: Slyness | January 25, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I read on average 2-4 books a WEEK, a mixture of fiction & non - have read a lot ever since I was a wee whippersnapper. Probably time to revisit the classics since its been many a year but for the record I am NOT an Austen fan - please don't kick me off the boodle!

Gotta go, got my nose stuck in a book...:-)

Posted by: TLF | January 25, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I rhyme mauve with cove or stove.

Posted by: pj | January 25, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome to stay, TLF, and contribute to our literary diversity.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I am with pj, mauve, cove.

Posted by: dmd | January 25, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot. I was completely going to comment on the kit before the boodle distracted me. Joel's griping about the rain everywhere he goes reminded me of Rob McKeena. To quote:

"And as he drove on, the rainclouds dragged down the sky after him, for, though he did not know it, Rob McKeena was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him, and to water him."

Douglas Adams: 'So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish'

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I was poking around in the closet today and uncovered a more or less grey-and-mauve shirt. Perry Ellis. Must be late 80s.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 25, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

C.P. - This is interesting. I always said it as Maude-with-a-"v" for most of my life. But as I heard more folks pronounce to rhyme with "cove" [say, over the past 10-15 years], I've largely, but not entirely, switched to that one.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

TLF - my book average is probably about with yours. I'll go through spells without reading much, but then the monkey gets WAY too heavy on my back, and I'll binge, knocking out a book or so a day for a couple of weeks until I feel normal again. Obviously, some books aren't amenable to that treatment, but I'll often be reading them while burning through lighter fare.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Mauve. Tove. Borogove. Twas brillig.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse rhymes mauve with sauve- a family name, not suave or rove.

Wilbrodog says it rhymes with ruh-HOVE

(uh-uh, ruh-WOOF! WOOF! WOOF-WOOF WOOF waooof-woo-WOOF)

Now I have to go shut up his vocal experiments before the neighbors complain.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh my! Terry Pratchett can still write, I must say; just got his latest book.

Maybe it's actually mad cow disease, like Denny Crane has.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, Ivansmom!! Those are great rhymes and much better than my feeble attempts.

Posted by: pj | January 25, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the tip about the cough medication, wilbrod.

Going to bed, have an early morning tomorrow, God willing.

I hope it has warmed up where you are, still very cold here.

Hello, Boy. Get well soon. I feel kinda bad too, so I know a little bit about what you're going through. Take care and do what mom says.

Sweet dreams, boodle. Good night.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 25, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - That will be very distressing to my youngest brother. I'm quite fond of Terry Pratchett. My brother ADORES him.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Mauve is one of those words I have never pronounced, because I feel tongue-tied about it. Rather non-Montana to have mauve roll off the tongue lightly, don't you think? So I say

dusky lavender
smoky purple
purpling pink
pinky purple

Another word I have a hard time saying is magician, because I read it out loud in school as Magic-can, which makes perfect sense. But, lots of laughter.

I know an instructor who freezes at the problem of

proSTRate with grief OR
proSTate check today

You,know, the silliness of nuns who might be prostrate upon the day of their final vows, and all that.

Evenish, here with MAUVE-Borgrove and MAUVE -Suave. Fun to hear more later. Take care.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 25, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Just say it like Wilbrodog, CP. I'm fortunate in that I just type it, not say it; I know all too well the problem of being tongue-tied.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, LOL! I've been lucky over the years to have a few friends who were able to help me understand not only some of the problems of being deaf or blind, but some of the advantages.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Had to laugh CP, I tend to pronounce Mauve both ways when forced to say it, as in "rove-suave" because I can never remember which is correct. Glad it's not such a popular color anymore so months can go by without me having to say the word. I always have to stop before I say 'indict' because I want to pronounce it the way it looks rather than 'indight.' Someone earlier mentioned reading An Incomplete Education. I think I'm ready to go back and read it again as the longer I hang out here, the dumber I feel. As for books read this month, um, nope. Still have two I started before the holidays and haven't gotten back into. Between work and the rest of life, I just don't seem to make the time. Just keeping up with The New Yorker magazine is hard.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 25, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneaks - It doesn't help that the "c" is definitely pronounced in "interdict".

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Seems like those two oughtta rhyme, but not even close.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Cassandra, I'll pass your good wishes on to the Boy, and especially that part about doing what mom says. He's better after a day of rest, but I'm trying to enforce a regular bedtime tonight, instead of the stay-up-"late" for Friday bedtime he usually gets. He doesn't go much past ten on a normal Friday but that's too late for a sick child. Also for me. Vaya con queso, fondue, and gimble in the wabes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 25, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Bob S. -- in my neck of the woods we always pronounced it with an "aw" sound, rhymes with paw and jaw, with a "v" on the end. A few people said it to rhyme with "rove" but we thought that was kinda snooty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 25, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Fluffy has a woods to neck in, Mudge?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes Bob, English is one weird language. From time to time I'll listen to my granddaughter read and it seems I spend a lot of time explaining that certain words are exceptions to the rules of pronounciation.

Just heard something on the local news that I found funny. The local NBC outlet is preempting "Meet the Press" on Sunday so they can televise the big Patriots rally at Gilette Stadium. Between that news and the media frenzy around the whereabouts of Tom Brady, we in the Boston area have officially gone insane. Of course I will be glued to the TV watching the rally too as I am as crazy as the rest of them.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 25, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Indict dates from around 1690 or so, and it was spelled indite then, straight from French inditer.

Some people in cleaning up English spelling decided to spell it like the latin source of the French word. The same geniuses also spelled cissoures/sisoures to match the latin for "tailor", resulting in "scissors".

England has never been too comfortable with how many words it's stolen from France, I presume.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 25, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom: 75 clams is a lot to pay for a day on Massanutten. Mass-'o-nuthin is what it was referred to when I was a lift attendant there many years ago.

Posted by: jack | January 25, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Aw, heck, Jack - I'm so old that I remember when $5 billion would have been considered more than enough money to build a fifteen mile rail spur out to the airport! What with inflation & all, seventy-five bucks a day must seem like a steal for some slope.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 25, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom's 10:21 reminds me that I once dated a boy for about six months solely because he could recite all of "Jabberwocky." I thought he was an intellectual.

(He was just a cute boy who could recite all of "Jaberwocky.")

Note the "cute."

Posted by: nellie | January 25, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

nellie - I think there was a time when I thought I was an intellectual for similar reasons. I won't make pronouncements on my cuteness (then or now), but I came to realize that there are genuinely intellectual folks in the world, and I'm not in their league.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Tune. I have these cousins that have re-established contact after basically none for 20 years. One of 'em sent me this.

For Cassandra, whenever I may find her.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | January 26, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Medallion- Superb link. Nina Simone is one of those folks for whom my heartfelt pangs of loss haven't ended.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

MoF, that is wonderful. I think I have heard the voice before. Ok, I'm sure I have heard her sing before, I just never knew her name.

There is a show here on CKUA that plays old blues, lots of stuff from old 78's. Her voice reminds me of some of those songs, rich, deep, with a soul.

Posted by: dr | January 26, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

A few more Nina Simone links worth checking out (I could list dozens more, but they're not hard to find if you're interested):

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I'll let it go after this, but this one ("Feelings") is really quite a thing to see & hear. [Yeah, she could play a little piano, too!]

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Ooops - I meant for this one ("My Baby Just Cares For Me") to be included in the previous post. I'm pretty sure that this is from her 1987 Montreaux appearance. This one is a good reminder of why she was known to tell audience sometimes, "I'm not a singer, I'm a piano player."

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

this is a very amusing article:

selected paragraphs:

When Bill Richardson canceled his presidential bid, wags in the Latino blogosphere did not mourn the lack of other Hispanic contenders. They still had the "Mexican-American" and the "Panamanian" vying for the GOP nomination.

Those hombres would be Mitt Romney and John McCain.


Mitt Romney's father, George -- the late former governor of Michigan and onetime presidential candidate -- was born in the state of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico. Three generations of Romneys lived there, starting with Mitt Romney's great-grandfather, who helped found one of several Mormon colonies in that country in about 1885. Some of those Mormons, including Romney's great-grandfather, who had several wives, were seeking refuge in Mexico from a recent anti-polygamy law in the United States.

But in 1910 the Mexican Revolution broke out, and in 1912 rebel commanders threatened to pillage the Mormon colonies. Five-year-old George and his parents fled back to the United States.


"Mitt's papi, George, was born in Chihuahua and therefore more Mexican than your typical Chicano-studies major," writes Gustavo Arellano in his syndicated newspaper column, "¿Ask a Mexican!"

Where would Romney be now, Arellano muses in print, "if it weren't for porous fronteras"?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 26, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

hi, bob s. do you sleep?

well i'm going to sleep now.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 26, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Can I fax you some rain?

We have had 3.41 inches so far today alone, with more to come.

There was a mud slide on Devil's Slide that closed Hiway One for almost seven hours.

Posted by: Pacifica | January 26, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

One of the things that companies do that bother me is the out-dating of electrical gadgets. We have a few printers in the office that print A3 papers. Although they are 10 years old they are still in good shape, just need certain parts replaced. The dealers told us that those are old models that manufacturer have stopped producing parts long ago. Manufacturers stop producing parts when the model is 5 to 6 years old. That only force offices to dump more equipment in the landfill. Printer is just one gadget. Every thing that is electrical goes out-of-date in 5 years or sooner.

Posted by: rainforest | January 26, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

i think we're good on the rain down here with more to come...

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 26, 2008 5:12 AM | Report abuse

This is a very interesting dilemma...

I'm having trouble with the concept of having only an invisible fence. If I had a territorial dog, I would of course try to socialize it, and I certainly wouldn't set it up for confrontations in such a way... *shrug*

*somewhat-laid-back-weekend-activities Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

A little warmer here this morning -- 16F -- so I'm not dreading going out to the shop so much today.

Looks like SC is having decent voting weather, though 48F to them and 48F to me are probably two very different things. In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing how that vote goes. Get thee to the polls, SC Boodlers!

dbG... thanks for the tip on DaWanda. I set up my shop there yesterday ( and already landed a sale. Your tip couldn't be more timely since I got booted from Etsy two days ago due to a handful of very vocal impatient customers who felt that a double bout of pneumonia wasn't a good enough excuse for production delays. Ticks me off because my sales on Etsy were through the ceiling. Good thing I printed out all my orders from there before they hit the kill switch. I may try to get back on there once all the backorders are shipped, but now that I know how heavy-handed their admins are, I dunno.

So it goes.

Anyway, hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday. Time for another cup of Earl Grey and then off to make sawdust.

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | January 26, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse


Perhaps if you faxed the doctor bills to etsy they might be a BIT more understanding about the delays... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

good morning, friends. time to get the day started. will go to the radio station this morning with a friend to tape a part of our show.

I can tell in here that it is cold outside. I will wrap up, hopefully that will be enough. Still battling whatever this is.

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

I hope the weekend is good for all. I'm just going to try and maintain. That calls for energy I may not have. Enjoy your weekend.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Mauve, like stove and rove. A mauve is a delicate flower (malva), guess what is its color?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 26, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Interesting article, Scotty. We have just an electric fence for the faithful beagle and it's worked very well for us. We got Rusty when the kids were pretty small and didn't want the hassle of always worrying that he'd get out as the many munchkins in the 'hood came in and out, in and out. Or the hassle of trying to keep a dog in that wants to get out. The only time he has ever gotten out of the perimeter was once when he had gone out without his collar on and clearly a bunny or something had been in the yard and he sniffed his way right across the line in ecstasy. Other than that, with or without the collar he knows exactly where the line is and never goes past it.

He has, on a few occasions when it is someone he doesn't recognize as a usual walker in the 'hood, run toward the fence barking and that does make us feel badly. I have been charged by dogs that stop right on the line and I know it's a very uncomfortable experience. I don't know how I feel about the regulations that the article mentioned. This is the first I've read about the fences being a problem that would require that kind of focus.

Posted by: Kim | January 26, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

There once was a rat named Rove
Who's cheeks were a shade of mauve,
His boss said "You're awesome,
My little turd blossom"
Before tossing him into the stove

(sometimes I just can't help myself)

Posted by: martooni | January 26, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

np, Martooni. There are a limited # of sites out there, however!

There were several shops deleted from etsy. The etsy-watcher sites seem to have concluded that it's not only non-shipment but also not answering convos, and advise people who will be unable to ship to at least keep their customers informed and offer refunds. There's usually been a topic in the forums about this, and somebody will post a link to an etsy-watcher site.

Why not clear it up and try to go back? Being on a few sites is only going to up your sales. Not that I always agree with the etsy admins, but they're an online site and buyers have to trust they'll receive what they get, or at least have their e-mail responded to. Positive thoughts!

Nice site on dawanda. Have you considered doing a line of greeting cards with those nice pictures? One with all of the doors sampled, others with separate doors? I bet they'd sell well, and it would put your work into a second category and draw more people into your shop. Buy the door, then buy the cards to send to their friends to show them. blomma on etsy has nice work and typical prices, she prints them herself, or your could get Staples or to do them.

Posted by: dbG | January 26, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good idea on the cards, dbG. I'll have to look into that.

Once I get everything caught up I may try to get back into Etsy -- it *is* a good site and I did very well there. I was already in contact with the admins there and thought everything was fine but then "boom". I understand their position, but I thought completely whacking the account was a little heavy handed. They could have kept the account open minus selling privileges but went for the nuclear option instead.

Oh well... it's their party and they can do whatever they want.

In the meantime, sawdust doesn't make itself... off to the shop.

Posted by: martooni | January 26, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Harkening back to last night's posts here and the issue of presidential sex or nonsex...

Did anyone catch the exchange a week ago today on MSNBC, mid-afternoon, between moderator Tim Russert and guest Gail Collins of the NYT? Both said they are fascinated by former president Grover Cleveland.

It was Collins who said that she believes, as a result of her reading or research, that Grover's bride was impregnated by her own father and that Grover Cleveland took the fall for it. Wowzer, the Oval Office version of "The Color Purple." Hadn't heard this bit of historical lore before.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

'morning boodle! Easing into a gray but warm day, 16F already. Tomorrow above freezing perhaps.

Super-duper Tuesday is but a blink of an eye away and I don't have a clue who I'll caucus for on the prez ticket.

Stumbled on this, A Liberal Mormon takes on Romney's waffling about LDS doctrine:

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"It was Collins who said that she believes, as a result of her reading or research, that Grover's bride was impregnated by her own father and that Grover Cleveland took the fall for it. Wowzer, the Oval Office version of "The Color Purple." Hadn't heard this bit of historical lore before."

Hmmm, Frances Cleveland's father died in 1873, and she didn't marry Grover until 1886 when she was 21. So, even if Oscar Folsom had impregnated the 8yo Frances I hardly think Cleveland took a fall for what, if it is true, must have been the best kept political secret ever in NY that didn't involve concrete. Either that or Ripleys has a 13 year gestation to investigate.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn is coming to Washington!

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Zorn is the closest thing to a sports hero I've got.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 26, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

RD-a guy who played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Tampa Bay Buc's, then coached the MN Gopher offense must be wonderful. Oh yeah, that whole Seattle QB thing was probably important too.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Going back to the Onion article about the reader - I used to read a lot of Isaac Asimov. I particularly liked his short stories. I'm sure one story had characters reading an electronic book and were amazed that their (great)grandparents had spoken of actually holding a book made of paper. I don't know if it was my interpretation or unfaithful memory but I don't have the impression Asimov was writing about the book readers available now. I wish I could recall which story or book it was in.

Posted by: GD | January 26, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, thanks. *l*

See if I can find the transcript for that MSNBC program--or do more poking around.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Loomis-here it is, from the Jan. 19th show-

RUSSERT: Grover Cleveland.

You're an expert on Grover Cleveland. Why?

COLLINS: We are the only two people in the world who really think Grover Cleveland is neat. He was just the most exciting president. I could tell you for hours--and you don't want to hear it--but he...

RUSSERT: Underrated president? Is that what I'm hearing? I like this part of the story--remember, "Ma, ma, where's my pa? Gone to the White House. Ha, ha, ha"?

Are you certain that Grover Cleveland was the father of that illegitimate child?

COLLINS: I'm almost certain he was not the father of that illegitimate child.

DICKER: Ooh, some news here.

COLLINS: It was the father of his future wife who was the father of the illegitimate child. See, that's why you like Grover Cleveland. You get stories like...

RUSSERT: So he took the fall for this guy?

COLLINS: He took the fall for the guy, who was dead and who was married. He was unmarried and alive, and he took the fall, yes.

RUSSERT: You see what you can learn...

COLLINS: There you are. See?

RUSSERT: ... at this roundtable?

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The Cleveland marriage is a little creepy though. While not Frances's guardian, after her father's death Cleveland was executor of the estate and supervised her education. He was 27 years her senior.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I should not have typed *bride.* I think I named the wrong woman. Going into the CNN archives for an article by Lance Morrow titled: "Aaah! When campaigns were really dirty."

A classic of the scurrilous genre was the election campaign of 1884 -- Grover Cleveland v. James G. Blaine. Cleveland, the hardworking and honest and extremely fat governor of New York, gave a speech on July 10 declaring his high-minded campaign theme: "Public Office Is a Public Trust." The trouble began 11 days later. The Buffalo Telegraph ran a story headlined:



This was Cleveland's famous illegitimate tyke, 10 years old in 1884, who would be immortalized in the song, "Ma! Ma! Where's My Pa?" -- "Little Tom Tid was a frolicsome kid/ A cute little cuss I declare...."

Cleveland, a bachelor but an improbable rake, acknowledged the child, for whom he had provided support payments to Maria Halpin all along. "Above all," Cleveland instructed his people, "tell the truth." An admirable thought. The New York Sun's Charles A. Dana wrote: "We do not believe that the American people will knowingly elect to the Presidency a coarse debauchee who would bring his harlots with him to Washington, and hire lodgings for them convenient to the White House."

By October the Nation judged: "Party contests have never before reached so low a depth of degradation as this." The Democrats, desperate for a sexual rebuttal, came up with the story that Blaine had had premarital relations with his wife, and then, according to the Indianapolis Sentinel, "only married her at the muzzle of a shotgun."

Blaine was more vulnerable in other areas of venality. Variously, "The Plumed Knight," or "the Continental Liar from the State of Maine," he had so many profitably shady connections and such an improvisational way with the truth that Mark Twain, who joined the Mugwumps (apostate Republicans supporting Cleveland), allowed that Blaine's skill at lying had overwhelmed him, saying "I don't seem to lie with any heart, lately."

So it went. (I am harvesting this material from a new biography, "An Honest President: The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland," by H. Paul Jeffers, and from Paul F. Boller, Jr.'s "Presidential Campaigns").

And if you think the Clinton-Obama dustup is bad... (from the same article):

To enjoy really filthy campaigning, it is necessary to return to the Founding Fathers. In 1800, John Adams called Alexander Hamilton "an intriguant, the greatest intriguant in the world -- a man devoid of every moral principle -- a b@stard...." If Jefferson should win the election (as of course he did), the Connecticut Courant warned, "Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will all be openly taught and practiced..." Of course, the vicious campaign rumor that Jefferson had sired several children with his slave Sally Hemings turns out to be true.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, again thanks.

I know I have some hardening of the ear bone--hence, sone hearing loss, but thank goodness I didn't hear the program incorrectly.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, and a Happy Vietnamese New Year to all. Today is the day our local Vietnamese community officially celebrates the New Year, and I'll be there at the start of the festivities this afternoon. I feel an affinity for this year, as many years ago I was born in the Year of the Rat. Okay, let's take the Year of the Rat - law school connection as made. Feel free to insert your own jokes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Wait, wait, I think I'm getting it--Collins alleges that it was Frances Folsom's dad who was the father of Maria Halpin's child. Is that your read?

We're heading out the door on erands. Check back later.

Posted by: Loomis | January 26, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. I went to vote earlier. The parking lot at the Armory was full to the point where I was directed to place my vehicle on the grass in front of the building. My neighbor is one of the Democratic bosses and said the turnout was fair. The number of people coming and going led me to believe that the turnout was better than fair. I still think that there's a good chance that the nominee will be chosen at the convention.

It's our daughter's 15th birthday today and she's off to shop with my wife. She'll be driving before the week is out. Time flies... and since it's Saturday, a suitable tune cootie:

I went down to the mountain, I was drinking some wine,
Looked up in the heavens Lord I saw a mighty sign,
Writt'n fire across the heaven, plain as black and white;
Get prepared, there's gonna be a party tonight.

Uhuh, Hey! Saturday Night!
Yeh, uhuh one more Saturday night,
Hey Saturday night!

Everybody's dancin' down the local armory
With a basement full of dynamite and live artillery.
The temperature keeps risin', everybody gittin' high;
Come the rockin' stroke of midnite, the whole place gonna fly.

Uhuh, Hey! Saturday Night!
Yeh, uhuh one more Saturday night,
Hey Saturday night!

Turn on channel six, the President comes on the news,
Says, "I get no satisfaction, that's why I sing the blues."
His wife say "Don't get crazy, Lord, you know just what to do,
Crank up that old Victrola, put on them rockin' shoes."

Uhuh, Hey! Saturday Night!
Yeh, uhuh one more Saturday night,
Hey Saturday night!

Then God way up in heaven, for whatever it was worth,
Thought He'd have a big old party, thought He'd call it planet Earth.
Don't worry about tomorrow, Lord, you'll know it when it comes,
When the rock and roll music meets the risin' sun.

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Howdy Friends
I just got schooled on how to stir eggs for scrambled eggs. And remember, always put the cheese on top so it can melt all the way.

Now out to hit the ball around the frozen yard. Who could ask for a better Saturday?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 26, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome L.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Loomis-re your 11:21, precisely.

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

Everyone looks mauvelous today.

The Cleveland dirt is more appropriately compared to McCain's 2000 takedown in S.C.

As for Romney, he was, after all, raised Mormon. He didn't pick it, his parents did. Few are much different in that regard. I will vote for him when the time comes.

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

I thought shock collars were a forbidden boodle topic after the Media Matters incident. I'm sure the Hillary Hit Squad is still keeping an eye on Joel.

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

That precise time being, of course, when the ski lifts and Zambonis are operating across the Styx.

Posted by: Jumper | January 26, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Just lost a long comment. Long story short Ivansmom, Mr. F and I are both rats. I hope that means we're all in good company. Happy New Year!

Posted by: frostbitten | January 26, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, back from the station,and the taping went just fine. Enjoy the festivities, Ivansmom.

Slyness, not covered up with snow, are you? It is still bone cold here. And the heat seems to be blowing cold air. Drinking ice water probably did not help.

Where's everybody? Oh, that's right, some people have a life.

Posted by: cassandra s | January 26, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Cassandra! *grover waves* Same here in our section of the upstate. I have popsicle toes.

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Shameless plug, because our website is up.

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

whoops, wrong URL. This is correct:

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Cassandra! People who go to a station to tape a radio show definitely have more interesting lives than some of us. I was sorting laundry. Stay warm.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Them is some cute dogs, Jack.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

In lieu of discovering gold, I did however find a bonanza the other day, while crawling in my neighbor's crawlspace, trying to help her resolve a plumbing issue (for which a plumber was eventually needed): a 9 quart cast iron cookpot with cast iron lid, and a 4 quart cast iron companion pot. By the looks of them abandoned long ago by someone who did not understand how to season them properly. But I do. In fact, they are in the oven now. The last of the canola oil is gone, spent on this process. If I see they need a follow up, I'll get into the olive oil.

I will have to post my love letter to cast iron cookware on my blog. I'm feeling very smug about my discovery.

Posted by: Jumper | January 26, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Whew, Jumper, I was worried about you! But your second post cleared the matter up. Zambonis operating on the Styx, hehehe.

Cassandra, we're back from Winterfest. We stood on the side of the lake at Chetola and watched people jump in. The MC said the water temperature was 34 degrees, under the thickest ice I've ever seen there. Then we went back to town (this being Blowing Rock, it's a 4-block walk). After chatting with friends, we went to the chili cookoff, which was terribly crowded. All the different chilis were good, though. Then Mr. T had to check out the silent auction and raffle, and we came home. The various events are fundraisers for local charities, which makes them worthwhile. It's a lovely day, partly cloudy and in the mid-40's now.

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - I'm rather jealous. Massive hunks of iron cookware appeal to me, also.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, IM. They're a collective source of happiness at the end of a long day.

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I have my grandmother's iron skillet, which I haven't been using since I got the smooth top range. The salesman said not to use cast iron on it, but I wonder. Has anybody else heard that?

Posted by: Slyness | January 26, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A big discussion about smooth-tops and cast iron here:

Posted by: Jumper | January 26, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

So, when's the fish fry, Jumper?

Posted by: jack | January 26, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

morning all. i was just skimming and noticed an odd thing. i posted late last night (about romney's family living in mexico). after that though there is a post from pacifica at 2:23 and a post from me at 5:12 that were not made last night. they were made a few days ago (i'm too lazy to find out when). anyway, just wanted to mention this in case other technical problems are occurring.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 26, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Are we doing the Boodle Time Warp again?

I have my mom's cast iron skillets, all of different sizes, as well as a cast iron dutch oven. There are some things I will only cook in cast iron. It just feels better.

Off soon to the Vietnamese shindig, or hootenanny.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think an uniform setback law is the answer.

I would definitely mandate the landowners post electric fence warnings AND put them on notice that they need to solve the problem of having ill-mannered dogs charging at the public.

Half of the time dogs that charge people are friendly but also a little supicious of strangers, and if they get electric shocks whenever approaching strangers, it actually can worsen their behavior, like barrier frustration.

I remember being charged by a 100+ lab that slipped loose at the door and ran right at me across the road (could have been hit by a car). I chose to stand still and brace myself for impact. I just watched it in slow motion, it seemed... The dog braked in front of me, confused.

So, no, not every dog that runs at you is going to attack. BUT it is the responsibility of every dog owner to teach the dog manners, and to reconsider the wisdom of having dog out alone and being subject to passing traffic.

Dogs have been killed on their own property by passing strangers or neighbors. The key was they couldn't escape. Electric fence, real fence, makes no difference except that a 9 foot fence WILL keep most people off your property.

I don't think there's a need for a specific law regarding electric fences, just to cite the owners with failure to supervise and endangering animal safety, and explain why their dogs are at risk if out alone with only an electric fence.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Without doing much research on the issue, I'm gonna guess that the number of dogs killed by passing strangers & neighbors, combined with the number of passing strangers and neighbors killed by dogs, pales beside the number of people killed by passing strangers & neighbors & vice versa.

Doesn't mean that the issue isn't worth attention, but this is not a major cause of the deaths of dogs or people.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Good article on Doc Watson:
He's playing at the Birchmere in Alexandria tonight - anybody going? He'll be in Fairfax March 8. Fabulous musician.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 26, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, NukeSpouse will need extensive consoling when she hears of your treasure.

I'll thank you later. ;-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

And I really am sick of this...

Sick of the FCC, I mean. It was intended to regulate technology, not speech. How about we ask the candidates which of them would strip the FCC of its "indecency" power?

*SIGH* Excuse me, I must need a nap or something...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"Full Dorsal Nudity"

Wow, what a great name!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 26, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I just posted some pictures and a caption as a new kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 26, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

My buddy Dan McIntyre makes the pickups that Doc uses in his guitar. Doc is a class act.

Agreed, scotty. Exercising the digits on the remote is a much better alternative.

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

True enough, Bob S. But people get hysterical over dogs and want to legislate them to a degree that they would never be allowed to do to another human being by the law... at least at the moment.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 26, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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Online Casino Games

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