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Who's The Elitist?

Becoming an elitist is not something I worry about. It's more like my life's ambition.

Just once I want to go into a fancy restaurant and not obsess over the prices. Or wear a suit and tie and not feel like I'm choking. I've never been able to dress appropriately. Last time I felt really comfortable was circa 1975, when my uniform was a pair of overalls, no shirt.

The other night I was invited to a very nice, extremely fussy restaurant in Georgetown, and it was great except for the fact that I was expecting at any moment to be exposed as an imposter, as someone who had snuck into the place disguised as a plausible patron. I kept thinking the Mayter D would pull me aside and say, "We know who you are. And Taco Bell is the other side of the river."

I wish I knew what to do on a sailboat. I don't really like sailing because I never know how to tie the knots, and the owner of the sailboat is invariably someone who, on the water, turns into Captain Ahab, who takes his skippering super serious and starts barking commands with words you don't understand, like "Tack to the starboard aft!" or "Skank the jib!" And you get wet and seasick and the water is deep and filled with toothsome creatures. And you'll find yourself heading farther and farther from land, and Ahab will be feeling more confident of his powers as a mariner, and will begin threatening to go all the way to Bermuda. Sailing always winds up as a hostage situation.

We shouldn't be too quick to demonize elitists. I'm pretty sure Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an elitist at some level, and he did more for poor people and the elderly than any president in history.

And those very folks -- let's be delicate here in our phrasing and just refer to them as "the rabble" -- also revered John F. Kennedy, the noted president and elitist. They loved his charm, his youth, his beautiful wife, the way he knew how to look good in a tux.

Hillary Clinton calls Barack Obama an elitist, but she's not exactly someone who drinks the water from the fingerbowl. She hasn't lived in anything other than a mansion since the first Reagan term. When she and her husband pick a vacation destination, they always ask, "Where can surround ourselves with the most rich people and Hollywood celebrities? And shouldn't we poll-test the destination first?"

Sure, ideologically she's not an elitist. She sees poor people and disadvantaged people and thinks: I can help them. And they can vote for me. So let's not call her an elitist ("opportunist" does come to mind, however).

What's interesting about this is that Obama, in his stump speeches, sometimes talks about how his wife urged him to run for the presidency while they were still almost normal -- that is, while they still knew what it was like to have to deal with plumbing problems at home, and pay off student loans, and all the other ordinary stuff that doesn't happen when you live in a politician's bubble. When, we might suppose, he knew the price of milk without having to be briefed by an aide. McCain and Clinton have both lived amid an entourage since the early '80s, whereas Obama, as recently as 2000, had trouble getting into the Democratic National Convention.

[more to come]

[Note: I'll be doing a chat at noon about my Outlook story. You can post a question in advance.]


Via Memeorandum, here's Robert Reich: "Bitter? You ain't seen nothing yet. And as much as people like Russert, Carville, Matalin, Schrum, and Murphy want to divert our attention from what's really happening; as much as HRC and McCain seek to make political hay out of choices of words that can be spun cynically by the mindless spinners of the old politics; as much as demagogues on the right and left continue to try to channel the cumulative frustrations of Americans into a politics of resentment - all these attempts will, I hope, prove futile. Eighty percent of Americans know the nation is on the wrong track. The old politics, and the old media that feeds it, are irrelevant now."


Lunatic Express now in South Africa -- good stuff.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 14, 2008; 9:51 AM ET
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Announced in the old prior to returning here. How elitist is that?


Posted by: dbG | April 14, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning All!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 14, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I have a problem with the folks who claim So-and-So doesn't know the price of milk. I have no idea how much milk costs and I buy it nearly every day. I buy it without looking at the price. We've got to have milk in the house no matter what it costs. It's one of the few things that works that way for me.

Now.. how much is a bottle of Diet Cran-Grape? How much is the pound of ground meat I bought yesterday? I know these things because I shop for them.

I don't shop for milk.. I buy milk.

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Guess everyone's found a more elite place to go.

Elbows off the table, everyone!

Posted by: dbG | April 14, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure "skanking a jib" will get you arrested in many municipalities.

I have a troubled time with the concept of elitism. On the one hand, it smacks of snobbery. On the other hand there is nothing wrong with setting high standards for yourself. For many, acting as if you are "too good for something" is still viewed as an unforgivable sin. Besides, if you want a President who prides himself on being jus' plain folk, well, just look at who is in the White House now.

I really can't get worked up over the "bitter" quote. I think this is a case, much like Hillary's infamous "cookie" comment, into which far too much is being read. For Obama, I believe, has a very good point. Much of America is angry and frustrated with Government and the way the country is going, so they look elsewhere for meaning and inspiration.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I hate it when people misspell my name...

With Much Love, Marié

Posted by: Marié | April 14, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"I was expecting at any moment to be exposed as an imposter, as someone who had snuck into the place disguised as a plausible patron"

Wouldn't this be a first great line for a novel?

Posted by: dr | April 14, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm really enjoying the Lunatic Express. I'm just not sure if I have mastered the comments process. I tried submitting a comment this morning, and it got all snooty by insisting I put in special letters. I hate technology what puts on airs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

On kit, sorta: If I were elite I could already OWN THE ENTIRE SET OF SHARPE's everything by Bernard Cornwall.

Don-270 plus Mudge, let's develop the save your marriage program that integrates JANE AUSTEN with the Commander novels and the Sharpe books and videos.

Common ground: guineas, plus fours, cut-away jackets, empire waists....etc.

Imagine the role playing; imagine the companion website where we sell costumes, etc.

Overalls? Overalls! I wore them non stop between about 1976 and 1981......even had a railroad pinstripe set.....sigh.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 14, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Back in my college student days I made frequent trips from school in Austin to my folks' home in Fort Worth. This necessitated passing through Waco and driving past the Elite Cafe. The cafe had a large elevated flashing neon sign whose message was "Elite...Eat...Here." At some point the message became garbled and began to read "Eat...Elite...Here." Hillary Clinton should drop by, perhaps they are still serving.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 14, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

or a great first line for a novel.

Posted by: dr | April 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If the elite is our worst problem this summer, perhaps we shoud take off and have fun. Not worth the bother.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | April 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Lunatic Express really is a bit lunatic today.

Since I have something of a background in Range Management and a degree from a cow college, I claim to be certifiable non-elite. Even if I inadvertently got to see Toru Takemitsu in person, once.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Aarrrgh, lubbers.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 14, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Milk is about $3.50 per gallon at my local grocery store. I know this only because I want to be ready for the Senatorial hearings on a future cabinet appointment when they try to find out if I am a man of the people. Or is it $4/gallon? I forget, right now.

The price of black dress socks and men's cotton underwear, however, eludes me. I know only that when I see the price, I enter some kind of blackout state. Upon recovery, typically in a distant corner of the emporium, I find myself filled with a sense that I must not purchase new editions of either product until the old ones have become completely non-serviceable. I see this as getting some use out of my neuroses.

And yet, I know how to sail. I know how to tie knots (although I never got the hang of a sheepshank or a monkey-fist). I'm a little rusty, but I believe I could splice a line. And I own a sailboat. Which I have never put in the water.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Missing you guys something awful. Getting my computer fixed, and it's taking awhile. Kbert, check your email box.

I can't give the subject any commentary here. Just reading your kit JA, here at the library, I started laughing out loud. Of course, everyone turned around and looked as if I had stabbed someone. It is funny, and I need funny this morning. Bless you folks, and hope to be talking real soon.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | April 14, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

CP, do you like all of the Sharpe novels? I think the ones in Spain are great, but once Cornwell started going backwards in time and writing about Sharpe in India, I lost interest. At least partly because Sharpe needs Harper as a foil -- I don't find him as interesting on his own. And partly because the India events aren't how I imagined them from references about them in the Spain books. But maybe I should try again; I know there are some I haven't read.

Posted by: bia | April 14, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I do hope that the mere mention of the words 'sailing' of 'knot' elicits a nice bluewater story from Curmudgeon!

Posted by: evenflo | April 14, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha, kguy... "We serve anyone."

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I do hope that the mere mention of words such as 'sailing' and 'knot' elicits some of Curmudgeon's most entertaining bluewater yarn!

Posted by: evenflo | April 14, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I must admit I would have gone for toothy instead of toothsome. But perhaps my fixation on standard denotation is staid and old-fashioned. One might acknowledge Joel's use of 'toothsome' as the work of a great stylist, subverting expectation and playing with language. Or he sails where there are mermaids. Whatever.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

yes, I'll do the preview in the future AND be patient with the submit button...

Posted by: evenflo | April 14, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Bia, I agree! However, I am smitten totally with the Sharpe thingies so I would read them if he somehow time traveled forward to Iraq.

Harper is very important; Casting, send in a charmin',bold, Irisher sergeant, will ya now, for color, for charm, for that accent of blather and derrin do....

Posted by: College Romantican | April 14, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see you again, Cassandra! I hope your computer gets fixed soon.

Posted by: pj | April 14, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Last night was the dedication and ceremony for the $12M Main Plaza redo in front of our historic San Fernando Cathedral--the plaza now billed as "the heart of the city." Citizens heard Mayor Phil Hardberger call the gravel-and-"interactive fountain"-affair the "plaza of the people." Lovely night, by the way, with a strong, cool breeze.

Linda Hardberger, the mayor's wife, who was raised in both Italy and Mexico City and is the daughter of the newsman Edward P. Morgan and former journalist herself, spoke in Spanish and called the refurbished patch of ground "la plaza de la gente."

The plaza may be for the people, but the private party to the left of San Fernando Cathedral just before the speechifying at 7:30 was for the hoity-toits. One needed a ticket to enter, as we found out. I had been back in the area before and knew that there was a small cafeteria and restrooms. I asked if I might enter the party courtyard holding the city's monied elite last night to use the restrooms. I was told no. Seems the distant great-grandaughter of El Santo Fernando can't even get access to facilities to pee. I'm just not elitist enough, I guess.

We were seated on the stage as ceremonies kicked off. And I do mean seated on the stage. Not in chairs as were the dignitaries, facing the crowd. Behind the giant loudspeaker that was at the far right front corner of the stage. We got a behind-the-scenes look at everything. We had plopped ourselves there after buying some strawberry raspas and some peanut M&Ms, and were amazed that no one shooed us away, although the rest of the crowd had to stand three feet away. We figure that people thought that my husband was some sort of employee responsible for the sound equipment.

On Saturday, a local history profesor, Dr. Felix Almarez of UTSA, wrote an op-ed urging the city to restore the origianl name of the plaza--La Plaza de las Islas Canarias. He also mentioned that the first name for this town was Villa Fernando--not San Antonio. And I, the distant great-daughter of Ferdinand III, canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671, wasn't even relegated a seat for dignitaries in the section of white folding chairs directly below the stage, although the city residents of the Canary Islanders who are the descendants of the city's first colonists filled many of them, colorful in their historic costumes.

A social faux pas on the Mayor's part? I did speak to Linda Hardberger, briefly, after the ceremony, saying that I regretted not bringing her father's book for her to autograph. I sent her a letter last year asking for the autograph and she replied, saying her letter to me would have to stand in for the autograph. She was too busy. I had mentioned to her that my Loomis cousin, Life photographer Loomis Dean, had been the first on the scene of the sinking of the Andrea Doria, having taken many pictures of the survivors. Linda Hardberger is, as is commonly believed, the ship's most famous survivor.

I'll never fit in. Never.

I've been thinking of that Boodle about epitaphs that you all did many moons ago. I think I have mine now--"Her roots were royal and all she got was a lousy genetic disorder."

Tonight I travel just six miles to hear Nobel prize-winning geneticist Mario Capecchi speak about gene targeting.

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Joel answered my question. Hint: I'm not "patrick."

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Cassandra! I look forward to he near future when your 'puter is repaired.

Posted by: jack | April 14, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

pss.. wilbrod?
bionic ears at

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 14, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Interesting story of new things at Gettysburg

We have a great number of people who stay in Hagerstown that go to Gettysburg with many of them not knowing that another battlefield is just down the road from Hagerstown.

Antietam sits in Southern Washington county near the town of Sharpsburg MD.

I was on a tour of washington county last week with some of the other service industries of Hagerstown and we toured just a small portion of the battlefield. But I have been many times before and enjoy the many hiking and biking trails.

My Mom who is doing great(Thank You)told me something that rings true for most of the civil war battlefields. The Confederates named the battles after the streams and rivers nearby (Antietam,Bull Run) whereas the Union named them after the towns nearby(Sharpsburg,Manasas),Just an interesting little factoid.

I look forward to checking out both Antietam and Gettysburg this summer.

Now back to your regular programming!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 14, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

gwe, isn't it the opposite? Union = Bull Run (and since the victors write the history books, that's the more commonly used name today), Confederacy = Manassas.

Posted by: bia | April 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, CP, Patrick O'Brian was a great Jane Austen fan and said that the second Aubrey-Maturin novel, "Post Captain" was written in part as an homage to J Austen. And could any character be more Janeish than Sophie Aubrey's mother Mrs. Williams whom Stephen describes in "H.M.S. Surprise" as "a deeply stupid, griping, illiberal, avid, tenacious, pinchfist, a sordid lickpenny and a shrew"?

I also have read and enjoyed Cornwell's stuff, although not as much as O'Brian. His descriptions of land warfare are an interesting contrast to the sea based narratives. Also interesting to compare the British and French armies and the tactical differences between an army of professional soldiers led by an officer corps of (mostly) elitists who purchased their commissions, and a minimally trained conscript army led by officers (again mostly) chosen on merit.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have never read any of the Sharpe novels. This, even though I have known three Royal Green Jacket exchange officers.

Speaking of elite, the second of said officer had one of those Brit hypenated names (but was a very decent fellow). The RGJ in general was very un-snobby by Brit standards. The Blues and Royals, lately of Prince Harry fame, set the bar high in that regard.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Here's the "Why Things Are" article mentioned in the Outlook online discussion:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Still catching up but I believe Heinlein foresaw the Internet in 1951. (maybe somebody else beat him to it but...

Posted by: omni | April 14, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Jet packs are not such a great idea. But a personal aircraft in which the jet engine primarily provides propulsion but doesn't need the power-to-weight ratio required to provide lift -- that might have some hope.

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

Shriek, that's a very on-topic article for the last kit. I liked that he explained the process of training his brain to interpret the signals the implant was giving him. Less nuanced presentations of cochlear implants act like you can have surgery and magically become hearing. He didn't explicitly point it out, but it makes sense that if he -- who was using his hearing for spoken language all his life -- needed this time and practice to figure it out, it's harder or impossible for deaf adults whose brains haven't ever processed speech sounds to figure out what to do with signals from the implant.

On the social influence front, the real action is in implants in deaf kids and infants, because if they've got hearing parents and the implants provide them with enough input to acquire spoken language, they'll probably never learn sign language. Which means that just as signed languages have gained recognition as real languages, they're in real danger of dying out altogether in another generation or two. The signing Deaf community was up in arms about the issue not so long ago, but I'm not on top of what current attitudes are like. I'm sure Wilbrod knows more than I do. One more example of not universally positive social consequences of technological development.

Posted by: bia | April 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else having problems getting Joel's chat to update?

Anyway - gwe, don't forget the Civil War battlefield right up the road from Scottynuke and I, the Monacacy. For you DC natives, it's right on Rt 355 (aka Wisconsin Ave, aka Rockville Pike, aka, well- you get the point) just south of Frederick, MD, where 355 crosses the Monacacy River. There's a new HQ for the battlefield park on the north side of the river.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think the most arrogant and elitist politicians are those who "dumb down" and talk local when they're with "the people." George Bush's impression of a Texan blue-collar guy makes me nauseous. Hillary has middle class roots and when she starts talking up her hot water free vacation home I also think she's pushing it, even though I think she's infinitely more connected to regular Americans than Bush is.

FDR never tried to change his patrician accent or his intellect -- but people sensed that he really cared about him, and they absolutely knew that Eleanor Roosevelt, with her very upper class ways really cared.

Meanwhile, Bush with his regular guy persona has done everything possible to rob the poor and the middle classes of every comfort and security they have and give it to his wealthy friends. But he sure knows how to talk religion with tears in his eyes.

Posted by: ssolomon | April 14, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Chosen men in green, hey SoC. Thanks k-guy for details. Can't you just see the new weekend in domestic Amerikay? Dear, let's flip to see if we watch Jane A first or Sharpe's Eagle....then switch. Tenderness ensues....fripperies and reticules and dimity and chemises etc.

Off to copy tax forms and mail them to PAY THE MAN.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 14, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Very nice chat Joel. I liked the way you used the questions to expand the themes of the article.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Regarding my 1:14: yes, I know that small jet aircraft actually have been built and operated (I am bravely writing this before refreshing to see what comments I may already have elicited). I mean something kinda practical and minimal, rather than exotic and (dare I say it) elite. Think Buzz Lightyear's flip-out wings, more than the jet-powered BD-5. Something in which the fuselage primarily consists of the human body. A flying motorcycle more than a flying sports car. For you Marvel comics fans: the Falcon and his jet-powered feathers on the edge of his mini-wings (but you would think that bad guys would hear him coming).

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I disagree with your assessment regarding small personal aircraft.

Until I'm convinced that people can handle operating transporation devices in two-dimensional travel while operating an iPhone, appying makeup, drinking coffee, eating, reading, answering email, sending and receiving text messages, composing their shopping lists, rearranging their Fantasy Football roster for the week and yelling at their children, I don't want these folks to have a third Dimension to operate in.

Highway fender benders and traffic are bad enough, but having a small aircraft plunge into my house because someone was trying to dump stock online while commuting to work -- that's not OK with me.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I have difficulty understanding how one reaches the point of being elitist - to me elistism is a choice - an attitude and one I hope I do not adopt. You can be wealthy and successful and not be "elite", you can be "elite" and be very poor in spirit.

Posted by: dmd | April 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse


I've never had to keelhaul a landlubber before. Don't make me start now, Achenbach.

(I can see I'm gonna hafta take Joel and his family out on my boat -- and not as hostages, although about five minutes ago that thought DID cross my mind -- so he can see what non-elitist boating/sailing looks like. In fact, as many boaters know full well, the number of landlubbery boneheads out there on the water on their jet skis and go-fast gas guzzlers is nothing short of appalling. On a random summer Saturday, the Coast Guard and the Marine Police round up more mangy critters than the SPCA and the highway dept. roadkill clean-up squad put together. O would that boating in coastal waters WAS still elitist!)

I'm with TNG; I don't shop for milk, I just buy it. In fact, there are things -- such as boxes of cereal -- that I deliberately do NOT look at the prices of, because it will raise my blood pressure. (I do the majority of food shopping in our household, and I'm a pretty good shopper if I do say so myself; bought hamburger for 99 cents a pound at Safeway the other day.)

And I'm also with K-guy: the O'Brian novels are HIGHLY Austenlike in their portrayals of English and French society. And nothing could be more Austenish than poor Stephen's chasing of Diana through (if my count is right)12 or so novels. And that's to say nothing of Jack's various and sundry problems ashore; seems every time thje poor man sets foot upon firm ground he runs into trouble, including running into misstresses and his illegitimate (and very black) son. 'Pon my word!

Actually, veering back onto the topic of the kit, hadly a day goes by without me loosing more and more respect for Hillary; there is nothing she won't do or say, and I'm thoroughly disgusted with her. The only good news is that I'm still convinced Obama will be the nominee, and I'm not going to feel much sympathy for Hillary when the party's over. The only question will be how much damage she's done to Obama and the Dem party.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Tim - Remember Jet Man Yves Rossy?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 14, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

TBG did you get your email problem resolved? Just found out my email is not working that well either - seems to have stopped around 8:45 this morning.

Yoki, I replied which hopefully you will get. I received your message, I am sorry and completely understand.

Posted by: dmd | April 14, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Another Jet Man video -

Posted by: Bob S. | April 14, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC: TBG, not TNG (or TNT, for that matter); TBG is the one who is dynamite.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Bob, that is extremely cool and very scary. Not for me. But, that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind, except I would prefer the ability to land from controlled flight instead of parachuting.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about the Obama thing the more irritated I am at the way political partisans will pounce on an ambiguous statement and then refuse to accept an alternative interpretation. It happens time and time again. And it is simply unfair.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

All caught up. Can't think of a thing...

Posted by: omni | April 14, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

There is a good Disney film from the early 90's about jet pack flying called "The Rocketeer." Along with a fine cast including Alan Arkin, Paul Sorvino, Timothy Dalton, and (yum) Jennifer Connelly and a lot of lovely period 30's vehicles and aircraft, it features a character modeled on Rondo Hatton of the Creeper fame. Hatton was a local boy born in Hagerstown Maryland who developed a glandular (pituitary IIRC) disorder in adulthood which distorted his once handsome face into a nightmare of ugliness. As he aged the condition intensified the distortion. Hatton was recruited to Hollywood in the 30's and played goons and monsters in B serials and Sherlock Holmes flicks with Basil Rathbone until his condition caused an early death.

Despite it's good qualities, "The Rocketeer" had the misfortune to be released in direct competition with "Terminator 2: Judgement Day." Ahnold steamrolled the jet pack flick and it never got the audience it deserved.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 14, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Like TBG and Mudge, I couldn't tell you the price of milk, I just purchase when necessary. I've had sticker shock with other groceries, though; the price of flour is mind-boggling, and Mr. T's favorite popsicles have gone from $3.69 to $4.49.

Hey Don, I know that a guinea is 21 shillings. I have a book on the period that says a pound then is worth about $100 in today's money. Inflation, indeed.

Posted by: slyness | April 14, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Can I start a chorus of agreement with bc's observations re: drivers moving in 3D who can't even handle roads without endangering us all. A good bit of rotary wing flight training is actually planning training. Where would you land right now if you had an engine failure? Assuming personal jet packs would have a take off/land anywhere option people would have to do a good bit more thinking than they do now. Heck, Floridians already think the front lawn is a perfectly good parking spot.

Oh there I go, being elitist. Stop me before I say something about snowmobiles, sofas, or weight benches as patio furniture (fill in your own states to match). I'm looking for a citation, but for the moment let me share something I noted last week at a presentation by a public health researcher. "Middle class Americans have more in common with middle class Europeans than they do with poor Americans." To my way of thinking the best person to bridge the divide is one who knows there is one, and isn't afraid to say it.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 14, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Wilbrod blogged a bit about the "Jet Man" last year -

Posted by: Bob S. | April 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

It's a beautiful day here!

Joel, sailing is an art and anyone who mnasters it isn't an elitist...they are obsessed. I had three sail boats over the course of 8 years. I still can't speak all the lingo. But I was firstmate--hubby did the real work. Sailing on the Chesapeake was so much fun. I miss it...but not the bottomless pit of expenses.

Take advantage of your friends like all my neighbors did. Don't be a fraidy cat.

Posted by: eidrib | April 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

While I wouldn't characterize Obama as an elitist, I can see why people might. In fact, Senator Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) commented that Obama went to Punahou School, indicating that Obama was schooled in a very affluent environment. The school connotes a very elite class of people who hobnob with the old and new money in the islands. Very influential and successful people are associated with the school (i.e. Steve Case) and the tuition for K-12 is over $16,000 a year. While this is true (Obama did go to Punahou and it is a school for those with money), he went there on a scholarship and lived in an apartment in a working class neighborhood. I don't know for sure what his upbringing was like but I wouldn't doubt that his lifestyle today is much different than the one he grew up in.

Sen. Dan (as we call him) grew up very differently but also in a very different time. With his position in politics and his current lifestyle, I am surprised at who is calling the kettle black (although Sen. Dan did apologize to Obama, I'd call him an elitist before I'd label Obama one.

Posted by: Aloha | April 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I mis-typed the link. Here is the correct one:

Posted by: Aloha | April 14, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of Joel's mention of tinkering in today'd Discussion, I was reminded, forcefully, last December that ecological modeling is very largely a matter of "tinkering"--checking out your assumptions by use of mathematical tools that can be as straightforward as playing around with Windows Excel. Until recently, I had no idea of the vast number of things you can do with the humble spreadsheet program.

Yale Press has released "The Craftsman" by Richard Sennett, taking a western rather than Zen approach:

I never got around to reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", but I've been cuddling a couple of nice new Japanese garden tools to remind myself that many craftspeople make their livings doing exactly the same thing all day, every day, faithfully and with the highest quality. That hand hoe isn't going to fail unless I run the lawn mower over it.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The best boats are other people's.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Georgetown residents can perhaps alarm their kids by trying rowing or whitewater kayaking. I did NOT master the roll, alas.

A truck with an Eight on its roof drove right by our office last week.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

For Martooni and anyone else from the last boodle who sees irony in the Pope receiving a 21 gun salute despite his opposition to the Iraq War. The salute is accorded to all heads of state and is actually peaceful in origin. It is a nearly universal sign of peaceful intent for warriors to render their weapons unusable by way of greeting. If all your host's guns (cannons) are visible in the harbor in noisy, but peaceful, salute they aren't sneaking around your backside to do you in.

Sean Bean=Sharpe, always and forever.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 14, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, I don't think anyone actually thinks of themselves as "elitist." It's all relative.

I think an elitist is someone who wouldn't think twice about dropping $170 on the jeans pictured in WaPo Style section. Someone else might think I'm elitist because I don't buy my jeans at a thrift store. See what I mean?

I've gotten a shock lately with grocery prices, mostly because I don't usually do the shopping (other than Costco). $1.49 for a freakin' can of peas? $3.99 (on sale!) for soup? Jeez Louise, now I know why Raysdad buys things on sale in mass quantities.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"The Rocketeer" originally was a limited-run comic book by Dave Stevens. Find out more here:

I happen to own a copy of the Pacific Comics Rocketeer collected edition. My sister has, I believe, the original comics. Jennifer Connelly is attractive, yes (although my attraction is doused by remembering her pre-age of consent role in Labyrinth); but you have not seen anything until you see the pure distillation of the visual gratification of male sexual desire that is embodied in Dave Stevens' depiction of Betty in the comic book. My heart begins to pound, just thinking of her.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the backup, frosti.

Personally, I think everyone who thinks someone else is elitist is an elitist themselves.

I don't have that much to be elitist about myself, I'm sorta Elitist Lite.

Or, Eliteist, if you prefer.

To that person who asked in Joel's chat if anyone still works on their car anymore - well, I do. It does help to know something about electronics and computers as well as auto mechanics and engineering, though.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man. Dave Stevens died just recently, from leukemia.

Does retaining an interest in limited-run and obscure independent comics qualify one as elitist? Or a man of the people? Or a total dork, unacceptable in any social milieu?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

And what about using words in English like "milieu" and knowing that its plural is "milieux?"

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I think it makes you one interesting guy.

Posted by: Aloha | April 14, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Storyteller Tim, if you don't care what people think, you are elitist. If you do, you are the dork of the people.


Posted by: slyness | April 14, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm still reeling a bit over John Wheeler's passing - the guy was a giant in the field of theoretical physics.

Would it be wrong of me to suggest that he's gone to the Big Black Hole in the sky?


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The only time I look at prices is for comparative purposes. If there are two brands of grapefruit juice, I will look at which brand is cheaper, but the absolute price doesn't register. (Well, actually, I know I paid $3.39 for a half gallon, but I'm worth it.)

I check the price of green beans versus broccoli to pick which one to get. I never buy grapes until they go under $1.50 a pound.

But pricing necessities milk, bread, toilet paper, or Häagen-Dazs coconut sorbet is pointless.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Frosti thanks for the background on the 21 gun salute, the noise would still bother me greatly.

I could never make a good elitist as I do not like pomp, circumstance and tradition.

Posted by: dmd | April 14, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Tim, see Jennifer Connelly in "Mulholland Falls" and then tell me about her lack of appeal.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 14, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all, I'm back. We had a splendid weekend. Much wine was consumed, many songs were sung, much poetry was declaimed, many Thoughts, Great and Small, were shared. Was it an elitist weekend? Well, there weren't many of us, and we tended to be pretty well educated. However, we aren't all necessarily well compensated and there was lots of that Caring stuff going on. Also there were some kids. I'd say more geeky, or even pointy-headed, than anything else.

Now I really need a nap.

Great Kits in my absence, stimulating Boodles, and a splendid Outlook article.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 14, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I saw this article on the front page, and thought of (a) the ScienceKids' efforts in writing fan-fiction, and (b) the collected adventures of Mr. Stripey:

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I have learned over the past few weeks that it's worth paying attention to prices. For example, milk is cheaper at Costco and Wegman's than at Giant and Safeway. Ditto ground beef. Wegman's always has tomato puree for $.69 a can. Etc. Of course, to take advantage of this knowledge and not eat up the savings driving all over town, you have to have a system. Which, sadly, I do.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 14, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Another Smithsonian official bites the dust--and we'd never have known about it except for a FOIA filing. Tsk, tsk, Smithsonian.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think that an elite restaurant is one where the food is excellent; presentation is attractive; and service is congenial, swift, and unobtrusive. An elitist restaurant is one in which the description of the food is unintelligible, long-winded, and fails to give a notion of actual flavor; presentation is artistic and colorful but involves little that is actually edible (e.g., colorful Pollack-patterns of indiscernible sauces); and service is stuffy, involves absurd phrasing ("is the meal suitable to your palate at this hour?"; "very good, sir"; and so on) and is terribly obtrusive. Elite restaurants may be astoundingly expensive, but don't have to be (depending on the cuisine and locale). Elitist restaurants are limited to an elite, because they are astoundingly expensive.

In other words: an elite restaurant is one to which I might return for a special occasion, if I can afford it. An elitist restaurant is one to which I would never return, whether I could afford it or not.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | April 14, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse


You went to Princeton. And you lived in Gainesville where you could have walked to class at the flagship institute of higher learning in the state. You're stuck being an elitist no matter how many columns you write about the joys of drinking home-brewed coffee in your car.

And many Ivy Leaguers suffer from imposter syndrome. Especially when their ruder cruder coworkers win fancy prizes and they don't.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a pretty reasonable definition, C-Tim; using it, I don't think I've ever eaten in an elitist restaurant in my life. (Although I did eat lunch once in the Cosmos Club downtown here, but I was a guest and guest speaker; otherwise they'd never let hoi polloi like me in in a million years).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Bia, you covered it very well. Cochlear implants at this point are nowhere near real hearing, and when they go off, you're stone deaf. I've heard of people who wound up crawling into bed and staying there because a thunderstorm made the cochlear implant impossible to use and there was NO backup communication with the family; lipreading was poor without the cochlear implants.

While I do share concerns about sign languages, I believe that at this point, any family who believes a cochlear implant entails them to fully deny the child's disability is going to learn very differently by the time the child is grown up.
Unfortunately I've befriended so many people who grew up with "enough, but not enough" hearing and they had profound social problems because their disablity was not acknowledged academically or fully understood by their families due to poor counselling. I can remember the details including how many considered suicide on multiple occasions, etc.

Today we are beginning to understand auditory processing disorders in children with intact hearing, and how they can affect the children socially and behaviorally.

I hope such research will drive a greater emphasis on being sure hard of hearing or unilaterally deaf children do not suffer academically or socially because of their invisible handicap.

The one bright note I have seen from 15, 20 years ago, is that many young deaf people with cochlear implants in fact are given the opportunity to learn sign or other means of communication.

Baby sign is becoming a parenting vogue, and I remain optimistic that sign language will continue to have a role in society throughout my lifetime.

It won't be the same as today, but then today the cultural acceptance of sign is so much better than that of 30 years ago.

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

I heard an opera singer on "Desert Island Discs" years ago on WETA-FM. She said she preferred to listen to classical music but also enjoyed getting down and dancing to popular music in nightclubs. She said "I'm an elitist, but I'm not a snob."

George Plimpton tried out for the Detroit Lions and wrote a book about it. I can't imagine either William F. Buckley, Jr. or Gore Vidal doing the same.

Posted by: pj | April 14, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I've worked in the museum world for many years now and never, ever got to stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel or rode in a limo for a work related event. I've worked for some prominent people in the industry but never saw nor experienced any of them having a work lifestyle like that described in the article Mudge linked to. More often then not, I was the gofer doing the running around for big donors. Maybe I worked for the wrong institutions???

Posted by: Aloha | April 14, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Nosy Post reporter found out about another Smithsonian firing via FOIA. Hiring a limo to go from the Castle to the Natural History Museum???

I'm blessed with hearing. The only moment of actually appreciating it came when the tip of a palm leaf got in my ear and punctured the ear drum. Friday of Labor Day weekend, of course. Spending a couple of months unable to locate sounds was a strange and disturbing experience. Especially when listening to the local orchestra.

Finally, I don't know how it is now, but Trader Joe's used to have the cheapest milk in Portland, a very milky city (highest national per capita ice cream consumption). The Reed College students who frequented the store might have been snobs and their college was elite, but they were overworked, underfinanced, and looking for cheap nourishment. Of which more was available at the adjacent produce store. Piles of Lambert cherries in season!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I understand that cochlear implants cannot give you superhuman hearing, and you might not really want it. But what about inhuman hearing? Cochlear implants in a person of ordinary hearing could be used to create sensitivity to some detectable phenomenon or phenomena that is inaccessible to ordinary hearing. For example, sensitivity to infrasound or ultrasound could be very useful in some areas of mechanical diagnosis or scientific research. Sensitivity to local magnetic fields. Sensitivity to the concentration of odorless gases. A workable sonar ranging system to assist the blind. In principle, these goals could be accomplished with ear-buds feeding the ordinary ear, but that's not quite the same as fully integrating the capability as an augmented range of sensitivity.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss 'Mudge's post on the Smithsonian official. Shame.

I take Joel's Princeton experience as opening up a valuable slot for a worthy student desperate to become a Gator. He's old enough that UF would probably have accepted him. Florida's population growth is such that in today's environment, Joel might have been sent to the state university in Pensacola.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Could people hear what dogs hear?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The learning period to cope with cochlear implants makes it especially clear that augmenting hearing directly is not the same as sticking an earbud into your ear. It would take time to learn to interpret a new range of hearing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

A few blind people already have sonar, SciTim.

The problem is born-blind people don't have a pre-existing spatial sense and can be poor at localizing sound without training. The same would go for 'inhuman' hearing.

I cannot benefit from a cochlear implant, but I would benefit from a tactile hearing aid and have been wanting one for over 15 years.
Unfortunately they seem to be pretty much extinct (FDA regulates them as medical devices) and no audiologist has THOUGHT to mention that those exist.

For the blind who have problems localizing sound (hearing loss or other reasons), an haptic device might provide useful feedback for sound localization skills.

Or even a more rapid clicking device for echolocation.

All of those would be "inhuman" senses, but building on known sensory abilities.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This seems appropriate for the boodle....

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hi Joel Achenbach this is a non-elitist unlike you and Barak Obama. Both of you, sound and according to your writing, seem to be elitists and arrogant; but mostly arrogant. Therefore, don't try and portray John McCain and Hillary Clinton as elitist. I know how afraid you and others in your industry are to say anything derogatory about Senior Obama. I also know that he being black has absolutely nothing to do with it. The reason why Obama is where he is today, is because of your and others in the media, are so afraid to say ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THE PERFECT ELITIST, who's running for office of our great coutry. Now let me say it again and again. Ninety-nine percent of your media members are there for the money and not for the TRUTH. Why because you and your fellow writers throughout this country are all AFRAID as to what would happen if you try to expose the positive and negative views of Barak Obama.
I'm not a nut or an elitist and/or arrogant as you. What's fair for one must be fair for another: John and Hillary.
You know Mr. Achenbach, Barak is no perfect being as you pretent to be.

Posted by: cencs | April 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Hi Joel Achenbach this is a non-elitist unlike you and Barak Obama. Both of you, sound and according to your writing, seem to be elitists and arrogant; but mostly arrogant. Therefore, don't try and portray John McCain and Hillary Clinton as elitist. I know how afraid you and others in your industry are to say anything derogatory about Senior Obama. I also know that he being black has absolutely nothing to do with it. The reason why Obama is where he is today, is because of your and others in the media, are so afraid to say ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THE PERFECT ELITIST, who's running for office of our great coutry. Now let me say it again and again. Ninety-nine percent of your media members are there for the money and not for the TRUTH. Why because you and your fellow writers throughout this country are all AFRAID as to what would happen if you try to expose the positive and negative views of Barak Obama.
I'm not a nut or an elitist and/or arrogant as you. What's fair for one must be fair for another: John and Hillary.
You know Mr. Achenbach, Barak is no perfect being as you pretent to be.

Posted by: cencs | April 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dave, let me explicate the concept of the profession and the labor of the creature known as a "hearing ear dog."

If by "hear", you mean receive essential information as a result of such privileged canine sensation, then yes, with training one may benefit from such audiometry.

Audiologically, if you mean to attempt to directly access such sensation reserved to the canine threshold of excellence, without also the olfactory and visual studies accorded therein, I vouchsafe the according threatening fruits of such amateur auralizing:

1) Screaming in pain at vacuums and a lot of fans, also known in canine parlance as "barking"
2) Hearing your family and neighors continually fart, without the olfactory acumen to know what the heck they've been eating to make their digestions sound like dyspeptic cows.
3) Near lunchtime, you find yourself getting distracted at meeting as you attempt to track the sound-trail of the ice cream truck and figure out when you can dash out to catch it. Same goes for schoolbuses, etc.
4) Finding that your ability to localize sound is worse than before, without the additional richness of being able to localize individuals by olfactory accents or expanded visual fields.
5) Finding that people really do all talk in an annoying deep mumble that they think makes sense to everybody around them.

Now I have exacerbated the mainfold symptomology of inappropriate canine auralizing, it is time for me to quit the big words and go pee on a tree.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 14, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Zap 6:01, please. Once is enough.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Elitist? Joel, did you say such bad words about McCain and Clinton? For shame.

You should have said they're busy sucking at the big-business money tit as that captialist sow is busy grinding down on the faces of the american worker if you want to enhance your socialist credos.

Elitist is such a foppish word and does suggest that the person would grimace and faint if they saw what really comes out of a cow besides milk.

Except, as we all know, politicans not only know what comes out of cows, but in fact, routinely shovel it to the public.

I guess Hillary is right. Obama is elitist if he's not quite ready to shovel it out as fast and as heavy as Hillary is.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll own up to being the chatter who asked about "hard science fiction" - since I haven't read much sci-fi since Dune...some William Gibson, and Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson) has been sitting on my bookshelf for a decade waiting to be read.

Now, I was trying to be cute with my name - Porch in the Other, Wash - but I ran it all together as Porchintheother - and the Wapo left off the state altogether. Sigh...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 14, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Did we make the front page again?

{* looks for bunker key under fake rock *}

Cencs... I think Joel would be the first to say he's neither perfect *nor* an elitist, though he would have every right to tell you your persuasive writing skills stink. If you're going to rant, you should at least make an attempt at coherency. It's also helpful not to attack those who's minds you'd like to change.

Just sayin'.

{* oh crap... that wasn't a fake rock. Wilbrodog!!! *}

Posted by: martooni | April 14, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Mostly!

Good for bc on the car-ability. I think that many activities might qualify, including KNITTING! The idea is some sort of hands-on ingenuity. I can make patterns from clothing and measurements. That is a sort of hacky-handiness that counts.

Read this loooooooonnnnnnnnggggggg definition of hack here:

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Boodle moment to report. Just now I was back-boodling. The phone rings.

The call-display was on-kit: "Elite".

Sadly, I wasn't been called up. Just some darn sportswear company calling about some team t-shirts we ordered.

Hey CP

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

(musing while sniffing tree-mail)

"There goes yet more of those humans talking in those darned annoying deep mumbles again. They sound peeved.

I had better start playing deaf and licking myself clean in case they're planning to summon me for bathtime. "

What? Somebody said something? Who are you, anyway, pal? Look, a bird over there!


Posted by: Wilbrodog | April 14, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Nearly done backboodling.

As a general observation, I think that if a person is ever tempted to begin a sentence with "I'm not a nut", they should think very hard about what they're saying.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

SoC that was me, the knitty-thready post.

Off to pick up CPBoy from band. THEY HEAD TO TORONTO on Thursday. Apparently, you Canadians ADORE a gospel choir and a steel band....and some of the African American marching band drum line traditions.... Be afraid. Be very afraid. (in a good way)

Posted by: College Parkian | April 14, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

SoC that was me, the knitty-thready post.

Off to pick up CPBoy from band. THEY HEAD TO TORONTO on Thursday. Apparently, you Canadians ADORE a gospel choir and a steel band....and some of the African American marching band drum line traditions.... Be afraid. Be very afraid. (in a good way)

Posted by: College Parkian | April 14, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Soc, That they don't want no fancy funeral, just one like ole King Tut?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

My Religious Life
Jim Culleny

I was Catholic,
but was not universal enough
when I was.

I was Protestant,
but did not protest enough
when I was.

I was a Transcendental Meditationist,
but was not transcendent enough
when I was.

I was a dilettante Buddhist,
but (unlike the lotus) I failed to bud
when I was.

Now as a Taoist
in an inscrutable plan
I'm most content, because
it's nothing I can really talk about
if I am.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 14, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful pome, Frostbitten.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Slyness's 3:40 hit the exact center of the bulls eye.

I've been called elitist before. I'm not sure why, as I know nothing of the Punic wars, nor read Clauswitz, or Shakespeare for that matter, nor Austin nor Tolstoy nor lots of other stuff. One thing I have noticed, is that when someone calls someone else an elitist, they expect that person to start crying like a little girl. Oh, boo hoo, you called me elitist.

I decided to not respond in such a manner. I may be an elitist, but I am not a know-it-all. Anyway, my form of elitism has more to do with "from each according to their abilities" and an appreciation that "elite" and "elect" have a similar root. That is, no one is elite unless they are elected. No divine right.

Posted by: Jumper | April 14, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Like insulting someone by calling them a Liberal, eh Jumper?

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

yes CP, it's true that Canadians have eclectic taste in music... especially Toronto. I used to love the blues bands from Chicago that graced the stage of Albert's hall many moons ago... what a treat!!!

I am not certain there were many "elitists" in the crowd, but I certainly stood out like a sore thumb... not that I was wearing overalls with no shirt...

... ah, the good ol' days!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 14, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice way to think of it. With all the elite charges flying about here, it's time for me to make a disclaimer.

In real life, I'm heavy, but here I'm e-lite.

And now I'm going out now to embrace the unbearable eliteness of being.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, TBG, you linked only to the graphics, and it didn't have the mouse-over feature. I would never have thought you (of all people!) would do such a thing! I hope you don't get your geek license revoked over this.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Oops, and I just linked to the main page--here's the permalink:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

CP, there is a band from Baltimore that attends our music festival every year, very much in the African American tradition they have become fan favorites - not an easy accomplishment in the home town of argueably the country's best marching band.

Are there any public performances available for CPboy's band?

Weather looks spectacular for the weekend so if possible would love the kids to hear the band.

Posted by: dmd | April 14, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

DMD, will ask at the parent meeting tomorrow. How is the pollen count?

They will go to the zoo on Sat....and to Niagara on the way home.

AND, Medieval Times dinner theater, which as YJ can tell you is also between his house and mine....but I bet it will have a Canadian sort of derring Dudley DoRight.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 14, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me I just had a major slap the head V8 moment forgot one child's birthday this weekend, another going to a birthday party and a 1st communion.

I have been to the Medieval Times in Toronto - fun evening. With the last start to spring pollen count is still pretty low but here is a link for the weather channels pollen report. Saw the first daffodil today and trees are just starting to bud out - temps high 60's for the weekend - but can cool quickly if the breeze turns off the lake (usually late afternoon).

Weather forecast

Posted by: dmd | April 14, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Kb, love that cartoon. This one kind of reminds me of the boodle somehow.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

TNG: The Next Generation; yep That's SONofG...

TBG, I was gonna ask you a question about .MAC. or is it .mac What is it?

But then I remembered, I'm a block from an apple store.

And then I was....Um I forget.

Oh Yeah, I was watching B5,When, I, inexplicably remembered TAXES. (thncs to desktop

TurboTax asks way too many questions. I swear, next year I'll pay ten times the price (49 or 490) to have some one else do it. Software cr@p

Oh, yeah, another thing.....DON'T LET ME procrstinate so long.....

I went searching??? I found an important TAX Document Envelope that I didn't kpo ieaeovh ihom

That gibbereis is "
even know I had"""

sdhv i, sotijm

typing is so tedsiouslu probmle meatiic on this keybiictch,,,,

i;ll try to fininsh tomAM




and slash / slash/ slashg


Posted by: omni | April 14, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with your struggles with taxtime Kakfa, Omni.

I think you'll wake up a new man tomorrow. Do try not to frighten the neighbors, and who knows, you could have a future as a poet just like archy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 14, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart being all micro-elitiche:

Thanks for the xkcd links and all that other stuff

Posted by: DNA Girl | April 14, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Oops soory

Posted by: inmo | April 14, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

What made me laugh was when Hillarity Clinton called Obama an elitist. How is that for the leftist elitist pot calling the kettle elitist.

Posted by: Parnum | April 14, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't feel elitst,but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night...

We had a busy weekend. I did the obligatory spring yard work, but left a pile of oak leaves in the front yard that hasn't moved since November. Our son had a belated birthday party at the local wrestling arena. It's set up in a pole barn a little larger than the ring and can be reserved for a party for a very reasonable fee. I had this urge to either careen about the ring and clothesline someone, or cast myself off the top rope from the corner, executing the perfect flying pile driver.

Posted by: jack | April 14, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

CP boy should have a good respiratory time in TO. Unless the summer smog already started that is. It's a tad too early for the tree pollen and the snow mold (that disgusting spiderwed like substance growing on grass under the snow) should have been destroyed by the rain and then the sun we had lately. I have a co-worker who is sensitive to that stuff and he is suffering now, but this is Ottawa. The real Upper Maine. Hamilton and Toronto are squarely in the banana belt, the snow has been gone for a while.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 14, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to figure out just what it is about Hillary that bugs me so much. Basically, it comes down to three adjectives she's been tossing around recently to describe Obama.

Condescending, patronizing and -- of course -- "elitist".

When I watch her deliver a speech, I feel like I'm being lectured by someone so convinced of her own superiority that she has no patience for questions or interruptions (except softballs from supporters or cued applause). And you damn well better agree with her or she'll turn you to stone -- or worse yet -- call you "out of touch" or an "elitist".

It's not just her way or the highway. It's her way or you're 1) a foolish, naive person to be chuckled at by her and her supporters, or 2) you get the "shame on you!" treatment.

That whole Bosnia sniper thing -- "I misspoke". Yeah, right. Wanna sell me some swampland next?

I think that "misspoke" was not only condescending, but patronizing and elitist as well (CP&E, for short). I may have fallen off of several wagons over the years, but I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

However, she gets the grand prize for CP&E by accusing the Obama camp of blowing things she's mis-said or mis-done (or exaggerated or fabricated) completely out of proportion and are otherwise playing dirty political tricks on her.

That's just rich.

Posted by: martooni | April 14, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

>>> Condescending, patronizing and -- of course -- "elitist".<<<

Exactly, martooni. I can no longer watch or listen to Hillary, she seems to perpetually have an eyebrow cocked and a superior sneer.

I am happy to report I CAN still listen to Obama.

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

We are in our own way all elitist. Whenever we point our fingers at another and do our "tsk tsk tsk" act, we proclaim our elitism. When we "claim" to be more comfortable in overalls than a suit & tie, we're proclaiming elitism. When we laugh because someone may not know the price of milk (but what if they do know about stock derivatives, loopholes, and other financial things?), we proclaim our elitism. And when we declare with certainty that I am, you're not, that's elitism. Okay fellow elistists - time to storm the Bastille! Or the barn. Either way thar' milk in them thar fields.

Posted by: Tess | April 14, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

You'll hardly believe this, but a COUGAR was shot and killed in Chicago, just miles from the Loop.,0,98147.story

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 14, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

We people seem pretty good at locating things by sound, at least if we're in a proper setting and don't have to compete against owls or bats.

Someone's already invented high-frequency sound that's obnoxious and painful to human teenagers, who still hear at those frequencies. The middle-aged note that the annoying kids aren't hanging around anymore, and are relieved.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 14, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I am thoroughly disgusted with the "bitter" kerfluffle. This piece by Michael Chabon, while it doesn't directly address it, helps me to forget about it for a bit, at least. Gorgeous writing, about Pittsburgh, baseball, bridges:

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 14, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

As a thoroughly average person who owns all the Sharpe novels I was feeling pretty good after CP's post; then cencs put the icing on the cake.

Hey, Cassandra's back! Hi!

I haven't been able to access the interweebs all day, I don't know why and I'm terrified to turn my darn 'puter off.

Dast I?
I dast.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 14, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I watched some of Sen. Clinton last night on the compassion forum, not much. I caught Obama later on. The questions were very good.

(transcript here:

So I had to also check the transcript for Sen. Clinton's part.

I'm not any clearer than I was last night where Clinton stands faithwise. So I'll attempt to do a neurolinguistic exercise and look for buzz words to contrast the two.

"Challeng*" Clinton 10. Obama, 1
"God" - Clinton 19. Obama 9
"grace"-- Clinton 9. Obama, zero.
"Authority"- Clinton 3. Obama -zero

Church- Clinton,1 Obama- 20
"communit*"- Clinton, 2. Obama 10
Value* Clinton 2, Obama, 7.

"Ethic*"- Clinton zero. Obama 2 (+ 1 ethos)
"Evolution"- Clinton zero. Obama 1
"Scripture"- Clinton zero. Obama 1
"science"- Clinton zero. Obama, 3.
education- Clinton 2. Obama, 6

"Faith"- Clinton 20. Obama, 24 (different meanings)
tradition- Clinton, 1. Obama, 3

Biblical allusions:
Clinton, 1 (Esther)
Obama, 4 or 5 (Bulwark aka "rock"; trials and tribulations, cling to the good, brother's keeper, Good stewards of the land)

sex*- Clinton, 0. Obama 4 (note abortion and AIDs were both pitched to both candidates)
love- Clinton, 3. Obama zero.

Bottom line-- they sure don't think or experience faith the same.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. Spent another couple of hours wrestling with my computer. Turns out my Verizon link is OK; it's my computer thats got glitches, two in particular. One is that my Internet Explorer browser has become corrupt (I just love the word "corrupt" near anything remotely Microsoft). Another is that I am unable to turn off my Windows XP firewall; it gives me a message saying it is unable to show its settings, so it is permanently stuck in the "on" position.

Anybody any advice? (No, TBG, much as I'd like to go buy a Mac, I am stuck with all this *&^%$#@&^%$ Windows software, the b@st@rds.)

I am running currently on Firefox Mozilla, which seems to take forever to load, but once it is up it is fine. My own theory (referring back to the previous kit about technology and the future) is that all computers and everything about them are works of the Devil, and we are all doomed. (Some people are "glass is half full" types, others are "glass is half empty" types, others want to know where the missing half went. Me, I think the glass has fallen to the floor and has shattered into a thousand knife-like slivers. GGRRRRRRRRRRRR.

(Deep breaths. There, that's better.)

I must go to bed now. 'Night, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 15, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Goodness, gracious, Mudge. Doomed, yes, indeedy. And by our own doing.

Re: HRC I was going to say she has become a troubling figure, but I'll say what I really think, instead. SHE IS A HABITUAL LIAR. (there, that's better)

Ever since the Elite/bittergate began, something in the back of my mind wanted to surface, and it did, finally, so here it is, all the way from the 1940s.

Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat:

If you young'uns have never heard a recording of The Big Apple, click on the side bar (in red) just for fun.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | April 15, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, that thing is not right! Sorry.

Old Time Radio has it, hopefully.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | April 15, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

150-lb cougar? Yowza... that's a lot of cat! I'd nervous about taking on a 35-lb cat, even though I outweighed it by a factor of five (or so). Heck, I've had a five-pound cat make me wish that I'd just left it alone.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 15, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Tax done
probably wrong
IRS AT my doOr

NnO WwWait


Posted by: ni | April 15, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: inmo | April 15, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Prolly, not work safe

but really

HIPS don't ...lie

belly dancers:::::


Posted by: UhOH | April 15, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D.... I believe it.

If you build a place with ample food and low risk of hunters/predation, they will come. Fear of humans is not inborn, but learned.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

I would say my aunt was an elitist. In the '60s, only the rich had cars. My uncle had a car and a trading business. They were the upper class. When my uncle and my aunt visited us, my uncle would yak with my father and my aunt would yak with my mother. During a visit, I mother was visibly pi$$ed after my aunt left.

Apparently, my aunt had said something like "bamboo door should match with bamboo door." (That proverb came from the old country. Where we were, nobody had bamboo doors.) I think the topic of their yakking was my eldest sister who was of marrying age. What that proverb meant was that my sisters should marry poor rubber tappers like ourselves and not try to marry up. I don't know whether that remarked did it or whether my sisters really didn't want to tap rubber the rest of their lives but none of them married a rubber tapper. They had made a point not to marry one.

Posted by: rainforest | April 15, 2008 3:18 AM | Report abuse

We don't have hypermarkets that sell things in bulk. Prices of stable foods have gone up since a couple of months ago. Grape from Australia used to be between US$4 to 5 per kg but now it's about US$6 per kg. Certain brands of butter had gone up as much as US$1. Most of our milk comes from Australia and New Zealand. They've only gone up 10%. In general, all things have gone up at least 10%. My favourite ginger biscuit from Belgium went from US$3.50 to US$4.50. Guess I won't be eating that anymore. Not like they have zero calories or come in bulk.

Posted by: rainforest | April 15, 2008 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Milk is $4.00 a gallon, gas is $3.60+ on Oahu but $4.00 and up on Maui. Lettuce is almost $3.00 a head and cereal is almost $5.00 a box sometimes more. If I paid too close attention to the prices of staples, I'd have ulcers so I just buy milk from Costco and Safeway and try not to look. Living in paradise is costly, we just trudge through and pay the money. That and live three families to a house.

Posted by: Aloha | April 15, 2008 3:57 AM | Report abuse

UNESCO burning books? 100,000 books???

Posted by: rainforest | April 15, 2008 4:46 AM | Report abuse

I've seen better essays, believe me. And don't get me started on the misleading headline...


Never did get to see JA's discussion yesterday, the transcript wouldn't load. Oh well, today's another day, isn't it?

*wandering-off-to-prepare-for-another-round-of-fun-and-frolic Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 15, 2008 5:09 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Scotty, Boodle.

Well, seems my browser made it through the night.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 15, 2008 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Goood morning, everyone!

So nice to have you online first thing in the morning again, Mudge. We've missed you!

I think I'll go see babies today. I've been carting around my nephew's Flat Stanley for the past week, and need to take pictures of him with the boys. Those of you with elementary age children will understand.

Posted by: slyness | April 15, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Increased worldwide food prices are starting to worry me. Nothing good comes from hungry angry people.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 15, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... no one, I repeat, no one, should be using MIcrosoft Explorer on the Internet. Mac or PC (although there hasn't been a new version made for the Mac for years; I guess MS didn't notice that market share creeping up). In fact, if you're caught using Explorer in my office you're in a heap o' trouble.

Try Safari. There's a Windows version, too. It's much faster on the Mac; supposed to be on Windows too.

Also.. I hate to say it, but there's no reason you're tied to Windoze software. There's very little you can't run on a Mac these days. In fact, we have the latest version of MS Office (2008). Dr G uses a Mac at home and a Windows PC at work and has never had trouble sharing his files back and forth. You should drop by an Apple store and take a look yourself.. talk to the folks there. They are experts in making the switch.

PSA over. Glad to see you're back online. The FiOS guy is supposed to come today to hook up the Internet for us. Good-bye Cox Cable. Were happy with the FiOS TV so far (on our HDTV with an HD Tivo® DVR); I'm looking forward to the 15mb Web experience.

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The evilness of M$ has no end Mudge. I finally fixed the puter at home but it has been a bloody fight.
If you see my pope Benny, please say hi from me. He's a shortish guy in a white and yellow suit with a cape and he usually wears a skull cap but sometimes dons a funny looking tall hat. Can't miss him, really.

Yep RD padouk, I think we are heading to "interesting" times. Food riots already happened in a couple of places. African nations are having an emergency meeting today on the subject. Some governments have already made boneheaded moves to try to ease the pain. It will one of the big stories of 2008.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | April 15, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

G'morning boodle, and chin up S'nuke-there will be plenty written about the LHC that will make you want to scream.
At "Play the News"
you can play the judge in the "Doomsday Suit." The premise behind Play the News is interesting, but my first explorations suggest it won't often be deeply wonky enough to hold boodle attention for long. However, perhaps there is an elite level I haven't found yet having registered just this morning.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 15, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hi rainforest.

SD and DMD, thanks for the info about Toronto. I don't believe the sessions are open, as this is a high school festival and competition. Apparently, Canadian students apply to "sit in" with the steel band and the gospel choir, as a sort of junior-master class. Drum line, the Canadians do well. However, the phunked up moves of our band -- like the Baltimore one mentioned by Miss Toronto -- are very fun for all.

I have some rhubarb on the stove; I am making my Sour Batch. This ambrosia, warm, on expensive vanilla ice cream....well a spring box canyon of joy for me.

Grading 66 papers today; fax me some fortitude and fairness. Will grade a paper in-between each blog post.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 15, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Goodness, if I had to wade through that many papers I would be tempted to replace the Sour Batch with Sour Mash.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 15, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Hey.. I want to ask if we could get a Text Size Toolbox like Weingarten has on his chat page, but I'm afraid we might lose something important, like the Boodle itself, if I get too greedy here.

Remember what happened the last time we asked for italics.

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

RD -- your post is a perfect example of that bugaboo:

(to avoid) the near occasion of sin.

I shall also cope by spraying layers of Rustoleum on assorted species of metal lawn furniture that dates from teh 50s.....I was thinking about a deep purple rather than the flat black. Will look blackish but be purple...these are the little ways I reward myself within the deluge of papers.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 15, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

CP, not only does Hilary freak me out and bring tears to my eyes, she also makes me laugh...

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, You All, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and our lawn has been mowed this morning and smells so fresh and new.


This link works for Joel's discussion:

He handled the questions well. No questions mangled or dangled, very hospitable, I would say....

Posted by: Vintage Lady | April 15, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Good lecture by geneticist and 2007 Nobel prize winner Mario Capecchi last night, part of UTSA's presidential lecture series.

Capecchi broke his presentation into four parts: an explanation of the importance of mice to research and a definition of a targeted gene--the gene substituted with one with the phosphorescent gene added so that its physical manifestations can be easily observed; his work on synovial sarcoma--a deadly cancer that affects the joints, killing within five years about 80 percent of the children who are diagnosed; his work with a grad student on the mouse hoxb8 gene that identified a neuropsychological disorder that corresponds to obsessive-compulsive disorder and the same trichotillomania in humans. Capecchi then took questions from the audience.

I admit to not having read the press reporting of the Nobels as closely as I should have at the time last year. I was surprised to learn yesterday evening during during Capecchi's lecture that one of the mammalian hox genes is implicated in neuropsychiatric behaviors. (Dooley!) This is past work done by Joy Greer and Capecchi, reported in the link below, dated Jan. 2002.

Capecchi did say that one day there will be cures for cancer. Not that researchers can stop them from forming, but will be better able to manage them. As he made this claim he added "I hope there are no press in the room." Odd.

I took delight in his impetus for research--lots and lots of curiosity--as well as the creative play needed to pursue the answers to the mysteries of the role(s) each gene plays. To be this man's student!

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

(wandering through recent Post detritus)

Yeesh!!! I go away for a week and Weingarten wins the friggin' Pulitzer!!!

Joel, has he admitted how big the bribe was yet? Was it a private Bell show for the Committee?


And now, more Trip Tales...

NukeSpouse and I began our vacation in Denver with some good friends. They showed us around downtown, including the marvelous 16th St. Mall and the city's version of Union Station. Yes, D.C.'s Union Station has marvelously better architecture, but Denver's has a SKI TRAIN!!! (Which I will save for another trip.) Of course, Denver is also home to the Colorado Rockies, who were hosting a game at Coors Field, so we wandered over there.

Sneaks, I proudly wore my big blue ball cap with the red "B" on it. Nobody threw anything, but I DID get a few glares and even a "Hey, look at the RED SOX fan" snide comment.


More to follow... :-)

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

A much more thorough overview and more technical description of Capecchi's work provided by the institute where Capecchi researches:

I shall try to be on my best behavior today and not do a compare and contrast bwteen two men, men I heard and observed--and spoke to--two nights apart--our local archbishop, who, to me, represents the past and the status quo, and the Nobel scientist, who, to me, represents the future and exciting new frontiers.

Posted by: Loomis | April 15, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I just want to apologize for my highly caffeinated and slightly drunken (OK a lot drunken) outburst last night.

Not sure what betrayed me most: my caffeinated nerves; my intoxicated nerves or my damned keyb!tch. Still not really used to my macboard.

I owe, I owe, it's of to work I go....

DC Taxes bite.

Boodle hogging will have to wait for more catching up and a second AM walk. Hey Boko

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse


I thought you were just free-versing a tax time poem. But I find drunken boodling entertaining. On both sides of the screen.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bub.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 15, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hi Bub

Posted by: Boko999 | April 15, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | April 15, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

And while we're on the subject And while we're on the subject And while we're on the subject
How's your old Wazoo?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 15, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Hoggle: What did you have to go and do a thing like that for?
Sarah: Do what? You mean rescue you?
Hoggle: No! You kissed me!

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Sarah: You're horrible!
Hoggle: No, I ain't. I'm Hoggle.

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I can think of two things that might be useful. One is completely reinstalling the IE browser after a solid cleanup/defragmenting. The other thing might be to consider moving operating systems; I've heard very good things about the latest flavor of Ubuntu and Open Office does do the majority of things that the MS Office suite does.

Just some comments from the darkened recesses of the peanut gallery...

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | April 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hoggle: you wouldn't be so brave if you'd ever smelled the Bog of Eternal Stench. It's, it's...
Sarah: Is that all it does, is smell?

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Sarah: Ow! It bit me!
Hoggle: What'd you expect fairies to do?
Sarah: I thought they did nice things, like... like granting wishes.
Hoggle: Shows what *you* know, don't it?

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Jareth: You remind me of the babe.
Goblin: What babe?
Jareth: The babe with the power.
Goblin: What power?
Jareth: The power of voodoo.
Goblin: Who do?
Jareth: You do.
Goblin: Do what?
Jareth: Remind me of the babe.

Stolen straight out of - "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer"

I loved that movie

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Omni -- charming HHahn video, all backlit with X-mass lightery. Thank. I too, am in recovery from taxes....this too, shall pass. But, sadly, death will not pass, it will surround, enshroud, (perhaps ennoble) but it will NOT PASS.

Sorry for the Momento Mori moment.

Back to the wow of science: my son is one of the few standing up in biology for evolution and Christianity. This stance, I fear, is making clear to him that Catholics are not like many Christian groups, particularly the mega-church communities and the AME congregations that serve our African American locals. Sigh. But, am proud of CPboy. I wonder if any science/sociology researcher will consider the racial breakdown of attitudes toward evolution. Obama is not standing with many of the brothers and sisters, at least in my neck of the woods.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 15, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

*turning the spotlight on the peanut gallery*

Hey, stand up back there! How do you expect to get a decent Grover wave if'n ah cain't see ya???


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 15, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

OH jeez, I could go on and on and on and oooooonnn.....

Instead I'll wish Aloha a happy Father Damien Day.

Now to stop boodle-hooging for a moment and catch up a little.

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Good for CP Boy! I'm sure it's a lonely stance, although I certainly agree that he is correct.

Off to see the twins. When I called, Dad answered the phone, "[Lastname] Day Care!"

Ya think?

Posted by: slyness | April 15, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Only some time for drive-by Boodling at the moment:

Mostlylurking, it was I who said I read a lot of "hard SF" and listed several authors whose hard work I enjoyed (ahem).

I can give you some specific book recommendations if there's a particular topic you'd like to focus on. I also neglected to mention a few authors that other folks managed to get in there, like Greg Bear.

I've been working on something regarding the LHC Lawsuit for a week now, but other stuff has been taking priority (for example, taxes and kids), but I hope to have it out on the 10thcircle by this weekend...

College Parkian, if the patio furniture you're painting is already rusty (and if it's 50 years old, it just might be), I'd recommend a product like POR-15 before painting. You can brush it on over rusty surfaces (knock the loose rust scales off with a wire brush first, though), and it seals and stops the rust, then you can paint over it.

Stops rust better than Rustoleum, IMO.


Posted by: bc | April 15, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... I second CentrevilleMom's suggestion. Linux is no longer just for geeks like me. I'm running Redhat's Fedora OS here and love it. Easy install, very good at detecting hardware, and very very stable.

OpenOffice also rocks -- docs can be saved in M$ formats and M$ docs can be opened and worked on with no problems. I run Firefox for the web and Thunderbird for email -- also no problems. You also get "Gimp" (has most of the bells and whistles of Photoshop), GnuCash (compatible with Quicken), plus all kinds of other stuff.

And it's all free. Just download the CD images from their site and burn them, then pop'em in and follow the friendly instructions.

Did I mention it's verrrry stable?
Check this out:

[sean@sean ~]$ uptime
10:05:58 up 61 days, 15:53, 2 users, load average: 0.32, 0.23, 0.15

Not bad for a second-hand Pentium 3.

Posted by: martooni | April 15, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

i was wondering what you were smoking last night, omni. boodling is one thing, but are you sure your taxes turned out ok? or was that post-tax celebration?

cp, 66 papers is a lot of papers. more power to you.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | April 15, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The ScienceTaxes are done and mailed. Here endeth the procrastination.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 15, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

L.A.Lurker, Last night is a complete blur. I have no idea when the booze kicked in. My SOP-tax form prep is drink and it will be less painful. I check the math in the AM and amend if necessary (which I actually had to do last year on DC-tax cause Turbo totally screwed up, not me). So far the math looks OK. I must say though, the forms get more incomprehensible every year.

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

We get another 2 weeks of procrastination. Yipeee. or not.

I don't really hate tax time but that could be because I don't do it. Mr dr does. He seems to enjoy it so I let him have all the fun.

Posted by: dr | April 15, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Happy 18th Hermione

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time in my tax paying life that I finished the requisite paperwork and mailed it early. Today is a short school day and a long staff development day. The kids are acting like it's the last day of school. Oy. This may be one of those weeks.

Posted by: jack | April 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning y'all. Ivansdad finished our taxes last night. We are proud to support our country by paying taxes (not to say we approve of all their current use) but would be happier if it were less confusing. Fortunately Ivansdad understands this stuff. I once answered a tax question on a bar exam by responding, "This is a tax question. Any resolution would require notice and an opportunity to be heard. I would recommend the client find a goo tax lawyer." Hey, I passed.

That Sour Mash option for paper grading is indeed tempting but not feasible. I found in grading law student exams that the tendency was to be more liberal with the latter-graded papers; a glass of wine only exacerbated this tendency and had to be avoided.

Here's an old-style activity: a repair person is fixing our refrigerator freezer! Live and in the kitchen. The "self-defrosting" feature wasn't. After months of regularly cleaning the thing out to defrost it I finally realized someone probably could fix it. What a testament to the power of throw-away consumerism.

Speaking of which, I sympathize with Mudge. The Dell PC used by the Boy has routinely been showing the Blue Screen of Death, and not just on WOW playing. I suspect he went to a site that unloaded something evil. Now that the taxes are done that is Ivansdad's next job. I get to mow the lawn - a division of labor I actively promote (taxes & computer repiar or outdoors activity, not a hard choice).

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Firefox would load slowly on a PC. I used it on my old PC, and am now using it on the Mac Mini. Safari works just as well on the Mac, but I like Firefox's ability to move link information by clicking and dragging rather than cutting and pasting.

I was interested in Wilbrod's comment that

"... born-blind people don't have a pre-existing spatial sense and can be poor at localizing sound without training. The same would go for 'inhuman' hearing..."

I suppose all of us need training to localize sound.

And the Chicago Tribune's panther story has been beefed up:,1,5227121.story

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 15, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mr. F did our federal return months ago and the refund is long since deposited, and lost, in our IRAs. Now I'll be looking for more time to get my MN return done, Mr. F is officially a FL resident and before that TN. He hasn't filed a state tax return (except when forced to because of my tax status and his spousal status) since 1990.

Posted by: frostbitten | April 15, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Yay for repair people and other visiting experts. This afternoon we've got a guy coming to check out our attic rodents. I'm hoping it's squirrels -- am I right that they chew fewer electrical wires than mice? At this point all we know is that we've got skittering noises and droppings. I suppose we could play around with traps ourselves, but I don't really want to go digging through the insulation. Time for the expert.

Posted by: bia | April 15, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The instructions that accompany Form 1040, and the and the multitude of forms that go with it, compel me to read the steps multiple times before I even attempt any calculation. This year, a calculation for child tax credit was the booger. I ran the calculation once and the result didn't look right. I defaulted back to last year's calcuation and found that the calculation protocol had changed. After re-reading the instructions and repeating the calculations, thigs were right. I aspire to the measure twice, cut once rule, but am left to conclude that this rule doesn't apply to taxes. Omni, your SOP for tax night makes better sense in this context.

Posted by: jack | April 15, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Ivansmom - my husband and I finished our taxes this weekend and he kept saying, "you're a lawyer, you had federal income tax on the bar exam...shouldn't you know this?" HA! I think your bar exam answer was perfect. :-)

Yup, we owed. A five-figure sum. Hubby was supposed to increase his withholdings, per our accountant last year, and "forgot". Could. Strangle. Him.

Posted by: PLS | April 15, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Our taxes were done last week, one refund one large bill. Sadly the refund is only for about a third of the tax bill, technically have until April 30 to pay the bill but our government is quite lenient and paying in installments can be done with only minimal penalties applied. It is quite staggering to look at the total taxes paid for the year.

Life could be a lot worse so I will not complain - too sunny to be miserable anyways.

Ivansmom everyday I go outside in search of yardwork - still a little early here. I think my neighbours must think me insane outside with a coffee kneeling down gazing at the stubs of plants poking out of the earth. If I could will them to grow faster I would. Picked my first flower today though - very small stripped squill.

Posted by: dmd | April 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

A five figure payment? Yikes! I had a couple of four digit payments in a row and vowed never again even if means "loaning" Uncle Sam my money for free. One year I hit it right on the nose and got back about one hundred dollars federal and twelve bucks state.

This year I skewed the other way, but at least that means I now have half a semester tuition sitting in the account for a few months.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse


My wife has a degree in mathematics and is very good with money. So I usually don't worry my pretty little head about taxes and such. In this regard I live like a small child.

Every other year I have to fill out a special form at work listing my net worth, so I am pretty sure my wife is not funneling too much money into an offshore bank account. But I must admit I am not that observant.

Anyway, the point of this digression (an implied oxymoron) is that my wife does the taxes. She does a very good job. Sometimes she even calculates them several different ways so as to squeeze out a few additional dollars. My job is to sign my name and not spill anything on the forms.

Also, sometimes I get to make copies.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I recall an episode of "All in the Family" in which Archie was stuck in an elevator with a black man for hours. The other character was played by the wonderful Roscoe Lee Browne as a very dignified three piece suited banker type. At one point Archie began whining about welfare cheats and all the taxes he pays and Browne just gives him the fish eye stare and says, "I hand out more in tips than you pay in taxes."

After over 40 years I have finally found the combination of withholding, deductions, and tax deferral to make things come out even. Paid the feds $300 and got back $400 from the state. And still waiting for the "stimulus" which will go straight into savings. In 2000 years we've gone from "bread and circuses" to "stimulus." Ain't progress grand?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | April 15, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Coming up for a quick gasp of air from the morass of the black helicopters. CP, I'd grade *all* of your papers, and crawl on my hands and knees over to College Park to sample the Sour Batch. I LOVE that stuff!!

Also, BZ to the CPboy, for both the strength of his convictions, and the trip to Canada.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 15, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

My mind still boggles a bit at the idea of seeing a 150-lb cougar bounding through the yards of a suburban neighborhood. I saw one (normally called pumas or mountain lions in that neck of the woods) when doing some hiking in the Front Range near Colorado Springs as a teenager. It was between three & four feet long, and probably weighed between thirty & forty pounds (although I've certainly never held one for comparison!), and I know that I wouldn't have wanted to tangle with THAT one.

Posted by: Bob S. | April 15, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hope CPboy has a wonderful trip and they do well in the competition.

Posted by: dmd | April 15, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks DMD, you Canadian back-catcher you. ☺
(that is a pasted smiley face!)

Don -- SOUR BATCH is a special taste. Let's start a club. I am 17 papers done now. Can I make it and still have a bike ride? Not sure.

CPBoy is having an experience of diversity, although it may be that he is in the minority in several ways. Here is the line from the Catechism that applies:

"Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are" (CCC 159).

He likes the story-narrative of Genesis better than a strict chronology of events because, among other things, the story interpretation makes dinosaurs more possible.

Back to the papers.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 15, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm doing my own taxes this year, which is probably costing me thousands of dollars in unseen deductions for completely legitimate businesses expenses like all that money I spent at the wine store.

Can't I write off last year's debauched Spring Break trip to Florida on the grounds that, at some point during the trip, I talked about my next book idea?

Why doesn't TurboTax answer these basic questions.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

So that wasn't you I just saw at Target, Joel? Good thing I didn't do the special boodle dance or attempt the secret handshake.

That would have been a little embarrassing.

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Of course you can, Joel. Just thinking about work qualifies you for a deduction.

I mean, it does, doesn't it?

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 15, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I think that all of us who do our own taxes (or have relatives do them for free) escape the "elitist" label, at least at this time of year. It is interesting that some of you owe the Feds but get money back from your state. For us, it is the opposite. I too would rather have the feds withhold too much than get a nasty surprise come April.

We had a few unseasonably warm days (we're back to normal spring now) and a couple of deluges, so the weeds in the dog yard are growing like - well, like weeds. Really large ones. Please don't think that I'm mowing grass yet - it is all dandelion and henbit and worse.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm proud to say that I filed my taxes electronically. That is to say that my *accountant* filed them. I'm much too much the elitist to do my own. I'm getting $38 returned electronically to my bank. I am so much the elitist that I don't actually *touch* money. Too crass. Now off to lunch with ladies who lunch...

Posted by: Maggie O'D | April 15, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

For your grammarian elitists, here is a blog post about subject-verb agreement.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | April 15, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Of course, maggie o'd, when suggesting that those of us who do our own taxes escape the "elitist" label, I was equating "elitist" with "smart".

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Here's a reward for those of you who have finished your taxes on time, and a little comfort for the rest of you, Dave Barry's thoughts on the subject from Sunday's Herald:

"Taxpayers: It's almost April 15, and you know what that means. It means the Miami Dolphins already have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

"But it's also time to file your federal tax return. Yes, this is a pesky chore, but remember that paying taxes is not a 'one-way street.' When you send your money to the government, the government, in return, provides you with vital services, such as not putting you in prison."

Posted by: kbertocci | April 15, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, we had to file for an extension. We sold some mutual funds and reinvested them in other, better-performing funds (we hope!). At any rate, our broker didn't warn us that there would be a substantial capital gains hit out of this. Now we had to send in those taxes (totalling well into 4 figures) along with the extension request. Now we need to see if we can get hold of the basis value of the old fund to get a more exact amount (which may be less than what we had to pay). We're not happy.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 15, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci--thanks for the Dave Barry link. So funny!

We were able to deduct a small portion of our new eco-friendly hot water heater--one of those expenses I told the kids happens only when you think everything is fine. Great, huh.

Posted by: eidrib | April 15, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Quick drive by, came home for lunch. Scotty, I'm sort of surprised by the reaction to your Sox cap. It's not like the Colorado team competes directly with the Sox. Darned unfriendly of them is my thought.

The whole elite thing is a tempest in a teapot. When times are tough, people go for comfort. Whether that's church, guns or other hobbies, or food and drink, one does whatever possible to feel better in some small way. Of course Obama could have phrased it better. But he is still the one candidate who is least removed from normal life as most voters know it. When is the last time the other two drove a car, shopped for groceries, worried about paying a bill, or had to leave work to pick up a sick child and worried that there was no 'personal time' left in their accounts?

I am becoming less likely to vote for Hilary, if some miracle happens and she gets the nod. As others have said here, she is condescending and calculating and I don't trust her at all. I am really sick of this campaign right now and have begun to read less and less about it. I'm hoping that by taking a break from it, I'll become enthused again.

As for taxes, I think I mentioned here that I had to pay because an investment made money that is probably gone by now in the stock market decline. My real estate taxes are due in two weeks, my homeowners insurance bill is through the roof - twice what it was on my old house which was two times as large - because I live near the ocean (hurricanes, you know), so I'm feeling some stress. I am grateful that I can pay these bills, I'm just feeling grumpy about them and I don't have the church or guns outlet (or the drink or food ones either). More exercise and maybe some yardwork will have to do for me.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 15, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I know that you are saying words that mean something, but I am not understanding. Now I am sticking my fingers in my ears. Now I am singing, "La, la, la, la, la, la, la. La-la-la-la, la, la la." I can't *hear* you!

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 15, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I took one look at the AMT protocol and found it very cumbersome and confusing. Thankfully, we fell just short of that particular threshold.

Posted by: jack | April 15, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The AMT nicked me for an extra $1,200. Someone with a good calculator can now estimate my family's income to +/- 10%. I just throw away my wife's student loan statements because our combined income makes us ineligible for the deduction even though she is a teacher and would more than qualify if she had had the good sense to remain single.

But these are the complaints of an elitist. Having to pay too much in taxes is a problem more people would like to have.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

When I printed off my tax forms I noticed along with the payment voucher for the DC taxes I owe there are also payment vouchers for estimated taxes to pay this year against next years estimated tax. Funny thing is though, the estimated tax payments are about 35% higher than what I actually owed this year. Since part of the reason I owe more this year than last is changes in my mutual fund investmments this overpayment will probably mean a really big refund next. DC government is dumb.

My federal taxes owed completely ate my stimulus and then some. I tell you that shrub fellow is a real genius. Congress too.

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Father Damien shout out Omni, I had no idea...

Taxes? Today? This is Alohaspouse's territory. Not that he knows more about it then I do, he just knows our accountant better than I do (we're not elitist, just not tax savvy, even with Turbotax). I have no idea if we will owe or not but with the luck we've been having over the last few years, I suspect we'll be paying the man.

Posted by: Aloha | April 15, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I just plug my numbers into TurboTax when it tells me to do so. Sip my beer. Find my mortgage interest and enter it. Sip my beer. Find my list of charitable donations from the past year and sip my beer after entering each group of 3 or 4 (beer nearly gone by now -- I am a real bleeding heart). Assume that if I don't understand TurboTax's question, I must not have gotten any paperwork about that, and so I must not owe any taxes for it. Sip some more beer. Print return. Finish beer.

This method has worked well for me.

Posted by: PlainTim | April 15, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, ebtnut and PLS. I've had large tax bills, but never in the 5-digit range. I remember when I was happy to making a salary in the 5-digit range.

You know, you pay taxes on mutual funds even if you don't sell them... if the fund has made capital gains (manager selling the portfolio's holdings), you have to pay taxes on your portion, unless, of course, your funds are held in a nontaxable account (retirement, etc).

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

However, I must note that my beer was a dark and flavorful microbrewed ale -- Railbender. Clearly, the favored beer of cross-dressing men. Lumberjacks, perhaps. So am I elite, effete, or man on the street?

(The meter and rhyme did not permit me to use the excellent word 'epicene.')

Posted by: PlainTim | April 15, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Too bad, Omni. I'd like to see statistics on the percentage of people who will use their government economy stimulus checks to pay off taxes. Probably fairly high.

Regarding the Colorado Rockies...they had quite a good season last year...finally (although, okay, not as good as those darn Red Sox) so the fans are a bit protective. Go Rockies...can't help it.

Posted by: eidrib | April 15, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much my system, PlainTim. My deductions consist of home mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable donations (which are not as much as they should be). In the mean time, TurboTax asks me a lot of obscure questions about things I had no idea were related to taxes. I'm not quite sure it's treating my HELOC correctly, but I'm not going to argue.

We do take the legal maximum allowed for out-of-pocket teacher expenses even if I can't find all the receipts. I know we have spent at least that much and then some. Every time we're in an office supply store, I remind my wife that the reason she works is to make money, not donate it to the school. She just laughs at me like I'm a little slow. Which I am.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Yep, we throw away my student loan interest statements too. I also didn't qualify for any kind of credit for paying tuition my last year of law school. Child care credit? Almost completely phased out. But darn it, if we owned our home (which we don't), we would have gotten that mortgage interest deduction! Tell me why mortgage interest deductions aren't phased out, but student loan interest deductions are? Please, someone explain that to me. Because it just doesn't make *any* sense.

Rant over.

Posted by: PLS | April 15, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Just printing out what needs to be sent for a last once-over before I electronically file. One of the forms is named "Thank you note (or letter)." I have to send a thank you note now?

I still like Hillary. Repeat after me: *They're ALL politicians. Every one of them has dissed his/her opponent on a slip of the tongue."

I read in the WSJ that Michelle said Barack had only been home 10 days in the last year and previously, he'd been more than happy to waltz out while she rearranged her schedule to deal with an overflowing toilet.

I think there are real problems associated with being in love with an image. Not saying that's where everyone here is, certainly, but . . .

Posted by: dbG | April 15, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I keep forgetting I can't use greater-than/less-than signs here. If it had worked, that last one would have ended:

//ducking for cover//

Posted by: dbG | April 15, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm a TurboTax gal myself. I love the way it tells you "Most people say 'no'" or something like that when it asks you whether something applies to you or not.

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's painful to read, MoDo MoDo. I notice the more words I bang out on the internet, the more I start forgetting the subject-verb agreement rule. I think it's a result of reading so much bad grammar out there.

I gotta suspect that some of those habitual grammar mistakes are created by grammar check in MSword, though. You'd be amazed at how often how it's flummoxed by long clauses right before a verb. I've had that little squirt of a program complaining and pissing over a perfectly legit, double-checked construction just because it didn't fit into its programmed Dr. Seussish grammar Weltanschauung.

I'd take a human editor anyday. Hand that editor a few antiscorbutics, listen patiently, do a few redmarks for some approval, listen even further as the editor continues to recover from scurvy, and then quietly sneak off with all of the most ridiculous phraseages approved.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

After some thought (just a little -- I wouldn't want to be too wonkish), I am inclined to accept E.J. Dionne's analysis that the problem is that Obama rationally analyzed the motivations of an electoral bloc out loud. Inspirational leaders are not supposed to be so calculating. (Nothing wrong with a good honest bit of calculation) Perhaps he should just bull on through with it: "Times are hard and getting harder for ordinary people who aren't among the richest members of our society. People are scared and worried, and rightly so. The Republican party plays to the public's worst fears and pretends to favor more of what people find comforting, American traditions of faith and independence. This crass manipulation should fail, except that the Democrats do it, too, only not as well. It's time to stop this childish manipulation and face reality. I trust in the American people to make sensible, rational political choices, but the only way to do that is if they are presented with sensible, rational options from which to choose."

Posted by: PlainTim | April 15, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I just tell Turbo who my employer is and who I invest with and it automagically downloads all the necessary info. It also retrieves any necessary info from the previous year file. Then it proceeds to ask me a hundred stupid questions that are all answered in the negative. Very annoying. It does three things well. Actually four if annoying the hell out of is counted as one of the things it does well.

Posted by: omni | April 15, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

>So am I elite, effete, or man on the street?

Depends on the milieu, of course.

As previously noted, we still have two more weeks of procrastination and griping about how we don't get to deduct mortgage interest.

The worst thing about unexpected tax hits is that the supposed tax savings in the meantime has miraculously disappeared.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 15, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It's your right to like Hillary, DbG. I hope you enjoyed listening to her on the compassion forum.

However, let's read that WSJ article again.

Note that she says: "He's a gifted man -- one of the most brilliant politicians you'll see in this lifetime -- but in the end, he's just a man."

I like Michelle Obama, too. Who wouldn't?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I see that Deborah Palfrey was convicted of racketeering and other charges this afternoon:

I don't know what to make of this.


Posted by: bc | April 15, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

If you have some time on your hands and think you know your fonts, try this quiz:

I got 22/34 which is a little below average.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Is there an upcoming BPH planned? I'm thinking we need a post-April 15th BPH.

Posted by: PLS | April 15, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse


What I make is that I'm glad that I wasn't called to the witness stand and that all those ads in the CityPaper that say "non-sexual" aren't fooling anybody.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Rodent-related humor, sent to me by the ScienceSister:

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 15, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

PLS, mortgage interest deductions (actually all itemized deductions) are phased out, based on your income. I am both pleased and dismayed to know this from bitter experience.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 15, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Senator Clinton has been doing radio interviews in this area for a few weeks now, and I have enjoyed listening to her. She should do more one-on-one, a whole different side comes through.

My point wasn't that Michelle Obama didn't know he's just a man. Only that not everyone seems to know that.

Present company excluded, of course. :-)

Posted by: dbG | April 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

That has got to be the scariest illustration of Michelle Obama I have ever seen.

It's jarring because she is such a pretty woman.

Speaking of hot, anybody notice that I got a mention of Angelina Jolie into the Weingarten chat?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the chin is a bit firm, the smile lines are unkindly exaggerated, and she has been given a mannish hairline in that illustration, yellojkt, and also the dimple now looks like an massively muscled and clenched cheek.
The pontillism also implies (not-so-subtly) facial hair rather than skin coloring.
It's pretty much typical of all WSJ illustrations. You wouldn't want to know what they'd do to your face, Yello, especially if you dared show any teeth.

Someday they're going to have to get into greyscale AT LEAST... if not photography.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Which is why those of us just barely on the wrong side of the AMT threshold have the highest marginal tax bracket. Every dollar of additional income is taxed at the AMT rate AND you lose a pro-rated portion of your deduction.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I scored neanderthal range in that... 11/34, and 1/2 were guesses.

I only recognize about 9 font types by sight; I stick with what I like.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I got 16/34. That's an F right?

Posted by: Aloha | April 15, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, thanks, ScienceTim, now I know that the roof rats that I've just been told live in our attic are up there laughing at us.

dbG, I agree -- setting aside any questions of issues or campaign strategies, I'm consistently impressed with Hillary in one-on-one interviews. But I'm consistently turned off by her public speaking. I think she's just fundamentally an introvert, and though she forces herself to do the public speaking thing, it's always awkward. Not her fault, nothing she can do about it, but certainly a handicap in a presidential campaign, whether it should be or not. And for anyone who has doubts about her authenticity or truthfulness, a lack of naturalness in the most public campaign situations just reinforces their doubts.

Posted by: bia | April 15, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Of course, one could argue that anyone who feels totally natural and comfortable speaking to crowds of hundreds (maybe millions) is not 'an authentic, regular person' pretty much by definition. It's not something that most people actually would feel comfortable doing, and most folks would just stand there saying 'uhhh, like, I wanna talk about my, uh, somethin' that happened to me when I was, because I was, I mean, back in high school.'

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 15, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom - yes, but the mortgage interest deduction phaseout is different from the student loan interest phaseout & tuition credit phaseout. The student loan interest deduction is completely eliminated for incomes higher than $65K per year, which is significantly lower than when the mortgage interest deduction begins to phase out. Similarly, the Lifetime learning credit (tuition deduction) is completely eliminated at incomes higher than $57K per year. Can you imagine the mortgage interest deductions being eliminated at that income level? Yikes!

Posted by: PLS | April 15, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

That's a funny and true point, StorytellerTim!

I don't think I'd be even *that* coherent.

Posted by: dbG | April 15, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Achenbach | April 15, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Bia, if you have roof rats I highly recommend a snake. Find yourself a nice wild black snake or king snake, or get something along those lines, and let it loose up in the attic. Ours (which was or were there when we moved in) never came into the house and we had no roof rodent problems.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

If you keep playing the font game, pretty soon your score will improve. Beats workin', anyway.

At least *they* have italics. Lawd, what are we gonna b!tch about when WaPo finally gives us italics? Don't worry, I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 15, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The story of my life. I'm busy posting, and the boss is off adding a new kit. Maybe I'll just stay here and talk to myself.

Wanna hear how I just put myself in the marital doghouse? See, my daughter has been complaining that the bathtub is draining very slow. My wife see's that Tim Allen look on my face, and says, very forcefully, "Do not, repeat not, punch any holes in the wall/ceiling. I've got company coming over, and just scrubbed the floors." Well.....

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 15, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"..think she's just fundamentally an introvert, and though she forces herself to do the public speaking thing, it's always awkward."

I actually think the opposite. Many introverts are quite good public speakers.

When you are facing a group and you realize that you're not getting the feedback you're used to in daily conversations that you really come undone. If you're not so into constant social approval and feedback to keep going, it helps.

A certain ability to focus on what you want to say, rather than figuring out what the other person wants to hear, is essential for public speaking.

Let me say that I used to stutter frequently as a child and I never had this problem speaking from a prepared script or doing ASL poetry. You get the cadence and it helps drive speech fluency.

I don't doubt she has some public speaking fears-- a lot of people do. Often, the best public speakers do.

I've gotten dizzy once or twice from anxiety before I had to perform and then done just fine.

Your blood pressure jumps dramatically when you're doing public speaking.

Somebody already prone to high blood pressure problems will have worse problems concentrating, so forced relaxation is a MUST.

Under conditions of adrenaline, a minute may seem like 10 hours, and it's often that speakers immediately worry what they're saying is too long, start revising or cutting short what they were going to say.

It's nothing much to do with personality, just overall cardiovascular health and practicing the ability to focus on content and delivery under public speaking pressure.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 15, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

IYHO? :-)

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

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