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What Does a President Do?

[My story in the Outlook section this weekend.]

A simple and deceptively tricky question: What does a president do?

If you had to put together the Help Wanted ad for the position of chief executive, what would you write? Something like: "CEO needed to supervise 3 million employees. Must be at least 35, native-born, willing to work at home. Spectacular public failures likely."

The presidency is the most famous job in America (with all due respect to Oprah), and probably the hardest. The country is currently trying to fill the position. We have three applicants still in the running. What we don't tend to do, despite obsessive attention to this contest, is talk much about what the job entails. We talk instead about hot-button issues, the latest gaffe, the new sound bite, the polls, the electoral map. Presidential campaigns glancingly deal with the institution of the presidency while focusing on the more urgent issue of winning.

The closest thing we've seen to a job description on the campaign trail has been the 3 a.m. phone call ad, a caricature of the president as the national guardian, and one that still doesn't quite tell you what a president does during working hours.

"There's endless months of debating about this job and almost no public discussion of what the job is," Robert Caro, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer now working on his fourth volume about Lyndon Johnson, told me last week. "There's no other job like it. I'm sitting here watching Lyndon Johnson grapple simultaneously with riots in the streets, budget problems in Congress, are the Chinese going to come into Vietnam, what's going wrong with the model cities program, how are we going to get the funding for Head Start, what's Bobby Kennedy doing today, how are we going to blunt what he's saying?"

Such a job requires an enormously flexible mind. It can be overwhelming. Presidents can get lost in the weeds. Johnson wound up poring over bombing charts from Vietnam. Jimmy Carter was so detail-obsessed he reportedly personally approved requests to use the White House tennis court. Roger Porter, who teaches about the American presidency at Harvard, says thatCarter also got enmeshed in the parking assignments at the Department of Interior, as well as the crucial issue of federal cotton-dust standards.

* * *

Theodore Roosevelt, for one, believed in the idea of a strenuous presidency, assigning to himself the right to take any action not expressly prohibited by the Constitution. "I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power," he wrote in his autobiography. In a lovely turn of phrase, he argued that a president shouldn't "content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin."

What he didn't know at the time was that, compared to what the Executive Office of the President would someday become, his White House wasn't much more than a fruit stand.

Consider how TR became president. He served as vice president under William McKinley. When McKinley was shot by an assassin in Buffalo, N.Y., Roosevelt traveled there and was told that McKinley was -- Roosevelt's phrase -- "practically out of danger." So what did TR do as the president lay wounded? He went on vacation with his family.

He traveled to the Adirondacks, and embarked on "a long tramp through the forest." He climbed a mountain. Someone finally tracked him down in the wilderness and told him that the president's condition had worsened. Roosevelt made an intrepid all-night journey through the darkness on muddy roads to return to civilization. Now, you could buy TR's story that his vacation was meant to reassure the anxious public that the president wasn't in danger. But perhaps it just shows how low the stakes were, compared to today -- how the vice president wasn't really that critical a figure in national government in 1901 even when the president had bullet holes in him.

Keep in mind that early presidents had essentially no staff at all and would either recruit a family member to help out in the day-to-day operations or pay someone out of their own pocket. In 1857, the Congress finally appropriated money for the president to hire a secretary.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 26, 2008; 1:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

Your article says that a President makes decisions. Dubya infamously calls himself The Decider.

And your bad president comment about Warren G. Harding is letting James Buchanan off the hook a little too easy.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

And I was first, but I'm not into bragging about it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't first and I doubt I'll be last either.

Now if money and prizes were involved...

Posted by: martooni | April 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - May your humility serve as an example to others!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, while checking the previously mentioned e-mail account (which I do very seldom) I came across some offers that I feel I should share.

If anyone is in need of good deals on male enhancement aids, fine watches, or sex videos starring myself (I don't remember appearing in them, but apparently they are available for a reasonable cost, and I think they have some of you, too!) please let me know. I can send you the contact information for sources.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Like a thirsty man crawling through the desert, I seized upon this intelligent article and was slaked. Thanks you for this, J.A.

Posted by: Jumper | April 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I hate it when my left hand isn't talking to my right!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful morning here in the banana belt. 70 @ 11:00 pdt, best for quite a while. The sky is clear the color of washed LEVIs. The only thing visible in the sky are the con trails of commerical jets. The window in front of my computer faces east and the flight paths for north bound planes to Portland and Seattle. They say air travel is down but on days like this there at least two and lots of times four con trails visable.
A pair of house finches have been occupying the crab apple tree in front of my window flying in and out of the lilac bush to access in the strom damage to last year's nest. Another pair stop by once in a while but are quickly discouraged. A pair of goldfinches are always waiting in the morning at the feeder for me . Last year we had at least two nesting pair and all the off spring stayed around all summer to drink and bath in our deck fountain. Three hummers are now back. Only one showed up off and on through the winter. Someone near by must had a better feeder.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The thing I don't like about the presidental contests are they seem to be won by the person that can raise the most money. Isn't that like buying votes?

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Only a guy who sees the glass half full writes an excellent sentence like this...

"A number of historians have asserted that he is the worst president the nation has ever had, which, if nothing else, is the best news that fans of Warren G. Harding have had in years."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

There is more to being president than just the buck stopping there. I am going to vote for Senator Obama because he has said things that lead me to believe that he is willing to help government employees do their job well. As an old bureaucrat, I believe that is important. You can't be successful if you are an enemy of the people who work for you. Ultimately, the president has to balance what is good for the American people with what is *good* for the government. Herein lies the difficulty.

I planted hosta roots on the bank this morning, with hope that some of them will come up. This afternoon, Mr. T and I noticed galax growing on the land below our porch. I will have to watch over it, to make sure it thrives.

Posted by: slyness | April 26, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Yikes... the 2:37 was me. Sorry.

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It's more like they're getting paid to run by the people who want to vote for them, bh.

But I agree with you, I'm not keen on huge contributions from individuals playing a role in presidental politics. (The current cap on individual donations is around 3K for primary and general combined I believe).

Bill Gate alone could out-fund any other individual if he chose to fund a campaign.

Which is why I'm not keen on the fact that Hillary donated her own campaign 5 million. It was good PR for the fact she needed money, but it also would be a donation she could not ethically accept from anybody else.

What if it was a billionaire running? "Oh I give myself 200 million" and then proceed to outspend everybody else, media blitzes, etc.

What is she going to do if she can't get enough votes in Congress for the bills she wants passed? Buy them?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Some of the curmudgeons here (I'm not mentioning any names, mind you!) might be amused by a letter to the editor today:

"... Twenty years ago, creative marketing minds were successfully selling the idea of cigarettes specially made for women and of fast food as a good alternative to cheaper and more healthful meals made at home. The long-term consequences of those campaigns are now being seen..."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/24/AR2008042403314.html

I seem to remember that particular marketing strategy going back a little more than twenty years!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Achenbach

An excellent kit and exactly what is needed to open up our minds a bit about the job of the President. I would not wish it on my most hated enemy. A thank-less job it is,but I suppose it has it rewards too. I touched on the subject a little bit this morning in my answer to a question.

I hope my answer to CC's question did not offend members of the blog. If so, I do apologize.

Slyness, I see you've made up your mind about your vote. I'm still in thought. I'll have it together by voting time.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - You did fine this morning, although I'm not sure that you ever got around to answering the question that CC asked. But then, if it was easy, we'd all have figured it out by now!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I am hearing lately that Hillary has to raise more money to prevail. But she can't mathematically win. So what will all the other funds buy? Only more negative allusions about Obama?

What is the purpose of all the adds in the remaining primaries? Everyone that is going to vote know who (whom) the candidates are and all that they are willing to reveal about their proposals. The only thing we don't know about the three is their running mate and that won't know that until after the conventions. We here in Oregon are starting to get bombarded by the adds and President Clinton is making the rounds making speaches and suggesting another debate here.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it odd that the president went to a photo op with organ donors and a 'heart' surgeon?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 26, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

bh - I refuse to vote for any of these clowns until they invite me to a picnic. I believe that many voters feel the same. Why should the Iowans and New Hampshire-ites have all of the fun? Obviously, it's gonna take some serious green to throw all of these picnics, so cough it up, pal!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

boko, had to laugh at your comment, and yes, it is odd.

bob s, yes, it was a hard question. i tried to shine as many points of light as i could on the subject, not all, but some.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 26, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The title of this Kit gives me a tune cootie of Camelot's "What Do the Simple Folk Do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3gf-7bDwvg

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I prefer my picnics with a babbling brook instead of a babbling politican

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Point taken! :-)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Likewise, the ADA act was passed by a group of legislators that were not themselves disabled, after long effort and publicity. It took over 40 years (since the end of WWWII) to even get a bill banning discrimination for the disabled in front of Congress and alive. What caused the change of heart?

Intensive lobbying across all segements of the society, including other civil rights groups not directly tied to disability issues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990

One majo ADA activist was from a wealthy Chicago family-- Justin Dart. He got polio (just like FDR) and was not able to obtain a teaching certificate because of his disability.

Ruthie B. Cowl was a strong advocate and not only talked, but took action and set standards for her center that were later adopted in the ADA. She was the daughter of Russian immigrants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthe_B._Cowl

Does their backgrounds matter? Probably. However, their character and deeds matter far more.

In Candyland, it's not what color you are, but achieving your goals that matters. Obama won Iowa. That is WHAT really gave him a leg up on Hillary, not the black vote.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Whoops. that was part II.

Here's part I.

I thought your answer was rather good, Cassandra.

Life isn't Candyland, yet the color issues always seem to move us back a few squares now and then.

Yes, because of who Barack is, he is winning a certain segment of the vote. But the same was claimed of JFK because he was catholic, southerners because they were southern, and so on.

Now, Bill Clinton carried his own home state of Arkansas and nobody cast aspersions that he only did so well because he was from Arkansawww. It had never happened before in history. Likewise, Barack's success is a first on the national stage. There have been more female senators than black senators since Reconstruction as well.

You have to be from SOMEWHERE culturally. That particular background gives you some connections to some people, and disconnects you from others.

A president, though, must serve the entire nation somehow.

Thus, we had Ike order desegregation of Washington DC and in the military because of his experiences overseas and seeing foreign leaders be treated racially because their skin was the wrong color, giving them a very negative impression of America. He was serving America's image aboard by taking the first steps towards desegregation. He wasn't serving "his own people" or anything like that. He was serving the nation, best as he could from his own background.

It is however, fairly probable that if he had just been a typical civilian politican and hadn't served aboard for so long, he might not have been so acutely sensitive to the diplomatic issues involved with segregation and had the confidence to just order that whole nonsense to end.

(Hypothetical civilian president: "But won't ending segregation in DC offend the southern senators and make them less likely to vote the way I want?")

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Just to pile on, even though it may be a bit pedantic for a pleasant Saturday afternoon (well, it's pleasant and Saturday here. Depending upon your time zone, your mileage may vary):

Cassandra: You can't really have it both ways. If you tell yourself that racism is bad, but (given that it actually exists in the real world) you'll pick the team that's been treated unfairly, you can't also be morally and intellectually honest about denouncing it as a philosophical strategy. Race is a false dichotomy, used as a shorthand for many MUCH more complicated issues. I wish the world was as simple as skin color, but I don't live in that world. Many years of living in many places amongst many types of people has convinced me that "race" is just a red herring, and "racism" is a strategy employed by liars & bullies who would be just as happy using any other discriminator if race wasn't available. (Darn those star-bellied Sneetches!)

Yes, one has to deal with "race" as an issue, as it's utilized by others. But as soon as you buy into the game yourself, you become part of the problem.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod

I wanted to be a teacher even as a child, and after I went back to school to get my teaching certificate, I was deaf by that time, I still tried so hard. I used the equipment that was available at the time to help me to achieve my goal. When I got in the classroom, it was totally different. I just could not hear the children even with the equipment. And I decided the children deserved better. They needed answers, and I could not hear their questions.

The ADA is a good piece of legislation, but it does not seem to have much impact. Around here, no one knows anything about it. And maybe the impact here is not what it is somewhere else. I think it is a wonderful law, I just wish it made some stuff a little easier and more people knew about it here.

I still keep my hand in the game. Children are so happy when they can succeed at their school work. We're gearing up for the summer program, and of course, Vacation Bible school.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, the ADA has not made a significant difference in employment for diablities, thanks to some poor writing and anti-employee court decisions.

However it has made a difference in the ability to get to work to start with (now if they could only get a job...).

Cassandra, one of my old professors died a year ago.
He had taught for years in a medical school in South Africa, and he was deaf. His speech wasn't brilliant (in fact I never saw any indication he could speak), and he had the same problem as you, he couldn't hear the students.
His skill lay in how he organized lesson plans and set up laboratories so the students could learn hands-on with minimial assistance and abundant explanation if they got confused.

This is how deaf people compensate, unfortunately... they have to research and plan out contigencies in advance. "What if this happens? I can't depend on finding somebody to ask. I need to know this and that in advance..."

No doubt if you were teaching and went deaf, you would feel a bit more confident that you could help the children even with being deaf, because you had the knowledge to draw on.

I can see how hard it would be as a new teacher with the nerves. I'm glad you are tutoring children because one-on-one is so much easier for those who must lipread and guess at things, and you are developing your skills. A teacher or tutor does have to listen, and that's not always the same as hearing them.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hands up who wants to hear a debate between Hillary and Barack... again?

*Keeping hand down*.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

For the love of God, no more debates between HRC and Obama!

Beautiful day here, lots of weeding and re-working of some flower beds. The Joe Pye Weed is going gangbusters!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Slyness? Are you feeling better?

Posted by: Kim | April 26, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Darn it, let's name some running mates! I wanna see some gems like these:

Bentsen - Quail
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRCWbFFRpnY&feature=related

Stockdale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6n5OQVzVVQ

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

To all who have read the "Caine Mutiny": do you remember the reason Keefer gave for Captain Queeg and his strawberry fixation?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

While I've seen the film somewhat more recently, I haven't read the book since the 70's. "Paranoia" is what comes to mind, but I'm guessing that you're looking for something more specific?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for asking, Kim! I still have a cough and some residual congestion, but I feel much better. Next week, I'll be back to the normal exercise schedule!

You have Joe Pye Weed? I'm frenvious. I've bought seed to put out here in the mountains but haven't done it yet. If we get rain tonight, I may put them out tomorrow. If not, I'll do it when we're up here in a couple of weeks. It's experimental for me, to see if they come up.

Posted by: slyness | April 26, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh - And he was reliving an earlier incident where he uncovered skulduggery on a different ship, or something!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I Google'd. "The great cheese theft"!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon Boodle! It surely does feel strange to shovel snow with song birds singing amidst the still falling flakes.

I've been waiting for someone of Joel's stature to point out that it is crazy to think that anyone can be ready to be president "from day one."

Posted by: frostbitten | April 26, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes Frostbitten!
So many birds have already returned north for the summer so I took pity and bought some parakeet seed mixes and dumped them among the trees (and on some branches) and hope they get the fuel they need, the snow is really too deep for foraging on the ground. It's 3 inches at least, much deeper in the drifts, and still snowing.

I don't know how long it will take for them to go for the seed, I figure 20 minutes at least.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

A president guides; and this one has guided us right into a season in hell.

Not to say that existence is continually hellish--well, not for me--but for some it is, and that some, under this administration, has grown to an ever greater legion in number. And will continue to grow, the sad seeds of ineptitude and delusion bearing a long developing ill-smelling fruit.

Posted by: Ceres | April 26, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

#1126

Shall I take thee, the Pup said
To the snowbound bird?
Be stationed within porches covered
Till I have feathers discovered --

The Pup searched the flurries
And when about to lift leg
Against the boughs heavy with birds
There came unsummoned in --

The scolding of the master
The birds applied to flight
Not unto admiration
The cur's dedication reveals --

Posted by: Wilbrodog Dickinson | April 26, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-I have dozens of birds congregating at a feeder that has sustained only squirrels for weeks. It's driving the frostcats so crazy they've forgotten they are not allowed on the kitchen counter.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The birdwatching is so much better from the window over the sink. (and yes, watch is all we want to do)

Posted by: frostcats#3 | April 26, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Popping in for a minute. Wilbrod, an individual can contribute $2300 per federal candidate per election (primary, general, special and run-off all being separate elections). There are different limits for contributing to parties, PACs, state candidates, etc., but Bill Gates can't completely fund a campaign even if he wanted to. On top of that, HRC lent the money to herself...a reportable action. Other candidates line up finances from other sources for use down the road. And all that money has to be paid back, regardless of who the lender is. It's practically an industry unto itself. Hope this info is helpful.

Besides, $ doesn't always equate to winning.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 26, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Smugness all around -- my beloved Detroit Red Wings just made mincemeat of the Colorado Avalanche, winning 5-1 in the second game of the series. We're up 2-0 and now go over to their house to play for two games. I suspect the dynamic will be different, but, man, I see a Stanley Cup in our immediate future.

It sorta makes up for the embarrassing, and frightfully shocking cr@ppy play (if you can call it that) of my Pistons last night. Geez. (dutifully putting bag back over head.)

Ok, sports report over. Back to the regular stuff. And may you all be the same.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 26, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

In the previous Boodle, CC said:
"good question but is it also not true that polls show overwhelming black support for Sen. Obama? How is this different? Is it better? Worse?"

I think what is different when you support someone - minority, woman, Catholic, etc - who has historically not held power - you are doing so with an affirmation of their worthiness to hold office. You're not saying, I don't think that blacks or women or whatever don't have what it takes to hold office, which is what someone voting against Obama based on his race may be thinking. Now maybe that's not what the people who responded to the poll were thinking, either - hard to tell. But I grew up in western PA, and I can tell you I bet there are plenty of people who wouldn't vote for a black person if he was the only one on the ballot.

Obama has to walk a fine line. He can hardly generalize and say the people won't vote for him because he's black, because they're bigots. Look at what happened when he said they were bitter. But I bet in some cases that is happening. I hope it's a small percentage.

I thought it was interesting that Obama did not get automatic strong support from black voters at first. Once he proved he could win votes from whites, then they thought he was electable and started supporting him. Remember the question about whether he was black enough? To me, he's an extraordinary candidate. I'm not supporting him because he's (half) black, but that is part of who he is and the perspective he brings, so to me it's a plus. Just as Hillary's gender is a plus for me - but I think he's a better candidate for now.

And no, no more debates, please! Didn't someone suggest rock, paper, scissors awhile back?

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Correct, ftb. Campaign finance rules currently prohibit this.

But could Bill Gates give himself 500 million to run for president?

That's the food for thought. And I agree with you that money doesn't equate to winning; just look at Ross Perot.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Yep, he could (if he swore off public financing, but then...why wouldn't he?). But it has to be paid back. And a lot of candidates do something very similar ... they just rack up debt and deal with paying for it after the election. Not very hard to do debt retirement when you're the incumbant. The money issue is a very nuanced aspect of the business of campaigns.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 26, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

SCC: incumbent.

Off to make dinner. Happy day all.

Posted by: LiT | April 26, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Do campaign loans have to abide by minimum interest rules?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

BobS, thank you for the advice. I've got plenty of addresses already.

Since the careening over the past month or so has been very public, I believe a public response was merited.

Posted by: dbG | April 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Unless the supremes rule otherwise on a case before them this session Gates could spend as much of his own money as he wanted. But, if he did, the limit on individual contributions to his opponent's campaign would be raised to $6900. It only takes spending $350,000 of your own money to trigger this provision, as well as one about reporting spending within 24 hours. I would think that reporting requirement is why candidates loan money to their campaigns rather than giving. Wouldn't want to give away strategy by reporting a big ad buy.

The AP has a summary of the case regarding the "millionaire's amendment" here-
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i6NjylWgU6ONVDct4NIb6I8RhgxAD9074BMG0

A decision is expected in time to affect this year's congressional campaigns.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 26, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

dbG - I knew that! ;-)

mostlylurking - THAT is a fine and honorable response to the question. I've got a sneaking suspicion that many, many people are supporting their candidate of choice in the Democratic race for those very reasons, without ever having elucidated them so clearly. While it makes no (morally or intellectually defensible) sense to support a candidate strictly because of his/her race or gender, it can make a great deal of sense to support a candidate in order to assert the worthiness of candidates of that "type" to hold office.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Where's Yoki? I was kidding about the joke, you know. I loved it. I've even worked on it a bit. When I think I've got it right, I'll pass it on.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Good news, northerners who appreciate schadenfreude! The wind is beginning to blow, here in central Maryland. The cold front is arriving and we can anticipate thunderstorms, rain, and such-like entertainment.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 26, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

From The Trail, the following headline: Clinton's New Debate Tact

Who the heck is editing these things? That's "tack", you fools, "tack"! Like in sailing.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 26, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Tim - It just left here (Springfield, VA). Let me know how you like it!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Let's not be so hasty in assuming "tack" was meant. Tract? Tacky? Act? Cat?

I would like to see a new debate cat.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. It has been a lovely day here. I planted vegetables and a lobelia border. With any luck at all some of it will survive to be enjoyed. The Boy, on the other hand, played outside. He came in and said I'd be amazed at how small baby wasps are. That's one of those openings I don't really want to follow up.

This is a fine article. Ivansdad often wishes the campaign trail gave us more indication of how a candidate would actually perform in the job. Obama gave a credible list of similarities on Jon Steward the other day (performance under stress, thinking on feet etc) but that doesn't begin to cover it.

Cassandra, I liked your thoughts on the campaign and race very much. I also believe race should not be what a person's vote is about, and that the country needs to move on, because I was raised color-blind. That has been easy for me, though, since as a white person I've never had the experiences which would point out to me the other world in which so many people live. I've been in the minority occasionally but it isn't the same. It is a hard question.

Time to cut up the roast chicken.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 26, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Tim - I'm not quite sure why your "tact/tack" brings this to mind, but I had to make a quick decision yesterday morning. As the Metro train pulled into the stop at which I intended to disembark (with me standing in the center of the doorway), I was confronted with a woman standing on the platform (with large wheeled pull luggage, no less!) about 18 inches from the doors, nicely centered. When the doors opened, I looked at her. She looked at me. A couple of folks wormed around us, but the flow impediment was quite substantial.

I bit back my more acerbic remarks, and let loose with: "You're quite certain that standing in the middle of the doorway is a good idea, are you? That's a rookie mistake, you know!" The woman behind me laughed and clapped.

I dunno know if it'll change her behavior, but I'm going to guess that she thought about for at least a few moments.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Public advice, that, BobS? :-)

Posted by: dbG | April 26, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

DON'T STAND IN THE WAY OF PEOPLE TRYING TO GET OFF OF THE TRAIN!!!

Oh, yeah, and if you're not going to walk up the escalator, then stand to the right side.

Thanks!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

And push those grocery carts down the aisle on the right, people. What do you think this is, England?

Posted by: Jumper | April 26, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm seldom in such a hurry that I give a darn. But, because many folks ARE in such a hurry, the conventions are actually useful, I think. When I made my remarks to the poor, misguided soul yesterday, I had a big grin on my face.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

And don't cut in front of people in the last 1-2 yards before the exit, or dawdle on the exit platform.

Never pass people within the last few yards of the exit; you may not see what is in front of them (luggage, child, etc.) and cause them to trip and stumble upon exit.

And no passing goes double if the person has a guide or service dog which needs to exit with at least a yard's headroom in front at a trot or better.

I abide by the right-side rule except in the last 3-4 yards. There was an incident 15 years ago when a guide dog got its paw horribly mutilated because some jerk passed and cut right in front of the guide dog as it was exiting. (You can find the incident in the WaPo archives, I believe).

A dog's rear end is still moving when the front paws are on the platform, so a dog forced to bring up short runs a real risk of injury, even if the paw doesn't get caught in the comb plate.

Therefore, I have absolutely no qualms about blocking all passers in the final stage for my dog's safety. Courtesy to idiots in a hurry will only cost me thousands in vet bills and unforgiveable guilt.

I also wish to remind all that the metro's official policy is that their escalators are not intended for passing people on.

Thank you. Stay to the right, all, and remember that your urge to save a few seconds on your commute is not worth injuring somebody else over.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Remember the story Pat told about the guy who mowed him down in the metro and then yelled out "Are you blind!?"

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

As best I can determine, MWATA's official policy is that escalators are stationary staircases, given to occasional & unpredictable movements.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I have no problem with you choosing to block the staircase, just like I proudly proclaim my right to use words and phrases like "ain't" and "them colored people". Just make sure that you've girded your loins for the ensuing battles!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

No time for backboodling now, gotta run, but here is yesterday's report:

It would seem I'm slowly losing my ability to multi-task, or at least some coordination.

Yesterday AM: I tried to put on my socks while tying my shoes...couldn't do it!

Afternoon: I saw some kids, about six or seven, playing in the rec yard. Decided to show them a thing or two. "Watch this, I'll skip and walk at the same time." Oops...couldn't do it.

Looking down I noticed my shoe was untied. At least I didn't fall flat on my face again!

Later that evening: Hanging out in my favorite Dive, I thought I'd give it one more try. I ordered a Jim Beam and a beer. Tried to drink them both at the same time...couldn't do it.

Then I had a brain storm...

I poured the JB into the beer.

Multitasking is Back. Oh Yeah. It tasted like [really bad word]...couldn't do it.

Seems the only two things I can at the same time anymore are watch Movies and drink beer.

Watched "Lions and Lambs' with Laura Linney and PSH...

LiT, I raised a Boddington for you...

Hope this makes sense

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Just so you understand my point - before you get your dander up in dog-defending dudgeon - I'll point out that much of your (theoretical) danger comes from the dances you'll have with the WMATA staff. Those folks often have only a vague awareness of the rules that they've been entrusted to enforce. What they DO know is that if you're annoying to them, then they don't like you very much, be you white, hearing, female, old, male, black, young, deaf, canine, bovine, equine, or even supine!

I've never had any kind of conflict, and they even let me use the bathroom, back before it was cool! But I've witnessed many run-ins that were silly "head-butting" affairs, of exactly the type that led to the arrests for chewing a last french fry - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/AR2005071902106.html

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

, or scarfing the bit of a candy bar - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22456-2004Jul28.html,

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

or talking on the cell phone too loudly http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55325-2004Sep27.html

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Tons of sense. I'm on my way out to raise a glass of pinot or two. Might try to have an intelligent conversation at the same time. We'll see if I can multi-task tonight.
Have a great one.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 26, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Interesting human evolution story here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080424-humans-extinct.html

However, I chose to read the original paper here and it's much more specific and a little less sensational.

http://www.ajhg.org/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(08)00255-3

This says the San (the short-statured hunter-gather tribe also known as rainforest pygmies) shows strong evidence of having been isolated for a while... or escaping a genetic bottleneck that happened further north. (Check Khoisan in the wikipedia).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I think the comma at the end messed this one (the candy bar link) up:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22456-2004Jul28.html

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

How's the Super-Matrilineal collider going? [For obvious reasons, I don't feel welcome on-site.]

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Make that YesterdayToday

Back to the wonderful lovely Laura

Mudge, you can have your Lilly, but keep your hands off my Linney

mmm

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-- I do it last second precisely because I don't want to get in a wrangle.

I have no problems with people passing us on a long staircase, but cutting in front or jostling upon the exit is simply where I draw the line. Not just for me, but for all people who have ever been shoved on the exit.

Fortunately few people actually want to try and vault over a dog when I move him out from my side for the exit. I also adopt a "wide stance" not unlike an certain Idaho congressman.

Pat's story is exactly why I play zone defense. It's amazing how many people on the metro are clueless that people may be deaf, blind, cane-abled etc.

One nice thing about being accompanied by Wilbrodog is much fewer people glare at me as much for failing to respond to their comments behind my back about the time, or other such banalities.

Sometimes I think the leading cause of paranoia in deaf people is all the glares they receive for failing to respond in a courteous manner to mumbled remarks across half the room.

I like to think they can read Wilbrodog's outfit and figure things out, but most likely they're too busy staring at his canitude to talk.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Omni - Are you sure that you're not thinking of Miss Lotte Lenya (and old Lucy Brown)?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

omni, trouble multi-tasking?

Um, Boodling and working?

Reading while perched on the throne?

See, you can do it.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 26, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC: apparently canitude is a word meaning "greyness, hoarity" which applies to Wilbrodog's chin only.

I mean of course, his curious puposity.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC hogging yet again... Caninity. That's it!

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Tanks Lit, Now there's a smile on my face.

For those who don't: para 12 is a BPH top secret.

only 10, 11 and 12 are true.

The rest was made up for my amusement...I'm easily humored...

And 5 was a joke.

If only I could count with my toes I could count to One Thousand...HaHa,,,ask me about it.

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

omni... God gave you two hands for a reason, y'know. JB in the left, beer in the right.

Not that I'm an expert or anything.

Gotta head back out to the shop to shut everything down and off and make sure nothing will catch the house on fire. Wasn't the most productive day in fairy door land, but productive enough. Six doors done and six more in the works. I think that makes something like 700 of them since August.

Hope you all find the time to do something silly or crazy tonight. Otherwise, vote for McCain and break out your lap blankets and shotguns.

I'd wiggle my bum in your general directions, but it's too tired. You'll have to do with a "peace out".

So peace out, my friends... catch you all on the morrow :-)

Posted by: martooni | April 26, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., good point.

My only saving grace is that this behavior is not illegal as far as all the signs go, while smoking and eating etc. in the metro is certainly illegal. However I'm willing to be instructed otherwise.

BTW, I am appalled at all the smokers who think the escalators means "technically not in the metro yet."


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I'm with you on the rules "as written". The only time I ever broke the smoking rule, I was duly chastised. I was at the Huntington station (it's an above-ground station, with two platforms on either side of the central tracks) late one weekend afternoon, with no one about, and walked out to the end of the platform and lit a cigarette. Hey, there was literally nobody around. Who could it bother? Within moments, I heard an indistinct hissing. It turned out to be someone who had walked up onto the other platform, saw me smoking, and wanted to be darned certain that I was aware that it was against the rules. [Presumably, he wasn't being bothered by the actual smoke, just by the rule-breaking.] I've never felt even slightly tempted to repeat the transgression.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Tim - If you're still with us, I think that there's more weather headed your way! (Rain, lightning, there may even have been some frogs & boils!)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe not. In the immortal words of Hedley Lamarr, "too Jewish!"

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The day stayed beautiful. We took a drive over the summit and state line to give the dogs a run by a mountain stream and to stop by the state line liquior store for a 40% savings.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Something for Yoki to glance at when she has a breather. Linguistic analysis of "pragmatics" in autistic people indicate autistic people know more than is assumed.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080425144319.htm

What this indicates is that autistics have problems with nonliteral pragmatics because they violate the pragmatic rules they've learned of grammar. (This is why we call them "literal-minded.")

They just miss out on the next level of linguistic pragmatics as cued by implied subtext by body language or tone of voice.

An interesting point, and worth studying further.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Mind the gap!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

bh, enjoyed hearing about your day, the ride up the mountain and your songbirds.

Lately I'm spending some of my weekends studying for a certfication... a 4-hour exam. As my husband commented, I compete with myself. But really, I need this to stay competitive at work. Plus, I'm actually learning something. And it was very windy and cold today, which helps.

Hey, I'm watching the Whitehouse Correspondence dinner. Ouch. But there are some laughable moments.

Posted by: eidrib | April 26, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

And Joel, liked your essay. Glad I don't have to manage 3 million people.

Posted by: eidrib | April 26, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

You know, somehow I've never minded the gap. I actually appreciate the frisson!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

omni, I was at the BPH, obviously.

Just yanking your chain a little bit.

Nothing wrong with Friday Night at the Movies Self-Indulgence Rituals, sir.

I've several Self-Indulgent Rituals myself.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 26, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Which you shall not enumerate, I hope, sir.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks eidrib for that heads up on the dinner, better than watching The Punisher for the 10th time, which is what I was going to do. 100s of channels and nothing to watch.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 26, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: White House Correspondents' Dinner

Posted by: eidrib | April 26, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

While I'm some kinda of annoyed that I haven't caught the Correspondent's Dinner yet, I'm consoling myself with the [fairly dumb] "Mudd's Women" episode of Star trek.

You go, Harry!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

My pleasure, frostbitten.

Posted by: eidrib | April 26, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. it's on right now..live!

Posted by: eidrib | April 26, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

So, was Harry Mudd the first mainstream male character with a dangly earring? (I'm excluding pirates & Mr. Clean)

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

[sound of overhead emergency speakers clicking on, followed by a short feedback squeal]

ATTENTION, BOODLERS:

Spoke with Curmudgeon by phone a short while ago (Re. a topic that has nothing at all to do with the Boodle. Really.), and he asked me to let you know that he's still having Internet problems at home and that he'll be offline until Monday afternoon.

Expect to see him in the Boodle Command Bunker at that time, doiling away on the interior of the place.

Thank you.

[sound of speakers clicking off]

bc

Posted by: bc | April 26, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

We had a busy week that has spilled into this weekend. spring band events have occurred the past two Saturdays, beginning at 7 in the morning. Thus, sleep has been a scarce commodity. We continued our spring planting today and set three hydrangeas, two Mr. Lincoln roses and some ornamental called wieglia. Ours is the variegated morph. Two azalea were transplanted to one of the front beds and, voila, we have the rudiments of a landscape not dominated by skanky weeds. I have only been able to catch bits and pieces of the Stanley Cup playoff via an internet audio feed. I do hope the Habs, Rangers and Red Wings prevail and that the championship matches are on the public airwaves. It would help boost my happy stat.

Posted by: jack | April 26, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

jack - Those whose morphs are variegated will always have a more interesting ride through life!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Did you really expect Roger Porter of Harvard to be fair in his comments about Carter, given that Porter worked in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations?

DeCaro is an interesting man and the penultimate scholar and researcher. I think he knows every nook and cranny of Johnson's life and presidency. I hope you, Joel, enjoyed speaking with or interviewing him last week as much as I enjoyed hearing him discuss Johnson and our own conversation following his lightly attended presentation several years ago in San Antone.

Posted by: Loomis | April 26, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

yeah, Bob. I'm feeling a little variegated myself these days. Kind of toward the blue side. This, too, shall pass.

Posted by: jack | April 26, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Jack. I had to break a trail through knee deep snow to fill the bird feeder and you make me get all misty over weigelia, and I almost never miss it and the NC garden I left 18 years ago. Good choices all, but Mr. Lincoln engenders massive frenvy as it just won't make it through winters here without much more care than I am willing to provide.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 26, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, you'll have to yank harder than that. Cause I didn't feel a thing.

Now who's yankin'

Tee...hee

martooni, I get the two hands concept, it's just the two mouths I'm lacking

Bob S,,,no...But here: http://aeiou.iicm.tugraz.at/aeiou.encyclop.data.image.l/l480000a.jpg

Do your own google search for Laura!

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Took a small break from to B5 to listen to Lisa and then Rita. Was dancing.

Started watching B5.\\Pause.

I'm gonna dance again some more..

I'm a fool (Zappa)

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - I'll point out that I was technically an employee of Carter & Reagan & Bush the First & Clinton (The First?). [US Air Force from 1980 - 1992, bartender/bar manager for a couple of different Air Force bases 1992 - 1997]

I'm well aware that you may not consider me to be capable of making fair comments about ANYTHING, but I'd like to think that it's because you consider me to be a generally ignorant jackass, not because you think that I've been tainted by my previous employment!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 26, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

*Dodging the kicks of a Bob S. busy braying with laughter*

From this corner... may I say I respect your comments, Bob? Can you let me go now?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Everyone's free to go now!

Posted by: Bob Donkey | April 27, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan takes on the fashion of polygamist sects
"...Of all the things in modern society that could cause offense, it is curious that fashion ranks so high. Wouldn't the incessant ringing of cellphones be more obnoxious than, say, a dress with a zipper?..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/25/AR2008042500927.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Because there are certain trademark issues still unresolved, I won't be able to give you the full ratings table, but...

In fact, the incessant ringing of a cell phone is precisely 16.2% (19.6 ratings points) more obnoxious than a dress with a zipper, in situations in which both things are expected. [Except that's not really precise. It's just an arithmetic mean of the ratings of the 612 men and 963 women who answered that particular question in a way that was judged to be accurate, reliable, and objective.]

The ratings skew quickly in both directions if one or the other (dress w/zipper / phone) is considered to be unnecessary or undesirable by the respondent, and gender/demographic analysis reveals some fun quirky stuff.

When the book comes out, you're gonna love it!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 27, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Lisa and Rita then Ivete Sangalo.

This:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yohwsN12WQU

axé

Reminds me of Daniela Mercury

Wilbrod, unless you read Portuguese I'm not even going to try to find the lyrics...

Um, I'll try to figure it, maybe tomorrow...


Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan doth protest too much, methinks. She's absolutely correct that the effect is strong. I'm just wondering why she wants to pretend to think that she's the only one who's noticed that it's intentional? She knows that I know that the LDS women know that she knows that I know that it's an intentional style. Right?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 27, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Daniela: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xnzZ67dg6k

Ignore first 40 secs
Now you know what to search for

Daniela Mercury

and

Ivete Sangalo

Posted by: me again...omni | April 27, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Omni. Portuguese in a way is quite readable if you just consider it to be consistently poorly-spelled Spanish.

Um.

I hope I didn't just whip up a lot of Portuguese umbrage...


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Omni...I'm back from my multi-tasking. Apparently, I'm limited to two things at once, because I'm starving (going to heat up leftover mashed po's.)

Posted by: LostInThought | April 27, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

omni, you're right, I didn't yank that hard.

Oh, my. *That* didn't sound right.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 27, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Who knew FLDS fashion was the subject of so much analysis?

In what will be a sure contender for "understatement of the year award" the AP's Hilary Rhodes writes, "Allison Berlin, founder of Style Made Simple, doesn't expect FLDS-inspired fashion to go mainstream. 'Women don't actually want to look like that,' she said."
Read more of "Polygamist Sects Frocks Unlikely to Rock" here:
http://www.kentucky.com/216/story/383121.html

And what must be the most unusual reporting beat in the nation, Brooke Adams covers polygamy for the Salt Lake Tribune
http://blogs.sltrib.com/plurallife/

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

If you can figure out an investment angle, I'd suggest that you go for the FLDS look right now. This is going to get some lasting buzz. Even if you can't figure out an investment angle, give it a shot. I think it's kinda hot! Now I shall, in accordance with the directions of the immortal Bard:

"Exit, pursued by a bear."

G'nite/morning, all.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 27, 2008 2:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm not really here. But if I were, I'd recommend this article about the long, tiring campaigns:

"Now, This Is Campaign Fatigue"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/26/ST2008042602089.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: Bob S. | April 27, 2008 3:18 AM | Report abuse

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

I am getting ready to hit the showers. I want to go to Sunday school and church services this morning. I think we got some rain last night. I haven't checked outside yet.

The g-girl came by last night, and got in my bed, and went soundly to sleep. She was out before I could call her name. She did not spend the night. Mom got her. I think she misses the bed. She is growing so fast, and getting ready to sign up for big kids school. I haven't talked to my grandsons, will try to reach them today. The last time I called them, got the answering machine, and they never return my calls.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, despite whatever the weather is.

In my prayers this morning, I did include my friends here at the Achenblog, and asked that God bless your life and the life of your family, through His Son, Jesus.

Martooni, good morning, Slyness, Scotty, and Mudge, good morning to all.*waving*

Time to go. Have a good day, my friends, give God some of your time, and enjoy your families.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 27, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Heavy spring howers have washed away most of the grime of winter last night. The air smells fresh and new this morning.
Joel raise a good point, the Presidential election is about putting a (large) team in the White House. Yet, the campaign is strictly about the main man/woman. Can candidate give an idea of whom they would pick for the big jobs like SecDef, Sec of State and so on? One has to rely on the endorsement to make a guess, but that is highly unreliable.
On to a walk with the Puppy, to make sure I'm back for the start of the Spain GP.
BTW the Puppy has been a pest while I was away. He escaped twice to go in the wetlands (a.k.a. swamp) on the other side of the street. He came back covered in green an brown stuff. So he had a bath, twice. He obviously found something to snack on the second he escped. But the vaguely avian thing didn't agree with his stomach and it came back up. Wrapped in dead leaves. Yuck.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 27, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Morning, boodle. I'm off to the Newseum to stalk Maureen Dowd. She's on the panel of This Week today. I'll boodle if I need bail money.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 27, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

SCC Blanket SCC on my previous post. Did I needed more coffee or what?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 27, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I can't help it...When I see "What Does a President Do" I hear Rev Jim's voice and cadence...what does a yellow light mean. Could be because the current Pres seems to have a similar grasp of reality. Could be I need another cup of coffee.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 27, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Standing by to fax bail money to Mo MoDo.

Cool, cloudy morning in the mountains. We only had a little rain last night, just enough to wet down the dust on the road. Mr. T and I went to our favorite little mountain restaurant for breakfast, so we won't eat again till suppertime.

Have a good time at church, Cassandra.

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Mornin's all around...

Me and Bean are going to build a robot today (it was that or plunk down $100 or so in gas and admission tickets for the zoo).

This will be a purely "decorative" robot (and I hope more fun than a giraffe, though that would be some tall competition [cue rimshot]). I also have no gizmos, whatchamacallits, thingies, doo-dads or even a backpack nuclear power source on hand to make it move (or even beep obscenities in Morse Code). Even if I did, I wouldn't have a clue how to use them.

Anyway, happy Sunday morning to all. If you happen to see a large mushroom cloud off to the northwest of DC, that's just me and Bean doing a little "yard work" here in Youngstown. We'll do our best to keep the fallout on our side of the fence.

Peace out... (or as robots say, "bleep-boop-bleep, burp-bloog-bleep-whirrrr", which doesn't exactly translate to "Peace out"... it's more like "All your base are belong to us").

Posted by: martooni | April 27, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I thought the point of the way the FLDS women dressed was to ensure that they felt separate from the outside world, not some old-timey sensibility.

Givhan notes that they are "dressed in the washed-out hues of institutional garb, a bit like old-fashioned prison inmates" which I think more describes their situation. The men run the show there and dictate how the women look.

And who can write about FLDS or even LDS fashion without mentioning the underwear?

http://www.hankstuever.com/mormon.html

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_garments.html

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Damp and fairly peacful hereabouts this morning... I like it.

Chores galore on the docket for today, so off I ramble -- or perhaps "slowly hobble" is more appropriate, as I apparently tweaked a hamstring yesterday.

*slow-and-deliberate-upper-body-only-but-still-goofy-as-ever Grover waves*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Where are my manners? I forgot to say Good Morning, folks!

Today is Orthodox Easter. We're off to have a Big Fat Greek Lamb Dinner at my sister's house in Baltimore. Spending the day with 17 of my favorite people in the whole world!

Got to finish making the soup and dye the eggs now.

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

Quick note:

I like this idea!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/us/27bikes.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

I would have liked it sooner if I'd been reading the Metro section more closely... *L*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/18/AR2008041803037.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Being a fan of the microbrews, I have no taste for the "light" mass market varieties. But lately I have been mixing my favorite local IPA with 50% ice-cold sparkling water. This yields a delicious, thirst-quenching concoction. Many advantages to this. Hydration is the least of them.

To gently quibble, penultimate means "next to last."

I have been having to unplug and re-plug my modem lately to get it to function. Also, here's a line I used with my net provider, after consulting a tech (and showing up at their counter with the modem they had me using nicely boxed up to turn in to them): "The tech recommended your newer modem." Yes, management often tries to get remaining life out of their older more problematic modems. Mildly but firmly pointing out that "this one barely functions" often will yield one of their newer models.

As usual, politics is driving me insane. Immediately after the Pennsylvania primary, MSNBC launched into an unbelieveable 56-hour non-stop marathon of trashing Obama. I was naively surprised by this! And left wondering exactly how the mechanism of the orders from on high work. Do they use threats, blackmail, on the news-show producers and the talking heads?

Posted by: Jumper | April 27, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Happy Easter TBG. I'm sure you'll have a great day. Don't forget...bring home leftovers for the bunker fridge.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 27, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Maureen Dowd...

Since Dowd sees fit to paint Hillary Clinton as Vlad the Impaler in her op-ed today... does anyone see the juxaposition as strange that this column of Dowd's should run concurrently today at the NYT with an op-ed by Elizabeth Edwards asking for journalists to be more responsible in discussing the ISSUES of the current presidential race?

I was a bit jarred by Dowd's (consistent, I must say) psychobabble vs. a more substantive look by Edwards about how certain members of the press pack (hmmm) were touting the lackluster campaign of Fred Thompson or the break-in at Dodd's campaign HQ in Hartford, while ignoring the details of health care plan offered by Biden--a plan that could impact all Americans. I do think more American's know Obama's recent bowling score, as Edwards suggests, instead of the fine points of Obama's health care plan.

Posted by: Loomis | April 27, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Leftovers? Did I mention the 17 people? There likely will be leftover eggs. We can have a nice egg salad made with the fresh dill left after making the Easter soup, *not* using the recipe below...

http://www.faliraki-info.com/susie/greek-recipes/soups/magieritsa.htm

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable!

Last week I searched and came up with a number of sites which offered raised-bed garden frames. I weeded (ha!) out the ones which used plastic, metal or preserved wood, then saw one place offered the best deal by far on natural wood.

I just ordered a set of three stackables so I don't have to fence the dogs away from them.

The very nice lady on the phone explained they don't take credit cards, so would it be okay with me if they just billed me when they sent them in about a week. I could send them a check or money order. She confided that they're about a week behind, having received so many orders that they're *even working weekends* to catch up. This isn't a huge order, just a few hundred $, but I'm heartened that there are still people/companies who trust people out there.

If you want their URL, let me know.

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

Unbelievable!

Last week I searched and came up with a number of sites which offered raised-bed garden frames. I weeded (ha!) out the ones which used plastic, metal or preserved wood, then saw one place offered the best deal by far on natural wood.

I just ordered a set of three stackables so I don't have to fence the dogs away from them.

The very nice lady on the phone explained they don't take credit cards, so would it be okay with me if they just billed me when they sent them in about a week. I could send them a check or money order. She confided that they're about a week behind, having received so many orders that they're *even working weekends* to catch up. This isn't a huge order, just a few hundred $, but I'm heartened that there are still people/companies who trust people out there.

If you want their URL, let me know.

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

Stackable posts, too.

Posted by: dbG | April 27, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! A bright sunny day here, perfect for shoveling snow. We had 15" in about 28 hours, making our total for April 55". I think the snow will melt quickly enough that the new Sedum, Jacob's Ladder, and Lamium growth will be fine. Better snow than a hard freeze, garden wise anyway.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Honest to goodness, the following is in my future home's local newspaper.

OWNER MAY CLAIM
The owner of a small blue, zippered pouch, which contained a plastic baggie of marijuana and a multi-colored glass smoking device with burnt marijuana inside, may claim these items at the Borough Police Department.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Ah!
[bc slapping his head]

Happy Easter to you, TBG, and please give my best to your family. I *do* like lamb; my Mom and I collaborated on a pretty good one a short time back (er, is it OK to refer to it as UnOrthodox Easter?).

And martooni, a great big "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" (with requsite flailing of arms) and "Gort, Klaatu berada nikto," to you and the Bean. (Don't forget to tell her about the Three Laws and consider including the Zeroth Law).

bc

Posted by: bc | April 27, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-if Bean maintains an interest in robots I highly recommend looking at picking up a used or lower priced Roomba vacuum cleaner. Irobot has open sourced the software and the vacuums are becoming inexpensive (starting at about $120) platforms for all kinds of cool robotic stuff. With your computer skillz it could be a great father/daughter toy that will last for years.

On the more expensive, and sometimes commitment intense, end Lego has the NXT mindstorms which are completely idiot proof from both the building and programming perspectives but are fun, fun, fun. They can also be as complicated as you care to make them.
The box says ages 10+, but they lie. A father daughter team could put a simple robot platform together and have it dancing and singing in an afternoon.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I was three paras into this article in the dead tree Outlook thinking this is really good, then I looked up to see who wrote...Of course...Yeah.

In other news, one day of each week of April has been really crappy for one reason or another.

Today something happened that not only erases all that carp, it made my day, my week, And my Month.

Walking home from brunch I made my usual stops for groceries and beer. About a block from home I saw three young teen girls walking towards me, arm in arm. A second later I felt these weren't three happy friends out for the day. As I got closer I noticed the middle girl was crying. We made eye contact. I smiled. She gave me a forced smile. I set my groceries down and held my hand to indicate stop. I said 'Hold on.' 'Un momento.' Then with my right hand held up I reached behind me with my left. Then turned around counter clockwise. Pulling a bouquet of Mums out from my belt, left rear as I did so. When was facing them again, I had the Mums in front of me. Their eyes widen and mouths dropped open as if they just witnessed the most amazing magic trick ever. I was equally amazed that I actually pulled it off. I pulled out one Mum and handed it the center gal while saying 'I hope this cheers you up a little'. Another little forced smile, but I could sense she meant it to be real. Then I pulled two more out for her friends, saying this for being such good friends. Then putting my bouquet back into my belt and picking up my groceries and giving one last smile, the friend closest to me put her hand up to halt me. Putting one hand to the side of her mouth as if to whisper a secret, and with the other giving me the come here curl'curl of the index finger, while standing on her toes, I bend over and she whispers in my ear that 'Pink Mums are Carlita's favorite flowers.' I stand and she beckons again. I quick swift peck on the cheeks.

4/27/2008

I'll catch up later.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, It's like the Portuguese took spelling lessons from the French.

Now we can look forward to some French umbrage.

Who says we're not cultured.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

oh hey, you know what...I noticed while listening to Ivete that I hadn't yet put my Mums in water. I grabbed my one vase, rinsed it, and while drying it off, dropped it. Broken glass shards everywhere. I simultaneously thought carp while laughing out loud. "Just Perfect". After cleaning it all up and putting it in the trash I notice I have one empty wine bottle next to the trash can.

I rinse it out. Add some cold water. And guess what? The mouth of the wine bottle is exactly big enough to hold the stems of four Mums.

The four of seven...

Do the math.

I'm practically crying tears of joy.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

That would be me

Posted by: SF | April 27, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

This Blog Stinks

Posted by: The Lone Mule | April 27, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think we offended SF's wife, or is it his wife's super hot friend...I forget

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

This Blog Really Stinks

Posted by: The Real Lone Mule | April 27, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

just yakkin. tryin to give the boodle life support.

2:14, 2:16 and 2:19 were me

Clear, zap

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Great job, omni!

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Great story, omni. I love when things work out that way, and that was really kind of you. Connecting but not intruding.

I just got back from the Seattle Arboretum plant sale. Got lots of unusual plants to bonsai, since that's about all I have room for - an olive, Korean lilac, Himalayan blueberry (put Himalaya in the name and I have to have it). Also found nicotiana and a Marvel of Peru with lime green leaves and hot pink flowers, or so they say.

SF, Lone Mule, is that really you?!?

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 27, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks slyness

I asked about four different flowers before settlin on Mums. I Don't Know flowers. All the talk here on the boodle about flowers and gardening has been an inspiration to me, to bring home some flowers on Sunday. Today I fancied something pink....I'm convinced the flower seller had a vision (he looked me straight in the eye, in that 'way'), and steered me just right.

Oh, here come those tears again

I hope it's just a boyfriend breakup. Those you recover from...

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Well done omni!! *applause*

*faxin' LM the whole backBoodle for catching up* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks mostly (That's mostlylurking)

That SF and TLM and TRLM postings were me. Trying to jump start the boodle.

More tears as I feel I'll be thanking a lot of boodlers over next few


Cassandra, oddly enough, or probably not, I'm thinking of your kind soul at the moment. If I prayed, You know I would for you. But even so, You are often in my kind thoughts

As many others have said, you belong on the boodle.

I don't know if you're street smart, and though you claim not to be school smart (or something like that, I think), You are a Wise Woman. Very Wise and Humble. And the boodle is a better place for having you here with us.

We are Blessed

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Omni -- good story. Small acts of kindness build the world.

Lots of good gardening yesterday and tons of house tasks including mucketty mucketty of drains that service sump pumps. NO BAILING LAST NIGHT.

Cassandra -- Happy Easter, again!, to us. TBG is letting us borrow Orthodox Easter to celebrate with her. Here are a few ways to say it

Christus resurrexit! Surrexit vere!

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Хрїстóсъ воскрéсе! Воистину воскресе!
(Christos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!)

Χριστός ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
(Christós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!)

Armenian Catholics -- Orthodox-like but accept the Pope as leader rather that the Eastern Patriarch -- would use this construction as an Easter greeting. The first person says,
"He is risen." The greeted one returns by saying, "He is risen, indeed."

I expect that right about now, Clan-G is eating wondrous foodstuffs, like dolmas.

Grading papers....glad that it is dreary outside, but will try to have a bike ride with College Barkian in the Snugli carrier later.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 27, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Mostly!!! I frenvy you the Nicotiana and Marvel of Peru seedlings!!!!!!

Will try again. Have no trouble with Marvel of Peru, but that color sounds glorious.

Oh, Omni, watch out. We will have you knitting soon. Real men love flowers. Real men consider knitting as a hobby option, like RD's box making....

Posted by: College Parkian | April 27, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yowza, what's that stench...

teehee


omni

Posted by: LM | April 27, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

We made it down the mountain safely. Now Mr. T is in a race to get the yard mowed before a front with thunderstorms comes through. It's gonna be close!

Happily, my zinnias are coming up. The coneflowers and beans and squash haven't shown any signs yet...there was an inch of water in the rain gauge when we got home, from storms last night. This is the most we've had since early in the year.

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Omni, that is such a nice thing to do that in my books you rank right up there with Romantic Tim. Higher even. It is easy to do something sweet for those you are with everyday if you just remember. To think of it just because, for people you don't know...well you sir are a prince.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

CP, I know.

I love getting flowers almost as much as giving.

Next BPH bring an extra pair of noodlers, and some spare yarn, show me a purl or two, and I swear, by next winter I'll be watching curling in a pink knit winter scarf.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dr, oops more tears.

Though I don't know these girls, we do live in the same neighborhood, and I do see them around from time to time, so I do know them in that sense.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I made it back from the Newseum. MoDo did not swoon at the sight of me and drag me off to her Georgetown lovenest. In fact, she didn't seem to notice me at all.

I did get to shake hands with George Snuffleupagus, but that is a story I can't tell here because of rule 6.

Pictures and details to follow eventually.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 27, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

oh golly and carps abound - Major SCC: that oops should have an oh.

Been typing oops to much lately.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

omni-you're the best!

Never let it be said I didn't keep the boodle updated on reptiles run amok.
Breaking news from the Tampa Tribune:

"Golf Ball Diver: Gator Meant To Kill Me"

"...Monreal managed to break free of the alligator's jaws by jamming his thumb into its eye and he then staggered from the pond near the 13th hole at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club.

During the 14 years he's earned a living by diving in murky, alligator infested ponds for errant golf balls, Monreal, 62, said he's had plenty of encounters with alligators but they were small nips or tail slashes.

'For golf ball divers, it's not uncommon to be nipped,' he said.

This was different..."

I'm still trying to fathom making a living by diving for golf balls. Read the whole story here:
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/apr/27/trapper-catches-gator-attacked-man-golf-course/?news-breaking

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

oh, yello.

I, and I'm sure RDP feel your pain. But you did get to see her, right.

envy

Ooh pix

Ready to swoon

RDP, it's about time to train your bunnies in the use of smelling salts..I think you'll need them

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I know, I'd rather take the stroke penalty than dive into gator waters for a stinkin' golf ball.

Actually I'd probably rather play golf around angry moose in rut. At least you see 'em coming.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

BTW, isn't it nice when the stars seem to align on a good deed of random kindness, Omni?
Mum's the word, man.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

omni,

I was within 10 feet of her several times and she looked quite lovely.

But mine was an act of celebrity induced stalking. Yours was a random act of kindness. It's always good to bring some sunshine into a fellow human's life.

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

Omni, I loved your story, in fact I thought it so beautiful I thought it was part of the well written article in Outlook that you were referring to (I even looked in outlook to see if I could read the whole story).

Oddly at a dinner partly last night we we talking about small anonymous kindness, in this case the habit of paying for someone's bill at Tim Horton's (the car behind you). Someone did this for me the other day - it delighted and surprised me.

I was too stunned to respond at the time so today, I took my daughter to the fair, she got an unlimited wrist band for rides and I bought some tickets in case I had to ride with her. When we got there she met up with a friend who clearly did not have enough tickets - adding my tickets to his pile enabled the kids to ride together and have fun, since I didn't have to ride the rides it was hardly selfless but it felt like the right thing to do, and was inspired by an imaginery friend!

Posted by: dmd | April 27, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, omni, what a lovely thing to do. I'm sure the young ladies knew they had met a prince. And we get to see a prince so rarely in this world. Thank you, Omni.

The g-girl is here, and wide open. And I mean she's into everything. I don't think we're going to have a replay of last night. We're going to read, and see if that won't calm her down.

Slyness, it is raining, and raining. I know the farmers are loving this weather,and I think it's great too.

Have a wonderful evening, folks. Time for me to grab the books and do some reading. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 27, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Omni, the young ladies will probably remember your kindness for many years to come. What a sweet thing you did. Bravo!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 27, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

omni, that's great.

I like giving flowers, too.

I'm looking at a big vase full in the middle of the living room here; my daughters appreciate it.

Oh, and LiT, that item in your future local paper is priceless.

If someone shows up to claim those items, I hope they run something in the paper about that, too.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 27, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Watch out, Cassandra, the thunderstorm that went over us an hour ago is headed your way! We got half an inch, and there's still a little coming down. Yay for spring storms! Everything is so green and clean...

I hope reading calms the g-girl down. It always works for me.

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Great story, omni. I imagine the girls are telling the story today, too.

We had a wonderful Easter dinner. Christós Anésti! (and yes, the proper response is Alithós Anésti!)

The best part of the day? Finding out that next year our 17 will be 18! My niece is expecting a baby in November. We couldn't be happier... and my niece and her husband have the good sense to understand that this is OUR baby... not just theirs.

Each of my sisters' and my kids have belonged to all of us. It's the best way to raise 'em if you ask me.

Oh goodness me! I just realized... I'm going to be a GREAT Aunt. Heavens.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

TBG,

What you should be worried about is becoming a grandmother. We watched Juno last night as a family togetherness event. And Michael Cera's character is way dorkier than SoTBG.

Keep giving him the safer sex speech.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 27, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I hear about the daily schedule of a President I always note what a large portion of his time is spent doing ceremonial things. Only a very small portion of the schedule is ever devoted to hard core Chief Executive stuff.

When you think about it, a President really only makes a very few truly earth-shattering decisions during the course of an Administration. Things like introducing key legislation, selecting Supreme Court Nominees, and deciding whether or not to invade. The rest of the time is pretty much filler.

I have developed a theory that the more important an individual is the more concentrated is the execution of power. The logical extreme of this is the Absent Landlord version of God, who devotes a few seconds to saying "Let there be light" and then lets the system go forward on its own.

Another thing that comes from hearing about a President's daily life is the disconnect between the realities of the job and the criteria we really use. For, as Joel once pointed out with characteristic insight, politics appeals to the primitive reptilian portion of the brain.

Many people view a Presidential election as a referendum of sorts. A vote for a particular set of abstract values and priorities, which have become embodied by the candidate. A successful candidate inspires, or in some way validates Social Truths that a particular person holds dear. In this way, a President is a bit like Miss America. But with nuclear weapons.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Which is why I don't want an irascible Miss America with nukes, RD.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

[If someone already posted this to the Boodle, please forgive me -- I'm still Backboodling a bit.]

Speaking of predicting the future (Oh, that was *so* last week!), Marc Fisher's take on Washington DC in the year 2025 in the WaPo Magazine is well worth a read IMO, and the slideshow's not bad, either.

Granted, he had me at "President Heath Shuler":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/23/AR2008042302930.html

It's not as self-indulgent as some of the Daze of Futures Passed items I've posted on the 10thcircle, and for that, I'm thankful.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 27, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Also - kudos to you Bob S, for pointing out that we are more than our associations. I would be incensed if someone were to assume that my attitudes and beliefs could be predicted purely by my past and present associations.

Come to think of it, I have been.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

That was a great article bc. The Mag was exceptionally good this week. And I am not ashamed to admit that Jeane Marie Laskas had me shedding a manly tear.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/23/AR2008042302936.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC: oops, I mean *Jeanne* Marie Laskas.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

So you hereby reject the assumption that we lack free will and we're just a bunch of billard balls ping-ponging off each other, acquiring ideas and prejudices along the way in a predictable, mechanical fashion, RD?

Bully for you ;D.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Joel's chatting tomorrow at 3:00 about his Outlook piece...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/04/25/DI2008042502961.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I hope he gets an intelligent crowd over there, TBG.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

RD, that article put a tear in my eye too. I haven't really had the "no contact with old boyfriends" rule. However, there was one, a very early college boyfriend who taught me a lot (some unintentionally: dating an older alcoholic guy can spur some life lessons and reflection) who called a few years ago. I can't remember how he tracked me down. I inwardly shuddered while politely making conversation; turned out he called because his liver was bad (remember that alcoholism) and he expected to die soon. He didn't want anything in particular and I'm still not sure why he called. I was glad I didn't hang up or turn him aside quickly before having whatever conversation he thought we were having.

And omni, that was a lovely gesture.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 27, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to your niece and her husband, TBG. Being a great-aunt is no big deal. I was 15 when I became one. My brother was 7, and the week my great-nephew was born, he was punished for going too far afield on his bike.

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course you'll be a great aunt, TBG, how could you be otherwise?

Oh. You mean a great-aunt (ah, those missing italics). As in, a second-generation aunt. Or as the Boy often says of me, not to put too fine a point on it and since you and I are similar in age, an old aunt.

All the better!

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 27, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I'm guessing he wanted to make amends or say goodbye, Ivansmom?

He wanted you to get the news, knowing there might not be any mutal friends in common anymore left to tell you.

I know people whose ex-boyfriends died, and it can bring back a lot of mixed feelings.

As you say, some people teach you a lot... not always healthy, but they leave a mark.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting that link to Joel's chat tomorrow, TBG, I'd meant to do that as well.

And that Laskas article -- hoo, I'm glad I didn't have a second glass of wine with dinner...

RD, Bob S., Wilbrod, the word "assume," seems to get people into trouble with a significant degree of regularity, doesn't it?

bc

Posted by: bc | April 27, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

True, true. And this article makes me miss the Smithsonian right now.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080427/ap_on_sc/science_museums;_ylt=AmQt6VILPLdQX04zAIYddGUiANEA

Time to build a museum in every town...


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Nearly done grading; sagging powers of response! I shall boodle-jump myself with some typing.

About Ivansmom's lessons: sometimes, a body hears from a person with addiction issues, years later to make amends. I am not saying that is what happened here. But, I do know a friend who was rebuffing contact from an old flame. I was the intermediary who heard that the reason for contact was to say "I am sorry" and to hear the person's response (not forgiveness exactly). Apology was made by letter; injured party did not want contact, which I fully understood.

Great Aunties! Indeed, tbG we are all too young for so many of these honors!

Bike riding sans music ear-buds means that I can contemplate all sorts of people, including those far away and long ago. I pray for them, wishing them well. I also pray for my students, now numbering more than 1800.

And, I can think on the boodlers, with prayers for y'll too. I thought on this the other day that I don't have faces for most, so the prayers are based on text. Which, as a word-person, is quite amazing to have letters rather than faces before me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, CP.. we are a group of letters... generations will study our conversations here.

They will believe that "boodle" has some religious meaning, of course. They will also spend years searching for the location of the bunker.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Draw some faces, CP. They'll be as good as the real thing ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- very funny for you to anticipate how an anthropologist from Mars circa 2059 would view us:

bunker
knitting
blue bottoms
fairy doors

etc.


OhMyGod: will they believe that we worship a god called JoelAchenbach? And that Mr. Stripey is his summer incarnation?

Posted by: College Parkian | April 27, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Ha! I just realized that I recognized your 10:03 post without your signature, CP.

I think future generations will figure out that we're a bunch of moonflowers.

G'night all. Son of G begins his new career tomorrow and the house is quiet as bedtime approaches.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Ha, TBG, I recognized CP too - didn't even notice it wasn't signed. Pretty distinctive. Good luck to the kiddo.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 27, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Laskas always makes me either tear up or laugh till my ribs ache, sometimes in the same column.

I've had a "don't google" rule for old flames for the past few years-too uncomfortable to see who has landed in NoVA as a beltway bandit. And how did they get so old?

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

We're being thought of as some moonflowers
moonflowers, moonflowers (guitar folkie riff)

Boodlin' and a boppin' 'mong the mean posters
Moonflowers, Moonflowers...

And if we ever lose our ....

Paging Wilbrod and SonofCarl: channel Cat Stevens.

To bed! But a little PBS will do first. Rummaging for socks and another blanket. Chilly! Damp. Such a bluster of an April.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 27, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, good luck to Son of G as he embarks on this new phase.

Toodles boodle, sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 27, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Fisher's history of the next 17 years might have focused a bit more on the Federal government's difficulties in getting its mostly modestly-paid employees to work in such an expensive urban area. Are Washington's feds becoming household #2 earners, supplementing the incomes of private-sector types?

Frank's column on the bidding war for homes in "good" school districts looks like a classic to me.

Here in Florida, each county supposedly has only one school district, which provides equally-good schools districtwide. In fact, it was fascinating watching parental flight within Jacksonville, and into the adjoining counties.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 27, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

What a wonderful thing you did, Omni.

I haven't caught up with backboodling yet. I also haven't caught up with my newspaper, dead tree edition, either. Newspaper should be easier since I only look at pictures and read the captions. I was flipping through our last week's local paper and saw a picture of the Texas FLDS women. The picture was taken from the back of the women and it showed their well coiffured hair. They were all French braids and very nicely done. I had long hair for 10 years and during that time had tried many times to do a French braid but never once did I succeed. Early this year, I decided that 10 years of long hair is enough so I had it chopped off.

Great aunt : I was a great-aunt a couple of years ago. I feel so ancient.

Posted by: rainforest | April 28, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, CP. If you're drawing faces, I've got short hair and eye glasses.

Good luck, Son of G.

Posted by: rainforest | April 28, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Goodmorning Boodle! I'm brewing the coffee, should be nice and thick by the time most of yall rise. Monday morning treat.

Reading the article on old flames reminded me of my first love. She left me in kindergarten when her family moved away. But I never forgot her and how could I? She taught me all the important things about life, like how to button, zipper a coat, tie shoes, skip, jump rope, ride a bicycle, color in between the lines, and how to open a singly-wrapped slice of cheese without breaking off the corners.

Boy, did my mother had it easy.

Anyway, I lost contact with my girlfriend for over 30 years. Just a few years ago, we reunited at my house, her family, my family. What a blast!

Posted by: DandyLion | April 28, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

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

Scotty, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, and all, good morning to you. It is Monday, and I'm hoping not too rough for some? *waving*

The g-girl is still here, and we will be getting dressed in a few. School today! She finally settled down, but it took awhile.

Some of my neighbors have planted vegetables in their little space, and they're peeping out now because of the rain and the warmth. It is lovely to look at, and eating the finished product will be good too. I'm undecided about the tomatoes this year, but would like to plant something. I need to do that, yet with Vacation Bible school and the summer program I don't know if I'll have time to work a garden.

I hope the weekend was good for all. It is time to get back to work. The laundry room is calling me, and Lord knows, I don't want to answer, but must.

Speaking of old flames, I met one of mine recently at the home of a child I was tutoring. This happened right during the time I was cleaning the apartment for inspection. He asked if he could help with the work. I quickly refused. Not even going there.

My sister tells everyone, especially old boyfriends of mine, that it just might not be good for their health if they try talking to me. Another friend of mine was buried last week. He was a high school boyfriend. You think she might have something there?

Well, time to find the coffee. I have a lot to do today and need to get started. Got to get the g-girl ready for school. Enjoy your day, folks, and I hope the weather is good where you are.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 28, 2008 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

"The Bush administration's chief of education research says teachers too often rely on 'folk wisdom' instead of proven methods..."

OK, we're talking about reading and math, but still... ;-)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/27/AR2008042701866.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Hey DandyLion!

*once-more-unto-the-work-breach-fortified-with-caffeine-as-always Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cassandra!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 5:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm using Jeanne Marie Laskas's column as an excuse to drunk dial all my old girlfriends this weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Good rainy Monday morning, everybody!

It's not often I get to say that! I'll have to ride the exercycle instead of walking this morning.

Cassandra, did you get a storm last night?

A busy day ahead for me. Promised elder dottir I'd help get ready for younger dottir to move in, book study at noon, and my favorite 2 and a half week old twins are coming for supper and bringing their parents!

Good luck, Sneaks! I hope everything goes well for you.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

I've go my pictures from the Newseum uploaded and captioned. And they don't all feature Maureen Dowd.

http://flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/sets/72157604764628018/

There are a shockingly large number with George Stephanopoulos (why do Greek names have to be so hard to spell?) in them. He is a handsome little gnome.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 28, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I'll just point out that my wife has no problem with old girlfriends contacting me. She just doesn't want any new ones to do so.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

It's the wrong season, but the perfect sound for this dreary Monday AM; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnwFeKob-nE

"The Autumn in Me" - Elena Risteska

I'm still playing catch up.

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I'll save this one for when I'm feeling more awake and alive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4J8awSkkRQ&feature=related

Probably Wednesday evening.

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The first link was 'Esen vo Mene':'Autumn in Me'

2nd: 'Deni i Nok':'Day and Night'

(I think)

She's Macedonian, so I imgagine she's singing in Greek. Maybe TBG can help me out here.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! 10F here this morning so I guess it's a good thing the garden has a blanket of snow for insulation.

Some great photos MoMo and they barely look stalkerish.

The new Twins baseball stadium hits a snag:
"Thousands of tons of contaminated soil excavated from the site of the new Twins ballpark was improperly placed in a flood plain last summer, and the stadium's owner estimates it now could cost up to $1 million to correct the problem."

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/18320359.html?page=1&c=y

I'm a big fan of getting Minnesota baseball back outside, and hope the Vikings can come up with a deal too. The Gophers' new stadium is already under construction which will get them out of Metrodome and back on campus. If I were a presidential candidate I might claim never having seen a game at Metrodome was some kind of boycott, actually it was just ennui. I've seen the Twins play many times, just never at home. Amazing how quickly not getting around to something can turn into nearly 3 decades-there's a garage cleaning lesson there I think.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

yello

That shot of Donna B looks like you caught her sleeping standing up.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 28, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Scottynuke, thanks for that snortworthy link.

yello/Mo Mo, as I like to say, "stalker" is a strong word - but there it is.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 28, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Prince William's Corey Stewart seems to be successful in his drive to get rid of all the Spanish speakers-
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/27/AR2008042702432.html

Now, once all the ESOL students are gone I wonder how he'll try to drive out all the low income students, primarily African American, who are more expensive to teach and drag down property values by making schools look bad. After that he can go after all those 3rd grade boys from Lake Ridge and Montclair who line up at the office for Ritalin when they should be in class doing worksheets to get ready for the SOLs.

Makes me soooooo glad the Army pulled us away, even if it was to the land with the underground weirdness magnet.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I did resist the temptation to drive by her house and wait on the corner for her to get home. The scary part is that I know where it is.

Donna B. came out of the roundtable all fired up. Pretty much the subtext of everything on air and a few comments I overheard was "When will Hillary quit?" Short answer: Never.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 28, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Morning, folks! Got up bright and early and then made the mistake of crawling back into bed. Uh oh.

Here is a public service announcement for you...

"Chatological Humor will not occur the week of April 29 because Gene is working on the Magazine for May 18's Post Hunt, an enterprise so complex and daunting and risky that it is taking all his waking hours, except for time spent in the bathroom.

"And, not for nothing, one also hopes this will give the site time to fix the chat software glitches that have bedeviled the last few discussions.

"All submitted questions will be saved for the May 5 discussion."
_________

That said... I will be out of town on May 18, visiting my friend Yoki in North Montana. The rest of you DC Boodlers should form a team and participate in the Post Hunt this year. I'm sure kbertocci will be happy to give you pointers.

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I really need to take a YouTube break or I'll never catch up...

Nerina Pallot - 'Sophia'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x5cnSn1XMk

Sophia, Sophia, I'm burning, I'm burning,
It's a fire, it's a fire, I cannot put out,


http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/nerina_pallot_lyrics_8972/fires_lyrics_29301/sophia_lyrics_319419.html

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Tom Bombadil's wife: http://www.tuckborough.net/images/goldberry.jpg

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Had to back boodle frantically. What's Omni do? What'd Omni do???

Wow. Thank you Omni. What a gift you gave those girls. Calls to mind the man I encountered in the grocery store yesterday. He was singing "Imagine" as he shopped. His voice was clear and beautiful and it was his version of a pink mum. I enjoyed it so much--I should have thanked him. Next time I won't be so shy in acknowledging a random act like that. I guess by me thanking you, Omni...it helps me thank him.

Posted by: Lyssa | April 28, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Here's a thought to spice up today's Boodle and Joel's chat later:

Why don't we take turns writing Position Descriptions and Job Application Forms for President of the United States?

I don't have time at the moment, but I'll try to get to it later.

The Benefits Description alone should be pretty good: Command of the World's Largest Nuclear Arsonal, the ability to Pardon people for Federal Offenses, the in-House Bowling Alley, etc.

That last could be why Obama is so keen to get the job. I think he can use some practice and perhaps an appropriate wardrobe for same to boot.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 28, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning friends! The weather here is just beautiful (though more snow is coming mid-week) and we had a fine weekend with visits from #1 and the boyfriend as well as a stand-out dinner with friends on Saturday evening.

Bob S, I'm not that sensitive :) Can't wait to hear your polished version of the joke.

Because I am a dodgy character, almost nothing makes me happier than when a person with pretentions to intellectual superiority betrays himself and messes up by using a Big Word incorrectly. I'm pretty happy today. As Fesick said, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

Posted by: Yoki | April 28, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Joel, loved this article. what would we do without your history lessons?

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

O Canto da Cidade : I sing of the city

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, irregardless of whether or not you are dodgy, a consumption I question, I am glad your day is happy!

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Late good mornin' to all...

Maybe it's because my mind spends quite a bit of time in the gutter, but I nearly wet myself laughing at bc's call for "Position Descriptions".

I think all possible "positions" have been described pretty well in the Kama Sutra, and this past administration has probably performed at least 80% of them on us.

Without even a "was it good for you?" or a "sure, I'll call you."

Thankless bastages.

Anyway...

Chilly and rainy here and much work to do. I made the mistake of leaving our bedroom window open last night and awoke to see my own breath hovering above me this morning. If you think morning breath *smells* bad, you don't want to see it.

I'm hoping to catch the chat, but I have shipping deadlines to meet, so maybe not.

Peace out and have fun. And try not to rough Joel up too much. This blog would *really* stink if he took his ball and went home (and we ended up with Weingarten).

Off to the sawdust factory...

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

bc - I think key criteria for the Presidency are the abilities to stay awake during meetings, look interested, and go for long periods of time without having to visit the facilities.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Here's the first report on my trip to the Newseum. Next time we need to make it a full BPH.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/04/stalking-modo.html

What guest should we schedule around?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Anybody else having problems posting questions to the chat? I'm even registered and signed in and all that carp, but keep getting "Server Error".

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I messed up. Poop is both a noun and a verb, isn't it?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Twilight Zone at the Wapo again. I'm reading today's online version on my work computer while I eat lunch. Every time I finish an article and hit "back" it takes me to last Wednesday's online front page. If I hit "news" I get today's front page.

I was carefully formulating a list of presidential qualifications. So far I've come up with RD's list.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 28, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Martooni-it appears to have accepted my question.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I'm glad you enjoyed my Constructive Ambiguity, and were willing to take advantage of it.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 28, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"The successful candidate will have a working knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Unsuccessful candidates nevertheless may be offered the position."

Posted by: PlainTim | April 28, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I use the link in the front page of WaPo, Q&A: 3 p.m. EDT. It seems working fine for me. Hope your shipment went well and enjoy your postings.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 28, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

*test post*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Rev. Wright stirring things up in D.C. today:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/washington/politics-usa-politics-obama-pastor.html

Asked about another sermon in which he suggested the U.S. government created the AIDS virus to kill black people, Wright also did not retreat.

"Based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything," he said.

LL: If Obama is elected, I think Obama certainly can name Wright U.S. Surgeon General, don't you think? And Maureen Dowd thought Clinton was acting as Vlad the Impaler in her contest with Obama? I think nothing will drive the nail through Obama's metaphorical political coffin faster than Rev. Wright. What a whackadoodle nut job. I agree with Hillary Clinton--if I had heard these comments--were I a churchgoer, that is--I would have walked out of Rev. Wright's church--long ago. Does this so-called religious leader not read?

Posted by: Loomis | April 28, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

*post-test post post*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel highlights the importance of making decisions as a Chief Executive. Part of this process, it seems to me, is to be able to glean insights and alternative interpretations from many different kinds of people - even if they also hold positions you find outrageous. There are lessons to be learned everywhere.

The secret to leadership, I assert, is not to shout-down those who advocate some views you find outrageous, but to have the strength of character and the intellectual maturity to listen to such people, absorb that which you find useful, while rejecting that which you find rancid.

The alternative is to surround yourself with nothing but like-minded individuals guaranteed to reflect your own thoughts in each and every way. And I don't think we want that in a President.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

SofC said: "I don't think I messed up. Poop is both a noun and a verb, isn't it?"

It sure is.

That also reminded me of a semi-famous Redd Foxx joke about the usage of the words sh*t and f*ck.

"You never f*cked? Sh*t!"

"You never sh*t? F*CK!!!!!!"

Off to try posting a question to the chat again...

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I have a friend in our synagogue who is a knowledgeable professional and a decent, honorable guy. He also happens to have believed that Saddam Hussein definitely was behind 9/11, or at least complicit in it, and totally supported the initiation of elective war against Iraq. In his view, it wasn't pre-emption, it was a response. He accepted a load of utter hogwash, because his ill-informed evaluation of the character of the Iraqi tyranny made it seem credible.

Some years ago, I continually received mail from an organization whose goals I approve, but I have sometimes had doubts about their paranoid gullibility. Despite being an honorable and decent group, they had been taken in by a bunch of crazy nuts who claimed that the U.S. systematically abused and tortured prisoners of war, and had murdered men held in military custody. Laughable. Ludicrous. Unbelievable. Then it turned out that Amnesty International was right, and *I* was the gullible fool who had ignored reality, who refused to accept the truth because it was incredible in light of an ill-informed evaluation of our own government's policies.

Nowadays, I find that there is hardly any indictment of the U.S. government that I do not find at least potentially credible, so long as it could be technically feasible within my knowledge. The yahoos that are presently in office have terribly shaken my faith in the essential decency of my country and my countrymen, so that now I have to evaluate every imprecation as something our leadership *would* do, if only they were able. I find I can have no faith in my government, even after we oust the present gang of criminals. I see no reason why the rest of the world's government's should trust us, either. Even if the next President is a decent person, what guarantee is there that the office-holder after that won't be as bad as Bush?

I can't fault Rev. Wright's anger, and his cynicism. I think he goes too far, but only becauseI think he over-estimates the present level of tehnical capability. If it were technically *possible* to engineer an effective AIDS virus and distribute it within an 'undesirable' group, I no longer feel confident that it wouldn't be done. The only thing that convinces me this is not real is the technical difficulty of doing it, and the practical epidemiology of where the virus has been found and how it is seen to have become distributed (plus, the insuperable difficulty of maintaining such a conspiracy).

Our country did so much in the past that is abhorrent. We thought we had grown up. We thought our country had become better than that. And then we found out about Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, and the ability to hold a U.S. citizen indefinitely as an 'enemy combatant', and it shows we haven't come all that far and are maybe even back-sliding. Frankly, who can credibly blame Wright for his anger and for what he thinks of this nation? We have earned it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 28, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Okay... tried it again and same result -- Server Error.

Not "you used a bad word" or anything else helpful or accusatory. Not even a "tisk, tisk" or a raised eyebrow.

So I'll post it here:

"Aside from not being a jerk (or jerkette), I think any potential candidate for President should be able to tell us definitively, unanimously, unequivocally, and with great gusto, intestinal fortitude and poetic flair whether clouds are really hard and if so, what threat hard clouds might pose to our national security. Are the hard clouds in collusion with terrorist organizations? Are they with us or against us? Do they drop extra-heavy rain -- or worse, dirty rain? Will we need stronger umbrellas?

"These are all very important questions I hope you and other journalists will present to the candidates on behalf of an unreasonably paranoid public. Otherwise, you may be labeled "main stream media", which will surely bother you, and we may even be forced to pitch in to get you a respectable haircut.

"Your public awaits your opinion (and official Boodle t-shirts). ;-)"

-----

I wonder if it just doesn't like "jerk"? Or maybe it was "main stream media" that made it made at me?

No matter... if Joel finds my question here and thinks it worthy of Chat (pronounced "shat" as in "chateau" minus the "oh"), he can cut and paste as well as the rest of us. If not, it's all just pixels and ether anyway.

So it goes. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

In other words, Sci Tim, in this great conservative era the powers that be have preached that government is the problem, and then did a great job of proving it.

Mr. F and I have been talking about emigrating, somewhere south, like Toronto.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

science tim

When I read your comment, I felt such terrible sadness while reading your words. It was almost like finding out there isn't really a Santa Claus. I think people will sometimes say anything to carry their point,but I believe we have to decide about such things by using the yardstick of truth. And truth, albeit it good, can sometimes take our breath away.

In church we are taught that there must be confession of sin before we can ask forgiveness. I truly believe that works for a nation too. Because we don't confess our wrong doings, we continue to pile stuff on top of stuff, and it makes everything really shakey. I've always felt that our country needed to make that move so all of us could move forward on a new footing, and stop digging back in the past. The reason we dig in the past is because so much of the time we live there too.

Very insightful post, science tim.

You make several good point too, RD.

Posted by: cassandra s | April 28, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Rolling out the red carpet for Frosti and Mr. F, and jumping for joy at being considered "south" :-).

The only credential I would have for your president is that they know where Canada is and hopefully have visited before or have some knowledge of it.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I like the one in the middle

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4a/KS%2CMT%2CSD_in_Mudd%27s_Women.jpg

Maggie Thrett as Ruth Bonaventure

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

RUN!!! The mop's eating the dog!!!!!

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Hungarian-Puli/photo//080424/481/10fc6b8b3b5a4fe1b9db05a39d4317f2/;_ylt=Ag2X7pWroB7Io2luWhVG7B5paP0E

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ScienceTim, Cassandra & RD. The contrast between true leadership and what we've experienced the last few years is painful. There's one good thing about the calumny of the current administration. I (and some other people I know) have been forced to thoroughly examine the bases and justification for my love of my country, in order to explain to myself and the Boy what I mean when I say that some things are just unAmerican, and why it matters. Of course, while I'm all for living an examined life, I'd prefer not to have had the particular causes which made this necessary.

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

Funny you should mention emigrating, frosti. I was just saying to Mrs. M the other night that we could live like royalty elsewhere, especially *way* down south.

Toronto's nice and all (very clean Metro, if I remember correctly), but I'm thinking someplace that's never even heard of woolen socks.

Like Belize. Or Costa Rica.

I would love to make little doors for tropical fairies while sipping intoxicating libations from a coconut on a beach. I already know how to say "Ocho mas tequilas." Need to work on my rolling "R's", but don't need no steenking R's to order a tequila or five. Unless I was trying to order it in Seoul or Beijing.

Have I ever mentioned the Irish-named Mexican restaurant I came across in Gwangju (a.k.a. Kwangju) South Korea? Best dang kimchi and mystery meat wrapped in a tortilla you'll ever find. (You may wish you'd never found it an hour or two later, but it's dang good with a capital "dang" going down.)

And they sell high quality Samsonite luggage in the shop next door (or whatever name brand you prefer them to stamp on the faux-leather labels/tags).

(y'know... when I re-read my posts before posting them, I think my photo should be put into the dictionary next to the word "tangent")

Is there such a creature as a "tangentist"?

I think I may be one.

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. (Or perhaps, "Oy" would be better. Just got in to my desk after spending all morning with doctors, and am eating lunch -- a cold Checkers burger.

Haven't back-boodled except to note that bc passed along my note, and thanks be to him. Also, don't know if anyone's posted a front page alert, so if they haven't, I'm hoisting the bunker warning flag now. Anything containing a photo of Richard Nixon can't ge good news.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

In much of America, the Rev. Wright's associations with the University of Chicago Divinity School are enough to render him suspect. Liberals lurk at Chicago.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 28, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I know somebody who believes there are concentration camps in 11 states for whenever the shadow government may kick in case of crisis. She said she had it from somebody in Homeland Security.

Now, I was a bit skeptical as to the details of the plans, but I wasn't going to disagree with her, saying "under this administration, I would believe anything. Look at Gitmo bay."

After all, we did intern thousands of Japanese in WWII. Tuskgee experiment. Politicans are known to turn a blind eye to things, laws have been drawn up that disproportionately push due to race (just check out the sentencing requirements for crack vs cocaine). We have a president who has used cocaine and never served jail time for it. Yet Mayor Barry will be forever known as a crackhead.

You wouldn't believe how many conspiracy theories I've heard about 9/11. I had to tell somebody down in Florida that yes, the jet hitting the Pentagon was real, it was next to a major highway and half a million people saw it, including me.

You cannot say this syndrome of suspicion is isolated to one pastor who happens to be associated with a candidate you don't support due to your own biases, without unmasking yourself as a hypocrite. People like to point blame, especially over events they feel helpless to fight on their own.

I remember somebody continually pointing the finger of blame during the Helotes fires?

The crack epidemic in the 1980's happened in a culture of deregulation and weak fight on drugs. "Just say no to drugs." Tell that to all the babies born on crack in the 1980's.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the proof that there are no concentration camps is simple: If they really existed, half of us on this boodle would be in one of 'em. I have a hunch Comrade Martooni and I would be at the top of the list.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra... trust me, there *is* a Santa Claus.

He comes in many shapes and disguises and goes by various names, but he's out there and has friends in *very* high places. You can't keep the manifestation of the best of humanity down -- hope and love and innocence and fairness and all that good stuff that makes life worth living... that's him.

Some of our leaders (secular and religious) try their darndest to trip him up or write him off -- and us as well -- but as long as a single human is breathing and has the capacity to hope and love and be kind, Santa Claus or whatever you want to call him *will* be coming to town. With presents great and small.

But only if he's invited.

:-)

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

BTW and FYI, a couplde weeks ago, friend Don (he of the black helicopters) from I-270 posted a heads up meant mainly for me about a new PBS series called "Carrier," about life aboard the USS Nimitz. The first two one-hour parts (8 more to go) ran last night on PBS, and boy was it good. (Probably be re-running all week). It was good (nay, excellent) not because it was about a Navy ship, nor about aviation and fighter jets, but because it was mainly about the people on board, many of whom have relatively boring semi-civilian type job (either wholely or partially), such as cooking, cleaning latrines, etc. And yes, while there was a lot about fighter jocks, two of them were female, and the show focused on them (and how they were different from and the same as the testtosterone-soaked jocks).

One or two people commented that, since many of the 5,000 people on board were 18, 19, 20 years old, it was basically a glorified high school, with all the gossip and petty crap that goes on in high school, against the backdrop of these people coming of age in that Navy environment. One girl about 19 got gigged for being caught with alcohol; another, who said her father was a pimp and whose home life was horrible, said she joined the Navy to escape all that. And she was studying to get a promotion to petty officer rank, and she made it. Her main duty station was as an air traffic controller on the bridge working for and with the Air Boss (a.k.a. God on a carrier). Another kid said the name "Nimitz" was an acronym for "Never Imagined Me In This Zoo." One of the main characters was a 19- or maybe 20-year-old kid was in the ordnance department (motto: "If you ain't ordnance, you ain't s--t). His job was being one of the red-shirts on deck loading and and unloading ("arming and disarming") missiles and bombs on the F/A-18 fighters. His main story, though was telling about how he met his girl friend, and how she had gotten pregnant, and how it took him a couple of weeks to screw up his courage to tell her father, a retired military type. It was a very moving moment--one of many.

D@mn good show. D@mn good.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"When fascism comes it will be wrapped in a flag."

I've heard the concentration camp rumor too. Sounds like just the sort of project KBR would be perfect for. We have to be ready for when we need to round up the enemies of the state.

As someone who has driven through Mount Weather unexpectedly and nearly soiled his clothes at the stockpiles of para-military equipment, I find that such contingency plans being developed in the post-9/11 paranoia perfectly plausible.

Here's the list of concentration camps. The post round-up BPH would be at Camp A.P. Hill.

http://www.mindcontrolforums.com/cncia010.htm

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Fun site, yello. Have I ever mentioned my time in the NWO/ZOG? When we trained for our UN mission in Yugo in '94, we were initially at Twentynine Palms, then did a road move to Pendelton - all with UN flags and blue helmets. It caused quite a fuss amongst the conspiracy theorists (there was a theory amongst some of a UN army of occupation all squirreled away in salt mines waiting to take over).

Those salt mines were awful for my blood pressure. Also got into your clothes. Lots of chafing.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Tee hee. Joel said "titularly."

And thanks for the heads up Mudge (and Don). I just set a TiVo season pass for Carrier.


Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, maybe half the Boodle *are* in the concentration camps already. The half whose handles we don't know. Plus SuperFrancais.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 28, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

PlainTim, that would explain a lot, wouldn't it? Not everything, but most.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Tim, if half are already in the camps, then my nose is really bent out of joint. And twice as bent if they took SF and not me. Bloody idiots. Don't know what the he11 they're doing. This is no freaking way to run a totalitarian state. I've got a mind to write my Congressman. This is an outrage.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I tune back in just in time for my bailiwick! Conspiracy theories! I just collect 'em, folks, I don't believe 'em. Except Enron. They really did conspire on that one. Unfortunately, the internet has made a mockery of my fine collection. One website has all of mine, plus a jillion others. Now I can't sell my collection of conspiracy theories for dirt.

Did you really see the plane hit the Pentagon, Wilbrod?

Posted by: Jumper | April 28, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

And while I'm at it, poor Obama. I think he ought to change his campaign slogan to: "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" (Henry II, quoted in "Becket")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

You know they manufacture those lapel flag pins in Libya, don't you?

Posted by: Jumper | April 28, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I got three questions used in the chat. I was on fire. It helps that Joel is a much easier mark than that whiner Weingarten. You don't see Joel neglecting his blog just because he has a mega-article due for the Magazine. Not that Joel needs to bother with WaPoMag anyways now that he is Senior Executive National Bartender/Reporter.

I do get frustrated with the moderator that keeps insisting that Fo is not a town and then spells out the state.

Here is one comment that didn't get used and it's too good to waste:

"There's an argument that a campaign, with its insanity, its helter skelter quality and endlessness and exhaustiveness (is that word?), are a proxy for a presidency."
That would be the Survivor method (outwit, outplay, out-dirty trick). Would the debates be better if they had more physical challenges and immunity idols?

My other question probably came in too late to get the thoughtful consideration it deserved:

Isn't the real divide between Senators and Governors the paper trail, not the experience? Senators take much more extreme and possibly polarizing positions whereas governors tend to be compromisers and get to take credit for any legislation they sign even if they didn't fully support it at the time.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, to clarify: I was at the Pentagon 1 hour before impact and saw the plane later the same day, and smelled it, etc, along with thousands of other commuters.

I knew of people who were there when it hit (and got out safely)... including a canadian attache'. A coworker's father was in Rosslyn and saw the actual impact from a window.

I used to live less than 3 miles from the Pentagon and I smelled that *^&*^ smoke for 3 days, it was burning that long.

I met one of the people working on the rescue mission at the Pentagon, turning over rubble (He was sent to Afghanistan months afterwards.)

Yeah, for an impact I didn't witness live, it was as real as can be.

Whenever I'm flying back from East, I have been able to see the Pentagon as the plane goes down for a landing. You gotta see just how urbanized that area is from the air to really know that it would be crazy for a plane crash to be faked. It's next to many highways, and it's next to 2 major airports.

Of course, I'm not saying who flew it is who they said it was. (That still would have been a suicide mission). Nobody can know for 100% certain because there were no survivors on the plane.

That's fine conspiracy thinking, but denying a plane crash into the pentagon is just simply silly.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Good questions Yello. (Mine didn't get used, sniff.)

Mudge-it's great to see a documentary focus on all the people who make a carrier work, not just the pilots. I heard one of the film makers on radio yesterday and he said they spent 6 months aboard and really became part of the life of the ship. From the half hour I managed to catch last night, it showed.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't get into the discussion...

Demmit.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with your last, yello. A Senator or Representative runs an office, and a Governor, in the states such as Arkansas or Florida, with strong executive offices (unlike Texas or North Carolina, which have largely ceremonial governorships), runs an entire state government.

One could advance the argument, and I will, that governors are vastly different. Whatever successes Clinton had I think were partly due to his experience as governor. And although my opinions of the Bush clan are no secret, I see Jeb, grudgingly, as one of the few in that clan who has held a "real job."

About the only way to evaluate a Senator for President is to see how they have run their Senate office, and this is tricky. Johnson, although thrown into the Presidency, is a good example of a legislator who showed the country he knew how to wield power before taking office. He had lots of critics but I doubt any of them thought he was "unqualified" for the management requirements. Tip Oneal, and Moynihan, and Kennedys - heavyweights. I will leave as an exercise to the reader to rate McCain, Clinton, Obama on this scale. Seniority, however, sometimes seems an artificiality, imposed by byzantine rules.

To me this explains the value a Governor can have for a ticket, and yet also shows how grossly unsatisfying a veep position would seem for a former Governor such as Richardson.

We will have a Senator for President. No doubt of that.

Posted by: Jumper | April 28, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I got in the chat.. maybe it was my narcissism.

I was wondering who the funny person in Massachusetts was. That was crazy... changing, Fo, MA to Massachusetts. What's up with that?

Was that mostly who was writing from Seattle? And Aloha from Honolulu? I do see that bc wants a trapeze artist for president.

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Frosty, lots of other things also impressed me about the series. (1) Production values, etc.; the camera work was good, editing was terrific (sometimes in your minds eye you can see them in the cutting rioom, piecing the thing together, deciding what to keep and what to drop.) Also, it is often difficult to keep track of five or six different threads, but they made it look easy. They found interesting (not necessarily "typical" or stereotyped) people to follow, such as the girl who got gigged, or the girl from the ghetto who escaped it all to find her self on the bridge of a carrier directing air traffic control--I mean, jeez.

I looked at my watch: I got my first lumpy throat about 90 seconds into the show, and I don't tend to get lumpy-throat on that kinda stuff. So: great script. Very little rah-rah "patriotism" stuff. Great (up-to-date) music. Great everything, all the little pieces. Great vignettes (the "real" -- not a drill -- man-overboard situation, and watching the XO get really pi$$ed and say so, and not to the camera, and the mood of that whole segment when they thought there really was somebody who fell overboard (and would have died, most likely--90-foot fall). The total toughness of the command master chief.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

When I am president, there will always be a case of Dos Equis in the fridge, a dozen limes, plenty of presidential coozies, a bottle of Jagermeister in the freezer, and at least three different strains of the dankest buds a lowly staffer can find. There will actually be a youngster with the job of smoke procurer, whether it's legal by then or not. After all, we don't want our chief executive making decisions with an empty head, right?

Posted by: Gomer | April 28, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-what I did watch I had to catch in 90 second snippets. So easy to make me get all puffy eyed and sniffly when young sailors or soldiers are involved.

Mr. F was at Ft. Bragg last week and had a chance to run with a younger woman. She's coming back from an injury and he said he didn't know which was more emotional-getting outrun by a girl, or watching her pick which prosthetic foot she was going to use from the box in the back of her car.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. I'm late.

Posted by: White Rabbit | April 28, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Trying to make my on-kit comment: How about what president I would best like to know in a family or community way?

Teddy Roosevelt. Here is a bit of evidence from a letter he wrote to son Archie:

White House, May 17, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:
Quentin is really doing pretty well with his baseball, and he is perfectly absorbed in it. He now occasionally makes a base hit if the opposing pitcher is very bad; and his nine wins more than one-half of its games.
The grounds are too lovely for anything, and spring is here, or rather early summer, in full force. Mother's flower-gardens are now as beautiful as possible, and the iron railings of the fences south of them are covered with clematis and roses in bloom. The trees are in full foliage and the grass brilliant green, and my friends, the warblers, are trooping to the north in full force.

---
These letters can be read online at the Bartleby Books website.

TR loved baseball, flowers, birds, children, etc. My father and two of four brothers are hearty in the TR-way. Gotta love that TR established the national parks system here by setting aside Yellowstone. Bully boy!

Posted by: College Parkian | April 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, when they put us in the stalag, I hope you have the bunk on my right and martooni has the bunk on my left. Or cage. Or whatever.

And I want the prestigious law firm of Ivansmom, Ivansmom, PLS and SofC handling our case.

I hope bc is just outside the wire, with the getaway-mobile fine-tuned.

OK, boodle: who's good at tunneling?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

That'll be the day when they get all the boodlers. Surely there are untapped, or even tapped, SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) skills here. We don't need no stinking tunnels, nor passports neither.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Twas not me in the chat. I didn't have time to think up a good question, or place of origin.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Gomer,

You foreign swill drinking commie. In MY White House it will be good ole 'Merican made Yuengling in the fridge and Jack Daniels in liquor cabinet.

Error in '08.

Pour out a forty for our homie.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The rabbit died.

That's what usually happens when a woman is late.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Did you see what Joel wrote at the end of the chat?
"Tune in to the Achenblog for more discussion on what presidents do (amid the digressions, of course)."

Harumph! What's he trying to say?

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Curmudge -- what???!!! FTB ain't good enough fer u in the legal dept? U need 'em from outta state???

Geez -- can't cut a break suddenly. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 28, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Yikes! How many shysters do we have in the Boodle? They almost outnumber the gummint (non)workers.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, FTB, I forgot you made full partner. I am so embarrassed.

SCC: Ivansmom, Ivansmom, FTB, PLS, and SofC. Of course. Shoulda caught that myself. (Intense groveling follows.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't even find Yuengling down here! Might have to special order some, as it is a nice second to the XX lager, a nice German brew by way of our neighbors to the south. Who knew there were German brewers who settled in Mexico?

Posted by: Gomer | April 28, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget bill everything, the Hoosier lawyer.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 28, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, in the stalag, on the right hand of God...er, Mudge. Is there any Northern Lights in the bunker? Have to get a procurement specialist down there to take inventory...

Posted by: Gomer | April 28, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

SCCing my SCC: Ivansmom, Ivansmom, BE, FTB, PLS, and SofC, Esquires (and Esquirettes? Esquiratrix? Esquiratrixes? Esquiratrixae?), LLP.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Redhead alert, Padouk: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042800713.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful quote today by Alex de Tocqueville in "Democracy in America"

"It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones."

Think of that the next time you check what your lawmakers have been up to, such as outlawing truck testicles.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

This quote actually reflects the reason why I am much more comfortable with Obama's approach to lawmaking and improving life for people, than I am with Clinton's track record.

I note Howard Dean apparently reads Achenbach, he just started yelling for one or the other to drop out already.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say procurement specialist???

:-)

frostbitten, I'm sure Mr. F would have had someone's hide on the spot if he'd come across this...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/28/barracks.bragg/index.html

:-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke-this is what happens when the NCO corps gets stripped of avenues to get things done and everything depends on contractors.

Having said that, there is a tremendous building boom going on at Bragg. That more of the 1+1 barracks aren't yet done can be traced directly to the funds that are being pi$$ed away in Iraq. (Not even arguing the cost of the war, just the waste within it.)

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I hear ya, frosti, and of course I agree with ya. Sad that we have to agree on that, but there ya go. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I thought all those old barracks at Bragg were burned as training exercises for firefighters years ago. Like when Mr. T was a volunteer, and that's been more than two decades ago. Those conditions are disgusting!

Two baby boys brought their parents to dinner at my house this evening. They went to the pediatrician this afternoon and got a great report. P weights 8 lbs even, W is 7 lbs 13 oz. Their mama fed them and then they went to sleep so we could have supper. They were good and will be invited back!

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Yup, that was me who posted in the chat from Honolulu. Didn't think my question would make it but it did. My few seconds of fame!

Posted by: Aloha | April 28, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, well which one of us is in Norway?

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Here is just one of the many reasons I want to live in the Lowertown neighborhood in St. Paul. Carly Stipe, duct tape artiste, was one of the exhibitors in the semi-annual Lower Town Art Crawl last weekend. Take a look at her work here:
http://www.carlystipe.com/orig_designs.html

Even her business cards are made from duct tape.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

"Carrier" sounds pretty good, I'll have to try to catch it.

It was nice to get questions into two chats today: Joel's (ya got me, TBG) and Marc Kaufmann's re. the recent announcement of possible hot springs on Mars (since gone cold, I'm afraid).

Unfortunately, I received some sad news later this afternoon. A former co-worker passed away over the weekend, apparently by his own hand.

Phone calls this evening, and some writing to finish.

Then a glass of port, and some reflection.
Then to bed.

bc


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Ding Dong, the boodle's dead.

I did a stupid thing on Saturday night: slipped on a tiny bit of soap that I missed throwing into the wastebasket and forgot about ; walked into the bathroom while turning on the light, and boom.

Only two broken ribs and a lot of bruising. Lots of drugs, but they don't seem to be working.

I am cranking -- trying not to breathe, cough, sniff, laugh, sneeze, or move.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 28, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "cranky" not "cranking"

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 28, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeow! And you just had knee surgery too...

You'll have to demand a frequent patient discount at your hospital. Hope your broken ribs heal quickly.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, how terrible! Having to be careful how you breathe is an exercise in deciding if life is worth living. I hope you mend quickly!

If the drugs don't work, ask for something else.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

If duct tape is now an art medium, then I've been squandering my talents for many years. Never made a business card out of it, but I've used it to hold together a very worn pair of steel-toed boots and a 1970 VW Bus.

My dilemma right now can't be solved by creative use of duct tape. Being ticked off at the outrageous prices charged for bread -- just plain ol' enriched white, not the elitist ten thousand grain handmade stuff imported daily from a blind baker with a brick oven in Sicily -- I decided to give the homemade bread from scratch a try.

And the stupid dough is not rising.

The recipe says to give it an hour, which I have, and I have all night to give it, but I either got a bum batch of yeast or something is terribly awry. It hasn't done squat except sit there in its towel-draped bowl making snide comments about my politics and manhood.

The recipe says I get to punch it after an hour (which I'm really looking forward to), but the danged thing hasn't risen. It would be like punching a paralyzed fish floating in a shallow barrel. Where's the sport?

I'm going to give it another hour... our kitchen is a wee bit chilly since the windows were left open all day and night. I've since moved the glob of what I hope will be bread tomorrow to a warmer spot, but I never thought yeast could be so fickle.

Is yeast usually fickle? Do you need to sing it songs or something? Knit little booties?

I'm not giving up yet, though I may start punching it anyway just for the heck of it -- just to see if I can get a reaction.

If that doesn't work, it might make a good roofing patch. We'll see.

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, yeast can be fickle Martooni, but it certainly could be just the cool kitchen. Don't abandon it though, it could make a passable crispy crust for pizza.

I always "proof" yeast before using. It won't help for this batch but here are some good instructions
http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Proofing-Yeast/Detail.aspx

And, even if your recipe says otherwise add any salt with the dry ingredients instead of in the liquid yeast mixture.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Maggie! Hope the meds kick in and you heal fast. I nearly tripped over one of my elderly neighbor's cats that I'm feeding while she's in the hospital.

martooni, getting bread to rise is somewhat of an art. You can put the oven on its lowest setting and try it there if all else fails. Yeast can also be done in if the water you use to dissolve it is too hot.

The best bread I ever made was with raw milk, practically straight from the cow, when we lived (and worked) on a farm in Montana. Now I leave the breadmaking to Mr Ml. He makes beautiful bread, and enjoys doing it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, it may be too late for this but try turning the oven on for a minute or two, til the racks feel warm but not hot, then turn it off and put the dough in the oven.

Maggie, how terrible for you. I hear that broken ribs are very painful Slyness is correct, not every pain pill works for everyone. Get something else from the doctor.

bc, I'm so sorry. That's got to be an awful feeling.

I'm sure I'll be in some pain tomorrow but just want it to be over so I can get on with things. Not going to the hospital until 10 am. I hope I can sleep late as I sure can't loll around drinking coffee and eating breakfast.

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

Maggie - hope you recover quickly.

Bad Sneakers good luck tomorrow - my mom had similar surgery and recovered quite quickly.

bc sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

TBG belated Happy Easter and congrats on becoming an Great Aunt.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks frosty... I added the salt to the "wet" mix stage and not the "dry". I wasn't sure how to detect the "proofiness" of yeast, so me and Bean just yelled at it and called it a "wuss" to see if we could provoke it into proving itself. It never did rise to the occasion, but I think it may have passed gas in our general direction.

Mrs. M has now moved the glob to the stovetop and put the oven on "imperceptibly low" to see if a small dose of radiant heat might help.

I figure we'll end up with something we might be able to make a bread-like product from, or we'll invent a new life form.

Either way... lunch!

Posted by: martooni | April 28, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

bc, sorry about your loss. I have been around too many self inflcted death not to care. In the end ,the bystanders have little to do with it. It's just a pain to have been a close witness to so many unnecessary deaths.
-one old accomplished professor with many letters after his name (was he sick? I do not know). Ferrite classification is still done in his name. His wife was then a provibcial court judge but became a supreme court justice in the sane year. The event was ruled as a gun cleaning accident. Yeah, right.
- Co-worker's wife (ugly, 8-year old daughter found the body).
- Older co-worker. His son, same first name and same birth year as myself , walked into am incoming subway train at the stupid age of 16. This was the the year of the Olympics in Montreal, my old friend has very mixed feelings about the olympics. The boy was his only son. He takes special interest in our family, I understand why.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 28, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Oddly enough, Yuengling has a brewery in Florida. In fact, I never heard of it until recently. It was absolutely bizarre to spot Widmer at the local Wal-Mart (made in New Hampshire, I think).

I brought home about 5 pounds on on-sale pasta. There have been near riots in Italy over the Great Pasta Crisis, which isn't as publicized as the Global Rice Crisis.

Maggie, thanks to you, I've been patrolling the house.

Spiegel has a diagram of the infamous Chancellery Bunker. Sure enough, it had a really well-built section and a not-so-good one. I was looking for news on the Austrian basement-bondage scandal.

I guess baking yeasts alive is no more inhumane than putting them in too-hot water or drowning them in stomach acid.

Finally, I'm beginning to look at redoing the kitchen. On the plus side, Sears has a heap of discontinued appliances for sale. On the negative side, Ikea's display kitchens are overwhelming. And the experts on how to lay out a kitchen make it seem an art requiring vast experience and enlightenment.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 28, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

bc, sorry about your loss. Suicide sucks, in general. I have been around too many self inflicted death not to care. In the end ,the bystanders have little to do with it but it leves you feeling bad and sad about it. It's just a pain to have been a close witness to so many unnecessary deaths yet there is nothing, or very little, one could have done to prevent it. .
-one old accomplished professor with many letters after his name (was he sick? I do not know). Ferrite classification is still done in his name. His wife was then a provicial court judge but became a supreme court justice in the same year.
The event was ruled as a gun cleaning accident. Yeah, right.
- Co-worker's wife (ugly, 8-year old daughter found the body). The guy (late 40-ish) retired.
- Older co-worker. His son, same first name and same birth year as myself , walked into am incoming subway train at the stupid age of 16. This was the the year of the Olympics in Montreal, my old friend has very mixed feelings about the olympics. The boy was his only son. He takes special interest in our family, I understand why.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 28, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Suicide is a very hard experience. I wish that people would get the help they need in order not to suicide.

Alas, it's not always available, and I don't mean just suicide hotline and counselling. Nearly 1/5 of people with brain injuries suicide within the first 5 years after injury/diagnosis.

I was just reading a book by Paul Mason, called "Head Cases" He is a brain injury case manager and writes for Discover.

It's not always easy reading emotionally, as it covers a few different cases with very different prognoses. One chapter is about a man who survived a suicide attempt and was brain-injured as a result.
And, there is one chapter on brain injury survival in Iraq (98%, better than in civilian hospital), often associated with multiple traumas. I don't know how they will fare long-term.


Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the double post. I was informed my post was held for review by the blog owner. Fat chance.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 28, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Whew, managed to watch two hours of Carrier tonight without getting too weepy. If you've missed the first 4 hours jump in as soon as you can.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 28, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll try to follow Frosti. I visited the USS Enterprise the week before her return into service (96 or 97?). Clinton the First was scheduled to come in and set her loose the week after our visit. The palce was a zoo. WE got the full lecture on the steam catapult and the rather unique hull penetration seal for the prop shafts but waht I remember most was a funny kid. He was in charge of replenishing the Coke machines, of all things. And some firefighting duties as well, of course. The kid was a hoot. Not a 12th grade diploma in sight but he was very funny.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 28, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

bc... sorry to hear about your former co-worker. I've been in a similar situation more than once, and it does make for a very reflective time, to say the least.

Some people are just determined (or destined?) to jump from the train, no matter how good or bad their seats are or what gems they carry in their bags.

All we can do is try to help the survivors with handshakes and hugs and sincere smiles.

Casseroles don't hurt either. :-)

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

SCC My typing skills aren't improving. The humour was to be a kid filling pop machines in one of the more potent weapon systen ever designed instead of manning AA cannons or the flight deck...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 28, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

lots of bad news on the boodle tonight. Sorry about your coworker, bc. And sorry about your ribs, maggie.

Makes my problem about trying to configure an Airport Express device pretty small potatoes.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 28, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

In Portland (Ore.), I was somewhat spooked by the daffodil-logo sign on the Sellwood Bridge that urged anyone considering suicide to please call. The bridge's sidewalks are far too narrow, so it was always tempting to wait for the bus rather than walk the thing.

That bridge needed replacing a decade ago. A quick check shows that buses can no longer use it, while options for environmental assessment are finally being assembled. So much for Portland's reputation for getting things done. My from-a-distance hunch is that Sellwood residents would just as soon see the bridge collapse and not be replaced. Less traffic.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 28, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The things I learn from the boodle.

I always thought that Yuengling was a Chinese beer like Ling Ling and Mei Xaing.

So sorry, BC, about the death of your colleague. Good luck tomorrow, Sneaks, and thanks, everybody, for all your kind words about my ribs.

Gotta go. Time for more meds, which I finally think are beginning to work.

Happy Monday everyone!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 28, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, you ain't the only one feeling the bread pinch:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042802509.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008042802532

I've gotten bagels from the place mentioned in the lead-in.

So, it's victory garden time-- don't let the Depression hit first.

Soybeans I would not want to see become THE king crop. A lot of the population is getting allergic to soy and more are doing so by the year, because it's used everywhere-- even newspaper ink, plastics, etc-- like corn (also an allergen).

Wheat at least is grown purely for food, even if the gluten-intolerant can't handle it. Also, note that 15 million acres of wheat are being subsidized that were never grown? (I don't blame the farmers for profiting, by the way-- but if those profits go to buy expensive seeds, well..).

Incidentally, while you're growing your victory garden, lobby to change the town laws to allow livestock.

We may need a chicken on every roof and a jersey cow in every garage at this rate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_agriculture

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 29, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Goodmorning Boodle! I'm up listening for my HS daughter's feet to hit the floor. Woke her up a half hour ago. Last night she was about to complete a major art history project on the computer. When she got up, little brother got on the computer and POOF, project disappeared into thin cyberspace. She loves her little brother dearly, but not right now. Anyway, it's a small lesson on the nature of computers. I think we've all been robbed by them at one point or another. Hopefully, never by our siblings.

Posted by: DandyLion | April 29, 2008 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Maggie, hope you're healing up and feeling better very soon! *gentle HUGS*

bc, losing someone is always rough, my friend. *HUGS*

And our friends down Norfolk way need our best wishes and more today...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042800559.html?hpid=topnews

DandyLion, the project might still be there, hope your daughter can recover it.

Robinson's on-point again, no great surprise:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042802102.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Will, not so much. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 29, 2008 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey You All,

In keeping with the topic, am wondering what the degrees of separation are between what the President, the Governor of Virginia & the Mayors of Suffolk & Petersburg & officials of surrounding coundties do after a devastation like yesterday's tornado. Does the President really do anything, except maybe a fly over or a stop for a photo op?

Soctty, Robinson is such a interesting opinionist, a man I never bothered to read before this primary campaign, and Will, a writer I no longer bother with, strange, but predictable, although some of you have assured me he is happy in his baseball.

I hope our boodlers in NC Cassandra, Slyness, (and all other Tar Heels) are safe this morning and that no tornadoes crossed the state line.

Since Norfolk and Tidewater are my roots, and know that that region is more accustomed to hurricanes, am wondering if they had any warning at all? Prayers for all....

Posted by: VintageLady | April 29, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, please forgive my mangling of your name, please!

Posted by: VintageLady | April 29, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Between Saturday night and last night, we had almost 3 inches of rain. That's wonderful beyond belief! I hope it keeps up, moderately of course.

Kim, are you around? I'd like to hear a report on how things are in Hampton Roads. We had a tornado watch at lunchtime yesterday, but nothing like what happened in Virginia. Will be praying for those folks.

It's cool this morning and cold in the mountains. If the flowers I bought over the weekend freeze there, oh well, I'll just have to replace them.

Everybody have a good day!

Posted by: slyness | April 29, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: dmd | April 29, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

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