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Reptiles Slithering Amok

My story in the paper today about invasive reptiles.

BUSHNELL, Fla. -- RobRoy MacInnes is the man to see if you want to buy a crocodile. Or a scorpion, a rattlesnake, a boa constrictor. Got a hankering for a cobra? Just pony up $600 and you can have one of the more lethal species.

"It is a very effective threat display," MacInnes, 49, says as a Pakistan black cobra, six feet long, hissing, hood spread, writhes in its enclosure and strikes again and again and again at the thin glass separating the creature from a visitor. "A snake like that, coming at you, you'd leave him alone."

Or simply die of fright.

MacInnes is co-owner of Glades Herp Farms, an empire of claws, spines, scales, fangs and darting tongues. The reptile trade, he's happy to report, is booming. The pet industry estimates that about 4.8 million households now contain at least one pet reptile, a number that has nearly doubled in a decade. Reptiles are increasingly popular in a crowded, urbanized nation. They don't need a yard. You don't have to take a lizard for a walk.

But biologists see the trade in nonnative creatures as a factor in the rising number of invasive species, such as the Burmese python, which is breeding up a storm in the Everglades, and the Nile monitor lizard, a toothy carnivore that can reach seven feet in length and has found a happy home along the canals of Cape Coral.

[Click here to keep reading.]

I love stories like this: Everything you always wanted to know about elevators, and about what it's like to be trapped in one. [Via Arts & Letters Daily.]

This blog item on Obama, however, is [vulgar word meaning nonsense]. [Via Memeorandum.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 18, 2008; 7:55 AM ET
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Next: The Next Big Scandal


BRB have to alert the others.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 18, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse


Tell Dave, he'll be happy to have Squirrel Eating Reptiles about. As long as he doesn't have to handle them.

Posted by: wiredog | April 18, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

We had some friends that were big reptile lovers. One night, the dad brought in a box to show off. It was a snake he had bought his wife as a Valentine's Day present, but the box was empty.

The snake had gotten loose in the car and it wasn't until daylight the next day that he could round it up.

In their house, the had converted the living room to a reptile farm. Both sides of the wall were stacked three high with reptile tanks. They had snakes, iguanas, tarantulas and some other scary things.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

" experiment run amok." Excellent way to put it.

This piece makes me wonder how long Hawaii will be able to make sure snakes aren't introduced to the state by accident via aircraft.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 18, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

reposted from last boodle-

g'morning boodle! Welcome back Cassandra.

For those who didn't stay up for Colbert last night here's the best part.

"Finally America's white men are being heard..." with an appearance by John Edwards (Scroll down to The EdWords)

Posted by: frostbitten | April 18, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Cassandra!

Speaking about another kind of reptile, MSN has an interesting article on Dr. Phil - that most reptilian of creatures - this morning. I've never watched him, but the number of people who think he's credible just astounds me.

Must be the same folks who actually form political opinions based on things like "Bittergate".

Posted by: PLS | April 18, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Exotic reptiles running amok are scary enough. Two threats of equal proportion are non-native plants and insects. Unfortunately, traditional eradication methods need to eradicate the pests on the first application in order to keep the introduced species from becoming established. Acing anything on the first try is tough enough. Plants and insects are more resourceful than one might think.

Posted by: jack | April 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I stopped at the office last week to do a few things, and one of the ladies had her pet snake in a bag by the side of her desk.

Snakes have no awwww factor. You must touch mice to feed them (if you keep them as a pet). Two big reasons why snakes are not pet material in the house of R.

Posted by: dr | April 18, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"Of the pythons, he said: 'To me, it's a wonderful introduction. I think it's the best thing to happen to the Everglades in the last 200 years.'"

Sounds like a line from a Hiaasen novel. From one of his whacko characters.

Posted by: TBG | April 18, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I have five posts post new kit notice on the previous boodle if anyone cares to backtrack. To slyness, cassandra, PlainTim, Raysmom, and LostInThought.

This what I get for boodling while backboodling. Oh well.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure tarantulas aren't reptiles.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Going back a few Kits to indicators of future trends, I note that in the version of this article on, there's a little tag on the bottom of Joel's picture showing Biologist Skip Snow handling a python:

An Icon of a Shopping Cart, and the words "Buy Photo."

When I clicked on it, the app tanked.

Now *there's* an indicator of the future.

I'm going to read Joel's article now...


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

We talked about this before. These comments are fun to revisit - although seeing the name Error Flynn does always make me sad.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

kb - I saw that too. But Joel does say "tarantula *spider*" to clarify things.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I just have to ask...

Joel, did MacInnes name any of his pythons Monty?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 18, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Brown tree snakes have made a mess of Guam's bird life, so Hawaii's airports have special snake-sniffing dogs and other security measures (which have been criticized as a waste of money by at least one member of Congress). Apart from Hawaii's endangered birds and shorebirds, tourism would suffer if there were preternatural numbers of snakes everywhere.

South Florida doesn't just have pythons. Feral iguanas are a big problem at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (they eat the plants) and in fact iguanas are a general-purpose nuisance. I'm happy to not yet have seen one.

And once again, our native gopher tortoises (scientific name is Gopherus polyphemus) are really neat. Quite similar to the desert tortoises of California. Traditionally, furry mammalian "gophers" were called salamanders.

Pet herps are a bit like the 800 chihuahuas of a recent Kit. They attract collectors. I'm surprised we don't see more stories about houses stuffed to the rafters with turtles and maybe an alligator in the bathtub (which really is a good place for temporary storage of a gator that's been captured for research purposes).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 18, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Tarantulas aren't reptiles, but the folks that like having reptiles tend to enjoy tarantulas too, as well as salamanders which are technically amphibians.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, frosti and PLS.

Yesterday while on the way to visit one of the deacons at our church, I encountered two black snakes. I believe they were a pair, but one had been run over and was quite dead, and the other one, was making a bee line for safety when I showed up. They weren't very big, but long. They were probably young snakes that would grow to be huge and long. It was really warm yesterday after lunch and these two were trying to cross the road.

I'm not a fan of snakes, but some serve a purpose like the black snake. They keep the rodent population down. I just don't care for snakes.

The lot that my mobile home sits on was a snake breeding ground. I'll bet money there are snakes under that mobile home. I did not think about it much when I lived there, because it was just to scary. With developers tearing up much of the vacant land, the snakes don't have much choice but to move. It's either that or get plowed over. Of course, this time of the year, many of the snakes here are coming out to do the dance. The mating dance.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 18, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning to you, RD. It good to hear you. I've missed that exquisite wisdom of yours.

And you too, Ivansmom. Give your family my best. And please elaborate on what the Boy is doing?

Posted by: cassandra s | April 18, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I have always found the idea of having a reptile as a pet exciting. As a kid I dreamt of having a special room in which lived several green iguanas. They were to be called Spike and Frodo.

Purely as a holding maneuver I kept a red-eared slider as a young adult. He was named George Bernard Shell. (That was my girlfriend's idea.) George made the trip to DC with me lo' those many years ago. We were bachelors together.

Eventually, though, he went on to a better place. I found solace by getting married. Which pretty much eliminated that whole "Spike and Frodo" scenario. Although, in the fullness of time we did end up with a very nice Leopard Gecko named Chili who lives in a luxurious 20 gallon cage and dines on a diet of calcium-encrusted meal worms. That's good living.

And nobody should fear that Chili will ever escape. He lives down in the Bunny Bunker along with the two psychotic rabbits. Although there isn't a lot of socializing between the two. So I ended up with my indoor habitat room after all.

Sort of.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I didn't mean any criticism of Achenbach or yellojkt with my tarantula comment. I was just puzzled why it seems that people who profess to be nuts about herps seem to extend that affection to tarantulas. I don't see the connection. If you just like all things creepy, then where are your millipedes and Madagascar hissing cockroaches? And if you just want to disgust the general public, you should stock slugs. Not the cool northern California kind, but just regular garden slugs. Yuck.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 18, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

And a very good morning to Cassandra... so nice to see your posts first thing in the morning.

As one who prefers pets of a furry, cuddily, non-scaly nature, I will just say "Eeeewwww! Not in MY house!"

I will also add that I have chopped up more than my fair share of gartner snakes with various gardening tools (not to mention the lawnmower) and nary a tear was shed.

That said, I wouldn't mind a few small bug-eating lizards around the house, so long as I could be assured they would not crawl under the covers with me at night. Eeeesh... I gave myself the heebee-jeebees just thinking the thought.

Time to get back to work... there be homeless Wee Folk out there in need of my magical doors.

Peace out... :-)

Posted by: martooni | April 18, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

RD - that kit and boodle was bittersweet to skim through. We all miss Error.

Yea! Cassandra's back!

I had never heard of Tipsy Cake, but after reading VL's post about how it's made, I WANT SOME! I don't suppose there is any left in the bunker? Whew...there were some scary folks around yesterday.

Snakes...yuck! Fun kit, though. There was a snake in our garage last fall. I bet I leaped about 4 feet in the air. Fortunately my neighbor heard my distress (I wasn't screaming, exactly....) and relocated the snake. I know this isn't going to recommend me to a lot of you, but I can't help it. Snakes freak me out. I'm really a good person, otherwise.

Posted by: Kim | April 18, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Since nobody has taken the bait on this Kit's title:

Amok! Amok! Amok!

{* now I'm really getting back to work *}

Posted by: martooni | April 18, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

My brother caught a very small red-eared slider that I inherited when my family moved to Italy while I was in college. The turtle lived in the standard clear plastic pool with an island and a fake palm tree for several more years on a diet almost entirely of iceberg lettuce.

Pretty low maintenance pet for a college student as long as you can keep drunks from spilling beer into the pond.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Those of you who use Apple Safari browser might be interested in this-

We had a couple of reptile pets while Kurosawachick was young. She went to Arizona one summer to help her aunt and uncle do field work and came back with a tarantula in her pocket and a desire to be a biologist. We subsequently received a leopard gecko, Ellie, and later a California mountain kingsnake, Regina or Reggie. Ellie ate live crickets and Reggie ate baby mice which we bought frozen from a medical supply company. "Would you like pinkies or hoppers, or maybe some nice rat pups if your snake can handle a larger meal?" Although the crickets stank, the reptiles themselves were clean and quiet and submitted to gentle handling without protest. After the K-chick left for college, Ellie died and we passed Regina on to another little girl who wanted a snake. By that time Reggie had grown from 10 inches to about 40 inches of gleaming black with white rings. Like this guy, only bigger-

The Herp Farm guy is a total jerk. If he were in a Hiaasen novel he would definitely be a villain.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 18, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Years ago, I had my grandmother in town for my son's First Communion. We were all leaving the house and there was what looked like a large rubber black snake wrapped around the front steps railing. Only it wasn't rubber. When my grandmother reached the bottom of the steps, it slithered through a crack under the stairs.

The next day my wife bought a huge tub of grout and sealed up the crack. No word on whether the snake was still in there or not. My wife didn't care.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Keeping a spitting cobra, any cobra really, as a pet is just plainly nuts. Those people probably play Russian roulette as a hobby.
Our fair land of the North is not friendly to reptiles but we have a few invasive species of fish.
No flying carps yet though, so we don't have to install carp guards on our fishing boats.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Happy B-day America. Ferrera that is.

Be Ugly:

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"A python swallowed an alligator and -- there's not a delicate way to put it -- exploded" - well, there's the answer to the python problem but instead of alligators, stake out a few thousand exploding Scotsmen.

"The Tennessee Preacher and the Cobra" sounds like a short story by O. Henry or a hard hitting piece of investigative journalism by HL Mencken.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

OK, I just started reading this article. I thought it was about republicans, and so was initially avoiding it.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

My goodness, forgive my manners!

Good morning, all.

Joel's article puts me in a philisophical mood, as I tend to be when I haven't had enough coffee.

From a cynical point of view, animals have facilitated the migration of species around the globe for millions of years -- think of a bird wating a berry in Africa, then, er, pooping the seeds somewhere in Europe or the Middle East. Humankind has been intentionally or unitentionally transplanting species of plants and animals around the world for thousands of years, certainly from the beginning of agriculture.

Heck, ancient Egyptians tried to take their pets with them to the afterlife, for goodness' sake (Do all dogs go to heaven?).

Sometimes we think of those human-facilitated transplants as beneficial, such as horses from the middle east to Europe and thence to the Americas, or Cherry trees from the Far East. Other times they've gone wrong, such as kudzu, various beetles, and most recently, the snakehead fish.

The species able to take best advantage of conditions in any given location will prevail. As Joel points out, we humans have been pretty successful in spreading over the entire globe from our origins in Africa millions of years ago.

Those species that have been able to take advantage of HumanaTerraForming have been most successful, as have those who have figured how to live in humanity's cracks.

As the late Edward Lorenz and others pointed out, even seemingly simple systems can quickly develop complexity, and that small changes can make the results unpredictable. Or as Joel puts it: "Complications ensue."

Darwin introduced the idea of successful species being able to adapt to change.
Change is the nature of the universe, and of life. And it is the nature - for better and worse, intentionally and not - for humans to change our world.

We humans are agents of Darwin, and Darwinism in action.
And *we* don't necessarily need poop to do so, though sometimes we seem to give it about as much thought.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"Republican Party Reptile" is a masterpiece from the PJ O'Rourke oeuvre. It includes his classic essay "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and
Not Spill Your Drink"

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

tee hee. bc said humanity's cracks.
Don't look now.
Really, you might not like what find.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Boko, I saw an opening for that phrase within the context of a theme, and I just shoved it in there.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Kim, there were only a few measly crumbs left in the bunker this morning. Believe me, if there'd been any leftover tipsy cake, it would have somehow disappeared during my reconnaissance. Alas, there was none. And some serious damage was done to the wine cellar, too; half a dozen bottles of merlot, 10 bottles of white zin, three bottles of our best ice wine, and maybe 15 bottles of various whites: a few chardonnay, a couple of pinot grigios, and the heartbreaker: somebody found that special bottle of gewurtztraminer I had hidden behind the dry sac. *sigh*

Although I did at one time have some tropical fish, my idea of a pet is basically something that barks. If it doesn't bark, fetch sticks and enjoy having its head scratched, and maybe a little roughhousing from time to time, I'm not very interesting in having it around the house. And when it gets really cold in the winter, who the he11 ever heard of a "three-python night"? Now I ask ya.

OK, two computer-related questions for you cybergeeks (you know who you are): my oldest daughter's computer (Gateway) has a monitor with a horrible hot-pink cast to the screen--where it should be white it is this awful pink color. Occasionally it clears up all by itself, but then jumps back to hot pink most of the time. They and I have tried every setting known to man, and they've even replaced the monitor itself twice. I'm convinced it isn't in the monitor at all but in the CPU somewhere. Anybody got any ideas? Even the Geeks-on-Call guy couldn't fix it.

Second, does anybody know if a computer repair shop can/will install Fedora for you instead of Windows?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I blame it all on Joel.

He started it when he said "invasive."


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

And the on-topic part of that essay would be this paragraph:

"Get a fat girl friend so you'll have plenty of amphetamines and you'll never have to stop at all. The only problem you'll run into is that after you've been driving for two or three days you start to see things in the road - great big scaly things twenty feet high with nine legs. But there are very few great big scaly things with nine legs in America anymore, so you can just drive right through them because they probably aren't really there, and if they are really there you'll be doing the country a favor by running them over."

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, it could be the color card in the CPU, or simply one bad pin in the monitor cable.

Try replacing the cable first, then see about a new color card (which should be relatively cheap and easy if you don't have some high-end gaming video card).


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

Good morning! This is a near-perfect Kit. All it needs is a mention of baseball. Wasn't there some tie-in with reptiles amok on the Spring Training fields, or in the stands? Lurking in the locker room?

This really does play to my love of reptiles. The Boy & I would someday like a lizard or snake as an Official Pet. That is, as something which lives in the actual house and is fed by us, as opposed to something which lives in the attic, eats stray insects and rodents, and peacefully co-exists. Convincing Ivansdad this would be desirable is another thing.

This is probably why so far the Rabbit is our most exotic pet. It is true that mammals are furry and cute.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 18, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Invasive species have had a sad history in the U.S. Take birds--Some Shakespeare-struck idiot decided that the birds mentioned in the Bard's plays ought to be here among us, so he imported some English Sparrows and Starlings into New York back in the late 1800's. They of course went wild, and have driven out many native species, especially from our urban areas. Suburban sprawl and general changes in land uses have further reduced native bird species. What most people don't realize is that, while we are bad enough, the decimation of habitat in the wintering areas has also had a profound effect.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good comment from Joel's article:

Booyah5000 wrote:
MacInnes scolds humanity for making the world a rapidly changing place, but sees nothing wrong with introducing foreign species into ecosystems?

I have no idea how much regulation there is of private ownership of poisonous snakes, but this article suggests there's not much. I want crushingly burdensome regulation on that. States need to have massive permit/licensing requirements. And Congress needs to step in too since this is definitely some interstate commerce that needs regulation. I mean there is no way a snake-handling preacher should be able to buy a cobra.

And what happens if too many of them escape? Will MacInnes be celebrating a triumph of adaptable species if freaking wild cobras establish themselves in the US?
4/18/2008 1:17:50 AM
Recommended (8)

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I had a monitor that developed pinkscreen once. Turned out it was a bad connection between the monitor cable and the PC.

And I'd guess that any computer repair shop would be delighted to install Fedora for you instead of Windows. (They'll be happy just to get the request: it'll be a nice change from all those calls from people who think their mice are gas pedals.)

Posted by: byoolin | April 18, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the very kind compliment Cassandra. Awfully glad to see you back on the boodle.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse


One of the colors is flaking out on you. While replacing the monitor is a good first guess, the next thing to do would be to get a new video card. Fifty bucks or so at BigBoxOfElectronics. You have to know what kind of video slot you have. Probably PCI or AGP. Just don't get suckered into the giant gamer's card that goes for over two hundred dollars.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

And a happy hello to Cassandra. I'm so glad you're back. The Boy is in the middle of a play at a local theater, so we're just trying to survive that schedule (Thursdays through Sundays) until the show ends, and still get through sixth grade.

Also belated good thoughts to bill everything's wife. You inspired me to make my "annual" mammogram appointment (read: every few years). Thank you.

I have made trifle cake in the past. It is a good way to use up leftover cake and, if layered in a glass bowl, very pretty too.

Posted by: Ivansmon | April 18, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I can't see the point of having a pet that can kill you. I mean, sure you could trip over Fluffy or have Mr Huggy wrap himself a little too tightly around your arm or have a "Night of the Lepus" moment when your child switches rabbits after you test an unspecified formula on them, but a cobra? They're not anyone's friends -- you can't take it out for a walk or bring it to grandma's. There's just no sense to it.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | April 18, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Stumbled onto this list of overlooked SF novels by accident. Only one I have read is Spinrad's "Agent of Chaos" which was really good.

Posted by: bill everything | April 18, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey, bill e:

I read "Agent" too, and it was pretty darn good. Read it after I read "Bug Jack Barron," of course.

I've also read Clement's "Iceworld," wasn't all that enthralled with it.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Although intrusive reptiles are one of the more, well, salient examples of escaped pets run amok, there are, of course, many others. We in the DC area know all about the joys of the Northern Snakehead:

And, of course, there are feral cats, dogs, and yes, even bunnies. There used to be a golf course in Lancaster County PA that was infamous for its population of abandoned bunnies.

When I used to keep Russian Dwarf Hamsters (I had seven of them! Get it! Haha ha) I learned that these fast-reproducing little rodents had established huge feral colonies in certain areas. I used to keep the hamsters in my office. (It's amazing what they let me get away with sometimes.)

Anyway, even warm fuzzy mammals can be a pest if released into The Wild. Of course, given that whole python business, the feral mammal problem might work itself out on its own.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

OK, I read Joel's article, and now I cannot get the mental image of an exploding python out of my head. Yick.

It also reminded me of a "traffic incident" in which I was involved. Summer after senior year of high school, I was driving my then-boyfriend's 1991 Mitsubishi Galant down Hwy. 17 in South Carolina (where I lived). It was dark, and that particular stretch of road went through a nature preserve and didn't have any lighting. There was a car behind me, and one on the right of me. So you can imagine my panic when we rounded a bend in the road and the headlights illuminated a VERY large alligator crossing the highway! Said alligator stretched across the entire lane in which I was driving, and because there was a car to the right of me, I couldn't swerve. I ran - kathump, kathump - right over the alligator. You know, it's at this point in the story when people usually ask me if I killed it. I have to say, I didn't stop to check. I would assume that if I didn't kill it, the car behind me finished it off.

And my boyfriend had to have his rear axel replaced.

Reptiles on a highway,'s a scary thing. :-)

Posted by: PLS | April 18, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I hear you Centerville Mom about the questionable appeal of lethal pets. I guess it depends what you want to get from a pet. If you want something warm and snuggly to sit next to you, your basic carnivorous herp doesn't exactly work.

But there are other needs pets fulfill. When I was a kid I had a huge ant farm. I enjoyed just sitting and watching the little buggers go about their antly chores.

I suspect the appeal of dangerous pets has something to do with a fascination with danger combined, perhaps, with testosterone poisoning. It takes a bad dude to keep a spittin' cobra. At least that seems to be the theory. The pet is supposed to say something meaningful about the owner.

Which means I probably shouldn't have mentioned that whole "ant farm" business.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of SF and exotic dangerous pets, I'm reminded of George RR Martin's excellent short story, "Sandkings."
(Joel, if you haven't read it, you should. Quite pertinent to your article today, I think.)

Was a decent "Outer Limits" TV movie starring the Bridges family, too.

omni and I both first read this story in Omni (ahem) magazine - gotta be 30 years ago, now.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I haven't read a single book on that SciFi list. Something wrong about that. Also note that not a single one of those books is written by a woman.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the feral snakes might help with that feral lagomorph/rodent problem. If we find some feral water snakes they might even help with the snakehead fish.

And I also wondered about that cobra thing. Why have one? Why decide to use one in a religious service? Surely the Lord didn't speak to that snakehandler to say his use of the native poisonous species showed his lack of faith and he should forthwith find himself some vicious poison-spitting types. The whole thing smacks of hubris. I also wonder when, exactly, the preacher met his demise. Were they alone, practicing, or was it during a service? How many members of the congretation were threatened? Where did the snake go after he bested the preacher? Did he hole up in the church? Wander about the neighborhood? Get eaten by a feral rabbit?

Kbertocci, I don't understand why my admiration of reptiles extends to creepy things, but I admit that I have a qualified fondness for scorpions and tarantulas. While I can contemplate with some pleasure the idea of keeping one of those big cool scorpions in a cage or terrarium or whatever they're called, I kill the everyday household kind swiftly and without mercy when they wander across my floors (usually in summer).

I conquered my innate fear of spiders enough to leave "house spiders" in the corners to eat bugs, but show no quarter to fiddlebacks. I think I put tarantulas in a different category than regular spiders (maybe they're getting some benefit from being fuzzy, and I'm subconsciously using that "cute mammal" thing).

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 18, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I second bc et al's advice about the VGA cable as well. The other night I went to LittleBoxOfElectronics at the mall and then to FruitNamedComputerStore and bought tons of cables, adaptors, and dohickeys to integrate my wife's stable of Macs into the home entertainment system.

You haven't lived until you've boodled from the couch with the Achenblog running at 1024x768 on a 48" Sony flat screen while the newest Hilary McRae album is streaming online through a 5.1 home theater system.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: "leftover cake" ?? I don't understand that concept.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 18, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt, have you ever read any of the other articles on that site? I did, and now I have to boil my flaptop and scour my eyeballs. One can only take so much holocaust denial, racsism, xenophobia, and misogyny before lunch.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

bc August 1979.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the ant farm concept could be made more butch by keeping fire ants or other dangerous ant types?

(Admittedly my trivia-filled head doesn't include information on various ants; are there more dangerous types of ants than fire ants?)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | April 18, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I still hate snakes, no matter what anybody says.

Spiders just beg to be squished.

Scorpions? I'm even a Scorpio and I can't stand the bastages.

RD... I wouldn't worry much about the ant farm causing you problems in the "masculine rep" department. The lagomorphs, on the other hand...

(unless, of course, they have *huge* teeth and bite the heads off of kinniggits)

Regarding invasive species... two words: zebra mussels.

Posted by: martooni | April 18, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I also think Tarantulas are kinda cute. But they make really boring pets. A friend had one in college. It just sat there motionless for weeks waiting for someone to drop in a cricket. Not very entertaining.

Where I have trouble is with the whole Madagascar Hissing Cockroach business.

Ants, spiders, rodents, and even snakes I'm okay with. But MHCs induce a primal revulsion I can't overcome. I don't know why.

Perhaps my youthful reading of "The Hephaestus Plague" (a book about intelligent cockroaches with a penchant for pyromania) warped me more than I realize.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

That site was just a pure Google hit. I was amazed that copyrighted material like that was online. I bookmarked it for later perusal, but maybe that's not a good idea. PJ needs to get his lawyers on retainer.

I too read "Sandkings" in Omni. I'm still in awe of that story although the cable tv adaptation was a little lackluster.

I have not read ANY of those ten books and haven't even heard of several of those authors.

I collect John D. MacDonald first editions but can't remember if I own "Ballroom of the Skies", but I know I have never read it or any of JDM's science fiction.

We had to read Eric Frank Russell's Best Of for a science fiction course I took in college. The professor touted him as the quintessential Golden Age short story writer.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Late morning bunker report: No snakes or alligators or spiders to be seen. Wilbrodog and his minions did their part of the job.

Overall, it's not in bad condition. I put all the dishes in the dishwasher and swept and vacuumed. CP's sofa is fluffed and the throw neatly folded. The bathrooms are presentable. Good job, folks!

Other than the damage to the wine cellar, I think we're in pretty good shape. I'm sure Mudge will be giving orders about restocking as necessary. That, of course, is the first duty of the shop steward.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

1. Invasive species. Other than duck and goose season, I think 90% of the birds I see are either gulls or sparrows. Magpies are holding their own, I think.

2. Going back to riffology, I was youtubing last night and I have to say that I think "Dreamboat Annie" was Heart's best.

3. yellojkt's big screen boodling. Leaving aside whether that smacks of elitism, I'll try to do better with my posts. I'm not sure if the world is ready for my typos and drivel in big screen hi-def.

4. Thanks for the comments on the health care question.

5. slats, you don't find the bunker. The bunker finds you, man. (and you're welcome)

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I knew that was it.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

martooni - Did I mention the rabbits are psychotic? Really. These are problem bunnies. And they do indeed have razor sharp teeth, which they have been known to use with great enthusiasm. My dependents are terrified of the things.

Yet I, with great frequency, sit calmly amongst them - with no protective gear at all - and feed them small raisins directly from my palm.

That's, ya know, macho and all. Right?

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 18, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

RD, no doubts from me. I've read Watership Down. I know rabbits are big bad fighting machines.

Posted by: bia | April 18, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The big screen boodling is not so much elitism as it is convergence. I figured that for the price of a couple of cables I could have a big-@ss monitor. I will blog all about my experimentation this weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it true that First Nations/American Indians had to deal with the Mother of all invasive species?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey, CentrevilleMom, I liked your "Night of the Lepus" reference. My sister has seen the movie, not me, but it sounds "wonderful." For more rabbit-related fun, try reading "Year of the Angry Rabbit" by (the web has told me) Russell Braddon.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 18, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Why have a poisonous pet? Same reason you'd have a pit bull and encourage aggression? I truly have no idea.

A shoutout to C from Bensalem in case she's lurking. Welcome to the Boodle and all the imaginary friends herein! Bring some chruschiki next time we all go the bunker, okay?

Posted by: dbG | April 18, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Good ol, cassandra is back. Martooni, do you feel the shock wave from Illinois this morning?

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 18, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for tidying up the place, Slyness. I'm filling out the wine cellar requisition form now; anybody got any requests? I'm adding two cases of Prosecco and a couple bottles of Wolfschmidts, so we can have sgroppinos next time. Also some liverwurst, smoked salmon, wheat thins and prot wine cheese for the hors d'oeuvres locker. Any other suggestions? (I priced some domestic caviar, but even that was too expensive for the bunker budget. Anybody know where to get some good sturgeon roe?) I think this summer the bunker is going to have a problem getting crab and crabmeat, judging by what I've heard about the Chesapeak Bay forecasts this year. However, if Dave and Bertooch down in Florida want to ship up some stone crabs, or if some of you West Coasters have a decent run of crabs out there, you might send some by fax to the bunker. I've got the top secret Olive Garden recipe for their San Remo crab dip, for anyone interested. Turns out the secret is the asiago.)

The main problem I have around the house is with feral children (the youngest is now 22) and their feral guests, nevermind feral animals (although there is some redundancy in the two terms). At least now they are old enough that they bring their own beer, rather than stealing it from me. The other night my son greeted me with, "Hey, Pops, want a brewski?" and handed me a Bud Lite. Then he cooked some terrific BBQ porkchops on the grill for my wife and me -- and six of his friends. I was too polite (and too grateful) to tell him what I thought about Bud Lite and just shut up and drank it in silence.

(And the other interesting thing is that lately a number of young women have been appearing at the house, along with the young men I'm used to seeing as visitors. Just yesterday, when I spent the day at home telecommuting, in the afternoon someone came down the stairs behind me and went into the downstairs bathroom; I assumed it was my son. A minute or two later the person came out again just as I turned around to see who it was. Turns out it was a blond person of handsome appearance. "Hi, Mr. Curmudgeon!" she said brightly as she went back upstairs to my son's room. And the other night at the porkchopalooza, there were two young ladies out on my deck around the grill, and one was a young Hispanic lady of considerable charm and endowment, who is fond of wearing denims with large holes, rips and tears here and there about her lower person, whom my son introduced as "Justine." I like Justine. I feel sorry for her not being able to afford bluejeans that don't have large rips and tears in them, but somehow I don't think it is in my self-interest to do anything about that misfortune.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge might try reseating the video card. Just pull it out then re-insert it and give it a bit of a wiggle.
Yes, yes.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Butcher ants, native to Central and South Americe are considered to have the most painful sting, However Jack Jumper ants can be deadly. You'll find Jack Jumper ants in, where else, Australia.

Check this out:

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

jack jumper ants cause more deaths in Tasmania than spiders, snakes, wasps, and sharks combined

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm still laughing over the notion of butch fire-ant antfarms. C-Mom, you've got to post more often.

dbG, I missed the post from C from Bensalem. We have somebody from Bensalem on the Boodle? That's omni's old stomping grounds. Cool! Oh, and you'll appreciate this: a few weeks ago, my wife and I had dinner with two other couples we know slightly, and during the talk it turns out one of the couple (who work here in Washington) are from Joisy right across the river from Philly, and we know a lot of the same locations and diners and so on (Olga's on Rt. 70, etc.). I happened to mentioned how I used to love buttercake when I was a kid, but hadn't seen any for, like, 30 or 40 years. Well, they happened to go visit some friends in Delran last weekend, and brought back for me a gen-u-wine Philly-style buttercake. All I can say is ohhhhhhhhhhhhh mannnnnnn. Talk about diabetic shock, too. But the little piece I had was sooooooo good. And then the next day my feral children devoured the rest of it. In total all I got was a square of it about an inch-and-a-half by inch-and-a-half. But that'll hold me for another decade or so.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The main shopping/eating street on our barrier island is so quiet after April that in the evening you may spot the native marsh rabbits munching the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 18, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, it is good to be back, and I missed you too.

And hello, daiwanlan.

Got a scare this morning. My aunt called and said she could not get my dad on the phone so she wanted me to go over there and check. I was so nervous. When I got there, this eighty year-old is outside cutting his grass. I figured he was outside, but then I thought, he could be in trouble. He's fine. We talked awhile, and then he went back to cutting the grass. I'm just happy he's doing something instead of watching that television. It makes him so agitated listening to the news. He thinks the country is going to "h" and he's laying the blame you know where.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 18, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, we had a job candidate come visit the department a few years ago. At the end of the day, after his job talk, meetings with deans, department chairs, etc., he came to the grad student happy hour and bought a pitcher of Bud Light for the table. Oh well, he probably wasn't going to get the job anyway.

Posted by: bia | April 18, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl is correct. Here is Dreamboat Annie:

Of all places: "Captain & Tennille Variety Show".

Some pretty nifty Banjo licks on this song too. But then again, if played well, Banjo licks are almost by definition pretty nifty.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse


These feral guests of yours of various and assorted genders, do they stay overnight or just daytrip? I can see some problems if the revolving door gets spinning too fast and Chez Curmudgeon turns into some sort of hot sheet flophouse.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I meet your requirements for a pet, Mudge. Does that mean I'm welcome at Chez Curmudgeon for dinner anytime?

P.S. Make extra, I got a hollow tummy.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 18, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I go for walks down a drive to a school that is pretty deserted on the weekends and see lots of lagomorphic activity. The other day I saw and interesting little dance. One lagomorph was sitting at the edge of the woods. Another kept hopping back and forth in front of it. When second rabbit got dead center in front of the first rabbit, the first rabbit would jump straight up as high as it could and then settle back down. This went on three or four times.

Eventually both rabbits caught sight of me and hopped away. Was I watching some version of singles bar behavior and if so, who was courting who?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Omni, thanks for the heads-up on Jack Jumper Ants and the pain scale. This lends a little more credence to my hypothesis that every last thing in Australia is poisonous. :) However, something on the pain scale caught my eye; a sweat bee sting was listed as "Light, ephemeral, almost fruity".


That sounds more like a wine description than an "Ow! What the $%(*& just stung me?" Though, veering off to the subject of wine descriptions, a friend once described a method of pretending how to know wines by choosing someone in the room and using their appearance to describe the wine. This fell apart at a wedding when the terms "Loud, with a large nose and an unfortunate hat" came into play.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | April 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

yello, I'm not entirely sure of the answer to that. My son works from about 3 or 4 p.m. to after midnight, and consequently I almost never see him except on his days off (Sundays and Wednesdays). I know there have been guests and sleepovers, and I'm used to occasionally seeing a strange car parked out front. If I had to guess, I'd say that as far as I'm aware, he hasn't yet had a female sleep over (at least when we were home), but I don't know that for sure. Unlike some of his siblings, my son is fairly discreet and careful. (On the other hand, he doesn't come home two or three nights a week, usually Friday nights and Saturday nights, and I have no idea where he sleeps those nights.) I once asked him who such-and-such a girl was who was at our house, and he said, "Oh, that's Melissa, my ex-girlfriend." I was completely unaware that there was any such person or any such former relationship.

Things seem very casual these days, compared to my day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, you know you are welcome any time.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

CentrevilleMom... thanks for the laugh.. do you have a rag handy for cleaning off my monitor?

Posted by: TBG | April 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say Dreamboat Annie is such a sweet sounding tune yet very sad at the same time


Heading out this morning into the sun
Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin' one

Warm wind caress her
Her lover it seems
Oh, Annie
Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams

Going down the city sidewalk alone in the crowd
No one knows the lonely one whose head's in the clouds

Sad faces painted over with those magazine smiles
Heading out to somewhere won't be back for a while

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Can that be right? My on-screen temp. guage says it is 81 degrees here in Warshington. I may have to stroll outdoors to confirm.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I have to agree with your dad about the state of the country.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The Boy and I are convinced that any truly dangerous or poisonous animals, insects or other fauna originate in Australia.

Mudge, that sounds like a good re-stock list. However, don't forget the beer and Chicken-n-a-Biskit. Some days nothing else will do.

Thanks to centervillemom and yellojkt for two good stories - amusing and bemusing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 18, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I can't see reptiles, amphibians, arachnids or insects as pets but don't like to impede their enjoyment of their habitat as long as they are not sharing mine to closely. We had a variety of snakes under our porch in NoVA. They didn't bother me much until the spring the copper heads moved in and started sunning themselves on the porch just under the door jamb. Mr. F killed one, and I did in another, before we got the area backfilled and made it inhospitable for all snakes. It was kind of sad to see them all go.

Once upon a time I spent a very boring month in Egypt where the main form of entertainment was catching scorpions. They were pretty worthless really, wouldn't race, didn't fight, couldn't tell one from another so there was no sense giving them names. Catch, count (for bragging rights), release-day after day.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 18, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh carp. I misspelled a handle.

Thanks for the wine laugh CentrevilleMom.

Got it right this time.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I dunno that I'll talk Mr. T into checking this out, but some of you might be interested. It should be among the best of its kind:

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Though I knew people who knew people who were from or lived in Bensalem, I rarely visited. My stomping grounds were in Newtown crossing and a lot of places further North.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

A friends parents had the biggest garter snake I've ever seen living in their compost bin. the thing became so tame you pick it up without it "skunking" you. It was very amusing watching little kids pass the monster around or catching frogs and feeding it. The only poisonous snake I've ever caught was a 3 ft. Missasauga rattler up at Georgian Bay.

Posted by: Boko99 | April 18, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'll stock the fridge with Boddingtons Pub Ale, Murphy's Stout, and some Guinness Draft. If I see any Bud Lite, or any Lite beer of any kind, I'll donate it to the guy, who desperately needs a shower, down the street.

Also, if you don't mind, I'll pick up some Asiago and Pepperoni But were not using the Asiago for any secret ingredients. Just cut a few thin slices and enjoy plain.

Also, I just came in from outside and it feels warmer than 81°. This in Bethesda. Downtown where Mudge is it is prolly much warmer feeling than here.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, things seem to be a lot more casual these days than they were in my time (um, less than ten years ago) - and when I was 22 I had my own place. Still, I bet it makes for some entertainment.

Posted by: PLS | April 18, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Bad, bad mistake. I went outside. Yes, as omni predicted, it feels warmer than 81. Sunny. A nice breeze off the river (the mighty Anacostia, a name that always sounded to me like it should be a snake). Ruined my morale for the whole afternoon. I should be out there somewhere, on a blanket with a maiden, a jug of wine (I'm thinking liebfraumilch), a loaf of bread (artisanal, of course, and maybe some olive oil and pesto for dipping), reading selected bits of poetry (Donald Hall and Billy Collins). (Oh, and what the he11, maybe some Yeats.) If the maiden is young, Hispanic, and has rips and tears in her jeans, why, that's just fine by me.

Of course, I'd have to be 22 again. Guess that ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

C-mom, the really dangerous ants are...

you know...


*hiding under the couch*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 18, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I had the picture disc version of Dreamboat Annie:

In case Snuke's post is confusing anyone:

A really cheesy SciFi horror film from 1954.

The Ellinson Girl: [screaming hysterically] THEM! THEM! THEM!

-------------------------------------------Jensen: Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze! Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Cheesy?? Aw hey omin, James Whitmore, James Arness and Fess Parker count for something, don't they??


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 18, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, while you're guzzling (oops, sipping) wine with chunks of bread etc. add this to your poetry sampling:

Watch out, the site has a song playing.

Jim is a friend and colleague who wrote "I Survived Cancer, But Never Won the Tour de France", which I've mentioned before. He also writes good poetry. It'll be perfect for your spring Friday afternoon psychically commuting from the park.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 18, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"They're not creatures you can fight--they're an elemental--an 'act of God!' Ten miles long, two miles wide--ants, nothing but ants! And every single one of them a fiend from hell; before you can spit three times they'll eat a full-grown buffalo to the bones. I tell you if you don't clear out at once there'll he nothing left of you but a skeleton picked as clean as your own plantation."

-"Leiningen Versus the Ants" by Carl Stephenson

This short story of Brazilian army ants was made into an adequate film in the 50's with Charleton Heston and Eleanor Parker.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 18, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

SCC: omni

*taking a nap* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 18, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The flick's called "The Naked Jungle" and as I said, it's adequate.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 18, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that post about Hilary yello. She's one hot and talented musician.'s+The+Same.html

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

And let's not even mention Damnation Alley where "this whole town is infested with killer cockroaches."

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

On Kit! I just got this in an email from the Fairfax Co public library...

Invasive or Not? -- Discover animals and plants that take over the environment. Presented by Hidden Pond Nature Center. April 19, 10:30 a.m. at Richard Byrd Library. Register by calling 703-451-8055. All ages.

Posted by: TBG | April 18, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I was just over at Salon, following up with Glenn Greenwald (by the way, did somebody mention that the book quote says Joel was doing analysis of the *1988* election? Whose typo is that?)

Anyway, Greenwald didn't keep my attention long, but this is a fun article by Heather Havrilesky, called "How I learned to stop worrying and love the recession" -- It's about beans! Legumes! among other things.


"Lately I've been buying beans. Not canned beans, mind you: Dry beans. Bags of dry beans that only cost 65 cents, beans that have to be soaked overnight, beans that you have to sort very carefully to make sure there aren't any chunks of gravel in there."

* * *

"Personally, I'm happier when my options are limited. I like knowing that I can't afford to move and I can't afford to quit my job and I can't afford to think about the boundless possibilities that the universe has to offer, I can only afford to clean my own stupid house and eat leftovers and lose weight so the sh!tty clothes I already have don't look even worse on me than they would otherwise. Under the duress of an economic meltdown, I have to learn to bake bread and grow tomatoes and hit up my friends for hand-me-downs for my kids."


[Note: the phrase "huge tracts of land" is used in the article, too--this is definitely a boodleland essay.]

Posted by: kbertocci | April 18, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

(Salon article excerpt slightly edited to evade the Washington Post Obscenity Filter)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 18, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The Fungi and his buddies were attacked by stinging ants in Costa Rica last January. The ants had a fiery sting apparently. Can't remember the name of the ants though, I'll ask him. He filmed a short video of their teacher swearing and dancing while under attack, it's quite funny. They were territorial attacks, soldiers ants protecting a specific piece of real estate that happen to intersect the trail they were using. I'll see if picasa allows video and post it, maybe.

Not many snakes around here, except for garter snake and the very occsional but beautiful milk snake.
On the water there is the dreaded Eastern black water snake, a very aggressive but non-venomous medium-sized snake. As a teenager I made the mistake of catching one and throwing it in the fishing boat, as I have often done with garter snake (garter snakes are almost water shakes). This thing striked and bit me at least 4 times in the 5 seconds it was in the boat. The nasty thing was about two feet long but had a thick oblong body. I won't touch one again.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I've been attacked by fire ants. On St Simons Island, Ga. Ouch. OUCH. Did I say "OUCH!"? They hurt like he!!. My daughter was first struck the day before and when she started the screaming dance, the maid at the motel came running and poured her own water bottle over my daughter's leg.

I appreciated, but didn't understand her concern until the next day when I came under attack. Did I mention it hurts like he!!?

Of course, that's nothing compared to the ants in Mianus.

(You didn't think we'd get away scott free, did you?)

Posted by: TBG | April 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

As a youngster I made the mistake of getting caught by a human and being thrown by it into a fishing boat. I had to strike and bite that thing at least 4 times in the 5 seconds to escape the boat. The nasty thing was about six feet long but had a thick oblong body. I won't let one touch me again.

Posted by: Eddie the Eastern black water snake | April 18, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Me too kb.
Someone called Utopian Turtletop (invasive?) left this letter:
Joel Achenbach
"Holy crap, Glenn! I love reading you, and I plan on buying Great American Hypocrites, but did no one tell you that Joel Achenbach is a humor columnist? I guarantee you that when he wrote the excerpt you quoted, his tongue was stuck so far in his cheek it looked like his head was about to explode."

Of cousre, I know that Joel is much more than just a 'humour' columnist. Not like those other 2 guys.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I've decided I'm starting my weekend right now. Stay cool everyone.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Eddie, you're one long-lived snake, being well into your thirties.
We should each keep on our own side of the hull.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Keep on your own side of Hull.
Ha! That's rich.

Posted by: Not Eddie the Eastern black water snake | April 18, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I was in Starbucks yesterday facing a long drive with a barely loaded set of podcasts and on impulse I bought "Song of the Siren" that features 19 different female singers. The only namew I recognized were Feist and Corinne Bailey Rae. Less than half the songs were in English, but they were all very pretty.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Not-Eddie999, this was in the Boucherville islands on the South shore on Montreal. It's a provincial park now but back then farmers were putting cattle to graze on the islands for the summer. The cattle was ferried back and forth on motorized barges that were very low on the water. More than once I took a double take at a half dozen cows seemingly gliding on water.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the confusion, Mudge. C is going to kill me!

C from Bensalem has not posted, but lurks sometimes. She's an old friend whom I told her about the Boodle over lunch one day, and she e-mailed today to say she'd figured out my nom d'Boodle.

I don't know what's happening to my Philly creds. I'm not interested in soft pretzels or hoagies anymore. It's April and I haven't gone to Rita's yet. And I never liked buttercake. But anytime you want it sent, just ask.

Posted by: dbG | April 18, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm getting this great idea for a movie, called "Snakes in the Bilge." See, it's about this Eastern Black Water snake with a bad attitude (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) who gets tossed into this johnboat, and this woman (sorry, Shriek, but we've got to consider the demographics here; remember, the key is "young woman in jeopardy") played Dru Barrymore? No, she's not right for it...Lucy Liu? no, too need somebody with chops, with biceps...Lucy Lawless? yes, she's the one...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What with global warming (should that be Global Warming?), fire ants have moved into our area. The son of a friend was bitten several years ago and went into anaphylactic shock. That earned the species my respect; I keep ant insecticide on hand and use it liberally.

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, that would work even better with Lucy Lawless because she's a big fishing fan. She might even take a reduced salary just for the opportunity to get out there and fish. :)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | April 18, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading Heather Havrilesky since her days at under the pen name of Polly Esther. I miss Suck. A lot.

It's a little scary how much our taste in writers overlap.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I know Mudge, if it were me playing the bald fat guy in danger people would root for Eddie.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I vote for Summer Glau, Mudge, if you're going for young women.

You should have seen her fight scenes on Firefly and Serenity. She's a classically trained ballerina. And she's under 30. Also, she was cast in "Terminator: the Sarah connor chronicles."

As for ethnic, doesn't really matter.

Of course the downside is that you might fear for the snake more than for the gal.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I've had a full day of meetings (on a Friday!) and haven't had a chance to backboodle. Just stopped to say Hi and Bye, as the boss just released us an hour early. Toodles, boodle!

Posted by: Raysmom | April 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Ya, know Wilbrod, I wasn't all that crazy about Summer Glau in Term-3, but the one I did like was Lena Headey, although because of any particular age thing. I just didn't find Glau very likeable, and I *did* buy into Lena Headey as Sarah.

"Suck dot com"? yello, there's days I have to wonder at your leisure browsing.

Hey, C of Bensalem. Sorry you've been outed as a lurker. That's cool. But if you wanna stop by and say howdy some time, that's cool, too. Notwithstanding the occasional snake bite or political Rovestorm (like yesterday) from trolls, we're actually a pretty welcoming, laid-back bunch. (And if you run over to Willow Grove and bring me a cheesesteak from Luigi's [third floor of the mall, in the food court; tell Joan, the owner, I said "hi." She was a year ahead of me in high school], we'll let you into the bunker.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Eddie, you should check the internet more often. You've been rebadged Northern Water Snake. My specimen was of the dark-brown almost black variety.

"They defend themselves vigorously when they are threatened. If they are picked up by an animal, or person, they will bite, as well as release excrement and musk. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant which can cause its wounds caused by biting to bleed profusely." No sh1t, I had no idea.
Now we have to visualyse Linda Lawless bleeding profusely from carefully chosen location.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 18, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, isn't the traditional remedy for a snake bite to...uh...never mind.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Mudge, I like the start of your story.

Call the snake Log.

And call the heroine's snake-killing lagomorph Wiki-Persnickety-Wabbit.

And a Final Showdown with Log's wife (She Who Shall Not Be Named Mrs. Log) to avenge his being converted to chum by Wiki-Persnickety-Wabbit.

See, it almost writes itself, with literary allusions everwhere (including homages to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," and Pratchett/Gaiman's "Good Omens.").

Take ya a half-hour, tops, dude.


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

And here's a great tune cootie for a Friday afternoon. I might also note that the featured guitarist looks a bit like ScienceTim without his glasses on, and the young, blond violinist in the schoolgirl costume is a dead ringer for my No. 2 granddaughter. Enjoy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Suck's poor choice in names was part of its downfall. The term clearly means many different things to different people. Particularly to people Googling the internet with SafeSearch off.

I think the original concept was that it would catalog things on the internet that sucked. Which was obviously way to big a task for them.

You had to read it to realize it wasn't what you'd thought it would be.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ...way toooooo big...

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I didn't know that she had a role that was supposed to be likeable-- wasn't she a female terminator?

Bc, that plot outline is not a good Omens allusion... that's an allusion to Kipling's "Rikki-tikki-tavi" in Jungle Book 2. Of course the brave mongoose Rikki-tikki-tavi promptly kills Mrs Naga (Nagani) and their offspring before the little cobras can bite the entire family dead in revenge.

And THAT probably alludes back to Beowulf, as well.

We should work in a tea party allusion, and let's not forget an post-apocalypse vision a la Watership down.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, she was a Terminator, but she was also on the side of the good guys. I just couldn't buy into her. Contrast her, for instance to Data in Star Trek, who is also supposed to be an expressionless automaton. But Data was likeable, and Summer just didn't do anything for me. (Contrast her also, to Ahnold, who was likeable in Term-2, when he was the good guy.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, does anyone know if you can get a pet snake or 2 and let it roam freely throughout the house?
Recently, we've come under a minor assault by very small, gray mice. Our exterminator whom we employ on a monthly basis to ensure that I don't die by bee-sting suggested that not raking leaves last fall and then raking them all a couple weeks ago disturbed their outdoor nest and sent them inside. Ugh.

Our cats play with them to death as soon as they detect one in the house, but then I have to clean up a dead, wet mouse. I was thinking this morning as I picked up #6 that a snake would be perfect. Couldn't it just slither through various openings to find the source of the mice and wipe them all out as one giant smorgasborg of rodentia?
Probably not, but a girl's gotta dream.

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey, does anyone know if you can get a pet snake or 2 and let it roam freely throughout the house?
Recently, we've come under a minor assault by very small, gray mice. Our exterminator whom we employ on a monthly basis to ensure that I don't die by bee-sting suggested that not raking leaves last fall and then raking them all a couple weeks ago disturbed their outdoor nest and sent them inside. Ugh.

Our cats play with them to death as soon as they detect one in the house, but then I have to clean up a dead, wet mouse. I was thinking this morning as I picked up #6 that a snake would be perfect. Couldn't it just slither through various openings to find the source of the mice and wipe them all out as one giant smorgasborg of rodentia?
Probably not, but a girl's gotta dream.

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I never saw the original Terminator, Mudge.

But, Data was never supposed to be an expressionless autonomon, just emotionless. I watched ST:NG from day one because I liked that character (I like robot SF and tuned in to see what they'd do).

He was more subtly expressive than all the other characters from the start.

(BTW, Spock is far easier to lipread than Kirk was, and he does accentuate his words with modulated expression, so much for the "emotionless = expressionless" equation.)

Spiner had a comic acting record. He reprised an original role on Night Court Six times.... playing a hillybilly, so he really came on fully prepared to make his character whimisical.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

You really don't want a free-roaming snake within your living area as a mouse-hunter:
(1) snakes only eat once a week or so, so a single snake is ineffective for attrition of the muscidae.
(2) Snakes only poop rarely. But, when they do, it is unbelievably stinky. You will want your snake confined to a controlled area so that when the smell appears, you can find the offending object and dispose of it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Heading out soon for the bus. Everybody have a good weekend. Cassandra, you mind your P's and Q's; I know how you get rowdy on Saturday night.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Except for the one mouse a week babit, a snake sounds exactly like a cat that doesn't know how to use the litterbox.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Bittergate soon to be replaced by Fingergate:

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 18, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Joel, shame on you.

As somebody who has had Weingarten as a spiritual humor advisor so long (and allowed him around his kids, as well!)... I call upon you, Joel, to disown Weingarten's remarks and shun him like the america-hating narrow-minded middle-finger fetishing leper that he is.

(Everybody knows pultizer prizes are given out only to America haters who do things like link presidents to crimes, so don't even use that as an excuse on his behalf.)

Only then can you save yourself and the Achenblog from being forever linked with his finger-miscounting misdeeds, and thus save any dignity and honor still clinging like dingleberries to your pitiful name.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The extraordinary tragedy is in progress right now, the Federal Government of the United States of America is killing the innocent man: silently and secretly, and, if you could see, the so called the Law of the Land does not work, and the Court is a part of system of persecution.

The up to date story on the website:

Thank you very much for your attention

Posted by: Mykola | April 18, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

yello -- do read J. D. McDonald's "Wine of the Dreamers." I think of it frequently when I've sat for an hour or so reading the boodle.

Posted by: nellie | April 18, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm a generalist who favors specialists. Good article, Joel. I wish you could write more often about our woefully changing earth...but I'll take what you get. And front page no less! I hope it doesn't take a big meteorite to put the B back in _alance but it might.

The boodle was hit hard last evening by boodle maniacs. Glad you all made it safely through the night in the bunker. Hopefully no hangovers. :-)

Posted by: eidrib | April 18, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

That's a heartbreaking story Dr. Lysenko. Perhaps you should the person who taped the "KICK ME" sign on your back.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

SSC sue the person


Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Joel & Boodle--

That photo of the exploding python may be a hoax. Read about it here:

Posted by: OldBAM | April 18, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Lysenko's crimes against both definite and indefinite articles are well-documented and he will remain on our watch list.

Posted by: Grammar Police | April 18, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Ya tagged me SD. I knew you would. Boy, that was a good nap, unfortunately I didn't get any raking done but at least I'm well rested. I hope you all enjoyed working and your commute home this afternoon.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The Grammar Police's crimes in assigning the male pronoun inappropriately are well
well-documented and they will remain on our watch list.

Posted by: The Pronoun Police | April 18, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The, oh forget it.

Posted by: The Formatting Police | April 18, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

yello... i, too, was a regular reader.

"A fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun."

Dem was da days, dey was...

1) Take any word
2) Tack on ".com"
3) ??
4) Profit

{* thinking I've just outed myself as a geek *}

Posted by: martooni | April 18, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

*looking out on the porch for the grammar, formatting, and whothat police*

Posted by: jack | April 18, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

My apologies to anyone who might've linked to this kit appropriate Zappa ditty earlier in the day:

Posted by: jack | April 18, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Those jerks over at Pronoun are always busting our chops.

First of all, our profiler said that 99.4% of all internet crackpots are male; we like those odds.

Second, last time we checked "Mykola" was the Ukrainian form of "Nicolas".

We take a lot of heat doing our job enforcing the Law of the Land. Maybe those pencil-pushers at Pronoun don't care about a missing "a" or "the" but, dammit, it keeps us up all night, and when we see a little "a" reunited with its subject, we know it's all worth it.

Posted by: The Grammar Police | April 18, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Got the Boddingtons Pub Ale, but it's already gone Steve helped.
Also got Murphy's Stout, which I'm enjoying now with the last two episodes of B5 Season1.
Got some Cabernet as a bonus...
No site of any lite...good...smelly guy doesn't need more incentive to smell
Asiago, pepproni: check
Bonus: Spanish Olives and Havarti. Just need crackers for Havarti
Also got some Baby Yukons. I'll eat these raw if you don't mind.
Two things for me only: a Granny Smith Apple and a single stalk of Rhubarb. I'm going to wash and clean the Rhubarb and eat it like a slim jim. One bite at a time. Chewing until my jaws hurt. If any one takes my Granny there will be heck to pay.

On my second shopping trip of the day I talked to just about everyone who looked my way. Everyone was extremely friendly but one. All but two were service people. All but one were friendly back. She looked at me like I was some kind of creep. All I talked to was just chitchat, except her. After I pick up my pepperoni, I noticed she was looking at Hummus. I asked if she ever had California Hummus (pretty much knowing the answer would be no). She said "No." I asked her if she had had ever made Hummus, she said "Yes." I gave the recipe. She looked at me again like I was a creep. What...I guy can't buy to a women buying Hummus.

this evening I bought some sausage, and stuck it so far Paris Hilton's butt she squawked like a Parrot. From now on I'm calling her Parrot Hilton.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The gender of Dr. Lysenko was determined by a careful examination of the relevant documents.
Further investigation of the phrase "Kick Me", written on the sign that was attached to her back and was the cause of her lawsuits, raised concerns that are beyond the purview of this section.
These questions should have been addressed by the Grammar Police but have been completely ignored.
If the Grammar Police cannot be trusted to practice their due diligence we will insist that this office be removed from their supervision or that their office be restricted to investigating the misuse of words like a and the, which seems to be the extent of their competence.
Extensive outside consultation and expensive legal advice has convinced us that the only way to avoid inter-office conflict is to rename The Grammar Police The Article Dicks and create an over-arching supervisory entity called "The Office of Grammar Security" with full power of coercion and persecution.

Posted by: The Pronoun Police | April 18, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

... speaking of poisonous snakes... London Harrods employed an Egyptian Cobra to stand guard over $120,000 ruby- sapphire- and diamond-encrusted designer sandals in a display case last year... clever no?

... hey Joel, I think you didn't include Pink Floyd's "In The Flesh" amongst great guitar riffs of all time...

Friday night plus the blues plus large steak on the BBQ is going to my head... time to get back to the music... and the manfood pyramid.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 18, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The last para of my 8:20 was intended for the Celebritology blog.

And the California Hummus recipe is my own invention...Dang, I bet it's too late for the Boodle Cookbook.

Or maybe, Hopefully. my stupid memory forgets if I already submitted it...carp...don't think so.

And manohmanohman, isn't that Asiago good.mhmhmmm...

OK regarding my 8:20 last para...somebody should take away my keyboard after eight

And lock me in the Bunker with my Asiago and Granny

but please leave me my Guinness

I hope this makes at least one of you laugh

and yello, thanks again for that McRae post. My goodness. everyone should listen to her at least one.

And thank yello...

Posted by: omni Oops | April 18, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

omni... it's nice to know I'm not the only lush on this bus who shouldn't be trusted with a keyboard after 8pm. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | April 18, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

That Obama gesture link Joel posted makes a case for editor job security if I ever saw one. Unless an editor did see that ridiculous LA Times blog item and thought it was a good idea. Then, never mind.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 18, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Just chatted with the Yness bro. He was in Evanston, Ill. this morning. The earthquake woke him up. He said the experience was weird.

Anybody else in that area, to experience movement of the earth?

Posted by: slyness | April 18, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Bill Moyers is interviewing an incredibly brave young reporter, Liela Ffadal, who's MacClatchy's bureau chief in Bagdad. She'll be on PBS's blog to answer questions. I'd go over but all I'd be able to do is gush.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I emailed your article to daughter #2, the one with the big red tailed boa. She liked your writing very much but did have one complaint. She wondered why everyone hates snakes, as she said, "no one ever mentions the snake that saves the teetering child on the edge of a cliff by wrapping its tail around him." I believe she was joking but you never know with her.

Just looked back at the kit and saw the link to the Obama thing. O.M.G., that should be an Onion article. Way too stupid to even comment on further.

I have finally sat down after grocery shopping, dinner, calls from both daughters (they always call one right after, or in the middle of, each other, uncanny), cleaning the bathroom, watering the plants and throwing in a load of laundry. All this so we can garden tomorrow and ride up to Provincetown on Sunday in the hope of seeing some whales - altho' wandering around there is fun too. It is so warm here tonight that "S" is able to watch the Sox on the porch TV.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 18, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Looking closely, and I know we're limited by having only 2D and a poor camera angle, but it looks to me like Obama was wiping or scratching beneath his eye with both the middle and index finger in parallel. No exposed middle finger. No harm. No foul.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 18, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, can you fax me some leftovers pronto? It's an major emergency.

This slimming diet is really making my tummy hollow enough to swallow myself up, and I'm not getting any extra consolation from the gnome. I'd rather exercise my butt off rather than be anorexic, that's all I'm saying. My shadow will be bigger than me soon at this rate.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 18, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Whales? Is that the latest slang expression for the sights of Provincetown?

When I was young and theretofore sheltered, I remember Provincetown as being the first place that I noticed romantic affection publicly displayed between men. Having led a cloistered life, I admit that I found this experience disconcerting. Not a facet of life of which I had been aware.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 18, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh Tim. Right whales have been feeding in Cape Cod Bay and have been seen from some of the beaches in Provincetown. We thought we'd combine an overdue trip up there with some (I hope) whale watching. I love the atmosphere there, tourists, locals, gays (local and tourist), all intermingle without incident. It's the way life should be in an ideal world - everyone getting along and pretty mellow about it all. Also seem to be a lot of glaucoma test pilots in the area.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 18, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Danny Federici of E Street Band, age 58, of melanoma. He did the organ solo on "Hungry Heart" and the accordion on "$th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)." He and Springsteen were friends for 40 years.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

*faxing Wilbrodog some pork chop bones*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

martooni, we are kindred spirits. I'm switching from B5 t0 AVPR

And I just listened to Hilary McRae for the seventh time.

Another link:

Really, listen to this...

Really, listen to that...

Oh wait AVPR can wait. one more for HilMc

I Reall do hate this keeyboard.. it realyy y makes me work at i t


ssee what Ii mean

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

omni, hon.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, at the risk of explaining what i though of as a joke, yes, my 3:56 plot outline of "Snakes in the Bilge" was indeed Kipling's JB2 Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

The allusions simply being references to "Good Omens" and "Atlas," not the plot itself.

The meta-joke being; how in the world would you mix the plot of JB2/Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as a sequel to "Snakes on a Plane," with references to "Omens" and "Atlas," amongst others. Say, perhaps, Homer's "Odyssey," Woody Allen's "Sleeper," Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" and "All the President's Men."

And do it as a musical.

See, I'm simply shooting for silly levels of overpretentiousness (and clearly, I'm missing).


Posted by: bc | April 18, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Tonight on "Numb3rs" Judd Hirsh is re-united with guest star Christopher Lloyd. At the end, Hirsh says to Lloyd, "You know, I always had trouble imagining you as a hippy."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

A watershed event at the ball field tonight: our son singled, stole second and third and ran home, sliding head first, beating the catcher for the score. He was called out, however, because the slide isn't allowed by Da Rules. Merde. De Rules are tough.

omni: I think you'll enjoy this: a Grateful dead drinking song.

Posted by: jack | April 18, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse


I hope we get a New Kit soon!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 18, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and yello, shame on on you for mentioning HilMc and providing no YouTube link.

The first YouTube link I gave is slower to load but a better quality

Hi Yoki, Darling.

Posted by: omni | April 18, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, bc-- the good omens reference would have to be an obscure and complex form of poker in a pitch-dark room.

Presumably cross-dressing poker, in which cards translate to specific items of clothing or jewelry. Which would makes four of a kind a rather challenging hand to play. We can assume the snake gets mistaken for clothing, and that there's an mysterious island of Dr. Strangelove who tends to experiment with animal-human hybrids a la Kirke, only using a lot of radioactivity.

And there must be a scene on the M25, and a mysterious hunt by two brash investigative reporters for the motor that moves the world so it can be reset after that *^&*%&* Galt died trying to shut it down and just made the world spin even faster, speeding everybody up like they're on a perpetual caffeine high. Everybody's chronically late to work nowadays as well, and that's bad for the economy.

And the snake figures in because it's not actually a cobra, but one of the last descendants of the oracular snakes of Delphi, and whosever gets bitten by it starts raving like Agnes Nutter-- in song and verse.

And we mustn't forget the flashbacks to the history of the world part I by Mel Brooks, and flashbacks to the killer rabbit's lifestory as how he was originally mutated by Dr. Strangelove-Kirke and set to guard one of the portals to the motor of the world, until he was seduced away from his duty by busty women carrying raisins.

Would that be a reasonable start, bc?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Yoki is speaking Baltimorese, with that nicely placed hon.

CPBoy says that Canada is nice and Canadian kids are nice and that the first phase of music was nicel. He is playing cards in a hotel room with two other percussionists and a tuba player. Zoo in the PM tomorrow. No Mounties yet.

Snakes: watched my dad shoot a rattler from a few feet away, while CPBro 3 (aged 5) was poking it with a long stick. CPBro lived to tell the tale; snake rattles in a cigar box -- Tampico, I believe -- still. Snakebit procedure: slice small slits in wound but do not suck poison out. Get into cold stream and send sibs off to get the parents. This happened to CPSis2 in about 1974. She has funny little pit marks just above the knee. Cowboy boots will protect below the knees. My favorite pair were oxblood red.

Rattlesnake takes like tough and chewy chicken.

Night all.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 18, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi omni, love.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

We are nice. Canada is nice, Canadians are nice, the landscape is very nice.

Perhaps a bit insipid, but very nice.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I fear we taste like chicken.

Posted by: Yoki | April 18, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I thought nice meant sharp.
Or like keen or sumpin' like that, eh?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 18, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

And with a little cribbing from another musical, here's that first song:

Oh, better far to live and die
By the Union Jack flag I spy,
Than thump unceremoniously all day
And guard motors against intruders' stray.
Away to the fleeting world went I,
Where raisins all are cheap to buy;
So I'll be true to the life I dare
And live and die a Killer hare!
For I am a Killer hare!
And it is, it is a glory quite rare
To be a Killer hare!
For I am a Killer hare!

ALL. You are!
Hurrah for the Killer hare!

HARE: And it is, it is a glory quite rare
To be a Killer hare!

ALL. It is!
Hurrah for the Killer hare!

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 18, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I didn't even know Hilary McRae had YouTube videos. I had been listening on I did buy the Marie Digby album today.

Seriously geeking out tonight watching Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who back to back. The Dr Who episode is a Titanic/Poseidon Adventure homage/rip-off.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Yoki. Hope you have a nice weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 18, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Yoki, I've been thinking about you, and hope all is peaceful with you and yours.

And Wilbrod, that's what I'd call a good start. Sounds like you threw a little Tom Holt in there, which is good with me.


Posted by: bc | April 19, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Now that I am home, I can reference my list of MacDonald titles. It seems I have both the 1952 hardcover first edition and the 1968 Fawcett paperback edition of Ballroom of the Skies. I don't have a reading copy so I will have to keep my eyes open.

Oddly enough, I do have the 1957 paperback edition of WASP, but I wouldn't call it a reading copy. I paid $2 for that copy. I wonder if it's newly enhanced reputation has increased its value.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I never even heard of Tom Holt before, bc.

The killer hare is a riff on the Pirate King's song from The Pirates of Penzance (G&S) and Monty Python of course.

I have just learned that Thackeray is worth reading, and I was complaining that he's not been covered in any of my literature classes so far and that there should be a "Humorous light literature through the Ages" course offered at colleges so people can familiarize themselves with classic authors they might ENJOY reading on the beach.

So, thanks for the author shout-out. Gotta add that to the list to submit to the Ministry of silly talk in literature.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

"Got a wife and kids in Baltimore Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don't know where its flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going"

Now I have another reason to shed a tear every time I hear that opening riff.

So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

My nephew bought 2 baby turtles many years ago. They were the size of a quarter then. For Buddhists, there is a day in a year that they set their captive animals free. They don't give it a thought that after being captive for so long, the animals might not know how to survive in the wild on their own. Anyhow, it was on a "set the animal free" day, a couple of years ago, that my nephew decided to set his turtles free. The turtles have grown to about 7" in diameter. He brought them to a river and after he let one go, it suddenly occurred to him that the little fella could end up in a soup pot in one of the restaurants in town. He didn't release the other one and brought it back home. Now, it's just one lonely turtle in the tank.

Posted by: rainforest | April 19, 2008 2:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm free?? Who knew?!?!? And don't tell NukeSpouse!!!!

And of course, Mianus ain't free... Very expensive.

Cool it, Grammar and Pronoun cats, before I have ta report ya to the Church Police.

bc, are you suggesting Mrs. Log would be going to great lengths to save Log's nose?


*weekend-happy-dances-despite-a-very-long-to-do-list-and-faxin'-'Mudge-a-butter-pie-(butter-pie?-the-butter-wouldn't-melt-so-I-put-it-in-a-pie) Grover waves*


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

Good morning, all.

Here's another case where the folks in Mission Control somewhere were probably about to turn blue...
MOSCOW -- A Soyuz capsule carrying South Korea's first astronaut touched down in northern Kazakhstan on Saturday, 260 miles from its target landing site, a Russian space official said...

The condition of the crew _ South Korean bioengineer Yi So-yeon, American astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko _ was still unclear, he said. However, Russian space officials speaking in footage broadcast by NASA said Malenchenko had reported the crew was fine.

The capsule landed around 260 miles away from the scheduled landing site in the barren Kazakh steppes outside the town of Arkalyk _ an unusual gap given how precise engineers plan for such landings, Lyndin said."

I'm happy everyone's OK.
And I think Passover takes on a slightly different meaning today.

Happy Passover and all the blessings of the day to all who celebrate it.


Posted by: bc | April 19, 2008 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

And good morning Cassandra... up and at'em, girl!

Looks like another beeyootiful day ahead of NE Ohio today, though there's rain in the forecast for tonight. Yesterday was freaking gorgeous... got up to 79F with almost no humidity and a nice light breeze. I actually enjoyed giving the lawn it's first mowing of the year.

Of course, now I'm paying for all that exertion.

Time to open up the shop and get to door-making. It's so nice to work out there with the garage door wide open -- sunshine and a nice breeze give the "man cave" a whole new vibe.

Peace out, everybody...

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. It feels a little chilly in here, but there is light shinning thorugh the window. I haven't looked outside yet. We're suppose to get some rain drops today or tomorrow.

Hello, Yoki. I hope all is well with you and yours.

I'm going to try and study today. Yesterday evening I walked around the block. What a challenge that was. The block has a steep incline. I was so tempted to just take a seat, but I pushed on. It was all good.

I read the Post piece on the debate, and it seems ABC got a lot of negative feedback. Sometimes the media seems clueless to what the public needs. With the pinch of gas prices and food prices being so high, common sense would dictate that just maybe, people might be a little curious about these types of things, instead of that stuff that one can't eat or put in the tank. One comment asked why didn't they allow Paris Hilton to ask the questions. There could have been a surprise in that because Paris just might have wanted to know why she had to pay so much for gas. Who knows?

I did not read that article about Obama giving Clinton the finger. I have to draw the line somewhere, and there seems to be a good place. I have to vote next month, I want clarity. Although reading some of this stuff does not give one clarity, more like confusion run amok(?).

Have a great day and weekend, folks. Slyness, Mudge, Martooni,and all, get out of those weekend bags and get kicking.

Morning, Scotty.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 19, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I didn't see your post before mine.

Yes, She Who Shall Not Be Named Mrs. Log would go through great lengths to win Log's nose.

Wilbrod, I did snicker about the song, thanks.

I'm off to a friend's house to help him with some work. Toodles, all.


Posted by: bc | April 19, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Good Passover to all. A darling student made three kinds of cookies for us, to rid his house of flour. Travel safely, all.

I want to see SciTim's cosmo-astro talk at UMCP on Sunday. Anybody up to meet before-hand at College Perk, the neo-hippie hangout? BC and Moose may remember this setting as Hauser's House of Birds at Rt 1 and University Blvd.

Yoki, CPBoy also says that Canada looks like America! I think he hoped for some exotic shift of scene, like the Mounties directing traffic or people walking huskies instead of, say, goldens.

(operating paging voice on sound system) TBG, tbg, TBG, dial Operator Please.

Message: TBG, on page 23 of the WaPo Magazine is a painted portrait of local fave writer GEORGE PELACANOS, dressed as Diego Velasquez!

Posted by: College Parkian | April 19, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Have a nice weekend. Except you Egyptians!

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! It's promising to be a great weekend, especially if I can minimize the amount of work I have to do (legal work, not housework). Right now, my husband is teaching our 3-year-old how to use a mellon-baller. I'm not sure how useful this skill will be to her, but she's having a blast trying it. And I'm watching the usual Saturday morning fare - My Friends Tigger & Pooh - and drinking hazelnut-cream favored coffee.

I think a barbeque is definitely on the agenda for the weekend, as well as some car-washing. I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend, and stop to smell the roses. Or azaleas. Except those don't smell.

Posted by: PLS | April 19, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Eeyore rules.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 19, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm at College Park in the SSU waiting to play Magic. Not everybody in line showered this morning.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

YJ -- my nerdie students arrive to the 9Am class smelling of sleep, last night's Chipotle and Doritos dinner, old sheets.....ACCKKKKK. Will someone buy those boys a clue, please?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 19, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

My brother-in-law invited us for a barbeque tomorrow to meet the parents of his wife who is from Japan. He told them that we were cowboys and we should dress appopriately. Ideas?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

My guess is that most of the guys aren't here to meet girls. I've seen 4 so far.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

g'morning all! It is indeed a hazlenut cream in your coffee kind of morning. I am baking bittersweet choc. brownies (with semi sweet ganache) and oatmeal cake with broiled coconut topping for the library open house this afternoon. Excting times, we didn't have a library this time last year-or this time any year. Plan to have the Wi-Fi hot spot up by opening of fishing (Mothers Day weekend for those of you who observe that lesser spring ritual).

Seattle is losing the Sonics to Oklahoma City.

I generally loathe teams that move, but Mr. F is an OKCU grad and we met in Oklahoma so I find myself on the verge of making an exception to see a favored city gain an NBA team.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 19, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

You are all twisting the knife, today we have a heavy snow warning (after 30 cm yesterday) and we expect a high of 12F.

All is very well here. My FIL is at rest. You might enjoy his death notice, as it indicates through allusion what a varied and satisfying life he led:

Peacefully in Kanata in his 87th year. Beloved husband of the late Mary; father of S, Himself (Yoki),C (J) and D (E), grandfather of E, A, M, P, D, M, I, E and A and great-grandfather of J and B. John served as Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF 1941-45 and was held as a POW 1944-45. He graduated from Queen's University in Civil Engineering, class of 48½, and had a long career as a professional engineer. At his request there will be no funeral service.

CP, I suppose it would do no good to return their marked essays wrapped around soap and a toothbrush?

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

yello, apparently there is only one (that I can find). Every time some mentions a musician I do a YouTube search. Especially if it's a female. All Is Forgiven. But still, everyone should take a few minutes to listen. You don't even have to watch. I'm gonna try and find the CD on my afternoon walkabout.

Yoki, my sweetheart...

Posted by: omni | April 19, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, yes, remnants of mystery and goodness, about your FIL. Sad for y'all, when such a light flickers out. May you see his fingerprints in the newer lights....87! My goodness.

Yoki, nowadays some of the gals come this way to class also. I hear that they head home -- for many, the next building over -- go back to sleep, wake at noon, shower, and then on the rest of the classes.

Shall now commence mowing, so that two fussy neighbors can stop clucking about my sloth and indolence.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 19, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

May the forecasts be wrong Yoki!

Advances in microscopy, with pretty pictures, from Harvard Magazine (watch the web extra videos, they're the most interesting bits).

"A typical light microscope can easily image a single cell and some internal structures, but most other objects--viruses, clusters of proteins, DNA--cannot be seen in great detail. That's because these smaller details lie within light's diffraction limit--the point at which light waves begin to interfere with one another, blurring the image. The question of how individual molecules in cells interact is fundamental in biology, but for the most part these interactions lie beyond the reach of light microscopes." Until now apparently.

More here-

Posted by: frostbitten | April 19, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

yj and CP. Try living at a lumber camp. Blackflies love the smell of fresh washed bodies and clothes so experienced hands don't bathe and wear the same clothes for a week.
A roiling symphony of stink enlived with an undertone of Deet.
The bunkhouse? Fuggetaboutit.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I should have pointed out that after the 2nd day you don't really notice.
All that much.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Great memorium for your FIL. My grandfather was in WW2. We are losing that generation rapidly. And any engineer had to have been a great day.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

He sounds like a great man Yoki.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

*cough cough*

Morning, all. The cold is still with me, so I'm moving v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

The headline in this morning's paper is a winner for the copy editor. CATS is the local transportation agency (Charlotte Area Transit System) and the first light rail line is the Lynx. Last night, a silo collapsed on the line, hence this morning's hed:


Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

A large red-headed woodpeckerish looking bird just landed in a tree across the road. I didn't know the Woody and his ilk came this far north so I'm not sure if it his the fabled Red-headed Woodpecker. I'd like to investigate further but I'm off to the big city of Ottawa to help a friend work of his car. His mining injury prevents him from scrambling around, twisting tools so it falls to me to take instruction, skin my knuckles and be cursed at. My only consolation is that when I when hit my cot (I'm taking my tent) I'll be full of BBQ ribs and he'll be out of beer.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

anon anon anon anon

Posted by: Boko999 | April 19, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Slyness... that was some picture of the silo (or what was left of it) on the Lynx tracks. Son of G and I rode the Lynx last week while I was in Charlotte. He hadn't had a chance yet and we had some time to kill.

What a beautiful system and it goes directly to the Bobcats Arena. We got on and off at the East-West Station, where there are some beautiful funky mosaics embedded in the wall along the road.

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Yoki, lovely to see you; I have been thinking of you and am glad all is well. I will send you some of our nice weather today.

Yes, OKC worked hard to get the Sonics. We have an arena but it needed refurbishing badly, so we just voted ourselves a continuation of an existing improvements tax to do that (more or less). We've been very good at that for over a decade now and it has paid off tremendously. If you haven't been here in a while you'd be truly amazed. We got some credibility with the NBA when we hosted the New Orleans Hornets for a couple of years after Katrina and the whole community turned out for them. It was a huge success. Of course, the Sonics deal is no surprise to many of us since local businessmen bought the team. We all are familiar with these guys and know they're used to getting what they want. While this is not always necessarily a good thing, I think it will work out for the city.

I got the joke, bc - very funny.

I'm off to do something in the yard for a while, I think, before the wind kicks in.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody--I've been in my garden this morning, playing in the dirt. Our tomato season is over, just as most people's is getting started. For the next few months I hope to live vicariously though the boodle gardeners, so please keep those tomato reports coming!

Cassandra, good for you walking even though it isn't easy! My husband recently joined a gym and for the first two weeks hired a personal trainer. ["Jeanine." I heard about "Jeanine" every day, I'm still hearing about her. But I don't begrudge the old guy his fantasies, you know.] Anyway, he says the most important thing he learned from "Jeanine" was to keep going just a little longer when you think you have to stop. Just push for that extra three minutes or 60 seconds or whatever; that's where the progress happens.

* * * *

Shabbat Shalom and blessings for Passover to all who Observe.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 19, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, that notice doesn't do him full justice, I'm sure, but it DOES show he was quite obviously a man of letters...

*pin drop*

Well, somebody had to say it! :-)


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 19, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-thanks for the background info. I guess I'm fer it now. Mr. F is going to be on his way to Lawton later this month and will have a chance to see OKC for the first time in at least 5-6 years. For me it's been more like 17.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 19, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, take the Sonics, please!

We got a tiny bit of snow last night. About 40 miles north of me got 8 inches, and it's snowing in Tacoma now. This is the latest we've ever gotten snow. I remember an early March storm when we got about a foot of snow, but I've never seen anything like this. I suppose it's some freakish phenomenon attributed to global warming - but please, can we put the "warming" back into global warming?

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Looks like you and Yoki are going to get the brunt of this storm Mostly. Its massive.

We have just a skiff of snow, but it is cold windy and not very nice.

Posted by: dr | April 19, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Tell me, please.. would anyone in the world open an email from the sender Colon Cleanse Samples?


Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, mostlylurking,

Jeff Green is a local boy made good and went to HS with CPDot 2 (Go Wildcats!). We were all unhappy when he left G-town before graduating.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 19, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice article by Adrian Higgins about gardening on the Eastern Shore - lovely pictures too:

Shabbot Shalom - love the sound of that, as well as the meaning. Thanks, kb.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

There goes the ol' reputation...

Fire ants, not so macho
Beware of curmudgeons, though

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 19, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Another plug for one of my favorite blogs - this is funny, and kind of on-boodle-topic, as he does mention "snake" and "ants" (link timed out on me, though, DNA Girl):

I have Virginia bluebells blooming in my yard. I'd take a picture of them but it's SNOWING!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Flower bells flower bells
It's springing time in my city

ML, here's a SciDaily link to the fire ants story (this doesn't mention the cranky old ones though :-)

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 19, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

For any of you grilling burgers this weekend, I came up with a kick-butt seasoning combo yesterday. I had run out of my normal burger seasoning spices and had to improvise...

Mix 1 tbsp. dry szechuan seasoning per pound of ground beef, make your patties, then sprinkle more seasoning all over them. While grilling, give the burgers a light dressing of worcestershire sauce.

I topped mine with mushrooms sauteed in worcestershire and provolone, but I'm thinking some pepper jack would have been even better. In any case, it was *very* yummy.

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi Mostly, It just started snowing here in the banana belt(10:30 pdt. The forecast is for an inch or so tonight. It had been sunny and warm.

Yesterday we saw out first blackheaded grosbeaks at the feeder. Both were males in their full bright orange courtintg suits. They didn't stay long. Both headed north. I guess to scout out homesteads. We usually have a couple pair nesting around here and then the off spring all summer.

We have yellow and black guarder snakes and some grey ones around here. We see they on the lawn and going up the sidewalk to go under the house through the vents in the foundation. I tell my wife "that's good, they eat the bugs". Twice I saw a big ole gopher snake over four feet long beside the driveway. I didn't tell my wife about it because then she wouldn't weed the flower beds. We have gopher problems so the snake is welcome here.

Posted by: bh | April 19, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

My prayer - Dear Papa Benedict: Please intercede with the Great Maker to deliver me from donkeys who intentionally refuse to understand the simple and inescapable fact of "natural selection". May their progeny be few and/or more mentally flexible than their antecedents. May they be bestowed with the ability to discriminate between common ancestors and current cousins. Mostly, Papa, may they be blessed with intellectual curiosity about the wondrous world (and universe) which has been given them, and may they be in not such a thoughtless rush to explore whatever may lie beyond it.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Should anyone still doubt the absolute unreality of current sizing schemes in women's clothing, I submit to you an "I Love Lucy" episode: "The Diet", aired 10/29/51. Lucy (never, so far as I know, considered a particularly hefty gal) goes to great lengths to try to fit into a size 12 costume.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

re: >RobRoy MacInnes is the man to see if you want to buy a crocodile. Or a scorpion, a rattlesnake, a boa constrictor. Got a hankering for a cobra? Just pony up $600 and you can have one of the more lethal species.<

Heck... You want mindlessly dangerous varieties of life? I know plenty of neighborhoods where they abound, with or without the help of alcohol.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Just coming out of hiding to say hello to everyone. Cassandra, I'm glad you're back. I enjoy your blessings.
We celebrate 22 years of marriage today. Feels good. Feels right. Feels like only 10.
Have a good earth week, Boodle!

Posted by: Lyssa | April 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I tried to do my part the other day, standing outside the bunker lobbing crazybombs at trolls. But in the midst of all that, I confess I was proud of coining my two newest aphorisms. "Hire Obama" was one, and "They hate Liberals 'cause they hate Liberty" was the other.

Now I must go unload firewood. For next year.

Posted by: Jumper | April 19, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Beware when fighting... Ah, you know this.

Posted by: Nietzsche | April 19, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Lyssa. Happy anniversary & merry Earth Day week!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Howdy Boodle. Happy anniversary Lyssa, and thank you for sharing it with us.

I just got in after some lovely work cleaning out an old flower bed. I raked out leaves, dug up lots of shrubbery, found some great big rocks my mom had put in there (borders? who knows?) sometime in the last fifty years. Next time I'll lay down some cheap edging (to cover with the great rocks), maybe throw in a bag of good soil, just for fun, and plant some vegetables. I saw lots of ticks and insects, a few red wasps (beware!), several small ant nests, no reptiles and one amphibian - a lovely toad I carefully moved before raking. Lots of noisy birds too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hi Lyssa! Glad to see you... happy anniversary!

Ivansmom... your garden digging leads me to asking the boodle to partake in a very worthwhile survey...

Boodlers, what color is your dirt?

Ours is red clay. Anything brown or black or dark brown (basically, any dirt that anything actually grows in) is purchased. Sometimes when we're traveling around the country and I see fields of dark brown soil, my brain just can't wrap around the number of big plastic bags it must have come in.


Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

You've got about five months on my wife and me. Congrats on sticking around so long.

As promised/threatened, here is my take on the hassles of hooking the computer up to the big screen.

We need to get this done down in the bunker.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Lyssa! My 32nd anniversary is coming up in about a week. And we were together 5 years before that. Yikes, I am old.

My dirt - can't even call it soil - is light brown and rocky. Glacial till is what the experts call it. I visited my brother in Champaign-Urbana, IL years ago when he was at school there, and I remember the deep black soil in the plowed fields. Must have been spring. There is soil like that here in the valleys, but it's more of a chocolate brown.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG... your survey question made me laugh.

The topsoil in my little bit of NE Ohio is about a 50/50 mix of actual dirt and grey clay. Get below six inches and it's 100% clay. This is fine for grass and weeds and extremely hardy varieties of flowers and veggies, but veggie yields are mostly anemic. Last year we started fortifying our veggie garden plot with bags of "Moo-nure(tm)" and saw some significant improvement. Having grown up around cows and corn fields, I was appalled to find myself actually *paying* for cow poop. But after taking into consideration the fact that it's A) conveniently packaged in 40lb bags, B) mixed with really nice black soil, and C) you don't have to buy or feed a cow to get it, I decided it was $2.39/bag well spent.

The thing about dirt colors that had me laughing was it reminded me of when I lived in Atlanta. That red Georgia clay is impervious to typical gardening implements. I think the only things that will naturally grow in it (and thrive) are pine trees and kudzu. Not to mention the fact that you need a backhoe (or dynamite) to dig through it.

The best (natural) soil I've ever seen is in Western PA, especially in the hill country -- very black stuff. My grandparents *never* fertilized their garden, yet ended up with a couple hundred quarts each of canned tomatoes and peppers every year, plus tons of garlic, onions, endive, lettuce and cabbages. The only problem they had was with lagomorphs and deer (fixed by laying down an old striped garden hose that looked like a snake and moving the dog house next to the garden).

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

TBG, most of it is black loam, though there are places where it can be very sandy (but still a blackish colour) and if you go down to Drumheller, the soil there is more a sandy red.

I'd hazard a guess that most of the prairies including the Dakots, Minnesota etc are black soils.

Posted by: dr | April 19, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

SCC Dakotas. sheesh

Retiring back to the pit of knitting from whence I came.

Posted by: dr | April 19, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Our soil is deep black and easy to work, but with the short growing season it is not the manna you might imagine. It took 8 gardening seasons of maniacal devotion, over an 11 year period, to turn my NoVA garden into something where planting even wee little plants did not involve epic battles with the twin clay monsters-wet slimy muck and dry concrete.

Posted by: frostibitten | April 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Lyssa! I hope you and the spouse enjoy your day.

TBG, red clay around here. It indelibly stains clothes orange. Mr. T was kind enough to till three beds for me, so that I can plant vegetables and flower seed. I have a tomato and three sweet peppers that need to go in soon. This morning I planted herbs in the cracked iron washpot that came with the house.

Seed to be sown include yellow squash, pole beans, yellow and white coneflowers, nicotiana, cosmos, zinnias, nasturtiums, and bells of Ireland. I love the promise of spring.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm putting in several raised garden beds this year, my solution to the dogs running around in the yard. Now they'll be running next to them instead of in them. 24" high ought to do it.

I've missed my Ohio days when lunch consisted of grazing in the side garden.

I heard that Brandywine tomatoes are incredible. I wonder if I'll have to learn to grow seeds too!

Posted by: dbG | April 19, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Soil's easy! Just takes patience and time. (From the point of view of a cosmologist or geologist, it's not even all that much time!)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary, Lyssa, and thanks. It is good to be back.

TBG, I'll have to check and get back with you. I live in an area that is called the "Sandhills". I think that pretty much covers the kind of soil we have here, yet all of the county might not be included in that assessment.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 19, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I cannot find nicotiana seeds, at least not in the garden centers at my grocery store and hardware store. No plants, either, at least not yet. I did get Marvel of Peru, once I realized they were calling them Four O'Clocks and filing them accordingly.

I've been starting seeds for a long time, but have never had better success than the last 2 years, when Mr Ml got a setup for me that has a heat mat and fluorescent light. Not expensive - about $30 for the tray, six-pack pots, heat mat, cover, I think. He rigged the light himself - or it was another sort of kit. Most of the seeds I planted this year sprouted in 2 days. Columbine took longer. I'm on my second round now, which includes patty pan squash, moonflowers, morning glories. We also have a tiny greenhouse, new this year, which is keeping some tomatoes warm.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, a two foot-fence alone wouldn't deter me, but then again I know how to keep out of the garden because Wilbrod said so. Try a trench as well-- that's what is around the garden so I know to keep out.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 19, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Heat mat & light - that's the ticket! Like lurking says, it's not very expensive, and it turns out that it's precisely what the little buggers want. Once you move the sprouts outside, you (& they) will still have to deal with a cruel world, but they'll have gotten a start that gives them a fighting chance.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, everything in No. Va seems to be red clay, unless it's yellow clay, or it's hummus.

Marine clay info here:

Up here the dry dirt is kind of light tan- brown, fine silt, some sand. The anthills here tend to be brownish grey.

Back in VA the only ants I saw were carpenter ants that lived in trees and attempted to invade our house on a regular basis. You wouldn't catch them living in clay, too much work ;).

Sometimes I wonder how the colonists made a living growing tobacco. They almost would have had an easier time making ceramics than crops. I understand that tobacco wore out the soil after 4 years, so land continually had to be cleared for farming.

A way to evaluate soil, from Va Tech.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

TGB, I grew up with the red clay, and now I've got something medium to light brown. I was excited to see the orange dirt when I visited my future deep south place of employment. Not so good for growing things, I suppose (though it's a land grant school with lots of fields, so something must grow), but it made me feel right at home.

Posted by: bia | April 19, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

SCC: TBG, of course.

And happy anniversary to Lyssa!

Posted by: bia | April 19, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Another musical song, bc.

Sing forth, ye seers,
With words insane
Fate's puppeteers
Are your domain.
Forget your pasts
ere snakebit vein,
And from eyes glassed
Predict again.

For today old Agnes's sung
Old Agnes's sung prophecies
are returned to Earth
in divine torments,
And that pride of her scrying
of her scrying to be kenn'd,
At the spring on Pythos
on Pythos, oh, be there!
Sing forth, ye seers, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC... predict again would be better as "yet sing again". Ah well.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Nicotiana in this mix:

Posted by: nellie | April 19, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Not a 2 foot fence, a bed raised 2 feet high. Tall enough so they can run past it, I can train them out of it if they try to jump into it.

Just spent an hour looking for dwarf sage. There's 1 place an hour away (Joisy), another 2 hours away (PA Dutch country) which should have it, but they've already closed for the weekend. Then there's always mail-order from NE! It's not to eat, although I may. Mainly, it's to cast into silver earrings. :-) Have also found Brandywine tomato plants.

Posted by: dbG | April 19, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

thanks for all the well wishes. we're off to a fancy pants dinner!

Posted by: Lyssa | April 19, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG, judging from the dirt on the knees of my jeans and under my fingernails, I'd say we have medium to dark brown soil but when we dig down a foot or two it's brownish orange sand. The great thing about this house as opposed to every other house I've gardened in, no rocks or boulders. I'll have to ask the geologists at work about this. We are near the ocean, but that alone doesn't mean there aren't any large rocks lurking underground.

We dug out a pretty good size quince bush - actually "S" did the work - so I could plant a lilac. I planted another lilac on the other side of the house after enlarging the flower bed (edged and dug out the grass) and three clematis. Still have two hydrangeas and four daylilys to put in, but not this weekend. "S" and I washed our cars, nice to get the winter cr@p off them. I put away my snow scraper, hope that's not a jinx. We are done working. Tomorrow's for fun.

Welcome back Lyssa and happy aniversary.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 19, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, I bought my nicotiana seed at Smith and Hawkin. They carry them in the store near me, I don't know if they would have them in the catalog. The seed company is Renee's Garden:

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, Renee's Garden. I bet she had a booth at the garden show which I whizzed past. I used to get the catalog when it was Shepherd's Seeds. I haven't ordered seeds from anywhere for awhile, because the local seed companies are usually pretty good for what I have room for. But Renee's Garden has 3 colors of nigella, and nicotiana, and a Chocolate Cherry sunflower...mmmmm...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 19, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I have red sandy soil. Elsewhere it is red clay. I've driven across a lot of Oklahoma and as far as I can tell it is all red dirt. We think of ourselves as kinda famous for it. It stains marvelously well. As a child we would visit my kinfolk in Indiana and I would marvel at the color of the soil.

I thought of you today as I had my lunch and supper of freshly made (not by me) baba ganoush (a great smoky taste), Greek feta, pita bread and giant Kalamata olives. Happy happy joy joy.

Today I worked in the yard, filed things away, cleaned, went to the grocery by myself, played with the rabbit, and am about to sit and read while the Boy performs. A real box canyon of joy day. Hope y'all's evening is as good. [Please note the nifty way "y'all" becomes plural to encompass the Boodle and environs.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up about George P in the Magazine, CP. I haven't opened the bag yet (it IS Saturday, after all), but I did venture online and want to share this piece in there by another favorite, T.M. Shine...

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Before I run - college parkian, I'm guessing Jeff Green is a basketball player. I know we're getting the Sonics, but I know nothing about basketball. Ivansdad would tell me, but will roll his eyes if I ask.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... we grilled Greekburgers for dinner. But this time I added ground lamb to the beef (in fact, it was two-thirds lamb). I've discovered excellent ground lamb at Wegman's our fabulous grocery store, recently expanded down here from upstate New York and Western & Central Pennsylvania.

To the lamb and beef I added lots of Cavender's Greek Seasoning, some dried mint, dried onion bits, bread crumbs and malt vinegar. Once on the bun, I topped them with tsaziki and hummus, tomatoes and feta cheese. Mmmm... best of all, it was our first dinner out on the deck.

On the side, we had a collection of olives, also from Wegman's incredible olive bar.

Cavender's is a staple in our home...

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

OMG, TMG, my finger was poised over the keyboard, ready to post that link. Oh heck, why hold back:

T.M.Shine's in the magazine! Yay! I worry about that boy. He's very independent and offbeat and you never know what he'll do or say next, and he likes to imply that he is almost suicidal all the time. Plus the newspaper he works for is almost sure to go bankrupt in the near future. It's nice to see him published in the Pulitzer-prize collecting WaPo.

That essay about the mooching neighbor is very, very close to home for the bertocci household. We've got John to the west and Michelange to the east, Mike down the street and various folks from around town. When our friend James moved to another city, our house immediately began to fall into disrepair, because James was "the man" as in, "it's nice to have a man around the house." We're not complete moochers, we would pay James when he did stuff for us. (I guess that's more of an issue with rich people--in our socioeconomic milieu, people don't take offense when you offer to pay them to do something.)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 19, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Also... I just knew I could you all to talk dirty to me. Or did I get you to dish the dirt?

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I suggest several seasons of soil-building plants for bad soil. Clover is a near-magical plant, and can be tilled back in a season later. Plus a dumptruck-load of composted wood mulch plowed in. That and some lime should set up all but the most obdurate hard soils, and even they will yield to further, similar treatments.

Posted by: Jumper | April 19, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks for posting that bit by T.M. Shine, but I find it hard to smile too loudly at that.

I used to date somebody like T.M. Shine... and I grew up knowing how to swing a hammer and a paintbrush and wield wrenches, pliers, etc.

One day, the sliding door came off its rails. He refused to let me rehook it and called maintenance. The look the maintenance man gave him as he left made me swear to just fix it before he could have a chance to call maintenace ever again.

I realize somebody who's grown up in the city and never had to maintain his own place isn't going to have as many key skills... he was rather decent with cars and electronics (cars are not my forte), so it wasn't due to lack of aptitude.

If a 7 year old can teach himself to program a VCR, even the most inept can be taught to deal with basic household emergencies, same way as they learn fire safety, cpr, how not to drown... especially if taught early enough. Schools need to involve more vocational instruction.

I feel for T.M. Shine, but I also know there's not really much help for him to get his remedial learning other than some "For Dummies" books and that's not the same as actually working with the stuff and networking with many people to learn from.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

mmmm... lamb burgers... with feta... hummus... tsaziki...

{* drooling *}

That is just so unfair, TBG.

We had hot dogs tonight (boiled, not even grilled), with cheap-o box of mac-and-cheese and baked beans on the side.

At least you didn't mention stuffed grape leaves.

Because then I would have to hate you.

Unless, of course, you were to fax me some.

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

'tooni - I am typing this message while quite literally laughing out loud. My housemates are a little concerned, I think.

That is quite precisely the dinner menu that I am preparing for myself. Even if I DON'T wear my flag pin, that's pretty all-American, eh?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

My father was like T.M. Shine...only good with a typewriter and a copy pencil. But he was willing to pay for the necessary services.

Now my mom, she did lots. She taught me housepainting, gardening, sewing, cooking.

Some things I do simply because there's no way I would ever pay anybody, like stripping and hanging wallpaper. I was proud of myself when I purchased the necessary supplies and tools to clean and regrout the tile floor in Mr. T.'s shower. But that's about my limit. I'll call for somebody to work on the gas appliances.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

martooni... that is a FAVORITE dinner in the G house, believe me. Those boxes of mac 'n' cheese are very popular. Along with the Bush's vegetarian baked beans.

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Years ago at the end of my other life I lived in a big house I had just built. I had been away for a week and came back to find that the pilots were out on the water heaters (yes there were two because there was a huge jacuzzi). Having already dealt with the pilot going out repeatedly on the gas fireplace, I decided to relight them myself. I was also in a sort of bad mood from thinking about the impending divorce and all the cr@p I'd have to wade through to get my life together anew. One of those things was to sell that big house. So I got the long lighter, laid down on the cellar floor and figured that I'd either get a hot shower or be part of a giant pile of toothpicks. There isn't too much I won't try to tackle given the right (or wrong) impetus (thanks Dad!).

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 19, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Our house yard and garden is carved out a notch of a steep hill of decompsing yellow rock and clay. To grow anything un-natural requires importation of black loam from the Rogue River valley. The only thing that grows natural are pine, fir, oak and madrone trees.

We do have a few rare Fritillaria plants growing above the house. They are up now and about to bloom. Strange plants that only grow in a small area around Jacksonville. They only seem to grow where the ground has been disturbed. Our's grow where an old logging landing was and the skid road down to it. In the six years we have been here some come up every two years then skip a year. Some come up where I haven't seen them before and then not again.

We are having a white out wwith snow here now and it is sticking. There have been flurys off and on with sunshine in between all day. Also our heating oil ran out last week. So time to put on more layers of fleece.

Posted by: bh | April 19, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'd probably go without wallpaper rather than pay anybody to hang it, LOL.

Yes, paying for services is always a good choice, and one that becomes necessary as one ages.

For instance, no way I'm going to be painting the outside of a house; I've been known to fall while standing upright, slipping and falling on a ladder doesn't bear thinking about (I have no problems falling while wielding a long roller indoors, of course).

Of course, our old house had an stone facade that was no-paint; we would caulk it instead. I would pay for that. Brick is also good. You know, anything that doesn't require a paint job every few years, that's what I want to live in. That's the ticket!

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

If it's any consolation Martooni I opted not to have your menu because it was just too much trouble. Leftover red beans and rice for me-not even home made just a cheapo bag mix.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 19, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. ... no flag pin here, either. Probably for the same reason I don't wear a broach with a picture of Mrs. M on it (although, when I think of it, that might be just what I need to improve my standing in the domestic polls).

As for the dogs and beans and mac-and-cheese... I don't mind it every once in a while. It's just that it's been on the menu more often than usual lately, and not because it's the family favorite.

This furry gnome wants a lamb burger. Or curried lamb. Or lamb on the rod with Syrian bread and olive oil and hot pepper rings on the side.

Heck, just give me a lamb and a fork.

Then I could make all of my favorite dishes and a sweater, to boot. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. ... no flag pin here, either. Probably for the same reason I don't wear a broach with a picture of Mrs. M on it (although, when I think of it, that might be just what I need to improve my standing in the domestic polls).

As for the dogs and beans and mac-and-cheese... I don't mind it every once in a while. It's just that it's been on the menu more often than usual lately, and not because it's the family favorite.

This furry gnome wants a lamb burger. Or curried lamb. Or lamb on the rod with Syrian bread and olive oil and hot pepper rings on the side.

Heck, just give me a lamb and a fork.

Then I could make all of my favorite dishes and a sweater, to boot. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, you mean like one of those heart-shaped lockets, only taken off a chain and welded to a pin and worn next to the heart?

Mrs. M would either be touched beyond belief or be ready to commit you to the looney bin. Maybe both.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse


I swear it bombed out when I first posted and I even reloaded the page a few times to make sure it didn't go through before I tried again.

Tricksy servers.

Mudge... if you need a new boat anchor, you might want to give the WaPo IT department a call.

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I think those rare fritillarias were spotted at one time or another at the cemetery, a place where there might be a bit of ground disturbance occasionally. I think I've checked the place twice, finding nothing more interesting than a Ducati and its proud owner.

I miss the little spring plants atop the Table Rocks near Medford.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 19, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

martooni... I was a mom myself and serving it to my family before I found out that the Breakfast for Dinner nights when I was kid were the days when there wasn't money for more than that.

Posted by: TBG | April 19, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Hello boodle babes and boys,

We had a glorious day here--bh--there is hope. Well, at least til the wind came upon us and kept blowing out the BBQ grill flame. We get a lot of wind blowing off the mountain.

Went to the zoo this morning--always a refreshing change to see the "specialists" but sad to see sign after sign say "endangered or extremely endangered."
BUT...I saw an article on the latest bald eagle couple to make a nest in the middle of the GW Parkway very near the Potomac River and close to replicas of the best of the best. I think this is a good omen. John and Abigail I believe are their names...and 4 little ones.

There is always hope!

Martooni...there is no better dish for little ones and big ones than Kraft mac and cheese. Comfort food.

Posted by: eidrib | April 19, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... nah... nothing heart-shaped. I already wear one of those on my sleeve and I can't get the bugger to stop bleeding. Even with a tourniquet tied around my neck.

(note to self: check heart-on-sleeve installation guide to see whether the mounting hardware is supposed to pierce the skin.)

As for the loony bin, we've already been there (or I have, anyway) and Mrs. M knows it's in our family's financial self-interest to keep me un-institutionalized and earning a living, even if that means putting up with me arguing with the furniture.

(btw... our coffee table is an elitist. Really. It absolutely refuses to let me display my copy of Reader's Digest's "Thomas Kinkade and Robert Kincaid: Painting Light on the Bridges of Madison County" on it. In fact, every time I put that wordless picture book on the table and turn my back for just a second, the next thing I know it's been replaced with a copy of "Robert Mapplethorpe: Papist Smears and Sacred Symbols and Other Things I've Submerged in Urine".)

Gotta go... the china cabinet just called me a poopyhead conservative. Them's fightin' words.

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Oh, yes. I sure 'nuff remember scrambled eggs for dinner. Hey, I never went hungry, but we didn't eat a whole lot of steak.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 19, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Only elitists use the word "highfallutin"

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 19, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, we couldn't afford a whole egg. All we had money for was half a shell.

No yoke.

{* anticipates rimshot, hears nothing, ducks under keyboard *}

Posted by: martooni | April 19, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I had leftover box mac and cheese for dinner. That's my family's favorite side dish with hamburgers. I've tried fancier stuff but they like the box stuff with the radioactive orange powder cheese.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary, Lyssa! I hope you enjoyed your dinner. Partly sunny here today, with some passing sprinkles, just the sort of weather that makes yard work bearable. We have blackjack soil here, underlain by bull taller (long "a". and pronounced like tallow, except with an er), a yellow gooey subsoil when wet, and hard as a rock when dry. The blackjack is the colour of its name when wet, and dries to a gray, very fine sand with what I'd guess is talc, as it has a kind of slippery texture. Regardless, it's still dirt and difficult to get anything to root excepting weeds and creeping grasses. It took nearly a week of effort to excavate a 30'x 1' to 2' deep x 11/2 foot wide trench for the footing when we rebuilt the left side of our porch a few years ago. I removed enough material to fill a 6 foot bed on a pickup truck and piled it in the back yard. It's still there, and will eventually find its way back to the front yard here a lot of soil has eroded downhill from the left side of the yard to the right side of the yard. We have finally, afer ten years here, decided on a landscaping plan: a row of iris just inside the wrought iron fence and knock out roses in a row behind that, a green space, a knee wall on the lower slope toward the house, a brick walkway running half the perimeter around the house, then hydrangia and Mr. Lincoln roses in the bed on the left side of the house. The iris and knock our roses will run a total of 200 feet or so. given our budget, this project will be years in the making. It may be time to invest in a tiller. Happy Passover to all who are celebrating.

Posted by: jack | April 19, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

A late-night reminder that tomorrow (Sunday) night, I will be talking about the EPOXI mission, at the University of Maryland Observatory on Metzerott Road at 8:00 PM. I'll be dropping another reminder on Sunday afternoon.

See some of you there?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 19, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

In memory of Danny Federici, a great keyboard player:

I saw Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Old Charlotte Coliseum on Independence Blvd.. We had a view backstage, right, where Springsteen would walk over and dunk his head in a bus tub full of ice water. I don't know how he avoided a brain freeze. The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle is, IMHO, the best album the band ever recorded; Nebraska is a close second.

Posted by: jack | April 19, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. Boy, it's been a long, long day. We worked on our vac house all day, and after dinner (tuna fish stuffed into a tomato) we got an "emergency computer call" from our oldest daughter, she of the formerly pink monitor. Yes, many thanks to the Boodle, and the four or five of you who suggested the problem was a bad cable. You all were dead right. The cable has been replaced and all the pink is gone. But she had two other problems: once the new cable was installed, the monitor cut off the view on the right and had about three inches of black on the left, adjacent to the screensaver. Also, she was printing out invitations to our granddaughter's high school graduation (*quiet sob: my oldest grandkid is graduating from high school! I feel so ancient*) and needed my help in scanning the school logo onto the invites. So my wife and I hoped in the car, scooted up the road and this Geek on Call spent several hours tinkering and adjusting. Turns out when you replace the monitor cable all the settings are lost, and have to be reprogrammed. She has a 19-inch extra-wide screen Gateway monitor, which (I discovered after reading the manual) requires a 1440 x 900 pixel display. That, plus playing with some adjustments fixed most of it. Then I scanned the logo and printed out 100 of 'em on that Avery label paper. (Piece of cake.) So now, thanks to the Boodle, I am the (weary) hero of the hour. Ah, I love this Boodle. My reward: a dish of Ben & Jerry's Mint Moose or some such. Worth every moment.

I sorta hastily backboodled and got lotsa catching up to do. Let's see: Happy anniversary, Lyssa. Glad to hear you're home safe, Yoki. Would love to hear details of your FIL's RAF and POW experience some day. Sounds like quite a guy. Good Passover wishes to the ScienceTim family and A Bea C (where's she been, anyway?).

Um, what else... Hey, Cassandra. Mac & Cheese: many's the night in the Curmudgeon household that Mac & Cheese was the mealsaver. My wife buys something like a 12-pack or 15-pack at BJ's Club. And when I was a kid we had many a "breakfast for dinner" nights: either pancakes, or eggs and Taylor's ham, or SOS (----on a Shingle, aka creamed dried beef, which I had for dinner just two or three nights ago; love the stuff if its done right)

Did you guys see Joel Garreau's piece on the new communities of friends that have sprung up on the Internet? Yeah, hard to believe a total bunch of strangers from all across the country and the world might come together on the Internet and form a close-knit circle of people who care about each other, socialize, trade silly recipes, run for President, mourn the passing of people we've never met, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and special events, and tell silly, stupid shaggy dog stories and post tune cooties. I mean, really, where do journalists dig up this stuff? I don't know what Garreau must be smoking. (Mildly seriously, I was a bit miffed that Garreau didn't mention the Boodle; it's right here under his nose, and all he does is focus on kids and Facebook and that stuff, the same old same old. Well, maybe it's just as well that we don't get any publicity. According to what a lot of you say, what we have here is pretty unique on the Internet. To quote and echo TBG's oft-mentioned statement: I love the Boodle.)

bc mentioned that Russian space capsule but didn't mention some of the most interesting/harrowing details: apparently something went wrong and they had a bad landing. They came in too fast, and sustained 10g's, which is phenomenal (more than fighter pilots pull in the worst conditions), and their capsule's parachute was burning when they hit down. They're all OK, though. On board were a Russian cosmonaut, and American woman astronaut, and a South Korean woman astronaut, all coming back from the int'n'l space station.

I'm beat. 'Night, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 19, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I'll be there in spirit, SciTim. I just visited the EPOXI web site and wish I could be there to hear your presentation. Break 'em.

Posted by: jack | April 19, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, when you're single, you don't even bother to cook breakfast for dinner-- cereal and milk's it or maybe an fancy omelet, if you're out of ramen.

I rarely remember pancakes for supper growing up, we didn't have many pancakes, my mom'd cook breakfast a couple times a month; making pancakes for 7 people would have taken forever, and she was always cooking dinners for a large family.

We ate a lot of rice, potatoes and pasta; at least 10 favorite dinner recipes. must have involved rice and hailed from 10 different countries.

And there were another 10 with potatoes-- boiled dinner, mashed potatoes, stuffed potatoes, potato au gratin, scalloped potatoes and ham, baked potato, french fries (homemade), hash browns, stew...

We ate beans, too-- baked beans, mostly, but also chili (shaddup tex chili fans), beans and rice, refried bean tacos; split pea or bean soups, etc. And a lot of green peas.

She also made breads and donuts, biscuits, dumplings, cookies, pies, etc.

And yes, mac and cheese was the major processed food we had in the house for a long time.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 19, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

i also smiled when i saw the garreau article.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | April 20, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Jessica Sunshine will be part of the EPOXI briefing? I seem to remember that even though she's a rock & comet kinda gal, while Tim's more of an atmospheric kinda guy, they seem to tread many of the same trails. [The one that goes to the top of Mauna Kea, for example.]

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Hi, all.

*Tim, at the time I read the report of the Soyuz landing yesterday morning, no one was confirming any of the more harrowing details, and though I suspected some of it (the high g's for example), I didn't think it was prudent to scare anyone.

On another note, I was watching the IndyCar race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan a little while ago, and darned if Danica Patrick has finally won. Good for her! She didn't have the fastest car on the track, and won by driving a really nice strategic race.

Good night, Boodle.

And a happy 4/20 to all you Glaucoma Test Pilots out there.

I'll try to catch back up with the Boodle tomorrow...


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... I'm still wading through that piece by the "other" Joel. It's not a bad bit of writing, but I'm thinking "our" Joel could have done it much better.

For anyone too lazy to search for this article (and since Mudge was apparently too pooped to post a linky thing so we wouldn't have to):

Seriously, though... Mudge brings up an excellent point regarding how we "mourn the passing of people we've never met". I haven't read deep enough into that "other Joel's" article (yet) to see if this is covered, but it should be.

I think it's safe to say Mudge is referring to how the Boodle learned of and dealt with the passing of Error/Bob. I never met Error/Bob, but we did exchange a few emails -- nothing really important or anything, just talk about him maybe buying some Adirondack furniture I was making at the time.

The thing is, I think of this guy I never met almost every day I'm out in my shop. Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first), but I often catch myself thinking "whaddaya think of this one, Error?" on just about every little door I make.

I think, too, of militant groundhogs and a box full of words we all offered up to express our friendship and appreciation for a man many of us had never met.

I'm just glad we got that box to him in time.

The Boodle rawks.

btw... if it weren't for Obama, I'd be writing in "Error" for president. Somehow, I don't think he'd mind that.

I'm outta here... early day tomorrow and lots of work to do.

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we'll forget Error/Bob. Microsoft won't let us.

The soil in my front yard is brown on top (a thin layer) and yellow below. Somehow, without fertilizer, the crab weed, lalangs and sensitive plants flourish.

A friend dropped by last week and said for good feng shui I should keep a water plant on the north side of my living room. So I got myself a money plant. Now, I'm just waiting for good news.

Posted by: rainforest | April 20, 2008 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I woke up this morning with the song, The Days of Wine and Roses. I don't know where that came from, but it will not go away. I think it is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard, and it just keeps humming in my head. I'll be on my way to church with that song in my head.

Mudge, I read that article too. It brings out some pretty good points. The ending of the article was a bit much though, but that's the reality also. And the definition for "friend" is discussed quite a bit. I thought it was a good story. Like you, Mudge, I kept looking for mention of the Achenblog, but alas, no show.

Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and all, a good morning to you.

Time for me to hit the shower. I want to attend Sunday school and church services. It is really quiet here in my apartment. When the g-girl leaves, it's almost like she sucks all the life out of the place and takes it with her. One of her little school friends spent the night with her over the weekend, and she was so excited. She is growing up, and she's with mom and dad, and all that is good, but I do miss her.

Have a great day, folks. Try to give God some of your time, and enjoy your families.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 20, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

All this early gardening talk is music to my ears. When the big trees fell last fall, we were blessed with more sunlight in the back yard. I'm hoping it leads to the benefit of enough light to raise a few vegetables without the addition of too much heat in our heat sink of a back behind the house area. If it is successful this year, we are going to do raised beds next year.

Unfortunately, we've had a rather snowy day, with more expected. Not a heavy snow mind, fine very dry flakes, that went on all day and are making anything off the main roads a nightmare of ice. Intersections in town are particularly bad. Ah well, such is spring.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, tried to catch up with the boodle last night but fell asleep - we had a birthday in the family yesterday and I spent most of the day running errands and helping get the house ready. My husband prepared some great ribs and double baked potatoes. All went well but tired and we are having another celebration today for another child's first communion.

Yoki thanks for posting the info on your FIL.

TBG soil here is a mixture of very sandy soil never the water and brown dirt veined with red clay, as you move away from the water.

CP glad the Boy is enjoying his trip - when I said I thought he would be in for some surprises it was in the area of our ordinariness. We were supposed to get rain today but that has changed so they should have a great visit at the falls - something that still fills me with awe even though I have seen the falls so many times.

Martooni - loved your post about Error/Bob - filled my eyes with tears this morning - very true words.

Hope to get some time later, (much later) today to read the comments more closely.

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

A nice quiet Sunday morning here, but the world is slowly awakening around me. We kept the windows open last night, so I awoke to (and am now Boodling to) the sounds and smells of a light steady rain -- very calm and earthy.

Off to the shop now... much painting and staining to do before I head over to my mother-in-law's house to fix her lawnmower.

Peace out... :-)

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, SoC and dr, what are you being punished for? Mother of Gawd! All that snow and it's cold too.
Not to gloat or anything but it's been above 20C the last 4-5 days and the forecast is for more sunny days ahead...

Bad Sneakers, your Bruins are making it really interesting. I don't know how much they are paying that Chara guy but he is worth every penny.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 20, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, SoC and dr, what are you being punished for? Mother of Gawd! All that snow and it's cold too.
Not to gloat or anything but it's been above 20C the last 4-5 days and the forecast is for more sunny days ahead...

Bad Sneakers, your Bruins are making it really interesting. I don't know how much they are paying that Chara guy but he is worth every penny.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 20, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, SoC and dr, what are you being punished for? Mother of Gawd! All that snow and it's cold too.
Not to gloat or anything but it's been above 20C the last 4-5 days and the forecast is for more sunny days ahead...

Bad Sneakers, your Bruins are making it really interesting. I don't know how much they are paying that Chara guy but he is worth every penny.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 20, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Triple post????? That's a first for me.
Sorry but I've got no idea why it happened.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 20, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

DMD -- thanks for weather note. The falls trip is underway sometime between 11 and 2. I passed a hat -- so did others -- to make sure the Maid of the Mist trip happens for all the children. Typically, the teachers make up the difference but hey, since teachers buy dry-erase markers in the this day of white boards, we tried to take care of this.

I hear he played cards late into the night with a percussionist and a tuba player....just like the poker-dogs on black velvet that Mudge prizes so much.

Thank you for being imaginary backup, cousin. What would have happened on the "FORMS," should I have written, "A boodle-buddy in Toronto has my permission to authorize all medical procedures including rhinoplasty, should you not be able to reach me...."

Today's "Book World" sec. of the post is chock full of pomes. Paging Yoki and Mudge....

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure whatever it is is my fault (just ask my mother!).

It is really miserable out there; I was out with the dogs and the cold wind and blowing snow made it a chore to take them around the park.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Confession: yesterday, on a new bike route, I happened upon a lonely but fully tressed lilac bush. Nobody, save God and the saints would see these blooms. (Today, tis raining as the prognosticators said).

Dear Reader, I snapped more than 20 branchlets,carrying them home in-hand, nearly crushed on the handle bars. Please forgive. In penance, I gave away three generous bouquets to somewhat lilac-worthy folk. The best, however, I kept to myself. They fit the boxey-glass vase that is awkward for most stems. From now on, that vase will be the Lilac Box Canyon of Joy.

I woke to the scent inside; ahhhh, lilac, you are one of Spring's many fleet-footed pleasures.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Nice Shriek I was trying really hard to omit the discussion about our glorious weather so as not to antogonize those in the inclement west - for some reason westerners think we don't like them as it is :-). Hope the weeather improves soon.

CP my kids took the Maid of the Mist trip just last summer and loved it. I thought about how funny it would be to explain to someone that I was an imaginary internet "cousin" who wanted to take responsibility for a minor child - I sure that would go well!

Posted by: dmd | April 20, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Waiting for "S" to finish his shower so we can hit the road. I didn't think I did that much in the yard yesterday but I have a few new protesting muscles today.

SD, had to ask "S" who Chara is as I haven't really followed hockey closely since the days of Bobby Orr. I did see the end of last night's game and remarked to "S" that if I'd bet on the series I would have lost big because I thought Les Habs would sweep. We have some good teams in Boston with some great owners who really care about sports and make a great effort. The Bruins aren't one of these. But they have been playing very well and I'm impressed. When they lose the seventh game (which they will), they should still be proud of how well they have done.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Featured in last week's Writer's Almanac, by G. Keillor and on NPR stations everywhere. For Earth Day (week), which is upon us.

Poem: "Fix" by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.


The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,

Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling --
True believers in liberty, and also security,

And of course sex -- cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,

Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.

They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They'd like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.

You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station
-- Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud --

The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost

That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable

So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Rosalita link. Before I got into blogging (and boodling), I was determined to download every bootleg Springsteen concert. A task akin to emptying the Chesapeake Bay with a bucket. Before I game up the effort as futile, I had several great vintage shows from the 70s including a full video of a show from the closed circuit camera at the old Cap Center.

Dan was one of lesser celebrated geniuses of one of the greatest backing bands ever formed. He will be missed.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

DMD -- oh, the many functions of the white lie. Cousins is not far-fetched, as we know in our Gaelic tribe that read the Genesis direction of Be Fruitful and Multiply as this:

Get to the New World, by coffin ship or other device. Then, conduct one's self thusly.

THUNDER CLAP over jiggle the pumps sumptuous!

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Morning folks... I've been chuckling and getting a little teary-eyed reading the boodle this morning. Thanks to all for that.

I also awoke to a nice, steady pitter-patter of rain. Everything looks that much greener outside already because of it. The dogwood in the front yard is almost at full bloom and the azaleas out back look just about ready to burst. Nothing like a dark, wet woods behind them to make that hot pink look electric.

Posted by: TBG | April 20, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Now that I've read Joel Garreau's piece about Online Friends, I can see why he didn't mention us (Yoki and I met him when we visited our Joel at the Post last year... nice guy!).

What we have is truly unique in that this was not a place you'd expect to look for friends, like Facebook or Friends Next. Our community just kind of sprang up.

But like the article said, it is kind of like "an online cocktail party without having to stay up late or drink alcohol."

[I also wondered who would read "Personal Relationships, the journal of the International Association for Relationship Research." That sounds like kind of a lonely thing, for some reason.]

Son of G met his girlfriend at college orientation last March. They kept in touch through Facebook, email, phone calls, text messages, etc., and by the time they got to school in August and met face to face for the first time since March, they were already "dating." They had started "dating" in June.

I guess that's what happens to a kid whose mom travels around the continent to meet her imaginary friends. I shouldn't really be surprised, should I?

Posted by: TBG | April 20, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Mudge, I meant to address my post-midnight Soyuz comment to you, not *Tim. Apologies.

*Tim, I'm tempted to ask how you got stuck with this EPOXI gig, but I know better than to sniff around with you NASA guys.

I'm not sure I should read the Shine piece, since I can be a pretty handy dude at times. Might make me feel adequate or something, then I'll start putting on ayres.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. It is cool and cloudy here but no rain. It would be perfect for working outside, but there is church and a matinee and an evensong. I don't know whether I can squeeze in anything else. I am SO sore from yesterday's digging, more exercise would be a good thing.

Ivansdad & I each learned to be fairly handy around the house when we moved here, because the house needed so many little but constant things. We did learn that the wiring is already very odd and it saves time and money to just call an electrician first. I do tend to believe that duct tape fixes most things, but so far I have not been proved wrong. For big problems my relatives down the road usually have a good suggestion.

The Boy just pointed out that I was forcing him to attend church unwillingly this morning and suggested that a good parent would never force a child to do something unwillingly. I'm still laughing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 20, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! Gray but no rain yet today. Despite the 40+ inches of snow we had earlier this month we could still use the moisture.

Shine's piece fell flat for me. He couldn't find this?

Granted, you rarely see a water heater in such a clean well-lit area, but most "unhandy" people are really just unpracticed (as Wilbrod mentioned last night).

The other Joel's bit on imaginary friends was right on the money. Although Frostdottir and her ex boyfriend started dating in person, they had a large network of "friends" keeping in contact via IM and social networking sites-including some maintained by the US Army. Extricating herself from these connections has taken a lot of time, and slowed the process of getting over the break up. Of course it would have helped if she'd just learned to let her phone roll to voice mail and to turn off the text message alert a lot earlier.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, we are in the same "Bad Mom" club, for that identical offense. Wear the badge proudly. Giggling in sight of said children might up the ante into sadism.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I like that tune, so danke-much. Fits nicely with the rain. But, now I have playing scenes from Godfather in my brain: Michael Corleone in Sicily with first wife. Ends sadly, not with tears and a journey,though.

Hey, anybody free to see SciTim at the UMCP Observatory on Metzerott Road? If I go alone, I will feel like a stalker.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I think, in a general sense, that you got only half of the real story here, Joel, although admittedly you were writing about reptiles. The other side of the story-- for mammals--is the bugs (viruses) they bring with them. One need only think of the mousepox scare several years ago and the suspected source or origin of that virus.

Another case in point: the AP story of a nonnative imported species, African wildebeests, with "bugs" that cross-infected Texas cows, was published at the bottom of our Metro section's B2 page today:

About 130 cows grazing on a Texas ranch became infected with a deadly virus that's carried only by wildebeests but not harmful to humans, agricultural officials said Friday.

The wildebeests, native to Africa, were on an undisclosed private Texas ranch that holds various wild animals.

Although the wildebeests' fate is not known, the cattle they infected will be destroyed and their owners compensated, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said.

The Texas cattle -- 134 breeding heifers -- were recently sold and shipped to Illinois, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and other parts of Texas, where two of them died. ...

On Thursday, test results from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed that the cows were diagnosed with wildebeest-associated malignant catarrhal fever. ...

Wildebeests carry the virus, which can become airborne.

Animal health investigators speculate that although the cattle and wildebeests were in separate pastures, they might have gathered near an adjoining fence line, Black said.

Posted by: Loomis | April 20, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I liked Shine's piece because it was funny but had the ring of truth - particularly the part about calling for help without offering payment. Plumbers, carpenters, doctors, lawyers get this all the time. Even musicians - as a friend of mine says, she's often asked to sing and then paid with a nice scarf or candle, even though she still has to pay her accompanist.

The problem with searching for home improvement tips on the internet, frostbitten, is that you have to look for them. This is anathema to a true, dyed-in-the-wool non-handy person. Also, if by chance such a person is shamed into looking for a "how-to" tip, they will then be expected to try it. Even the act of trying stains their credentials. Much better just to call "the guy".

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 20, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. CP, that was a great poem. Very resonant. (And I liked how she stuck "we've lost that loving feeling" toward the end of it.)(But you knew that.)

Haven't had a chance to read Shine's piece, and it would probably only make me mad anyway. I spend all my weekends doing fix-its and repairs and new construction, all against my will. The g--d---m trouble with being "handy" is the constant, never-ending expectation that you must be handy every living day, until you drop. Not once in a quarter of a century has my wife ever said, "Hey, let's do something fun today." Or "Dear, why don't you relax today; you look tired and you worked hard yesterday. How about I leave you alone today so you can do some writing." Dear god, if she ever said any if those I think I'd have a heart attack right then and there. The woman is relentless.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 20, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-Shine's comments on the reciprocal, or not, nature of his relationship with his go-to guy kept me reading. I just think the whole "I'm not handy and can't ever be" schtick is wearing thin no matter who is writing it. I concede there are people who are so unhandy as to be a danger to themselves or others, but for every one of those there are many, many, many who just don't want to encounter unpleasant stuff (dirt, spiders, dark places with unknown ick of ancient vintage) but are too cheap to pay for someone else to do it for them. I'd like to see a column written by a man who cites distaste for skinned knuckles and sewer gas, rather than ineptitude, as why he tried to trade a case of beer for his neighbor's bathroom reno expertise. Not as funny perhaps, but truer I expect.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!
When a lurker type like me gets up enough nerve to share something personal, it's a big deal.
Your acknowlegements of our anniversary yesterday made me feel welcome here, and gave our day something extra special. Thanks!

Posted by: Lyssa | April 20, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

'The weather outside is frightful,
a fire would be delighful,
there's no place that I can go,
let it snow,
let it snow,
let it snow.'

I decided to sit upstairs by the big windows to knit for a while. It's actually very pretty out right now, were it not that it is spring.

Its a darn good thing that CPboy is not in the west. May we continue to inspire him with our oridinariness.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I kilt it.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

I finally got around to posting something about the lawsuit agaisnt the LHC. I call it "Concerned Citizens, Particle Accelerators and the Lawsuit at the End of the World (with appropriate insurance)"

Enjoy, all.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I consider myself to be capable of being reasonably handy, when I get around to it. But I don't get around to it, and so I am mired in a million easy tasks whose requirements cascade upon one another, paralyzing me with the indecision of deciding where to start. It has been tremendously liberating to discover that I am now in a position in which I can pay a knowledgeable professional to do the job, do it once, do it right, do it now. Someday, I will recover my handiness, at the level at which I enjoy it and feel I can cope -- when it is merely a matter of minor fixes to keep things from falling apart, rather than trying to put a house (or whatever) together from a giant box filled with parts with no instructions.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Laughing with you, Ivansmom. Sundaymorningitis, my mother called it. Didn't work then, didn't work for my kids, doesn't work now.

Maybe tomorrow I will be human again. The cold seems to be subsiding, and I got through church without having a coughing fit. We are four months into a six-month sabbatical for our pastor. He deserved the break, being one who normally works an 80-hour week. But, I'm telling you, it will be good to have him back. He knows that a sermon should be 20 minutes. Not 18 and certainly not 25 or 30!

Posted by: slyness | April 20, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

dr! Do I have the correct email address for you?
(Sorry, Boodle)

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm not only handy, but am also cursed with a mouth that says "sure... I can do that" before my brain has a chance to signal "run away, you fool!"

For example, I went over my mother-in-law's this morning to fix her lawnmower (a quick five-minute job). An hour later I finally headed home, but not before agreeing to fix a leak in her roof, clean the gutters, power wash the house and repaint all the eaves and trim.

I think I need to have my jaw wired shut.

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

You and I share that disease, martooni. I can't say "no." Good thing (I suppose) I am the gender I am.

Thunderstorming here at the moment. Had to bring the mitre saw in off the (covered) patio; wind blowing rain on it. And of course, I find out the studs in the ceiling of the bathroom are on uneven centers, so I have to hand-cut every stinking piece of drywall. AND cut around a junction box I can't move (naturally).

I'm in a very black mood. Grrrrrrrr.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 20, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Hmm, probably not. It's changed since I sent you that stuff a while ago.

I'm pretty sure I have your info if it is still the same. I will send it to you.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge you make me laugh with your home improvement posts. Laughter of recognition it is. The Frostfam hasn't built anything or done a major remodel in 2+ years and it still feels rather strange, like we're loafing with just the routine upkeep.

Sci Tim- I understand the paralysis factor. The one major project I have in the offing is critter proofing the front porch, which is really a minor screen door repair, but research into options to allow our friendly neighbor cat in without trapping Jacques T. Skunk stalled in January. Now Jacques has returned from his winter digs but little things like cleaning windows, power washing the siding, extending the front walk with more patio pavers, burning the lower meadow, and life in general all push screen repair to the back burner. For now I've decided to regard his nightly forays as an opportunity for wildlife viewing, until it turns into smellovision I guess.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

On its way.

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

CPBoy's bus is just now leaving Niagara; sigh, I fear I shall be up very late tonight on picking up CPBoy and CPBoy-gal-buddy. I am earning major Brownie points here. I shall require lots of stuff from the T. family, including springerle cookies (dbg will know these anise-flavored German delights.)

However, children had fab time. With apologies to Canada, I hear they are arriving home with many trophies. Band competitions are zero-sum games: some win, others don't. Sad but true.

DR -- about the ordinariness, here is some detail. The band has two caucasian players; the orchestra might have one, but I think she did not come on the trip. We have many Latino musicians -- including in the Gospel choir, where they must take swaying lessons. (Many Latino musicians did not go; passport issues and documentation woes).

So, basically this Wildcat group is black and brown. They, according to CPboy, found the ordinariness of Canada somewhat diverse, as in lots of white (very nice!) people. The emerging numbers of students of color within the Canadian corps were often Caribbean. Canadian music instructors are lobbying for more diverse music within the H-School curriculum up your way. Apparently, the steel drum expertise in the neighborhoods!

Posted by: College Parking | April 20, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dave of the Coonties, The fritillaria at the cementery don't always come up every year. When I first found out we had them a young man from the fire district was here doing a survey for a fuel reduction grant pointed one out to me but it hadn't bloomed yet so I wasn't sure. So I went over to the cementry to compare and could only find one. They have little screen cages for them to keep the deer from eating them but only one cage had a plant showing. Actually a road improvment project at the cementery wiped about half of them out. Thewre a big article about the loss on the internet.
Right now Jacksonville has a big banner up and little fritillaria flags on all the business for the fritillaria festival. Last year the festival was a bust because it was a year hardly any come up.

It snowed an inch yesterday evening after being 79F two days before. We are still getting flurries although the sun has broken through the partly cloudy sky and melted the two inches that was on the ground this morning.

Posted by: bh | April 20, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Got about an hour of sleep because of a problem at work - a scheduled outage which was going very well until it didn't. And we had about an inch of snow while I was sleeping fitfully. Very nasty out now, although the snow has disappeared.

I liked the Shine piece. Mr Ml is very handy, to the point of hating to pay anyone to do anything, even when I beg him to do that. He was going to have someone paint the house - but when they didn't show up, he started doing prep work, then the parts he could do easily, and then he had done the whole thing. He did get contractors to do the bathroom remodel, but waited months for a contractor to show up, then hired another one, then had to redo some of what they did.

Mr Ml has been a stay-at-home guy for most of our married life, while I have worked outside the home. I figured he was saving us tons of money for home and car and landscaping upkeep, not to mention daycare for the kiddo.

It's effing snowing again!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 20, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

My ineptitude with home improvement projects is a matter of public record. Yet I continue to attempt them. This is one of the many ways in which I am stupid. Everything always seems to take much longer and cost much more than planned. (Clearly, I am well suited for the Federal Government.)

Part of my problem is simple forgetfulness. When you have your wife's shower partially disassembled is not the best time to note that you are missing a key gasket. But the biggest problem is basic eye-hand coordination and the lack thereof.

Figuring out how to run a new electrical outlet is trivial. Getting the stupid wires to all fit inside the stupid box is more of a problem.

Most of my projects are baptized, at some point, with my own blood.

Recently, I have been remodeling our side room. We are getting close to endgame, which will involve molding. And this is introducing a new problem. I own a very nice manual compound miter saw purchased a few years ago. It just needs a new blade. But can I find a new blade for it? Heavens no. Sears, where I bought the thing, no longer carries this saw - and hasn't the foggiest idea where to get a replacement blade. Indeed, I can't seem to locate one anywhere.

Evidently, sometime in the last 18 months the remodeling gods decreed that everyone should use electric miter saws. It's like the HDTV story but with sharp pointy blades. Those that do not go along are lost.

So, despite the fact that my manual miter saw is quiet, light, and easy to use I am going to have to Go Electric.

This worries me. Baptizing a project with a few drops of blood I can tolerate. Dismembered phalangeal segments are more bothersome.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Be careful with that saw, RD!

This boodle inspired two little spates of handiness yesterday evening. I removed and dehaired the trap under the bathroom sink (yuck!) and successfully reattached it without any resulting leak. It's very exciting to see the drain drain again. And J tightened up the faucet in the kitchen sink so it doesn't spray everywhere anymore. Despite our demonstrated handiness, we're paying people to do various of the house-prep-for-selling things that we're technically capable of doing ourselves -- otherwise, I'd spend all my time fiddling around with the house instead of sitting productively at the computer. Unfortunately, plenty of my computer-sitting isn't productive, but at least I'm mostly keeping myself in the chair. It's a start.

Posted by: bia | April 20, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

RD-before you give up check with a custom picture frame shop to see if they still have a manual saw (they probably do) and where they get their blades.

However, I have to admit that crown molding is one of the tasks that Mr. F and I would rather hire out than do.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice poem, CP. I was thinking vaguely similar thoughts as I was forced by necessity to internet-chat with a helpful tech called "Siddhartha." (Upon whom I did not take my umbrage, but did mention "the management.") All the while the deep sensation of being a spoiled American, with no real problems, comparatively, burbled inside me. In my defense, I will mention it was Symantec giving me grief.

Every time I tune in to this boodle, I'm amused that Joel chose this subject, and headline, after the last boodle.

Posted by: Jumper | April 20, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I don't think you are my son-in-law, but I need those exact same projects taken care of at my house, so come on over.

Posted by: nellie | April 20, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

RDP try this place:

I used to get their catalog, but I had to stop. My wife did not like me reading woodworking porn. (not a euphemism, just a description).

Posted by: PlainTim | April 20, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

This human-powered miter saw is intriguing me. I have a miter BOX and a little Swedish saw, and also an electric rotary with a 7" blade, replacements sold almost anywhere. What sort of thing is yours?

Posted by: Jumper | April 20, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Just yesterday I heard a resounding crash from inside the house while I was enjoying a little porch-sitting time. When I investigated, I discovered, in typical domino fashion, that all the shelves on one of my shelving units in the storage room had collapsed. The pegs holding up the top shelf decided to commit suicide (or maybe it was a sudden cardiac event), taking all the others with them.

Can you imagine the mess? And, do you know how incapable of doing *anything* handy I am? After I wiped the tears away, I looked carefully at the remaining peg, hurried to the hardware store and came back home with, yes..., the wrong kind. Back I went to the hardware store with the remaining peg (aha! A brainstorm!) Naturally, you guessed it, they had nothing like it at all.

I bought the closest thing to the original, and I tried like h*ll to make it fit. No luck. That was the end of the project for yesterday. I was exhausted and had to take to my bed.

Today, I woke with determination. I would MAKE them fit. Using ALL my powers of ratiocination, I took out a phillips screwdriver, and went to work on those little holes. Finally, after much expenditure of muscle power, I got one to fit! Yay me! But I couldn't get it to turn. I gave up. I took to my porch chair, wiped away tears, and tried not to think about it.

However, while enjoying my NYTimes, I had an epiphany! I'd use one of the grab and twistie thingies to turn the peg for me!! And, much to my surprise, it worked.

Now all I have to do is clear up the holy mess on the floor. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Yay me, indeed.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

My last reminder: I will talk about NASA's EPOXI mission tonight, at 8:00 PM, at the University of Maryland Observatory Open House on Metzerott Road. Telescope viewing "begins" at 8:30 PM. Given current weather, I feel comfortable that I can run over my time by a bit.

If you will now excuse me, I need to go remind myself of what I will be saying, and create a few new slides.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Jumper-if I live long enough to get to the top of the local furniture making guy's list he will use this
to do the built in desk and storage unit I want for our upstairs loft.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, SciTim! I wish I could be there.

Posted by: slyness | April 20, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link *tim. I, too, have known the seductive appeal of the Woodcrafters catalog. Nice store in Alexandria, but very pricey. At least for an amateur like me. I once bought a "Gentleman's Saw" from them despite the fact that I am not much of a Gentleman.

My miter saw is the one on the left in this link.

This is the Asian company that manufactured it for Sears. But they only sell by the boatload.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

We renovated a mobile home a few years ago, and one of the costs was new equipment for mr dr. His things were 30 years old and worn out. The single most valuable tool was the compound mitre saw. You will like such a beast.

However if you want to try before you buy, surely there is a rent me store somewhere?

Posted by: dr | April 20, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Attention College Parkian,

Check your email.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thar She Blows! I'm not sure how many of them were shes, but we did see whales. They were spouting and waving their flukes and shaking their tails and just having a wonderful time. What a beautiful day it was. We could see clear across Cape Cod Bay to the power station chimney in Sandwich and the cliffs in Plymouth. The water was calm and a gorgeous blue. The cars in the beach parking lot were from MA as well as CT, NH and NY. Went into Provincetown and walked around, found a few little decorations for the porch and one wall hanging thingy for the living room. Had a nice lunch overlooking the harbor and I had Wellfleet oysters, oh gawd were they good! Now I'm trying to find some spring/summer clothes to wear this week as it seems we have made the transition, even the beach wasn't truly frigid.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, How I envy you! My favorite part of the world and seeing whales from land. Priceless!

Were you around in 1968 or 9 during the total eclipse of the sun? We went to Wellfleet, lay in the dunes, and watched the amazing event as it got twilightish, the birds stopped singing, and the dogs started barking. Even though it was February, it was warm in the dunes away from the wind.

Given the times, I'm sure test pilot glaucoma was avoided.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Springerle cookies, CP?
Yummy! Enjoy.

RD, buddy, before you start attacking the crown molding, make sure you have a coping saw and some filler for gaps. I've yet to work on a house where all of the walls were perfecly straight, level, and all of the corners perfect 90 deg angles. Having said that, as *Tim points out, you *may* be able to find blades for your saw online.

Maggie, I'm sorry to hear that you were reduced to tears, but I'm glad to hear that you figured out how to get that shelving back together. Sometimes, ya gotta customize, and work with what you have.

Sometimes handiness is simply the ability to adapt.

Sometimes it means just getting lucky. The "u" bend in my kitchen sink rusted through last week, and I caught it before it was a complete catastrophe (sadly, it was about midnight when I did so). Cleaning up the mess and driving to the hardware store for the part took me far longer than the 8 minutes of actual plumbing work for the repair.

Yesterday I took the powertrain out of a car and seperated the major components.

Looks simple in text, doesn't it?


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

This is an important message from Michael Pollan:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 20, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

SciTim and others! CanNOT be at cosmo-lecture this evening. Am babysitting a sump pump that requires me to techno-whisper at it. I have rigged a pull string also....and, ahem, have mucket out the drain. I am not too technical but I can use three kinds of saws, including a small tree saw; Will muck when occasion calls.

BC -- the Springerle are what I will require from Dr. H. and Mr. Dr H. for graciously bringing home their Mellophone/Horn toting-dot from the band trip. The bus shall arrive between 1- and 2 AM. Mr. Dr. H also makes a light martini that does not make wince with the that shall be exacted sometime this summer, on the lawn of a pool, with fireflies around.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 20, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, KB. For locals, you may want to look at this blog:

(Others, too).

Lots of ideas about food consumption and yummy and cheap choices about simpler food. Slowed down.

Still bailing; more thunder. Sheesh.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Trust me. I have looked online for replacement miter saw blades. And looked. And looked. The closest thing to what I need is actually from Hartville Tools (the link in frostbitten's post.) I'm just not totally sure these will fit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 20, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, sadly in '68 and '69 I was busy being a young mother and was preggers in '69. I lived north of Boston, far from the beach, and if I had mentioned watching the eclipse, the ex would not have been amenable to any such frivolous activity. It sounds like you had a great time among the dunes. Hmm, that reminds me that we didn't smell that distinctive aroma we usually do in P-town. But we did see loads of bumper stickers with one word on them "IMPEACH."

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

RD... what do you need a saw for? I thought those lagomorphs of yours had very sharp teeth.

I gotta tell ya though, I bit the bullet and plunked down $100 or so for a Delta 10" compound miter saw last year -- was installing crown molding, baseboards and window/door casings throughout the mother-in-law's rental house -- and the bugger paid for itself the first day. I haven't used it much since then, but I *really* like having it around. I also doubt that 10" circular saw blades will disappear from the market any time soon.

btw... have you tried They're expensive as all hell, but they seem to carry just about everything you can imagine.

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

For both those hemmed in by home repairs and those for whom environmental problems seem unsurmountable, and also for those dismayed by the current state of the American political process, I offer a 19th century thought. Best read while consciously ignoring the Second Law of Thermodynamics--also a 19th century item.

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke conceal'd,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! But westward, look, the land is bright!

Meanwhile, bridge sales are up! And rising! Wet-start for preznit.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | April 20, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Total Solar Eclipse:
March 7, 1070

You're my hero!


Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The idea of a fritillaria fest is a bit frightening.

Here, the hibiscus fest was evidently reasonably successful. I missed it in favor of messing in the yard. The weather's about to put it in maintenance status until things cool off in November or a tropical storm makes a mess.

The new rain lilies and Easter lilies are coming up nicely. Some of the coonties have flushes of new leaves, which look rather like fern fiddleheads while opening.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 20, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Gee Maggie, you're older than you look, 1070!! I assume that was 1970. Same excuses apply for me except for being pregnant.

What a great place this is, how helpful everyone is. I wish I needed a saw blade or something...

I do have a question: has anyone had their gall bladder removed? (Not with a mitre saw!!)

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Bad sneaks: I know two people with recent gall bladder losses. Both had fine experiences with the keyhole saw surgery....but took a while to enjoy certain foods again. "Beats the attack," said Victim No.One! Both are colleagues and were back to the classroom sooner than they anticipated. Good luck. Tis you? Tis someone else? Take care as the victim or the caregiver.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Tis I, CP. Next week. How quickly were they back to work? I would like to get back fast, don't want to waste precious days off recuperating. And yes, the bland food thing, combined with the WW diet I'm on, is really boring.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I've aged rather well, I think, and thank you for noticing.

Like Mudge, I was a huge part of the Norman Conquest, but unlike him, I was the Princess in charge of the Bayreuth Tapestries, while he got to be the Sub Commandant of the Invasion of the British Islands. \
But, in the Tapestries, I got to PLAN the invasion; they merely had to follow the plan.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

It's always best to be the planner, Maggie. Ordering people to do your bidding is fun! And a Princess too, all those pretty dresses and tiaras, I'm impressed!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse


I love that song, but not hearing it in my head over and over, and over. And as I said earlier, to me, it's a sad song, very sad.

I've been in church all day long. Just getting home a few minutes ago. I did stop and visit with my dad. I think my dad is lonesome. I know he misses my mother something awful. He won't participate in activities for seniors. He's going to the nursing home to visit his friend tomorrow. That will get him out the house for a little while.

Mudge, I had to laugh at your comment concerning the handy man bit. Perhaps your wife thinks you enjoy doing those fix-it jobs. Maybe there is some way to let her know, it a'int so?

Time for me to turn in. Just too tired. Have a good evening my friends. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 20, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks...down and out for three days, p'haps? They may have been driven to work for a week or so.

Bailing is slower now. Rain is paused.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, had my gall bladder out a couple of years ago. I was not working, so I can't remember how long it was before I was fully on my feet, but it wasn't long. I had no repercussions or anything. Sooo glad to be able to stop my diet of nothing and soda crackers!

That was also my first and only experience with Vicodin. Recovery room nurse, my daughter-in-law (a nurse) said "Take your pain pills!" I did for about two days but didn't like feeling as if I were floating a few feet above myself -- felt better once I quit them!

Posted by: nellie | April 20, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

SD, I was trying to be very careful not to cause winter's unwelcome return. I specifically decided not put away the shovel. I did have a light jacket by the door, however, so I will accept responsibility. The sackcloth parka was brought out for some unplanned afternoon shovelling.

Yoki, sorry to hear the passing of your FIL.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 20, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, feel for ya. I guess if you were the other gender, the younger you might have been able to make some real money never saying no, though.

You gotta stage a dramatic sickbed scene where you convey your profound anxiety to Mrs. C. at how helpless she would be without a constant dogsbody at her beck and call.

Then start offering to teach her how to do her own repairs in case of your untimely departure.

Of course, if she already has a second sucker on the string in case of your demise, it might not be a good idea to seem more valuable dead than alive...

At least make her hold the toolbox for you. For 3 hours. She'll be ready to pick up a hammer herself. The result I leave up to your reflexes.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CP and Nellie. I only work 3 miles away so hope to be able to go back in three days. My experience with Vicodin (for a broken elbow) was that it took the pain away but also took away my ability to get off the sofa. I suppose that is the point. Everyone reacts differently to different pain meds. I am hoping to not need anything after the second day, I'd rather be a bit uncomfortable than be all foggy. Plus, it can't be any worse than the attacks were.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I ask the boodle, arbiter of all things both sensible and intelligent, how many days would you all spend looking at potential homes to purchase in a new city you have never lived in before, and how many homes would you feel you had to see before selecting one? (that's all the background I will give for now, don't want to skew the results)

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

SoC, thanks for the reminder: For all of you in the DC area, please feel free to blame today's weather on me.

I washed my car yesterday afternoon.

I thought I could ward off the bad karma by doing so wearing the Summer Gladiator garb, but alas, it did not.

Also, olive oil is much easier to clean off of human skin than from automobile paint.

But olive oil *does* help me brown nicely for that "all over tan" look.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

frosti... unless I stumbled across a house being offered for free, I would rent an apartment or house for a year before committing to buying anything.

Gives you a bit more time to shop around and get to know the area. Otherwise, you just may unwittingly end up with the house that looks great (in person and on paper), but has been on the market for 20 years because it was the scene of a gruesome murder and/or the headquarters of a Satanic cult.

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I believe in love at first sight for a house. If you've found the one, go for it!

BTW, what's the status of chez frostbitten south? I was wondering about that yesterday.

Sneaks, my experience is that natural drugs work much better for me than synthetic. Thus, codeine was fine, Darvon and Demerol not so good.

Posted by: slyness | April 20, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The answer is two days to look at apartments and then sign a six month lease. Then take that six month period to figure out what neighborhood you want to live in. Buying a house in an unfamiliar can be a real pig in a poke.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Martooni has a good point Frosti. It's so hard to know an area, which towns are good, which are so-so, unless you are fortunate to know someone who lives there. My original thought was that it would take me at least two or three trips and 20 houses and even then I wouldn't be sure. Many years ago the ex and I almost moved to San Francisco and looking at houses and towns was very confusing because of the huge differences in types/styles of houses and towns from east to south to north of the city.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 20, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

A dismal assessment of politics and Florida's state universities in today's St. Petersburg Times:

My house-seeking experiences:
1. Bought a nice starter (albeit one that needed lots of painting) after a year. Blessed be the Farmers Home Administration.
2. Townhouse 90 minutes away, rather hasty decision. I shoulda gone for a higher-priced one.
3. Waited a year or so. Chose a house with good drainage, nice live oaks, otherwise pretty much a disaster.
4. A week. Decent choice, but much better would have been a new one for about $15 thousand more.
5. About 3 days. Fixer-upper on an otherwise good street. Good choice: house survived hurricanes with only insignificant damage.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 20, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I have experience on both sides.

When we moved from Cambridge to Evanston, we rented a house for a year to see if we wanted to 'stick.' We did. Then, when I moved to Our Capital City in MD, I spent a weekend looking at houses and chose one, BUT I relied on my extended family to vet the neighborhood and give it the O.K. Otherwise, I would have rented for a year and looked around.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 20, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, under Martooni's and Yello's system we would never have been home owners during Mr. F's military career.

We've chosen a neighborhood in St. Paul within walking distance of Mr. F's office, so whether and where to buy is not a question. We're just going through the usual grind-he likes to look at lots of properties and use the whole 10 days the Army allows, I want to have it narrowed down to no more than 6 places in 2-3 days. We do have the advantage of having been in St. Paul for last fall's "parade of homes" so we could looky-loo through all the downtown loft/condo buildings in our price range.

Thanks for asking Slyness. We are going to try one price reduction at Chez Frostbitten South then market it as a rental if it doesn't sell by June 1st. We've been long distance landlords before so it's not the end of the world.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian...I love lilacs and when the bushes get big..which take years and years...I think breaking off a few delicious branches is like prunning! I'm watching my now, 4 year old lilac bush getting buds with great anticipation.

Wish I could hear sciencetim...breathe through your nose! I spent a number of years at UM College Park.

Another fine day here. Had my first daffodil! Did lots of yard work. Ah, spring. Those with potted daffodils or tulips to get you through the white stuff.

Frosti...if the houses are close together, meet the neighbors on either side.

Posted by: eidrib | April 20, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

The only problem with "good" neighborhoods is the chance you may end up living next door to a Britney Spears or some other wealthy, famous/infamous celebrity type with "issues".

I'll bet the folks with the multi-million dollar mansions on Britney's street are wishing they'd bought a $20K former crack house instead. I'm thinking a passed out drug addict on your lawn is much easier to deal with than camera crews and reporters from every news channel in the universe.

Posted by: martooni | April 20, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Trying to catch up, backboodled like mad...but I think I missed a lot. I did enjoy the elevator piece JA mentioned in the kit.

frosti - I'm with the rent for awhile crowd. The hubby and I bought our house in Silver Spring while we were still in CT. Big mistake. If that can't be done, I would think you would need to see at least 15-20 houses to get a feel for neighborhoods.

Happy belated anniversary, Lyssa, I'm glad it was a nice one.

Slyness, I hope you feel better soon.

Here in our section of the Tidewater area the soil is not soil, it's gray clay. We have brought in truckloads of dirt for our flower beds. My back aches just thinking about it, but it's been worth it. Our columbine is especially gorgeous right now and all the beds look great, if I do say so myself.

Greek burgers! Oh my, that sounded good!

I hope everyone has a lovely evening!

Posted by: Kim | April 20, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm post number 400.

Cassandra, she knows. Believe me, she knows.

Maggie, John Adams part 5 coming on in about three minutes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 20, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I've been accused of being too bland, so I offer this: Going "green" because it feels good is a perfectly acceptable, even commendable, form of masturbation - but that's all it is. I suspect that the only lasting impact from such behavior is the same as that of any "early adapter" behavior: Various strategies will have been explored, so when the changes that actually matter start occurring, there will have been some practice.

Global warming is a wide-spread threat in neither the long run (Life's been here on the planet for somewhere between 1 and 4 billion years, with plenty of global warming episodes. Not to worry!) nor the short run (I don't make much money, but if need be, I could move to an apartment on the third floor to get above periodic flooding!). It's that pesky middle run that we need to consider, but that will solve itself. Probably the solution will involve horrific disruption, but a solution will be had!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Raining again with thunder on top! SumpPump1 is working fine. SumpPump2, at the back needed mucking AGAIN. In the dark. But, my basement is dry for my efforts. Could be a long night.

My soil is gorgeous in all the right places; the house was owned by an agronomy professor for years. We were the first on the block to have zoysia -- experimental variety. The prof was friend to the Glenn Dale azalea folk so we have some nice specimans.

I move over my leaves every fall, sprinkle them with lime....and let percolate into loamy, chocolately-rich goodness -- black gold.

Back to the basement.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 20, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, had to look up the lyrics of that song you can't forget.

College Parkian, whenever you mention lilacs in bloom I flash to Walt Whitman's "when in the dooryard the lilacs last bloomed", and then I have to check when Lincoln was shot-- April 15, and he lay in state until April 21.

I like lilacs as well, but that poem both helps me remember when lilacs do bloom and also saddens me. I actually rather like Whitman although he can be quite a rambler.

It is hard not to like such a line:

Solitary the thrush,
The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

The gentle soft-born measureless light,
The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon,
The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me

I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars and the ghostly pines so still.

And "There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim." I yet await the lilacs' bloom up here-- a few more weeks, of course. Before Memorial day, most likely.

Leave it to Whitman to commingle grief with his love of nature's beauty.

In many American indian (and other) legends, you may see the use of geographical memory; making a specific spot a character (almost) in an oft-told story, so everytime a person passes a spot, he cannot help but be reminded of the story.
Thus landscape not only enters, but shapes the soul.

Whitman has managed to create botanical memory connecting lilacs to Lincoln, curse him and his green heart-shaped leaves.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

frosti - as you look at houses, put them on a computer map. Then you can "look" at the neighborhoods at your leisure. When we moved here, we were seriously considering house #1. Then we saw this house, and bought it.

Later we saw that house #1 was just a half a block from a well-traveled highway, two blocks from a major highway, and a block from a group of restaurants and motels at one of the major highway's off ramps. And quite near the college!

These people-and-noise places had not really registered as we were driven around town -- a town we did not know.

I like the idea of a six month lease while you look.

Posted by: nellie | April 20, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I've had an almost mystical love for Lincoln since my early youth. While much of Whitman has always struck me as "trying a bit too hard to be artistic", I've always appreciated his nakedly honest love for Lincoln. Still sends shivers up my spine.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Reading the "A" section of the hardcopy Washington Post late, I see the article about John McCain's temperment has a photo on page A14 (of my paper, anyway), showing McCain with a large bandage on his right temple.

The last part of the caption reads, "The senator has acknowledged trouble controlling his temper."

I know shouldn't laugh, but I can't help it.


Posted by: bc | April 20, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

bc - I had a long dialogue in my head recently on the subject of why I would feel compelled to decline a candidacy for the office of the US presidency, should such a thing ever be offered.

One of the main reasons was my history full of peccadillos, which would cause myself and my supporters no end of embarrassment. But another was my full acknowledgment that I have a back drawer sufficiently full of anger and inappropriate humor that does (and would) come out from time to time, making it impossible to focus on my (theoretical) ability to get the job done. America doesn't need to deal with that as a separate issue from my competence.

McCain is a genuinely bright, funny guy. But he has that same reservoir, and it will always be an issue, I think. Doesn't mean it can't work, but it'll always be one more thing to deal with, and his "enemies" will always be using it.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

"When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed," Wilbrod. Word order is important in that quote.

Well, the John Adams saga endeth. And very good it was. Giamatti will get an Emmy nomination; Laura Linney will win it. But somehow...there just seemed to be something missing in it. Can't put my finger on it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 20, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

frosti, I think the search can be narrowed much more than even a few years ago by getting a sense of the market online. Once you know that, you're an informed buyer. I was actually ready to buy the first house we looked at. Many, many houses later, I would rate that house as still the second best one we saw.

Bob S.: yes, those of us not running for office get to use the light-hearted word "peccadillos" for our past indiscretions while the same might be "shocking new information" for a candidate.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 20, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki. I only just now checked my e-mail and read your note from Friday night. Yes, I think you are right (as you always seem to be). But I need to think about it some more. Sometimes I think what you suggest is very hard to do. In the meantime, I thank you for your inspiration for the solution to the carpenter problem; did you like it? (And I apologize to you and the Boodle for replying here; my e-mail isn't working right again and it won't let me reply.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 20, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

My dear friend, my Curmudgeon, I did not only like it, I admired it (and there aren't many poets who get my endorsement).

It is a beautiful work. Keep editing and shortening, and then adding back in. K?

It *is* the hardest thing to do. But if you are going to be a poet, A Poet, you need to accept the hard lessons and be brave. Be Brave! Speak out.

I also apologize to the Boodle, but want to say that the Carpenter problem has been not only solved, but solved in a way that makes the path clear.

Love love.

Posted by: Yoki | April 20, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Sonofcarl - Saw right through that one, din't you?! OK, OK, I meant, "numerous misdemeanors and various other thoughtless and unethical acts."

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Indeed Mudge, the very memorableness of "When last in the dooryard the lilacs bloom'd" is the odd word order. I'm not sure what the rhythm is supposed to be... it seems Whitmans alternates between anapestic and iambic meter at will, and I'm still stuck out on an iamb when it comes to poetry.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for the househunting comments. Knowing he could insist on renting first, or looking at dozens of houses, will certainly make it a lot easier to smile and put up with Mr. F's 10 day plan.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 20, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

And that'd be far more honest than ANY politican would put it, Bob S., so you're disqualified on that basis.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 20, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

: - ( ... {hangs head and kicks the dirt}

Posted by: Bob S. | April 20, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, loathe your old sins and misdeeds enough, you might have a future in religion, Bob S. Just look at St. Augustine's "Confessions."

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

CPBoy is home. Canada was nice. But, there is no place like home. Clicking slippers three times.

Thanks to all the welcoming Canadians seen and unseen.

Hi, you Pacific Rimmers.

To bed, to stay, God-willing and the sump pumps do not surprise.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 21, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

This morning (well, yesterday. Saturday morning), I've gotten as religious as I get. With a house full of folks making eggs, pancakes, and bacon for breakfast, I made myself some thin biscuits of flour & water. I didn't think anyone would notice, but one guy said, "Matzo, huh?"

It was the first day of Passover, after all. I may not have much use for the supernatural aspects of religion, but I'm willing to appreciate the traditions.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Ummm... I meant (yesterday, Sunday morning)

About sixteen hours ago.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I know you'll be surprised by these developments, but apparently both the Obama and Clinton campaigns suspect the others of spreading malice, slander and/or calumny.

Shocked! I am just shocked to imagine that such things might even be alleged, let alone documented!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 21, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Um, for the next 2-3 days, and possibly a full week after that, I'm unplugging from news and heading to the extra-special bunny bunker with the backyard and flowers (in an undisclosed location) and nice spring weather.

I seriously think we will need it if Joel dares comment on PA.

I don't know when I'll come out. But I'll comment that with 18 months of campaigning, if they have just discovered mud by now, they have a slow learning curve. Even newborn babes discover mud faster than that.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 21, 2008 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Bob S.
Sure, we can think of global climate change as an agent of natural selection. The question is whether natural selection by this particular agent will remove mainly unfit variants from the gene pool...unless you think poor people, living in e.g., low-lying/tropical regions (predicted to suffer the most drastic consequences) are less fit, and, by extension, rich people, living in e.g., third floors/temperate regions are more fit.

Maybe the former group are unfit; after all they were suckered into paying for the excesses of the latter group...

A gift for you:

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 21, 2008 4:12 AM | Report abuse


It seems that, at an individual level, going green is the opposite of masturbation. In the coming world it is likely that the frequency of organisms who have adaptive skills to make do with less/changing resources will increase.

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 21, 2008 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Mr. Curmudgeon, thanks for the Whitman references. Lilacs are greening all the way form my front door to school; can't wait for the with a tinge of sadness.

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 21, 2008 4:16 AM | Report abuse

I think I'm getting too old to pull all-nighters without consequences. Any tips on how to change a tendency to be most productive when the deadline is a tightening noose around the neck?

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 21, 2008 4:19 AM | Report abuse

Maggie, yay for you indeed!

I'm asked computer questions constantly. If they're not from my boss/colleagues, my typical answer is that I'm a specialist and when they have an problem with their $megaK high availability servers running VLDBs, they should give me a call. When my PC has a problem, I view it as an earning opportunity for the desktop guy several cubes over.

At the gym the other day, however, I ran into a persistent chiropractor. Her problem was something I have dealt with on my own PC, so we talked about it, and she decided on my course of action although her dentist had advised otherwise. (Note to dentist: Don't quit your day job, buddy!) The chiropractor offered me a free appointment, nice and possibly necessary considering the gym.

frosti, for my last purchase it took 45 home viewings in about 30 days. Most of the problem was realtor exaggeration in describing homes in good condition. Prior to that, seeing perhaps 7 homes in a week. When I walked into one that felt like home, felt safe when I drove by or parked outside late at night and was in a community I liked, easy choice.

Of course, I also picked out the floor tile for most of my 1st floor from the first store I visited, in about 15 minutes. Going to 4 other stores and spending a day didn't change anything. Go to the most likely places first!

Isn't there some psychological term for people who are easy satisfiers vs. those who agonize over every decision, this is perfectly fine vs. would've be better if only . . .

DNA Girl, not a clue. I suspect MrF might have some tips.

Posted by: dbG | April 21, 2008 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Yoki said: "I also apologize to the Boodle, but want to say that the Carpenter problem has been not only solved, but solved in a way that makes the path clear."

Sounds like you had a religious experience.

This carpenter didn't happen to have long hair and exhibit a penchant for overturning brochure-laden tables attended by mortgage bankers? If so, I think Cassandra knows him pretty well. Maybe she can get you a deal.

I know *this* long-haired wood-working/carpenter type person is going right back to bed to try to squeeze another hour or so of sleep out of the night.

Posted by: martooni | April 21, 2008 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, after a very hectic work week and much wading and sorting through a multitude of holiday snaps (nudge nudge), I can finally unveil our vacation!!

Happy Anniversary, Lyssa!!! :-)

*back-to-another-very-hectic-work-week-and-much-backBoodling Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 21, 2008 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, those pictures are fabulous, thank you so much for sharing. I think I will use one of the mountain-view ones as my new screensaver.

I miss the Rocky Mountains--it has been many years since I visited them. I have ridden the Silverton train a few times, always in summer.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 21, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Those are great pictures, Scotty. It makes me wish I was there.

Speaking of pictures and flagrantly disregarding the injunction against talk of military aviation, my father who is a retired fighter pilot is rightly proud of his most recent batch of pictures of the Thunderbirds.

While the thumbnails are nice, you really need to see the shots full screen for the full effect.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Morning, morning, friends. I've been talking to my sister on the phone this morning. She was on her way to work. I hadn't talk to her in awhile, and I enjoyed hearing her voice. We talked a long time. She works in a nursing home. She did not want to go to work this morning. She wanted to stay in the bed.

Scotty, the pictures are beautiful. So much beauty to see, even with the snow.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, and all. Monday is usually a "downer" day, hope that is not case for this group.

I have much to do this week, a little bit more than I do normally, so I'm about to begin. I'm going to start with the studying and move to the rest of it slowly. Very slowly.

Have a great day, folks. I do hope the weather is nice where you are. Slyness, I'm hearing tornados around your area, is that so? Be careful.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 21, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody, and happy Monday!

Got a busy day ahead, but I couldn't start it without looking at Scotty's pictures. Great slideshow, I'm glad to know you and the Nukespouse had a lovely vacation.

Today is book study and I'm supposed to be leading. The subject is blessedness. The book is an odd little tome with a rather different take on life. I hope I do okay.

Posted by: slyness | April 21, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

DNA Girl, when you find that mystic secret to getting motivated before deadline, I'd like a piece of that action.

*sigh* no Boodlers at my talk. Sorry about your sump pump, CP. You missed a work of towering majesty and profundity. Strong men wept. Women swooned. Computers blinked and whirred enticingly. The heavens applauded thunderously and sent down their watery confetti.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 21, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I have no doubt you were brilliant SciTim. I wish I were in a situation where I could run out to attend such events. Alas, perhaps in the fullness of time.

Right now I am working very hard to gin up the enthusiasm needed to install an upgrade to one of the analytical programs I use. These is supposed to be an improved versions, and I am certain it is. But it is also different - so all the nifty tricks and scripts I have written to get it to do my work for me need to be revisited.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: dbG | April 21, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

And let me second Joel's recommendation of that Elevator story. Arts and Letters Daily has become one of my daily rituals, and I am seldom disappointed - for where else can one find such exotic essays?

I must admit a personal fascination with elevators, perhaps arising from reading about the Great Glass Elevator in Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Also, as a small-town kid, I only encountered elevators when we made forays to the Big City, where they matched escalators and those "Walk/Don't Walk" signs as icons of sophistication.

Where I work now the elevators are massive and elderly. The notion of being trapped in one of them fills me with fear because I secretly suspect there is a Governmental Form 67-KK5 that must be first filled out before elevator rescue work can commence.

So I mostly take the stairs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 21, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

*Tim, seems that the gods were against your peering into their domain last night.
I know the certainly ginned-up a lot of washed-out two-lane roads in my neck of the woods.

I'm sure it was a great talk, it's to bad I wasn't able to attend.


Posted by: bc | April 21, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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