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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

"Build it, and they will come." That's the Field of Dreams rule. But apparently it doesn't apply to Nationals Park.

The stadium had a sold-out crowd for opening night. But the second game, on a chilly Monday, drew only 20,000, which included all the season tickets sold in advance -- tickets that didn't necessarily translate into live human beings at the ballpark. I went with friends last night, and had a ball, and loved every minute of it, even though our team was, at some technically level, crushed by the visiting Marlins and lost its sixth straight game. (In hindsight the manager might have wanted to pull his pitcher, Bergmann, after the first Marlins batter in the 5th annihilated a pitch as though he was taking BP. That set a trend. They say you should avoid giving up a crooked number in an inning, and of the crooked numbers I would suggest that a very bad one is the number 7.)

The competitive challenges are to be expected on a young franchise still trying to build a solid team. But where the heck were the fans?

The official attendence was 23,000, but again, that includes the season ticket holders, many of whom, to judge by the thousands of excellent seats along the baselines and behind home plate that sat vacant, had more important things to do than take in a ballgame.

Which is a shame, because the new stadium is a fun place and -- particularly with such a modest crowd -- a logistical breeze. Traffic at gametime was no big deal. We never had to stand in a line. The entire game only took about two and a half hours tops, and we were heading home by 9:45 p.m. True, my friend John, through some incredible insider connection, scored a parking pass for one of the garages, which made things easier. We parked essentially inside the stadium. Our parking spot was so close to the action that our windshield was in danger of being broken by one of the Marlins's home runs.

I didn't get much sense of what the street scene is like outside the ballpark -- but out the car window the impression was that the streetlife hasn't fully flowered. You get the sense of being among government offices buildings. The stadium itself, as Phil Kennicott has noted, is largely closed in on itself.

Monday's sparse crowd could be blamed on the weather and maybe the NCAA championship on TV, but last night the weather was perfectly pleasant. As the sun went down the sky turned lavender behind eccentric clouds. The stadium is visually interesting, if imperfect, what with a parking garage lurking beyond the left field fence. But it still has an interesting look, with stacked decks of seats rising high above the field, a jumbo press box, a scoreboard the size of Delaware, etc. There's a game room, lots of bars and restaurants, spacious plazas for milling about, and oh yeah, a baseball game going on right in front of you.

Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night. Remember, baseball is an everyday game. They lace 'em up 162 times a season. I am seriously toying with the idea of going back tonight.

But I'll probably have more important things to do.

--

At the core of this is the essential question: Is Washington a baseball town?

Jury's out on it, I guess you'd have to say. But if I'm a baseball promoter, I'm worried at this point. You gave the fans a team. You gave them a brand new stadium. What else do they want?

--

From Marc Fisher's chat today:

Half Street, Natworld: Marc, The biggest surprise to me regarding the Nats' attendance has been the empty seats behind home plate. At $350 a pop wouldn't you think that you'd find someone to go to the games if you can't use the tickets? How about agreeing to raffle them off to a different high school each game so that an honor roll student and his family could go to game in style? If everyone in that section agreed to such a system, the seats would be filled and what a great incentive for students and their families.


Marc Fisher: This strikes me as a big marketing mistake by the Nats, but an easily corrected one. You're absolutely right, the super-high roller seats right behind home plate--we're talking $325 per seat--have been largely empty. That means that the main picture viewers at home see on TV is one of empty seats. Surely it's got to be a struggle to sell those seats, but wouldn't it be in the Nats' best interests to fill them anyway, to invite more lowly fans to go sit there, at least in the second half of the game so as to present a more interesting and enticing picture? Yes, that's image massaging, but it benefits everyone, no?

_______________________

The new stadium. . .: is quite a place. I was there opening night and stayed to the end (booed Bush also). I heard about the problems of food, so my wife and I pre-gamed. It is way to early to make judgments based upon attendance the last couple of games b/c April is a slow month in baseball and the weather has not been great. Of course the team starting to look like chocking dogs does not help. I always wondered whether the team was counting on the stadium carrying them this year and not being serious about the quality of the team overall.

Marc Fisher: Well, the team is rebuilding, and the hitting is well ahead of the pitching, so we may be in for a rough ride. But wouldn't you think that curiosity about the new stadium would fill the place for the first few weeks at least? It's really not that cold out. Certainly all the publicity about the possible difficulty of getting to the park may be suppressing turnout, but the fact that it has so far proven to be relatively easy to get in and out of the stadium area ought to counter that.


Let's see what happens this weekend. If they don't come close to selling out weekend day games, that's not the greatest sign.

More on Marc's blog: "...please--this was Game Two at a spanking new stadium. The fact that the place was only half full was not a strong sign of fan support or even curiosity about the new park."

--

Some past stuff I've written on baseball in the DC/Baltimore area:


Sept. 30, 2004:

As we sort out the minor details, such as who will own the team, what the name will be, and how much money will have to be paid to the big whiner in Baltimore, let us pause to ask the deeper philosophical question:

Is Washington really a baseball town?

Chicago is a baseball town. Boston is a baseball town. St. Louis is a baseball town.

Washington?

Five years from now, when the novelty of a new team and a new stadium has worn off, when the lobbyists are bored with their box seats, when the Washington Partisans have (and we are just

noodling with the worst-case scenario) an unchallenged incumbency in last place, how many fans will still have baseball fever?

Baseball promoters in Washington give a standard answer: Washington can be a great baseball town, but a winning ball club will make it a lot easier.

July 11, 2003:

... A true fan bonds for life. The team serves as a proxy for the fan's emotional self. The team's triumphs are the fan's triumphs. The team's failures are the fan's failures. The power of sports comes from this ability to create in the fan an emotional connection that is fundamentally irrational, so much so that the true fan believes that certain of his or her behaviors may actually affect events on the field, even if the fan is just watching the game on television.

Sports fans in Washington have precisely this kind of relationship with the Redskins. They live and die with the Skins. The most rabid follow every off-season acquisition and study the 40-yard-dash times at the scouting combine. But the Redskins have something the Orioles lack. The Redskins are the Washington Redskins. The Orioles are the Baltimore Orioles.

Baltimore is not Washington.Washington is not Baltimore. It doesn't matter that the Orioles took "Baltimore" off the uniforms.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 10, 2008; 9:46 AM ET
 
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Comments

Ohmygoodness....first and baseball?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Who's on second?

Posted by: greeenwithenvy | April 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Who's on first, What's on second.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

A transcript: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/humor4.shtml

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What goes around comes around... or something like that. The very first Kit I ever commented on was about baseball.. taking your daughters on a schoolday, I believe.

So it sounds like we can still plan a BPH at Nationals Park, where we just walk up and buy cheapo tickets. Who's in? When's the best time?

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Baseball! Hurray! You folks who live right there with a major league team or two nearby and can go to games without major planning and long-distance travel - well, according to this Kit clearly you don't know how lucky you are. Even bad professional baseball is better than no professional baseball.

We have a minor league team here which is occasionally very good. The ballpark is great - good food, good beer, excellent downtown location, lotsa parking, family friendly, walks to restaurants and a big movie theater. Attendance is usually good and often great on weekends, no matter how the team is doing. I try to sing the National Anthem for a game at least once a season. We recently got a promise of an NBA team, but I'm holding out for a major league baseball team. If you don't want the Nationals, send 'em here. We'll turn out to see them and cheer.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I was thinking about the same thing for an Orioles game,walk right up and get cheap tickets,but they are in first place with the best record in baseball. I'm sure it won't last,but it is pleasant for now.

I would have thunk,that the first few weeks of the nationals would have been sold out,with everyone checking out the new stadium.

I would love to go to a BPH at the Nationals game,I had so much fun last year.Weekends are best for me,but if a week night is better for everyone else,I can take an evening off.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 10, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I remember going to a ballpark as a child and it being one of the nastiest, dirtiest places. The restrooms were horrid, waiting in a long line to pee in a trough. The snack bars were also dirty, leaving me wondering what else we were purchasing besides soda and nachos. The modern stadiums (stadia?) and arenas (arenae?), all named after some company's logo, are truly breathtaking, and not in a Seinfeld sort of way. My first trip to the MCI Center was for a Phish show (and it was indeed a trip, as the friend I was with was carrying some liquid fun and dosing customers), and I was floored by the cleanliness of the place. The hallways were like an airport concourse and the dirtiest things I saw were the Phish-heads themselves. Restaurants and stores made the place seem like a mall and I almost forgot there was an event for which I'd purchased a ticket.

On a different note, congrats to the expanding slyness clan, and wish me and the wife luck as we go in for her C-Section tomorrow morning.

A very productive week for the boodle!

Posted by: Gomer | April 10, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm in. No particular time restrictions.

If we do it on a weeknight, we night want to go a bit early so we can have dinner there. (I say this somewhat selfishly, since I work about 500 yards away from the stadium, and can walk over there any ol' time.)

For the next few weeks, night games have the possibility/probability of being chilly, whereas afternoon games are likely to be warmer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Gomer! I was wondering how that baby was coming along. Good luck and best boodle wishes for a healthy birth and baby. Make sure you let us know how it all goes!

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"As the sun went down the sky turned lavender behind eccentric clouds." Apparently Joel's sky report is a little better than my son's comment: "Dad, come look at the pink sky."

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 10, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Baby Gomer on board...I hear Jim Nabors warming up on Hush little baby....

Posted by: College Parkian | April 10, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I watched a lot of that game until the fifth inning when Bergman had his little problem. Note to GM - Pull Bergman after 4. Why, oh why, can't a Nat's pitcher ever collapse gracefully. Why must the always collapse like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge?

But about the stadium. We watched the game in HD and the ballpark looked beautiful. Clean and shiny. Heck, in 1080i you could clearly observe the lack of stickiness beneath the seats.

Of course, at that resolution one could also note the beads of sweat forming on Manny Acta's brow. Although not technically in the system specs, when you observe National's baseball in HD you can almost smell the desperation.

And that's the problem. Though the facility might be pretty, the food tasty, the restrooms squeaky clean, and the workers friendly, you still need a winning team to bring in the fans.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I should point out that, regardless of schedule, my family is planning on attending one, and maybe two games this season in June and August. My wife and son may go to more on their own. They are the real baseball fans. (My daughter and I just go for the food.)

We would certainly go more if the odds of seeing a victory on any given night were to ever exceed the odds of finding street parking.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm telling you, y'all bring that team down here and we'll show up whether they win or not. Okay, maybe it won't be full every game, but we can make it look respectable at least.

We watched the Astros in hi-def this week and they sure do look great. I am speaking of the picture here. Like the Nationals, the 'Stros will be rebuilding for a while. But those colors sure are sharp and pretty. With the window open for the breeze (earlier this week, before the cold front) it was almost like being there. Except I had wine and coconut brittle instead of beer and peanuts.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

And Gomer, good luck and best wishes on the C-section tomorrow. With all these babies, when does the Boodle get to name one? Can't we at least give one a nickname?

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

(panting, out of breath for sheer glee) -- my Tigers won their first game of the season -- AT LAST (sorry to shout, but I just can't help it).

Now it's time to concentrate on the Red Wings and the Pistons. Nice, however, to see the Wizards take care of those *(^$%(^ Celtics by such an amazing margin. Nice work, guys. Soften them up for the Pistons to take care of them.

And, well, so, back to work. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 10, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh by the way, RFK is still open...see, there's this team called United...

(passing through on the way to the Soccer Insider blog...)

:)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 10, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Very best wishes for baby Gomer and Mrs. Gomer and Gomer. Report back in as soon as you can!

We've got 7 cm of snow that has fallen in the last two hours, positively blizzardly. So while you all talk baseball, I shall simply note that my Flames won their first play-off game last night in San Jose. Bit the sharks!

Posted by: Yoki | April 10, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Good lord, is it baseball season already?
I was debating taking MadisonBoy to a baseball game this year, but he's only 4.5 and I'm not sure he could sit still through a whole minor league game.
I'm trying to get him interested in a sport that, as a parent, I will enjoy going to watch. Baseball seems like a good one - it's outdoors in the summer - how much better can you get than that?
My only question is can you be tall and play baseball? Those crazy growth chart predictors say he'll be 6'4 when he's done growing. Somehow I always imagine baseball players to be shorter.

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 10, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, just one last wee bit of nautical nomenclature left over from the last kit: in the Navy, ship names are given to a specific "class" of ships, with the very first ship of that group bearing the class name. (This due to an act of Congress in 1819.) Hence, the USS Arleigh Burke was the first of the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers; the USS Sullivan was the first of the WWII Sullivan class destroyers, the USNS Mercy is the first of the Mercy class of hospital ships, etc. The USNS Lewis and Clark is the first of the Lewis and Clark class of T-AKE ships.

The distinction between "USS" Thus-and-So versus "USNS" This and That is that USS stands for United States Ship and applies to all ships currently "in commission" in the Navy; when a ship is being built and before commissioning, and after it is de-commissioned, the ship loses the "USS" prefix, but keeps her name. Thus, the carrier USS Intrepid became the Intrepid when she was de-commissioned.

USNS, on the other hand, means United States Naval Ship; these are non-combatant ships (hospital ships, tanker, cargo ships, etc.) belong to the Military Sealift Command. These ships are not "commissioned," but rather are "active status, in service." They are crewed by civilians, though they may have Naval personnel on board.

Ship names are determined by the Sec. of the Navy, based upon guidance and recommendations from the Naval Historical Center, located at the Washington Navy Yard, where Don works when he isn't messing about with black helicopters, and about 500 feet from where I'm sitting.

All ships with "AK" in the designator are cargo ships of some sort; an AKE is an ammunition transport ship. The Earhart is a dry cargo/ammunition ship. Future T-AKEs Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra are under construction (one named for Alan Shepard is already in service, as omni noted). The "T" prefix either means "tactical," or else they serve Comstant Comment aboard, I dunno which.

This has been another incredibly boring Nautical Minute brought to you by the sponsors of Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day. You may resume your normal duties now.

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

Some pitchers are way leggy, MadisonM. Mudge shall begin a baseball lesson, momentarily I believe. Whatever he says. Word.

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

MadisonMama, I belive the average height in MLB is 6 feet.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

>>Comstant Comment aboard

I read "Constant Comment abroad" and visualized a bunch of Europeans sipping spiced tea; apparently that is not at all what 'Mudge intended.

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

MadisonMama, the great pitcher Randy Johnson, a.k.a. "the Big Unit," and currently with the Diamondbacks last I knew, is 6' 10". Height is a very good thing in pitchers and first basemen. Keep on feeding M-boy. You never know.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It's dead, Jim.

Posted by: Yoki | April 10, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

You don't think my nautical nomenclature lesson had anything to do with it, do you, Yoki? Maybe the tea reference soothed everyone into a nap.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

My first Nationals prediction: A loss tonight followed by a three game winning streak.

Hey, it could happen.

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, we've GOT to risk implosion!

Posted by: crc | April 10, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Madison, Take MadisonBoy. Dear Child is soon to be 5, and has done fine sitting through Nationals games the past 2 years. There's plenty to look at -- fans, mascot, goofy 7th inning stretch stuff, shoot...even the Beer Man is interesting to her (but not as interesting as the Cotton Candy guy). She cheers tirelessly for both teams, and loves it when there's a pop-up. And then she sleeps like the dead when we get home. All in all, a good deal for everyone involved.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 10, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I added a couple of clips from Style stories to the kit, fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 10, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the nautical moment, 'Mudge. I always wondered what all of those labels on ship's bows meant.

The YMCA used to ferry us to White Sox Pard during day camp. Mom would always make us a bag lunch in accordance with day Camp protocol, yet would invariably make my bologna samdwich with mustard. My aversion to most condiments is legendary in our family. Thus, the sandwich would be rituallly tossed, open face, from the upper deck into the reserve seats. I reluctantly admit to contributing to the aforementined inherent nastiness that's one of the signatures of a well worn ballpark. It took Mom nearly the entire summer to discove the source of my appetite upon arriving home. My favourite pitcher at that time was Juan Marachal. This is probably going to double post.

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Did you ever answer us about the timing of the Calgary BPH? Still work with your promotion and all? :-)

We understand if it doesn't.

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

kb,
I have to quibble on one point concerning how spoiled kids are today:

We had air-popped popcorn at as far back as 1979. My dad used to use my Dungeons and Dragons group as a blind taste test study group on the Orville Redenbacher versus generic.

My Cooks Illustrated reading brother-in-law gave us for Christmas a fancy stove top popcorn popper that requires constant stirring and supervision. We have gone full circle.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I've been to four or five Orioles games in the dozen years I have lived in Baltimore. Once was with my wife in some fantastic seats right behind home plate.

Another was with my son as part of parental due diligence so that I can't be sued for negligence later. The upper deck we were in had a great view but the section was nearly deserted. The lower bowl wasn't much fuller, but my ethical sense prevented me from upgrading. The highlight was when some girls about five rows in front of us had a foul ball land right in front of them. He hasn't begged me to go back.

I will be going to Nats Stadium in May as part of a professional society behind the scenes tour. That should be interesting.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

For those of us with kids, sitting in sparsely seated upper decks allow the more active little ones (boys?) to scamper about and explore a bit.

Just need to remind them not to chew any gum they might find stuck to a seat or a handrail.

Minor league ballparks tend to have activites and rides for little ones, too.
Good times.

Having said that, I'm up for a Nats BPH - daytime or night as long as I don't have any schedule conflicts.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 10, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The Frozen Four is tonight. BC versus North Dakota and Notre Dame against somebody else. I'm sure that someone that actually knows anything about hockey has a better grip than me.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Been to minor league games at both Frederick and Bowie as part of scouting events. Bench seats and general admission. The tickets are very reasonably priced and the food if very good, if no cheaper than Camden Yards.

I haven't been to Cal Ripken's replica in Aberdeen. That's a long drive and still pretty prone to selling out.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 10, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the nautical moment, 'Mudge. I always wondered what all of those labels on ship's bows meant.

The YMCA used to ferry us to White Sox Pard during day camp. Mom would always make us a bag lunch in accordance with day Camp protocol, yet would invariably make my bologna samdwich with mustard. My aversion to most condiments is legendary in our family. Thus, the sandwich would be rituallly tossed, open face, from the upper deck into the reserve seats. I reluctantly admit to contributing to the aforementined inherent nastiness that's one of the signatures of a well worn ballpark. It took Mom nearly the entire summer to discove the source of my appetite upon arriving home. My favourite pitcher at that time was Juan Marachal.

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, that cements it. As soon as we actually get *SPRING* weather here in the upper midwest, I'll take him out to the ballgame. Who knows, maybe the Brewers won't totally blow as a team, and we can see a real baseball game.

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

I'm starting to think we only get 1 week of spring before we plunge into the long misty cool summer of the soul. I hope I don't blink. I could miss it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, thanks for that nautical moment. You can certainly show our public affairs folks a thing or two. The "T" in our ships designations stands for "transportation". When the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), was established in 1950, it used that letter to distinguish it's ships from those, even of the same class, that were still run by the (gray-hull) Navy.

Two items before I trudge wearily back to the black helicopters.

(1) Although not a baseball fan, I'd be glad to join in a game with the boodle.

(2) Cue the baseball radio announcer's voice: "The bases are loaded. It's the bottom of the 9th, and the home team is three runs behind. Gomer steps to plate. The pitch is high and tight, BUT HE CRUSHES IT!! That ball is out of the park, folks. Gomer has hit a grand slam. The crowd is going wild."

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 10, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Going back (once again) to yesterday's kit about journalism, here's an interesting piece from the NYT profiling Chris Matthews (for good or ill), by Mark Leibovich. It is VERY long, even by my -- or the NYT's -- very expansive standards; in this case 9 pages or "takes" (as we used to say, back in the day or triple carbons) or Web pages. My offhand guess would be 4,00 to 5,000 words, maybe. (Leibovich may be the only guy who writes longer than I do.) At any rate, it is a pretty interesting example of how to basically really trash somebdy basically just be following them around and simply transcribing what they do and say. In short, Leibovich just lets Matthews hang himself, if not repeatedly. It could pass as a good example for a journalism class in character assassination by stenography.

Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/magazine/13matthews-t.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=263197786641658e&ex=1208491200&emc=eta1

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 10, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

No grand slams here. I played Little League for two seasons and, while the ball hit me more than a couple of times, I never hit the thing back. I spent most of my time on the diamond in left field picking buttercups and dandelions. Two years, and the only times I got on base were because of walks. After quitting baseball, I got my eyes checked and got me some specs, but never tried to hit a ball again until high school PE, when they made us play softball. The ball was bigger, slower, and clearer and I could actually make contact. But no grand slams.

Unless you meant...

...Oh yeah, I get it.

Posted by: Gomer | April 10, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Ok here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going
Here, two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth, theres the wind-up,
And there it is, a line shot up the middle, look at him go. this boy can really
Fly! hes rounding first and really turning it on now, hes not letting up at
All, hes gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here
Comes the throw, and what a throw! hes gonna slide in head first, here he
Comes, hes out! no, wait, safe - safe at second base, this kid really makes
Things happen out there. batter steps up to the plate heres the pitch - hes
Going, and what a jump hes got, hes trying for third, heres the throw, its
In the dirt - safe at third! holy cow, stolen base! hes taking a pretty big
Lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. the pitcher glances
Over, winds up, and it bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide
Squeeze is on! here he comes, squeeze play, its gonna be close, heres the
Throw, heres th
E play at the plate, holy cow, I think hes gonna make it!"

Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto in Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 10, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I love baseball, nothing like watching a live game. Baseball is big in Hawaii even though we don't have a pro team. The University of Hawaii has a good following but they've not been outstanding over the last few years so the hype just isn't there (unlike that of our football team). Still, little leagues out here are huge. Talk about parents living their lives through their kids! Drafts at 6 years old, farms in the neighborhood leagues, potlucks after the games that rival banquets. It's incredible. And, yes, the Alohafamily helps perpetuate this insanity. Alohakid #2, who happens to be female, is our baseball player. She plays second base and is the lead off hitter for the team. I have to brag about the fact that she's got the mind of a ballplayer and the best hands in her league. I love watching her play. Her goal is to play baseball all the way through college but knowing how the gender difference becomes a huge issue after about 12 years old, it's likely she'll only get to play for a couple more years. Then, we have to convince her that softball with girls isn't as boring as she thinks.

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

The Marc Fisher item about those empty, expensive seats reminds me that in some concert halls, it's accepted procedure for the audience to reconfigure a bit during intermission.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 10, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

In my ealry teens, the neighborhood I lived basically had fourteen boys that would get toegether whenever we could. We played with a baseball sized rubber ball. No gloves. We took the field without a shortstop or catcher. Someone from the opposing team would catch. Finally it was my turn to pitch a game. And everyone hated me for it. The opposing team cause I wouldn't let any of them get a hit. Not that I was that great a pitcher, but just really good at the psych out. Here's the thing though. Even my team hated me for it. They were simply tired of standing around. Losers... Never let me pitch again. Losers...

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Here we are talking about DC baseball and it all makes me think of Mom. I hope bc doesn't mind, but I'm going to post here what I wrote for his blog a couple of months ago...


Memories of my childhood summers are flavored with the sounds of baseball coming from the radio in my mother's kitchen. Coming in after playing outside, I'd find her fixing dinner while listening to her beloved Senators (losing again, most likely). She had been a fervent baseball fan since childhood, when her brother started taking her to games at the old Griffith Stadium.

It was Mom's idea to attend the final Senators game before they packed up and left to become the Texas Rangers. At RFK that awful day, she laughed and pointed at the signs that cursed Senators' owner Bob Short, while also crying at the thought of losing her hometown team.

It took nearly 25 years before Mom would take up rooting for the Baltimore Orioles, D.C.'s closest major league team, finally giving up the idea that Washington would ever again have a team of its own. In February 2004, my vibrant and youthful 76-year-old mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in July after a terrible five-month battle with the disease. My sisters and I felt our childhood completely slip away when we lost Mom, after having lived a seemingly perfect life with no real tragedies or complications.

That Fall after Mom died, the Montreal Expos announced they would be moving to Washington, bringing baseball to the nation's capital for the first time in 33 years. When I heard the announcement, I cried, thinking of how many years my Mom had waited for this to happen, only to pass away before it became a reality.

I told my youngest sister how I felt a stab of sadness every time I heard the announcement that day and she said, "But don't you realize what Mom would have said when she heard the news?" When she told me, I laughed so hard, I decided that I would forever think of the new team as Mom's team.

I can actually hear Mom's voice in my head saying, "I never thought I'd live to see the day!"

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and April 29th, T-Shirt Tuesday, first ten thousand fans get a T-Shirt.

I did snark on a celebrity and not a celebritologist again. I might be getting the hang of this celebritology thing.

Is that scary? Should I be worried?

Posted by: omni | April 10, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Only 20,000 in attendance?

That would have been a heckuva good number for an Expos home stand...

Posted by: byoolin | April 10, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

A baseball song from Peter, Paul and Mary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Gqp_hYbpg

lyrics here:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_srf.shtml

Posted by: bia | April 10, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, speaking of softball, from my occasional attention to reports on the UT team, it seems to me that the game -- designed when girls couldn't throw, I assume -- needs to be changed. It seems awfully easy for a good pitcher to throw a shut-out. So who needs the rest of the team? Move the mound back, or something.

Of course, my perceptions of the college game were mostly formed when Cat Osterman was here, and she's not exactly average. Just selected for her second Olympic team, I believe. So maybe with regular humans the game still works.

Posted by: bia | April 10, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

C'mudge, I took that Leibovich piece with me on my lunch break today (before you even linked to it! great minds and so on...)

I greatly admired the quality of the writing, the wordsmithing, as it were. After the opening when he emphasizes Matthews's repetitive emphasis of a fishing metaphor, I liked this passage, in particular:

"...this didn't keep Matthews from bludgeoning the marlin line to death in the postdebate 'spin room.' 'Russert caught the marlin; he got the marlin,' Matthews shouted to a school of downcast reporters who had been hanging on every canned word of Clinton's chief campaign strategist..."

Now, really, if it were just puns, that would be bad--but these are appropriate terms that just all happen to fit in with the fishing metaphor: bludgeoning, line, school, downcast, hanging, canned. That, to me, is a good example of walking the line between poetry and journalism--a good style for a feature writer. (And something, if I may say it here, that Joel is also very good at, as he is also skilled at that technique where you don't have to tell the reader someone is an idiot or a blowhard or whatever, just observe and report--the subject will make it clear on his own.)

I also loved this sentence:

"At one point, Matthews suddenly became hypnotized by a TV over the bar set to a rebroadcast of 'Hardball.' 'Hey, there I am -- it's me,' he said, staring at himself on the screen. 'It's me.'"

Posted by: kbertocci | April 10, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are making me want to go to a ballgame and I can't this weekend, or tonight. Ah, well. Soon.

The Boy is currently appearing in a local production of "Peter Pan" (he's NOT flying, thank you) so I'm doing a lot of driving. When I'm available to stay for the whole show I stand backstage during one number and sing about 25 notes. They needed someone to reinforce the high part. I did see the show one night. It is very good but I just don't really like the story. I'm clearly not the target audience. I LIKED growing up.

I'll be out of pocket this weekend. I'm attending a way fun pointy-head talky, wine-drinky weekend seminar at a really beautiful state lodge here. It is hard to explain but it really is the highlight of the year for most of us who attend. The internet reception is very bad but if I have a chance I'll try phone-boodling. Have to find out about Baby Gomer and the Slyness twins.

Play ball!

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 10, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

So far, it looks like Nats attendance patterns are going to be like that of the Caps. When the team is winning, seats are full. When they're not, well...

Hopefully, when kids are out of school, attendance will pick up.

But who am I to talk? I work just a few Metro stops from the stadium, but have not yet made plans to go. I'm up for a Nats BPH, schedule permitting.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 10, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

That's a great story, TBG. Repeat at will.

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Can I ask the lawyer-peeps if there's a likely ending to the story of those kids who beat up a girl so they could put the video on YouTube?

I understand the authorities have the tape and the group is going to be tried as adults.

Absolutely horrific. I understand when they were arrested one of them told the police they couldn't arrest her because she had cheerleading practice.

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/10/girl.fights/

Posted by: dbG | April 10, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

When the Nats were the 'Spos it was official policy to reconfigure the seating arrangements after 3 complete innings. So go ahead and just say it's a franchise tradition.
I read the Leibovich piece last night. I knew at the start Matthew was a blowhard but I learned he is a narcissistic maroon as well. And Mudge is right, Leibovich used no trick but only factual writing for his exposé.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 10, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The passage that kb points out is indeed very fine. I wouldn't say this was simple character assassination by stenography, because the reporter's attitude is kind of made clear before he even quotes Matthews, and that prejudices the reader.

I do like the assonance in this:

"There is a level of ubiquity about Chris Matthews today that can be exhausting, occasionally edifying and, for better or worse, central to what has become a very loud national conversation about politics."

I'd probably pull the "for better or worse" bit, though, unless he wants to imply we're married to him. I'm not. I barely am aware of him.

However, I'm nearly verklempt reading this. Even Richard Nixon wouldn't deserve to be portrayed as a sack this sad.

I keep thinking if you picked the reporter's life apart you'd find a male ego nearly as hungry for feeding and a lot of sad-sackery too.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I mean, he's following a guy around who makes 5 million a year and has more fame than he'll ever see and what is his reaction? To assassinate his character by countless mouse nibbles, selective quotes. How sad sack is that?

The marlin quote, as far as I can see, only occured twice as factually cited, yet he starts out by saying he says this quote again and again endlessly. As far as I can observe, he's also telling this to different groups of people.

Based on this "twice means incessantly" standard, Joel could be portrayed to be incessantly talking about his daughter's photography, college, and letter to the editor to anybody who won't actually run out of the room.

Just saying. I've never been a particular fan of this craft of innuendo. I would refuse to let this reporter interview me after reading this piece. It gets "balanced" but a bit late in the game, after the damage has been done. The reporter interperses himself repeatedly in the piece, as well.

I have seen much superior work in the WaPo about gently giving the lie to a politican and making them look rather foolish.

The grizzly bear article being one; Fred Thompson's life being another.

I guess this would be a decent learner article on "assassination by stenography", but I'd also be pointing out the numerous mistakes made throughout.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

A little late, but just wanted to add to kb's post on the youngsters.

One thing missing from that list was banks and ATMs. I only started to have any money of my own just before ATMs began widespread, but given how much I use cards and/or ATMs now, it's hard to believe that not long ago people either paid cash or wrote cheques all the time.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 10, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Shipwreck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbUGQl1nhJU
Hey Shipwreck has the worst animation ever. It's popular among the young Navy guys however.

Thanks for the nautical enlightment Mudge.

Posted by: Jumper | April 10, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I'm a bad virtual friend. I didn't even know a Calgary BPH question had arisen.

I'm booked off May 14th through 19th based on the original dates we discussed, but I can move that around as required.

I wouldn't care if the new job was even better than it is, I wouldn't let it interfere with friendship.

Posted by: Yoki | April 10, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

All together, sing "The Good Ship Lollipop"...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080408/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_dutch_ship;_ylt=AvLcjtuP45uvK7g_X_KVb_suQE4F

Or more accurately, "Popsicle"

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: double post earlier today, plus, Park. Pard is a cross between a par and a double bogey in my iteration of golf. When I play, the only time I see the greens is from the tee on a par three. Small mammals and fellow golfers head for the trees when I step into the box.

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm up for a Nats BPH anytime. However, reading the traffic stuff on the WaPo, I can't figure out the handicapped parking situation. Even though I have two fabulous fake knees, I have such a bad foot that I can't walk far.

I missed the whole day on the Boodle because we, my sister-in-law and I, took care of her 16-month old granddaughter. It takes two of us, and I believe that we really need three of us. Her parents just don't seem to understand how difficult it is for us two old dames.

I crawled home, poured a glass of wine, and crashed on the couch. I may not get up again until tomorrow.

I had something else to say, but I forgot what it was.

Ooh, now I remember, TBG has already named Slyness'es twins "Boodledum" and "Boodledee," hasn't she?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 10, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure they do have handicap parking by ADA accessiblity law, Maggie O'D. Give the stadium a call and find out the particulars. I presume you do have the necessary tags?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 10, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Maggie... call the Nats and find out about the handicapped parking. And then come pick me up on your way there. :-)

And also... next time give me a call and I'll be your third babysitter.

I just completed my taxes. Looking at the calendar you'd assume that means that I owe taxes. Nope. I'm just an idiot procrastinator. But at least it's finally done. And just to p!ss off the administration, I'm having the refund and the rebate sent directly to savings where it will stay. No stimulating the economy for me!

Posted by: TBG | April 10, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG and I killed it, Jim.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 10, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll try to revive it, Maggie. Good for you TBG. I have to pay this year and I'm not happy about it. Apparently an investment of mine made some money. I didn't know it until my accountant told me. I never saw the money and it probably has disappeared in the sinking stock market by now so I'm feeling a bit grumpy about having to pay taxes on it. I have been busy at work and here at home. We've been walking after work. Today was gorgeous, our first warm day (70 degrees) with no sea breeze. People out and about in convertibles (I miss my Miata) and doing yard work, all with a certain air of immediacy as the forecast for the weekend is raw and rainy.

"S" loves baseball. He especially loves to go the the Cape Cod league games here in the summer. I like the sport but find it rather slow. If only there weren't so many foul balls...Getting a ticket to a Red Sox game is hard, and expensive. I believe they pretty much sell out every game. Every year they find a place to add more seats. People sleep overnight in the street to get tickets for opening day and for Yankees games. But this city and team have had a relationship for over 100 years, I think it's hard for a city and team to bond, even with a brand new snazzy ballpark, in just a few years time.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 10, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Not to fear! It lives! I'm taking a break from grooming the dogs. I've also surfed through the BC/ND hockey match, 6-2 in the 2nd per., favour BC, and now have returned to the Cubs/Pirates match, 7-3 Cubs, in which the Cubbies are likely to earn a 3 game sweep v. the Pirates for quite some time. With that, I'm off to complete the nightly animal chores.

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

We're all just watching the Nats play. And lose. Aye, there's the rub.

For the Nats to succeed they need at least one really strong season to give the fans hope. For baseball is built on collective memories and shared hopes. These are what make a baseball town.

And I confident we can do it. We could transmute one fantastic season into a golden era and coast on that memory for decades. 'cause as a region, you know, we're pretty good at delusional thinking.

But first, ya gots to have that glorious season. And I have a feeling this one ain't going to be it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Before I go, I found this recounting of events associated with prisoner's interrogation particularly repugnant. Mr Froomkin notes in his column that some elements on which he reports have yet to be confirmed. Regardless, the image of the VP, Sec'y of State and the Sec'y of Defense helping to choreograph the use of aggressive tactics during the interrogation of prisoners is, IMO, not the stuff you want to make public.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html

Posted by: jack | April 10, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

My friend Carl Hoffman is really writing fantastic stuff on his Lunatic Express blog. Here's a passage:

By noon I was aboard, hammock tied to the rafters of the middle deck; $70 for three days and nights, three meals a day included. On buses passengers slink deep into their seats and try not to move; on boats people open up and live in public - a sojourn, in interlude, time stopped - a coalescing into one big anonymous family. It's an evanescent live play that lives and dies for the duration of the voyage. The Moreira was overloaded, of course: too many passengers and way too much cargo. The waterline was nowhere to be seen. We'd barely pushed off from the half-sunken dock when we had to pause mid-stream as the harbor police zoomed in to make things right. Some arguing, some handshaking, a "fine" paid, and we were sliding downriver at ten knots.


The blog is here:

http://thelunaticexpress.blogspot.com/

I also think he poses a provocative question: Is he out of line to take his daughter Lily with him on some of these dicey adventures? I think not. But why don't some of the folks here go over to Carl's blog and weigh in.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 10, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I think I posted something at Lunatic Express (which I have been reading regularly) but am not sure I did it right. It sorta vanished into the ether. Should it not appear, I will try again mañana.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Excellent blog Joel. I love travel writing, especially when it describes places I will never see. I assume your friend Carl knows his daughter's strengths well enough to judge her ability to cope with this type of travel. I don't see anything wrong with her going along with him. The situations one encounters in strange lands and among different cultures can educate as nothing else can. The self confidence and knowledge that can be gained from these experiences is priceless and certainly can't be taught in a classroom. Sure there is danger, but you can get hit by a bus outside your house, so...

My younger daughter traveled to Australia for a semester abroad,spent 8 months working at a resort in Mexico and then went to France to visit a friend. She landed at some little airport in France, with no one to meet her and no knowledge of the language. She managed, found her friend and had a great time. To this day she is self assured and great with people. She and her fiance are moving to Costa Rica. She will be fine there as well. Not everyone has the makeup to be able to do these things (myself included), but for those who do, I say go for it - and I'll live vicariously through them!

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

He11's be11's, my comment got held. Not worth retyping - had 2 links in it, sorry, one about the Dalai Lama, who is selling out stadiums in my fair city. Or maybe I had 3 links - dagnabit!

Best wishes to Gomer and Gomerspouse!

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

For those who wanted to see more of TBG's writing about baseball (with a picture), along with some baseball stuff Scottynuke and I wrote as well, you're welcome to look here:

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=208

bc

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

Hoffman's comment about tomatoes going downstream to Manaus reminds me that the St. Jones River downstream from Dover, Del. once had a swing bridge to accommodate tomato boats headed for Philadelphia.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 10, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

That Hoffman dude looks like he's having fun.
I still define intrepid as hitch hiking through 1970's Idaho with your hair half-way to your a$$. Talk about primitive.
A stroll down Michigan St. in Buffalo can be very exciting for non-blues lovers. I recommend wearing a Canadian flag. Slack is cut.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 10, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

What really freaks me out is people taking their children to Disney World. Surely no good can come of that. Travel with the dott to "risky" places? In a heartbeat. But we are the parents who drugged our daughter so she could keep her head cleared enough to scuba dive at 12. My judgement might be questionable.

Snowing again, with up to 9" expected overnight and North Dakota took a whuppin' from BC. Might as well call it a night and hope for a better day tomorrow.

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

I've been running off in all directions so you've been deprived of my input regarding Boomer music. I'm sure someone mentioned the Grateful Dead so I thought I'd just add Poco, The Fugs, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
BTW I take no responsibility for Disco. It was the straight people.
Did you know that *Tim's MIL played on "Freak Out"? I'm stupefied w/ admiration.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 11, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah. Back in the day, 'straight' wasn't about sexual preference. 'Straight' people voted for Nixon.
AAA

Posted by: Boko999 | April 11, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm just glad that hockey is over so I can be concentrate being disappointed with the Blue Jays.

omni will take over hogging mid morning.


Posted by: Boko999 | April 11, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Ha, Boko, you're right.

Poco makes me laugh - because I'm remembering kbertocci's reaction to the Poco fan (for real) at the Miami Book Fair. Did you know that they originally wanted to be called Pogo, but Walt Kelly objected? I saw Poco open for either Traffic or the Grateful Dead. Very blurry memory - it was 1970, after all...

Also saw Quicksilver - have another hit! Love their version of Who Do You Love...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2fiSfw4pZ8

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 11, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

working a couple hours extra tonight. But leaving for home now.

Ahhh the Grateful Dead shows were great, Poco was too, much of the music of the 70's I still listen to today.I wasn't into disco at all, except for the girls that liked it.

Goodnight boodle......Pleasant dreams.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 11, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

A provocative question, Joel. I think under a certain age, situations can be very scary and scarring and you need to softpedal and structure so the child doesn't get sleep deprived, etc.

But teenagers? Joan of Arc was leading armies before age 19. We send out our young people to boot camp at 18. Many pioneers were creating farms and families as teenagers.

Teenagers can take a certain amount of stress, as long as nothing PTSD-worthy occurs. And frankly, such a situation could happen right at home just as easily as when travelling, and at least she has a support system with her.

Life is risk, and the risk can be exaggerated and distorted from a distance, and still be real. Car accidents happen anywhere, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Since there was so much baseball talk (and links to the Ab-Cos classic), I figured I'd better share the Bard's take (well, kinda. Someone's take on the Bard's take, anyway!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaGHVWKrcpQ&feature=related

Posted by: Bob S. | April 11, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

Waiting on baby names or at least boodle handles:

BoodleDum
BoodleDee

BoodleThree awaiting in the wings.

Spring babies are so "just right."

Posted by: College Parkian | April 11, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

bia, thanks for that Right Field link, and the lyrics. Lovely tune. brought a smile and a chuckle.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I can only hope the Os can keep up the head of steam for the entire season, and that the Nats can turn that ship back around (may have to implement something that prevents Scottynuke from leaving town during the rest of the season).

Busy day ahead, gotta run!

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"Der Erlkönig" (The Evil Spirit) is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It depicts the death of a child assailed by a supernatural being.


Played here by Hilary Hahn - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g0QjwGkIEA

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle! TGIF! *sleepy Grover waves*

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Another reason I love Hilary is this quote:

"Bach is, for me, the touchstone that keeps my playing honest. Keeping the intonation pure in double stops, bringing out the various voices where the phrasing requires it, crossing the strings so that there are not inadvertent accents, presenting the structure in such a way that it's clear to the listener without being pedantic - one can't fake things in Bach, and if one gets all of them to work, the music sings in the most wonderful way."

Bach is my fave!

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

The baseball gods have clearly cursed the Nationals. I fear that the extravagant new ballfield is viewed as unseemly by the spirits of leather and spit. Perhaps a ritual of humility is required. Something involving sackcloth, ashes, a ceremonial fire, and many nubile writhing dancers.

Even if this doesn't improve their record, at least it might bring in some new fans.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I think Arts & Letters Daily gets inspiration from the Achenblog. They link to another case in which Boomers could be accused of clogging the pipes:

http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/the-show-must-go-on

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

ADA info for Nationals

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ballpark/ada_information.jsp

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Omni, that is the scariest piece of music I know. I was horrified about it when I first heard it at about 11 or so.

Shall we please have bad weather this weekend? I am about to bike off to class where I will collect 66 papers, circa 6 pages in length. I promised to be finished on Monday.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 11, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

still catching up. Will commence hogging in about 15 minutes...

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hockey season is over Boko???? It's just starting, and it's a great start with the Habs winning and the hated Sens losing. I thought of you when I saw the cover of last week's McLean Magazine "Why the Leaf Stink" subtitled "How to build a dynasty of loser."
http://www.macleans.ca/canada/national/article.jsp?content=20080402_25296_25296

The Puppy turns 1 today. He's a tad under 110lbs. So if the conversion rate of kibble into puppy is about 10% there should be around 1000lbs of poop along the property line. And that figure looks about right now that most of the snow has melted.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 11, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

shriek, it's not fair to say that the Leafs 'stink.'

That would give a bad name to landfills everywhere.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping to go biking around Annapolis tomorrow while my wife attends a tea. Sounds like the weather won't be cooperating.

I contributed to the 2007 Police tour and the 2006 U2 tour. Not to any of the other acts on that list.

I saw Hillary Hahn from the nose bleed seats of Carnegie Hall a few years back.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2006/01/practice-practice-practice.html

The music was beautiful, not scary.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

CP, that was the first time I heard it. At first I thought she had someone off screen to accompny. Then I realized that she was doing the finger picking herself. What an amazing talent.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

wanna hear something amazingly strange and weird. I logged on to YouTube to check out someone who seems to be every where these days. Someone I'd never heard of before. I keep seeing her picture every where I go. A woman by the name of Leona Lewis. I went to wiki first. She's a BritPop singer. Winner of the third season of 'The X Factor'. The Brit version of AI. Or more accurately AI is the Amer version of the Brit show 'The X Factor'.

The weird part - I found that Hilary Hahn piece somehow.

Don't know how that happened.

Strange

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Geriatric pop/rock is indeed a societal problem. A few months ago, I noticed that the elevator music at a local Walgreens included a Janis Joplin track. Weird.

For some reason I didn't notice the heritage acts when I lived in Portland, Ore., but in Florida they're touring in droves. But Radiohead's coming to us and not to Washington.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 11, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

That silly David Brooks has written something funny and on topic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/opinion/11brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

I went to a baseball game once in Columbus, soon after coming to this country. I didn't understand anything, but I rang a cowbell. That was fun.

My brother introduced me to Kraftwerk when I was 8. Since then I've been able to enjoy only electronic music (and Iggy Pop because he's hilarious). I guess I've missed a lot.

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 11, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Cerys Matthewshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPqaPHTlhdg

Listen, don't watch. video and sound are out of sync

She's from Cardiff Wales. Which means it's a Welsh name so pronounce accordingly.

http://www.britannia.com/celtic/wales/language.html

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Watch this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JENap6P3XM&feature=related

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody. I tried to post last night but Moveable Type and the hotel wireless didn't cooperate somehow. Let's see if this goes through.

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Oops - Cerys Matthews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPqaPHTlhdg

Lyrics http://www.lyred.com/lyrics/Cerys+Matthews/Never+Said+Goodbye/OXYGEN/

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't have time for an impassioned defense, but that NYTMag hatchet job on Matthews is pretty thin. What did we learn? Tweety is insecure, boorish, loud, repetitive and status conscious. And he leers at the ladies a little. We needed 5,000 words to tell us that?

Tweety's biggest crime is that he is not reliably liberal like Keith Olberman the anti-O'Reilly. Matthews frequently goes off the reservation and questions sacred cows. The timing of the article is mighty convenient for his critics (which are legion) that are trying to bump him off the air.

In particular, he has raised the rankles of pro-Hillary groups like Media Matters by implying that Affair L'Winsky had something, anything, to do with Madame Clinton's rise to power.

While his daily show is a little too padded to be must-see TV, his Sunday panel show is a cut above the others of its ilk with a wide stable of good guests. Unlike other screamer shows, he always has two female pundits rather the token one of the competition.

I may not always agree with him (he gets positively schoolgirl gushy over Obama), but I find Matthews to be incisive in that he always cuts to the heart of the matter. Often rather bluntly with a dull rusty knife, but that is better than the fawning brown-nosing of some other talking heads on the airwaves.

Posted by: Mo Modo | April 11, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

DNA Girl, thanks for the Brooks column link, a good laugh in the morning.

Posted by: dmd | April 11, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Lyrics for "Open Roads":

http://www.lyred.com/lyrics/Cerys+Matthews/Never+Said+Goodbye/OPEN+ROADS/

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey cut it out you guys; I'm trying my best to hogg the boodle here, and you all keep posting in between me.


Harrrumph. Just for that---I'm goin' fo' a wok.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Back to Hoffman's travels with his daughter, the Disney/Orlando tourism business still sort of amazes me. On similar budgets, it's possible to do things like
-London (if the pound comes down about 20%)
-The good bits of Miami
-Kissimmee Prairie (much cheaper)
-Seattle (including nearby scenery)
-or skip Seattle and do the scenery
-Portland (even more scenery)
-Salt Lake City (if you need snow)
-Assorted Natural Wonders. Why go to Disney when there's real, live glaciers, virgin eastern forests, redwoods, geysers, saguaro cactuses, etc.?
-Coral reefs in the Bahamas (they're as attractive as any, anywhere)
-Costa Rica
-Taipei or even Tokyo when air fares are low.
-Charleston, New Orleans, assorted bits of New England. The pre-1860 US is a fascinating place.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 11, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Just chatted with the new dad. Everything is going well. Smaller boy got hungry and figured out what this nursing bit is all about. That apparently wasn't an issue with the bigger one. It looks like they won't go home till Sunday, which gramma slyness heartily approves of.

I hope everything goes well for Mrs. Gomer this morning! At least she won't labor 14 hours before having to have a section. I look forward to hearing Gomer's take on it.

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey, let's travel. Here are some questions you may have never thought to ask before a trip to Haute Maine: http://www.leasticoulddo.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t13870.html

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal
Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl

Die Fahrbahn ist ein graues Band
Weisse Streifen, gruener Rand

Jetzt schalten wir ja das Radio an
Aus dem Lautsprecher klingt es dann:
Wir fah'rn auf der Autobahn

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Autobahn - yeah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c81X6BiI0Y

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't complaining last night omni. I've come to rely on your mid-morning cereal posts as a wake up.
SD, you are just plain evil but in a good kind of way.
Now I must pack up my gear head back to my country seat, or, as they say in Yellowknife, Ragged A$$ Road.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 11, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's to late to vote for Eva Avila on Canadian Idol. But that's OK cause she already won.

Here she sings Sarah McLachlan's Angel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T320FxjKN2Y


Lyrics can be found here:

http://www.lyrics007.com/Sarah%20McLachlan%20Lyrics/Angel%20Lyrics.html

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

...and still it snows. More than a foot overnight and the winter storm warning continues to Sat. morning.

Thanks for the Brooks giggle this morning DNA Girl.

The Boston Globe's Alex Beam on baseball and philosophy-
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2008/04/05/taking_a_swing_at_baseball_philosophy/
Beam does not provide a link to the Boston Review piece which is worth a scroll down to the comments
http://www.bostonreview.net/BR33.2/rawls.php

Posted by: frostbitten | April 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Boodle hogging attempt in advance of sure power outage.

Economics and the other JA-

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that the available, sociable, and genuinely attractive man is a character highly in demand in social settings. Dinner hosts are always looking for the man who fits all the criteria. When they don't find him (often), they throw up their hands and settle for the sociable but unattractive, the attractive but unsociable, and, as a last resort, for the merely available."

And the eligible-bachelor paradox explained-

"Where have all the most appealing men gone? Married young, most of them--and sometimes to women whose most salient characteristic was not their beauty, or passion, or intellect, but their decisiveness."

Read more at Slate-
http://www.slate.com/id/2188684/

Posted by: frostbitten | April 11, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Dave and Frosti... couldn't agree with you more. We've taken our kids on some great road trips, none costing more than $2K, most waaay less than that. These usually run from two to three weeks, include very little interstate driving and have created some amazing and wonderful memories for all of us.

Whenever the kids would ask if we could go to Disney World, I'd explain to them that what you see at Disney are often imitations of things we've experienced firsthand... the amazing ferry crossing of Lake Champlain, for example, when the wake from a passing ferry created huge waves that we let crash over us at the front of the boat. (They stopped asking when they reached age 11 or so.)

How else could we have seen the Mentone Egg or the site of the Hindenberg crash?

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tips/getAttraction.php?tip_AttractionNo==471

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/NJLAKhinden.html

Posted by: TBG | April 11, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I want to watch the NHL playoffs, unfortunately our cable service doesn't include the hockey channel. I'll have to lisen to the simulcast of tonight's Capitals/Flyers match on the NHL web site. The buzz in the papers is that the Broad Street Bullies are back. I'd like to see some old school playoff action, but I will have to live with what's allowed by the current iteration of Da Rules.

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh... and jack... you crack me up. Thanks!

Posted by: TBG | April 11, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh I knew that Boko. I didn't mean to sound like I thought you were, I was only trying to go along with the joke.

Speaking of Joke - Here's Robin Williams on AI gives back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BKUAvFjx-M

May not be safe for work in that you might laugh yourself right out of your chair onto the floor.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Jack two sites for you to look at www.tsn.ca, the canadian ESPN and www.cbc.ca go to their sports tabs. Providing the links will work in the US you will have access to clips and broadband coverage.

I was at a party recently and this being Canada the talk was of the playoffs and the remarkable Washington Capital - if the Nats are having a slow year you have a great opportunity to cheer on a very talented team.

I am a lifelong Habs fan, my husband a lifelong bruins fan - I thoroughly enjoyed the results of last night game.

Omni - check out Eva Avila's version of God Bless the Child on Youtube.

Posted by: dmd | April 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Nothing matches the terror I felt as at age nine when Dad took us on a catwalk under part of Niagara Falls. It was probably safe, but the sounds, slickness of the decking and the relative, through my eyes, lack of an adequate hand rail made for a walk to remember.

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that dmd. Spooky, I swear I got a sense she was channeling Billie Holiday.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I really miss hockey on the public airwaves on this side of the border, dmd. Thanks for the links. During college, we spent many a night consuming cold golden beverages and watching the Habs regularly dispense with their opponents.

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Eva A. is from our fair city. She comes back for a show once in a while. We haven't, yet, displayed a "Hometown" sign as Timmins has done for Shania Twain but it may come to that. Yikes.

This one is for Padouk, a red-headed fighter pilot will soon command France's acrobatic team.
http://timescorrespondents.typepad.com/charles_bremner/2008/04/post.html

dmd, it's still a bit early to stake a spot on Ste-Catherine for the parade but the Bruins look toast. As I've said before the Caps have the most spectacular player of the NHL on their staff. They must be watched.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 11, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

As someone who hasn't dated anyone other than my current wife since I was seventeen, I am a subscriber to the "all the good ones are already taken" theory. My wife had no idea I would turn out to be the polished gem that I am. I was diamond in the rough that she has polished into a glorious diamond that would be snatched right up if I were ever put back on the market.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Shriek the other part of the hockey debate was Ovechkin vs Crosby - discuss. Clear winner Ovechkin.

Posted by: dmd | April 11, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Viva la France

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

In defense of Disney, my family generates so much innate chaos and unpredictability that it is often a great relief to go someplace controlled and predictable.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. I was just about to post half an hour ago when we had a fire alarm and evacuation emergency in our building. The strobe lights came on and the loudspeaker was running a loop about there being a "fire emergency incident: in the building, etc. As I was casually strolling down the hall to the exit (this was maybe our 8th false alarm in the eight months we've been here), one of the Hispanic cleaning ladies was there with her cart. It was obvious she was totally oblivious to the announcement. I made a hand gesture to her toward the loudspeaker and she looked at me as though she was slowly beginning to comrehend. "Leave?" she asked. I nodded vigorously and pointed toward the lobby, where a hundred or so people were obviously streaming out of the building. So she finally left, too.

My group has a designated rendevous spot across the street, and when we got there I told them about the Hispanic cleaning lady who couldn't understand the PA announcement. Somebody said maybe they should broadcast in Spanish as well as English, and then we got talking about what the Spanish word for fire. Somebody said "Fuego? Is it fuego?" and we started laughing and yelling "Vamanos! Fuego, fuego!" I asked if anybody knew what it was in French. Somebody ventured, "Is it fumé?" I said, no, that's smoke or smoking. So we started exclaiming "Allez! Allez! Fumé Fumé!" and then Kenny said, how about flambé? So then we got even sillier and started calling out, "Allez-vous! Allez-vous! Flambé, flambé!"

When we got back in the building a few minutes ago, there was another PA announcement that the fire emergency had occured in the Crisis Management Center on the ground floor of my building, and that it was basically a false alarm; some switch or other had malfunctioned. So I couldn't think what was funnier-- that the Crisis Managment Center was on fire--or that the Crisis Management Center equipment equipment wasn't working right. Swell, just swell.

But looking at it from the glass-is-half-full side, at least half of this federal agency got to loll about outside in the sunshine for half an hour.

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

There is a time and place for a Disney vacation. I recommend it at a minimum of four year intervals beginning at age five. Younger than that the little munchkins can't tell Disney from the play yard at the local mall.

It's an entirely different place depending upon your age. EPCOT which was deadly dull when it opened when I was 18 is now much more fascinating. Especially since I have seen many of the real locales that they ape in the World Showcase.

Like destination weddings (which Disney does) and many other modern events, Disney has mastered the art of holding "guests" upside down and shaking them til all the loose change falls out and making people enjoy it. It's good to leave the park and see other things as well.

Being a former Floridian, cost was less of an issue since there are many local resident off-season discount opportunities. One year they offered single day park-hopper passes for about twenty bucks. We went MGM-EPCOT-Magic Kingdom just to prove it could be done.

A few years ago we hit Disneyland in CA for a day and a half and focused on rides unique to that park. In France and Tokyo we have been within commuter rail distance of those parks and passed in favor of soaking up more authentic flavor, but I wouldn't rule out a visit in the future. The Tokyo site in particular has a Sevens Seas theme park that isn't duplicated in other locales.

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

mudge,

You gotta quit working in that fire trap. Or at least quit pulling the fire alarm each time you want a smoke break. You don't see omni pulling those stunts when he needs a walk.

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

RD... I often think that when my kids are adults they will choose all-inclusive vacations.. the kind where you land somewhere and stay in one place the entire time.

This summer we are going to San Francisco. The idea of staying in one hotel the entire time is totally foreign to us. We'll be staying probably in 4 different places over the course of 8 days. My kids don't know why they have drawers in hotel rooms.

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

I know, yello. And it is a state-of-the-art building designed with all the anti-terrorism mod cons -- except maybe for the smoke detectors over the bacon gridle.

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

Haha yello. The funny thing is we have fire drills once a year, and so far every single time (three) since we moved into this building I have been out on a walk when they took place.

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

So much to catch up on. I think I will just give up and start reading now.

I've been to Disney and Disney World, and would go again to both, but if you are looking for a real vacation, just give me a map and a road, and I'd drive it in the van. To anywhere, or nowhere. If not the open road, to the quiet shores of a mountain lake please.

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

ooh, TBG you definitely have the right idea. Last time I was in San Diego I stayed at three places. The cheapest I could find. Three days in Old Town. Three days in Downtown. And the rest, eight days, at the beach. Pacific Beach. A block from the beach actually. The whole trip was heaven. I'll never understand people staying at expensive hotels when there are 59 motel rooms available. I'm mean it's basically a place to store your stuff while you explore the city, and a place to sleep. Oh, and a changing room for that daytime/evening clothes transition.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC 59 dollar a night motel rooms.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I've never been to either Disney.

I have been to a Six Flags twice (First with family second was dragged to it by friends).

The Circus once.

A Carnival once.

The Pennsylvania Fair once (which is just like a Carnival (so OK change that Carnival once to Carnival twice)).

Maryland's Renaissance Faire once.

I'm all tuckered out. Time for another walk.

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

We are very partial to the different door every night traveling vacation, but also do the base camp trips. This summer we are doing something we have never done before and sharing a vacation rental in Cape Cod with two other families. But this will be no fester on the beach trip. We are planning day trips and bike expeditions for any day nice enough for it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who still haven't signed up for the Very Short List, their tip of the day is topical:

Their intro:
++++++++++++
Paper vs. digital -- this battle for our eyeballs (and sense of touch) is being hashed out daily in countless articles in print and, naturally, online. Only one can survive, we're told, and the consensus appears to be that newspapers and magazines should -- like Hillary's campaign -- just call it quits already.

Well, not so fast. For a splendid example of both sides playing nice together, check out an interactive history of the Mad back-cover fold-in -- a defining feature of a defining magazine since 1964. From its beginnings, Al Jaffee has been responsible for this monthly poptical illusion, and at 87 he's still going strong. As you go reeling in the years through his drawings, what jumps out is the amount of political coverage -- most of us tend to remember Mad as more about zits and braces and horny yearning and pop celebrities than about Cold War satire. And as for the interactive feature, just what hipster media upstart can we thank for this addictive piece of Web candy? Why, the New York Times (dotcom, that is). Gray Lady, indeed.
++++++++++

The link:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/03/28/arts/20080330_FOLD_IN_FEATURE.html#

And a link to the Very Short List website so you can sign up and be one of the cool kids, too:

http://www.veryshortlist.com/home/index.cfm

Posted by: kbertocci | April 11, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

So many links, so little time!

Omni,

I went to the Nationals site you mentioned. Here's what I learned: your handicapped parking plate must be issued by D.C., not Maryland, Virginia, etc.

Plan B?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 11, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, that's ridiculous. I believe you, of course, just not them. Can they do that? (Wilbrod?) I say you should sue for infringement of BPH-attendance rights.

Posted by: bia | April 11, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, EYE know why people stay in expensive hotels. Thick carpeting, heavy drapery, cloud-like beds, spa bathrooms, every amenity to hand, pay-per-view, linen changes twice a day, silver-domed room service plates, concierge at one's beck and call, turn-down service. Sometimes even a butler on the floor. Luxery is the answer you seek.

Posted by: Yoki | April 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

How on earth has the new Museum of Journalism not been mentioned before on the A-Blog (or did I miss it)?

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/story/2008/04/11/newseum-open.html

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Just for you, DNA girl. And, FYI, around the time that this was recorded, Neil Young and Kraftwerk may have been the only musicians around that had voice synthesizers. Neil used a female and male synthesizer for the voice tracks on Trans. I think that the version of Mr. Soul recorded on Trans is the best ever. I saw him perform it at a gig when I was at JMU.

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn
fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn
fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn
fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal

die Sonne scheint - ein Glitzerstrahl !

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn
fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n...

Fahrbahn ist ein graues Band

weisse Streifen
grüner Rand

Wir fahr'n...

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

A new provocative question: so, how about the progress of the DC Madam trial? The Madam's defense is that she certainly didn't know that her employees -- every blessed one of them -- was taking the initiative to go beyond a little role-playing and actually have sex with their clients. Gosh, she was shocked. Shocked.

Meanwhile, her former employees have been compelled to testify under a grant of "immunity," thus losing (apparently) the Fifth Amendment right to shut the heck up. I guess they were threatened with prosecution themselves if they didn't cooperate. Immunity is only "immunity," because the prosecution is going to destroy the lives of many of these witnesses. If they were charged with a crime themselves, they might at least defend themselves. Instead, they are being compelled to describe in somewhat graphic detail what the prosecution otherwise would have had to prove against them. Actual trial for prostitution probably would have been less damaging to the witnesses. It would be a small-time case that hardly anyone would notice, they'd probably be acquitted (because none of the johns are being brought in to testify), then they could move away and start again where no one would ever have heard of them. Instead, they are becoming national figures of depravity. Presumably, the purpose of the lurid testimony is to incite a jury against the Madam (Deborah Palfrey) by arguing that she corrupted these women. The details of the sex, however, are unimportant -- it's nothing more corrupt than ordinary sexual relations between adults, except that it was conducted under the illegal auspices of prostitution. The fact of the sex is what is illegal; the details of technique are only a matter of salacious interest. ("*I* would never do that!" "Yes, dear, I know. *sigh*")

The WaPo coverage mentions three women in particular: a mother of 3, an until-now active-duty Naval officer, and a retired PhD-holding professional. These are women who left "the life", a few years to more than a decade ago. That's what society supposedly wants prostitutes to do, just quit and abide by the law, right? They are now having their post-prostitution lives publicly tied to their former lives. The officer presumably will be dishonorably discharged, losing her pension and starting life over at whatever age she is. The Mom will have some serious 'splaining to do. Only the retiree is likely to come out all right -- she's already drawing her pension, she doesn't have to answer to anybody, and she has the bragging rights of being a 56-year old (now 63) who still had the health and looks to pull a decent fee for her "services."

Posted by: PlainTim | April 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I read that "fans must present a state or DC-issued disabled parking placard/license plate" as meaning all states inclusive.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Tim, Milbank had a good column on that very question today (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/10/AR2008041003486.html?hpid=topnews), and mentions that the ring only made about $2 million over 13 years -- which he (rightly, IMHO) calls "small potatoes for a federal racketeering and money-laundering case that could ruin the lives of 132 women."

IIRC, the Navy officer is 38.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

BTW, omni, didn't I see in the small print of that handicapped parking link that handicapped parking costs $35??? Outrageous. (Even if that's the same as regular parking cost.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I read Milbank's column. I note that although he described the courtroom events, he did not name names, which I thought was the best compromise for which one could ask.

A colleague here has pointed out that the $2M is what Palfrey reported to the IRS, and that part of the purpose of the prosecution is to demonstrate that she must have made much more than that by operating this business, thus setting up a case for tax-evasion. Apparently, there may also be an issue of money-laundering. The fact that Milbank didn't mention it, however, suggests that the evidence may be lacking.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 11, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I thought not naming names was a good thing, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Milbank descries the prosecution tactics and avoids naming the three women, but they are all mentioned by name in other WaPo coverage.

Posted by: crc | April 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Can only do some drive-by Boodling for the moment:

I've read a bit of that DC Madam trial, and frankly, I'm appalled at the level of detail that those women are being asked to provide on the stand. Is the possible societal benefit worth humiliating these women and in some ruining careers that they've built after the fact? These women clearly did not want to do what they did, they did what they thought they had to to survive, IMO. If they weren't victimized enough already...

Gomer and slyness, I hope all is well with everyone.

jack, if you liked Kraftwork, you might like Rammstein, a fusion of K-style techno and that odd-but-cool German metal (Accept, etc.).

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The Newseum which was free when it was in Arlington is now $20 a person. For reference, the Museum of Modern Art in New York is also twenty bucks and the Museum of Sex is eight dollars with discounts frequently available. The Newseum obviously thinks they belong on the high end of that scale.

A prostitution prosecution is not always the slap (and tickle) on the wrist it might seem. Brandy Britton (whom I no longer mention on my blog) committed suicide rather than go to trial.

http://www.examiner.com/a-714063~Accused_D_C__madam__Britton_worked_for_her.html

And the spouses of johns have argued vehemently with me over the description of prostitution as a victimless crime.

Some of the lurid testimony seems aimed at negating the wink-wink argument that Palfrey had no idea that sex was expected. Right.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Pricing is different for single gamers and season ticket holders.

Single gamers:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ballpark/parking.jsp

Season tickets:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/sth_parking_form.jsp


Me, I'll just the subway or a bus.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Omni, you're right about the handicapped parking permit. My bad.

Note to self: STOP SKIMMING!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

omni, about your 2:07 -- is that referring to baseball, or prostitution?

Posted by: PlainTim | April 11, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC: aaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh! My 1.15 p.m. post was a longer version of my 9.54 a.m. post. I resolve to resist pressing the submit button twice. This is frustrating.


bc: I'll give those artists a listen. I could always stand to expand my musical horizons.

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

For prostitution on public transit, please refer to T Cruise and R Mornay in "Risky Business."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 11, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

That's DeMornay. Sorry. But perhaps "Risky Biz" is an appropriate choice as official A-blog flick. Youth named Joel, flyaway hair, Princeton, irrepressible chums, immaturity, fast cars and beautiful women, comedy, tragedy, birth, death, infinity. Well maybe not those last few, but still it does have a guy named Joel and he goes to Princeton, and that's a start.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 11, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Cruise was actually pretty well cast for that role. Everything since...no!

SCC on my 2:07: put a take between just the. Of course baseball. You really do need a car for prostitution.

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

"I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp"

-Miles in Risky Business.


Have a great weekend y'all.


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

I appreciated getting the gift twice jack, danke.
I've been going through my Kraftwerk playlist in the office today. Perfect for reviewing grant proposals...don't ask why.

This is for you:
http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=327

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 11, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Back to adventure/nonadventure tourism, the Post story on the new Gaylord National convention hotel is something else. As is the hotel.

I need to drop by the Gaylord Palms in Orlando sometime just to see the palmy atrium. Looks like the National has palms, too!

And gosh, Disney does everything well and some things superlatively. Even Celebration, the subdivision/educational center is worth visiting. It's already affected residential development in the Orlando area, where Celebration-like townhouses are popping up at places like the old Naval Training Station.

Come to think of it, I've been past Disney's Hong Kong and Tokyo theme parks in the bus. Kind of odd to come a long distance from Orlando airport and find the Mouse has already arrived.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 11, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

re Risky Business

Does Joel like choo-choo trains? Or is that ebtnut?

Also JA kitted on job insecurity. They should not mess with his livelihood in a depressed economy.

Anyone else remember that answering machine that was their business idea?

Cruise played the brash young go-getter so many times he could have started a series like the "Carry on" movies. I was impressed that he took that role in Magnolia which was took that character to the next level.

re: museums. As yellojkt has just returned from London, he will likely agree that the Brits don't shy away from exorbitant charges for the tourist attractions. I think the Tower was about $25, and even the churches were $10 or $20.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Most of the best RB quotes aren't boodlefriendly:

"Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, 'What the f---.' 'What the f---' gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."

And the two best coined words from Hank Stuever's review of the Gaylord Focker Hotel are "ridonkulously" and "clusterfarg".

That is all.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The best sites in London were free. The British Museum and the National Gallery were walk-ups. With no wanding or purse emptying or other sham security measures.

A lot of other things were covered by our tour group so I don't even know the price of Windsor Castle or Tower of London. Westminster Abbey and St Pauls both charged about 8 pounds (or $500 US). The ostensibly free Tate Modern wanted 16 pounds to see the three "special" exhibits that occupied over half the gallery space. I passed.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

$20 for the new Newseum?! Yikes, I loved taking students to the old one and not having to have a slew of fundraisers to make it happen. The visit always turned at least one kid into a newspaper reader, for a few weeks anyway.

The snow has stopped. Now we have sleet and the strong winds continue. Where ever you are, be glad you are not here.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 11, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I see that Slyness reported that her peeps are no longer peckish, that the younger one has finally learned the finer points of chowing down. That's good. Wouldn't want him to be accused of being a lazy sucker.

' Guess that Gomer is a bit preoccupied today to check in. I see that Slyness reported that her peeps are no longer peckish, that the younger one has finally learned the finer points of chowing down. That's good. Wouldn't want him to be accused of being a lazy sucker.

' Guess that Gomer is a bit preoccupied today to check in.

I'm surprised that Mudge's fire drill appeared so, um, disorganized. At my end of the Navy Yard, it's like kindergarden time again. Checklists, nose counts, the works. They even snatch up folks at random and tell them, "You have just been designated a mock casualty. Go stand over yonder." Then woe betide the poor soul who checks that person off his muster list as "accounted for". And, of course, even more woe betide the person who cannot be properly accounted for. He usually wishes that he had been, indeed, buried alive.


I'm surprized that Mudge's fire drill appeared so lazie-farie

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 11, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Boy, did I screw THAT up. The brain can't even cut and paste properly today. Time to call it a day. Sorry.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 11, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Don, we've had so many false alarms that we are now used to finishing our coffee before we get up to leave the building.

Have a good weekend, Padouk. I'm getting ready to leave shortly myself. Everybody have a good one (they're calling for rain here tomorrow).

And I don't know if I'll be Boodling tonight or over the weekend--I'm back to having Internet issues again. The Verizon tech guy claims I have "a browser issue" and need to take my computer in to the shop. *&^%$#^%. I don't know whether to believe him or not, so I'm gonna try a different tech guy and see what happens. But if nobody hears from me until Monday, that's why.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Handy all purpose Jack Nicholson quote of the day (works most anywhere and most any day)-

"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 11, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"1060 W. Addison, Chicago" is the only address to give when challenged by authority-or so I learned from Jake and Elwood. I do believe it is the most useful line I ever learned from a movie, if only to impress baseball fans and trivia buffs by knowing the street address of Wrigley Field.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 11, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt,
Yup, one of the nice things about London is that you can duck into the major museums, then duck out without feeling guilty about not getting your moneys' worth. I'm told that's great for those with kids. Sorta like the Smithsonian museums in the Old Patent Office.

London's diversity of things to do is beyond belief. Little museums, specialist shopping, and theaters all over the place. I still haven't been to the Tower, Wallace Collection, Bunker, or Wellington's house. But did make it to all three hammer-beamed halls: Westminster, Hampton Court, and Eltham Palace!

Thinking of addresses, the key address in the last Bourne movie was the Sokol Hall back of the apartment building where my mom grew up. It's still there.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 11, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, if you have a lot of toolbars (or indeed ANY toolbars) on your IE or whatever browser you are using, that would definitely mess up your internet. Uninstall 'em all.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Dave, you haven't been to the Tower? Such a cool place! I've been twice but need to go back because I didn't go through the jewel house the last time. One of my all-time favorite photos is of a Beefeater in full 16-century uniform, with a Motorola walkie-talkie sticking out of his back pocket.

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

School groups are free at the Newseum. It's the tourists they want to soak. I think I'll be holding off.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

One of my future blog posts will be how to do the British Museum in under an hour. I tried to beat my record for the Versailles, but got caught looking at the mummies too long.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I had a recollection of the sticker shock, so had forgotten about the free places. Imperial War Museum was also free. Kensington Palace was about $25, though, and I see it's still about the same five years later.

The best value was the Houses of Parliament. Great tour. Booked ahead online before we went.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The boodle has become musty all of a sudden; cobwebbed busts and stilted british lilts are strewn everywhere, and I fear half of the paintings of long-dead politicans are watching me now.

It's teatime in the bunker now. Ta-ta!

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Now the Boodle can be cheesy too. I just bought myself a couple of tickets to Hippiefest at Wolftrap July 30.
http://www.wolftrap.org/Home/Find_Performances_and_Events/Performance/08Filene/0730show08.aspx
Jack Bruce is supposedly going to be there, although there's no mention on his website. But what the heck, I figure there's no better place to be in late July than DC, right? So maybe there will be a BPH or Nats opportunity too, although the local boodlers will probably have had the sense to get out of Dodge.

Sure hope the airlines have their act together by then. This week I have been grateful not to have been flying, and not to have been with frostbitten in Minnesota. (It almost feels like spring here!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 11, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod... your comment about the paintings watching you had me thinking of Scooby Doo.

"Ruh-ro Raggy! A rhost! A rhost!"

"Ah Scoob... That ain't a ghost. It's Dick Cheney."

{pause for thought to take hold}

"Zoinks!"

Posted by: martooni | April 11, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I bought tickets today to see Flight of the Conchords at GWU next month. We're all fans, so the whole family will go.

mostly... we'll make sure to make time for a proper BPH this year when you're here.

Posted by: TBG | April 11, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you know me, Martooni!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 11, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I aspire to that kind of luxury! We all need to get together on details for May. :-)

TBG, Rocco's, 2080 Van Ness. Don't be surprised if you end up going more than once. Also, the night tour of Alcatraz is wonderful. Palace of Fine Arts, well, you know.

The last time I hit Alcatraz they had a special lecturer, a woman who'd grown up on the island and written a book about it. She took us into rooms generally not open, showed us fake blood left from filming of _The Rock_. The most amazing thing was standing at the top of the tall staircase leading to the exercise yard. Bay breeze, gorgeous sunset, wondering what kind of release that would feel every time.

Posted by: dbG | April 11, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

As a long-time DC metro native, I can tell you, Mostly, that July and August is when you realize DC IS in the South.

Mind you, I love late August when the grapes ripen. March-June in DC is a real frenzy of flowers. And if you hate snow (but can tolerate some ice), DC is pretty good in the winter too.

I love the Smithsonian folklife festival around July 4th. There's a lot going on year-around. Yet, it would take major changes to drag me back to DC in July-August, alas.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Aaah, London. My favorite destination when I was young and single and BA had $99 each way from IAD to LHR. Back when it was only $1.5 to the pound.
My first trip to the British Museum I was wandering through without really knowing what was there and suddenly I find myself staring at the Rosetta Stone! The Rosetta freaking Stone. I was beside myself staring at that bit of history.
Of course, I found myself giddy over the strangest things. At the Barbican, where you find the Museum of London I went out and touched (!) the original Roman city walls. OK, so maybe those stones were put in by the Anglo-Saxons, but still...

After I met MadisonDad, but long before we were married I made him read Edward Rutherford's London (which ought to be required reading for anyone visiting London) and then I dragged him to London. Fortunately for him, he loved London as much as I did and I could marry him in good conscience.

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 11, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

A new movie about dark matter! With stars!

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/04/11/movies/11matt.html?ref=movies

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 11, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I'm emailing you tonight about the Calgary BPH.

Any chance of a short-notice Toronto BPH Monday or Tuesday, the 14th or 15th of April? dmd? Shriek? Miss Toronto?

Posted by: Yoki | April 11, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I would say there is a good chance Yoki - it is not like I have anything better to do :-).

I will double check as I keep forgetting commitments but I am sure I am available - just a note starting Tues weather is supposed to get lovely again.

Miss Toronto are you available?

Posted by: dmd | April 11, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ML, it's not the week to be flying. Mr. T and I were fortunate to be on USScareways instead of American to Indianapolis. With 27,600 people descending upon the city, mostly by air, the stories are legion. A good friend, his flight from DFW to Indy cancelled, flew to Cincinnati and drove. Another recounted two regional jets and a cropduster from northern California to Indy. I just hope we get home okay on Sunday.

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Yay! If it is just you and me, dmd, that qualifies as a BPH (North) but if Miss Toronto arrives (and anyone else we don't identify by handle) then it's official.

I'll email you my location/schedule and we'll work it out.

Hurrah hurrah.

And LOL on your sardonic comment. I know you have *tons* to do, and appreciate that you would take time out of your busy schedule...

Posted by: Yoki | April 11, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

All this "Risky Business" talk earlier made me realize that it has been a quarter of a century since Tom Cruise did his famous underwear dance. Scary.

So many great quotes from that film, many of which have already been mentioned. I saw the film with a beautiful redhead who found it very inspiring. I was 21. She was 19. Time can be cruel.

Speaking of cruelty, like many in the Mid-Atlantic States, I spent Friday night mowing my lawn in anticipation of a rainy weekend. Chickweed. Nothing but Chickweed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Well RD Padouk, I just saw our first crocus flower tonight, I wish I were mowing the lawn. The brave little bulb is a foot in front of large basement windows, that explain its early appearance.
Yoki, I'm stuck in Ottawa next week. I'll be in Winterpeg and thereabout for 3 days the week after (Mosquitoes!). I've got a couple of Alberta visits (some call it harassment, but eh!) scheduled for this summer though.
Speaking of harassing the Canadian public, what is the best starting point to go to Kelowna, Vancouver or Calgary?
I just dodged a visit to Iqaluit. The $2500 air fare gave my boss the vapours (thanks the FSM!). Iqaluit in the summer is fine. Iqaluit in April is like going back in time to January.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 11, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Well RD Padouk, I just saw our first crocus flower tonight, I wish I were mowing the lawn. The brave little bulb is a foot in front of large basement windows, that explain its early appearance.
Yoki, I'm stuck in Ottawa next week. I'll be in Winterpeg and thereabout for 3 days the week after (Mosquitoes!). I've got a couple of Alberta visits (some call it harassment, but eh!) scheduled for this summer though.
Speaking of harassing the Canadian public, what is the best starting point to go to Kelowna, Vancouver or Calgary?
I just dodged a visit to Iqaluit. The $2500 air fare gave my boss the vapours (thanks the FSM!). Iqaluit in the summer is fine. Iqaluit in April is like going back in time to January.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 11, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC I swear nothing seemed to happen after a clicked the first time.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 11, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Madisonmama, your comment about " I made him read Edward Rutherford's London (which ought to be required reading for anyone visiting London) and then I dragged him to London..."

...made me wonder what would be "required reading" for Washington, D.C. other than a map and a tourbook? The only thing I can think of is like, an American History book.

What would we make poor unsuspecting brits (and midwesterners) read before coming to DC?
Mark Twain's bit about DC weather comes to mind, personally.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this is Twain, but "Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm" springs to mind in reference to DC.
Cracks me up every time.

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 11, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

That's been attributed to JFK, MadisonMama.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 11, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The inscriptions on the various buildings and monuments in the District should be read in advance of any visit. That foreknowledge sweetens any visit.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 11, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

A friend of mine who is a psychiatrist sent me this link to a video about the brain. It is better than my description.

http://www.ted.com:80/talks/view/id/229

Posted by: nellie | April 11, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,
"The Exorcist" would be a good start. I read it when I was ten years old while on a trip to DC and it freaked me out.

Any of the Allen Drury novels like "Advise And Consent would do as well. I really don't know of any Micheneresque epics that do the town justice.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

A good historical view of DC is Gore Vidal's novel Lincoln.

But of course, if you want to see the *real* DC, the city where the plain folks live, read George Pelecanos' novels. You won't find any marble monuments or buildings in his books, that's for sure.

Posted by: TBG | April 11, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Gore Vidal wrote Washington, D.C. published in 1967. I read it, but I don't remember a thing about it, except there may have been a closeted gay man who was being blackmailed, or that may have been Advise and Consent by Alan Drury, 1959! Washington, D.C. is still in print. Vidal is an acquired taste, in my opinion.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 11, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

A good night to hide under the covers. Mercy me the weather has turned foul.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Someone coming out to visit DC really ought to read the Washington Post for a few weeks - and the print edition if they can get their hands on it. Read all of it, including and especially all the local stuff.
If you have internet access, listen to a local radio station of your choice and pull back the curtain on daily life in DC. The cultural offerings and the tourist spots are great, but there's so many cool hidden parts to life in DC that you'd miss if you didn't try to see life like the locals do. Just PLEASE stay off the Metro and the roads until after rush hour!

Oh, and my favorite place to take people who visited us when we lived there: a drive down the GW Parkway in the late evening (start at the Beltway and end up in Alexandria). Catching a moon rise over the Potomac is beautiful.

Now I'm all nostalgic for the life we fled 2 years ago. :(

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 11, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Shriek,

>>what is the best starting point to go to Kelowna, Vancouver or Calgary?<<

Definitely Ottawa. Or Toronto. Maybe Kingston? Smiths Falls? Orleans? Montreal? Cornwall? Regina? Edmonton? Lethbridge? Winnipeg? Kamloops? Salmon Arm? Nelson? Revelstoke? Okatoks? Black Diamond? Merritt?

This always makes me laugh: how do you get from Revelstoke to Kelowna? You drive to Salmon Arm and hang a left!

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

Frosty's mention of 1060 W. Addison reminded me of this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7xBxZGQ1dJk

It's a Chicago thing. Goodman, fyi, wrote the little ditty "The City of New Orleans." Best train song ever. Died of cancer in the late 70's.

Posted by: bill everything | April 12, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Last night we had our first thunder storm of the season, short in length but loud. Lost power for just a few seconds. Just long enough for our older clocks to go screwy. This morning the grass looks lush and thirst quenched. It's already warm outside and the birds are calling to one another.

Speaking of trips far and away, we will be leaving for France in a few weeks, with a tour sponsored by VA. Tech. Normandy, Brittany & Paris. My first time in France. I can hardly wait (providing that United stays in the air)! Any favorite places suggested from the Boodle?

Posted by: Vintage Lady | April 12, 2008 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Hello? Anybody home?

I think this is the quietest I've ever seen the Boodle for a Saturday morning. Is everyone sleeping in? Or did you all go to brunch?

Oh well... back to the shop.

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | April 12, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Oops... sorry Martooni... didn't we mention the brunch in the bunker this morning?

Come on in.. Here.... have some Belgium waffles with sour-cherry sauce.

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Sour cherry! Fax me some. Various yard chores plus a swing by NASA Goddard to pick up some plants. A few students and I have joined the ground-level ozone monitoring program. We examine leaves and report findings. Plant? Variety of black-eyed Susan: Rudbeckia hirta.

Running out in rain to lay done some slow fertilizer.....perfect day.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 12, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

The warm humind weather and the thunderstorms moving through the DC area last night were indeed reminders that summer is coming.

DNAGirl, "Dark Matter" looks interesting, might have to check that out soon. Maybe after my youngest and I watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" again... (and my copy of the BBC "Copenhagen" comes in the mail).

Someone pointed out that the Publisher and chief of the WaPo.Newsweek Interactive products is stepping down:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041102747.html

She's going to be in demand (and able to command top dollar), as she's shown that she knows how to make online news pay.

Good for her.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 12, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Vintage Lady, for Paris, don't miss the Sainte Chapelle, and I liked Versailles, too. Montmartre is great at night -- Sacre Coeur is white and lit up and glowing. In Brittany, make sure you get to the coast -- lots of cool rocky caves and such. Bon voyage!

Posted by: bia | April 12, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm on my way to the post office to return a pair of dance shoes that I was gonna wear at my wedding. I was trying to save money by ordering them online from a discount place. They came promptly, and they're the right size, but they're just not as pretty as they looked on the computer screen, and not particularly comfy, either. Shoulda known. I debated, because they wouldn't be horrible, but decided that I'd rather be happy about what I'm wearing. And I'll keep wearing them for dancing afterwards, so it's not just for the one day. They've got a liberal return policy, so that's good, but I'll still be out the shipping back and forth to China. Oh well, another failed attempt at frugality.

Posted by: bia | April 12, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

We've got our TiVo set to automatically record any movies that are in the AFI Top 100 list. This morning Dr G and I got up early and ended up watching All the President's Men.

It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, it's a great movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat... like any great mystery.. EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

I just want to know one thing.. where are our Great American Heroes today?


Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Alas, TBG, good question. I've wondered that as well. I think it was Mort Sahl years ago who pointed out that evolution wasn't working well when you consider how many great men we had back at the countrys' birth and how few, if any, there are now.

We had thunderstorms here too, then bright blue sky for a bit, now it's back and forth but much warmer than they had predicted. Out to run errands and buy books for granddaughters who did well on their report cards. Not my usual thing to reward them but as younger one has a role as a baby bee in a play Wednesday night, I decided to bear gifts.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 12, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Sneaks... grandmas are supposed to bring gifts! A baby bee.. that just sounds so cute.

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The boss has an article in tomorrow's Outlook section called (with no apparent apologies to George Allen) "The Future is Now":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103328.html

He will be chatting about it on Monday.

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

Odd occurrances. I have been unpleasantly broke because of the unexpectedly high truck repairs. An old IRA was slowly hemorrhaging due to its small size and increased annual maintenance fee, so I cashed it in. It should have arrived Thursday, but no. Yesterday I arrived home and went to free my sweet dog and talk with her and rub her ears and such, and spied my check in its envelope lying in the grass in the front yard. My mail never blows away, or gets thrown in my yard. Weird. And good that I even found it. So today's mail arrives with my monthly bank statement, and I discover I had more in there than I thought. I am less stressed now.

And wrote two new blog posts. One will annoy my mother, the other will please her. Good. I'm even.

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

Books are a great reward for a good report card. Doesn't qualify as a bribe, or a bad thing to do, at all. I'm just starting to read the book about animal training with positive reinforcement. Not that your g-girls are animals, in that sense...oh, you know what I mean!

I miss Cassandra. Hope she gets back to the boodle soon.

Sunny day here - supposed to get to 70. Now if only I didn't have a system down - well, it's close to being fixed now, so maybe I can get out and enjoy the day. I really need to find a different job.

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

The boss' Outlook piece is great. His discussion about predicting the future reminds me of this that Son of G showed me a few days ago...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9eAiy0IGBI

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I posted this link last night -- am re-posting for those who don't back boodle.

It was sent with this:
"Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another."

http://www.ted.com:80/talks/view/id/229

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

One potential scenario for the future of the internet, the dead tree version of the news and human capacity for banality is explored in EPIC 2014.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 12, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Any help on locating the Outlook piece by Joel would be appreciated. I searched WaPo and found what promised it, but only got an essentially blank layout.

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

Jumper, pj's link earlier in the boodle worked for me. If I just go to the outlook section, I get last week's.

Posted by: bia | April 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, bia! I predict that will be the next kit.

Posted by: Jumper | April 12, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Pricing is different for single gamers and season ticket holders."

This is true in most relationships, I think.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all, Wild ,Warm and Windy here in West by god today.Just a few buds out(dogwoods,service berry) but no leaves.This is the Redbud weekend here,but nothing yet.Maybe by next weekend,It is truely lovely when the redbuds are in bloom here.They are such hearty trees and can grow right out of any rocky soil and the sea of purple is always gorgeous.

I was glad to see the Caps win and in dramatic fashion too.I like their chances in the playoffs.

I was watching a program on C-span yesterday before work about the opening of the Newseum on the mall.It seemed really interesting.Maybe I can get down to D.C. and see it sometime soon.

Joel do you have anything in the Newseum?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 12, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As usual, a good story by the boss. Wouldn't it be nice if we could solve technological problems without creating new problems? I suppose it's the human condition that that can't be done.

Well, I didn't find anything at the show that appealed to me for two tiny boys, so I walked the mall, found the Disney Store, and bought Winnie the Pooh and Piglet for them. They are soft, washable, and almost as big (though much lighter) as the babies.

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

Since I haven't seen it discussed, I'll point out that nellie wasn't kidding when pointing us to this link:

>>> "A friend of mine who is a psychiatrist sent me this link to a video about the brain. It is better than my description."

http://www.ted.com:80/talks/view/id/229

Posted by: nellie | April 11, 2008 9:37 PM <<<

You will regret not watching this. TED always has cool folks saying cool stuff, but this is genuinely a highlight!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Different subject: I'm getting to be an old hard-bitten kinda dude, so I don't actually weep very often. But I dampened the newspaper today with some tears while reading this story this morning:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041104103.html?hpid=topnews

Tremendously moving and well-written, I think maybe front & center of page A-1 was not necessarily completely appropriate. On the other hand, in a different place, I might not have noticed it.

If you ever run across these folks, please be kind.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat blasphemously, I'll address the Kit briefly -

Darn it, it was cold on Monday! Not bone-chilling, but not pleasant baseball-in-spring, either. Trust me, I'll get there! Even if they're losing, I'll get there.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

G'afternoon boodle! Migraine followed by a special city council meeting. At least the migraine wasn't caused by the meeting, and now I'm on the mend.

Great Ted Talk link Nellie, Jill Bolte Taylor and the other scientists who've done Ted Talks really put the lie to science as big bore.

One of the reasons we had the special city council meeting was to talk about "community visioning" or "How do we picture our town in the future?" Talk about the now affecting what people think is possible or probable. By the time elected officials in small jurisdictions deal with the NIMBYs, CAVE People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) and the Banana Splits (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything)with respect to "new stuff" already in existence a decade there is no energy, time, or social capital left to look too far in the future for the truly new stuff. I wonder how much of the scientific literacy problem Joel cites is an American public issue and how much is a scientists don't/can't/won't communicate problem?

Posted by: frostbitten | April 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Bob... theirs is a very sad story. Not being able to mourn openly with the rest of the world must be incredibly tough. I think they'd be surprised at the kindness they would find if they reached out just a little.

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that anyone will feel particularly deprived, but I'm taping my lips (fingers?) until someone else chimes in. I've Boodle-hogged to (and slightly beyond) my comfort level.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Funny timing! Thanks for the feedback, TBG.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

We are doing taxes and watching the Nats lose at the same time. Hot times.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 12, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

RD Pad - I once had to solder seventy (or so) wires onto a connector that I then had to splice into a wiring harness [not so easy to keep them in order, but it kinda mattered!], while being interrupted fairly often by phone calls from the recently-dumped ex-girlfriend of a recently-departed ex-housemate.

Sounds like THAT kinda fun!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting article from the U.K. which discusses the terrible situation of the families of (foe lack of a better term) folks who snap.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/main.jhtml?xml=/fashion/2007/06/03/stsins103.xml&page=3

It includes the much of text of the statement (delivered by his sister) of Seung Hui Cho's family shortly after the Va Tech shootings. I think it is possibly one of the most amazingly well-expressed outpourings of anguish in any language, ever. It's not very long, I'll quote it at length:

'We are so deeply sorry for the devastation my brother has caused. No words can express our sadness... We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. This is someone whom I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn't know this person... We never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence. He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare... It is a terrible tragedy for all of us.'

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so many people, boodlers and non-boodlers, doing taxes this weekend. I have done them at the last minute many times - the most memorable being when I unexpectedly owed the gummint a lot of money (for me at the time) that I didn't have. We worked it out, but I learned to always do a rough estimate even if I didn't file them very early. A friend of mine always waits till Apr 16 to mail his in, just on principle. I would not want to arouse the wrath of the IRS for any reason.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 12, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Bob... the other part of that family statement that really struck me was that she also named every victim, acknowledging them as real people instead of just a group of unknowns.

I'm not doing taxes this weekend; I did mine the other night. My sister's husband is a self-employed CPA... this weekend means she'll soon have her husband back. Hopefully, the kids will remember their dad when he comes up out of the basement office on Wednesday.

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

That is sad, Bob. I've always held a special place in my heart for the parents of these school shooters, especially, because it is such a horrific crime, done by someone so young. I cannot imagine the guilt and anguish they must feel. There was a family killed by a couple of teenagers here, and several school shootings in the NW, and Columbine - all while my son was about that age, and I often wondered if I would have known if he was that troubled. The profiles of many of these kids were similar to his - except he never had an interest in guns or knives or explosives, that I knew of.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 12, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Nellie -- until you posted this, I'd never heard of TED before. Thanks! The speech you linked to was fascinating!

Posted by: MadisonMama | April 12, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

That was a good story, Bob S., and a very sad one. I feel for that family and, like TBG, think that they would get support from friends and neighbors if they looked for it. I think it is good that they are back in their own place. One year in self-imposed solitary is enough.

Posted by: pj | April 12, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I finished the taxes last night, although I still need to print the returns and assemble for mailing. ScienceKid #1 and I just came back from taking the ScienceMutt (okay, her name is Ming) on a 2-hour outing.

That TED talk was pretty interesting. I have a colleague who could do well in that forum, except that he has nothing quite so cool to demonstrate, compared to holding up an actual human brain.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

So one of the errands were went out for today was to find a picture or two for the dining room walls. Daughter #2 had mentioned that I should swing by as she had my Mother's Day present and didn't want to keep it until the actual day. Guess what she gave me - a beautiful print of sailboats at sunset. I really do like that girl.

"S" used to call my granddaughters the "little terrorists." They've mostly passed that stage now and are very interesting. When I mentioned to the older one that I was going to get them a present, she said, "oh grannie, you don't have to." I really do like that girl too!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 12, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Tim... my husband teaches neuroanatomy off and on and sometimes also teaches the lab for the class. We have a container in our garage that houses some sheep brains and a preserved human brain (which led to a favorite G Family expression, "It doesn't take a bucket o' brains to...). One day I accidentally knocked the container off the shelf and the contents kinda went splat, breaking off a small piece of the human brain (shhhh.. don't tell Dr. G!).

When my daughter and I saw Young Frankenstein on Broadway this winter and Igor (pronounced Eye-gor, of course) dropped the brain and it went splat, I leaned over to my daughter and whispered, "I bet I'm the only person in the theatre who has actually done that!"

Posted by: TBG | April 12, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I was just re-watching the link provided by nellie earlier. For those who haven't decided to watch it (not that there's anything wrong with that! :-D ) I'll just point out that it contains the following bit of monologue:

"... my right arm went totally paralyzed by my side, then I realized... Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke. I'm havin' a stroke! And then the next thing my brain says to me is, "Wow! This is so cool! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out? And then it crosses my mind... 'But I'm a very busy woman! I don't have time for a stroke!' "

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

mostly, I have a friend who's a manager at the IRS. She told us that as long as you're not in the bottom of the barrel, they don't check postmarks.

frosti, TBG and I are thinking of meeting in MN on a stopover before proceeding to Calgary together. If we had a long stopover, too far for you to meet us there for lunch? :-)

Posted by: dbG | April 12, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

In that video clip of clothes of the future (or the recent past depending on your viewpoint) we saw the early prototype of the SciTim vest.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

And I liked that they gave the guy a phone to carry around. That part they got right, at least. But why didn't the women get phones?

Posted by: bia | April 12, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I was so excited to finish the tax return and get it mailed this afternoon along with several other of my fellow citizens .... and then I discover that in my federal gig, I made more than the vice-president ....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103654.html?hpid=sec-politics

Page 3 says
The vice president's government salary
$32,500

Which means that everyone in my office, save the part-time student trainee in her sophomore year of college made more than the vice-president.

Is there an amendment to my tax return in the offing or was Cheney's federal salary mis-reported?

Posted by: Pacifica | April 12, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

bia, thanks so much for the France trip suggestions. I have copied your comments, need to look at the schedule to see if any suggestions match the guided tour. We also have some free time, especially in Paris, and the Sainte Chapelle is on our list! Did you visit or live in France? So exciting to plan a wedding, when is the day? Weddings take longer to plan these days, used to be about three, four months, tops, depending on the budget.

Now to look at nellie's link....

Posted by: Vintage Lady | April 12, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Didn't watch Bolte's speech when Nellie mentioned it, did when Bob S. said I'd regret not doing so. He was right. My thanks to both of 'em.

Posted by: StrokePerson | April 12, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Didn't watch Bolte's speech when Nellie linked to it, did when Bob S. said I'd regret not doing so. He was right. My thanks to both of 'em. Now, where's the switch? And how do I turn it to the right hemisphere, not only in myself, but in others?

Posted by: StrokePerson | April 12, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

That demned left hemisphere just had to get a word in!

Posted by: StokePerson | April 12, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Since we like to post links to singer songwriters, I was at a BigBoxOfMusic and saw an album tagged as "YouTube sensation" Marie Digby.

Here is her first single:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR8EyPH4cP0

She does a lot of covers too.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Boodle art lovers may enjoy this link, or not. I'm not sure how I feel about this artist's work yet, but it is interesting-

http://www.lensculture.com/oropallo.html

Posted by: frostbitten | April 12, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Just jumped in.
Doc Watson
Wabash Cannonball
WeeHaaa

Posted by: Boko999 | April 12, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt: Gosh - she can sing a little, eh?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Marie Digby also has a bit of a sense of humor.

Here's one of her songs - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KTatq6lReA&feature=user - which was probably recorded at the same time as yellojkt's previous link.

Here's the same song done earlier, in her back yard. Cute!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqzLclWPY_w&feature=related

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle.

I feel like I've gone 15 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. I finally got my email and Internet back up about 90 minutes ago, after it being down for the last three or four days. So it's up and running now under Verizon instead of Comcast--but I have about as much confidence in it staying up as I have in George Bush admitting a mistake.

I deduce that Cassandra is also still having Internet troubles...hope she gets them solved soon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 12, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten - I'd never heard of Oropallo before, but I already know how I feel: I love it! OK, it's a touch gimmicky (that's a word, right?), but it's accomplished pretty cleverly. I'm mightily amused.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, I had already read the transcript but chose to watch the video. I noticed 2 things: first, she gestured nearly nonstop while speaking, and did so as if it was dramatically trained.

Second, that her stroke occured in her left temporal lobe. From the transcript I know the clot was very large.

The same overall area also is associated with reading ability when it comes to English (Chinese has different reading thought process)

http://www.duboislc.org/EducationWatch/JCameron/ReadingLeftTemporalLobe.html

Wernicke's aphasia affects heard speech comprehension. Speech may be fluent and grammatical but have errors in word retrieval and use. This brochure says to use gesture with recovering Wernicke's aphasic patients to clarify meaning and help with word retrieval.

http://www.lsadc.org/info/pdf_files/Stroke_Brochure.pdf

I found her account to be fascinating, including how she struggled internally to acknowledge what was going on, and how moved and fascinated she was at the same time. She has made an excellent recovery.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 12, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

My remark about Deborah Oropallo's work was breezier than I intended. My amusement is at a very deep level. She's doing something pretty cool. The overlays are eerily at home with most of paintings in the slideshow provided by frostbitten (IMHO).

Posted by: Bob S. | April 12, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow Mudge. Excellent figgering out.
I deduced something once but everybody looked at me funny.

Posted by: Boko | April 12, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Bob-I'd like to see Orapallo's work in person, but I'm guessing this is a rare instance where seeing it on the computer is almost as good as the real thing.

Toodles boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 12, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I did my taxes back in February because I needed the numbers for financial aid applications (not that we got any, but they'll let us borrow all we want) and found out I was due for a HUGE refund. According to my latest ATM receipt, I haven't spent it all yet. But the credit card my wife bought all her traveling accouterments and London souvenirs with just came. That one will put a serious dent into it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Bob-exactly. The old masters she's chosen are so appropriate I found myself looking for gimmicks that weren't there-like those 3d pictures you have to cross your eyes to see. The more I look at the slideshow the more compelling it is.

Now I really am going.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 12, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Where? I thought you were snowed in.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll assume that everyone noticed that in frosti's link, the background piece on Deborah Oropallo was written by:

Anna Lucas, Achenbach Graphic Arts Council Curator (2006-2007)

[ http://www.achenbach.org/ ]

Posted by: Bob S. | April 13, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Great link. I like a bit of grotesque before bedtime.
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/FavMur.shtml

Posted by: Boko999 | April 13, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Pacifica, the VP's gummint salary was:
$212,208
It's at the end of page 2 (online) - not a good place to break the page, as the dollar amounts are listed first, with what they are underneath. So page 3 (online) is a bit confusing. I read this in my local paper, dead tree version, so I knew the VP made about $200K. And the Cheney's had to pay the AMT - ha ha!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 13, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Very nice, Boko. A lovely murder, indeed.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 13, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking - thanks, I just knew that the VP couldn't make less than GS-7 Secretaries in San Francisco.

As the story was formatted on line - I was having brain bounce.

I know what the Pres makes, and I know what our Regional Administrator makes, and the VP should have been in the middle or so.

Posted by: Pacifica | April 13, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

I forgot how casually racsist they were in the old days. Don't read the link I posted earlier. This one's nicer.
http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/bookid.2056/sec./

Posted by: Boko999 | April 13, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Boko - The second story does have a more sprightly pace!

I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the racist attitudes of the 1800's. They were what they were. If memory serves correctly, "Negro Bar" is still the name of a recreation area on the American River in the Sacramento/Folsom area.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 13, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Here's a cute shorty from Bierce, not entirely inapplicable to our own times:
- - - - - -
- - - - - -

The Noser and the Note -

The Head Rifler of an insolvent bank, learning that it was about to be visited by the official Noser into Things, placed his own personal note for a large amount among its resources, and, gaily touching his guitar, awaited the inspection. When the Noser came to the note he asked, "What's this?"

"That," said the Assistant Pocketer of Deposits, "is one of our liabilities."

"A liability?" exclaimed the Noser. "Nay, nay, an asset. That is what you mean, doubtless."

"Therein you err," the Pocketer explained; "that note was written in the bank with our own pen, ink, and paper, and we have not paid a stationery bill for six months."

"Ah, I see," the Noser said, thoughtfully; "it is a liability. May I ask how you expect to meet it?"

"With fortitude, please God," answered the Assistant Pocketer, his eyes to Heaven raising--"with fortitude and a firm reliance on the laxity of the law."

"Enough, enough," exclaimed the faithful servant of the State, choking with emotion; "here is a certificate of solvency."

"And here is a bottle of ink," the grateful financier said, slipping it into the other's pocket; "it is all that we have."

Posted by: Bob S. | April 13, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

While amusing, I do see why Twain outlasted Bierce.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2008 4:21 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Actually a full-featured piece on predicting the future.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 13, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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