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The Next Big Career Move [Updated] [Again!]

Let's have a blog item today that's not about me and my personal obsessions and neuroses. Instead, let's talk about the general plight of all those middle-aged newspaper reporters out there who, at the age of 47, are just barely too young to get the buyout offer.

Clearly it is time for these people to think about the next big career move. Or retirement. Here's a vision: Move back to Gainesville, teach part time at the university as an "adjunct." Live at the old house. In the old bedroom upstairs, the one with the Spider-Man drawings on the wall and the Lord of the Rings illustrations on the ceiling. If you got bored you could run out back, into the woods, and play down at the creek. Scamper around barefooted. Except there are those damn stinging nettles. And sandspurs.

So never mind, another bad idea.

[What about public relations?]

[In-house newsletter editor at, like, The Carcinogen Institute?]

Here's my secret road map for the newspaper profession: Do great journalism. And pray that things improve on the business side. [You've got to be kidding me! That's the best you can come up with?- ed.] Obviously we all have to adapt (which is why I now live-blog everything, including, if you can get your head around this, the very act of blogging -- I believe I'm the first to live-blog myself posting a blog item -- freakin' historic!), but in a society that needs and wants information and analysis there surely is a place for professional journalists who at least in theory can report and write and take pictures and create graphics and make sense of things better than most other folks. And know how to avoid run-on sentences.

And now this special bonus commentary, miraculously related to the aforesaid prefiguratory introduction of the issue at hand:

One quibble with the Eric Alterman piece in the New Yorker is that he seems to be suggesting that the Huffington Post invented a better mousetrap:

'Almost by accident, however, the owners of the Huffington Post had discovered a formula that capitalized on the problems confronting newspapers in the Internet era, and they are convinced that they are ready to reinvent the American newspaper. "Early on, we saw that the key to this enterprise was not aping Drudge," Lerer recalls. "It was taking advantage of our community. And the key was to think of what we were doing through the community's eyes." On the Huffington Post, Peretti explains, news is not something handed down from above but "a shared enterprise between its producer and its consumer." '

The problem here is that this notion -- call it crowdsourcing, or community journalism, or just "interactivity" -- has been around for a long time. We've talked about it endlessly since the 1990s. Everyone has had this same idea: Break down the old dichotomy of producer and consumer. (And it's true in print as well: The Post has a full page of commentary every Sunday, called Close to Home, written by readers.)

HuffPo has been a huge success (and you know I'm in awe of Arianna), but seems to me it was hardly the first group blog -- Daily Kos, for one, deserved a mention in the Alterman piece. And although Alterman gave a well-deserved attaboy to Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, what about Slate and Salon, just to name some of the big players in the online journalism world that long predated HuffPo? Didn't Mike Kinsley and Jack Shafer and the gang at Slate invent something pretty remarkable way back in, let's see, 1996? As for my newspaper, yes, the Post has some serious business challenges, as do all newspapers -- but it also has more readers for its journalism than ever before -- with record traffic on the web site.

And Alterman, to his credit, make the key point that newspapers provide something that no web operation so far has been able to match:

" Web site spends anything remotely like what the best newspapers do on reporting. Even after the latest round of new cutbacks and buyouts are carried out, the Times will retain a core of more than twelve hundred newsroom employees, or approximately fifty times as many as the Huffington Post. The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times maintain between eight hundred and nine hundred editorial employees each. The Times' Baghdad bureau alone costs around three million dollars a year to maintain. And while the Huffington Post shares the benefit of these investments, it shoulders none of the costs.

"Despite the many failures at newspapers, the vast majority of reporters and editors have devoted years, even decades, to understanding the subjects of their stories. It is hard to name any bloggers who can match the professional expertise, and the reporting, of, for example, the Post 's Barton Gellman and Dana Priest, or the Times' Dexter Filkins and Alissa Rubin."

Alterman's Media matters blog is here. He has a new book out.


Now this extra-special appendictory bonus update:

"Karen" writes in the boodle this morning:

"You accidentally pointed out what is wrong with newspapers--you only are in awe of those on the far left of the political spectrum. When your local newspaper has turned into the Obama Daily Worship and over 50% of the country thinks their editorial page consists of a bunch of aging hippies with issues, why pay to support such irrelevancies? The WaPo has declined into such a partisan rag, that the hundreds of people I know who have ceases subscribing always cite their bias. You just can't get over yourselves, liberals. Not everyone agrees with you. You ruined newspapers."

Dear Karen: When you say "aging hippies with issues" you're talking about my people. Watch it. But you do note a defect in the kit: I didn't mean to shortchange the conservative blogs. I regularly dip into National Review, Hugh Hewitt and the gaggle at TownHall, etc., and anyone who reads this blog knows that I link to conservative pundits as well as liberal ones. But I don't think -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that Slate and Salon had conservative corollaries back in the 1990s.

Otherwise, the absurdity and sheer unreasonableness of your comment brings up another issue: A lot of folks on both the Right and the Left have declared, sanctimoniously, that the MSM is being punished for being too (pick one) liberal or conservative. In fact, Alterman peddles this theory, implicitly. But the financial fortunes of newspaper companies aren't in any signficant way (says here) connected to the political leanings of the editorial board. Liberal papers, conservative papers, they all have the same issue, which is that they're no longer positioned squarely between consumers and advertisers. [Insert protracted dissertation on Craigslist, struggling department stores that won't spring for display ads, rise of online media with lower ad revenue, etc.] What galls me -- really frosts my hackles and gets my dander so far up it's in the stratosphere -- is the pervasive notion that political writing is our main editorial product. Ever actually picked up a newspaper? Notice how much stuff isn't about McCain and Obama and Clinton? (Lately, at least a third of it.)

kbertocci writes:

"One thing that the article about the future of newspapers got right about my dead-tree interaction was the amount of time spent with it. Getting the paper from the driveway is still the numero uno priority seven days a week at our house. But I just glance at the front page and the funnies and the Tropical Life section, and then I'm on the computer making the rounds of my favorite websites. My husband only uses the computer to monitor his bank accounts--he reads the whole paper every day, but he complains about its declining quality, and he doesn't spend as much time reading it as he used to."

My reading habits have changed too -- I don't have time to read the paper in the morning in depth. It's kind of an indulgence at this point. Sometimes I just go straight to the Web ediiton in the morning, make sure the world hasn't exploded, check my email, make sure the A-blog hasn't drifted on-topic in the night, and then over the course of the day I read the paper pretty much on the fly. But then, at the end of the day, I like to marinate in the dead-tree version on the [fabled] back porch. That's when my appetite has grown for something that's deeply reported and well written. So we all have different habits at different times of the day. I guess the secret to the paper's future is to be somehow accessible, in some form, and with reliable and relevant and up-to-date content, at multiple times of day in multiple formats.

OK I'm going back to work now.

[Thanks, Romenesko, for the link!]



George Washington Slept Here.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 2, 2008; 9:23 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: My Excellent House
Next: The Legacy of MLK


Ah... the sad thing is that at 47, you've got to be more worried about heel spurs than sandspurs. Sigh.

Posted by: TBG | April 2, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

47. What a youngster you are, Joel.

And, like you have to be worried about your job.

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

There's always "Captured By Aliens II," yanno.

Public relations? Who'd be silly enough to do that???


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Got needled by the Carcinogen Institute bit Scottynuke?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 2, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Why is John Kelly so depressed?
In his latest blog entry he says
"I'm in favor of anything that brightens our otherwise doomed, pathetic lives."

Joel, is your life doomed and pathetic?

Posted by: wiredog | April 2, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The reality is that there are a lot of people inn their late fourties and early fifties that are being pink slipped, downsized, or otherwise being forced back into the job maarket. The latter is being transformed, as predicted, to a service based economy. I overheard the mornning newscasters saying that something like 8k jobs will be eliminated at NASA in the near future. The job market is so closed for folks like this that re-education is an expensive option. We have an extended family that has moved into our neighbourhood from Michigan. Many of them have lost jobs in the auto industry. They're having a tough time finding any kind of work, yet have children and bills to pay. Rocket scientists may soon be competing with folks like this for jobs.

Posted by: jack | April 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Anon anon anon anon.

Posted by: Winston Churchill999 | April 2, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

That building, at least, doesn't look too pathetic. If only Pennsylvania and New York had more distinctive-looking flags. I think it's one or the other next to the US one. Come to think of it, the US flag has a serious surfeit of stripes and stars. I bet it doesn't comply with the International National Flag Design Convention.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 2, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Well it is not like this Kit hits a little too close to home for me today.

Jack we had a similar discussion on the changes in the economy and types of jobs at a family gathering recently. I think I look at it not unlike the industrial revolution, of course none of that makes it easy for the people caught in the changeover. I have been reading Richard Florida's blog since he set up shop at the University of Toronto and the Globe - some interesting thinking there.

Posted by: dmd | April 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Not particularly, Shriek, no. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 2, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I have full confidence you will persevere and succeed at whatever you do as you have thus far. It does appear, however, that you may be forced into a mid-life crisis. I have been there and while I would never, ever want to repeat the rocky journey, I have ended up in a very interesting and fulfilling...but

Hope that helps.

Posted by: eidrib | April 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I did four years at a newspaper right out of college and recently quit to transition to medicine. Nearly every older reporter with I career admired consistently said that they would not go into the field as it is today.

Posted by: Texas Mike | April 2, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

That's not the Penna. flag next to the Murikin one, Dave, that much I know. All them other ones is ferriner flags. I can't make out the second from left. I bleeve the third from the left is the Canuckistani, then the German, then Luxembourg and/or Netherlands (same flag for each), then UK. Why this mix I can't tell ya.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Second from left is definitely New York. (I blew it up.) (The flag, not the state.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon...meant to tell ya I laughed silly while reading your turrets syndrome post.

Posted by: eidrib | April 2, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Thankee kindly, eidrib.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I thought for a moment the Kit wasn't going to be solipsistic, but I was wrong.

Posted by: Loomis | April 2, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Please tell me you're not researching dysgraphia, Texas Mike.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

At first I thought it was New York too, but backwards. Then I realized, it is backwards.

Second from right is most likely Netherlands. Luxembourg uses a lighter shade of red and blue.

Posted by: omni | April 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | April 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Non-sequitur is on kit today.

PR is one writing profession that still works. My sister writes copy for a company that distributes compressed methane through an oldish, sometimes leaky, underground system. So as long as there will be backhoe operators digging first and asking questions later she should stay gainfully employed.
Third one is the red maple leaf, just about ready to run at this time of year BTW. Union Jack and the S&S I dig. The rest look like European or sumthing.

I think Loomis lobbed a rotten fruit at the author and owner of the blog for his choice of subject. Hummm.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting story about a new technology that conteracts tinnitus:


Posted by: jack | April 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You know Mudge, there would be nothing wrong with that sentence a touch dyslexia couldn't solve.

Posted by: omni | April 2, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

JA, your topic fits all of us, now, in rethinking our professions and tool kits. And, shall we work and shill into our 70s? I think so.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 2, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

At first I thought that was the Potomac side of Mount Vernon, but now that I'm taking a closer look obviously it's not.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 2, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Me too SoC, except that there are only six pillars (Mount Vernon has eight) and the awning (is this the right word) doesn't extend across the entire back of the building. Also what looks like a greenhouse or something at the far end.

Posted by: omni | April 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

No, SoC, I'm pretty sure it is in New York state; otherwise there'd be no reason to fly the NY flag. I've been Googling, and have discovered Washington slept at no less than 38 places in NY, but I can't find photos of many of the places. I figure it also has to tie in with places JA and the family just visited on the Grand College Tour.

The one flag that has me stymied is Germany; I can't see what it has in common with any of the others and with Washington. The only thing I can think of is it may have been one of Baron von Steuben's houses in the Utica, NY, area (where VS retired and where GW was likely to have visited).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's from the college tour. And it is New York state.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the same boat with Texas Mike. I got a journalism degree in 1981, worked 10 years as a newspaper reporter but finally got tired of being fired or having my bureaus closed. I retrained as a nurse and have never lacked a job since, and at higher pay than I got as a scribbler. Why, being a hospital nurse even allowed my wife and I to flee the U.S. to get away from paying taxes for President Cheney's genocide!

As far as the business side of the Post, I was back in the U.S. to see my dad's ashes interred in Arlington National Cemetery in early March. I was shocked by the paucity of ads in dead-tree version of the WaPo. A paper that's not even 33% ad content is not going to be around long. Bummer, mates!

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | April 2, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

THERE'S a job option for you, Joel! Just try hard not to watch "Meet the Parents" as you make the decision to apply to nursing school.
And you could get lots of ideas for the next book-- "Kidnapped by Alzheimer's"

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

A sobering story of murder in defense.

I checked the comments, and one made me laugh: "This story illustrates exactly why we need more knife control."

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 2, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Mother of Boy that Killed her Attacker Talks About Ordeal"

Sweet Jayzus. It's "Who," not "that." And even if it was "that," it would be uppercase. "Her" should be uppercase. I've long since given up the who/that thing with yellojkt and Jack, but I'm swimmin' against the tide here.

Joel, if you wanted to stay in journalism, you might be able to get a job on the copy desk. God knows they need one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, there's always science writer. You know, full time. You are good at it.

Wilbrod's minty hot chocolate concept is a keeper, I think.

Posted by: Jumper | April 2, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Things could be worse, Mudge.

You would think the Daily Telegraph could spell "Britain":

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 2, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

*in fetal position under desk, weeping and singing "Rule, Britiania"*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: Nurses can make as much money as physicians in many cases and the options for nurses are huge and growing. A reason you see more men applying. But one must first pay dues as a staff nurse and Joel is probably too squeamish.

Joel should stick to writing...he has a gift.

Posted by: eidrib | April 2, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I appreciate the way in which Joel personalizes this topic, of great interest to many of us, thus giving us the chance to look at our own situations from a new perspective. His, for instance. This is refreshing, when you've been looking at your life only from your own perspective. And it gives Joel the chance, once the Kit is out there, to look at his circumstances from our perspective.

From my perspective WaPo in its various forms would be fools to release Joel from indentured servitude, given his considerable and eclectic skill with the written word. However, I expect this skill will transfer well somewhere else should WaPo fail to take my perspective into account (unlikely, I know). Also, he can do heavy-lifting gardening and cook big pots of meat - a triple threat.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 2, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. The FEMA director isn't resigning after all.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 2, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I think I've gotten a lot better on the who/that thing. I keep telling my wife that I'm trainable. When she asks for examples, I tell her that I now put the seat down every time. For her, that is pretty small beer for twenty-five years. She insists she had much better luck with the dog.

And anyone watching "Excalibur", make sure you're getting the R-rated version, not the PG simultaneous release.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 2, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

At 44, with one kid that will accumulate college loans in excess of my first mortgage, this is where I start whistling past the graveyard. In five more years, I get to start planning on all the devious ways I intend to cheat my creditors out of my estate. My goal in life is to have the check for the casket bounce.

Joel has three daughters, at least one of which has ambitious college hopes. That's a lot of weddings to finance in addition to the college fund.

A friend with three daughters used to say that he hopes one turns out to be a lesbian so that he only has to foot the rehearsal dinner.

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

Based on my own experience as someone who was merged\downsized in my 40's (and lost all my retirement funds from that job when the company later folded, but I am not bitter, not much I'm not) and struggled for about a decade to retrain and get back to my former salary range, and considering the current economic news, I'd advise Joel to invest heavily in pharmaceutical companies specializing in anti-depressants. I feel a ZOLOFT PROZAC boom coming.

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

kurosawaguy--have to agree with you--a doctor once told me antidepressants should be in our water systems since so many people take them. Dont' happy!

And invest in pharmacy companies. Right on.

Sorry you had a bad experience. I wonder how many of us haven't! It took me 5 years to get back to my pre-mid-life crisis salary and I've since surpassed it. Yea me. Now hand me my pills and my drink. :-)

Posted by: eidrib | April 2, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, since you are in learning/training mode, YJ: "Joel has three daughters, at least one of WHOM..."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The key to reducing wedding costs is to encourage late marriages. Ivansdad & I married when I was 30 and had been supporting myself for several years. We found we could not ask either parents to pay for the wedding and keep our self-respect (though we did accept help with the invitations cost).

Or maybe it is encouraging the concepts of self-support and self-respect, so you can reap those benefits when the kids finally settle down.

Of course, you don't want to go too far with that self-supporting thing, or you'll find yourself being asked by your children to support yourself in your old age.

Parenting is so complicated.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 2, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Regarding pharmaceuticals, they ARE in the water, as in they pass, ahem, through as chains of molecules into the water. Based on any measure of prescription numbers or sales figures, the water DOES contain

estrogens from birth control and hormone therapy
Niagra and Niagra-like substances
Nsaids and other commonly-used pain killers

and, the mood drugs we spoke about.

We need to examine this phenom, testing for amounts and then consider if these parts-per-billion "doses" we ingest are a problem. I suspect yes, especially since we all experience lots of little chemical exposures all the time....

REPOSTING BECAUSE THE RHYMES WITH NIAGRA words caused a reaction within the nerve centers of WaPo servertude-dom.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 2, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Dr G went back to graduate school at 37, finally got the PhD at 47 and began his current career only about 5 or 6 years ago. He turned 62 yesterday.

Unfortunately, he'll have to work well into his 80s.

I had a friend who had been applying to med school for several years and had yet to be admitted. She was worried about trying one more time, telling my sister and me, "Even if I get in now, I'll be 35 before I'm done."

My sister told her, "You'll be 35 anyway."

My friend is now a happy, successful pediatrician.

Posted by: TBG | April 2, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I would have to say there is a kind of dues paying period as a newly trained RN, oh yeah. I could tell you some stories....But any kind of bedside nursing in an acute care setting, even into the most advanced ICU setting involves a lot of, shall we say, "gross" stuff that a lot of people wouldn't be able to stomach. My poor husband has had to edge away from nurses discussing the latest gunshot wound or open chests more times than I can say...he still gets a little woozy after all these years. But there is a diploma and BSN program at the hospital where I work and I would say a third to one half of each clinical class is over 35 and lots more men than in the past.

On another note, I just had to post this because acid has just burnt a hole through my stomach lining and I want to share the misery.

I guess I should laugh because it's so...laughable, but grrrrrrrr.

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I guess that would be "burned", wouldn't it?

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

On kit comment; adjunct gig is great but not a way to make tuition dollars. Of course, if you can adjunct at a place they (intelligent and talented dots) all want to go AND can get the family tuition remission deal -- which is not typically offered to adjunts.....well......

But JA would be great in the classroom.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 2, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Burnt" is fine, Kim.

Didja see that HuffPost has exceeded Drudge in the number of viewers? There may be hope for the world.

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Baby steps, mudge, baby steps.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah.

Dave OTC, David Paulison of FEMA shouldn't have to work at all. I think he retired from the Metro Dade Fire Department, so he's actually double-dipping. I will ask Mr. T. He will know for sure.

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

slyness, I said the exact same thing to the hubby last night over dinner.

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

This whole proper usage thing can be overdone, as I think even Curmudgeon would agree-

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. 'I'll learn 'em to steal my house!' he cried. 'I'll learn 'em, I'll learn 'em!'

'Don't say "learn 'em," Toad,' said the Rat, greatly shocked. 'It's not good English.'

'What are you always nagging at Toad for?' inquired the Badger, rather peevishly. 'What's the matter with his English? It's the same what I use myself, and if it's good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!'

'I'm very sorry,' said the Rat humbly. 'Only I think it ought to be "teach 'em," not "learn 'em."'

'But we don't want to teach 'em,' replied the Badger. 'We want to learn 'em--learn 'em, learn 'em! And what's more, we're going to do it, too!'

Kenneth Grahame "The Wind in the Willows"

I would add that Mudge has always reminded me a bit of the redoubtable Badger, and I mean that in a nice way.

The above is only my second favorite quote from "TWITW." This is my fave-

"There is nothing -- absolute NOTHING -- half so much
worth doing as simply messing-about in boats."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 2, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

You all may be aware that one of our preznitial candidates has taken some flack because of a sniper-fire hallucination. Well, JA may consider a 2nd career as a politician, 'cause he, too has that very same characteristic. Those of you who read the last post should be made aware that he is NOT the homeowner of that crenelated castle; he was only a turret snapping a picture.

(Mudge made me do it, Ma!)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 2, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I keeps tryin' to learn 'em, K-guy, but they doesn't learn.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Learn 'em is incorrect. Everyone knows it's larn 'em.

Posted by: TBG | April 2, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

No, I didn't.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

There's Niagra in the water supply? No wonder I've been taking four-hour showers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

This is a great kit because it relates to a subject Joel actually has first person experience about. Any fool can regurgitate what he, or she, reads in the papers and then opine about the same. Real value comes from writing from what you know in the hope that such writing will stimulate a greater conversation.

What Joel is describing is something I felt several years ago. The sense that your career is heading down a dead end. It's part of being middle aged. Too old to really consider starting over, but too young to hang on until retirement.

It's sort of like having been raised to be king, and knowing how to do nothing else, when you suddenly notice a lot of unhappy peasants running about with pointed sticks and burning torches.

In my case I felt that I was being overtaken by an industry in which experience wasn't nearly as valuable as knowing all about the shiniest new technology. I remember going to a job fair and explaining my years of experience only to be asked what I knew about disk compression.

This is when panic sets in. Especially when one considers one's many financial burdens. By which I mean offspring.

I wish there was an easy answer. In my case, through sheer coincidence, I ended up talking with a friend who knew this friend who was looking for someone to work
"on site" at a government agency. An agency that then, as the saying goes, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So I became a civil servant with a strong career path - something I never, ever set out to be. Something I couldn't even imagine a few years ago.

The point is, unexpected opportunities present themselves if you are willing to explore them. It's like Tom Hanks on a desert island. You never know what the tide will bring in. You just hope it isn't covered with too many barnacles..

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 2, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilson! Where are you, Wilson??? Come back!! (Oops, that was Shane.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

RDP went to a job fair for spinal specialists?? What???


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 2, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Sneaking out early; my son is cooking us shrimp kabobs and Clams Casino.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 2, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Off topic yet important:
Thanks to the wisdom and intellect of the boodle, my son received an A on his biology research paper! Your help was trememdous. thank you. He is really motivated today.
Who knew that my panic about understanding what the heck a lyssavirus is would inspire a boodle handle. thanks!
Sort of on topic:
Looks like I might actually accept a new position soon. So there is a little hope out there. Joel, whatever you do--take us with you.

I'm feeling really shy again, and ready to retreat back to lurker status. I'll pop in every now and then and hopefully I'll be able to contribute something worthwhile. Until then, know that we lurkers care very much.

Martooni, I would like to order a door, and can't find your link. Could you please post it?
take care everyone.

Posted by: Lyssa | April 2, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Lyssa, congratulations to your son and please pop in frequently. Just a fair warning I was at one time very shy about posting - and look at me now, there are days when I just ramble on and on.

Posted by: dmd | April 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm reading this story on the home page: "Beacon or Boondoggle? New Lights For the Capitol Update Would Conserve Energy, Democrats Say".

It mentions that the Capitol could be operated more efficiently by "... purchasing carbon offsets for the House's greenhouse-gas emissions, and developing a plan to use wind power ...".

The Capitol could become a net producer of wind-electric and natural gas.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 2, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

For once, I'm on kit.

I've been looking at options too. I finally decided to sign on for the late-night "Dublin" shift for keeps. It mostly leaves me with exactly the same duties, but working *in* the office for fewer than 15 hours a week. Commute time saved is about 10 hours a week, now mine all mine! Easy time to hit the gym and library, play with the dogz, work on my own side-business. Since bunny slippers cost less than regular shoes, I may even save a few bucks there. The hours are radically different from most peoples' schedules, but I've got most of my off hours in the daylight. And, as RD said, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

I'd hesitated originally because it was a drastic step. Working from home isn't considered a great career move where I work. Sometimes it's difficult to acknowledge, "oh, yeah, this pays the bills. It's not my life. There are other things I could try." Message received. I wasn't going to get what I want in the job as it stood. My colleagues' reaction so far has been flat-out, laser-green envy, which is nice.

A drastic step can be a really good thing. Taking the time to re-evaluate where you are and what you're doing, priceless.

Posted by: dbG | April 2, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Lyssa, here you go:

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad you are happy about your decision dbG. Not sure which I am more envious of working from home or getting to speak to gentlemen with Irish accents in the middle of the night!

I have just learned that apparently I do not do well in structured environments - I am best suited where people leave me alone to do my own thing - not exactly a revelation to me :-)

Posted by: dmd | April 2, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I need to order a door for the younger dottir, for graduation, but I'm having a hard time making up my mind which one I want. Must come to a decision soon!

I worked in one place for 27 and a half years, and was promoted into the position I retired from after my first ten months in the department. I enjoyed the job; the politics of the department drove me crazy. It got better after my superiors tried, and failed, to lay me off, one action of many with the consequence that a consulting team was hired to review the whole operation and make recommendations for improvements. The report pretty much smacked down my superiors, and they all retired within three years.

Mr. T and I ran into the gentleman who headed the consulting team at a conference some time later. Mr. T asked him why the team didn't lay out the whole truth. He replied, "Nobody would have believed it." And he was right.

I stayed until I could retire with full benefits, and I left the first day that was possible, with no regrets about it.

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dmd, but we're just talking about millions of dollars that don't belong to us. And there's one who doesn't understand me any better than I understand him, so we IM a lot.

I'm with you--the less outside structure, the better.

Break a leg on that next step in the interview process (you know what I mean). :-)

Posted by: dbG | April 2, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

In some ways I am glad I didn't make the leap to leave work sooner. The timing was just right this time, and I seem to be falling into a very very different sort of work that is a thousand times more rewarding.

The salary will be peanuts in comparison, but the satisfaction is going to be so much greater. I don't forget for a minute that I can do this because we have one stable income in the house. If there is such a thing as a stable income that is.

And if the sky falls, we'll work it through. We've done it before. We'll do it again.

Posted by: dr | April 2, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I've updated the kit, fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 2, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Good update, thanks, Boss.

I wrote a funny bit about my next career as a self-employed human organ farmer, harvesting from my own field, so to speak.
Selling myself piece by piece via televised auctions and online bidding, increasing my cashflow, decreasing my overhead and carbon footprints, to boot (though eventually, no boots).

And ending up Selling the Farm, rather than Buying it (isn't that the American Way?)

I think of it as the Ultimate Reverse Mortagage.

Unfortunately, the comment was eaten, gone, vanished, disappearing into the aether like my youth.


Posted by: bc | April 2, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

eidrib, yes the nurse shortage has really helped the nursing profession financially. A great nurse can supervise nursing assistants.

I've also been impressed by the sheer sensibility of the nurse practioner career/education track compared to the macho medical school culture-- if med students could work in medicine once they got a 2-year degree, medical school wouldn't be so outrageously expensive.

(Think of it--all future doctors changing bedpans. Nice, eh?) I have a great deal of respect for NP's, all told. More so than for some G.P.s that I've had, sad to say.

Yeah, Joel probably should stay with the quill trade. I just couldn't resist the book title pun ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 2, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Some lingering questions:

Did Yoki accept or reject her promotion?

Have the twin baby boys been born yet?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 2, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Random thoughts from a slow afternoon at work (most of the employees were in a training session).

Those who oppose McCain should hope he keeps wearing a baseball cap. It makes him look like someone's old doddering uncle.

I nagged daughter #1 to take classes to recertify for teaching and now the economy is going to he11 and prospects are looking bleak, I feel guilty but still think there's got to be some good that can come from her doing this.

I may never get back to the salary I earned before I moved. Different areas and different industries mean very different pay rates. But I have no commute (10 minutes and the dress code is more relaxed, plus the people are nicer and I like what I'm doing more. I have my fingers crossed for retirement in four years.

Daughter #2's no frills (no photographer, no video, no limo, no wedding party, no church, no cake, smaller guest list) wedding is going to cost almost as much as #1's did ten years ago. Feeding the guests is the major expense.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 2, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the link, slyness.

Posted by: Lyssa | April 2, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for asking, Maggie, but no baby boys yet. I had lunch with the third dottir today, and believe me, there has never been a more pregnant person in the history of the world than she. She goes to the doctor again on Friday and is hoping that this one will okay inducing her. She is more than past ready for this to be over.

Posted by: slyness | April 2, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Sneaks, you got that right. About wedding expenses, I mean. I just wrote up a whole discussion on the topic, but it ended up sounding way defensive, and no one needs to read that. I'm just grateful that our parents are willing and able to foot the bill, even though we really ought to be grownups by now.

Posted by: bia | April 2, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

... well maybe Ted Simon's approach to the career blahs was not so silly afterall... riding around the world on a motorbike Joel... something to think about.. the WP could sponsor you and you could blog your way through it :)

Fabulous read: Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon. My favourite book by far!!!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 2, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 2, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Evenin' all...

Glad to hear some success stories about changing vocations after 40. As a 40 year old in the middle of that change (or mid-life crisis -- it's all semantics), I know it ain't easy. Or even rational, in my case.

All I know is that my old job as a programmer was slowly but surely killing me. The problem-solving part of it wasn't so bad -- I actually liked that bit -- but dealing with stoopid users and clueless clients nearly drove me mad. I may only make a fraction of my old salary doing what I do now, but working at something I truly enjoy is worth every lost penny.

Being able to smoke and drink beer while I work doesn't bother me one bit either.

Lyssa... the whole line of my fairy doors and windows can be found at (you may have to register to see the prices in US$... I think it defaults to Australian dollars).

Anyway, I'm off for some much-deserved couch potato time.

Peace :-)

Posted by: martooni | April 2, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

... more alternatives to mid-life crisis, inspired by Ted...

... Hollywood style!!!!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 2, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

A church wedding with a rented church kitchen and potluck catering done by family and friends can be surprisingly cost-effective, but it still costs.

Mind you, THAT wedding had the food I remember the most. It turned out the in-laws-to-be had serious cooking talent.

We once considered catering our parents' retirement/anniversary party but when we reckoned the cost of renting a place AND catering, then we looked at it as a BBQ, and then finally decided, for 40 guests we could check out banquets at restaurants instead.

I was surprised to see Maggiano's of little italy on the list one of my siblings drew up and how cheap it was-- 25 bucks a plate or so back then. I had already sampled their banquet menu and the food comes in multiple courses and is really excellent.

I said, you MUST taste their food, so we went to the Tyson's location, secured the vote. When the time came around, we loved not having to do much with multiple-course dinner as we celebrated our parents' anniversary in their banquet room, complete with powerpoint slides, speeches, interpreter, and stories.

When I recall the BBQ we did for our parent's 25th, this was so much better in many ways.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 2, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

A sciency world fair in NYC, in my lifetime!

Here are some lovely pics of the one in 1964

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 2, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I've had a short attention span career- wise, army, tire factory, teaching, journalism, nonprofit director and small town mayor-the only consistency is each job has paid less than the last. At this rate I am headed through the Peace Corps to regaining my faith and joining the Sisters of Charity before it is all over.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 2, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. Reading this kit made me sad. I hope you're not going anywhere, JA. I would think if you were of the mind to do something else, there are endless possibilities for someone with all your many talents. Of course, I'm hoping that's not the case.

Slyness, got your email and tried that, and it did help, but it's still acting crazy. My plans are to attend the conference, but there is some disagreement concerning two other members, so I'm going to see how that works out.

It has been a busy day. If I was paid for the work I do on Wednesday, I could retire again, and draw a decent pension.

I'm going to embrace my bed. The body is just wore out. I went to the g-girl's school today. She hugged me, and thought I came to take her home. I told her she had to stay at school. I have not seen my grandson again. My daughter is upset with me, so they don't come around. I'm trying to rest up while things are quiet. I'm resting by working hard.

Good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 2, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. Reading this kit made me sad. I hope you're not going anywhere, JA. I would think if you were of the mind to do something else, there are endless possibilities for someone with all your many talents. Of course, I'm hoping that's not the case.

Slyness, got your email and tried that, and it did help, but it's still acting crazy. My plans are to attend the conference, but there is some disagreement concerning two other members, so I'm going to see how that works out.

It has been a busy day. If I was paid for the work I do on Wednesday, I could retire again, and draw a decent pension.

I'm going to embrace my bed. The body is just wore out. I went to the g-girl's school today. She hugged me, and thought I came to take her home. I told her she had to stay at school. I have not seen my grandson again. My daughter is upset with me, so they don't come around. I'm trying to rest up while things are quiet. I'm resting by working hard.

Good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 2, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. Reading this kit made me sad. I hope you're not going anywhere, JA. I would think if you were of the mind to do something else, there are endless possibilities for someone with all your many talents. Of course, I'm hoping that's not the case.

Slyness, got your email and tried that, and it did help, but it's still acting crazy. My plans are to attend the conference, but there is some disagreement concerning two other members, so I'm going to see how that works out.

It has been a busy day. If I was paid for the work I do on Wednesday, I could retire again, and draw a decent pension.

I'm going to embrace my bed. The body is just wore out. I went to the g-girl's school today. She hugged me, and thought I came to take her home. I told her she had to stay at school. I have not seen my grandson again. My daughter is upset with me, so they don't come around. I'm trying to rest up while things are quiet. I'm resting by working hard.

Good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 2, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The part of the whole wedding thing that I find most amusing is the dress. When #1 got married, she ordered a beautiful dress from a bridal shop months ahead of time. It cost somewhere around a thousand dollars. #2 ordered a dress online from who-knows-where a couple of years ago when she started and then stopped planning her wedding back then. The dress cost one hundred dollars! Having sewn a few dresses in my time and knowing something about fabric, I was sure the dress would be a piece of cr@p. Boy was I wrong. There is more than $100 in material in that dress and it's very nice and looks great on her. Assuming it isn't wrinkled to bits by now, we only need to hem it and she'll be all set.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 2, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm seriously starting to rue the day I agreed to remodel our side room. The increased health risk due to sawdust inhalation is bad enough. We need not even mention that persistent pain in my weak shoulder. As my father used to say, "Thank God I don't have to do real work for a living."

So it is with relief that I settle into my comfy beanbag chair in the bunny bunker with the lagomorphs happily binking around me. I recently located my linen gloves and have started to re-read Joel's book, "The Grand Idea." I do this every once in a while because, well, I suspect my mind is going so I always forget some of the good parts. And there are many, many good parts. I am convinced that, regardless of the future of newspapers, there will always be a valued place for such a skilled writer and thinker as Joel Achenbach.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 2, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Amen, RD.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 2, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I had a very nice wedding. She is an only child and her father insisted on paying for everything. Further, I might note, her father was involved in an unseemly competition with his sister whose daughter had been married the year before. (It might help to sketch this out on a blackboard.)

And yet, of course, not everything went right. There were problems with the food, the band was a little too rowdy, the photographer got drunk, and the Priest was late.

I was oblivious to most of this, but my wife noted it all carefully and still remembers everything in frightening detail.

I worry sometimes that this is because she wants to avoid having these things happen the next time she gets married.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 2, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

dbG... this is for you (URL is not HAL safe, although the comic IS)...

Posted by: TBG | April 2, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, DNA Girl, thanks for posting that link to the Science Festival in NY.

I would *love* to go to that...

I'm kinda disappointed that there's no production of "Copenhagen," but hey, the other stuff looks great.


Posted by: bc | April 2, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Go away for a few hours and return to a diagnosis of the dreaded who that syndrome. I had a sense that something was dreadfully wrong with me, as I haven't been myself lately. You'll have to excuse me while I seek counseling toward the goal of grammatical remediation. I fear that I'm addicted to whos.

Posted by: jack | April 2, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Out of the blue you mention Copenhagen?!
Thanks so much for bringing back memories...Michael Cumsty? was amazing as Heisenberg (hey look bc, we're on topic with uncertainty and middle age :-).
I was going to see the movie (Daniel Craig as Heisenberg, OMG!), but then I heard they had messed up the play too much, so I couldn't bear to...but still Daniel Craig...OMG!!!

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 2, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

The Kit made me a little sad, too. What a shame that even someone so talented is made to feel insecure these days. Did Thurber feel that way? Well, maybe...

And then I read this in the local paper:
Cucumbers for "local" pickle companies will no longer come from the Pacific Northwest. It's not right!

I am burned out from my job - too much stress - but I hate to think how much income I'd lose if I changed jobs. Or what I'd want to do...but I'm keeping my eyes open. Suggestions welcome.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 2, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

One thing I have learned at 49. No one older than you gives a fig about your age or your future. Deal dude.

Loved Froomkin today.

Posted by: bill everything | April 2, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

bill e - you might be right. I guess we can't expect anyone younger to give a fig either. Sigh.

mostly - I think you're right! It's not right! Reading your 10:29 link made me sad.

TBG - loved that link to appropriate stay at home wear!

Hmmmm...this Daniel Craig movie wasn't on my radar, but I think I'll have to visit netflix and see what I'm missing. He's definitely OMG material.

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

"Despite the many failures at newspapers, the vast majority of reporters and editors have devoted years, even decades, to understanding the subjects of their stories."

I religiously (though not reverently) read the WaPo.

I find little evidence of the above assertion in the articles I read here.

Nor do I find it on HuffPo (where many of the articles are cut and pasted from the MSM).

More evidence occurs in serious print journalism - Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, etc.

Posted by: Rog49Thomas | April 3, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

A career change is not too distant in the future for me. I try not to worry about the uncertainty. Hopefully, like RD said, unexpected opportunities will present themselves.

Posted by: rainforest | April 3, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

On a lighter side :

Chinese ballet performance in Germany. Incredible feat by the performers.

Posted by: rainforest | April 3, 2008 2:35 AM | Report abuse

TBG, thank you! Printed out and hanging by my home PC as office decor. I especially loved the "wear to work! Shopping! Sleeping! WEAR IT TOMORROW, TOO!"

Kim, how's it going?

Posted by: dbG | April 3, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

@Wiredog: Why am I so depressed? Have you ever lived in England. There is no place so unrelentingly English as England. The weather alone is enough to make you want to jump in front of a truck, excuse me, a lorry. Yes, you can drink, and I do, but then I run the risk of turning into Richard Burton, with My Lovely Wife turning into Elizabeth Taylor. We soon devolve into "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," except without the fictitious child.

Still, I'm glad I did this. And, though I never thought I'd say it, I'm looking forward to August in Washington.

John Kelly's Voxford

Posted by: John Kelly | April 3, 2008 4:21 AM | Report abuse

August in Washington? Something to be anticipated, certainly, but in a positive light???


Oh, and Front Page Alert...

*stunned Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I love the way the electronic news has grown. It's easier to read, I can prioritize easier too. No one can contend than I'm 'going to go blind from reading without the light on like that' either.

And I get to rant at people in the news in the comments section. Those people may never read my spewings, in some cases I doubt the subjects even can read, but it's my hope that lightning will one day strike.

Post blogs, and newspaper blogs in general, are not like regular blogs. With a Post blog, or article, I'm commenting on information and issues that someone has taken a lot of time to produce.

There's a lot of difference between material produced by the professional press and a blogger in a lot of cases. Talent, training and literacy are usually big differentiators given sufficient examination of contrasts between them.

Also, I'm too lazy to blog... It's more fun to rant where I'm assured of at least an audience of fellow ranters...

Posted by: Nym | April 3, 2008 5:21 AM | Report abuse

While I find myself substantially in agreement with the ideas presented in this bloggish article, I still am left with one idea that I'm having a hard time settling.

It seems to me that newspapers are evolving into something other than newspapers. I don't know exactly what I'd call them, but it's a lot more than just a newspaper these days.

I don't know what sort of beast they're going to turn into either, but so far the enhancements that have come from no longer being tied to a static process of information distribution from a consumer perspective are quite sweet.

Posted by: Nym | April 3, 2008 5:30 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Not much to report on this morning. It is certainly a lackluster day on the op-ed page. Cassandra, you up yet?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Nym said "it's a lot more than just a newspaper these days".

How true.

I started watching MSNBC about a month ago (never did before) and was surprised to see so many of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) WaPo editors and columnists and journalists appearing regularly. I never knew that WaPo and MSNBC had such a tight relationship.

I also noticed that none of the WaPo panelists have fly-away hair. This could be a niche that Joel could easily fill.

I know this was recently discussed here, but merchandising is another potential source of college tuition. I would personally like a "Clouds are Hard" t-shirt.

Or one of these:

"I went off-topic on the Achenblog and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

"I {heart} Mianus"

"Dude... Where's my parking space?"

"I'm Verklempt"

"Got Umbrage?"

Joel could market them by putting one on and sneaking down to wherever they shoot the MSNBC interviews and casually do jumping jacks in the background.

Posted by: martooni | April 3, 2008 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Three long-time broadcasters on our local CBS affiliate have been told their contracts will not be renewed. One is a sportscaster with about 30 years at the station, one is their entertainment reporter and the other is a newscaster. All of them are institutions on the station but budget cuts at CBS have apparently caused them to be terminated. It's very sad but it's the way things are with all the competition. It's just another instance of smart, local people being thrown over for young, good looking airheads from elsewhere who can't pronounce any of our quirky city names and don't seem to be overly intelligent. Alas!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 3, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Newspapers in the traditional sense are still in demand. We still need to cover the bottom of the bird cage and to wrap mullet.

Reporters are going to have to learn to transition to the web in some form or another. Now you can better appreciate what it was like to be a blacksmith 100 years ago.

Learn to become a webmaster.

Learn Spanish and become a journalista or correspondent in Latin America. The cost of living is much lower in the 3rd world. As a webmaster you can work anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

You will also learn first hand about age discrimination. Many people don't want to hire anyone over 45. Welcome to the club.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Truth is, it's kind of an exciting time to be in the news business. I know the kit sounded kind of mopey-dopey but I actually am rather jazzed about having a chance to contribute the reinvention of the newspaper. This blog is [immodesty alert] a piece of that: It's really like a group blog because of the unusual nature of the boodle. You know: the top-shelf volubility. Whatever you call that thing you do.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 3, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Right now the news business on the internet is suffering from the problem of the commons. Everyone has access to the same AP and other wire source news and there are few differentiators out there.

John C. Dvorak on Cranky Geeks made the point that there is right now an oversupply of news sources since every local paper posts the same stories verbatim. We don't need 250 rewrites of the same wire story.

Once the online consolidation begins in earnest, the cream will rise back to the top. Which includes marquee talent like our Joel. But it won't happen in time to pay the college tuition. Sorry.

As an April Fools joke, the Tribune Company (a force for evil as far as I'm concerned) put up an online tip-jar. Blatant begging works as a business model for NPR. It's an idea.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I'd tend to call it "stream-of-consciousness," complete with eddies and rapids...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle! Thanks, Joel, for giving us the opportunity to participate in the Great Reinvention. I have recieved grammatical counseling and will endeavour to overcome the who that affliction.

Posted by: jack | April 3, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

And I'd tend to call the Nats 3-0!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I always insist on nothing but top-shelf volubility myself. Unless I am throwing a party.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 3, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Today's WaPo "Metro" features a nice piece on my neighbor, poet Reed Whittemore.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

You accidentally pointed out what is wrong with newspapers--you only are in awe of those on the far left of the political spectrum. When your local newspaper has turned into the Obama Daily Worship and over 50% of the country thinks their editorial page consists of a bunch of aging hippies with issues, why pay to support such irrelevancies? The WaPo has declined into such a partisan rag, that the hundreds of people I know who have ceases subscribing always cite their bias. You just can't get over yourselves, liberals. Not everyone agrees with you. You ruined newspapers.

Posted by: Karen | April 3, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

As I said, Front Page Alert...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of Tents
By Reed Whittemore

I am thinking of tents and tentage, tents through the ages.
I had half a tent in the army and rolled it religiously,
But Supply stole it back at war's end, leaving me tentless.
And tentless I thankfully still am, a house man at heart,
Thinking of tents as one who has passed quite beyond tents,
Passed the stakes and the flaps, mosquitoes and mildew,
And come to the ultimate tent, archetypal, platonic,
With one cot in it, and one man curled on the cot
Drinking, cooling small angers, smelling death in the distance--
War's end--
World's end--
Sullen Achilles.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Karen, you have it all wrong. This is the centrist's corner, and we have lots of fun. I respectfully suggest that you peruse the online and hard copies of the WSJ, The Washington Times, and other such conservative publications and contrast them with what you so broadly characterize as liberal publications. Then sit back, analyze the opposing positions and come to decisions regarding the affairs of the world on your own.

Posted by: jack | April 3, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I suspect it wasn't kbertucci.

Beautiful sunny day in the other federal capital. Rumors of snow melting might materialised.
Major newspapers have gained a global audience, surely there is a way to make a commercial success out of it. I barely glance at the local rag anymore, why would I do it if the WaPo, NYT, LA Times, the Times, La Presse, Le Figaro, Le Monde, the G&M, etc are available at the click of a mouse?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

An on-kit poem from RW:

In the middle of this life's journey
He came, like Dante, on a wood
The notes said stood for error
But in his case stood for good,
Where his art and prowess left him
And let him become a child
To whom the wild seemed milder
Than his old neighborhood.

Had he, with those abandoned
Sons of fatal decrees,
Then been found by a shepherd
And bred up to shepherdese,
Or retrieved, like Dante, by Virgil
And led through circles and seas
To some brighter country beyond
His annotated trees,

He could not have been more cared for.
Nature was awfully kind.
Hell in that motherly habit
Put hell quite out of mind.

How in that Arden could human
Frailty be but glossed?
How in that Eden could Adam
Really be lost?

Dante covered this mid-life experience years ago. AND, look what he wrote them. Go to, JA, go to.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I would say we have another candidate for the study of disgraphia, no.

Texas Mike, meet Karen.

Karen, meet Texas Mike.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid, shrieking denizen! (Zut, alors!)

This boodle is way farther right than my personal viewpoint. So I would tend to agree that it has a "centrist" vibe.

One thing that the article about the future of newspapers got right about my dead-tree interaction was the amount of time spent with it. Getting the paper from the driveway is still the numero uno priority seven days a week at our house. But I just glance at the front page and the funnies and the Tropical Life section, and then I'm on the computer making the rounds of my favorite websites. My husband only uses the computer to monitor his bank accounts--he reads the whole paper every day, but he complains about its declining quality, and he doesn't spend as much time reading it as he used to.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 3, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

You know, If you do a google image search on Arianna without the Huffington you get 99% smut.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll take your word for it, omni.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 3, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. rainforest, I hope you have a nice evening.

One of my friends told me that the WaPo is a liberal newspaper a couple of weeks ago. Of course, he admitted that he doesn't read the paper, he just knows it from Fox News shows.
That just cracks me up! I remember a John Kerry campaign flak in the 2004 election complaining that the Post was trying to torpedo the campaign. Liberal bloggers routinely slam the Post for being Bush administration shills because it's editorial position on the Iraq war. It seems to me that if folks on the right and left get mad at the WaPo, they must be doing something right.

I wonder if the folks who (that?) think the Post is a liberal rag just don't like the facts that have been brought to light about this administration and it's policies? Or maybe they don't mind the facts, they just don't want them brought to light?

Posted by: Kim | April 3, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

omni - that is why the gods of Google invented "moderate" and "strict" image filtering.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 3, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

The Inferno,opening lines:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
Che la diritta via era smarrita.

In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.
Canto I, lines 1-3

Not sure what translation as this is a swipe from Wikiquote. However, this shall do as an on-kit comment. I think I am ahead now. Shall find a knitting thingie or flower thingie later.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

When the Philadelphia Bulletin went out I was bereft.

Left with the stuffy Inquirer. bah and yuck.

The Bucks Counter Courier Times. Think Highschool newsletter quality. I seriously believe that paper had no editors whatsoever. Every single day I found quite a few typos and grammar errors.

Moved to DC and fell in love with the Post. Been reading it every day for twenty years now. For me, the biggest downside to this love affair is it's a local paper. What to do on vacation.

I've only been to three cities on vacation that had good local papers (one of which I couldn't read though (it was in Portuguese)). And everywhere I've gone I've been able to locate an L.A. Times or N.Y. Times. But still, I'd much rather have my Post...

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I would never lie about smut, or redheads.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Anyway, Whittemore's take on Dante is graceful.

"some brighter country beyond"

is evidently his unique phrase. Amazing it isn't common currency.

Google Books has its uses.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

In high school, I got the Tampa Tribune in the morning because it had Bloom County and the Times in the afternoon for Doonesbury.

I used to get home after school about 2 pm and play Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons super loud until the newspaper boy (one of my classmates) came around in his pick-up truck and his girlfriend threw the afternoon paper in the yard. I'd go out and get it and we'd wave to each other as he zoomed back around from the end of the cul de sac.

Now with unlimited comics on the web (both syndicated print comics and the newer webcomics which aren't restricted by formatting limitations or family content restrictions) I still enjoy scanning the WaPo ever-shrinking comics page before going online.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

DNA Girl, when I was looking over the Festival's events I saw all of the art inspired by science, and thought of Copenhagen.

One of the many hats I wear aside from being the Jackson Pollock of the English Language, is that of the Monday Morning Cosmologist.

And if there's anything I know well, it's Uncertainty.

Haven't seen that film adaptation with Daniel Craig, but I'm going to put it on my list. I think.

I expect to have some trouble purchasing it - if I Observe it, I won't know how much it costs, and if I know how much it costs, I won't know where to find it. Or what color it is. Or something like that.

I used to make many references to QM in the early days of the Boodle, to the best of my relative Observations.


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

SafeSearch is your friend at work. I'm amazed at the different search results I get between the office and home. Of course, if that is what you're looking for, that is fine.

I hope the disturbingly large number of people that find my blog by Googling "Jordan Todosey naked" go away unsatisfied.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

i basically can't keep up with newspapers and even magazines, so i made the decision not to subscribe (even before internet news got big) because i hated to waste all that paper. now i'm a happy online-only reader who never would have read as much as i do now (news-wise) if it weren't for the internet.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | April 3, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

OK, yello, I just have to ask: who is Jordan Todosey? (I'd Google him/her, but you've made me afraid to do so.)

Regarding Karen's post (and I never thought for the splittest of split seconds it was our Bertooch), I've always been vastly amused that the people who decry allegedly "knee-jerk liberal" newspapers and other media are themselves the worst kind of mindless knee-jerk conservatives.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Jordan Todosey like 12 or 13?

I would hope they go straight to jail and not collect $200 dollars on the way!

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The London "red-top" tabloids do a good job of combining news and smut. Actually, not so much with news.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

If the Washington Post editorial staff were to start taking their civic responsibilities seriously, I might even revert to ponying up for the print edition.

A good start would be a daily, front-page editorial on how we are headed for an economic meltdown in the near-term unless Congress mends it's ways on taxes and spending.

Instead, I'm treated to a regular series of puff-pieces on how we might turn the 67th corner in Iraq.

Posted by: Jim W | April 3, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, she's safe to google. Or better yet, knowing yello's passsion for tweener shows, look her up on IMDb.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"I did four years at a newspaper right out of college and recently quit to transition to medicine. Nearly every older reporter with I career admired consistently said that they would not go into the field as it is today."

Um, meant, "Nearly every other reporter with a career I admired..."

But it's great that you knew what heck disgraphia means. Or at least what is more commonly spelled dysgraphia. Cause feeling superior based on blog comments is awesome.

Posted by: Texas Mike | April 3, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I would note - as has been pointed out many times here - that the Post is regularly slammed by both the left and the right.

"Post Precipitates Purple Passions" has a ring to it, don't you think?


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Todosey turned 13 last month. And in fairness to the pervy Googlers, the much more tasteful search for "Jordan Todosey nude" gets more hits. It ranks as my fifth most popular search result. The top four are "toni daytona", "foma", "foobiverse", and "foob".

One could accuse me of pandering by actually including those words on my blog, but it's a result of me noting my revulsion at finding those search terms bringing readers to begin with. Such is the positive feedback loop of the Google algorithms.

One blogger posts the most unusual search term that resulted in a hit that day. There are some seriously disturbed people out there.

I'd love to see Joel's Googlelytics.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

One of our local weeklies folded recently. Hubris and perfidy (on the part of the owner/editor/reporter/ad sales rep) did it in. He sold the press and shipped it to Mexico before the county could come in and secure the eqipment public dollars helped him buy. I don't know if this is a death of a newspaper story, mortgage crisis/personal bankruptcy story, lack of oversight when tax dollars are involved story, or what. Seems like we could use a good professional journalist to help us sort it all out.

Ariana Huffington was rumored to have been dating Cory Booker. She's a bit older than he (19 years), and if true all I can say is "You go girl!!"

Welcome to folks dropping by via the front page.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Martooni. My google ad comes with a ballet show in UMCP, with title "Sawdust Palace". The business plan would be to sell the sawdust labeled from the palace or fairyland or paradise in birthday party bags accompanying the show performance...

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 3, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Jordan Todosey plays the bratty younger step-sister of the titular slacker in the Disney Channel's "Life With Derek."

Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of Miranda Cosgrove, but I have no desire to see her nude either.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Hubris and perfidy are fab words.

Daiwanian -- I'll get right on the UMCP ballet to Martoonie sawdust option. Is there a futures market for wood shavings?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Texas Mike, there was more than just that older/other mistake in your first post.

In fact your 9:19 post, third paragraph displays more evidence of dYsgrapia.

So sorry about the typo. But we do like to kid around here. And we also like to join the SCClub willingly on our own, thanks.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I keep my volubiles on the bottom shelf so they don't get broke

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 3, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

SCC:Scratch the first para in my 9:28. I see now that TM fixed both errors I noticed.

In my defense: I've been up since 4:30 and haven't had but one cup of soda yet.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Yello-we subscribe to the Tampa Trib and St. Pete Times, though both arrive in the morning now and our newspaper carriers are trying to raise grandchildren on their salaries.

This was filmed in 2006, and I can't find a transcript, but it makes a fine point about how the Internet can transform the way we look at, and perhaps help us come to understand, a lot of complicated information. Hans Rosling's TED Talk - "Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen."

If you only watch the first 5 (of 20) minutes it's worthwhile.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Jim W, I can't think of a better way to hasten the death of newspapers than to start running front-page editorials about econimics, especially on a daily basis. Yeah, THAT'll really bring in the readership. Jeez, Jim, you might as well hire Dr. Kevorkian as your media consultant.

And what, pray tell, do you envision a newspaper's "civic responsibility" to be? To blatantly editorialize those positions to which you agree?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that people still think blogs are equal to newspapers.

"This is Klem Jeffers, reporting from the Starbucks on College Avenue. Vanilla lattes with white chocolate sprinkles are selling briskly. A minor skuffle broke out during the rush hour when a gentleman - obviously in a hurry - shouted, 'Who do I have to $%%$# to get a $$#$%% coffee around here!' The man did not respond in a solicitous manner when this reporter corrected his grammar to 'whom.'"

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't consider blogs like the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, or the Drudge Report examples of journalism. At best, they are online versions of the National Enquirer.

Check out the Huffington Post 24/7 and you'll see those whom it scorns (such as Hillary Clinton) featured in grossly Photoshopped photos with twisted and misleading headlines and the worst yellow journalism in the modern era.

At the same time, those it supports are treated with similarly distorted coverage, except on the positive side.
For example, Obama is portrayed with a halo around his head speaking to the masses who are kneeling before him in the thousands.

Posted by: ichief | April 3, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hm-m-m. Looks some folks (including me) are bit peckish this a.m. Didn't get out of our session last night 'till almost 11. Needed to get home, drink some Pinot Gris and wind down. After all that, I still woke up this morning close to my usual time, so really didn't get any extra rest.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 3, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

we here are proud of being centrist wingnuts.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | April 3, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Obviously SoC, you don't own very large tail wagging dogs. I do, so I keep my very small volubile on the upper shelf.

On another subject I spied two kids (15-16 yo boys, yet both taller than me; what do they feed them?) with deep purple mohawks haircuts in the food court this morning. Then three more. Then a whole bunch of them having breakfast together. They were a hockey team in town for a tournament. The purple mohawk is a kind of cute idea, that is if you can call a bunch of teenage boys in shorts and flip-flops slouching around cute.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Real Mohawks for faux-Mohawks?

Cowtown - brilliant.

It is another gorgeous sunny day here, potential for double digit celcius temps, bulbs are popping up.

Posted by: dmd | April 3, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse


Those blogs you listed are mostly opinion sites and aggregators. The real news is being gathered somewhere else. The key is that nobody has found a way to pay those folks for their contribution to the value chain. Heck, Arianna doesn't even pay her bloggers.

And I do badly photoshopped parodies of Hillary Clinton, wanna make something of it?

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 3, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I forget, am I a wingnut or a wingbat? Ooh, I think I'm actually a dingbat.

Wait, what...My mind is obviously a steel trap...memories get in, but they don't get out........

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I forgot that "The Times" now means the St. Pete Times. In my day, there was a Tampa Times that got folded into the Tribune like most afternoon papers do. The St Pete Times jumped into the breach and the greater Tampa Bay area has a competitive newspaper market.

The choice of which to subscribe to seems to depend on your party and college sports affiliation. The Times leans liberal and Seminole while the Tribune is more conservative and favors the Gators.

Both run their comics in color which is a mild heresy.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of wedding dresses (only 13 hours later), what amazes me are some of the ads on craigslist. "Bought this dress for $2300, but then decided I wanted a different one, so someone please buy this one off me."

Me, I got my lovely dress at the consignment store, and it's going straight back there afterwards. But I'm ending up spending more on alterations than I did on the dress, so my whole virtuous frugality act may not come off.

Posted by: bia | April 3, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

yello... I read your line as Disney Channel's "Life With Dreck."

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Real mohawks dmd, although most of the guys had short hair so they weren't spectacular mohawks. They were from Peterbush, if I may say so.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

As a junior high school student, I fed on the Miami Herald (Pennecamp was columning back then). Then the Philadelphia Bulletin. Big, plump thing.

Today's is a marvel for the variety of opinions it provides every day, and the degree of "local" (and often nationally important) knowledge its news staff bring to bear.

On the side, today's column by Ignatius is worth reading. When I was in Panama in January, the local papers were very concerned about the rising cost of rice, and they were making connections to 2008 being the "year of the potato". A little bit of searching for cheaper alternatives to rice.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Correction: that's John Pennekamp. How could I mess up his name when an underwater state park in the Keys is named for him?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Twenty-six years and I still miss that damn paper.

It's slogan: "In Philadelphia, nearly everybody reads The Bulletin."

The headline of it's final edition: "Nearly Everybody Read The Bulletin"

With 'Read' in italics dammit.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Ha Ha! That's about right. "Life with Derek" is not particularly good. It's really just mining the uptight studious sister/knuckle-headed brother dialectic that was pretty well exhausted by "Even Stevens".

I prefer the term moon-nut or wing-bat. Or groundhog if you want to go all Heinleinian.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning everybody. Faxing good cheer and consolation all around. And coffee to omni. SD, boko, here is hoping you and yours keep your feet dry over the next few days. Faxing some spare sump pumps over to you just in case. Scotty, what *would* I do without fax access?

I like Joel's take that it isn't death for journalists, but rather a rebirth and an exciting one at that.

New technology is allowing us to change how we get our news, but it still doesn't change the desire we have for well written, unbiased reporting. I think the new technology makes solid reporting and better writing more important than ever.

I don't know about anyone else, but my knowledge of what is happening everyday all over the world is so much better now than it was 20 years ago. My overall news consumption is way way up.

I will never watch movies on my cell phone, but I can see the day where I would access news on it. It probably is not that far away.

Posted by: dr | April 3, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I suppose that one could always run off to join the circus as a second career. We took our children to the circus in November or December and encountered the protests described in this article. Our children took it in stride, and didn't seem bothered.

Posted by: jack | April 3, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

dr, soon is the day that a cell phone will be made that can project an image. I'll bet you'll watch a movie on it then. But first you have to win the lottery cause the phone bill will be in the thousands.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I will admit it.. I watch TV shows and movies on my cellphone. I also Boodle on my cellphone. And listen to music, buy music, check the stocks and the weather, keep my calendar, text with friends and family, use AIM, get directions, watch YouTube, surf the Interwebs, take pictures, store pictures on my cellphone.

Oh yeah.. and talk to people. Forgot that one.

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Once after a visit to the Carnival I wanted to run off to join it. The contortionist sure was pretty.

Posted by: omni | April 3, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

There may be a place for newspapers in the future, but it'll be on the Web, not on sheets printed from pulped trees and trucked across town. And we'll see a continuation of the trend toward consolidation, because let's face it: Most local and metropolitan papers aren't very good. Why read world and national news in the PIGVILLE PRESS when you can read it online in THE WASHINGTON POST or THE NEW YORK TIMES?

Posted by: Durant Imboden | April 3, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I had too much coffee (asked for a half-caf but I think it's a full-caf -- FEEL NEED TO HIT CAPS LOCK) and so I updated the kit AGAIN. Did some boodle-mining.

Sorry. Will stop now. Will go back into Ur-Lurker mode.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 3, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The HOGTOWN PRESS is owned by the NYT and is good for local news.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning.
The rhubarb has surfaced. Life goes on.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 3, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on the kit call-out. It seems to me that political blogs are way more polarized and less comprehensive than newspapers have been since at least the Spanish-American War. I suspect a kettle coloring contest going on.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Shame on me, but "driften"?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

And Joel has cleverly hit upon a way to post just one permanent blog post continuously updated. It's like those bumper stickers that say "MY KID IS AN HONOR STUDENT" with the multiple "AGAIN" and "AND AGAIN" mini-sticker addenda.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Like the updates, Joel...

" But then, at the end of the day, I like to marinate in the dead-tree version on the [fabled] back porch. That's when my appetite has grown for something that's deeply reported and well written.''

See... this is where the paper paper and the online paper differ vastly. If I want to relax with my laptop in the evening and read today's online happenings... I can't. By the time I have time to do so, tomorrow's happenings are already featured. If I want to see what online chats I missed during the day, I've got to dig deep into the chat archive.

It's like the person who lays out his clothes before going to bed to make sure they're ready in the morning, to save a little time.

Why must tomorrow's chat's be featured tonight?

And other thing... the chats. This is one thing that really separates the Post's online site from other papers. The quality of the online live discussions (as they used to be called). But the Post seems to want to downplay them now... burying the links to them in the bottom THIRD of the home page screen. They used to appear at the top, with the currently live ones highlighted.

And what happened to the "Most read" links at the left of the screen? I used to find articles I would likely not have read with that easy-to-see link.

It seems like the Post is trying hard to keep me from digging deeper into the online version.

OK.. sorry for the rant. Carry on. I'll go back to watching "30 Rock" on my cellphone now.

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

General SCC on misspellings, grammar and extra apostrophes. A rant is a rant, after all.

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

And in the "oops" department...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

In defense of the fine folk manning the night shift in The Bunker: It's sad and lonely work, but to accuse them of drifting on-topic while on duty is beyond the pale.

They may occasionally doze off and post some translation of an obscure 17th century Russian poem marginally related to the kit, but it's purely accidental. They do fine work keeping the fires warm. I remember the day when the Boodle was only open during federal work hours. We must be grateful to the civilian volunteers that help us so much.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Oddly, I find myself reading the least time sensitive Style section first and frequently saving the A and B sections for later in the day.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm a regular reader, but infrequent commenter. Just speaking up to show you some love. The Post is, in my view, the best thing about life in Washington and, really, one of the best things in the country. So much smart writing by smart people. I read big chunks of it everyday and wish I had time for more.

I also, I'm embarrassed to admit, have cable news on a lot of the time that I'm at home, and I just want to shout, "Stop talking and go find out something!" They show the same stuff over and over, sometimes for days. Why don't they send a reporter to gather some news?

To take the most obvious example, there is more to be learned about the candidates and the campaigns than they are telling us. There's more than you're telling us to, but at least you don't subject us to many repetitions of Barack Obama telling a pesky photograph-seeker to buzz off.

Posted by: ND Girl | April 3, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Yeah, years of experience understanding their subjects.." Tom Friedman, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Mideast ya-ya girl for the War in Iraq. Spoke Arabic, knew everything about the "Arab street"...mainly a Zionist Shill. Go back and read all that crap he wrote for the New York Times in 2001-2. As unbelievable as Bush, more so....
All those non-stories about Kennedy and his harem...Marilyn...drugs, mafia....and I wondered why Jackie spoke so WIERDLY during her televised tour of the White House in the '60's. Yeah, that's what we need, REAL journalism (and journalists)!

Posted by: bong_jamesbong2001 | April 3, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

But I think that we still lack a definitive statement on the pictured place of George Washington's erst-times respite.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 3, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

While growing up, my family always read the Philly Bulletin, too, omni and Dave. It was "the Gray Lady of Market Street" (its office was out at 30th and Market, right across from 30th Street Station) and was much more prim and proper than either the Inquirer or the (god forbid) tabloid Daily News. The other thing people loved about the Bulletin was the fact that its comics ALWAYS occupied the last three pages of the paper (half the back page, and all of the inside next two pages), the point being you didn't have to go rooting all through the paper to find them. The Inky, on the other hand, not only carried inferior comics, it put them inside somewhere, and moved the pages around, so you never knew quite where to find them.

And then of course back in those days THE major difference was that the Inky and Daily News were owned by the Annenberg family in the person of Walter Annenberg, whose notions of journalism were about the same as those of Rupert Murdoch today. It was only after Annenberg finally sold the papers to the (now defunct) Knight-Ridder chain that the papers started to improve, so much so that pretty soon they started winning Pulitzer prizes, something utterly unimaginable in the old Annenberg days.

Toward the end of the Annenberg era, when I was a copyboy and clerk at the Inky, there occured what was at that time -- and may be, even now -- the greatest scandal in American newspaper history; this was the Harry Karafin case. Karafin was the Inky's "top" investigative reporter who got assigned to all the "best" stories; he was also Walter Annenberg's hatchet man. But unbeknownst to some (but not all) of the Inky management, Karafin was also a shakedown artist; he used his position at the Inky to blackmail or extort various and sundry city officials or other people. Since he was well-known to be Annenberg's hatchet man, Karafin often gave the impression that his extortion was backed by Annenberg himself (it wasn't). Everybody believed this, though, because both Karafin and Annenberg had such sleazy reputations it was easy to believe just about anything bad about either one of them. This was widely known in the newsroom by the other reporters and editors, so much so that when I first got hired as a copyboy, I (and all other copyboys) were briefed on the power struicture around the office. New reporters were quietly advised to do anything they could to avoid working with Karafin on a story. (This was back in the days of "rewrite," when there was a distinction between beat reporters and "rewrite men" (or women) who stayed in the office. A beat reporter would cover the event and phone it in to the city desk, which would transfer the call to one of the rewrite guys. Then, working over the phone, the beat guy would dictate notes and sometimes the entire story (if he was good enough to compose it in his head from a phone booth) and the rewrite guy would do most of the actual writing and construction based on the notes and conversation. Then the two of them would share the byline to the story; the second name was usually the rewrite guy. But the point was, the rewrite guy wouldn't know the facts of the story himself; he'd have to depend on the beat reporter. And in the case of Karafin, everyone knew you were getting yourself into a possible mess if you took rewrite from him.

This was also the birth of what became known as the "city magazines" like today's Washingtonian, etc.: big, glossy mags dedicated to their specific cities, with feature stories, investigative stuff, restaurant reviews and culture/entertainment stuff, profiles: whatever. "Philadelphia Magazine" was one of the best and one of the first of that breed, and it had a great crusading editor, Alan Halpern, the "father of the city magazine," and a bunch of terrific investigative reporters, Gaeton Fonzi, Bernie McCormick, Greg Walter, Charlie MacNamara, and Nacy Love. It was Fonzi and McCormick who investigated and wrote the story that broke the Karafin scandal wide open. Karafin was later charged, tried and convicted, and went to jail. (Here's a good appreciation of Halpern:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I worked in newspapers for nearly a decade after college, and have since made two successful career transitions: PR and buggy whips.

Posted by: TheProFromDover | April 3, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

And yet I am always hearing of the (probably blatantly self-promoted) good works of the Annenberg Foundation. Some people just have to kick the bucket before they make a positive impact.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I hear there is a good market for high quality German replica buggy whips in the international racing industry. Kind of a narrow niche though.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Artisanal goat-cheese maker! That's the next pursuit at Chez Frostbitten as we have scored a regular source of fresh goat milk.

In praise of unpasteurized cheese:

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I like the Karen v. kb text in the kit. And, I am with kb on the points. I hope I end up next to kb in assisted living. However, I will only go to Florida if my awareness leaves me. I hope to be in Okabogi, Iowa actually.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

yello, the Annenberg dynasty was started by Walter's father, Moe (for Moses) Annenberg, who started out in Chicago newspapers as an ad salesman, and he founded a string of racing sheets and forms and a racing wire (see "The Sting") that formed the basis of his fortunate. This allowed him to buy the Inky in 1936; shortly thereafter, he and the famous Andrew Mellon (of Carnegie-Mellon fame, yes that one) were investigated for income tax evasion. Mellon was eventually exonerated (three years after he died), but Annenberg pleaded guilty, got three years in jail, and died shortly after being released. So his son inherited the Inky and the business. Curiously, both Mellon and Walter Annenberg were appointed ambassadors to Great Britain (Walter by Richard Nixon; you remembber him). Mellon, of course, had been a great philanthropist all his life; not so the Annenbergs. It was only after Walter was appointed ambassador by Nixon that he sold the newspapers to Knight-Ridder; it was from this money that he and his wife formed the foundation. It is/was mainly run by Mrs. A and her daughter.

Annenberg's story parallels those of many other tycoons and robber baron types who one way or another make great fortunates through questionable means (Bill Gates anyone? Anybody here who doesn't hate Microsoft?) and then spend the last few years of their lives suddenly becoming philantropists.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

bong_jamesbong2001 raises many points and asks many questions, some of them even sufficiently coherent that I can tell what is the actual question. (I'm kinda limited, that way. Sorry.) In particular, "I wondered why Jackie spoke so WIERDLY during her televised tour of the White House in the '60's."

She spoke so weirdly because the U.S. used to have something much more like a permanent inherited aristocracy, with even less social mobility than today (although we seem to be heading back toward those "halcyon" times). Rich people had a different accent than poor and middle-class people. Really, I thought this was pretty widely known by now.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Joel: You were a young peckerhead when you were at the Miami Herald, now you're a geezer peckerhead with bad old man breath and a saggy gut. Best solution to get people to read the paper again is for you to quit and become a flack. You haven't done legitimate journalism since you were cub reporter, and even that's questionable. Memo to Washington Post HR: make an exemption to the age requirements and pay this idiot to go away. Please.

Posted by: Joel's worst nightmare | April 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Still backboodling but I must register my appreciation of the phrase "top-shelf volubility". Thank you, Joel. That may be the nicest thing anyone's said all week about an endeavor in which I'm involved.

It would look good on an Achenshirt too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 3, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"What galls me -- really frosts my hackles and gets my dander so far up it's in the stratosphere -- is the pervasive notion that political writing is our main editorial product. Ever actually picked up a newspaper? Notice how much stuff isn't about McCain and Obama and Clinton? (Lately, at least a third of it."

Are you kidding? You don't think political leanings invade every aspect of the paper from the way things are edited to the stories selected for coverage? Wha? Give me a break. 2 easy examples because I don't have all day - 1) March for Life - this is huge every year, hundreds of thousands of people in the cold and most of the time it is given somewhat perfunctory coverage in Metro because the POST IS NOT INTERESTED - duh, we get it, ok.
2) Writers who have a political bent not writing in politics - TK (ok, he doesn't exactly write anymore, but still) even on his radio show admits to his liberalism, I love the guy as an entertainer, I totally disagree with his (and let's face your) politics. Doesn't mean I have bought his or your books (I love the Whys) or for that matter Stephen Hunter's books, whose politics I am closer to - but this COMES THROUGH IN HIS movie reviews.

Your comment is ridiculous on it's face - the political bent of a paper and/or writer comes through in everything whether it's or blog or Weingarten's humor column. Give it a rest. Put your dander away and admit your paper is a left wing rag (I love the writing, but you're all a bunch of out of touch aging hippies).

Posted by: Are you kidding me? | April 3, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, the long-range plan sounds good to me. I don't have to live in Florida forever, but Iowa doesn't appeal too strongly--how about we compromise and check out the assisted-living situation in Provence? Tuscany? One of those civilized places.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 3, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That 12.16 could be taken any number of ways. I think I'll go refresh my cup of coffee.

Posted by: jack | April 3, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Now that I think of it, this could be a career possibility for some enterprising boodler--owner/manager of the Achenblog Group Home For Aging Hippies with Issues. (Centrist Wingnuts Also Welcome)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 3, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea there was a test today. And where are my clothes?

Posted by: Joel's second worst nightmare | April 3, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, second worst. I needed that laugh.

Posted by: bia | April 3, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I didn't know you gave your superego commenting priveleges...


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

*extending the Front Page Alert through this afternoon*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I think you owe me half a cup of coffee for the 12:36.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Why do I picture that the folks here were running around a la Laverne & Shirley, bumping into each other before finally evacuating their office?

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

*scrambling for Triscuts and Cheez Whiz for the bunker, and a couple of litres of red*

Posted by: jack | April 3, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Are you kidding me?", I think there is some validity in your point, but I think you have reversed the cause and the effect. You start from a presumption of political affiliation as a defining property, which then gives you a convenient handle to deconstruct all written material in search of its hidden agenda. A more straightforward approach would be to read material for its overt agenda (e.g., to communicate specific and unambiguous facts and ideas) and to analyze the material for its successes and failures, before you would meet any need to deconstruct its hidden motives. You describe a convoluted analysis in which the overt content of a piece is a mere screen to hide the subtext, which is the "true" message. The subtext communicated by most reporters and editors is fairly obvious, I should think: "Please read this material and consider it worthwhile so that I may continue to be employed in a profession that I enjoy."

Sometimes, a straight news report really is just a straight news report. Y'know?

Posted by: PlainTim | April 3, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

CP-you may end up rubbing elbows with my Pork Princess friend. When her family's army days are over she dreams of a home on Okoboji. Was getting a bit spendy in the second home boom but we'll all be ready for retirement before that bounces back.

When were these days that newspapers covered all and no bias ever interrupted their enormous news holes funded by tasteful advertising?

Halcyon-there's a good word.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Weingarten has noted that reporters tend to be liberal not because liberals want to take over media and reporting, but because they get made into liberals by knowing so much about people's lives and about the public's business. I would argue that developing a political opinion on the basis of extensive knowledge and consideration does not constitute a political bias, it constitutes judgment.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Are you kidding me?" is exactly right. Just look at these two classifieds:

1999 Chevy Impala
Cln, lo miles, metlc blu
CD, pwr wndws, A/C
$2,600 obo

Junior Associate Sales Position
Fantastic opportunity for motivated sales associate! Call on established leads. Salary + Generous Commission.
Contact Robert at

Obvious Liberal Bias!

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope Mr. Keller reimburses you for that extra ad coverage, CowTown...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The bunker is not only officially open for business, I think we may have to send out emergency crews to scout for refugees who can't make it here under their own steam, and station lookouts around the perimeter.

Aging hippies my a$$. They don't call some of you people the Lunatic Fringe for nothing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I will think we have entered the dark ages if the only way to access news is online or listening to and watching airheads.

My daily local paper has just shrunk again and it feels weird to pull apart the pages. But it is still there on my driveway in it's plastic covering, every morning. Comforting.

I'm with kbertocci--look briefly at the headlines in the morning then when I'm back home after work and maybe working out or attending some function I return to the dead tree version so I can really bask in the articles. I always learn something I might not find buried online.

But of course I do always go online, too, to read stories and articles on various websites, including the WaPo, since I live 1100 miles away and TWP is still my favorite journalistic fix.

Then there is the Sunday paper. Best day of the week--feet up, coffee in hand, classical music in the background and tons of interesting facts, fallacies and figures.

Posted by: eidrib | April 3, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse


We DID equip the bunker with corbomite, didn't we?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Okaboji! The Okeefeenoki (Sp?) of the midwest. This lake is the site of many fond memories. Yes, Frosti, some Saint Paul cousins and I thought about buying a place but are (were) in shock about prices.

One of my finest memories is upon the steam paddle boat, with only my relatives -- about 50 cousins out of the 63 that stem from one set of gr. parents. It was very late and we were singing so finely that the captain said that if we sang continously, he would make one more round of the lake. Fine songs, like

My Irish Molly-o
Drink to me only with thine eyes
Glass of blessing
Irene goodnight
Home Home on the range
You are my sunshine....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt's on fire today; though I think that niche is more riding crops than buggy whips.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 3, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scotty, but we may need a few hundred extra rounds of the stuff. Also some extra dilithium crystals, just in case.

And several cases of wine.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Nats up 4-0 on the Phils, bottom 1!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I go away for half a day and come home to something akin to Rovestorm.

As the child of a beat reporter (my dad covered City Hall for the Charlotte News, which folded in the late 70's), I do not remember a time when I didn't read at least one newspaper, generally two. I still read the dead tree edition of the local paper and then logon to WaPo.

When I first got on the Internet, I tried WaPo and NYT. I liked WaPo better and have stuck with them, quite happily.

I prefer to read and not hear my news, as I find I have more control over the content that way. I also dislike yelling, so I stay away from cable news.

A small memory: My dad used to fume when the paper got a street name wrong; I find I do the same (It's Pecan AVENUE, you idiots, not Pecan STREET!). What makes a great reporter is background knowledge and the ability to interpret facts based on said knowledge and experience. My dad used to scoop his competition regularly by talking to everybody on a particular issue. His sources might not say much, but he knew what was going on, could put it together, and publish the truth. That's what we're after here, folks, the truth. Not right/left or liberal/conservative.

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

SofCarl -- master of interesting angles easily missed.

Posted by: College parkian | April 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Not "liberal / conservative" ? Well, look at this article from today's WaPo:

Keith Richards, distilled: iconic survivor, Mick Jagger foil, rhythm-guitar legend, Captain Jack Sparrow inspiration, Louis Vuitton model, co-author of some of the greatest songs in rock-and-roll, and the proud (if occasionally incomprehensible) owner of one of the genre's greatest speaking voices -- a whiskey-soaked, smoke-cured guttural slur.

The most mystical of all Rolling Stones, Richards, 64, is calling to discuss Martin Scorsese's "Shine a Light," a new concert documentary filmed at New York's Beacon Theatre in 2006. It is, Richards purrs, "a documentation of this band's career and the way it goes on."

Huh? You think you'd see this paen to a drug-addeld, fornicating, sympathy-for-the-devil, druggie, "rock star" in a publication that respects FAMILY VALUES. Not in your life! Only in a leftie rag!

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Really, Cowtown.

They need to do at least one story on Debbie Boone just for balance.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Or, maybe the Mike Curb Congregation.

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I call those Fauxhawks.

I'm curious as to what serious Newshounds are thinking as they read the comments to this blog item.

(Or as we'd say, the Boodling to this Kit)

"THIS is the future of Newspapers?"


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe a paen to a drug-addled, fornicating, sympathy-for-the-devil, druggie, "radio star" instead... perhaps Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm just gonna pass this link on with a minimal amount of commentary. In fact, none (nonetheless reserving my right to add something later):

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The discussion of wedding costs did seem to have an unusually alarmist edge.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 3, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of reposting something, I did write about the future of Newspapers and what they can learn from the online industries that actually make money, like online gaming.

I called this one "Worlds of Newscraft."

If you haven't read it before, enjoy.

If you have, well, you have no one to blame but yourselves.


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

That's 3 minutes for conservatives and 13 for liberals.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall if CP linked to this piece about Reed Whittemore or not. If so, this is a repeat:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

A roiling boodle this afternoon.

Our local "city" magazine deals in exquisite dining rooms, boats, horses, golf, swimming pools, charity parties--all the affluent retirement stuff. It's a different world. [The druggie radio star lives in some other community. We do have a super-duper columnist/novelist lurking amongst us.]

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

BTW, "Aging Hippy," is available as a Boodle handle, for a nominal rental fee. Call before 2:00 EST and I'll waive the deposit.

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- Reed W. is a prince of people. Not doing well healthwise. Does not recognize me, really, anymore. But he waves, as if he would to any random person.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to talk about any of this contentious nionsense anymore; let's go back to poetry. The Reed Whittemore piece links off to the preface of his book written by Garrison Keillor ( which contains this wonderful sentence: "Your real American poet doesn't need to go
around in a serape and sandals, Jim Bob, he goes undercover in a blue suit
and white shirt and you don't know he is a poet unless you read his stuff."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Five to eight minutes! These people are trying to kill us. Tell me, please, that that includes getting the movie into the DVD and going down the fridge for the beer afterwards.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you will like this quote from the Feb. Issue of Writers' Chronicle:

Poets and intellectuals - who are paid little, and who are usually ignored by the general population - have this consolation, at least: they are the ones the tyrants go after first." -Frederick Smock, in "Poetry & Compassion"

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I would claim the 12:36 if I thought I could get away with it, SD. Unfortunately it wasn't mine. However, if we ever have an Ottawa BPH I'll buy you a beer. Domestic.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 3, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Very nice quote, CP. It is remarkable how tyrants have such a keen appreciation for who their truest enemies are.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Putting everyone out of the misery of not knowing the ID of the place in the photo above:

Posted by: Achenbach | April 3, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The decanter of sherry is a nice touch.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 3, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I expect Lonemule was here.

My local paper sometimes mumbles that since they get attacked by the "left" and the "right," they must be doing something correctly. The logical fallacy is obvious.

I have almost quit griping about what's on the front page. If the story is in there, and complete, it's good enough for me. What kills me is my local paper has a history of often dropping critical info from stories that reflect badly on the establishment. I recall for example a test flight of a new VTOL craft that crashed, killing some Marines. They somehow never mentioned the name of the corporations who MADE the thing. They do this sort of thing often. The internet, however, yields up the details much more often.

Posted by: Jumper | April 3, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry 99, it made me laugh and it was in your somewhat disjointed style.
For many years I tried really hard to drink away that detestable liquid, beer, but I had to give up the fight a few years back for health reason. Maltose turns into sugar instantly in my blood. Not good I was told.
My taste runs to wine and vodka&diet cola these days.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but what I want to know Mudge, is that story reported with a liberal bias or a conservative bias?

Posted by: dr | April 3, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

In the close but no cigar (story of my life), I actually googled Hyde Park when I was curious about that Inn Joel had posted.

Posted by: dmd | April 3, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

You mean it wasn't the original Six Flags? I mean there are six flags.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"When people talk about the Internet, people usually say, 'You can have your own blog, you can be Matt Drudge, you can start your own business,' " Turkle says. "What's going on with Larry is the flip side of all that. Things happen to other people and we don't often have a way to express how we're personally touched. 'There but for the grace of God go I .' The Internet allows us to express that connection. What were once private connections are now made public, but they're no less intimate." by Sherry Turkle, MIT. This is how I regard the Achenblog.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 3, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Rhinebeck! Now I'll have to fly to Newburgh, rent a Miata, and drive the Taconic State Parkway.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, use your imagination. Health care, balloning defense budgets, the ethanol boondoggle and spiraling food costs, unaffordable tax cuts, Social Security, energy prices, over-extended financial markets, interest on the debt...I bet you can think of one or two.

If you're of the opinion that the sum of the above don't add up to big trouble, then never mind. I can see where you'd think it boring.

As for those things being my "positions", I suggest you try "concerns". Check the dictionary for the difference between the two.

Posted by: Jim W | April 3, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Daiwanian -- nice quote. Thanks. Off to class. Hope it rains after I arrive and before I bike home.

Posted by: College parkian | April 3, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

So, Jim W, you want the Post to start running front-page editorials reflecting those "concerns" that you have. Interesting.

My original contention stands: you'd be a paper-killer. (And you are one of those relentlessly serious people who doesn't begin to understand the context here on the Achenblog.) Front-page editorials. Jeez.

And you're also utterly incapable of reading my mind: I never said that stuff was boring.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I think I already expressed my admiration for Page 3 girls. The front page would be a fine place for them as well. That way the rest of us can enjoy them on the subway also.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Is the Rhinebeck Aerodrome still in business? AIRC, they specialized in restored and reproduction dawn of aviation craft. I believe they were featured several times on some History Channel or Discovery Channel programs.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 3, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Dave, don't fly to Newburgh; fly directly into the Old Rhineback Aerodrome ( Just fire up that SPAD, Curtis Jenny, Sopwith or (you should pardon the phrase) Fokker D.1 you have in your back yard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

My God, it doesn't stop, this constant liberal bias. How about this:

"Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET,'s City Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours."

Gurus? Now we're being told how to have fun by Godless "gurus?" What pagan offerings are they proposing to infect our impressionable children? Heaven forbit our kids would be introduced to one of these "fast bartenders."

"The pleasure is ours, and yours." My God, are the sixties back? Free love? Hallucinagenics? It's all right here in your "family paper."

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

And, no, I don't KNOW how Heaven can "forbit" anything. Thank you very much.

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Dr.1. Sorry for the military aviation talk, ladies; sometimes I just can't help myself. Fling your doilies at will.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The Front Page Alert has expired. You may resume your normal Boodling.

Whatever that might be.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 3, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, thank heavens, Snuke. It was getting to be tiring, all this political stuff.

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

And what's this "Boodling?"

It sounds disgusting, like something you catch your son doing in his room when he's supposed to be doing his homework but instead he's got "Riannon" music on and the Victoria's Secret catalog on his desk and, well, it's really disgusting I'll tell you that right now.

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Especially pages 6,7, 13-18, 22 and 23, 28-31, 33, 35-38, 42-46, and 48 (back cover).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Said like a true masterboodler.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

And why does that woman on page 29 have that far-away look in her eyes? And isn't she cold?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge and Shiloh, it's a good thing the tea glass is empty, otherwise I'd have killed the laptop with the spray and have to buy another one!

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Blame it all on CowTown; he started it.

Besides, he's a lawyer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

In your honour Mudge, the next doily is going to be and Airplane. Or a boat.

Posted by: dr | April 3, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Hello, Doily.

Hey, that'd be a good name for a musical.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, this is interesting: it seems like scientists have discovered one of my younger brothers baby diapers.

Somebody alert Weingarten: we've got Clivis poop.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

JetBlue flies nonstop, Orlando-Newburgh.

Admittedly I live almost adjacent to a local airport. Actually, it's one where smallish aircraft are born, at least for now.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Clovis poop.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

PRE-Clovis poop.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 3, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Note to kb: The exchange about boodling, Victoria Secrets page numbers, etc., was "on kit" in the obsessions category of the opening line.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I see 12 patio stones in the backyard. There is also a 6 in. strip of dead grass showing on the southern exposure side of the driveway. Spring. How lovely. I'm verklempt.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Right, right. SCC my SCC: PRE-Clovis poop.

Thanks, Tim.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

*Still catching up on two days of missed work* I missed you guys! Great discussions on newspapers, careers, weddings...

Raysdad report: Much better, taking short walks. Just came into office and ran the shredder. "That was the AARP card that just came in the mail."

It would be a sad, sad day for me if they ever stop publishing the dead trees edition. One of the great pleasures of my day is reading it during my commute. And face it, the comics on line are a pain--they take longer to open than to read.

On careers: One of the advantages of being easily bored is that it makes me want to change jobs often--just for a new challenge. I've gone from financial analyst to software requirements writer to management consultant to project manager to program manager to gummint hack(ha!) in the past 15 years. Does that make me a "jack of all trades, master of none" or "utility infielder?"

Posted by: Raysmom | April 3, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I know at least one or two people who would like the dead-tree version of the WaPo in Minnesota. How the heck do I arrange that one?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 3, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, as long as it brings in a paycheck you can live on, who cares?

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Certainly not me.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 3, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Poop is becoming a scientifically valuable commodity. You can find out quite a lot about animals without the nuisance of capturing them, drawing blood, or even radiocollaring. They leave those nice calling cards behind.

With the Oregon discovery (should just now be available at Science--annoying how the stories come out a few hours ahead of online publication) indicates that even if the poop was left by dogs, there's people hair in it, so dogs and people must have been in close proximity. I assume dogs weren't eating people.

Are there any ancient American dogs left?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's the best quote from the Science news story:

"People eat canines, canines eat people, and canines eat human feces. Any way you cut the poop, people and dogs would have to be at the site within days of each other 14,000 years ago."

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 3, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Just me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Hah! If you weren't all flamin' librals you woodn't be in the Wahsington Post! Disprove that one! Ipsa locit, equit parambum!

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 3, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Old sea dogs do not count Mudge.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, several thoughts come to mind...

First, is that both big political parties have zero interest in actually solving some of the problems facing the country... Their reason for existence is only to elect more and more of their kind until they can form a monocracy... Rather depressing really... We desperately need a viable third party...

The near future for scriveners who make their living strictly by scribbling their thoughts onto dead trees is not encouraging... Some of the resons are that we are in a depression, industry is fleeing the country like Rattus Norvegicus departing a rapidly submerging ship, people are putting their discretionary money into their gas tanks rather than the newspaper vendor, and the majority of people under 25 years do not read dead trees... Best you diversify; and soon...

Dr. O

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The correct citation is "Ipsa loquat, equus paramecium."

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

re., human hair and dogs.
When there are, hum, bits following the dogs they are usually attached to the dog's rear end by human hair of the female persuasion. I don't know how they pick the hair but they do. As explained by the dog in the Get Fuzzy comic strip 1 in 9 random thing he tries to chew is edible and nearly half of the edible things are actual food.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Ah, shrieking denizen, the dred "hair anchor." That's when my little terrior becomes a "scooter."

Posted by: CowTown | April 3, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I got at least two belly laughs from this post, Joel. Thank you for dispelling the despair of this middle-aged newspaper writer, and for your comeback to the hippie-hater.

However, I am curious about your Alterman quote, and I wondered the same thing when I read it in its original form. The fact that newspapers spend so much more on reporting than the HuffPo is a GOOD thing? That Arianna and Co. get to use it for free is what? A sign they're less serious? Ahem. I would say it indicates that HuffPo is far smarter and a far better business model than the newspaper. On the one hand, reporting depth and expertise makes newspapers indispensible. But it also makes us chumps.

Posted by: Anne | April 3, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I've seen that, SD and Cowtown. You'd think more dogs would be called Dingleberry, wouldn't you?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 3, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin is also derivative.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Wibrod, I've had a cat (nice female) called Grignaude. You know a language has way too many words when dingleberries have a specific name.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

What does Grignaude mean, SD? Surely not exactly the same as dingleberry?

See, I googled it and found a restaurant named La Grignaude....

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 3, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Context? Golly, when do I learn the secret handshake?

Have fun with circle jerk.

Posted by: Jim W | April 3, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

grignaude(s): little bits caught in the fur around the area of interest.
Now, pizza awaits and cannot be left to grow cold.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | April 3, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Jim W., you learn the context thing by learning to actually read for content. You might try it sometime. It's amazing the things that you could discover that way. For instance, the context in this venue suggests that "just because it's serious, doesn't mean we can't try to be funny about it." Also, the clues sprinkled all through today's discussion (no archive-mining required) would have told you that Curmudgeon is an honest-to-gosh reporter and newsman from way back (WAY back). Thus, his comments on the structure of a newspaper are not mere speculative bloviation, it's based on professional experience. He might be wrong; you might be right; but that's not where I would place my bets. Finally, you might want to think about the real impact of your suggestion of front-page editorials, regardless of the subject matter: overt issue-advocacy on the front page of a newspaper, a nearly unheard-of thing in modern newspapers. Unheard-of for good reason. I seem to recall one such experiment in the past couple years that got a lot of negative press from the press (not surprising, I suppose) and a lot of negative reaction from the buying public. The idea folded. Why? Because it explicitly labels the news reporting of a newspaper as consciously biased (whether or not it is true). The whole rationale behind the legitimacy of a newspaper as a news organ is that it can make a reasonable claim to be reporting verifiable truth, so that an intelligent reader of any political persuasion can garner enough accurate information to form a judgment about a matter of interest. If you state your conclusions before your data (as we might say in science), then it creates exactly the presumption that "Are you kidding me?" complained about earlier: that a newspaper is a party organ (I refuse to stipulate which organ).

Posted by: PlainTim | April 3, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Barry Bearak, Pulitzer-Winning NYT Correspondent, Taken Into Custody In Zimbabwe

Posted by: Boko999 | April 3, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Party organs seem like a good thing Plain Tim, I see no reason to disparage them.

Noodly appendages for religious purposes and party organs for fun I say.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 3, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

A suitable riposte, Jim W, to a somewhat peevish sounding declamation. The secret handshake,in context, may be sticky.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

//Somebody alert Weingarten: we've got Clivis poop.//

Mudge, Was that a clever reference to this site?

I've just returned from seeing Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It's delicious!

Shakespeare really.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 3, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

A long quote from the editor of the Richmond (VA) News Leader to "foreign correspondent" Ezra Pound circa 1958-

"I would have to ask you to consider the requirements of a small city daily in terms of style, readability and deference to our readers' massive ignorance of history both ancient and contemporary. That is intended, by God, as a tactful sentence. What I am trying to say is that writing the Pisan Cantos is one thing, and writing a usable background piece on the Italian elections that is, by me on my editorial page--is another thing. I don't mean to be offensive; I mean to be honest. Copy would have to be understandable by the reader of mean intelligence, or it would be a waste of your time to write it and mine to print it."

Very interesting stuff on Pound from the Virgnia Quarterly Review (which I would seldom, if ever, read if it weren't online).

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Sleeting in Maryland; I am wet and frozen. Bikes are great, cept when they are not.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 3, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Alas, Maggie, I'm not remotely that clever. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a typo is just a typo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 3, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi Boodlers, one of my friends is going to Baltimore on his way to DC for spring break next week (they do it late where he comes from). Any suggestions on what he might see/do in Baltimore? I've only been to the Inner Harbor area but surely there is more to the town than that. Thanks!

Posted by: Aloha | April 3, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Ft. McHenry is worth a visit, Aloha. Fells Point for good food.

Yello should have some good ideas here.

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Westminster Church Cemetery has been called the only worthwhile place in Baltimore to visit (Fayette & Green crossroads). Edgar Allan Poe is buried there. Therein lies a tale.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of boodle contests and jerking...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Oops, let's try that again.

Speaking of boodle contests and jerking...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Or was that boodle contexts...? How about this then...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

And what's this about a secret handshake?

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

C'mon y'all, no fair keeping a newbie in the dark...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Jim W, you 'n' me, we'll break into the bunker yet...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I've heard tell of velvet doilies...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

and if we can't figure out the secret...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

we could always go to another bunker...

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 3, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Secret handshake? You want the secret handshake? You think you're entitled to the secret handshake? You can't HANDLE the secret handshake! Leastways, not without some additional mutant digits.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 3, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Give me paw, ScienceTim?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 3, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl... You've got the secret handshake, the secret word and the secret ingredient all wrapped up in one!

You are not only IN the bunker.. the bunker wouldn't be the same without you.

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl,
Pssst...under the rock that looks like a pre-Clovis coprolite there's a spare key to the bunker. Bring the Sinfest archive with you. The reading material in the guys library is getting a little tattered. Those duct tape bound copies of 50s era Mad magazines don't hold up like they should.

PlainTim for got to mention that this is a crypto-humor blog that doesn't take anything seriously, but that Jim W. is welcome to stick around and figure it out. We have a reasonably successful troll conversion rate.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 3, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

OK.. let's share this before Weingarten does...

First read this...

Then read this...

Posted by: TBG | April 3, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, glad to hear Raysdad recovered well. Hope he has the appetite to eat the food you prepared for him.
Last night Cassandra sent triple blessings. Hope to hear from her, since there are many visitors today. Good night.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 3, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

However, the blog has an abysmal performance at the conversion of ogres.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Shiloh, but Wilbrodog has a fabulous success rate in driving them away. Amazing how well he works, isn't it?

Posted by: slyness | April 3, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Driving away ogres, sly, is the alternative to converting them, from the missionary position.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 3, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Pretty exciting times in Grand Forks, ND. From the Pulitzer winning Grand Forks Herald:

"This weekend's busy slate kicks off Friday with appearances by Obama and Clinton only hours apart, the opening ceremonies and a banquet for the World Men's Curling Championships, an appearance by The Capitol Steps during the Empire Arts Center's 10th anniversary celebration and Beatles tribute band Beatlemania Now playing the Chester Fritz Auditorium."

Whew, packed a decade or two worth of events into 72 hours. Read more about it here:§ion=homepage

Amazing to see ND's Democratic-NPL (Non Partisan League) convention having importance beyond the state. With curling too!

Posted by: frostbitten | April 3, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I'm glad to hear Raysdad's doing well. [And you, too, for that matter.] [And of course, Ray.]

I'll continue to keep the lot 'o ye on my thoughts.

I was glad to see all of the new names in here today - even if some of them don't "get" it (Oooh, sorry to bring up that bit of old WaPo marketing...).

Some time back (gads, nearly two years now), I received an email from the future (or *a* future, anyway), describing how the Internet reenforced many of humanity's bad habits regarding social behaviors and information sharing, resulting in an inability to deal with problems and eventually, the complete breakdown of Western Civilization:

The New Yorker article touches on this idea, but does not drill down to the idea that in the end, we are becoming more isolated from each other than ever. Using a computer (or iPod, or iPhone, or...) is a solitary endeavor, and we spend more and more time with our devices, being entertained and getting infrormation we deem suitable to ourselves since we can be far more selective with so many choices. We have ever fewer reasons to interact, engage, and develop social skills get along with people we don't agree with.

Call me old fashioned, but I like talking to people I don't know, being social and friendly. To many children who don't remember a world before the Internet, this seems odd.

But at least I'm not afraid to ask someone I don't know for directions to the bathroom.


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Slyness, I will pass along those recommendations for Baltimore. Anybody else have suggestions?

Posted by: Aloha | April 4, 2008 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Aloha.

Morning, dbG.

In this part of the world, I think, newspapers will still do well for quite awhile. The younger generation is all about online but there are a lot in the older generation group that are afraid of the mouse. Those who got past the mouse are starting to have eye-sight problems and that monitor is not helping.

I check out newspaper websites of a few countries to get more news. Personally, I prefer the dead-tree version. It is light (Over here it is. It is tabloid size and less than 50 pages) and you can bring it anywhere. I know, you can bring your i-phone thing anywhere, too, but I'll go blind in an hour with that.

Posted by: rainforest | April 4, 2008 3:27 AM | Report abuse

Hi, rainforest!

Call me lazy, but I don't get the dead-tree edition. I even resent getting those unordered weekly newspapers tossed in my driveway. Just 1 more thing that lies around until I recycle it. I'm starting to feel that way about _The New Yorker_ and _Atlantic Monthly_ too.

Next thing you'll be calling me Curmudga.

Posted by: dbG | April 4, 2008 4:27 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Morning, Scotty, Cassandra, Curmudga.

Aloha, Balmer has a world-class aquarium, the National Aquarium, that is worth a visit, though it is somewhat expensive ($29 for people 12 to 59; seniors get one crummy dollar off). But it is an all-day kinda thing. There's great food in Little Italy nearby (I like the Restaurant Trattoria a lot). But I think Ft. McHenry is required, because of the Stars Spangled Banner thing, and you can do it in an hour or so.

I don't think anybody has mentioned the Maryland Science Center, adjacent to the Inner Harbor, which has a planetarium and is quite good in other fields as well (cost is $14.50 for age 13 to 59). And for baseball enthusiasts, the Orioles' Camden Yards is right there on the corner of the Inner Harbor; it is widely acknowledged as the most beautiful ballpark in America.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 4, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

O DNA girl, if I was twenty years younger and my DNA a little less frayed...sigh.
Does the chactacter with the fly away hair in those comics have a name?

I'm working on a little something for the 200,000th comment and though I have the pointlessness and incoherence down, I'm not happy with the spelling and punctuation. Should I run it by Mudge or leave it as is, preserving the authentic patina?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 4, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody--

The media will be remembering Dr. King today on the anniversary of his assassination. Leonard Pitts had a good article on Wednesday:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 4, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse

FYI: that inn in the picture is better known to the locals as the Beekman Arms. (I grew up in Rhinebeck.) Plenty of good eats in and around town - has a shortlist. (yes, that's really the name; it's SFW)

Posted by: Brian | April 4, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

The local paper had Pitts' column on the front page this morning, kber. And I liked EJ Dionne's column too:

Happy Friday, all!

I got an invitation (via recorded phone message) last night to go to see Bill Clinton in a nearby town today, but I'm going to pass. I have better things to do.

Posted by: slyness | April 4, 2008 7:02 AM | Report abuse

'morning all.

Real patina is priceless boko. Unlike the horror the Bank of Canada applied on its Wellington street building.

Nice aquarium in Balmer? Good to know. I've been to the Sydney, Boston and Monterey aquariums, is it in the same class?

Looks like we will have another nice Spring day again. Nice.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 4, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

SD -- Balmer AQ is nice but the Monterey AW CANNOT BE BEAT.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 4, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Secret handshake? I thought we'd agreed on the secret mind-meld...

And 'Mudge, Camden Yards is OK, but you can guess which ballpark tops my list for beauty.

*really-dang-happy-it's-Friday-so-that-I-can-pack-for-vacation Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 4, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Boko. And it's a fun series on political campaigns so do flip back-n-forth if you have a couple of minutes.

And I love frayed DNA. So much, I did a whole dissertation on DNA fraying a while ago. Still play with it now-n-then :-)

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 4, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Morning folks! Gotta run, but want to share this with all you Beatles fans out there...

Posted by: TBG | April 4, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The Merida piece is quite good today and so is Gene Robinson's column, fyi. The comments appended online, not so much.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 4, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Her are the directions:

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Every time I venture into the comments section anywhere but here I get all queasy. These people are out there. And they can read and work computers. This worries me.

We've opined about the reasons for nasty comments at length, in that self-laudatory way of ours, so I won't stress this except to point out that comments are usually posted by people who feel strongly enough about an issue to post a comment. This enhances the contribution of passionate extremists.

As opposed to here, where we are just obsessively gregarious.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 4, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Listened to Robert Kennedy speaking shortly after King's death on NPR news this morning.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 4, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Ah...Mudge beat me to it. I greatly recommend the Aquarium and the Science Center. Been to both...loved 'em both. And yeah, the aquarium...I did spend all day there.

Also, if your friend likes seafood...there are many places near the harbor that are excellent.

If your friend is a fan of Poe there's also this:

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I've posted something like this before. I wonder how different the country would be if the Kennedys and MLK had not been assasinated. Dylan's song "Simple Twist of Fate" comes to mind.

On the jops front, the National unemployment statistic is up to 5.1%. I believe this will be a bad day for the markets.

Posted by: jack | April 4, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

RD, the problem isn't just that they can read and operate computers. The root is a lack of comprehension of what they can read. Then the ability to operate computers.

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey, if you've got eight minutes to spare, here's a great interview with Robert Plant and Alison Kraus about their 'Raising Sand' album (released Oct. 23 last year).

My, mymy, she's georgeous. And sweet. And Plant is way cool too.

But I already knew all that...

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Should I just change my handle to omni-boodle-hog already?

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I remember a little of April 1968; how upset my family was over Dr. King's assasinatation, and the concern over the rioting in the city (D.C. - we lived in the Maryland suburbs, just a few miles up Georgia Avenue).

A sad, angry, scary time.

Gene Robinson's column today *is* thoughtful (as usual), but I could not help but feel that he's lost a bit of hope somewhere.

There *is* a lot to do, and a long way to go for everyone in this country, but I don't think it's hopeless. I just think that getting to the Promised Land (or rather, making this country into said Land) will take longer than my lifetime.
Might take forever, which is OK.
It's a big universe that's expanding ever faster. My children and their children have a lot of time and space to make *anything* happen.


Posted by: bc | April 4, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The link to the NPR piece on RFK's speech Dave alluded to.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 4, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

This kit is so long in the tooth, I'll get a new one started momentarily.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 4, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

While we wait...Mahalia Jackson sings King's favorite hymn: Take My hand, Precious Lord

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

My Japanese friend just called me long distance with a question. She said, "You know that game with the rock, scissors, and paper? What is that called in English?" I answered, I don't think there is a name, exactly, we just call it "rock, scissors, paper." Then I looked it up on the internet and I had to call her back. "I was wrong. We don't call it "rock, scissors, paper." We call it "rock, paper, scissors."

And there is an official website for the RPS league and another whole official website dedicated entirely to strategy.

And there is this cute animated game, called "Barack, paper, scissors" where you can be Barrack and play against GWB:

Gosh, if only I didn't have a job, I could just have fun on the internet all day.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 4, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC, that extra "r" was just a typo, not a spelling error. (that makes a difference, right?)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 4, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, um, uhh, I guess if Joel really is considering another career for a talented writer, there is always this option courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 4, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't worrry about it, Berrtooch.

Posted by: Currmudgeon | April 4, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

kb, when I still a child, we played "scissors, rock, paper" in mandarin.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 4, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I was reading your post thinking that's not right, then you corrected yourself. I'm with you on the work interefereing with fun on the internet.

Have you seen this:

Or this:

Though someone mistyped your handle yesterday (u instead of o), daiwanlan is the most often mispelled handle ever (i instead of l). Quite frankly, I just don't get it.

On the other hand, if Outlook spellchecker were used you'd be Kberocci and daiwanlan
would be Darwinian.

Have no idea what Kberocci is. But RD Padouk did spell it that way once.

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I've quit reading comments posted to most WaPo items. My impression is that the people who post comments neither read the comments of others, nor the original item.

Morning boodle! Might hit 60 degrees today, whoo hooo. Burned a bit of the lower meadow last night but doing this task solo requires caution and I hope to get another session or two in before we have much rain. Jacques T. Skunk took advantage of the situation to sneak onto the porch and rifle around in the recycling, well rinsed though it was. Suggestions on how to allow access for my cat friend from next door but bar Jacques are most welcome. (This is not an Error vs. groundhog style battle. I still think peaceful coexistence is possible-a two state solution perhaps.)

Posted by: frostbitten | April 4, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Guide to Bawlmer:

All the tourist attractions are around the Inner Harbor. It's worth at least a full day in nice weather. The Inner Harbor itself has (clockwise from seven o'clock) the Maryland Science Center, the Visitor Information Center (great place for maps and brochures and a very pretty building in it's own right), Harborplace Pratt Street Pavillion (mostly restaurants including the way too touristy Phillips), Light Street Pavillion (more restaurants and tourist shops), the USS Constellation (last full sail navy ship), paddleboats, National Aquarium (haven't been to the new Australian pavillion, but it's supposed to be nice), the Power Plant (Hard Rock Cafe and ESPN Zone), and last but not least McCormick and Schmick on Pier 5.

Just two blocks north of the Power Plant is Power Plant Live, a night time drinking district with good restaurants.

On the south side of the Harbor, but not really within walking distance of the main area are the must-see American Vision Arts Museum and the interesting but not critical Museum of Industry.

Fells Point is the real night time area in a gentrified but still funky neighborhood. The area with better and cheaper restaurants is Canton Square just a short drive east of Fells Point.

If you get water taxi tickets make sure they include plenty of stops so you can go to Fells Point and Fort McHenry.

The Walthers Art Museum is north of the Harbor about a mile on Charles in the Mt Vernon area with the truly phallic Washington Monument (as opposed to that obelisk pretender in DC). Dining is hit or miss around there, but the Peabody has recitals nearly any night of the week.

And let me make a plug for downtown Ellicott City which still has a lot of run-down mill town charm and good antique shopping.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 4, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was daiwanian. I had to copy and paste it into Text Edit and then make it REAL BIG to see that the "eye" is an "el."

Sorry daiwanlan! Thanks to omni for pointing it out. Or is that omnl?

Posted by: TBG | April 4, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Best of all, the Baltimore Inner Harbor is one of the Top 10 Overrated Tourist Destinations in America. My take on that honor:

And my general pictures of my adopted hometown:

It's tough living in the shadow of the nations capitol, but there is plenty to do and see.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 4, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Have no idea what Kberocci is."
Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 10:31 AM

It's just like the Fibonacci, but with no numbers that end in 7.

Posted by: byoolin | April 4, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I got tickets for Plant/Krauss at Merriweather in June and just bought REM tickets for earlier that week. It's going to be classic rock week in the yellojkt household. REM tickets are going FAST if you wanted them through TicketRaper.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 4, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

There's no I in tEaM, but there is a backwards ME (outta my way 'a').

Thanks for the laugh TBG

Posted by: omnl | April 4, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, daiwanlan. I'm never sure how to address any comments your way. I'm guilty of misspelling your handle. The font that the Post uses for commenter's names is such that I can't tell an I from an L in daiwanlan. I think I may need to visit the eye doctor to see if my prescription needs to be updated.

Posted by: jack | April 4, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni, for reading my handle right. It is a phonic of the land where I was born. But it really doesn't matter. The handle is but a name; the rose is still the rose.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 4, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Though I'm not a big fan of Alison's style of music, I still find myself with a big crush for her (even to the point of owning one of her CDs, which I have listened half a dozen times). Can't wait to read your eventual blog item on the show yello.

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

My last Bawlmer blog plug. I compare the AVAM and MOI here:

And if you just want to browse my Baltimore related posts, they are under this category:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 4, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Hi daiwanlan, I think myself and about three other boodlers got it right. Out of almost two hundred. I'm only a little bit OC (Obsessive Compulsive). It's not like I alphabetize my spice rack or anything...Oh wait, yes I do.

Posted by: omni | April 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

New kit's up. See you there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 4, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you're shortchanging the wonderful obscurities of Bawdimer:

(1) The shot tower. It's just a big, um, tower. Made of brick. On the rare occasions that it's open, you can go to the top and learn about how musket shot was mass-produced. I've never been, actually.

(2) The old London Fog factory up on Falls Road is now an artists' cooperative like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. Correct name, anyone?

(3) Hampden, the residential neighborhood just west of Johns Hopkins U., has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. It has some funky urban charm to it, and decently funky restaurants. It seems to have overcome its prior record as one of the great counter-arguments to the theory of white supremacy, and is now just a neighborhood. Added treat: it has two streets named Chestnut Avenue, not connected to each other and running perpendicular to each other, on each of which I rented a house for one year while in grad. school at JHU.

(4) Pimlico race course. I've never been there, but I hear that some people like that sort of thing.

(5) I concur that Ellicott City is worth visiting. Home of Benjamin Banneker (well, actually the nearest trading post to his home).

(6) The B&O Railroad Museum. Something unusual for a visitor from Hawaii. Hawaii had some railroads on the Big Island in the 19th century, but I gather that they were too hard to maintain compared to the improvements in automobiles. There is a segment of the Museum in Ellicott City.

(7) Eat dinner at Martick's Restaurant:

(8) Visit Lexington Market. Baltimore has other public markets, but this is the big one.

(9) Baltimore Museum of Modern Art, just off Charles Street, right next to Johns Hopkins U. Has a good (and expensive) café. On some occasions, provides art packs for kids visiting the museum. Call ahead and ask if it's one of those days.

(10) 'The' Johns Hopkins University itself is a nice place for an afternoon's stroll. SEE the ancient haunts of ScienceTim (Rowland Hall [now named Krieger] and Bloomberg Center)! HEAR the mumblings of overstressed students! SMELL the rank aroma of grad students and undergrads playing Ultimate Frisbee on the upper quad on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (if they still do that). The Space Telescope Science Institute is over on San Martin Drive, across the road from the Bloomberg Center, home of the Physics Department.

(11) Federal Hill, just South of the Inner Harbor, where the cannons were turned TOWARDS the city during the Civil War in order to quell rebellion.

(12) Baltimore's Penn Station railroad terminal has been renovated and is a pretty neat place for a short visit.

(13) Near Penn Station, visit the Charles Theatre ( ), still an active repertory movie house. In northern Baltimore, visit the art deco-styled Senator, one of the last grand big-screen movie houses. Barry Levinson and Johns Waters movies often premiere there.

(14) Ladew Topiary Gardens, north of the city:

Posted by: TouristTim | April 4, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mags, did, sort of, but with conditions.

Hi babies. Be kind.

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Posted by: snltbuc eaywtc | April 10, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

How dare anybody in the media ask Obama about his radical background. Obama has a valid response to all of this, we should pretend none of it ever happened. He never knew Ayers. He did not follow the teachings of Malcolm X. He was not a member of Jeremiah Wright's church. His wife didn't say she had never been proud to be an American. He didn't stereotype white people. He never knew Tony Rezko. None of it ever happened.

Just buy the #@*% car will you? Why do you insist on taking it for a test drive?

Posted by: twostrangers | April 17, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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