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Waiting in New Hampshire for the Iowa Bounce

I've just arrived yet again in New Hampshire, where I'll be poised to pounce upon candidates as they arrive from Iowa, bouncing like superballs. Pouncing on the bouncing: It's almost as good as having a legitimate story idea. [As a journalist I would have to be much more organized to rise to the level of "winging it."]

The Iowa Bounce is a famous political phenomenon, and this year I expect all candidates to claim to be enjoying a huge, tremendous, gravity-defying bounce, even though several arduous years of campaigning in Iowa has resulted in, say, 7 percent, fourth place and one (extrapolated by complex computer formula) convention delegate.

I've heard that Romney is holding a rally at 3 a.m. in Portsmouth, which I plan on missing unless ordered at gunpoint to attend. But I'll probably go to the Edwards bouncefest at 6:30 a.m. in Manchester (unless due to events entirely beyond my control I oversleep).

[Just ran into Kevin Merida, who is covering NH for the Style section, and here's his prediction: "My prediction is someone will win and someone will lose." That's a much sounder analysis than the one I offered yesterday.] [I think I speak for all Americans when I say, Let's get on with it, already. No more coverage until votes get counted! I read the newspapers on the flight and the coverage was excellent except for the absence of news.]

The exciting thing is that I now have a Blackberry, which means that I never again have to go through the excruciating and dehumanizing experience of being offline and unable to send emails. I can now send and receive emails in my sleep, in the shower, riding a bike, while clearing brush, and even while talking simultaneously on my cellphone. It used to be that I could only text-message while driving, but now I can also surf the Internet and possibly blog.

The only catch - and arguably it is a big one - is that I have no idea how the Blackberry works. I had to call a friend last night - true fact - to find out how to turn the Blackberry off. I could turn it on, but not off. And then seemingly out of the blue it would bark at me: "SAY a COMMAND." But I didn't want to say a command. I wanted it to shut up. I was on the verge of stepping on it, or whacking it against a brick wall, to get it to ixnay itself.

But now that I know the on-off trick (HOLD the button), my next goal is to figure out how to delete spam, since my magical tool now lets me receive hundreds of pieces of spam anywhere, anytime, even in this airport food court. Then I'll need to figure out how to charge the battery. In fact that's what I'll be doing, mostly, in New Hampshire when not covering the Bounce: Finding outlets with which to charge my cellphone, my Blackberry, my laptop, my tape recorder, my night vision goggles, my digital curling iron, and the other necessities of modern journalism.

As a backup I brought pen and paper, red flags for ship to shore semaphores, a sextant, and ample kindling and matches for building a fire that will spell words visible from an airplane.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 3, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
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Next: Waking to the Gift of News


H-m-m. Guess I'm the leader of the pack. Kinda like Huckabee? Good luck in NH, Joel. I can sympathize with your technology issues.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse


Hit the Rusty Hammer or the Press Room in Portsmouth after the Romney splat.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Boodle, acting in my official capacity as shop steward, I invited Dave Barry to come over to the Boodle after his chat and say Howdy. Whether he'll do that (or even print my invite) is unknown. I told him we had onion dip and Triskits, and some punch. I dunno whether he'll go for it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I told Dave we're a bunch of nattering nabobs, how could he resist?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Now HERE's a conspiracy theory for ya...

"Supreme Court Justice Bill Clinton"

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Puttering pundits of positivity?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It would give Bill that chance he's been looking for to hit on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Scotty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

While everyone is over at the Barry chat I thought we could push the furniture out of the way and install one of those Iowa Bounce thingies. Kids love them.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine him taking that job, Scotty. Now he might be interested in being a replacement Senator from New York, but I'm still not sure he'd want to take the pay cut.

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Joe, please. Before it is too late. Dig a deep, deep hole and drop the Blackberry into it. Pour in some ready-mix concrete. Then drink heavily until you forget you ever owned one.

For that way lies madness.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I must have a case of the Friday sillies. Everytime I try to read your post scottynuke I see naboobs. I know it says nabobs, but I just cant see that.

Posted by: Kerric | January 3, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Just don't try to cover the "spin" and the "bounce" at the same time or the hotel will charge extra to clean the carpet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I want to play on the Iowa Bounce!

I am SO impressed that Joel has a Blackberry. All my friends with important gummint and corporate jobs have them. A few even know how to use them. I'm sure Joel will learn the mystic incantations and dances, right after they show him the secret handshake.

Gail Collins at NYT has a fun column on Iowa. My favorite description: "Fred Thompson is so desperate to go home that he's practically begging people to vote for somebody else."

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea that curling irons had been so recently digitized. A V8 moment...

Posted by: jack | January 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

We could do worse than SCJ Bill Clinton.

Joel... my husband keeps scraps of paper in his pocket and calls them his "paper Palm."

He also calls The Washington Post the "paper Internet."

But the best was the other day when he told me something and then said, "Of course, I'm only accessing my internal Wiki, so that information could be inaccurate."

He's a funny old coot.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Kerric, yer just flashin' back to all the Tata jokes I didn't make...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

kerric - isn't it amazing what they can make with nanotechnology nowadays? Although, perhaps this discussion would have been more appropriate when discussing the David Levy book.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

So Joel bought a CrackBerry. No more porching for him, as he'll be too busy CrackBerrying to enjoy the porch. No more comtemplation of his yard, or hair. Or yards of hair.

Unless he does actually try to send and receive emails in the shower. Those CrackBerrys aren't waterproof.

Posted by: wiredog | January 3, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I, in totally seriousness, carry a bunch of 3X5 cards around clipped together with a shiny red clip.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Kerric, here in my universe it is still Thursday. I am sure of it. If we're in a shared hemisphere, then I hope your Friday sillies are just a day early.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Digital curling irons are the ones you use to curl your digits.

Well, Kim, if there are no grouchy beagles, then I have known one or two that were very very mudgeony curs. Nip your ankle, rape your shin, nocturnal barking at nothing until hoarse, that kind of thing.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 3, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Was Fleegle a beagle?

Posted by: jack | January 3, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy Tim Egan's writing, so look forward to occasional column in the NYT. From today's offering, about how the upper-crust Republicans really don't cotton much to Huckabee:

Huckabee revels in the class war. He's Two-Buck Huck, and darn proud of it. He likes nothing better than playing the Hick from Hope. He and his wife lived in a trailer for a while, he points out. His son killed a dog one summer, "a mangy dog" at that, as Huckabee explained to the befuddled national press corps. He said he used to eat squirrels, cooking them up in his popcorn popper. Ewwwwhhh!

I think black-tie or formal dinners at the White House may never be the same if Huck is elected. This makes picking your cheese off your pizza with your fingers seem downright civilized.

Posted by: Loomis | January 3, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

From the Dave Barry Chat (Celebritology at 2, where I bet Boolyn will get a lick or to in.)
Alexandria, VA: Are you actually friends with Weingarten? He is the epitome of the word "curmudgeon", which is derived from "cur" - an angry dog; "mud" - which he slings at Republicans, and "geon" which is the end of "dungeon" - which is where he should end up. Your thoughts?

Dave Barry: Gene would never last in a dungeon. He'd be whining and complaining constantly, and his cell would be a mess. Eventually they would throw him out.


Dave Barry: OK, my work here is done. I need to go purchase jerky and snowshoes in preparation for New Hampshire. Thanks for joining me here, and for your questions. Have a fine 2008.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

No, jack.. I believe he's the punter for the NY Giants (used to be with the Iggles).

Har har.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, the "rape your shin" comment just brought back a flood of memories of my youth when our little dog was in heat. There was a beagle a few houses away who would frequently, and very aggressively, try to hump my leg. He was one of many dogs camping out near our house at those times. I was in elementary and junior high during those years and it was kinda intimidating to walk out of the house sometimes. That beagle was damned insistent!

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I was the first "Alexandria, VA" question in Barry's chat about him going up to New Hampshire and running into Joel. I don't know who the other "Alexandria, VA" questions are from.

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to interrupt, but I have a serious medical question. I went in for my first, and probably last, Physical Therapy session. The conclusion was that there ain't nuthing wrong with me that a few more bottles of naproxen won't fix. But here is my query: is it mandatory that all physical therapists be attractive 20 year old women? I mean, is this a way to encourage repeat business?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Just reported on WAMU-the feds are kicking the National Aquarium out of the basement of the Commerce Building. The Nat'l Aquarium was established in 1873 and now the mean old government is saying it can no longer provide free space to a non-federal entity. By gum, it was a federal entity until Reagan admin budget cuts made it reinvent itself as a foundation. I probably take this far too personally, but during a 7th grade field trip our class was inexplicably set free on the mall with our only requirement being to meet back up in front of the bus at the appointed hour. What fun, to be able to abandon the stupid stuff that lemming classmates wanted to see, the metal building that predated Air and Space Museum for instance, and look instead at great art, and the Hope Diamond of course. A friend and I stumbled on the aquarium and ate our lunch in air conditioned comfort perched on a bench in the lobby of the Commerce Building. It's like finding out a childhood ice cream shop closed (which also happened RIP Dipper Dan's).

Posted by: frostbitten | January 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

You have to smash a Blackberry in a metal compactor and then drop it into the ocean. And even that's not a guarantee.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, given the all-black clothing, fingernail polish, and discrete tongue stud, my Physical Therapist was a little bit goth. So I spent part of the morning with a young attractive female goth twisting my limbs and torso around asking me if it hurt.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge. I'm currently stuck in a time warp. Right now it's Jan 2, 2008 at 2:54 PM. I'm slowly but surely catching up...

Posted by: omni | January 3, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Sad news about the aquarium, frostbitten. I used to take Kurosawachick there when she was a toddler. She loved the touch tank. This was a child with absolutely no "Eww yuck!" response, none. She cried because they wouldn't let her hold the tarantulas at the insect zoo, only the giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which were not "nice and furry."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 3, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

omni - quick, call your bookie and bet your life savings on West Virginia.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Frosty, the Bush Administration wants the aquarium to become "The National Security Interrogation Center." After Cheney saw all those tanks, it occured to him that instead of waterboarding suspects one at a time (a fairly labor-intensive process requiring a lot of individual attention), with those tanks you could turn waterboarding into a much more efficient, stream-lined process, waterboarding six, eight, ten people at a time. And depending on the home habitat of the suspect, you could have a salt-water waterboarding tank, a fresh-water tank, a very cold mountain spring water/snow melt tank, etc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I've been to the DC National Aquarium once (not to be confused with the real Bawlmer one) and felt the same sick feeling as when you go to a petting zoo and all the goats have mange. It was dark and damp and smelled like chlorine.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear god, it just occurred to me: Dave Barry AND Joel Achenbach both running loose in New Hampshire and covering the primary? What's wrong with this picture? Somewhere Teddy White is spinning in his grave like the turbines in a 747.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

RD, one way to cope with your Phyical Terrorist is to ask if you may practice those torture manuevers on *her*. Just to make sure you understand what she's doing to *you*.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 3, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you can start doubting the importance of an event when 2 national newspapers send their humour columnists to cover it.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you are the first person I have ever heard of turning off a blackberry. I have now used to the intermitten green flash that is emitted from my husbands blackberry as it sits on the dresser all night long. Did you take the GPS option with turn by turn instructions?

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"I'll be poised to pounce upon candidates as they arrive from Iowa."

Just so you know, they WILL call security, Joel.

And turning off a Blackberry is even more difficult and dangerous than turning off Dr. Daystrom's M5 computer. Good luck with that.

Posted by: byoolin | January 3, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

That's an idea that will certainly catch Darth, I mean Dick Cheney's attention, Curmudgeon. And it has the added advantage that you would even have to remove the sharks and octopi before converting the facility to DHS. They would only incentivize the interrogation process- "What's it going to be, Mahmud- sharks, eels, or rays?"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 3, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here!

Posted by: Dr. Evil | January 3, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

We have mutant sea bass.

Posted by: byoolin | January 3, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the tip-off, K-guy, is that the aquarium is centrally located. I mean, like they say in real estate, location, location, location. Only a few blocks from the White House, just across the river from the Pentagon, a bit further down the river from the CIA. Ya got yer Ft. McNair nearby, and the FBI building is practically in whiffle-ball distance. I mean, one could get a major interrogation center much more centrally located than that. AND ya got yer water facilities already there! I tell ya, it's a deal the GOA just couldn't resist.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

From Liz Kelly's Celeb.....Live Chat, you know, the place Boolyn hangs out.....I got the name wrong, Byooln...Bolyn,

Female readers want to know:: Which one is hotter, cuter and smarter: Gene or Dave?

Liz Kelly: I've never met Dave, so I couldn't tell. Both have unfortunate haircuts, so is there a third option?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Would you settle for a remora with a laser pointer?

Posted by: Mini Me | January 3, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: GAO. I suffer from acronymic dyslexia (DA).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Kelly-Celeb-Chat continued:

Miss Annapolis, Md/: If I had to choose between Dave Barry and Gene Weingarten, I'd obviously choose Joel Achenbach!

Liz Kelly: Okay, but you realize there's a hair issue there, too, right?

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Remora are such shameless hangers-on!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 3, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm officially tired of the election process (which has essentially been going on since 2004). Can we just declare that whoever gets the most votes on "super Tuesday" is the next President? I'm not sure I can take another 10 months of this folderol.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

CP, are you still celebrating New Year's Eve?

The hair cracks remind me of a line from "Bernard and The Genie," a British Christmas flick from a few years ago starring Lenny Henry & Alan Cumming.

Lenny's Genie introduces Cumming's Bernard to a charming young lady thus:

"My friend here with the unfortunate hair is very fertile and will give you many children."

Posted by: byoolin | January 3, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse


Miss Annapolis, Md/: If I had to choose between Dave Barry and Gene Weingarten, I'd obviously choose Joel Achenbach!

Liz Kelly: Okay, but you realize there's a hair issue there, too, right?

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I defer to CP, who is obviously much faster than I!

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse


I've been working all day, haven't had a chance to Boodle, to welcome the New Kid to the SS Minnow, er, Boodle (note: don't call Mudge "Sikpper" and he won't call you "Little Buddy), to tell Maggie I'm sorry about Phineas, to make the obligatory Jaguar Tata Rover jokes, to make my Iowa Caucusian Bowl picks, to congratulate West Virgina on a fine Fiesta Bowl win last night, to tell Mudge that Dave Barry might be more inclined to visit the Bunker if you told him about your Stash of Wonders, to comment that the Iowa Bounce works best if you last name is not Wallenda, etc.

But, I have more work to do.

More later ya'll.


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Byoolin! Sorry on the spelling mishaps. No, not imbibing, if that is what you mean. But celebrating, yes! No papers to grade; all documents were turning in to clients on time; I have billed them; My kitchen is clean, bath room too; Little Poodle has been trimmed and bathed....I am ahead! For about ten minutes.

Besides, you can't garden in winter; and tonight, I shall knit.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I sympathize with you, RD. I have varying degrees of beck/shoulder/trapezius pain that's probably associated with bone spurs on my spine that showed up in an X-ray taken some ten years ago. I had a flip chart MD back then that sent me to PT with anti inflammatory meds, then electric muscle stimulation with anti inflammatory meds. Both rounds of therapy were given by the same person. The electric part was quite unpleasant and didn't do a thing for me. I ran into the therapist after I moved here, some 50 miles from the place I took the therapy, and found out she'd become certified as a massage therapist. I think if I exercised more, I'd have less pain. I put a premium on family time.

Posted by: jack | January 3, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A Blackberry? Oh, no no - way too scary. Good luck, Joel! I still have a "one-piece" Nokia cell phone purchased 7 years ago with monthly pay-as-you-go option - hey, it works, costs me 15 bucks a month and I never use up the (limited) minutes each month which roll over so if I ever do have to use it for any extended length of time it's good to go. Here in the lower Adirondacks indoor reception is spotty at best altho if you have verizon (as I do), you pretty much have great reception once you step out the door. My teen-age niece and nephew pretty much pretend they don't know me if I pull it out anywhere around their friends - jeez, you'd think it had a rotary dial!

Dave Barry is one of my faves and both he and Joel in NH - oh, my! Makes me wish I still lived in Nashua, what a fun pub crawl THAT would be!

Posted by: TLF | January 3, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Hair, shmair. What is with ladies' fixation on a guy's rug? My flyaway hair flew away decades ago, I've got better things to do with my testosterone.

At lunch today, my waiter asked if many people are aksing me about my resemblance to Fred Thompson. I told him, "Yeah, I've got a contract to be his nude stand-in for the love scenes in his next movie." Right.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 3, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Slyness: faster but not better. :)

SCC: Documents turning into clients? Weird, but not possible.

Byoolin, can't do the taxes until the magic slips of paper arrive, either. Hey, let's divide up the math on the Lisi-guy's theory of everything, spirograph design. Fun? You in?

Hey, I like the affordable National Aquarium!

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I, too, think of the National Aquarium in the Commerce building as dark and dank. And the tanks are all taller than a kid's eye view, so your back hurts tremendously if you're toting little ones.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

jack - I am lucky. Really nothing is going on but a bit of inflammation and pinched nerve. Just poor form with free weights.

I am well on my way to a complete recovery.

Indeed, I couldn't help but think that the young lady was getting frustrated that none of her manipulations was making me wince.

The tongue stud really threw me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

CP, I'm in on the math homework.

Posted by: byoolin | January 3, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse


Unless I've made an error carrying the '1', by my calculations of the Lisi model, the Universe will end in about four and a half minutes.

Posted by: byoolin | January 3, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"It bounced, naturally enough. Then it bounced again. And again. Only
this was not natural, for on the second bounce the ball went higher in
the air than on the first, and on the third bounce higher still. After
a half minute, my eyes were bugging out and the little ball was
bouncing four feet in the air and going higher each time.

I grabbed my glass. "What the hell!" I said.

Farnsworth caught the ball in a pudgy hand and held it. He was smiling
a little sheepishly. "Interesting effect, isn't it?"

The Big Bounce by Walter Tevis

Free to download this story

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Your error was inconsequential, byoolin. S.C. still exists.

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

It's ok, Byoolin, until I start the great Spirograph in the sky (must make three copies, for the files), we are safe.

RD, Every semester in my small course-cluster (those of us who teach sci, med, or enviro writing) a colleague raises this question in all seriousness:

"Can we somehow ban certain piercings in the classroom?" This colleague feels ill, when he hears the click of stud against tooth the fingernails on chalkboard sensation.

I ban them during the presentation session, when they are to model professional behavior and dress. This year, I noticed that one black or cream-colored/hemp-wearing, bike-riding, multi-pierced animal science major had taken out several face and ear ornaments. Good, I wrote near the box marked piercings in my notebook.

When I got closer, I noticed little threads coming out of
eyebrow (times 2)
ear (lots)
soul-patch area between lips and chin

I shuddered still, but said, thank you for meeting my request. And, don't try the threaded-face option at the interview.

He baked me a vegan cake to go with his final project.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Alien Brain Ball: The Elders tell of a young ball much like you. He bounced three metres in the air. Then he bounced 1.8 metres in the air. Then he bounced four metres in the air. Do I make myself clear?

Kissinger's Head: Mr. Ambassador, our people tell the same story.

From Futurama "War Is the H-Word"
Episode Number: 31 Season Num: 3
First Aired: Sunday November 26, 2000

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

Does that Tevis guy know that Walt Disney and Fred MacMurray totally ripped him off?

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

a belated condolence Maggie.

RD you needed to make that post about WV yesterday. It doesn't do me much good at 1:27 today. Ah well, such is my luck.

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

Omni - But I thought you were stuck in the time warp? Oh well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert!

Is the bunker presentable? Mudge, make sure you get those ribs from Yoki and have the fridge stocked with acceptable beverages!

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

No one here seems to have the courage to tell the big guy the truth.

Joel, you may have thought your recent birthday was a sign of age. You were wrong. You know you are old when you can't figure out how to turn new technology off.

Sorry man. It had to happen sooner or later.

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

The long announced Puppy spread is finally available for viewing. Which means I'm good enough to go back to work. Darn.
The photo album is dedicated to Phineas although Dogues de Bordeaux (official FCI name although French Mastiff is sometimes used used) are everything Westies aren't. The only thing the dumb slumbering drooling giants have in common with westies is that they, to my great surprise, are very affectionate dogs.
For dog lovers only. Most pics are around 900x675 pixels in size, so it may not be a spread for a slow dial-up connection.
The dog is about 9 weeks old in the first pic and just short of 9 months old in the last one taken today.

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

Just to give you an idea for size the 9.5 weeks old puppy weigh 22lbs. The AGBL is just short of 100lbs and is 26" at the withers. The last pictures shows a 84 lbs Puppy. The DdB's head and front-end bones are made of reinforced concrete, hence the much heavier weight than anticipated for a dog this size.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, everyone else gets iPhones, you go retro and get a Blackberry.

The question much on people's minds is: Can you post a Trail item or a Kit with it? Edit HTML, XML, or Java code?

Oh, never mind.
No matter what, you'll always be able to crack walnuts with it.


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

shrieking denizen - I loved the pics, too funny. Especially the synchronized sleeping one! That's a lotta snow. Puppy must have loved that.

Posted by: Kim | January 3, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Unknown, yello. You ought to read to the end though. It's a fast read, not a "book", just a story. And not even one of his best.

Walter Tevis was a great writer. He wrote The Hustler and sequel Color of Money, (picture Paul Newman playing the Tom Cruise part and Jackie Gleason playing Bert Gordon a.k.a. George C. Scott;)and he also wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth (bad movie, great book) and lots of other good books.

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing, SD, the younger dottir had to come see why I was giggling and proceeded to giggle with me. Great photos!

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What to do if you are stuck in a Time Warp:

1. It's just a jump to the left.
2. And then a step to the right.
3. With your hands on your hips.
4. You bring your knees in tight.
5. But it's the pelvic thrust
6. That really drives you insane.
7. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 3, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Love the pictures SD, that is one big black lab, makes dmddog seem quite small by comparison. (He's part sheperd/collie & husky - your basic mutt).

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Spatcocked puppy, very funny. Such a mug.

Welcome back, Omni.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Love that spatchcocked puppy, SD... looks delish!

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

SPATCH cocked....

My only excuse is that my house is at 64 and this this porch/office sans radiators is way colder than that. Am going to make another set of fingerless mitts from cheap polarfleece gloves.

Sorry, Canadians, do not mean to whine. But I feel like Bob Cratchet...if I were typing for money I would turn up the heat a bit.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 3, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I see that my old high school (Washington-Lee) is in the process of being replaced.

Before the days of back-packs and wheelie bags - my locker was at the total other end of the school from my classes. Homeroom was the back end of the third floor.

Posted by: Pacifica | January 3, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

shrieking denizen: AWWWWWWWWWW!

Hey, anyone know why we don't get troll visits anymore from Hewitt's or other rightwing sites? We used to get a lot of them.

Posted by: CowTown | January 3, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

There will be a Supreme Court Justice Clinton.

But it will be Senator Clinton who will be appointed to that position, by President Obama, after the advice of VP Dodd (or VP Biden, not sure which one).

Posted by: Will in Seattle | January 3, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Well done, shriek, well done indeed. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Cool light show tonight (tomorrow morning)...

Must-See Meteor Shower Friday Morning

The Quadrantid meteor shower is due to reach maximum in the predawn hours of Friday, Jan. 4. The Quadrantids are notoriously unpredictable, but if any year promises a fine display, this could be it. Indeed, this may end up being the best meteor shower of 2008.

The Quadrantid (pronounced KWA-dran-tid) meteor shower provides one of the most intense annual meteor displays, with a brief, sharp maximum lasting but a few hours. The timing of peak activity favors Western Europe and eastern North America. Weather permitting, skywatchers in rural locations could see one or two shooting stars every minute during the peak.

According to the International Meteor Organization, maximum activity this year is expected on Friday 1:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

For those in the eastern United States, the radiant will be about one-quarter of the way up in the east-northeast sky.  The farther to the north and east you go, the higher in the sky the radiant will be.  To the south and west the radiant will be lower and the meteors will be fewer...

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Shriek--loved the pics, especially the Liquid Cat one. Our tabby is about as big as the puppy was in the first pics. When he hops up on the bed at 3 a.m., he walks around a bit, pulling the blanket away from us while he's at it. Then he curls up, and trying to pull the covers back up with that 20+ pounds anchoring things is a chore! If I happen to be lying on my side, he will curl right up against my nether region, making it tough to change positions later.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 3, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I'm not a cat kinda guy. If I had 20 pounds of feline trying to cozy up to MY nether regions, and it wasn't declawed, it would be getting the Iowa bounce, right out the bedroom window. Gives me the willies just thinking 'bout it.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 3, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

SD, awwwwwwwwwww

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

In 1999 I predicted Hillary as Secretary General of the U.N. Eight years later it doesn't seem immediately forthcoming.

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

And for Cajun mirepoix, add an equal amount of chopped green bell pepper.

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks you all.
TBG, its currently -4F_-20C outside. At the meteor shower peak at 01:40 the forecast is for -24C, say about -11F. Somehow, I don't think I will watch the whole show. Maybe the bit between 11:00 and 11:15 but that will be it.
Yes dmd, it is a brute of a lab. The sire was Murican and they love their big labs down there. The dame was a big girl of British lineage so we weren't too surprised by the size of the beast.

Me, I was surprised to see Hillary going for the Presidency. She could have become (still could I guess) a periennial Senate leader. Be the Ted Kennedy of the 21st century somehow. It shows that I know nothing of politics.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Those are great pics, sd. The spatchcocked and flexible one are a hoot!

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, SD, but Ted Kennedy didn't want to be the Ted Kennedy of politics... he wanted to be president.

(Does anyone remember the old National Lampoon VW ad showing a VW floating in the water that said, "If Ted Kennedy drove a VW, he'd be president today!")

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Whine away, CP, it is the right of the chilly.

CP to furnace:

When it gets colder inside my house
As in right 'bout now
Will you still be sending me some BTUs
Forced air greetings, bottle of joules?
If I did not knit thick socks nor slippers
Would you warm my floor?
Will you still heat me, try not to freeze me
When it's sixty-four?

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 3, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Excellent Beatlemining, SonofCarl!

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, SonofCarl. Paul McCartney's on line two.

Here's a rather dyspeptic list of the 10 most overrated U.S. tourist attractions:

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

That link cracked me up, TBG

Posted by: Jumper | January 3, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Now THIS from Slate made LOL:

Dearest Prudence,
My wife and I have been married for a little over a year, and it's been absolutely idyllic, except for one problem: Since we've wed, my wife has taken to belching and f**ting all the time. We dated for several years before we tied the knot, and I heard her pass gas only once. She turned beet red, laughed hysterically, and then cried out of embarrassment. I can't believe how much she's changed. Now she's at the point of rippin' 'em several times a day without much acknowledgment at all. I've had several gentle discussions asking her to dismiss herself into other rooms, try to "keep the magic," etc., but these have all been met with hostility and resentment. Not only that, but the problem only gets worse after we talk about it. It's gotten to the point of severely impacting my sex drive. I would think she would understand; the one time I let one go, she got mad at me for killing the romance! Any suggestions?

--Frustrated With Flatulence

Dear Frustrated,
Talk about a gas crisis. I was with your wife until I got to the part where you said she objects to your cutting loose. This is either a grotesque double standard or all those years of holding it in have poisoned her brain. I think it was Garry Shandling who said that he assumed couples who dated forever, then finally got married, did so because they couldn't hold their gas any longer. I know people have different degrees of tolerance for these things (let's just say the commercial market for emissions offsets is not mature enough to handle the output from my household). But it's hard for me to believe that two people who are planning to spend their lives together have a requirement that their ability to get sexually aroused means each has to run from the room whenever the pressure starts to build. I recommend you get a copy of the out-of-print Selected Letters of James Joyce and read together his writings about his wife, such as, "I think I would know Nora's f**t anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of f**ting women." Now that's love.


Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks for the info on the meteor shower. I usually get home about 12:30 am and despite in being the coldest night of the year. I will definately check it out.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 3, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Any (lurking or otherwise) dentists in the Boodle? I'm seeking to replace my general dentist, and about a month ago my periodontist gave me a huge hassle re: recommending another general dentist to me (still hasn't) and today my endodontist out and out refused. Why? Shouldn't they be concerned about the standard of care their patients receive?

SoC, so funny!

Shrieking, loved esp. the Fast Friend. The Ancient Giant Black Lab loves the Puppy picture.

I should probably be envious of the Blackberry, but I'm not. Careful analysis reveals it's technology. You can buy it, and money can't buy me love. My company would be happy to support one for me but to me, they're one more version of an electronic ball and chain. If you can reach people, they can reach you, you're always at work.

On New Year's Day, I spent a few hours working due to a global file receipt problem. The only people who weren't on duty who called or e-mailed me back were the execs with Blackberries. Ack!

Posted by: dbG | January 3, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse


Sorry, just doing a little pre-bounce calesthenics. Loosening up, stretching, you know. Gettin' ready.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: that Dewey fellah is really gonna kick Truman's a$$.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I hope you got all that we need for the bunker. Plenty of eats and drinks available? We got to have energy to bounce!

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Remember, for the sake of safety, please remove all shoes before entering the Iowa Bounce.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm easily amused. Turn on C-Span if you want to watch how the caucus process works.

Would it be rude to do the Ubangi stomp in lieu of the Iowa bounce?

Posted by: jack | January 3, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Or you could do the Iowa waltz.

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

What a great kit and boodle. Loved your pics SD. Welcome TLF. It is fun to finally jump in after lurking for months, isn't it?

We are trying to decide whether to try to get up at 1:30 am to see the meteors or just wait til "S" gets up at 4:00 (he can wake me but will I be able to go back to sleep afterwards?). Considering that it's 11 degrees right now, getting up and going outside in the middle of the night had better be worth it.

David Gregory was trying to explain how a caucus works on the news tonight. It sounded like a game a bunch of bored kids would make up.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 3, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of bouncing, I'm doing so between Fox's coverage of the Orange Bowl (rooting for Va Tech) and CNN's coverage of the Iowa Caucusasians doin' their thang.

TBG, I was going to post about the meteor shower tonight, I'm glad you beat me to it.


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

After watching some of that C-SPAN Caucusasian coverage, I'm ready to dance.

I'll be pogoing to 'Iowanna be Sedated.'


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Interesting results in Iowa Precinct 53: Obama gets 3 delegates; Edwards gets 2; and Clinton gets 1. Joel read the tea leaves correctly in this precinct.

Thanks for the tune cootie, bc.

Posted by: jack | January 3, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"Iowanna be Sedated" would make a lot of money on a bumper sticker right now. Nice one, bc.

I'd be really happy if Virgina Tech wins this game.

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

pj, thanks for the tip in Dave Barry's chat - I missed it when I read through it at work hurriedly. My question was obviously not clever enough, and sometimes I think saying I'm from Boodleboro goes against me.

Here's what pj said:
Alexandria, VA: You are going up to New Hampshire to write about the primary? Don't let Joel Achenbach see you. He'll think you are muscling in on his territory and you know how vindictive he can get.

Dave Barry: I will break him like a twig.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I thank you all for your kind words about dear Phineas. SD, your pictures are amazing, and thank you so much for dedicating the album to Phin.

I swear I'll never become another dog mother. I can't go through this again. And, sadly, Phinny's death is the end of my life as a wife, mother, and housewife. I wonder what the next phase will be. Maybe I'll enter beauty contests as "Miss Annapolis, MD" since I posted that comment on Liz Kelly's discussion today.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Cannibalism occurs in a wide variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species and includes: infanticide, mating and courtship, competitive encounters, eating the old, and eating eggs. Among nonhuman organisms, cannibalism may be either ecological or social. Ecological factors include a limited food supply or the recovery of reproductive investment when food is scarce for infant survival; social factors include competition for reproductive resources or food resources. A general principle is that older individuals usually consume younger ones or eggs; it is relatively rare for adults to eat other adults. Elgar and Crespi (1992) define cannibalism in nonhuman organisms only in cases where an individual is killed (rather than dying a natural death) before being eaten.

Posted by: PJ | January 3, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Want to bid a fond boodle fondue before I pack the 'puter for the return to MN tomorrow. Mr. F and I watched Iowa Precinct 53 on C-Span while playing Scrabble as our last romantic evening together until he travels north the end of this month. He has picked Obama and Huckabee to win in Iowa in our family election pool. A reluctant participant at first I reminded him about all the years I've made NFL picks when he knows the only sport I really care about is college hoops. Now if precinct 53 doesn't make me wish I hadn't asked him to play.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 3, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, we haven't had a new cat since our "best" cat died. Well, there's the stray cat, but that's different. Just didn't think we could go through another loss like that, at least not right now.

Uh, PJ, thanks for the info. I think.

Woo hoo, CCN is calling Iowa for Obama. It may not mean anything in the long run, but I'm amazed and pleased that a black guy with a funny name won in the heartland.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D, please, what is this?

"And, sadly, Phinny's death is the end of my life as a wife, mother, and housewife."

You are scaring me a bit!

Posted by: nellie | January 3, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

That would be CNN.

Safe trip, frostbitten.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

While all of you eager beaver types are busy watching caucusii, I have been poring over something new. I picked up a cookbook today.

I think I'm going to go make some Pink Yink Ink Drink (which for those of you too far away from children is from 'One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish'.

Mr dr is asking why the count in Iowa are so different. The dems are at 86% and 65% for the Republicans. Do the parties count differently. I have to go back to Mudge's excellent email about exactly how primaries and caucus' are done. Or should that be how they are not done? Maybe done?

Posted by: dr | January 3, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

As of now it looks like Joel nailed the results in Iowa. Unless he snuck over to the old kit and changed his predictions when we weren't looking.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 3, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Lord have mercy, ZZ Top is playing the Orange Bowl Halftime show.

Hmmm. Is "Sharp Dressed Man" a veiled reference to the Iowa winners?


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I went back and peeked, RD, and you're right, Joel nailed them on both sides.

Mudge, are you bouncing yet?

Posted by: Slyness | January 3, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Oops, Nellie, sorry to alarm you. I only meant that PHineas was my last link to my old life. When we brought him home 13 plus years ago, we were a family of four, plus another dog, two cats, some turtles, and god knows what else was in the basement and attic. Now, the kids are grown and gone, all the animals have gone to their reward, and the husband has died. Phineas was the last link to my former life.

But I am looking forward to my new life as a beauty queen! I'm working on my Miss Congeniality message. And I'm brushing up on my geography.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

That front page article is driving me crazy!

"Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) secured victory in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, a stunning affirmation of his message of change and a stinging setback to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) -- the long time national frontrunner. Clinton called Obama to concede."

No. What this is is an estimated 74,000 people in *one state* have caucused for Obama, vs. 14,000 fewer each for Clinton and Edwards. Stunning? I don't think so.

Will this happen in other states? I don't know, but it's not enough to declare total annihilation of the other candidates.

Apropos of our discussion earlier this week, will this cause, say, Richardson, to drop out? It's a shame if he does. I don't think he's my candidate, but I'll never know if he's gone after the first state!

Posted by: dbG | January 3, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

dr, the Republican and Democratic caucus processes are quite different, and separate. The R's is more like a primary vote - you go, vote, leave. The D's line up for their candidate, and if a candidate doesn't get at least 15% of the "vote", the supporters have to line up with another candidate. Then there is some formula applied, because they're really electing delegates to the county caucus. Or something like that. I think my state does something similar to that, but I've never been.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

No, Slyness, not bouncing yet. (Truth be told, I'm not exactly a bounce kinda guy. But you probably already suspected that.)

Looks like Hillary finished third. Interesting.

I just finished watching the first half of "Dr. Zhivago," but now it's time for bed. But before I bid con queso and fondue, a quiet hug for Miss Congeniality, who needs one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 3, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

CNN = Cable News Network

CCN = Creedence Clearwater Nation

Posted by: Tim | January 3, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D for Miss Annapolis, MD, 2008.

Posted by: dbG | January 3, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you liked it Maggie O'. The slobbering Puppy is keeping my feet warm right now. Don't write off all dogs from your future for the death of the beloved Phin. We outlive dogs 6-7years to one, it's normal to be part of the lives of a few dogs. If you wish so, there might be another dog or three in your future.
The old lab demise will likely be my kids' introduction to the notion of loss and grieving, this is the cycle of life.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Hee Hee!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, hugs from me as well and I believe you would be a wonderful Miss Annapolis, MD.

While it is not the same as you I too have started a new phase and have experienced the last remant transitions from daughter/mother to just mother. Just remember the kids need their mom long after you thing they have grown and gone.

Posted by: dmd | January 3, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D -- well, I understand you now, but your explanation brought tears to my eyes.

Get another dog. Please. We adopted my aunt's dog about 15 months ago, and he is just a delight every day.

And I had been unable to even look at another dog for 20+ years, after we had to have our first dog put to sleep.

A new dog will make you happy and frame your new life.

Well --- maybe the frame will be made up of those little things you have to pick up with the plastic bags, but still --- a dog WILL help to make you happy.

Posted by: nellie | January 3, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking Denison,
The 'hee hee' was in response to the 'Miss Congeniality 2008', not to your thoughts of never say never.

At boarding fees at $25 per day and my love of travel, the only new dog I would consider is a rescue from the vet and only if they waived the boarding fee.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The cannibalism post was not me.

Thanks for my Barry cite, though, mostlylurking!

Posted by: pj | January 3, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, of course I meant you, not Shrieking. I am not myself today.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Good for you Maggie O', you are talking like a responsible (possible) dog owner. A dog is not for part timers. Enjoy your new life!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

PJ, thanks for clearing that up!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 3, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

And of course I wish another hairy warm mammal enters your life (if you wish so!).

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 3, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

And I understood you!

Posted by: nellie | January 3, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I look on the front page and I see that the top three Dem candidates took 97% of the vote. "Other" got just 3%. And then I see the headline "Dodd to Drop Presidential Bid."

Ya think?

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The way the caucuses work makes the lesser candidates score zero rather than the 5-12, say, they would get in a primary.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 3, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

You're right, LTL-CA. It's just that I can't even remember who any of those "others" are.

Posted by: TBG | January 3, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Green eggs have nothing on not-green plants

Lee, David
Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color.
384 p.
Cloth $35.00
Fall 2007

Though he didn't realize it at the time, David Lee began this book twenty-five years ago as he was hiking in the mountains outside Kuala Lumpur....

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 3, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow - I thought Obama's speech was great! Anybody else?

bc - Iowanna be sedated...I have been chuckling about that all evening.

Maggie - my best wishes for whatever path you you choose, Miss Annapolis!

Posted by: Kim | January 3, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I would be at home in the "Creedence Clearwater Nation". Thanks, Tim. And pj, I knew that wasn't you with the cannibalism non-sequitor.

Obama nearly brought me to tears. Loved the speech. Not sure how well his message will go over in some parts, but I have hope. Edwards gave a great speech too.

CNN says Biden is dropping out too.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Going to bed in a minute, but somone just pointed out to me that the past Dem winners of the Iowa caucuses - non-incumbents, anyway - don't have a stellar record of becoming president - Kerry, Al Gore, Harkin, Gephardt, Mondale, and someone named "Uncommitted."

And the times that a Dem did win the presidency - Carter and Clinton - they didn't win Iowa.

It's a little better for the GOP, but not much FWIW.

So, does Iowa matter...?


Posted by: bc | January 3, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

BTW, looks like Joel was right on with his predictions. Watch out, he'll become a pundit!

Now, bc, we all matter, even Iowans. It's not over - but you have to start somewhere, and they have winnowed the field a bit.

Huckabee's going to lose the English majors with his "It's not about me, it's about we" catch phrase. Grrrr.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 3, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, thanks for the vocabulary word-- mirepoix. I've noticed and made it a lot, never knew there was a french word for "the usual veggie goop base".

Maggie O'D, I went 11 years without a dog, mostly because I needed to be certain I would be financially stable.

When I got Wilbrodog I realized that I really could have gotten a dog sooner, emotionally.
No matter how it hurts to lose a dog (and I know), I do not anticipate going dogless for longer than required by circumstances.
It's been better for me to be dog-full than dogless, although it does come with costs. If it's time for you to take a break, do so.

And this was heartbreaking to read: more laws will make shelter dogs even more unadoptable.

You just can't tell how a shelter pup will look when it grows up.

Wilbrodog agreed with me that The AGLB looked a bit dubious about this big puppy in the "Best of Friends" picture-- an early introduction, I assume. Certainly I see them playing tug with glee later on.

And now for something completely different, to RD:

My physical therapist a few years ago was a 30ish woman, but ex-military-- I saw her diploma-- and in good shape.

Maybe it's not that they're so young, but that you either have "painkiller goggles" on and/or are particularly feeling old when you get physical therapy.

Besides, would you really want to get physical therapy from a guy and run into a case of George's little problem? (Seinfeld reference here).

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

bc...yes. Winning the Iowa caucus has become a kiss of death for candidates since Iowa took the lead in this parade. They're not known for picking winners (a statistical anomoly..Dub, but then again, he wasn't exactly a winner).

Iowa's distinction is nothing other than that of being first. A third-grade reward...line leader.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 4, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Looks like one big bounce for Obama, if New Hampshirers even care one whit about Iowa. Edwards gets second again... he did second in Iowa in 2004 as well (Kerry won Iowa).

Kerry won New Hampshire in 2004 and Edwards did poorly there, coming in fourth behind Kerry, Dean, and Clark. However, Edwards won the vice presidental ballot (write-in candidate) in New Hampshire.

Hopefully this year is better for Edwards.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Cute spatchcocked puppy, SD. We had a big mutt when I was growing up. When he ran passed us, we have to make sure out feet were not in his path. Otherwise, the bruises on our feet would make us sorry we forgot.

Posted by: rainforest | January 4, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

I was at the bank at noon. The bank has a nice flat screen on the wall and it was turned on to CNN broadcasting the Iowa caucuses live. The winners were giving their speeches.

Joel's prediction was spot on. Now, Joel, could you please give me 4 digits? I want to buy 4-D to improve my financial status. Gambling of any sort is illegal here but that's not an issue. I just need 4 digits. I can sort out the illegal part later. I know people who knows people who knows other people. It'll be alright.

Posted by: rainforest | January 4, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Huge morning star -- Venus? -- to the left of a slivered moon. For me, conveniently humg in the the scrim of my neighbor's lofty white oak that is more than 150 year old.

Frost crystals, everywhere.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 4, 2008 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Colder here this morning than in the mountains. There's something wrong with that!

I could happily vote for any of the top three Democratic candidates, though the WaPo survey said my opinions were closest to Obama. It's gonna be a looong, if interesting year.

G'morning, all.

Posted by: Slyness | January 4, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey LiT!!! *LTNS-and-glad-to-see-ya Grover waves*

Maggie, take things at your own pace, and you'll be surprised what shows up on your doorstep, metaphorically speaking. *HUGS*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all.

I woke up in the early AM in time to see MSNBC show a repeat of Obama's speech. I have to tell you, mostly lurking, it DID bring a tear to my eye. This man's oratory gives me chills like no politician has since RFK and I want to believe he not only talks the talk but walks the walk. After 7 years of (mostly) despair, it does a heart good to hear an uplifting (not to mention intelligent) message.

My SO and his sister, who grew up in the '50's, don't think we're "ready" for a black (or woman, for that matter) president, whatever "ready" means, but this ol' hippie chick has been more than ready for a long time - heck, I think the gone-but-not-forgotten Barbara Jordan would have made the greatest president ever! And my son's '80's generation would vote for a black woman lesbian athiest president without any consideration of those things if they thought she was the best person for the job. Gives me hope for the future.

On a lighter(?) note, did I miss something about cannabalism earlier in the boodle? That was one of the first posts I read this morning and I was severely discombobulated for a moment - thought I'd wandered onto the Discovery Science blog by mistake. HUH?!?

Posted by: TLF | January 4, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse


D'ya think this'll mean they'll start using a Camry as the new KITT?? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... especially TLF... glad to see you back!

I wanted to see my man Edwards win yesterday, but I'm glad he had a 2nd-place showing.

I do believe that any of the top three would make a great president (probably any of the Democratic candidates would), so I'm not worried. I do hope that the Repubs continue to put their eggs in the Huckster's basket. I think we can take him on and expose his hypocritical "Christianity."

At least I hope so.

Posted by: TBG | January 4, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

I hope others had a better result from meteor watching last night. I think I caught one out of the corner of my eye. Way too cold to stay outside for long.

Happy to hear about Obama. I like him and think he's a deeper, more original thinker than the other Dems. Missed the speech, wish I'd heard it. Saw part of a Romney interview after his defeat, he is so phony he makes my skin crawl.

Maggie, good advice from others here about getting another dog. Wait and see. My daughter got a puppy about a month after her Dane was put down. She will never stop missing him, but the new pup has a totally different personality and has helped her. Of course animals do tie one down and as a beauty queen, you will need to travel.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | January 4, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, good morning, friends. I did not hear Obama's speech, but would love to. I went to bed early, and missed everything. This coughs just keeps me coughing and tired.

There's a fraud scheme going on here in my small space. Nigerians or someone is sending merchandise to people for re-sell, and telling these folks they will pay them. Wal-Mart has been calling me all night talking about something they have for me, but I did not buy anything from Wal-Mart. I don't know what's going on, but I told the guy this morning I would be over there. This scheme is the lead story in the paper this morning. I don't know if I should contact the sheriff's department or not. I don't want to do anything against the law.

I read Eugene Robinson's piece this morning, and as usual it was good. It bought some insight into the Washington circle thing for me. I think people are just tired and fed up with so much of what has been going on. It is so very hard to live a life in fear.

Slyness, it is so cold here, one can hang meat with no fear of it spoiling. I have laundry duty this morning, and don't look forward to that. Don't mind the laundry, just the cold. And Slyness, what is going on in Charlotte with the sheriff thing? Are these folks practicing out and out racism? Is this person a criminal or something? Why are they(commissioners)looking for antiquated laws to keep this person from holding this office?

Mudge, Scotty, Martooni(?), and all *waving*. Keep warm, folks.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 4, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

CP - I noticed the silver crescent of the moon and the bright glow of Venus when I walked out my front door this morning. It made me stop and stare so long that I think the schoolchildren waiting for the bus began to worry that I was having a stroke.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Just watched Obama's speech here on the WaPo site. Wow. It's nice to see the message of hope and change that can appeal to everyone.

Posted by: TBG | January 4, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'd suggest you show up at Wal-Mart with a sheriff's deputy in tow. You haven't done anything, obviously. The investigatiors will certainly be interested in how and why the perpetrators operate, and whatever the store has for you could help the good guys out.

Let's be careful out there...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

RD -- twas wondrous, even at 6:30 on a frosted morning.

Son of Carl -- thank you so much for the Beatle tune in my honor. I have done everything possible in my house energy-wise SAVE the window replacements.....nearly 1000 per window when the dust settles. The first wave of energy efficiency measures are cheap, but some important ones are not. I have a dreaded Florida room with twelve windows, built when energy was cheap, circa the 1950s.

Rainforest, your quip about magic number sets is very funny. I won a GAF talking Viewmaster from my local radio station circa 1970. My life-time luck-quota went to that, although my granny won something in the Irish Sweepstakes years ago. She would have played the ponies more often if she could have. To her fundamentalist neighbors in Kansas City, KS, the northernmost outpost of the Bible belt, she would say, "It is not gambling if you know something about horseflesh." As for bingo, that was the same as placing money in the collection plate, albeit more exciting.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 4, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Yep, the Obama speech will tear up your eyes a bit...

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I listened to the WaPo excerpts from Obama's speech...

Fine oratory, certainly, but a little heavy on the "this defining moment in time" stuff. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tourism link. Us Baltimorons have yet another accolade to be proud of. You can't coast on your rep as the heroin overdose capital forever. Now that I am a daily blogger (unlike certain journalists I could name), I'm always looking for fresh material.

We need to someday organize a Bawlmer BPH. The McCormick and Schmick up here has a waterview.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 4, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse


I see a pitch for the Travel Channel or perhaps the Food Network...

"BPH, on the Road!"
Follow the exploits of Joel's merry Band of Boodlers as they despoil McCormick & Schmicks around the country!

Heck, we could even submit it to WaPo for "On Being."


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I love that idea, s'nuke! According to their website, there are at least 30 around the country. That's good for a couple seasons.

I'm not sure what made Ohio such a hotbed of seafood.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 4, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: TBG | January 4, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Science corner: on this date in 1643, Isaac Newton was born.

In a dramatic 1727 demonstration of his Third Law, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, Newton died.

Posted by: byoolin | January 4, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, what we have going on is a complete mess. Not racism, I think, as there are legitimate questions about the candidate for sheriff. He was a police officer but quit just before a hearing was to be held to determine if he had lied about his hours worked. He has been through bankruptcy. He is currently working as an attorney, but I understand he has been neither particularly good nor successful in that endeavor. The elected sheriff retired to take a job with DHS and the chief deputy should have sailed into the position but for a selection process that makes the Iowa caucuses look straightforward. Ugly, just ugly.

Posted by: Slyness | January 4, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

New kit.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 4, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Couple of quick comments this AM:

LiT, I'll remember you called Iowa as the Kiss of Death (ha!). Maybe everyone except Obama and Huckabee played it right...

Saw some of the meteor shower later last night, and the conjunction between Venus and the moon when I went to work this AM. Acutually saw a few shooting stars after breakfast - how great is *that*?. I love the sky, when I was a kid, I always thought I'd live there. Or at least commute to work there -- not that it's so different from my current 50 mile commute and there's far less traffic to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), though finding parking orbits up there is getting tougher, and I always seem to be finding more and more dings in my vehicle when I get in for the ride home...

Scotty, the new KITT won't be a Camry, but a Corolla. And the new Mike Knight will be played by Giovanni Ribisi (sp?)...

yello, I went to the Baltimore M&S this past summer and was distinctly underwhelmed. The service was uninspired, and the food - particularly and most surprisingly, the seafood - was not up to the standards set by the one in DC. Sorry, dude.

I liked Obama's speech, but I'm holding out for him to commit the country to send Americans to Mars before 2020. And he'll gurantee my vote if those Americans are the Bush Administration, current and former, lock, stock, and barrel.


Posted by: bc | January 4, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

CP, your granny is a very funny woman. In this region, I think I am right to say that over 50% of the Chinese (to a lesser degree, other ethnic groups), gambles on sweepstakes, esp 4 digits. If they buy a new car, they buy the registration number until they win or for a year or more which ever comes first. I was joking about buying 4-D in my earlier post. I have never gambled, except once in Las Vegas playing the slot machine. I'd never win gambling cuz I don't have the right attitude. I think of lost(?) before I even start gambling.

Posted by: rainforest | January 4, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

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