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More Hulking and Rather Grave Collegiate Buildings

[For those who missed the memo, we're on vacation this week. But the blog never really shuts down. Sometimes it just gets snap-shottish.]

[In Northampton, which is such a college town it should be an exhibit at Epcot Center next to the Morocco pavillion or the faux France. Big achievement so far today: Found a Starbucks via the web, and read some long letter by Howard Schultz about a California court ruling regarding the tips at 'bucks. Major controversy. Didn't know it was an issue. Maybe in California there's fear that management will siphon tips from front-line workers, but the "shift managers" at a Starbucks work right there at the counter, for an hourly wage, and aren't exactly a bunch of suits back at HQ.]

[This is a smart piece by Neal Gabler that says that what reporters love most about McCain is not that he's a straight-talker but that he shares their sense of irony and bemused post-modernist approach to the political process:

"Seeming to view himself and the whole political process with a mix of amusement and bemusement, Mr. McCain is an ironist wooing a group of individuals who regard ironic detachment more highly than sincerity or seriousness. He may be the first real postmodernist candidate for the presidency..."]


I stopped a student and said, "Does this building have a nickname?" She said she didn't know of one. I said, "Don't people call it 'the Window Unit'?" She wouldn't confirm. But surely people MUST call it that. It just stands to reason.


Bird's eye view of an old chapel. Actually this is from the library window. [You're supposed to guess the school -- did I mention that?]


See, the skyscraper is the library. So you look down on the chapel. All makes sense now.


This guy has tenure.


Still winter up here. Cold and gray. Campuses seem kind of empty until the dinner bell sounds.



By Joel Achenbach  |  March 26, 2008; 8:13 AM ET
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Ah the seventies...nothing brings nostalgic memories more than a concrete building in the brutalist style. This is an horror, even for the style.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Last one's Princeton. The bay window allll the way on the bottom right was my freshman year dorm room!

Posted by: LGC | March 26, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

We used to call that poured concrete style "Early American Fascist." The University of Washington had several prime examples. (And regarding odd nicknames, I assume everyone who has ever been in the Tyson's Corner area is familiar with the Toilet Bowl Building.)

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that last pic is from Princeton.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I am an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Construction on the campus, which had been a farm, began in the middle Sixties. When I was there, all the facilities were Early American Fascist. Particularly bad is the bell tower, located smack in the middle of the original classroom buildings. It's white, and, um, let's say the shape reminds one of an erotic symbol. When the men's basketball team won, it was the custom to put screens in front of the spotlights illuminating the tower to make it appear to be green.

Fortunately, styles in public architecture have changed, and the campus is now much more pleasant and attractive than it was in the early Seventies.

Posted by: slyness | March 26, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Your dorm room was in a cathedral? How odd.

Posted by: Gomer | March 26, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link frostbitten. Brought tears to my eyes.

I love Francie Latour, and her husband and her children and her whole family. Making America a better place. One generation at a time.

Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The Université de Montréal has a building with a well known nickname. Wiki's entry for the Uni even refers to it. What could it be?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

At my last job, the building had small narrow balconies with glass railings on the upper levels. We called it The Cruise Ship.

The building where I attended most of my graduate school classes took Early American Fascist to a new level--the interior hallways had the same concrete hallways and repressive look. The program has now been moved to a lovely renovated old building. I can't imagine the student experience is the same. I remember us sitting on the vinyl-covered cubes in the "student lounge" thinking that we vaguely resembled those in a detention camp.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 26, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

That's the DuBois Library at UMass. I believe the window unit is one of theirs too.

Posted by: Maura | March 26, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm a bit confused by that Starbucks ruling as well. Although I certainly understand objections to management picking the pocket of hard working labor, the distinction here is pretty fuzzy.

But then, I always get to keep all of my tips.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

If you feel like watching a couple of very good documentaries about famous architects (and who wouldn't?) I recommend "My Architect" made by the son of Louis Kahn, and "Sketches of Frank Gehry" by Sydney Pollack.

Kahn's last work-

Gehry's most famous building-

Stills don't do these buildings justice. They need to be experienced in 3D.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

That's a joke you mysterious authorities that read this blog! As a civil servant am prohibited from receiving monetary gratuities, special favors, or even significant glances from attractive strangers.

Dang it all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: dbG | March 26, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Just named - 7 wonders of architecture (almost on kit!). The modern building reminds me of the Robarts Libary at U of Toronto.;_ylt=AqvinZgM.cvo7ujo9VqNtBis0NUE

Posted by: dmd | March 26, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The Alexander Memorial Coliseum at Georgia Tech is a large flattened dome with a smaller red dome in the center. It's nickname was a three letter slang term for a female breast:

While I was attending Tech the building got re-roofed by Tip Top Roofers. A little strategic adjustment to one letter made their construction site banner much more accurate.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

If you want gothic, Pitt has everyone beat:

The "Cathedral of Learning" gnomer sounds a bit pretentious, but when you're standing in front of the thing looking up... or in the main lobby... the name fits.

Take the girl West to Pittsburgh, Joel. If not for Carnegie Mellon University or Pitt, you can at least go down to the Strip District and get yourself a big messy delicious Primanti Brothers sandwich -- fries, slaw and whatever meat you want piled high between thick slices of fresh Italian bread.

Posted by: martooni | March 26, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

UMass Dartmouth has many brutalist buildings designed by Rudolph but I don't think the Window Unit unit is one of them.

That's my luck. I fell asllep at 02:10 then bang, a 7.5 billion years old gamma burst illuminates the sky.
Pretty cool to look at event predating the birth of old Terra.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'd be curious to hear what folks think of the minor fuss over Chelsea Clinton being asked a question on the campaign trail about the Lewinsky scandal and how it reflected on her mother's credibility (we know how it reflected on her father's!). She answered with considerable poise but dodged the question in good political style by saying it was none of the questioner's business. Was the question a legitimate one? Was she the right person to ask? Was this done in poor taste? She is after all the only completely innocent victim in the whole Monica thing. If HRC is the Dem nominee, the Clintons and all the rest of us are going to get a whole lot more of this treatment.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Recognized nothing. A colleague's daughter was a student at Bryn Mawr. I mentioned that they were supposed to have a dorm designed by the celebrated Louis Kahn. He said "yes, the students hate it." Kahn's biology lab at Penn seems not to have fared much better.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Dad parked the car in this incredible Rudolph garage:
(He'd spent a bit of his Army time during World War II at the adjacent university).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 26, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I had a bit of a cold yesterday, which is why I haven't Boodled much over the past 24 hours.

Hmmm. My nose is itching terribly at the moment, not sure what that means.

Must mean that I'm about to spend a great deal of money on college tuition or something.

Sometimes I think my nose has a mind of its own.


Posted by: bc | March 26, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

My wife went to Franklin and Marshall. At the time there were these two structure somehow related to an old irrigation system. Both were vaguely anatomical. One was dubbed "George" the other "Martha." The thing was, nobody could agree on which should be which.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse


I'm sure Woody Allen would agree with you on noses having a life of their own.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The MIT campus is littered with the scribblings of celebrity architects. Their Gehry-designed Stata Center is now undergoing the lawsuit phase of all construction projects. The lawsuit:

My picture of the building:

I'm not sure all the crooked non-vertical lines can be blamed on my wide angle lens.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

That semicircular amphitheatre at MIT reminds me that University of Illinois in Chicago (SOM)once had such a thing. It looked good from the air, but I think was eventually demolished as part of a program to make the campus habitable.

A lot of "traditional" college architecture was designed by Charles Z. Klauder (Pitt, Colorado, Princeton, Penn State). I think one or two of PSU's buildings are recognizable as cheap versions of CU's gorgeous ones.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 26, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The most remarkable architectural feature of my alma mater is the interconnection of most buildings by a network of underground tunnels. Very useful in winter you see. The most famous one seen here was insulated by sprayed-on asbestos fibers in my days.
The infamous Asbestos Tunnel (seen today with the asbestos removed, alas).

The engineering building, an otherwise generic early sixties building, had a nice mosaic by post modern sculptor Jordi Bonet on its front.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

You need to take a trip out to visit UC Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Escape the northeastern blahs.

Posted by: kcbrady | March 26, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

scc Here is the link por the Pouliot building mosaic:

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

... wow, that last photo is just like Hart House, University of Toronto... I thought maybe Joel had been swayed by a Canuckistan alternative, and made a quick dash northward :)

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 26, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Good friends of mine were among the first to live in the on-campus apartment at UVa known, I believe, as Lambeth Field, back in the mid-70s. My niece lived there just a few years ago. Visiting her I noticed that not much had changed.

The apartment buildings themselves aren't too horrible (and the This End Up furnishings are still there), but between the buildings is nothing but blacktop. I remember thinking "this must be what it's like in Albania."

Also... loved the Galerie publique de ShriekingDenizen.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

SCC: apartments. There are more than just one.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle. RD Padouk, you had me snorting coffee.

Have a great day.

Posted by: Yoki | March 26, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I spent a couple of weeks on the clock exploring the piping tunnels of Burrowing Owl University. They swore most of the transite (asbestos) conduit and cable trays had been removed.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Shriek as you know, my alma mater isn't exactly a sparkling example of architecture wonder. We did have a great system of tunnels, that we in the process of having the asbestos removed while I attended - I believe that may shorten my life by several years. The loose draping of plastic over the work area I don't think prevented a lot.

Posted by: dmd | March 26, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Ha-ha, this guy has tenure.

Still catching up, and working.

And working.........

Did anybody follow that link provided by SCMole?

If not you should. It's well worth 4 minutes of your time.

Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. That one building resembles one at my alma mater. We called it the Toaster. I observed that last Kit's buildings were so beautiful and imposing they inspired immediate confidence in the quality of the school's education. This Kit provides a nice contrast between confidence-inspiring architecture and architecture which makes one doubt the judgment of the school's Powers that Be. By extension, one might worry that tuition money might be equally ill spent.

If that guy in the statue really had tenure, he'd be holding a drink instead of a book.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 26, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Gah, no sooner than I finish two of the four tasks I'm saddled with I get another. And word that yet another will be here by COB today.

Heck, I'm taking a walk and getting lunch.

Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, if my friends are anything to go by, you need not worry that tuition money might be ill spent.

At least 90% of it *most definitely* will be ill spent. :-)

Posted by: byoolin | March 26, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The engineering building at UMCP is in the shape of slide rule. Really.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

'Bordig, Boodle. bc, I'b gwad your code has impwoved; bine hasn't. I bid coughig and hackig all dis past week. It was so bad dat I bid sweeping all dight id by big chair, so I cad wemain upwight; if I way fwat, I would choke to death. I hate codes.

Cawwy odd.

Posted by: Curbudgeon | March 26, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, a video for you:

And, of course, for anyone who is concerned with air safety.

Posted by: PlainTim | March 26, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I just noticed that the limited space available in the tab on my browser has shortened the title of the kit to "More Hulking and Rat".

Posted by: PlainTim | March 26, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Look at this way, Mudge. If you miss too much work and loose your job, you can always find employment as an Impressive Clergyman.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

An iconic photo that I just heard about on "Piano Jazz":

Posted by: PlainTim | March 26, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm in love with jailbait. Saw "Nancy Drew" last night. And boy-oh-boy do I have a big crush.

Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse


"Unfabulous" is on Saturday mornings on The N (a Nickelodeon spin-off channel). Just sayin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Omni! Get a grip, man! Remember Brittney?

Posted by: Grandpa Mike | March 26, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

G-pa Mike,
You are thinking "Zoey 101" with the pregnant sixteen year old. Jamie Lynn is chestier than Emma, but nowhere near the quality of actress.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curbudgeon | March 26, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Turns 18 next Feb. 10.

Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Paging the Home Page headline writers...

"Nats Ready to Break In New Park"

Anyone want to buy a hyphen??? *SIGH*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

kguy, i'm still a clinton supporter (and i like obama, too), and here's my take - the question is totally appropriate and chelsea better come up with a better answer than she gave, which was edgy and defensive imo. (i do feel sorry for her though.)

watch the video at the bottom of this blog - it has original question plus an interview with the guy who asked it (who is in fact a clinton supporter).

sally quinn gives an interview in this clip as well where she says that chelsea clinton should no longer be off limits to reporters, and i think she's right. it's one thing to be off limits as a minor, but another as an adult campaign surrogate.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 26, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Scotty: no hyphen in "break in" as a verb. But the double meaning is wonderful. This also features on of those really irritating sub-sub-sub-footnote rules: "In" is capitalized because it is part of the verb. If it was a stand-alone preposition is would be lowercase. (Jeez, I even bored myself silly with that one.)

Posted by: Curbudgeon | March 26, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Scotty... reminds me of when headlines say a team has resigned a player. Re-signed? or resigned? BIG difference.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's how good reporters get their jollies. A Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about possible reform of an obscure 1888 mining law has this sentence:

"Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has adopted a broad stance against meaningful reform of the law, although abandoned Idaho mines leach pollutants into Washington-bound streams."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Robert Frost at Amherst.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 26, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"I'm in love with jailbait."

Posted by: Ewwwwww | March 26, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

This morning's crawler on NBC4 stated that a Prince George's official had turned himself into polic.

*Paging Prince George's Overnight Police Academy*

Posted by: Raysmom | March 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This morning's crawler on NBC4 stated that a Prince George's official had turned himself into police.

*Paging Prince George's Overnight Police Academy*

Posted by: Raysmom | March 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Mudge.. I LOVE that. We used to get some fun phrases into our newsletters... the penetration of the COX-2 inhibitors market; the stiff competition faced by V!agra... stuff like that.

So immature. So satisfying. We figured if just one reader guffawed over it we'd done our job well.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Muchos of Gracias, 'Mudge, as your answer provided the punctuation marks I should have asked for... quotes around "break in" would resolve the double meaning.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 26, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I'm worried that the double meaning might come true this year.

The Post also has an article about the problems of some of the local neighborhood business around the new stadium (which is a mere couple hundred yards from where Don and I work). It contains this sentence about our work environment:

"The nonprofit group moved into the Southeast Washington neighborhood in 2004 when it was a haven for addicts, prostitutes and nightclubs with nude dancers." (

We've still got a lot of wh0res and sleaze in the area: mostly contractors and us gummint workers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

When I transfered to Fresno State in 1957 the school was in the process of opening a new campus ten miles out on town in a square mile of vineyard. The clsss hours between the two campuses were staggered an half hour and we were bussed back and forth for classes on both campuses. The engineering classes were being still held in a WW11 quansont (sp) hut that made fascinating popping sounds as it warmed in the morning and cooled in the evening. The next year all the classes were on the new campus where we watched new classrooms being built by pouring four slabs on top of each other and the top three jacked up to form the intermediate floors and the roof. When they finished they were all torn down as being subject to collapse in event of an earthquake.

Posted by: bh | March 26, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

When I transfered to Fresno State in 1957 the school was in the process of opening a new campus ten miles out on town in a square mile of vineyard. The clsss hours between the two campuses were staggered an half hour and we were bussed back and forth for classes on both campuses. The engineering classes were being still held in a WW11 quansont (sp) hut that made fascinating popping sounds as it warmed in the morning and cooled in the evening. The next year all the classes were on the new campus where we watched new classrooms being built by pouring four slabs on top of each other and the top three jacked up to form the intermediate floors and the roof. When they finished they were all torn down as being subject to collapse in event of an earthquake.

Posted by: bh | March 26, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

bh... how long did those building stand before they were torn down? Wow.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

As tipped by Shiloh I see the Achenclan is checking out the "Five Colleges" in Massachusetts. These Oxford-type associations are great because they give students flexibility to take classes at different colleges. I went to a college in such a cluster, and very much enjoyed taking liberal arts classes, like Anthropology, at someplace with real Anthropology majors. Of course, this could be dangerous. Anthro majors took these classes very seriously. They lived and died by what those Aborigines would do next.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

College architecture: Mission Santa Clara is the home of Santa Clara University. I particularly liked the

olive trees, remnant of a grove, dating from 1925

the old adobe wall dating from similar time

Wisteria-covered pergola dating from the 1889s

Rose garden, with Indian burial ground underneath.

The fine for picking a rose was about 25 dollars. I expect that inflation has upped the price.

Biggest regret: that I did not steal my mission furniture -- chair, desk, and bedstead -- from freshman year. Apparently dating from Jesuit seminary days, this furniture was junked before sophomore year. We were issued metal desks -- grey -- and orange, molded plastic chairs. Can you imagine that rustic oak furniture now? My desk top was carved with initials and other ephemera, including


Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

from wiki:

A Quonset hut is a lightweight prefabricated structure of corrugated steel having a semicircular cross section. The design was based on the Nissen hut developed by the British during World War I. The name comes from their site of first manufacture, Quonset Point, at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville (a village located within the town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island).

from me: Quonset Point, Rhode Island, is still there and is one of three or four ferry boat terminals for people going to and from Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. "Quonset" is (obviously) an old Indian word meaning "round bay," which is what Wickford Bay, R.I., is. There used to be a pretty large Naval Air Station there during and after WWII, and from the 1950s to the 1970s it was a base for a number of aircraft carriers. The base is now a large industrial park.

You can all go back to sleep now.

Oh, BTW, Ewwww, I'm sure omni meant he was "in love with jailbait" only in the most noble, platonic sense.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

shrieking... I meant to say how cool that picture was of the trees that had ice crystals from the fog. Wow... that's cold.

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is not yet sick of architalkture, here's something a little different-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Looks like some kids may have found some evidence of Doobie Keebler in Amboy, Washington...

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

We had a fountain teeming with Koi. Occasionally, young ladies from the Women's College across the street would wander over to bathe their bare feet in the refreshing waters. The fish would often suck on these feminine toes and make the women laugh.

This was sometimes the highlight of my weekend.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

You might want to stay away from my blog. My fascination with shows normally aimed at 12-year-old girls is a bit unseemly, but entirely innocent.

I can't help it if I find iCarly funnier than anything on network television.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

One of the Keebler elves is off to rehab TBG :-)

Posted by: dmd | March 26, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Just remember CP, dx/dx is always 1.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thuing, dmd: "Doobie Keebler" gives whole new meaning to "pot of gold."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Hello, friends. Just getting the chance to check in. Wednesday is always the busy day, and I have the g-girl to add to the mix. We're on our way to the Center.

The pictures are impressive. They almost make me fearful of learning, especially the library. Bad ears do that.

Hope I can check back in later tonight.

I saw that clip of C. Clinton, can't spell the first name, answering the question about the Monica affair. How would this young woman be able to answer questions about that since she was not an active participant in that situation? It does seem to be something that should be asked of the parents, not their daughter. I doubt many of us here can really truthfully answer why our parents did such and such thing. We may guess, but not really know. Why engage a young person about the actions of their parents when using a difficult situation to do so? And especially a mother. That's usually cause for action, and that action not so good, at least in the quarters I come from. Just saying.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | March 26, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Joel, hope you're waving at all my dead relatives' homes in Amherst--Emily Dickinson, Helen Hunt Jackson, Mabel Loomis Todd--as well as at the gravesites of my forebears, the Phelpses, who are buried in the cemetery in Northampton next to the highway that comes from Amherst.

I wish that I had had more than a day at the Amherst library in May 2004, and I think often of the kind Elise Feeley of the Forbes Library, who, after work, met me to walk that old cemetery and find the Phelpses' headstones. I 'm not sure if she is still on staff as the local history librarian. She is a wonder and a whiz as regards the town's history, although her personal tale is quite tragic.

We here are back from the near dead. I thought that one night, during the 12 days I had the flu, that I would drown or choke in my own bed, thanks to phlegm brought up during a dramatic coughing fit.

Loomispouse started coming down with a sore throat last Thursday, and is back to work only today. I could see this virus and all its progresion of symptoms play it out in another's body, but in only half the time. The last two nights have been restless for both of us since he now has the incessant night cough.

I am here to take care of him; he was not here for the worst of my virus since he was in Philadelphia. His business trip certainly contributed to the delayed onset of his bout with this dreadful virus. Since he caught it from me, I can now safely rule out spring allergies.

Easter weekend was quiet, still. I began Geraldine Brooks' "The People of the Book" given the fact we really weren't venturing much of anywhere.

Posted by: Loomis | March 26, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Late to the dance today. Was teleworking this a.m. Here is a link to the prime progenitor to the "window unit":

Corbu was one of those "architect dieties" who made those bold pronouncements about how good architecture led to a good life. He did do some interesting work, but some of his ideas were just bombast.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 26, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The architectural motif of my alma mater was tan cinderblock. (This looked better than it sounds.) In what is rumored to be an homage to the Aztecs (why??) the buildings were decorated with small rectangular protrusions known as "warts." While the aesthetics of this was questionable, it certainly was distinctive. It haunts many of us to this day. Still, these warts made handy ledges upon which to rest calculators, notebooks, and the occasional skateboard. Further, they made the buildings easy to scale. For those so inclined, that is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Those building were taken down sometime between 1959 when I graduated and 1962 when a civil engineer in the Coast Guard told me about the scandal. The same construction was also used at San Jose State where the engineerng staff demanded they be rased.

CP when I was taking my MBA at Santa Clara '71-'73 the building I was in was all very modern. We eeven had a TV studio that we had to prepare a presentation to play back to the class on a supreme court case study.

Posted by: bh | March 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Being unusually on topic (for me), I might note that according to the Reliable Source column, Joel isn't the only media celeb who is out college-visiting with his daughter. Seems Katie Couric and daughter are also out and about (U. of Va. at last sighting).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I come down pretty much with LA Lurker on the Chelsea question. This is a 28 year old woman with two college degrees. She has voluntarily chosen to act as a surrogate for her mother on the campaign trail. She was not asked "What did your mother know and when did she know it?" She was asked if the scandal damaged her mother's credibility as a candidate. The student that asked the question describes himself as a Clinton supporter. Instead of saying "No, it doesn't," or "I won't answer any questions about that," she said it was "none of your business." Bill\Monica is the elephant in the corner for the Clinton campaign and they'd better have a more relevant response than "none of your business" if they expect to survive the general election.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't see any eww factor in my professed love of an imaginary person. You see, in my fantasy I'm also 17. Next year when both turn 18 we'll get married and start making babies. At least we'll try to make them.

OK, maybe that is ewwww.


Posted by: omni | March 26, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

BH -- I was there between 78-82. The campus, as you know, is a mix of old and new. My classes were largely in Bannon -- one of the soviet-block-building replete with bright orange carpet! Bleeeecccccch.

Did you like the garden portion of campus?

Several cycads
a Metasequoia tree
olives with their gnarly trunks
wisteria so large that it had grown completely around the thick posts of the pergola
and the roses next to the Mission?

I worked as a docent at the De Saissett Art Museum.I learned to drink Medalia d.Oro coffee there. But, I was also the only one on duty when John McL, also a student, cut his fingers off (three I think, one was re-attached) in a mat-cutting machine. I iced them and made him hold his hand up high. I somehow got him to walk outside where we caught the attention of passers-by. The whole time, he kept saying, "What about my fingers? Can we bring my fingers?' "Let's leave them on ice, John. We'll come back for them." This was Sunday cell phones. And the museum office was locked, and with it, the Merlin phone set.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm usually the most hard-nosed one here when it comes to "old school" journalism questions, but I think I'm more inclined to give Chelsea a pass on this one. I think anybody else in the entire campaign, including her mother, *can* be asked this and other Lewinsky-related questions, but I think as Clinton's daughter, she's the one person who gets a pass from me. The question really boils down to "what do you think about your father getting a BJ," and no daughter should ever be asked to discuss such a topic, ever, under any circumstances. If she once starts to say anything whatsoever about the Lewinsky thing, then it opens her up to answering other questions about it as well. And she (alone, of all the people in all the world), shouldn't have to. As a campaign surrogate, I do agree she can be asked other (relevant) campaign questions.

I don't see anything Lewinsky-related as being very relevant to this campaign, even one about whether the Lewinski mess affected Hillary's credibility. For me that question is quite a stretch to begin with; I don't see it affecting Hillary's "credibility" one way or the other.

Granted, Chelsea could have given a simple one-word reply, either "Yes," or "No," and let it go at that. But then no one would "let it go at that." It was a no-win question for her, and she shouldn't be put in the postion of discussing her father's sex life or her mother's reaction to it. It's out-of-bounds for a daughter, I feel. (I *do* feel Chelsea deliberately chose to misunderstand the question slightly, but I'm OK with that under these circumstances.)

From me she gets a pass. If someone wants to ask her about her mother's credibility, then let them ask about the "landing under sniper fire" crap.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Erh, sorry to scare the parents of the college-bound. But, you already know that real life happens.

In recompense I offer these mind-expanding experiences:

reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Taking the train to SF and standing in the parking lot of Candlestick Park, to hear the Grateful Dead (We could not afford tickets)

Spreading our beds with the Indian-print fabric of the times and hanging Desiderata on our walls (patchouli optional)

Pretending we had read Carlos Casteneda

Going to sleep at night with the record player repeating on Spandau Ballet....

...good times. And the next wave of collegians shall make their memories also.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations CP! You did exactly the right thing in an emergency situation, one that would have many folks freaked and screaming. It's amazing what modern surgery can accomplish with severed digits. Guys in the Oil Patch used to get flown into Oklahoma City after such accidents, frequently with an Igloo full of iced fingers and I was always surprised by the success rate for reattachments.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I can pretty much fall asleep listening to anything, but I'm not sure Spandau Ballet makes even that generous cut...

CP, I'd like to start a dialogue with everybody here about "Zen/AMM." Who liked it, who didn't. I had very mixed feelings about it. I came late to it, because everybody else was raving about it, and I finally had to read it for myself. My original "put-offs" were that I was never interested either in Zen stuff, nor in motorcycles, and mixing them together was ike basting brussel sprouts with yogurt. I mean, really... So I had to get past all that. And I had trouble getting past the first 50 or so pages, but finally got into it. My final reaction was basically, "feh." Parts were OK, and some interesting ideas, but generally I thought it was over-rated and not worth the hype.

I'll freely admit it: I never read Castenada. Nor was I at Woodstock.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It's the last 50 pages of Z/AMM I have trouble with. If there is something in there that redeems the first 250 I may never know.

My favorite line from "Romancing The Stone" [said defensively]: "I went to college."

And I need to reconsider my mental image of our respective ages if you fell asleep to Spandau Ballet.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that book is firmly on my "read it when you're young" list. The fact that it is irritating to mature readers is not proof that it is meritless. I read it young enough to enjoy it and I have given it as a gift to young readers, but I can't stand to read it now.

Ditto Ayn Rand, and Ray Bradbury, as I have noted here before.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 26, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

K-guy -- came from living in areas where every summer would be a dreaded farm accident or too. I guess the point is college can be the occasion of really growing up and requiring that we act quickly.

Mudge -- loved the parts of ZMM that talk about composition and the philosophy underlying the thinking part of rhet/comp. I find the other saga, touching but worrisome. Depression's dark and musty siren singing.

Forgive me my swing into silly college music. However, Leo Kottke and John Fahey stayed with me and I bow to no-one about what fine guitarists they be.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, I read Casteneda in high school and college and I always thought he was phony. I know I couldn't get through a page and a half of that now.

You know whose work ages well? Salinger. (not Catcher in the Rye, necessarily, but everything else)[he owns that word, "phony."]

Posted by: kbertocci | March 26, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

YJ, I had a thing, unrequited, with a British exchange student who was a late night/early morning disk jockey at the campus radio station. He had amazing stuff, new wavish, Brit pub stuff....that was an antidote to the hair band stuff emerging. So, does this make you revise your age/placing of me?

Kb -- I went totally silent in the Carlos Castenededa discussions, which is a kind of pretending that I read them. Phony is a good word. Which book? I always liked the name of this one:

Lift High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

You may be right about the age factor, Bertooch; I read it in 1979 or 1980, when I was about 33 or 34: too late, I guess.

While we're on the "read while you're young" list, I wonder if we shouldn't add "Look Homeward, Angel" (which I read the summer before I entered college, so I was just 18, and loved it), "A Separate Peace" (ditto), "Cather in the Rye," and Kahil Gibran's "The Prophet" (quotes of which we had on the wall in posters about the same era as Desiderata was out).

I think the school system has absolutely ruined "Lord of the Flies" by forcing so many kids to read it. It was sooooooooo good... when it wasn't required, and when it wasn't explicated to death. I loved it; all my kids (who were forced) loathed it.

Speaking of Ayn Rand (whose stuff *I* hated, except for "We the Living," and who my right-wing brother loved [he was a Nathanial Brandon freak for a while], the other day I was on the Metro (subway) here, and a young woman seated across from me was reading a book. I kind of maneuvered slightly to see what the title was... and it was "We the Living." And I thought, gee, I didn't know that thing was still around.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Lift High the Roof Beam, Carpenters"

Isn't that the companion volume to "Don't Bogart that Doobie, Stoners"?

Posted by: K:LOTD | March 26, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

CP, do you mean Salinger's "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" (which was accompanied by "Seymour: An Introduction")?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 26, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't which of us is younger, but I know for sure which of us is hipper. But I always suspected as much.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Yj -- hippness is as hippness does and like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Should you want to assert your hippness just recall that I really like real country & western music.

Besides, my students think I am quaint; my children find me weird as in "she sings show tunes in the car".

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, yes, I got the title wrong. Isn't it a great title? Have not read the book.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

So you like BOTH kinds of music...

Kurt Vonnegut is often dismissed as a writer for young readers, but I find his works deeper and more complex the older I am. Of course I started reading him when I was sixteen. It probably makes a difference.

Even my son is onto Ayn Rand. They didn't get to him young enough.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I never read Ayn Rand. I had a high school buddy who was into her work, but her description of Rand's philosophy put me off completely. I read Hornblower and Jane Austen in high school. Yeah, I was a nerd, in a biiig way.

Posted by: slyness | March 26, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm kind of with you that she was entitled not to answer the question. However, she will be exposed to such questions, and I don't think people should be chided for asking. She'll have to come up with an appropriate answer.

"It didn't damage her creditability as my mother." would have been a good and pointed line.

Bob S., I liked your comment last night. I think everybody's imperfect and that was basically my point-- it felt hypocritical to say "I'd have done differently" in a situation that is grossly unlikely ever to occur to her.

Privately, I think no better or no worse for Hillary choosing to stay by her husband. It's her life.

In a larger context, I'm wondering whether this decision is emotionally healthy for her. Nobody knows the full truth of any given marriage.

I will say that their history would seem to be a perfect recipe for a lot of up and downs and icy passive-aggressive behavior, with lots of residual anger.

So, yes, what I know of their marriage definitely damages my impression that she has a stable home life that will be supportive of the high stress involved in being the first woman president.

This is not an insignificant consideration.

Only two bachelors have ever been elected President-- James Buchanan and his ward and niece, Harriet Lane, lived up to the role of First Lady and was a huge source of support for her uncle in the run-up to the Civil War.

Grover Cleveland was married in the White house, to 21-year old Frances Folsom shortly after he became president.

John Tyler's first wife died in the White House and he got remarried while President.

Bottom line: First ladies matter; not just as bedmates. Having safe, solid personal support matters in the cutthroat world of politics.

She has to prove to me that she can be effective, manage and respond well no matter whatever we speculate may be going on at home.

Sad to say, but my skepticism is largely due to the actions her husband took while he was President and seeing how hard people tried to "get" them both, as well as what I have observed of her approach to problem-solving.

It's good that Chealsea is very supportive of her mother. She needs every drop of it now. Hillary would do well to present her as the next Harriet Lane, rather than have Bill do too much "First Gentleman" type of duties.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 26, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Cur: Is that Willa "Cather (sic) In The Rye?" I know, you were running for the bus.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 26, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I recently read Z/AMM, having never read it before. I'm glad to hear some other boodlers critique it; it's definitely in the category of books that people are afraid to say they didn't like.

Anyway, I also thought it went a steep decline towards the end. It was capped off by the including the unnecessary detail of the race of the son's murderers. Minor, but it was a real turn off given the pretensions of folksy wisdom.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 26, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I came back to say I think I was unduly harsh and discovered I've killed the boodle.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 26, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

_Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour, An Introduction_ is a good book, but it's kind of an insider book and you should definitely read Nine Stories and Franny & Zooey first. It helps if you already love the Glass family before you read Roofbeam / Introduction.

The poetic title is a reference to a Sappho quote: "Raise high the roofbeam, carpenters / Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man." The book is the story of Seymour Glass's wedding day. He doesn't show up for the ceremony, and his long-suffering brother, Buddy, who is on leave from the army and ill with pleurisy, has to deal with the irate family of the bride. It's very funny, really. I appreciate Seymour, but I love Buddy. And Franny is my total soul mate.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, how do you balance criticizing Senator Clinton for being hypocritical by saying '"I'd have done differently" in a situation that is grossly unlikely ever to occur to her' while last night you flatly said you'd have done differently in a situation that is unlikely ever to occur to you?

Unless of course, secretly, you're Barbara Bush or Rosalind Carter. At the moment I can't think of any other former first ladies with living ex-president husbands.

If nobody knows the full truth of anyone else's marriage, which I also believe, the absence of publicized problems does not indicate *no* major problems in the case of the other candidates' marriages.

You just don't know, and trying to skewer a candidate on your assumptions of her marriage is just wrong. I believe the Senator is perfectly competent to handle her own emotional health and stable home life.

As are the other candidates.

Posted by: dbG | March 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I like Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance although my pleasure was slightly ruined by the fact it was a second-hand copy read by somebody who obviously had to read it for class and didn't "get" it.

I happen to like Taoism; I find Zen a little dry for me, but I enjoyed that greatly. I think the book has its turn-off because the narrator is a major depressive.

Did I read it "young enough"? I don't know. I know I read catcher in the rye when I was "too old" and I was already in my 20's. I hated it. I didn't like the aimlessness and couldn't understand why people raved about it.

Yet when you think about it, both books have some of the same turnoffs.

I just consider ZAMM to be a more interesting read in many ways. One, the narrative characterization is interesting. The character is literally stepping outside himself as much as possible, rather than staying with the first-person limited. It's an interesting dichotomy of narrative which you don't fully realize until near the end.

Win or fail, it's one way to present how a major trauma (and/or electroshock) changes a person so much that this person might as well be a complete stranger compared to what he was before. Given the period in which it was written, you have to wonder how much of it was influenced experience with 'Nam Vets coming back with PTSD.

The horror that SoC got turned off... that's one of the realities that the author's been trying to spin intellectual moats and firewalls around.

Yeah, I get the book. While I didn't care about motorcyles either, I actually enjoyed the motorcycle stuff a lot.

But then, I'm the same reader who really enjoyed the detailed description of whales and whaling in Moby Dick. It adds a certain raw, realistic and mundane tinge and helps fill in and anchors the images in what otherwise would be an conflated and overly exotic allegory of revenge in Moby Dick. The same sort of anchoring was also needed in ZAMM.

The motorcycle also becomes a symbol in itself of the author's attempt to functioning mechanically, rationally and plowing through a very turbulent emotional landscape, just because he has to keep going.

Hmm, not bad considering I haven't read that book in over 10 years.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 26, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Someone's reading the boodle...

Posted by: TBG | March 26, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

CP, I never heard about the fingers insentient. The MBA program was given at night. 50% financed by HP and the other 49.5% by the other companies in silicone valley. We worked from 7:30 until class started. I was working at AMPEX and Amdal at the time. We never heard about anything outside of work.

Posted by: bh | March 26, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to my world Son of Carl. I've maimed or killed more boodles than I can count to. I've heard of grass fire in AB, caused by someone using a rodenator, the spritual son of the dearly departed gophinator. No more snow out there?

Alberta is also the place where a pickup truck, loaded with people handling fireworks, collided with a parked super B-train filled with diesel fuel. Just like the finale of "Last action hero".

As a lawyer, you certaainly realized that your job is safe out there.

For you merkins a super B-train is a regular class 8 tractor pulling a "lead" trailer (say 35 000L or 8500usg) to which a "pup" (29000L or 7000usg) is attached through a second fifth wheel fitted at the back of the lead. The merry fireworks handlers hit the front compartment of the pup. They got lucky.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

SD, that's the kind of event firefighters have nightmares about. Lucky doesn't even approach the concept of escaping serious injury/death in such incidents. They had the potential for it all: large fire, hazmat spill, mass casualty event.

Posted by: slyness | March 26, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Shriek I saw the story about the grassfire in Alberta as well, came right after our family viewing of Caddyshack - some movies don't age that well!

Couldn't help thinking that the story would have amused Error - well without the grassfire part.

Posted by: dmd | March 26, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Handling fireworks in a moving/speeding vehicle. I don't want to make stereotypes but I don't think I am far off the mark to say not a lot of women would be thinking - hey there's a good idea.

Posted by: dmd | March 26, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Son of Carl, welcome to my world. I've killed more boodle than I can count (more than 20 anyway, things get fuzzy after that magical number). I've heard of a grass fire in Calgary started by someone using the rodenator, the spiritual son of the gophinator of bad memory. You've got no more snow out there you ba$tards?
As a lawyer you know that your job is safe in wild rose country?
Some guys handling fireworks in a pickup truck on an Alberta highway made the driver lose control when a piece was set off and they flied into a truck stop, hitting the pup of a parked super B-train. The content of the front compartment of the pup ignited because of the lit firework stick but burned off without setting the whole gas station into fire. This thing could have ended just like the finale of last action hero.
Nobody was killed, so there is a god, at least for idiots.
For you merkins a super B-train is a regular class 8 tractor pulling a lead unit (say 38000L or 10000usg) followed by a pup (say 29000L or 7600usg) hitched to a second fifth wheel fitted at the back of the lead.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Sorry for the long double post. I was betrayed, again, by Exploder.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

note the correction on volumetric conversions. Second post has it right. I'm watching a movie at the same time. Does it show?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 26, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I will weigh in on these matters.

Whatever happened to propriety? Are we to assume because Bill Clinton seemingly has gone along with the JerrySpringerization of our culture, that his daughter has also willingly dismissed the entire concept of decorum also? Stronger words towards the reporter were perhaps merited. Since reporters have a right to ask, she has a right to avert eye contact, raise her gaze to the rest of the crowd, and say, "does anyone who is not a creep have a question?"

I found parts of Zen 'cycle amusing. The evil Platonists and their turf wars!

And I got past Castaneda's fakery. He was actually an extremely creative fantasist. (He was accused of assembling a cult, and taking advantage of them, of which I know little, but if true of course I disapprove.) Look at his work as a sort of science fiction, and it makes for a better way to analyze the quality of the stories he told.

Posted by: Jumper | March 26, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, folks. We're back in the den, and I've burnt my supper something awful. I did swallow a bit of it, but could not do the rest.

Loomis, glad you're doing better. And the spouse. Take care.

gwe, glad your mom is doing okay.

Time for bed. I'm aiming for the laundry room in the morning, but that could be a miss. Goodnight, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 26, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I sent your comic to younger dottir, and she sent this one back:

Cassandra, sorry to hear about the burned supper. Such an annoyance when these things happen. Sleep well anyway!

Posted by: slyness | March 26, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Cassandra,my Mom is doing very well today and we had a great day together.I think she is tired of talking on the phone so I got online.

I once went on a 2nd date with a woman and she took me to a fireworks store where she spent $350. I should of known then it was going to be an explosive relationship.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 26, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, Cassandra that must have been bad. "It's not burnt till the dogs won't eat it," is my motto. It's not that I'm a bad cook, just easily distracted unless the recipe is new or complicated. Frostson was gainfully employed as a restaurant cook before he realized "scrape burnt bits off into sink" was not the last step in making a grilled cheese sandwich.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 26, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Is there some reason Joel keeps hatin' on McCain?

Is McCain somehow WORSE than the Clintons and Obama?

Posted by: breth | March 26, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Jumper. Which is why I thought the retort I wrote would have been good.

DbG, I was using Hillary Clinton's OWN words. I only replaced one word with "cheating spouse", as would have been clear from seeing the linked article, to show how judgmental her "personal choice" would have sounded.

I do of course agree that there can be major marriage problems that remain well-hidden. The Kennedys, maybe the Nixons, The Eisenhowers, etc.

I got pretty upset and wrote a rant summarizing sexual politics of the 90's and Anita Hill; the men and women of Tailhook ('91); the women who sued Bill Clinton, and Monica; and how they were treated in the media as a consequence.

Seeing what happened to those women influenced my response when I faced assault, verbal bullying, and even hugging and kissing at one job, and why I chose to leave and never even think about filing a complaint. The harrasser was a woman.

I got too emotional writing it. I find now that Hillary is refusing to return money given to her by the owner of IPA, who is facing an EEEO lawsuit for fostering a culture of sexual harrassment at his company. While she has recognized sexual harrassment, I find no evidence she's ever came up with plans to change or solve that problem.

That bothers me. Sexual harrassment doesn't simply disappear just because women are in charge. I know. I'd have liked to hear moral awareness of why sexual harrassment hurts the workplace, and why she is keeping the money with "not proven, not returning it."

I have no taste for a return to the sex politics of the 1990's although I commend all those courageous people, Anita Hill and the rest, who made it a subject of public discourse, even at great cost to themselves. Disclosure: I am a few years younger than Monica.

I admit that she was willing, but Willey was unwilling. Both got treated like garbage. So did Anita Hill.

My brother then said the Clintons' tactics reminded him of the discrimination he was facing at work. It took a while for me to understand fully.

Sexual harrassment and power tactics is the real shadow for Hillary, not infidelity. I think no better or no worse of her for choosing to stay married to Bill.

I do have my concerns about how she has handled the issue of sexual harrassment... namely, not at all, despite what her website says.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 26, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I am a lousy backboodler.

gwe-belated good thoughts for your mom's continued healthy progress.

Spent some time this evening scoping out St. Paul neighborhoods. I believe we have narrowed the home search to the "Lowertown" section of Downtown. Less than a mile from Mr. F's new office (perhaps we can get rid of a vehicle!) and close to the farmers market. Not very lively yet after 5:00PM but it's that old story about bringing residents back downtown. Which comes first, the overpriced coffee or the condo dwellers?

Posted by: frostbitten | March 26, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

My dim recollection of the beginning of an Ayn Rand novel is:
1. Architect, possessed of severe hubris, imposes buildings on his clients that don't even pretend to serve their needs or desires.
2. He also rapes his girlfriend.
3. I notice that nemesis is nowhere in sight. In fact, the author admires the dingbat
4. I fling book across room.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 26, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, DotC, you could have saved me three months of lunch time reading. That is the most accurate synopsis of The Fountainhead I've ever seen. I've never had the courage to tackle Atlas Shrugged. Let me know what that's about. Other than self-involved pretentious pr1cks.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 26, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Alan Greenspan was part of the Ayn Rand clique of objecivist philosophy and somehow yellowjkt's characterization of "self involved pretentious pr1cks" brought his name to mind.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 26, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I remember really liking reading Atlas Shrugged when I was 20-ish. Except for the huge long preaching sections, which I skipped. (Show, don't tell!) And when I was done, I remember thinking that she had made a very consistent argument within the world that she had created in the book, and that that world had nothing to do with this world. So no actual truth there at all.

Posted by: bia | March 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse


While we're talking about books that speak to the young (and in some cases somewhat disillusioned) at heart, like "Zen," Rand, Castaneda, Vonnegut, etc., I suppose I might as well toss in Harlan Ellison, Joan Didion, Ursula LeGuin and Robert Heinlein (well, everything he wrote from "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" onwards, especially the 60's classic "Stranger in a Strange Land"...).

All of it was great reading for me as an Angry Young Man, but Upon Further Review as a Middle Aged Man with a bit o' perspective, well, there's still plenty to be angry about, but I think that anger can be channeled to more constructive purposes than destructive ones.

There's also something to be said for inner peace.


Posted by: bc | March 26, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Did I mention that it has been snowing all day here in the bannana belt?

Posted by: bh | March 27, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I read the Fountainhead in one sitting when I was ~12. I recall a macabre fascination with Ms. Francon's self loathing (which probably saved me from going through that kind of cr@p myself as a teenager), and a horrible case of the hives after I finished--probably from the dusty Bombay back street cootie content of that second? hand book, although it could've been the written content.

Then, rather fortuitously, I found the Dispossessed (Le Guin), and approached equilibrium.

Posted by: DNA Girl | March 27, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Dave for that excellent synopsis.

I once spent a summer interning with somebody who LIKED Ayn Rand. I had never heard of her, and he described enough to make me certain I didn't want to read her. He didn't mention rape but I think he did mention pedastry.

He also admired Gingrich, and thought animals didn't have emotions. He sure subscribed to the theory of capitalism and the Church of Me. But he wasn't mean about it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

It's snowing here too! So glad it didn't snow earlier today - it was 40 degrees a few hours ago when I was driving home.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 27, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I never really did get into "The Fountainhead," probably because the protagonist wasn't all that believeable...

I much prefer Neil, Geddy and Alex's interpretation of Ms. Rand. :-)

This does not bode well...


*heading-out-to-the-highway-for-another-magical-workday-yet-again Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 27, 2008 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Morning, morning, friends. Frosti, I did eat most of the food. Just couldn't swallow it all. I had to force myself to do that, just don't have much of an appetite for what I'm suppose to eat. The good stuff.

I see the report is out. Those of with huge amounts of belly fat are going to be loony tune in the worst way. Of course, I feel at times I'm on that road already. Now medical science is backing up my assumptions. I'm not liking that one bit. I guess I could lose the belly fat, I don't know, sounds hard. Case in point on the demise of the mind: Yesterday I went to the Center. School is out, the Center is closed. I actually sat and waited for the place to open. The g-girl insisted we get out, and it dawned on me, not today.

Slyness, Mudge, Martooni, morning all. Scotty, how are you? *waving*

Got to wake up the g-girl, we're going to make that trek to the laundry room this morning. I need to finish the cleaning up, so I'll get the laundry out the way and continue. This is the week to finish. I suspect the inspectors will be knocking on my door, and I'll still be trying to wipe something off or move something, preferrably to the closet.

Have a great day, folks. The weather here has been fabulous. I'm sorry some of you are still getting snow. It's suppose to be cold here the weekend, but quite lovely now.

We saw the ducks yesterday at the lake. They've just about taken over the place, and pooped everywhere. One can hardly walk around the lake now. And they're quite aggressive too. We sat down for awhile, and they all started coming towards us. The g-girl was afraid, and it was a little creepy. I think they do that because people throw them food. These ducks are huge.

And to all of you that listen to our radio program, thanks again. It will be my turn next week.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | March 27, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I read Atlas Shrugged when I was just out of college. I liked the book because it was a portrait of an absolutely pure idealist. That was thrilling to me at that age. Of course, the philosophy espoused was not mine, and later in life I had more experience with the consequences of misguided idealism, and I developed stronger opinions about the responsibility of artists. So when I returned to Rand in later years, I couldn't overcome my disgust with the author and no longer admired the work. I did recommend Rand's books to my daughter, though, and I believe she read one or two of them and gave them positive reviews at age 17 or so.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 27, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I read about ten minutes of Ayn Rand and had to put it down: the snobby and mean architect book. That would have been about 1979. I thought about trying again, but I then noticed a "Who is John Galt" bumper sticker on the car of large-ego-ed professor. I decided that I could read, well,Dostoevsky, instead.

The reading tastes of the newly-minted adults run to the dramatic , doesn't it.

I reread both Anna K and Madame Bovery within the last five years. I was stunned at my youthful mis-readings of these two books.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I never even got as close to reading Ayn Rand as CP. I strongly disliked a person who thought Rand was, like, a goddess. That did it for me. Perhaps an unfair criterion to use, but there are so many books to read.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 27, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Once, hanging out for happy hour a couple acquaintances of mine were discussing "Atlas Shrugged". One of them was completely surprised I hadn't read it. Even more surprised I hadn't read anything by Rand. So one day I'm in a book store and pick up a copy and read a couple pages. I thought 1200 pages of this: No thanks, and put it back.

"Catcher in the Rye" was a forced read in school. I not only hated it but didn't get it. Later as an adult I read someone's review after a second reading as an adult (also forced read in school). Part of the review had me scratching my head as it was something I didn't remember at all. Borrowed a copy from the library (no way was I paying good money). Still didn't like. Still didn't get it. Was still scratching my head about the part of the review that had me scratching my head in the first place.

I have read ZAMM and it's sequel "Lila". Like ZAMM. Lila, not so much.

In other news: When I got on the Metro this morning there was the horrible reek of some disgusting perfume. Went to the back of the train car and could still smell it. Went to the front of the train car and could still smell it. Found an empty seat and just sat down to read. The smell was making me ill. So I did the only thing I could think of...

I farted.

Problem solved.

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"It's not burnt till the dogs won't eat it," Snort out loud funny. It's the story of my cooking life. I have this lovely vision of having some ability now that I have the time to devote to cooking, but it is just a vision and I won't talk about what I did to yesterdays soup.

As an angst ridden teen, I submersed myself in history, and romance novels. I saved all the angst for adulthood.

Posted by: dr | March 27, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I am still completely clueless as to why that acquaintance was convinced I read Rand.

It was after I arrived at work that it occurred to me I could changed Metro train cars.

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Burnt soup could be a roux. Pretend that you are Cajun and channeling Paul Prudhomme.

DR, some knit; others burn soup. On the desert island, you can knit us fishing net. We will eat mangos and coconuts. Who needs soup?

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Seeing spring awaken is a marvelous benefit of the morning walk. The cherry trees are magnificent right now, and the azaleas aren't far behind. Dogwoods are popping; they should peak in ten days/two weeks. The temperature is supposed to climb into the mid-70's today, so it will be a lovely day. We'll see how much I get done in the yard!

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

The commuter park-and-ride lot where I catch my daily bus on the outskirts of Waldorf is directly across the street from one of our largest and best-known cemeteries. When I got off the bus last night and went to my truck, there was a flyer under the windshield (and under the windshield of every other vehicle). It was from the cemtery across the street, announcing its "Spring Special!!" (Two exclamation points.) Then it said "For all visitors during our Spring Celebration special discounts of $500 on cremation niche packages. (Refreshments available in the office)"

Then there were three columns of pricing (including "open & close," at $545, and "Installation" at a mere $20, which raises the question, if I'm already dead and cremeated, why do I have to be "opened and closed," much less "installed").

And then came the kicker: "Ask for our 2-for-1 special in the 'Garden of Faith.'"

Now, I've often heard of "niche marketing," but I think a 2-for-1 Easter special is going a bit farther than I'm willing to go. In any event, my wife has instructions to scatter my ashes behind home plate on the nearby baseball field where I did all my umpiring. And instead of a 2-for-1 special, the scoreboard will read 3-2, "full count." There will be no 7th inning stretch.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

dmd, have a fine day!

Posted by: dbG | March 27, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all..

Cassandra... you gotta get yourself (or the g-girl) a slingshot so you can teach those ducks who's boss (and if you're a good shot, who's for dinner). ;-)

mmmmm... Peking duck...

I've never read more than a few pages of Rand -- the dryest, most boring thing I've ever had the misopportunity to pick up. Maybe it's because I'm unedumacated. Or maybe I have no class. Feh.

Yesterday I got to put on a show for the neighbors. The giant inflatable Easter egg and I had another go, this time to deflate it. Of course, you can't just pull the plug on the valve and go get a beer. No... you have to squeeze the valve a certain way and put constant pressure on the egg to empty it. Long story short, I decided the best method was to sit on it and relax. Imagine a long-haired gnome with a beer in his hand perched atop a giant colorful Easter egg. It was actually quite comfortable -- like a big beanbag chair. The dog-walking neighbors just shook their heads as they passed by.

I'm easily amused. Maybe that's why I didn't like Rand.

In other news, while I was out there de-egging the front yard, I did the unthinkable for a procrastinator of my skill -- got the ladder out and took down our Christmas lights, a job I usually get to sometime in June or July.

I hope I'm not becoming responsible. {*shudders*}

Anyway... hope you all have a wonderful day and find time to do something goofy and spontaneous.

Peace out... :-)

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Rule of my Boodle-ing: Do not Boodle when the daytime temperature is between 75 and 85, as there are other, far more pleasurable things to do. So, it was 88 yesterday and may go as high this afternoon for an hour or so.

Also, do not Boodle when the Mexican firebush is in bloom. Too pretty outside to stay indoors plopped in front of a computer screen.

Posted by: Loomis | March 27, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Hey Martooni there is a method to our madness. I last week put away all my christmas stuff,the lights actually came down 2 months ago after a big wind sort of got it started.Then I put away all the other Christmas stuff last week(at the urging of a friend).I am trying to keep a clean(updated) house.

On a side note,Mom had a tough morning,but with my help we got through it.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 27, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Naval Act.

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

New kit: Paris A. at camera post

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I took a History of Science Fiction course in college and the professor claims to be able to identify the exact sentence in Stranger In A Strange Land where Robert Heinlein dropped acid and changed his writing style permanently. We were discussing him at work and decided that he was a particularly lecherous fascist.

And while it may not karmically balance out the loss of the NASA science guy, I find this news to be heartening even if it a loss to the alma mater:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

New kit... (figures, since I *just* posted here)

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

joel, we just missed each other! i was in northampton over the weekend. where'd you eat while you were there? (for those who haven't been, noho has notoriously amazing food.)

Posted by: firehat | March 28, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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