Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Checkmate and Stalemate


[View from my nosebleed seat at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, where Obama is supposed to speak shortly. I'm guessing there are at least 15,000 people here. There were thousands waiting in the cold as of 2:45 p.m. I am not sure where Obama is -- it's now 5 p.m. Is he visiting John Edwards??]

Huckabee is still rambling around, as is Ron Paul [insert snarky comment here solely for purpose of generating dyspeptic response from Paul supporters], but McCain has checkmated his competition. In chess it doesn't always matter who's the better player. A weak player can win with a few swift moves in the right places. And once he checkmates his opponent, there is no more debate, no argument, no negotiation, no wiggle room. It's over as over can be.

The opposite is true of the Democratic race, for which the word "stalemate" has become the description du jour. It's not just that it's tied, more or less, between Clinton and Obama. It's that the rules aren't going to allow either candidate to get enough delegates before the convention. Fisher offers a summary of the mathematical truth of the Democratic race:

"Much as folks in this line of work are tempted to peer into the future and reveal great truths, the mathematics of this year's Democratic race are such that even though Virginia, Maryland and District voters get to play for real this time, their ballots are unlikely to be decisive. The numbers say this contest drags on for weeks to come--giving everyone plenty of chances to be wrong, wrong, wrong."

In fact, it's hard to see how the rest of the primaries can possibly be decisive. All the primaries and caucuses together account for only 80 percent of the delegates at stake, because the Democrats are so crazy about superdelegating their decisions.

If you're Ted Olson, this is all a delightful flashback to the 2000 Bush-Gore deadlock -- as he writes in a WSJ column that echoes a blog item posted here last week.

'These superdelegates, Byzantine hyper-egalitarian Democratic Party delegate selection formulas, and the fact that many delegates are selected at conventions or by caucuses rather than primaries, combine to offer the distinct possibility that by convention time the candidate leading in the popular vote in the primaries will be trailing in the delegate count.

'How ironic. For over seven years the Democratic Party has fulminated against the Electoral College system that gave George W. Bush the presidency over popular-vote winner Al Gore in 2000. But they have designed a Rube Goldberg nominating process that could easily produce a result much like the Electoral College result in 2000: a winner of the delegate count, and thus the nominee, over the candidate favored by a majority of the party's primary voters.'

[Bulletin: Took two days off. Didn't do a lick of work. It was an unfamiliar sensation, and a bit disorienting. By the second day I kept trying to figure out what to call the whole concept of consecutive days off. There should be a name for it, surely. And then it hit me: "the weekend."]

[I keep meaning to do a story about firewood, specifically the boutique, fussy, elitist firewood sold at Whole Foods, the logs imported from someplace like Estonia. What, we don't have trees here? What's the carbon footprint of a log that got shipped across the Pond? Yesterday -- true story -- a buddy and I took a pickup to Angus's farm and Angus got out the chain saw and we culled some dead trees from the woods. We used a tow strap to yank a couple of trees that we needed to fall just so. This entailed last-second flight so that the tree didn't fall on us. There's something kind of neat about that moment when you see the tree falling. Here's the headline: Trees are taller than they appear. You always notice this when you're in the tree, climbing. But from the ground they don't look so tall. Until you realize you have to run like mad to make sure the top of the thing doesn't land on you. Trees are tall: You heard it here first.]


[Sunny and cold in downtown Baltimore.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 11, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Thank God Mike Gravel's Still Running
Next: Who's the Underdog?


freezing my butt off,but first?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse


If you were designing a system determined to bring back the back room dealings, you couldn't do better than the current rules.

Law of Unintended (perhaps) Consequences at work.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Angus sounds like an appropriate name for a Scottish farmer. More so than Sean or Colin or Niall (pronounced "Neal").

My baby live oak must have added about five feet to itself last summer. But it still looks like a baby. Maybe in about five years it'll look ready for middle school.

Weird that the Democrats might actually hold a convention worth watching. Are the networks paying attention? Who would be today's Mudd-Trout anchor team?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 11, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

John McCain- Checkmate.
Barack Obama v Hillary Clinton- Stalemate.
Bill Clinton- Stale mate!

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

If anyone still cares about Lanny Sinkin and that whole Texas power plant thing, go check the tail of the previous Boodle.

Personally, I'm ready to move on.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Trees are tall."

Good, but not as good as "Clouds are hard."


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

In the waning days of his Air Force career, my dad flew for a Hawaiian puddle jumper airline. They typical Polynesian physique and the small size of the planes made the weight and balance calculation much more important than they normally are.

He offered the theory that there was no ferry service between the islands because every time someone started one, the airlines would conspire with predatory pricing to drive it out of business.

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

IIRC there was a Pittsburgh Steeler lineman killed by a tree he was felling. The tree looked like it was going to crush his dog and his attempt to save the dog cost him his life. I remind myself of this story whenever I cut wood overhead.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 11, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Changing campaign managers is a might telling, that things are testy in the Clinton camp. And could someone tell her, bright yellow is so very NOT her colour. Bad, very very bad at least on tv.

Immediately after the CBC said that they played a shot of Bill at an event somewhere, asking people to pray and make the right choice for the nation. That just struck me as ludicrous.

On the other hand, and far from political lunacy, I watched part of a documentary this weekend called Monarchy, The Royal Family at work.

Nice candid documentary of the working day and team around the queen. If you are a subject, you may or may not like the monarchy, but there is just no way to not admire this woman.

Posted by: dr | February 11, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hi, boodle. I don't have anything particular to say about the kit, except that I like the trees are tall observation. (Trees are tall, clouds are hard...) And I really hope that the superdelegates go with the popular vote, because I'm happier maintaining the illusion that voting matters. But what I really have to say this morning are a couple of thoughts that came to mind while back-boodling.

1) empire waists: Unfortunately, CP, they've lasted more than your reported 10 minutes. I've been shopping unsuccessfully for a cocktail dress, and they're still all over the place, and I keep waiting for them to go away. I read things about how they're supposedly slimming, and I don't get it. They just make me look square.

2) beanbag chairs: Our childhood thing was to pile the beanbags at the bottom of the stairs and leap onto them. No major injuries, and only one beanbag explosion that I recall. (Our other childhood thing with those carpeted stairs was sliding down them in slippery sleeping bags during slumber parties. Ah, memories.)

3) P&P: Yes, that's a great adaptation, but I'm always bothered by the Wickham casting. He's supposed to be gorgeous, smooth, charming, and he's just not. Which leads to a question: I know good actors can act all kinds of things, but do you think someone who isn't charming can successfully act charming? I don't know.

Posted by: bia | February 11, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, re: ferries.

Not to mention the surprisingly litigious cetacean community.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 11, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse


Friday's news from Reuters on the Texas nuclear power plant scenario:

HOUSTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The municipal utility serving the city of Austin will recommend the Texas capital not join NRG Energy Inc as a partner in seeking a license for two new nuclear reactors in Texas, the utility said on Friday.

A consultant hired by the Austin utility said the cost of the two-unit expansion, estimated at between $6 billion and $7 billion, and the construction schedule were overly optimistic and represent an "unacceptable degree" of risk. ...

Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG, the second-largest power producer in Texas, in September filed for a permit for two 1,350-megawatt General Electric Co (parent company of NBC News) advanced boiling water reactors to be built at the South Texas Project nuclear plant 90 miles southwest of Houston. ...

Austin Energy owns 16 percent of STP's existing two units, but the utility has had a rocky history with the plant in previous years. At one point, the city launched legal action to try to leave the partnership.

NRG owns 44 percent of STP and CPS Energy, San Antonio's municipal utility, owns 40 percent.

LL: Let's see, who's sponsoring the two upcoming Democratic debates? Why, an arm of NBC--MSNBC, in Cleveland, certainly. And MSNBC has offered to host the debate in Houston. How likely do you think it is that any serious question about energy, say nuclear, is about to be asked in the Houston, Texas, debate, given that General Electric is heavily involved in the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant imbroglio?

Barack Obama pledged Thursday to meet Hillary Rodham Clinton in Democratic presidential debates in Texas and Ohio before the March 4 primaries.

But the Illinois senator stopped short of committing to attend an event planned for Feb. 28 in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"We're committing to the concept of doing a debate in Texas before the primary," said Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.

Obama also announced he had accepted an invitation to participate in a debate at Cleveland State University on Feb. 26. That debate, the campaign said, will be hosted by NBC News and WKYC, NBC's Cleveland affiliate. ...

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and the network's Washington bureau chief Tim Russert will moderate the Cleveland debate.

The two veteran newsmen also have promised to moderate the debate the Greater Houston Partnership has been trying to organize in Houston. NBC's cable network MSNBC had committed to airing the Houston forum.

Besides the NBC affiliates in Ohio, the Cleveland debate also will be aired on MSNBC. The forum will be translated into Spanish and then aired on Telemundo that same evening.

Whether NBC's landing the Ohio debate might scuttle plans for a Houston forum two days later remained unclear Thursday.

"We hope that both candidates will agree to participate in both debates," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.

Thursday's announcement caught the Partnership off guard: "The Greater Houston Partnership has not independently confirmed any of this and is not in a position to comment," it said in a prepared statement.

Obama's pledge to appear in matchups in both Texas and Ohio capped off three days of dueling between the two campaigns over participating in debates.

While voters were still going to the polls on Super Tuesday, Clinton challenged Obama to appear in four debates, starting Sunday. By Thursday the list had grown to five.

Obama balked at committing to so many debates, promising to appear only at two.

Earlier Thursday, Obama took fire in Texas for not committing to the Houston debate. Former Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, a Clinton supporter, called Obama's position "disappointing and possibly even disrespectful.

"It looks like he's trying to dodge the debates," Mauro said in a conference call with reporters.

The Partnership has been trying for months to lure the presidential hopefuls to Houston.

"This is not new," said Clinton supporter Carol Alvarado, a former Houston City Council member who also spoke on the conference call.

She noted that Houston is home to a large Hispanic community, whose members are "very anxious [sic: eager] to see this take place."

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you were cutting down trees in that wind yesterday? I think a month's worth of kindling fell yesterday here.

I have stopped cutting down trees,because no matter how careful I am they always fall where I don't want them to,usually towards me.And yes, they are much taller then they appear. I will cut anything that is already down including stumps,branches,fence posts,tables and chairs.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 11, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I do hope you go see and hear Michele Obama this afternoon. Larry King will be interviewing her for an hour this evening on CNN.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Joel.. I thought you said you didn't work all weekend. I think cutting and hauling wood is very hard work.

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

My brother works with a guy who is a tree cutter. Guy was cutting a tree last year(Howard County) with the client's little girl looking on. Tree fell on the girl. Girl died.

Posted by: bean | February 11, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Laughing at "boutique, fussy, elitist firewood sold at Whole Foods." Love it, love it, love.

No, I really got a through a yellow flag hear on the language and march of 15 yards, despite offsetting penalties (don't try to figure that one out).

(a) McCain has NOT, repeat NOT "checkmated" anyone, because the game is still being played and clearly is not over. If one is looking for a proper metaphor, one might say he has achieved "mate in three," or some such. As even the lowliest chess player knows, checkmate means the game is over and the winner is decided. We ain't there yet. This is a case of premature evocation. (Also, suppose McCain, at 71, drops dead of a heart attack next week?)

(b) HC/Obama have NOT, repeat, NOT, "stalemated." A stalemate is NOT, repeat, NOT, the same thing as a tie in a race or battle or condition which is only half over. A football game can be tied at halftime, but it ain't over. Ditto a baseball game, or other kinds of metaphors one might evoke. A stalemate, on the other hand, implies either an end state (finale, finish, conclusion, that is either "tied" in a literal sense *and cannot be further advanced*; or at least in a figurative sense it is permanently deadlocked (as in chess where a "perpetual" stalemate exists, where each side can move, but the situation is such that neither side can do anything, such as nothing left on the board but two kings, etc.).

In the HC/Obama race, we're only approximately at halftime, or if you prefer, maybe the middle of the fourth inning or top of the fifth.

In neither case, have obese persons of the feminine gender rendered solo musical offerings.

As for Fisher and his statement that "their ballots are unlikely to be decisive," I must snort in derision. Who *cares* if one's ballot is "decisive"? That's not why we vote. We vote for a variety of reasons, including sense of participation and support, to add one's two cents, to signal support, etc. People vote knowing darn well their speccific vote isn't gonna mean a darn thing (i.e., in landslides, meaningless local elections, etc.). "Decisiveness" is part of the media fixation with the horserace; and it is partly why they've been getting so much so wrong so often this year.

OF COURSE we know our votes aren't going to be "decisive," Marc. That ain't why we're voting. You guys just DON'T FREAKING GET IT: the game AIN'T OVER YET.

Jeez, now ya made me go all uppercase.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

There must be (gasp) lobbyists involved, which would make it stink worse than Texas smog.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 11, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I've got a great photo I captured from somewhere that shows what happens when you chop down a large tree and don't plan ahead. Short description: Tree: 1, Pickup Truck: 0. Let me know if you'd like to post it on the Kit.

My theory about Huckabee: He's not angling for Vice President; at the end of All This, he's going to have his own CNN show. Just wait.

Posted by: CowTown | February 11, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

How about a permanent ban on sports/war/horse-racing/chess/curling/marbles metaphors in campaign writing?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 11, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If you want something to really put you off tree cutting, find a copy of "Sometimes a Great Notion" starring Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazin, and Richard Jaeckel and directed by Newman. Anyone who's seen it remembers the mouth to mouth scene with Newman and Jaeckel, but often forgotten is the scene where Fonda loses an arm to a falling log. From a book by Ken Kesey.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 11, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ain't nothin' worse than a Texas lobbyist. 'Cep'n a Yankee one. Or a Yankee complainin' about a Texas one. Or a Yankee.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

bean, around here oak trees tend to get uprooted and fall over in high winds. That happened in the yard of a guy I knew on the fire department. He was cutting the tree up, and his son was playing in the hole. They made a cut, and the truck uprighted itself, killing the child. Sad, sad, sad situation.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

This was not only our front yard thorough cleanup weekend, but our tree-toppling weekend, as well. Not to mention, with some grumbling from Loomispouse, on the third occasion, of our foreign film weekend.

The previous owner planted a catalpa hybrid too close to the foundation, and too close to the red oak not far from it, the red oak planted further away from our home's foundation. The caltalpa hybrid has insufficient light and wriggled, in a spiraling fashion, to find some, which meant that its top, along the side of the house, was about 10 feet off-center from the tree's base at the front of the house. Both our neighbor and we had to keep cutting back the upper limbs to keep the spreading branches from wrecking our respective shingles when the winds were fierce.

I'm always terrified when Loomispouse, 63, climbs on the extension ladder with the extended rotating blade thingie for the limbs, followed by the chain saw for the trunk. A neighbor drove by, stopping to ask if we have insurance. "Not enough," I replied. I'm in charge of ground ops. We are both sore this morning, but yeah, we do have firewood! And there's still the trunk of the tree which must either be dug or cut out.

On to the cinema! Friday night was the French "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Late Saturday afternoon at the theater was the gothic horror [not much] film from Spain "El Orfanato" [The Orphanage]. Set on Spain's not-so-sunny northwest coast, it's the Spanish version of "I see dead people."

Far better was Sunday's feel-good movie from Switzerland, "Vitus," about a boy who is far too intelligent for those around him [won't give you the spoiler about how he eventually fits in], but has tremendous heart. The grandfather is a character in the classic sense, and if you love classical piano music, you'll also love this movie, since Vitus is a true prodigy, a musical wunderkind. You'll also hear English, Hoch Deutsch, as well as Swiss-German (as hard for me to grasp now as it was then). Three cheers for little Vitus!

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Or a Yankee with a chain saw.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Litle Vitus plays a mean game of chess.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet Vitus does a he11 of a dance, too.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

FYI for you fashionistas: I have an umpire waistline. Some of you have seen it. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Umpire waistline=no waist at all.

We know all about it, Mudge.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Catalpas aren't trees, they's weeds. So're foreign films.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Have never forgotten this true story. I keep my distance in the yard.

Woman killed in chainsaw accident

A woman who was killed when her husband fell off a ladder onto her while using an electric chainsaw has been named.

Police said Pauline Pudney, 57, died instantly from serious injuries at a house in Eltham, south-east London, at about 1630 BST on Monday.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and Scotland Yard described it as a "tragic accident".

The woman's 56-year-old husband is being treated for shock in hospital, a police spokeswoman said.

A post-mortem examination on Wednesday identified the cause of death as severe trauma to the neck.

In a statement, police said: "It was a really tragic accident. He [Mr Pudney] is obviously in a great deal of shock.

"A man aged 56 had been pruning a tree when he fell back off the ladder and the chainsaw he had been using seriously injured his wife.

"She was not decapitated. The woman was killed instantly."

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Bia, laughing at the empire-waisted cocktail dress prevalence. Empire waists FEEL slimming to the wearer; but you are correct about the look. Unless you are Mia Farrow or Twiggy, not so successful. You can also look very broad shouldered in many of the upper stories that go with the below-the-bust waist.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point, Slyness. Therefore, let me amend:

SCC: waistline should be wasteline.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

So're Yankees, for that matter.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I've been told that a tree looks underground pretty much what it looks like above ground.

Is that true?

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Good morning. Thanks to December's ice storm I still have scores of felled or partially felled trees just waiting to be trimmed or cut or hauled off or something. We're going tree by tree, limb by limb, branch by branch. [Wholly useless query: which is larger? branch or limb?] Ironically much of the wood downed around town is not really suitable for firewood, as lots of city folk had pine, cedar and Bradford pear. However, most of mine was varieties of oak, good hardwood for a fireplace if mine worked. Just as well that it isn't cut, so I can't feel bad about not using it.

Now there's a justification for you.

And yes, bia, a really good actor can play "charming" even though he has no charm himself and is a real jerk. Lesser actors try but fail.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Southern Comfort, you are obviously on the bottle today.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Achenblog, Southern Comfort. But perhaps you'd like to reconsider your choice of recreational blogging venues?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

OMG, some maroon over on Howard Kurtz' chat is actually voting for the Huckster because of the (Un)Fair Tax!

Posted by: Raysmom | February 11, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought Southern Comfort was just anticipating the start of baseball season, when we'll all (most of us) say bad things about the Yankees.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The judges will accept "waterline" (in the blue-bottomed sense) for Mudge's empress-wasted cocktail dress.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

SC, regarding your comment about foreign films, I can only say

{User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. }

Well, it is apparent that I can't say it.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 11, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Umbrage! Umbrage! I've wielded chainsaws and I'm a yankee.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I depends on whether the tree has a dendritic root system or a tap root, TBG.

I just spoke to my wife and her Mom has been discharged as of this morning. They're still waitng, as her blood sugar is in the vicinity of 500, thus, an insulin shot and more waiting...

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, jack. Excellent news on your MIL's gettin' out. Hope she continues to do well.

It's always something, isn't it?

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

A perpetual motion machine for real this time:

Posted by: omnii | February 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey.. this could be just the thing the bunker needs. From the "Free" section on Craigslist...

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG, here's your answer:
The root structure of most trees extends out from the trunk to roughly the same distance as the branches, so the underground does resemble the above-ground portion of a tree. The sculpture at Trinity Church came to mind since I was just there last May.

Posted by: CowTown | February 11, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, TBG. Now I only hope that the rule of three doesn't apply.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

> Woman killed in chainsaw accident

Maybe her husband was tired of reading long, undifferentiated quotes instead of being able to link to them if he were interested.

Posted by: CC | February 11, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Ditto what K-guy said. Well, *not* said, actually. But you get the idea.

Jeez, Jack. Blood sugar of 500? I hope they can get that under control. I know it often takes a lot of jiggering and adjusting to get the diabetes meds and sugar levels right. And even when they get it right, six months later it can drift wrong, again. Good luck.

But bc, I always thought you liked me in that dress! *pouting*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I am always amazed at how few roots an oak has and how shallow they are, compared to the size of the tree aboveground, TBG. It's quite an event when one topples.

In May 1973, we had tornadoes come through the neighborhood I grew up in. They weren't too big or strong, because they bounced around and didn't destroy structures, as you see in other parts of the South and West. They uprooted the oak in our next-door neighbor's backyard, and the tree fell between the houses, being held up by the two roofs. Just a few shingles were damaged on either side.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Slyness.... 1973 must have been the Year of the Tornado. We had one come through my neighborhood, too, on April Fools' Day. A pretty unusual occurrence for Fairfax, Va.

Fortunately it was a Sunday because it tore the roof off my high school. We attended a nearby school on a split shift with the kids there until school was out in June. Lucky for me we got the later, afternoon, shift.

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Never said I *didn't* like the dress, Mudge.

Also: Aren't Texas lobbyists the source of Texas smog (hence the stench)?

Seems to me that Texas would be an excellent place to put up windmills. It'll give some folks something to tilt at, and harness lots of energetic hot air that seems to be blowing around down there (Crawford might be a good place to start, but certainly not the only place to put them.).


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Mee too, 'Mudge. She ususlly takes 4 units twice a day and what seems to be flip chart protocol has the staff administering 18 units. She's type 1 and her blood sugar fluctuates. At times the fluctuations are pretty wild, but nothing like she's experienced during this hospital stay. I'm frustrated enough at this point to continue ranting, so it is time for a cleansing breath or ten. I'm hoping that she'll be home this afternoon and get back to something resembling normalcy.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Might I add that the trees in the PNW are really, really tall. Douglas firs have shallow root systems, so they tend to be the ones that fall in wind storms, or when there's lots of rain or snow, or at the drop of a hat. The office park where I work has lovely natural landscaping, including big Doug firs, so I try to park strategically when it's windy. As far away from the trees as possible, or at least between SUV's.

Posted by: mostlylurkng | February 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

TBG, was that the tornado that lifted the Fairfax Christian School bus out of the shopping center parking lot and tossed it through the window of the ABC store? I remember that, did real damage to Woodson High. One of our friends lost the roof off of their house in the "tornado alley" section of Fairfax.

Posted by: VintageLady | February 11, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Tornadoes - April 1974 is the one I'll never forget. The same storm system that famously did so much damage in Xenia, OH dropped one onto and around Louisville KY. I had an older friend who drove a pickup truck, and we chased it (from a judicious distance) for a while. My mother was none too happy with me when I finally made it home.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The area around Del Rio, TX is so open that it was an annual occurence to see one or more tornadoes in the distance. Fortunately, the area's pretty lightly populated, so most of them do relatively little damage.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 11, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

About the oak trees, we keep losing them. Last summer we had two more dead ones cut down in our woods, and one that was at the edge of the woods, leaning towards our house. They were 30-35 ft. and were taken down in sections. Big thump and dent in the earth when they fall, even on a rope. Then the branch shredder goes to work, what a racket (noisewise). We kept one tree for firewood, had them just saw the trunk into huge logs. Our oldest son puts them on the chopping block on a need be basis. He does a neat job of cutting and stacking. Good exercise, too.

Posted by: VintageLady | February 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, VL.. I was going to mention the Christian school bus and the liquor store... the houses that lost roofs were in the neighborhood next to ours (or the "new" houses--that were built back in the early-to-mid sixties)

My parents' next door neighbor lost several HUGE oak trees in the back yard during that tornado.

Are you from this neck o' the woods? Did you go to WTW too? That would make three boodlers and one boodler offspring that we know of if you did.

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

bc writes:
Seems to me that Texas would be an excellent place to put up windmills...

Actually, in September 2003 (before my trip to Connecticut), I had a nice chat with Science Friday's Ira Flatow--he a resident of southern Connecticut and the chat occuring after the show and my turn at the mic--when he was hosting a radio program in September 2003 from Brooks AFB campus.

There were two topics on his program: the careful restoration of the local missions and the increasing use of wind-generated power in Texas. bc (where have you been?), here's the link:

Speaking of Huck...I had a Huck chuckle yesterday when Huckabee said (CNN? ABC? NBC?) that if people only followed the moral authority set out in the 10 commandments, we wouldn't need an 11th. Lest we forget, it was only several weeks ago, that Huckabee proposed an 11th and a 12th commandment (strike that: IIRC, I believe Huck said that he wanted constitutional amendments...may have to go find the exact quote). A little flip-flopping going on? Cozying up to McCain?

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert. I'll open the bunker.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'll bring a case of Screaming Yellow Zonkers to the bunker directly, Mr. Shop Steward.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Good news about your MIL. There are diabetes management classes offered by many hospitals in the major urban areas. They are most definitely worth the time and effort. If your MIL isn't alert enough to take in classroom teaching, perhaps you or your wife could take the class. I strongly recommend it. It's not just the "book-larn'in", it's also the support that goes along with it.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse


Well I'm certainly glad I had already scheduled leave today and was out jogging and doing chores this morning, so I didn't have to waste any energy ignoring Loomis.

Anyone who wants to deal in the facts, as opposed to fear-based rhetoric, should have no trouble contacting me for more details.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 11, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

But, Don, seems like it's the *hospital* in Jack's MIL's case that needs to take the classes. Sigh.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 11, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think the Stalemate and Checkmate analogies are great. As in chess, Huckabee has lost. He just doesn't know it yet. And the comparison between Clinton/Obama and the 2000 race are obvious and compelling. As is the risk of alienation, questions of validity, and general bad feelings if this nomination becomes resolved along legalistic lines.

As to trees. There are a bunch of logs in the commons area behind my house. The Home Owners Association says they are free for the taking. So I plan on hauling them out over the next few evenings. Although I fear that what I save on firewood costs may be outweighed by the resultant need for expensive orthopedic surgery.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 11, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, I don't know how to contact you, snuke. There are two sides to every story. But how can so many sources report the same information? 60 Minutes' program, when did it air? Who was the whistleblower at South Texas Project--Google had no answers for me this morning.

Why is the head of Exelon (Chicago) sitting on so many boards dealing with nuclear energy? Do you know Dr. Rainwater and her reporting of the tritium leaks at Braidwood and elsewhere? All good questions, I'm sure.

California's Shiloh wind project, in addition to the older Altamont, has been up and running for several years now. Some of that wind energy being directed to the Modesto Irrigation District.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about the Democrat's byzantine methods. If the super delegates influence results in someone being nominated who didn't have the majority of the votes in the primaries/caucuses, we disaffected Democrats will not vote for that nominee. Which won't exactly be a tragedy, for if we have learned anything from the Bush/Republican Congress episode it is that the Constitution's separation of powers no longer is effective when Congress and the President are of the same party.

Posted by: Jon Orloff | February 11, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Re: Your Snarky Sic
From Merriam Webster's On-Line Dictionary
3. ardently or earnestly wishing
synonyms see eager

Posted by: Ellem | February 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - I know ScottyNuke is a big boy, but as a fellow civil servant I understand that there are very specific rules and regulations regarding speaking for an agency.

If you are unhappy with the information available through official channels then write a letter, contact your congressperson, call the official number of the agency in question, or work with a legitimate media representative whose turf this covers. We in the government are responsive to questions. But not in an informal forum such as this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 11, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Don. Taking those classes sounds like a good thing to do. One thing that my MIL's MD does well is manage her diabetes. This time she was in a hospital 60 miles from home, with limited access to her home MD. I'm glad she's coming home to caregivers more familiar wtih her case.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I think RD's advice is sound about the avenue and venue for more specific "official" information. The boodle is informal digital space. We zip in and out with comments, ideas, references, recipes, sports and politics picks, funny stories, good wishes and prayers, knitting directions, big-tree stories etc.

This place is not a cathedral of facts or bureau of official-dom. If twer (I think I like that word), well, I would not be here.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Not to unnecessarily prolong the agony, but why wouldn't the head of a nuclear utility be on boards dealing with nuclear energy? That is certainly the norm in other utilities, as well as in the corporate world generally. In fact, often corporate, foundation and government boards try and recruit people who have experience in the organization's area of expertise. They seem to think this provides a strong and well-informed board.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, it isn't fair to try to get Scotty or any other of us gummint folks to respond to questions like that. We're all here in our "civilian" capacities, and we aren't authorized to speak for our outfits, either at all, or at very least not in this kind of venue or forum. And since you used to be a reporter, I know you know better.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

To whatever lengths--or heights--a journalist may reach for a scoop, tall trees, we surely agree, have moral superiority over tall stories.

Posted by: lowen | February 11, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, *do* I hope they put up some windmills down there for ya.

"Why is the head of Exelon (Chicago) sitting on so many boards dealing with nuclear energy?"

Um, because he's an industry expert?

And Democratic SuperDelegates are easy to spot because of their blue tights and capes with the donkey on it. And they jump around with one fist in front of them, yelling, "To the White House, and Beyond!"

They GOP has no SuperDelegatic process, but they do have Unpledged Delegates, who wander from Candidate Frat House to Frat House wondering where to Pledge.

Why am I singing "SuperDelegaticExpialidocious" to myself? Because I'm easily amused, that's why.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, Wilbrod hope you guys are staying warm!

Posted by: dmd | February 11, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to cut and paste here, and I'm not going to admit or deny that it's copyrighted material, but this is from Slyness' link to the Smithsonian article by Steve Martin and it just makes me laugh every time I think of it so please bear with me.. I hope you enjoy it too...

I had the plumber joke, which was impossible to understand even for plumbers: "OK, I don't like to gear my material to the audience, but I'd like to make an exception, because I was told that there is a convention of plumbers in town this week--I understand about 30 of them came down to the show tonight--so before I came out, I worked up a joke especially for the plumbers. Those of you who aren't plumbers probably won't get this and won't think it's funny, but I think those of you who are plumbers will really enjoy this.

This lawn supervisor was out on a sprinkler maintenance job, and he started working on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom seven-inch gangly wrench. Just then this little apprentice leaned over and said, 'You can't work on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom seven-inch wrench.' Well, this infuriated the supervisor, so he went and got Volume 14 of the Kinsley manual, and he reads to him and says, 'The Langstrom seven-inch wrench can be used with the Findlay sprocket.' Just then the little apprentice leaned over and says, 'It says sprocket, not socket!' [Worried pause.] "Were these plumbers supposed to be here this show?"

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The TSA started a blog for semi-official feedback and it opened a torrent:

Be careful what you ask for.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Jack, did they bring your MIL to Charlotte? Or take her to Columbia? Just to set a bone? It seems to me that local facilities could have taken care of her just fine.

VintageLady, one of our five full-grown willow oaks was hit by lightning in 1999. I wish I had been home when the City came and cut it down. The neighbors said they used a crane. We have replaced it, and the tree has doubled in size, but I still miss that one. It shaded the kitchen windows well. *sigh* I suppose I should be glad there was little damage besides the tree.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

TBG, my older sister purchased that Steve Martin album when it came out, there was a time when I had most of it memorized.

Still funny after all this time (more than time than I care to think about).

Posted by: dmd | February 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse


Yes & no. ;)

We've lived in Fairfax County since '65, first in Springfield, and then after our oldest graduated from Lake Braddock High in '81, we moved to Vienna/Oakton area.

A boodle sprinkled of WTW grads!, Twer a far better thing.......

Posted by: VintageLady | February 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

VL... why did I think you were in the middle of the state somewhere?

Glad you're here, anyway!

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey VL, I've got in-laws who life off Courthouse Road/Nutley Street, so I know a little about the area...

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Did someone already post this big news out of Canada:

Posted by: Achenbach | February 11, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Long story, slyness. She was on her way in to her oncologists facility for a round of chemo in Columbia last Wed., lost her balance and went shoulder/arm first into a wall, then bounded backward and off balance onto the sidewalk and banged her head. My FIL was parking the vehicle while all of this transpired. The staff had her loaded up in an ambulance and off the the hospital before he returned from the parking lot.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

All day I've been staring at that Novak link to his piece on Dem voting and racism. Still can't bring myself to click it.

We need to think of a term for this phenomenon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

That link Joel just posted claims you Canuckians have a "shared disdain" for your neighbors to the south.

*pouting again*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW, bc, I don't remember if I asked you this before: did that dress make me look fat?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sssshhhh, Achenbach, Ixnay on the evelationray.

Posted by: dr | February 11, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel: That Canadian story is full of holes.

Mudge: I don't think that dress makes one bit of difference.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Not disdain at all. If we disdained, we wouldn't bother trying to take over now would we?

Posted by: dr | February 11, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dr, no disdain for Americans, there is a definite rivalry though, sadly it is one sided. We are like the little brother desperate for attention, while the big brother - the quarterback goes on about his day barely realizing he has a little brother.

On the other hand - we really like donuts :-)

Posted by: dmd | February 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I've resisting as well, 'Mudge. The r word is likely to be bandied about the same way the administration issues talking points to deal with controversy. I read somewhere that if the convention is brokered, it has the potential to divide the party as in '68.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Not sure whther this means warm wine or cold boobs:

Posted by: omni | February 11, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

haha, dmd has it just right. A couple of years ago during a federal election, the CBC had a correspondent in Washington interviewing a US pundit, who stupidly asked a version of the question "What does Congress think of Parliament?" Answer? "It doesn't."

The amount of defensive whiny Canadian reaction that ensued would have you chuckling.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Joal's link is to 'culinary affairs.' I like the words. Thanks Cassandra for your prayer thoughts this morning. The odd habit of reading the Boodle downside up is to have the ability to skip when buss word shows up. And then to read in a chewing mode when recipe or man's food shows up.

Posted by: daiwanlan | February 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Here on the Boodle, don't we give you guys enough attention? We try, really we do.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

That's terrific, omni. I think my wife and at least six of her zinfindel-swilling girlfriends are gonna order those things by late this afternoon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, they have lovely access to Metro. In fact, the town of Vienna is wonderful, congested, but wonderful. You are in Carolina Blue country, right? Super. Mother's side of family, all from North Carolina.

VBG. My life story as a Virginian:

Born and bred in Norfolk.
Graduated from what was then Radford College.
Married a Richmond man. VPI. (VA TECH)
His army days put us in Ft. Monmouth, NJ, then to Arlington, VA.
Then, civilian life in Annandale, Springfield, Vienna/Oakton.

We are older than the hills.

Posted by: VintageLady | February 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, VL. I went to UNC-Charlotte but we have 3 generations of Carolina grads in the fam. Well, 3rd generation will graduate in May, actually...

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Call my jaded and cynical, but does the announcement about trying the Gitmo prisoners sound like a political act? These guys have been in custody for what, 5 years or more? And now that it's election season and the odds look like they are against the neo-cons, this comes up as a "reminder" of the 9/11, national security, fight 'em in Iraq or fight 'em here BS that the current admin has been spouting to use for 7 years? We know that there is little love lost between GWB and McCain, but they are all even more afraid of becoming irrelevant in a Democratic administration.

Posted by: ebtnut | February 11, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC: spouting to us...

Posted by: ebtnut | February 11, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

VL... we'll be expecting you at our next BPH then. We've got to get Slyness up here to.. .er, visit her in-laws... yeah, that's it.

"Hi folks. Gotta go now and see my imaginary friends! Nice visiting with you!"

I've only been a Virginian since I was 2 1/2 years old. We moved here in August 1960 from Northeast D.C. You do the math. I'm nearly as old as the hills.

But even my sister who came along after we moved here was born in DC. We have raised the first generation of pure Virginians. Half Greek, but all Virginian.

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I had the same thoughts when I saw that story.

Posted by: dmd | February 11, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt we'll see the Terror Alert raised between now and November. (I accidently typed Error Alert, which may be more appropriate).

Error in '08!

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

ebt, I was just about to post the very same question. Yes, I think Arbusto et al. think they are going to get mileage out of this and use it to "win" in November by stirring up all that old 9/11 stuff. My prediction: it will backfire big time, and there will be major as well as int'l outcry against using testimony obtained by waterboarding, and that any guilty verdict should be thrown out. (Which is a d@mn shame, because they're guilty as he11, but that ain't the point.) So then the military court will convict them anyway, and they'll all be executed anyway, and the only thing gained will be all the rancor and ill will over the sloppy, halfa$$ed prosecution of it all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Still recovering from the whiplash of trying people who supposedly aren't subject to the protections of military law/treaties in a military court. Too bad parsing all that out doesn't lead to sound bite treatment as I'd like to at least have a hint of what the prez candidates really think about this.

Record cold in I-falls and all over northern MN. It was plastic cracking, snot freezing, ambition sapping cold this morning(-35 here, with no wind) and I had to be out in it at least long enough to get out to the garage and into my meeting. +7 now but still no fun.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 11, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Mudge, I was trying to get snuke on the backboodle, not public statements. We've been through this before. Snuke could even make comments off the record, the journalism law of Omerta between us cynical journalism types. I'd stay mum, promise.

Speakin' of a weird, yet catchy, combination of words...did anyone catch Bill Maher on Larry King last night? I think the program was a rebroadcast from shortly before Super Tuesday. As mentioned during the interview, Maher's got a movie in the works titled, "Religulous."

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Boy they sure do pile it high in Texas. How tall are you?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The Boodle is still public record. If you want to speak off the record, you don't do it by writing in a public forum, however informal it may be.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, but it's the 52 go snark yourself. You say informal, I say formal. Lalalalalalala...there's schooling and then there's...

Anxious has a long history of use roughly as a synonym for eager, but many prefer that anxious be used only when its subject is worried or uneasy about the anticipated event. In the traditional view, one may say "We are anxious to see the strike settled soon" but not "We are anxious to see the new show of British sculpture at the museum."

Fifty-two percent of the Usage Panel rejects anxious in the latter sentence. But general adoption of anxious to mean "eager" is understandable, at least in colloquial discourse, since it provides a means of adding emotional urgency to an assertion. It implies that the subject so strongly desires a certain outcome that frustration of that desire will lead to unhappiness.

In this way, it resembles the informal adjective dying in sentences such as "I'm dying to see your new baby."

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

A Gentle Reminder: "User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed."

Let's keep it civil. This is the Boodle. A sanctuary for the open-minded.

Posted by: CowTown | February 11, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The questions I pose should be of national interest--you know, from the Ralph Nader or populist school of questioning our government and how it functions

I for one and my husband for two certainly don't want our local utilitiy bills to go up because our local CPS Energy has a 40 percent stake in the troubled South Texas Project--nuclear. These bills are exorbitant enough in the summer months. Of course, we have discussed the nudist option.

You know, Ivansmom. talking imporatant issues, not the cult of personality [of the candidates].

The conversation I propose with snuke would be off the record.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Um, sorry, but for those of us who have seen "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" the words "Bill Maher" and "movie" should not appear in the same sentence.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 11, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Who first used the term "snarky?" Hmm...?

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

See, I have a pet peeve, too. Boodling with drive-by links. What goes around comes around.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'll trade you snuke's e-mail address for one hot Persian lover story.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm completely confused now. I didn't think anyone was talking about politics here, except of course as an occasional nod to Joel's very nice Kit. I also missed the connection between south central Texas utility bills and national presidential politics or candidates. And math too! Good thing the Boodle provides such a welcoming home for confusion.

Posted by: Ivansom | February 11, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I also missed Error. I miss nani too.

Posted by: daiwanlan | February 11, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

And now for something totally different:


Posted by: frostbitten | February 11, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

A little levity after a horrendous day at the office.

You say donut, I say doughnut
You say savor, I say savour
You like donut, I like doughnut
You like savor, I like savour
Donut, doughnut, savor, savour!
Let's call the whole thing off!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 11, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I walk away for a few minutes and y'all get into it! If you can't stop fighting, I'll make you sit on the kitchen floor holding hands until you make up. Now you sit in this corner, and you sit in this one, and don't say anything to each other unless yer smiling.

Posted by: Gomer | February 11, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell the administration's various Guantanamo case progress announcements have been timed consistently randomly (or "conveniently", take your pick).

Like frostbitten I'm still trying to get my head around the whole process and procedure mess. Throwing executions in makes it much more difficult. Whenever the death penalty is involved, procedural questions are much more fraught. If there is evidence sufficient for a guilty verdict, and horrible crimes, a segment of the public will always prefer the execution over protection of procedure, no matter how important the rights involved may be. If that's true of routine death penalty crimes it will be exponentially more so in the 911 cases.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I know, Loomis... but Scotty doesn't want to play that way (and I don't blame him), and he shouldn't have to, and he shouldn't be publicly confronted that way or manipulated into it. We all know various and sundry tidbits about our agencies that we shouldn't/can't/aren't supposed to talk about, and the easiest policy is to not go anywhere near any of it, publicly or privately.

Yes, he "could" make comments "off the record" and offline--but why should he either want to or have to? He's under no obligation to do so, and there's just nuthin' but downside for him. No upside whatsoever.

For the record, though, I agree with you about "eager" being a poor synonym for "anxious." Yes, it may be the third definition, as pointed out, and not technically "wrong," but the fact that it is far down the list tells you it's not the best choice. As an editor, I'd have kicked it, too. "Anxious" has a generally negative connotation, and should keep it that way. "Eager" is positive, and should stay that way, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I live in TX, and I love windmills. The big Holland-type ones, the bigger wind-farm type ones, the old farm ones that pump water and such. I'm trying to figure out how to get one on my little piece of suburbia. It ain't easy...

Posted by: Gomer | February 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"plastic cracking, snot freezing, ambition sapping cold"

this is why I love you frostbitten. Thankfully, I didn't lose coffee over it. Did lose some tea though.

Posted by: dr | February 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

McCain has succeeded in driving the odious all-terror-all-the-time, Giuliani, and the flip-flopping plastic emptiness, Romney, away, but he is running as the candidate of the "Bush Third-Term". Given the mood of the electorate, running as a legacy to the Bush Boy is a recipe for disaster. Of course, no one has ever accused the Republicans of being too bright.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Howdy Gomer!

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 11, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"We've been through this before. Snuke could even make comments off the record, the journalism law of Omerta between us cynical journalism types. I'd stay mum, promise."...said the spider to the fly.

It was a direct quote of a Clinton spokesperson that used "anxious," so the only reason to play grammar cop was to make a Clinton supporter sound ignorant.

Posted by: Deep Throat | February 11, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Only thing worse than a Yankee is an umbrageous Cannuckistanian.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. According to that excellent link Joel posted apples first appeared on the North American continent in Canada.

This is very, very disorienting to me. I mean, as a native of Washington State, I grew up taking apples seriously. Their was much regional pride involved. And to think all this time we were raising and eating Canadian fruit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 11, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Who first used the term "snarky?" Hmm...?"

Wasn't me! But I did do a clever squirrel impression once, if I recall.

By the way, my admonission was made relative to the annonymous 4:28pm post.

Posted by: CowTown | February 11, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, goody! A resurgence of exorcisms in Europe:
"Ritual of Dealing With Demons Undergoes a Revival"

Anyone wanna take bets on the gender of most of those undergoing the procedure?

Posted by: Bob S. | February 11, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Cep'n maybe Minnesotans.

Posted by: LSouthern Comfort | February 11, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gomer!

shrieking... I was following a box truck one day with one of its back doors--its right door--hooked open. The name of the company was printed across the back of the truck, with part on one door and part on the other.

The only part I could see said "Doug," which happens to be the name of a person near and dear to me. I was trying to figure out the name of the company ("Doug who?" I wondered) when the other door came swinging shut.

It said "hnuts"

So my Doug's new alias became Doug H. Nuts (pronounced "newts").

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Hot Persian lover story:

A woman acquaintance of Ahminajad
his sometimes girlfriend since he was a lad
says "that naughty Mahmood
used to be just crude
but since he went nuclear he's been a cad"

Southern Comfort: you do realize that you're all Yankees to everyone else?

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 11, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Ain't nothing what we'll do to them Texas lobbyists after we get done with Gitmo terrrrists. The only good nuke is a daid nuke.

Posted by: Sotuhern Comfort | February 11, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Yep Southern Comfort, as SoC says if you see a "Yanki go home" graffiti in a furrin locale it means you too.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 11, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Now, coal, now, there's a real good fuel. Texas'll build 17 of 'em, get not one peep. Someone tries buildin' a nuke though, them Yankees get all upset & write to theyt DC paper.

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

dai, I really miss Nani, too. She and I were really on the same wavelength music-wise.

Anonymous 4:52 person, nothing could be sweeter than McCain running as a "Bush Third Term" candidate. Oh, how I salivate.

Southern Comfort, are you just Pop Socket's black sheep of the family (non-racially speaking)? You can't really be for real.

Padouk, haven't you ever heard the legend of Johnny Poutineseed?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ooo, ooooo, we got us pitchers up above!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

When I started following this blog I had no idea it would someday come with colored photos! Illustrations, even!

(And I really like having them, too.)

Posted by: nellie | February 11, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

This sock puppetry is tedious and transparent.

And I don't see that any editor would whack a word in a direct quotation.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Joel must be bored... pictures and rearranging of the Kit.

Did anyone notice the two pictures on the front of the paper paper today (as opposed to the online paper) of Clinton and Obama? Clinton looked nice enough at her rally, but the picture of Obama had people reaching out to touch him.

This link may work, for today at least...

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

who used to write comments by first filling in the Name section, so all his comments kind of looked weird?

(This is CowTown, by the way)

Posted by: Hey, remember the person | February 11, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

remember him! Or her?


Posted by: Yes, I do | February 11, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

anyone's paying attention. It's Stinking Cold Here In Flyover Land! Damn Cold! It's ##$@#!-it I'm Moving Back to California Cold! Jeez Louise.

Warmest Regards,


Posted by: Oh, by the way, in case | February 11, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no, Yoki, I wouldn't wack a word in a direct quotation, either. Not allowed. But I just meant in a general sense, as an editor, if someone had written "anxious" to mean eager in a non-quoted passage I'd have either changed it or at least talked to the writer, depending on the situation (sometimes I have authority to do "wordsmithing"; sometimes I don't).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I can't keep up with the personalities I have, let alone start a drunk redneck one. Although that might not be that much of a stretch.

Posted by: Pop Socket | February 11, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm LOL, Pop. Go back to sleep.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 11, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, well, in a general sense, as an editor, then, not in that specific instance. Got it.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"periit sacrificium et libatio de domo Domini luxerunt sacerdotes ministri Domini"

Posted by: Southern Comfort | February 11, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

SC is quoting from the Latin Vulgate Bible.

"The meal offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's servants, are sorrowing."

Old Testament: Book of Joel.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 11, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

About Obama late to Baltimore: he was late to UMCP and overstayed his time....students MOBBED him...etc. I bet he had another stop before B-more, so cumulative lateness, I expect.

I did not go because I have the mother of all colds and feel like garbage. I did, as ever, ride my bike to and fro. But, the thought of waiting one hour in the cold with my cold....will report on what my students have to say on Wednesday.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

*faxing hot lemon and honey to CP*

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki, dear, as I am all it. Will add some Jameson's to the mix between 8 and 10.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that in the last several days, Baja California has been trying to shake itself loose from the US of A?

Posted by: nellie | February 11, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

It's sooooooooo nice to be on the "other side" of the computer c r @ p from last week. Everything is mostly working and I've put in a nice chunk of billable time today. More to come tomorrow after I vote.

Just checking in before I quickly abandon the boodle for my kitchen and some dinner.

Feel free (as you invariably tend to do) to carry on without me.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 11, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm late. More plumbing problems. The third in three weeks. I was going to volunteer to be an "official" River Keeper. I watch out for this creek anyway, keeping the Midnight Trash Dumpers away from it. Now it turns out my sewer line burst and is spilling into the creek. I'm the one crapping in my own precious creek! I swear I didn't know. The Proper Authorities have been notified.

I expect my dog is out swimming in the lovely perfumed waters even as I type.

Posted by: I, Jumper | February 11, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I'm still laughing about Doug H. Nuts. Too funny. That Boodle handle is reserved for Mr G.

Oh, the shame, Jumper, the shame.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 11, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

finally got to the laundry room, and didn't step in any wet cement. the housing complex is getting a repair job. still not finished, but i'm leaving that for someone else.

i hope everyone can take a little comfort in the prayer i gave this morning. it came from the heart, and the request was for all.

have a good evening folks. i think i'm going to retire early, maybe read a little bit. again, enjoy your evening, and sleep good. sweet dreams.

i think it is so nice that the young people are getting involved in this election and just paying attention.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 11, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, does anyone else remember Hurricane Agnes, 1972?

Posted by: Bean | February 11, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

As much as I like my job, this not being able to boodle is really getting to me. By the time I read something that I would like to comment on or add to, hours have gone by and the subject matter has changed ten times.

Oh Jumper, I feel for you. We recently hooked up to the sewer and I have nightmares about it backing up into the house. The pumping station is two doors down and when we lost power last week for a few hours, I was concerned even tho' it runs on some sort of back up power.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 11, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I think I was in DC for Agnes - I remember it vaguely. I was in 2 hurricanes in Houston in 1983, I believe - the names escape me now - bet one starts with an "A", it was in May.

It's h e l l getting old...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 11, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Northern Distress is still avialable as a Boodle handle. You know who was really interested in the Biblical book of Joel way back when? Shiloh. Just sayin'.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer announced, at 5:59 p.m our time, that CNN will host the Democratic debate in Texas on Feb. 21. Not sure if it'll be in Houston. Good, something to keep me mentally engaged that day as I exist on clear liquids.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I remember the last time I attempted to fell a tree. I decided to make the first cut fifteen feet from the ground to limit the fall radius and keep the tree out of the street. I set confidently to work and quickly ended up with a chain saw wedged into the trunk fifteen feet from the ground.

In order to free the chainsaw I used a crowbar. Thus resulting in a chainsaw and a crowbar lodged into the trunk. Fifteen feet from the ground. I then used a handsaw to attempt to free the chainsaw and the crowbar. This was when the panic began. I knew eventually a crowd of small neighborhood children would form to jeer at me.

Fortunately, the tree quickly gave way and started to fall. Alas, because of some complicated interaction between the rotational inertia of the tree and the angle of the cut, it didn't fall precisely where I wanted.

The tree fell on the fence.

A fact that, despite its conspicuous lack of ambiguity, was one that my wife still felt compelled to remark upon. My rejoinder that I had at least missed the street was not well received. Eventually I was able to straighten the blade to my chain saw, cut-up the fallen wood, repair the fence, and clean up the residual branches. By this time I was far too tired to remove the remaining trunk. It stood for several weeks as a stark monument to my own incompetence.

And gave the neighborhood children something to look forward too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Austin. The Texas Democratic debate 'll be in Austin. And two-timer Saenz from the Obama machine weighs in with a comment (see my post yesterday about dancin' with the one who brung ya). The latest on the debate from the Houston Chron.:

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton will debate next week in Austin, their campaigns said today, leaving uncertain the status of a similar event planned in Houston.

The two U.S. senators, Obama from Illinois and Clinton from New York, agreed to participate in a Feb. 21 forum being organized by the Texas Democratic Party, Univision [a Cisneros stomping ground] and CNN.

"We are pleased that Sen. Obama will have the opportunity to debate in Texas, and that it will air on Univision, ensuring a wide and diverse audience," Adrian Saenz, the Obama camp's Texas state director, said in a statement.

Clinton previously said she would attend a debate being organized by the Greater Houston Partnership and MSNBC on Feb. 28 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Obama did not commit to that debate.

"We are happy Senator Obama decided to join us in a debate in Texas, and Senator Clinton is looking forward to debating the issues with him," said Deirdre Murphy, the Clinton campaign's Texas press secretary, in an e-mail.

Neither campaign said where the proposed Houston debate stands now, and the Partnership had no immediate comment.

Posted by: Loomis | February 11, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to point out that Sebastian Junger took up traveling to, and writing about, dangerous places after a chain saw incident while he was working as a tree surgeon, also part time writer of fiction and waiter.

"...Despite his vertigo, he became good at it, monkeying around tree tops with a chainsaw. But one day he got sloppy and cut open his heel.

'I was up the tree, hanging on a rope. I was worried that if I'd cut through the Achilles tendon, that would be the end of my running. So I pulled my leg open and I could see the tendon and that it was all right.'"


Posted by: frostbitten | February 11, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the stories around here, my lifelong goal of staying away from chain saws seems like a worthy one.

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: frostbitten | February 11, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I remember Hurricane Agnes very, very well. It was my 16th birthday and my friends and I didn't make it home that night because of the flooding. The phones weren't working properly, so we couldn't call our parents. My folks spent a very sleepless night and they were very happy to see us the next morning.

Posted by: pj | February 11, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Is there another moment in life when our own folly becomes so clear?

As when the felled tree begins its arc thus way, and the realization of just what the fact of its height now so obviously means?

Is Hillary undergoing the political equivalent?

Posted by: Dwight | February 11, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse


Coincidentally, my family moved to Northern Virginia in August 1960, too. I was four at the time and, other than college, have lived here ever since.

Vintage Lady,

I went to Fort Hunt High School, which closed around the time your oldest graduated from Lake Braddock. It's nice to see long time residents around here.

Posted by: pj | February 11, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

In Anagramtown, the question for tomorrow is Carol Hill Tinny or Maraca Kabob?

Posted by: TBG | February 11, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

RD, that was hilarious. But sometimes even people who use chainsaws for a living have accidents. #2 daughter's fiance owned a landscaping and tree removal business for years. A few years ago he was in the bucket truck cutting a limb, something happened and the saw kicked and he was very lucky to have many stiches in his forearm, rather than no forearm to have stiches in. Of all the tools in a person's arsenal, the chainsaw has to be one of the most deadly.

Frosti, that story made my stomach fall down to my toes. Thanks. ;-)

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 11, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Hurricane Agnes '72 - hubbie and I still in our hippie-freak personas and pretty much hitch-hiking when we wanted to go any distance. Happened to be Norfolk visiting BIL who was in the Navy at the time, Aggie didn't do much there so the day after it passed thru - a bright, sunny day - we started hitching north to CNY. Got as far as Baltimore, where all traffic was being diverted off the highway. Got to the bus station and had enough money to get to Harrisburg PA. Got there and - guess what - it was flooded! Red Cross took us from bus station to shelter where we stayed for the next 4 days. Highlight(?)- Tricky Dick Nixon came thru our shelter. My impression - that man was really SHORT!
Finally, Rt. 81 opened and we were able to hitch home to Auburn NY - only to be stopped at the city limits because there were fears the dam was going to give way. They finally let us walk in to our downtown apartment after I pitched a fit about wanting to sleep in my own bed! The dam didn't break, we stayed high and dry and I developed great sympathy for anyone having to stay in a shelter due to natural disaster- can't imagine losing everything on top of it.

Posted by: TLF | February 11, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Hillary still talks with MSNBC? Brave women.
Good story Padouk. You must have beeen my neighbour at one point. This guy couln't cut a one inch sapling or limb that wouln't fall in his pool, on his car or on his house. Kids were rushing out for the show if they heard his chain saw.
I did a bit of a show myself when I cut a mature red maple 4-5 yeears ago, not too high of a tree but a very large one with an open structure and very large limbs. I cut the 26in. trunk with a 12" tree surgeon chain saw, that was the main problem. At one point there was three wedges and an axe (ran out of wedges) in the cuts. It did go down where intended, but after much sweating and invocation to the gods. My kids learn the names of pretty much all the church tools and accoutremeents on that occasion.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 11, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I remember Hurricaine Agnes.

The noise, the rain, the flooding, downed limbs, the calm at the eye of the storm.

For a preteen (which I was at the time), I thought it was pretty dang cool.

I didn't really appreciate the damage that Agnes left behind. Except for what I had to clean up, of course.

RD, that's a great story - trees, chainsaws, crowbars, children, hubris and chaos. What's not to like?


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

i just got two fairy doors in the mail! woooohoooooooooooooooooo

they are sooooooo adorable!

Posted by: mo | February 11, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

My buddy's wife stopped us from pulling over a 60' tree with a 40' rope. She noticed the problem when she stepped back to take photos of the proceedings.
She wouldn't tell us why she called out a warning but insisted we come over and look for ourselves. Much laughter and duhing.

Too bad I missed today, this boodle had everthing.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 11, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Good Agnes stories. Mine was like pj's. Elkridge, Md and the Patapsco River.

Posted by: Bean | February 11, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Cutting down trees skeeves me.

I had a friend who was cutting trees by himself, one fell on him, he eventually had to crawl the 5 acres home and spent a year in physical therapy. He still limps. And he was lucky!

Posted by: dbG | February 11, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong pulling 60ft trees with 40ft ropes boko, use a teenager at the end of the rope. They're plentiful and darn fast.
Better yet, no rope.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 11, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

It depends where the rope is fastened...I've done the pulling when Mr. T cut the wedge and didn't have any problems staying out of the way. But we were cutting dead white pines, and they weren't that tall. Now, I've watched him take trees down, and, country boy that he is, he can put them down exactly where he wants them to go. It takes skill and subtlety with a chainsaw.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

An interesting review in this past weekend's Book World (if someone already posted this, please forgive me) for Lee Siegel's "Against the Machine - Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob"

Interesting perspectives on blogging, sock puppets, interactive journalism, and new media.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

My first job using a chain saw was felling snags in the Great North Woods (this was before some ecology type noticed what great nesting sites they made). Lots of yellow jackets in the Great North Woods, many of whom make there nests among the roots of snags. Sawdust from a saw looks remarkable like mad yellow jackets--and they get real mad when a chain saw vibrates the nest. Noise of saw overcomes other major yellow jacket warning device. Great laughter from other members of the crew when one of us would be too intent to notice insect life until clothing was thoroughly infested. Shout of agony was usually followed by a flying chain saw, followed by flying clothing, in a path down the hill toward the nearest creek. Never was any really serious damage, but one guy wrecked his '49 Ford pickup after work one night because he hadn't thoroughly cleaned his clothing earlier.

Posted by: No. 9 | February 11, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to remind everyone to run at 90 degrees from the fall of the tree. Running away down the fall line is a rookie mistake. If you can't be smart you'd better be fast.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 11, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I respect the people who took down my rapidly dying and dangerous tree last March for about 6K. Yes, I will be paying on that for sometime.

A few well-meaning and confident neighbor-men doth protested the cost and mildly boasted about how they would handle this 122-year old second-tallest black oak in the 'hood(we counted the rings) wedged in between two houses and ringed by telly, electrical, and cable wires. The strategies ranged from "taking it down with my cousin Darren who once worked on an oil rig" to "hire the nice work-for-cheap guys who congregate at the can speak Spanglish to them...."

I let 'em talk. However, I abhor suburban-bravado talk about how overpriced the cost of physical and dangerous work, etc.....I expect to pay these guys who know what they are doing, quite well for the huge and risky and complex and delicate work of taking that tree out. Hey, I pay the plumber well, for what I cannot do! He deserves to make a living, as do I.

Three weeks later, the tree company manager called me to say they wanted to split the proceeds on the sale of the gorgeous wood to a dealer. That was nice, and partly because I fed them, coffee'ed them, etc. the crew voted to split this with me.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

RD, I have stuck my chainsaw into a many tree and had to try and pry it out. I also have cut into 2 bees nest while using the chain saw.

I was just a Kid during Agnes, Remember seeing a train engine being washed down the Patapsco river. My dad9who work for the B&O railroad couldn't believe that water could move a train engine. Also flooded our basement with 5 feet of water and the basement was only 6 feet deep. Scary stuff.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 11, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Here for Gloria in what 85? And, Isabella, of course.

But the tornado in 2001, which killed two sisters in a car and injured their firefighter father at his stationhouse, was terrifying. The green sky and line storm made my prairie hackles go up. No one on my block believed me when I said we all had to get into our basements....scary, scary, scary.

The sisters had just left their father, upon his advice, and were headed for the dorms. Did not make it.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 11, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Five feet, greenie? Man, that must have been a mess.

We had about 18 inches and we thought *that* was a lot.

It was enough to knock out the furnace, but didn't get near the fusebox. Thank goodness.


Posted by: bc | February 11, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I remember Agnes, and we lived in Bremerton, WA at the time! What I remember is my husband coming home and saying he had called a supply point at Mechanicsburg, PA and ordered three pallets of whosits --- to be told nothing was being shipped, they were in the middle of a hurricane. He kept shaking his head, "Mechanicsburg is *inland!*

Posted by: nellie | February 11, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Here are some Valentine's Day cards for the more logical among us:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 11, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

mo! *hugs*

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

CP... glad to see someone still appreciates the physical labor (and the go-with smarts to know how a tree might fall).

1985 was the tornado year for my neck of the US... Major, major, major destruction with quite a few fatalities. Tornadoes are no stranger to NE Ohio or Western PA, but that year was a disaster. It also happened to be the year I graduated from high school.

Green sky -- saw that during the '85 twisters. Scared the living guano out of me.

Gotta run...

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | February 11, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

CP, what goes around comes's so nice when what comes back is good because what went was human kindness! Great story. And you are sooo right about having the professionals do the work.

One of our willow oaks is Not Healthy, despite special care from the arborist. A tree guy came through recently and we let him take the dead out of it. Definitely Not Cheap. But a bucket truck was necessary to do the work.

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

RD, your chainsaw story should be published somewhere (for money!) other than the Boodle. I see you as a columnist; little bites of life in your own, um, ah, idiom!

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah bc, we had to bail it out the basement window,mostly everything was a total loss. My parents decided after Agnes that a sump pump was a needed item.

Also Agnes completely destroyed most of Patapsco state park. We have some awesome pictures of the destructive power of water.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 11, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, the other night we were watching "It's Me or the Dog!" and there was this bit about two yorkshire terriers that Wilbrod said were "afraid".

Well, I took one looking at those barking and snarling female dogs all ready to fly at the door, and I sez, "They're mean."

Well, I suppose if you sat 'em down on a couch and had them chew their woes out, you'd find it all comes down to fear or something, but I stand by the word-- "mean." See, it ain't how you feel but what you do that matters to a dog.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | February 11, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

And to people too, Wilbrodog!

Posted by: Slyness | February 11, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The general idea when felling tree is to know your limits. I'm good with tall skinny ones, I've learned cutting firewood with my uncles. I told the story with the short very heavy red maple, not so much of a success because I didn't expect this tree to fall back on its cuts.
When it came to cut the monstrous willows between my house and the neighbour's, I happily split the 1K per tree fee with the neighbour after the first 2 fell down in thunderstorms, one on my power-pnone-cable line and the other on a tree and fence (my insurance co-payment is $500, so...). BTW, the guy doing the fancy high altitude cutting was in his mid-sixties, it was quite impressive to see him cut up those big trunks and lowering them to the ground, with the help of young ones, of course. CP, 6k sounds a little too much though. I would expect to get a sculpture back or summting.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 11, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, if you caught the Democratic debates tonight, I'd like to get your impressions.

I thought Mike Chiari spoke very well. Al Franken did well too but I had the impression he wasn't at his best, and I couldn't figure out why he wasn't getting enough time.

On the other hand, Wilbrodog got to get petted by a famous comedic satrist and author, who promptly removed his hands when told Wilbrodog was working-- much to his regret. Apparently Al is a definite pet owner.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 11, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

And yes, tonight was NOT a night I should have forgotten a camera. &*^*&%^&%#.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 11, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The times that I used a chain saw were exercises in power tool safety. The possibilities of coming in contact with sharp, exposed, high rpm metal possessing both lateral and rotational momentum provided the motivation for me to read the manual twice every time I used it. A sawzall poses similar hazards. When we bought the house we had to rebuild the bathroom and I had to use the sawzall to remove a piece of 4' cast iron sewer line. My guiding hand slipped off the end of the saw just as the cut was completed and the saw, with my finger just releasing the trigger, continued on a downward path toad the web of skin between my left thumb and forefinger. The blade was cycling down and I thought I was going to see my thumb go with it, but it just stopped as it reached my hand and grazed the skin. Didn't even break the skin. FWIW, I now use leather work gloves, like they'd keep my digits from being cut off, when I use that particular tool, and leave the chainsaw stuff to Tree Man. I watched him drop a mature pecan tree precisely in a 10 foot space between a house and power lines running parallel to the house at the beginning of a thunderstorm. He did a victory dance, whoops and all, after the tree dropped with lightning striking pretty close by. He's really something.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 4" sewer line. A 4' line is more suited for Shrek.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

...and while I'm boodle hogging, my MIL is finally home.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Much frenvy here Wilbrod. Unfortunately I had a city council meeting and didn't get to pop up to I-falls. Do tell details. I heard the candidates on public radio last week, and except for not making some clear distinctions between the military medical system and the VA, I thought Al was head and shoulders above the competition.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 11, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

bc: NASCAR has its own PhD physics groupies in the garages, and one of them has even written a book. Naturally, the pioneer in this field was none other than the venerable Junior Johnson.

Posted by: jack | February 11, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

It ran live... you'll have to wait until Wednesday for the on-demand version, but you might catch some of it at the local 11 o clock news?

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 11, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Kewl, Wilbrod.

Watching the dog show - the Plott hound is from Homer City, PA, a tiny town not far from where I grew up. Doesn't Gene W have a Plott hound now?

Funny email exchange today from a friend. We're going to car pool to see the Oscar-nominated shorts this weekend. She emailed me:
"We can meet at the park and ride down the hill from Eastgate."

Which I read as "meet at the park, and ride down the hill" - I told her I was confused about where she wanted to meet. Then I figured out she was saying:
"We can meet at the Park and Ride, down the hill from Eastgate."

Her husband is in the newspaper biz - he should get a kick out of that.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 12, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Agnes ruined graduation weekend at Penn State's main campus, bad for assorted friends. It made for compelling TV from the comfort of North Carolina.

Then again, NC had yellowjackets. Just one sting to the back of my left hand caused the whole arm to swell up. Being a stupid student, I checked out a turkey oak woods as I'd intended, then drove the 3 hours back to campus, stopping at a cafeteria in Raleigh for supper. Then unloaded the car and left it in a faculty parking spot while I wandered to the infirmary for first aid. To my surprise, I was hustled to a hospital bed. Someone was nice enough to give my car a free two-night stay in the faculty space. Being a bonehead, I ignored warnings that the next sting could be fatal, but did carry antihistamine pills and eventually took desensitizing shots, which involved driving to Billings, Montana in a soggy May snowstorm.

Later, in a university library photocopy room, I spotted an article in a Mayo Clinic journal claiming that people who get the big, puffy insect sting reactions are no more at risk of dying than other people. But I never checked that with an allergist.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 12, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

My allergist would concur, DotC, but would add that it's not necessary to test it out.

Posted by: dbG | February 12, 2008 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Gotta back Boko on this one: Almost anyone can outrun a falling tree if they move out of its way. (Of course, it takes a bit of practice to properly predict/assess its "way"!)

Agnes, Agnes? In 1972 I was in Japan trying to deal with Typhoon Helen!

Posted by: Bob S. | February 12, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm glad my handle didn't evoke memories of mosquitoes buzzing incessantly around your ears. And when they finally stopped, they left with their bellies filled with your blood. You had been with Ferdinand Magellan when he was in the Philippines, you knew what it was like ...

Posted by: rainforest | February 12, 2008 4:20 AM | Report abuse

I too got a chainsaw wedged in a tree. Only I had borrowed it from a neighbor and had to buy a new one to replace it.

Also, in Florida I had a backyard full of tall sickly or dead pine trees. One fell and missed my house by five feet. My boss came over (really ran over, he was pretty eager) and cut it into firewood for himself.

I had another dead tree that a gang of gypsies (not literally gypsies, just itinerant workers) cut down for me in exchange for the wood. They did the lumberjack trick of cutting off the top 20 feet before felling the whole tree.

They wouldn't touch the sickly tree closest to my house. Instead I bought a bunch of tree food spikes and nursed it back to health.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - thank you for the kind words. Although, to my mind, all I really do is riff on Joel's great ideas.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 12, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Interesting discussion overnight. As far as we are concerned in my corner of the world, Hugo (September 22, 1989) was the storm that rocked the world. The hurricane roared through here between midnight and 6 a.m., so that wasn't a big deal. The aftermath, however, was a Really Big Deal. Ninety percent of the power grid was destroyed, and it took six months to get the city completely cleaned up.

Jeez, I gotta stop this thing with capital letters.

Posted by: Slyness | February 12, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

*back-to-work-after-cleaning-up-an-exploded-Diet-Coke-mistakenly-left-in-the-office-freezer Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 12, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Gee Willickers Doctor Nuclear. Don't you have mimions for that sort of thing?

Posted by: Lil Boko999 | February 12, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, at least it was an enclosed space of relatively small size. Ever seen what happens when you leave a can of soda inside a Honda Civic during an artic snap? Really, all there is to do is laugh.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 12, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Hugo briefly looked as though it might hit Jacksonville. The evening it made landfall, it felt odd to go to the Symphony. Cape Romain north of Charleston was hit severely, but all of their red wolves survived. The storm was bad news for red-cockaded woodpeckers, which build holes in old pines with rotted centers. These nest trees mostly broke, so a campaign to build substitute nests in healthy pines ensued.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 12, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Remember this SNL classic:

Matt: Well, the Pepsi Syndrome. If someone spills a Pepsi on the control panel of a nuclear power reactor, the panel can short-circuit, and the whole core may melt down.

Brian: But, you spilled a Coke.

Matt: It doesn't matter. Any cola does it.

Carl: Any cola? What about RC Cola?

Matt: Yeah, RC does it.

Brian: Canada Dry?

Matt: Sure.

Carl: 7-up?

Matt: It's harmless. It's an un-cola. [ smacks his hands to his forehead ] Oh, wow! I could have had a V8!

The full transcript is here:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, does Alicia ring a bell?

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Hi SD, it cost what it cost, partly because two other mature tree were between it and the street. We are also the big city and again, costs what it costs. Took two cranes to remove it, on parked in my driveway, the other in a neighbor's. I am glad that the Tupelo is fine. Such a lovely friend.

Will vote today in Ritchie Coliseum, where U2 played in 1983.

I have received about a dozen paragraphs from students about the Obama event. I like seeing them lit up with fire. During the Kerry-Bush event, not a spark.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

In the last two days, Jack has talked about pizza bites.

CP chimed in, showing us a variety of ways to punctuate three words: dad bites pizza.

TBG threw in bagel bites.

Sound bytes are what we hear on the news.

Sound bits are what we hear in Obama's rhetoric.

(Eight bits to the byte, in hex, with 16 characters. You don't think Obama is trying to cast a mesmerizing hex or spell over his audience, do you?)

Political Bytes is an Al Jazeera forum that attempts to unite East and West.

"When Reality Bites" is the column written by David Brooks in today's NYT, that examines the tensions that would surface from Republicans, independents, Arab leaders, nonpartisan military leaders, Pentagon generals, and economists, as well as the various factions of the Democratic party were a Democrat elected to the White House, especially one whose theme is unity. A good heads-up. And certainly, one could make a rebuttal.

Posted by: Loomis | February 12, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

As of 6:45 a.m. my local polling place had seen almost 100 voters, 2/3 of whom voted in the Democratic primary. Usually by that time, it's more like 30-40.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 12, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Slightly more on-topic, we had tree guys cut the huge (and unfortunately, dead) yellow pine next to our house. By "next to" I mean 10 feet from--definitely a job for the pros. My neighbor and his dad brought out lawn chairs and watched the whole thing. They said never did a limb fall outside a very narrow radius. The dad counted the rings later (Is this accurate? I have no idea...) and reported that the tree was 95 years old.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 12, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Thoughtful article in today's paper on what Gen. John Abizaid's legacy will be, written by military reporter Sig Christenson. Various people assessing the legacy, some of these folks with prominent names--Garner, Bacevich, Sanchez--names that have appeared on the pages of the Washington Post.:

Posted by: Loomis | February 12, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Happy Potomac Primaries day to all youse Potomakian! Vote (or caucus, whatever) early and vote often!
CP, two cranes? wow, that was a project.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 12, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

To save time and since there was no new Dowd column this weekend, here's a guide to the NYT columnists:

Shorter David Brooks: Dubya has so screwed up Iraq and the economy, there is no way the Democrats can fix it, so you might as well just stay the course.

Shorter Bill Kristol (from yesterday): Stop voting. Obama won.

Shorter Paul Krugman (also from yesterday): Obama isn't playing nice and says mean things about Hillary.

Shorter Frank Rich (from Sunday): If you think the Democratic primary race is ugly now, wait until Hillary starts playing the race card.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | February 12, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I once saw a tree felling operation from the safety of a friends back yard (neighbors to the tree feller feller). We sat and watched with smiles and laughter. My friend kept telling the feller he was looking at a disaster. Feller insisted he knew what he was doing. The tree leaned toward his house and he thought a single rope would prevent it from falling that way. It didn't. Landed on the roof and put a hole about 6'-8' in it. Luckily his kids were out with him to watch and his wife was in the basement doing laundry. Man that guy was dumb.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I saw the results of a couple of eggs left unattended in an operating microwave oven here at the ofc. the other day.

Like a couple of EgGrenades went off.

The offending co-worker spent a good 40 minutes cleaning it up (instead of Boodling, for all I know).

jack, thanks for that link. I'm quite familiar with the physics of racing, that's one of the reasons I enjoy doing it so much - to me it's like a big science project, and I get to drive it. Interestingly, as many PhDs are on those teams (and there are a *lot*), as good as the wind tunnel programs, the CFD packages, the data acquisition and analysis systems, the seven-post shaker rigs, shock dynos, suspension geometry analysis and CATIA/FEA chassis packages are, sometimes it all comes down to an engine builder hand-shaping an intake port just *so*, a crew making a perfect pitstop, a crew chief making an inspired strategic or tactical decision, or driver doing the impossible by sheer force of will or divine inspiration, that makes it all come together. Science meets art.

Sheesh, what a morning. An inch of snow on the ground when I got up (had to shovel the drive - the Old German Sedan isn't the best dogsled in town), techincal difficulties at the voting station when the polls opened at 7 (only one of the three registration machines working), then I 270 S logjammed due to an accident near Montrose Rd.


Still, I'm in a pretty good mood today.


Posted by: bc | February 12, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Going home at lunch, pick up Wife of Nut, and go vote. Skip the pre-rush hour lines. Big turnouts already reported in Virginia. The local punditry belives Obama will take all three in the "Chesapeake Primary" (MD, VA, DC).

Posted by: ebtnut | February 12, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Oak wilt, SD, a quick-killer of the red oak group of trees, which includes the black oak. Our drought wackiness of the last four years dealt the weakening blow. Tree went from magnificent and healthy-aged to a sudden cascade of events.....much like a sweet old dowager who falls, to rise, to be felled by pneumonia....the story of little old ladies everywhere.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

CP, not only did I see U2 at Richie in '83, but I think I still have the full-page ad they took out in the WaPo thanking the fans who did get tickets and apologizing to the fans who didn't.

Shockingly, Pat Travers and Adam Ant didn't do that.


Posted by: bc | February 12, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I was living in Ind. at the time of Agnes. Fours years later went upstate PA with extended family. Uncle showed slides of their first visit after Agnes. The little creek running down the mountain flooded and washed the road out. This little creek had a bank fifteen feet high and was about thirty feet from the road. they all had to walk the last mile to the cabin. Cabin was intact but had no electricity or running water. Had to bath in ice cold mountain water out by the side of the cabin. What a fun week that was.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

SCC: bathe (I think).

Note: I bathed in little mountain creek. Cold, but not ice cold. Aunts can be such sissies sometimes.

Another note: one of my favorite pictures was my uncle pulling my cousin's little red wagon laden with groceries. To my thirteen year old eyes it was absolutely hilarious.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Nice touch, bc. When my dad first saw Bono in the news, which for him would be a photo of BonoU2 plus Pope JP2, he exclaimed, "now that is a pug-Dublin face if ever I saw one."

That expression, along with "such a bold boy" come from my Irisher granny, said-dad's mummmy.

Both 'spressions fit Bono, don't they? For me da, well, a friend of the pope would be a friend of his, sure enough.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The 1981 J. Geils tour featured this obscure Irish band called U2. I saw them in Los Angeles. The audience hated U2. A young woman actually pushed Bono away from her. She was pining for Peter Wolf.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 12, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Gee, RD, I would have guessed Magic D!ck.


Posted by: bc | February 12, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

DAGNUBBIT IT'S SNOWING AGAIN OUT HERE! For Chrimmony's Sake! Blastitall to Thunderation! Bah! Pooh!

Whew! *Wipes brow* Ok, I'm better now.

OK, youse Patomic Area Types, Vote. Do the Right Thing. Ignore the snow (don't complain in FlyOverLand we're getting 4 -5 inches a week!).

Posted by: CowTown | February 12, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I think Ritchie Coliseum is where Springsteen opened for and then was the back up band for Chuck Berry in, I guess, 1970 or 1971. I wasn't there, alas.

Posted by: pj | February 12, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Snowing again here as well Cowtown, this winter is ranking right at the top in snowiest winters for this area. I am ready for spring.

Posted by: dmd | February 12, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

More MoDo,
You provide summaries of op-eds by the NYT columnists. I thought more interesting material was in an article that broke last night.

Before I jump to that article, anyone watch Michelle Obama's shrewd gambit last night on Larry King? She tried to make an appeal to working women, since she is one. However, she was rather duplicitous, saying that she relies on her own mother for support, which she no doubt does. No mention was made of the fact that she and her family live in a million-$$$-plus home, nor of how Rezko helped them. A two-attorney family, the Obamas can afford a nanny, whereas many blue-collar, working women are struggling with the costs of day care. Michelle didn't mention that the subprime mortgage mess is starting to spill over into more conventional types of mortgages. But, of course, Larry King is famous for throwing softballs.

The NYT article about Obama and race, titled, "Seeking Unity, Obama Feels Pull of Racial Divide":


Glimpses inside the Obama campaign show, though, that while the senator had hoped his colorblind style of politics would lift the country above historic racial tensions, from Day 1 his bid for the presidency has been pulled into the thick of them. While his speeches focus on unifying voters, his campaign has learned the hard way that courting a divided electorate requires reaching out group by group.

Instead of following a plotted course, Mr. Obama's campaign has zigged and zagged, reacting to outside forces and internal differences between the predominantly white team of top advisers and the mostly black tier of aides.

The dynamic began the first day of Mr. Obama's presidential bid, when white advisers encouraged him to withdraw an invitation to his pastor, whose Afro-centric sermons have been construed as antiwhite, to deliver the invocation at the official campaign kickoff. Then, when his candidacy was met by a wave of African-American suspicion, the senator's black aides pulled in prominent black scholars, business leaders and elected officials as advisers.

Aides to Mr. Obama, who asked not to be identified because the campaign would not authorize them to speak to the press, said he stayed away from a civil rights demonstration and did not publicize visits to black churches when he was struggling to win over white voters in Iowa. Then, a month after Representative John Lewis of Georgia endorsed Mrs. Clinton, setting off concerns about black voters' ambivalence toward Mr. Obama, the campaign deployed his wife, Michelle, whose upbringing on the South Side of Chicago was more familiar to many blacks than Mr. Obama's biracial background.

The campaign's strategy in the first contests left Mr. Obama vulnerable with Latinos, which hurt him in California and could do the same in the Texas primary on March 4.

Faulted by Latino leaders as not being visible enough in their communities and not understanding what issues resonated with immigrants, the campaign has been trying hard to catch up, scheduling more face-to-face meetings with voters, snaring endorsements from Latino politicians and fine-tuning his message.

Mr. Obama has resisted any effort to suggest that the presidential primaries were breaking along racial lines.

LL: NYT's Gail Collins, IIRC, in an earlier op-ed, onserved how Obama used a different kind of lingo, or speech pattern, in South Carolina than he did in Kansas. However, in fairness, it has also been pointed out by others, that Bill Clinton and Al Gore would use a sing-song type of cadence when they campaigned in black churches.

Another excerpt:
Mr. Obama was the first presidential candidate to respond to Mr. Sharpton's call to denounce what was going on in Jena, saying the cases against the students were not a matter of black versus white, but a matter of right versus wrong. He then called Mr. Sharpton to explain that he had important votes in the Senate, and that he would not attend the march because he did not want to politicize the issue.

"We agreed on inside-outside roles," Mr. Sharpton said, referring to himself and Mr. Obama, echoing a famous conversation between President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "I would continue my work agitating the system from the outside, and he would do what he could to make changes from the inside."

LL: Other parts of this article explain how certain voices or operatives in the Obama campaign were reined in so as to not go "off messsage," much like Bill Clinton in Hillary's campaign. The goose is behaving much like the gander, methinks.

Posted by: Loomis | February 12, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Also Agnes completely destroyed most of Patapsco state park. We have some awesome pictures of the destructive power of water."

Just last Fall, with the completion of a bike/walking bridge to Illchester Road, the Patapsco road that Agnes destroyed is now in a sense complete again (although you can't drive cars anymore, and the bridge is on the other side of the river). Patapsco has become a great place to mountain bike (don't tell Bush).

The force with which Agnes carved out that road was really stunning.

Posted by: Bean | February 12, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I voted this morning on my way to work. Trickiest part was parking. Our polling place is my son's High School so you had to dodge around a lot of those pesky school buses. Pretty quiet actually. Not even the usual gauntlet of advocates. Just a lone gentleman gathering signatures for a Draft Warner for Senate petition. Perhaps it was just too cold.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 12, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Linda Loo, you may be right. But, when the chips are down and its Obama v. McCain, whoyagonna vote for? Republicans, even the ones who hate McCain, will get behind McCain. Democrats, even those who hate [fill in the candidate you like least] will get behind [fill in the candidate you like least] in November. That leaves independents who will have a clear and simple choice: (1) More of what we've all experienced for the past eight years; or, (2) Something Different (and probably a bit better). I think 'Mudge would agree.

Posted by: CowTown | February 12, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Draft Warner for Senate"? I'm confused, RD. Mark is running and John is retiring. Which one is he trying to draft?

Posted by: pj | February 12, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I've seen that bridge on Ilchester Road earlier this year. This summer I made two failed attempts to ride my bike from the river up Ilchester Road to the Catholic church at the top. I never even made it as far as the cemetery.

Maybe next time I'll just take the bridge into the park and ride home out the US1 entrance.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I may have gotten it wrong pj. I don't sign petitions on the spur of the moment so I didn't give the guy that much time. But I thought that is what he was saying.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 12, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm gonna vanish for about a week. Family matters. Play nice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 12, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Schools in Maryland close on election days, which I've never quite understood. Florida and many other states have polling places at schools without shutting them down. My wife and son are enjoying their day off.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

good morning, friends. just getting here, busy morning. we almost missed the bus, got up late. it was a rough night for me. hands are swollen so big this morning.

it is a little chilly here this morning. maybe sweater and coat weather.

scotty, have a good day. you can do that, and you don't have to ask permission.

mudge, slyness, martooni, good morning to you, and all. *waving*

have much to do today, and have to go out this morning, although i would rather stay in.

I really love the boodle. It's like a family and so many lovely people. Yet sometimes, I just don't know what to say and how to say it. We're not all alike, but the differences are what make the boodle. All of have something I suspect in our lives that we would like to change or at least be able to live with. I know I do. I realize many of you don't believe or even have faith, but I still love you because Christ loved me when I did not love Him. Can I do any less? And I cannot judge, not fit to do that. Can't see your heart, don't know what's in there. Not my job. I'm just told to love. I hope you all know that I love you, although at times you may question that. Just remember there are many people out in the world that don't have a clue, will never know how to love or even what love is about. And so much of the time they are hurting and unsure, yet will use any cover to avoid detection. And there are some folks in this world that are just mean, and love it so. Yet we called to love all. None of us fell off a rose bush. I'm sure there is something on us all that kind of smells. You think so?

Have a great day, wonderful people. I'm very proud to know you, and I tell all my friends here about you. My sister thinks you folks are GREAT, and she's so jealous. I'm loving it.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | February 12, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

RD, *Dropping snow shovel, brushing off gloves* I hope they're pleasureable family matters. Drive safe.

Posted by: CowTown | February 12, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Gnocchi for breakfast waves! It was so cold last night I opted not to stop at the store for milk on my way home from the city council meeting and now I am missing my usual cold cereal with skim routine.

CowTown-we could use some of your snow. The last few storms have passed to our south and a few inches now would be appreciated by people and septic systems.

Rats, WAMU is in the middle of a fund drive. They promise not to interrupt Potomac Primary coverage this evening, but my morning is ruined. First no Tasteeos, and now this.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 12, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

frosti, unless I'm mistaken, gnocchi is the breakfast of champions.

Posted by: dbG | February 12, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Yello, our schools are open. As I went in to vote (two districts vote in that school), a class of very young children was walking (single file, quiet as mice) down the hall. I thought...that's crazy. Don't they know how easy it would be to blend in today, snatch a kid?

RD, hope all is well. I've had a few family matters lately, and usually end up thinking something along the line of 'percoset is being given to the wrong person.'

Posted by: LostInThought | February 12, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

SCC: gander and goose. No expert here on duck sex. *l*

Gander is the male of the species. The gander is behaving more like the goose--what I meant to say.

Well, Cowtown, an interesting question you raised. Much depends on the next several months, doesn't it?

If McCain chooses Huck for vice president, I couldn't stomach it. Because of McCain's age--with a nod to Texan Chuck Norris, McCain, despite having a mother with great genes, could, conceivably pass while in office. I don't want Mr. Preacher-in-Chief--and Creationist-- anywhere near the Oval Office. I want someone with better street cred as far as science is concerned.

Rumor has it that McCain might be considering Condi for the veep slot. "Mushroom Cloud" Condi, she a member of the WHIG inner circle? I wouldn't vote for her unless there were icicles in the devil's playground. That ought to sum it up nicely.

Who'll get the Dem nod? As you well know, I think Obama is a lot of hat and not much cattle. Depends on who he picks as his running mate.

As they say in Texas politics, "Roosters crow and hens deliver." Hillary's experience will trump the secuity issues card, that Repuiblicans will surely play, I think. It depends on who her running mate is, if she gets the nomination.

Will a Republican maverick, not particularly embraced by conservatives, be able to hornswoggle his way past all the bad Bush years, as far as the general electorate goes? My husband and I see and know real strong Republicans, Texas natives, who seem so oblivious to the past eight years of national news, right in Loomispouse's work group. Diehards.

Will there be Dem flight? Republican crossovers? How will independents go? Good questions all.

Posted by: Loomis | February 12, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra! Tell your sister we would be delighted to have her on the Boodle. I hope gentle exercise throughout the day will help with the swollen hands.

Yello, sometimes they close school here for elections, sometimes they don't. I think it depends on how big the election is. For the one coming up, they will close. For the primaries, probably not. I vote at the elementary school behind my house, it's a five-minute walk, so I have no excuse to skip.

Posted by: Slyness | February 12, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

A tanker carrying LP gas was adrift off the Mass. coast near Boston. It has been secured by the Coast Guard.

Posted by: jack | February 12, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, Ron Paul thank you for your vote.
As we stand in the middle of February we are in the third most snowy winter on record for Ottawa. And March is usually a doosy. We have an outside change at breaking the 1970-71 record but please let that record stand, forever.
This upcoming storm is supposed to whack people around lake Ontario and Erie pretty good. Especially to the south of those lake so boodlers in Ohio and upper NY state are warned.
All caused by hot humid air coming from Texas. I blame it on Texas anyway.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 12, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I meant to add that this mountain cabin was WAY inland. About 210 miles ENE of NYC. About 70 miles ENE of Scranton PA. A few miles east of Towanda PA.

I which reminds me of way back in '87 when I first moved to the area. One summer day doing the touristy thing, walking around downtown I happened to be walking past a tourist souvenir shop. I looked in the window and saw a t-shirt that said: "Where in the world is Towanda PA?"

My jaw just about hit the sidewalk. It was so funny.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Yelljkt: Yeah, that's a big hill. Haven't ridden up it in a long time--I wonder if I still can. On the other hand, the ride through the park to US 1 is extremely pleasant.

Posted by: Bean | February 12, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I would have voted today, but the stupid government won't let me. I see snow flakes outside my cube window...

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

YJ and Bean,
Thanks for hill/trail rec. I will put that on my list. The thing about biking everyday as a commute, light shopping option means that I don't often think to put the bike on the rack and head elsewhere.

I have tubed on the Patapso, but that was in the 80s. I have also trecked through the woods there with a local historian who knew the location of lots of small, local graves dating from the 1880s through the 20s....History-guy is dead now, but I always am drawn to odd grave locations.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hurricane Agnes was five days of driving, unrelenting rain in upstate New York. Other than it was right after school got out for the summer, not that big a deal for us in the flatlands not near rivers. A friend who lived outside Corning, however, had a different perspective. His family's house was near the top of a hill outside town. The water made it to the street below his.

shriek, your weather warning made me check my Mom's situation. Forecast there is for 3-5 inches overnight, "just enough to be annoying" in her terms.

omni, would that be Wysox? Wyalusing?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 12, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Been too busy with work to say much, hope it's not too late for my tree-felling sea story. (Talk about mixing one's metaphors!)

I was felling a friends large, stately old oak with a borrowed chain saw. I had propped my extension ladder, fully extended, just below the first crotch of the tree, and passed a piece of line around the tree and over the top rung of the ladder to keep the ladder from going adrift.

Then I fetched my borrowed chainsaw, and began trimming branches while standing as high as I could on the ladder, a few rungs from the top. I leaned over a bit too far on one particular cut. I was counting on the piece of rope to hold the ladder in place.

What happended was that the force of my leaning too far caused the ladder to spin around the top of the tree, still remaining tied to it by the rope. In a split second, I was now UNDERNEATH the ladder, hanging on for dear life with one hand, looking like some kind of clutzy ape. In my other hand was the still-running, borrowed, chain saw. A quick assesment of all of my bodily pieces revealed that they were undamaged.

However, I was in a revolting predicament. Holding onto the running saw wouldn't allow me to grab the ladder. I couldn't turn the saw off. I couldn't just hang there for very long, I was alone, anyway (glad to be spared the humiliation). With great anguish, I dropped the saw. Thankfully, did didn't seem to suffer any damage as it landed. Then I clamored down the ladder, upset, but able to finish the job.

Now I'm the proud owner of a little rubber gizmo that clips onto the top rung of my ladder that will keep that escapade from ever happening again.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 12, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Bean and yello, I have walked almost every trail in Patapsco at least 50 times,but since I moved to West by god, I haven't done that much. I think the last time I was in for a visit,the trail made it as far as Bloede dam,now it goes all the way up to the railroad tunnel?

I may need to move back to the Baltimore area for awhile and look forward to checking it all out again.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 12, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Belated good mornings, everybody...

Been out in the shop most of the morning enjoying the balmy low teens temps. Much better than the below zero and single digit stuff we recently had. I so cannot wait for the spring thaw.

SD... you're right on that snow blast coming to Ohio today. It's been coming down pretty steady since last night and they're calling for another 8 inches or so today. Glad I have my Nanook of the North gear on.

Oh well, better get back to the shop.

Peace out, and stay warm...

Posted by: martooni | February 12, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Don, glad you are well and set from the tree story. CP, nice story of treating people decently.

Posted by: daiwanlan | February 12, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

So, ladies of the boodle,

What gifts do you want for Valentines day?

Guys, heads-up, here.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 12, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I live less than three miles from the south side of Patapsco State Park. Right across Landing Road from Rockburn Park are a bunch of traiheads that go down into the park. I always wave at the mountain bikers as I go by. I have a bike I could trail ride if I were so inclined and I own the trail map of the park, but all the mountain bikers I know are too technical for me.

We need to organize some Boodle Biking Hours this spring.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh by the way, it has been snowing pretty heavily here in west by god, we got about 4 inches and it is still coming down,perhaps changing to ice later.

I wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to Mr Lincoln,also to my brother who was born on the 12th too.

I hope everyone has a safe trip getting out to vote today.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 12, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, RDP, and safe travels. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 12, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Don, all I ever want from Raysdad is for him to cook me a lobster dinner. And since he's going up to Maine on business in a couple of weeks, I'm going to take a raincheck vs. him paying $$$ for whatever's available at Giant. But then, I'm a hopeless romantic.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 12, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

How well do you know U.S VPs?

Raysmom, I don't understand the question: "would that be Wysox? Wyalusing?"???

Oh, wait now I get it. No, its farther west. About seven miles past Wysox is Towanda. You then take 220 to rt6. Go awhile west(forget how far). A couple more turns, a dirt road, past Mt Kellog on the right then Stone Mt on the left and stop at the Stone Mt lodge. It's been many many years. I never drove there my self, always Mom or an uncle (once a cousin). I could probably only find it if my life depended on it.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

While we're waiting on a new Kit (which I expect Joel will post while I'm composing this, of course), I posted something to the 10thcircle this morning:

It's the result of a small collaboration between *Tim, RD Padouk and myself, as a response to someone sending a 10,000-word technical manifesto to a Small But Secret Government Agency...

Enjoy, folks.


Posted by: bc | February 12, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I also seem to recall if you continue on the dirt road you end up in East Troy.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

6/10 on the quiz... *shrug*

Well done, *Tim, RDP and bc! *cribbing phrases shamelessly*


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 12, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, make sure he brings back some *good* lobsters. (I sure love lobster, too.)


Posted by: bc | February 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey! I was at the vanguard of Patapsco trail riding in 1993. My biking brothers thought the fat tire bikes were ridiculous, until I got them on the trails in Patapsco. Last time I checked, my older brother had spent in excess of $3K on a trail bike.

But I live in the flatlands now, and my trail-riding skills have waned.

Posted by: Bean | February 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

BC and sci-gang, vr. gd. Fny,too.

(Your secret decoder ring will translate the msg.)

Raysmom -- good for you on the lobster love. Like many moms these days, I would like:

hours long hot bath, followed by

No questions, no requests, and no channel-surfing in that auto-clicking fashion....

Just for one evening...otherwise, the questions and requests are generally reasonable and to-be-expected.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey Canoucks! Tell us about these nifty milk bags that may, just may, signal the beginning of the invasion:

My colleague is fast becoming the it-gal-prof-expert on

green wear
sustainable fashion

Posted by: College Parkian | February 12, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I would like an "allowance" of more than $25 per week. Surely, my labor is worth more than that.

Posted by: Loomis | February 12, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Really you don't use bags for milk? They are great.

Posted by: dmd | February 12, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo home page has a picture of a mom voting, holding her child. His name is Remington Stone. Is it just me, or is that a pretty big handle for a kid? (But it would be a good boodle handle.)

Posted by: Raysmom | February 12, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Don, can't think of anything I want for Valentines - my husband's birthday is the day before and this year it will get overshadowed by one of the kids events, plus we are still playing catch up from not have time to celebrate the anniversary.

More time - I guess is the answer :-)

Lovely cut flower bouquet is always welcome (not big on roses), or since it's me by me a large coffee and I am pretty much estatic.

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

9/10 on VPs (not VPLs). Which reminds me that it's time for the Weingarten chat. Gotta find out why I'm so repressed for not peeing in the shower.

bc, et al,
Pure genius.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 12, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Do the supermarkets in San Antonio still sell milk in glass bottles?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 12, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

10/10 on the quiz. What can I say? Only my second ace, I think.

Kudos, bc, ST and RD

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

Oops, so forgetful: 7/10 on VP quiz.

Posted by: omni | February 12, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

fyi, I posted a new kit. Will add pics later.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 12, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Very nice, bc RD and ScienceTim. I can only speculate about the horror of the 10,000 missive which inspired it.

Don-from-I70, I'm one of those apparently rare women who means it when I say I don't want anything. This year I really don't because we just got the house fixed. No more holes outside. That was a big present!

I always tell the Boy that I welcome a hand-drawn card.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 12, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

8/10 on the veep quiz

Nice job boys on the 10th circle.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 12, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse


If Obama wins the nomination without the gators and wolverines included, his nomination and presidency will be seen as illegitimate as the man currently in office- his name not worthy of mention here.

You can't have a caucus because Obama does well there. You can'thave a primary because Clinton did well there.

The only way to settle this is to send every gator and wolverine an absentee ballot to be returned 60 days before the DNC convention.

Any results from the non-binding primaries in January are void. Hillary and Barack must make their case to wolverines and gators ALL OVER AGAIN.

I will vote for whomever rises to the top.


If all of Florida and Michigan are not counted, even if Hillary wins without it, I will vote for McCain.

Posted by: Daniel | February 12, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

h11tzpkg47l3th [URL=] 18w5x2bxkvr9sqha [/URL] vlb6cr5ku5etp1ng3

Posted by: ltf7suf2ro | February 26, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

h11tzpkg47l3th pzg33dmmaf [URL=] 18w5x2bxkvr9sqha [/URL] vlb6cr5ku5etp1ng3

Posted by: ltf7suf2ro | February 26, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

h11tzpkg47l3th vlb6cr5ku5etp1ng3

Posted by: ltf7suf2ro | February 26, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company