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Intelligent Design

NPR had a great segment on the Biomimicry Institute on Saturday. It's a non-profit that hooks up biologists with corporations that are trying to build stuff nature has already made, or almost made.

The example Janine Benyus (founder of the institute) gave in the interview was a battery company that wanted to make a battery both renewable and less toxic (especially for devices implanted within the body). Biomimicry, she said, would set the company up with a biologist who has spent his whole life studying electric eels.

As I listened, I thought: This kind of thinking has been around for more than a century in the form of superheroes. A man is out in a lightning storm with a cheetah, and the cheetah is mid-pounce when the same lighting bolt hits both man and cheetah, creating ...Cheetah Man. He will now have some of the properties of a Cheetah. In comic books he always gets a useful property, like a cheetah's speed, but you never know. He might end up with those dark tear tracks on his face, which would help keep the sun from his eyes but also make him look like he has been drawing on his face with Sharpie. And then crying about it.

I digress. Assuming he gets a useful power, he then devotes his life to an endless battle against the local/international crime syndicate/world-destroying guild, which never thought it would have to deal with a man who can run like a cheetah.

As for myself, I would design a skin cream that mimics a squid: I would suddenly produce quarts of ink whenever I felt scared or annoyed. This would come in handy, say, when waiting in line at the post office or the DMV. I'd release some ink and then explain my condition: No, I have no idea when I might get annoyed again and start hemorrhaging ink. Could be any minute now. It's okay, I'll wait.

What would the 'boodle do?

-- Rachel Manteuffel

By Editor  |  May 13, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
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This just reopens the entire superhero thread from a few days ago. Rachel is just throwing us raw meat. She might as well discuss military aircraft or doilies or tomatoes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 13, 2008 6:34 AM | Report abuse

The only superpower that would entrance me would be the ability to lose weight at will, without having to quit eating altogether. Won't happen for me.

Good morning, everybody! Wonderful to have the Boodle back, and a thoughtful kit to start the day. Thanks, Rachel. We missed you kids over the weekend.

Bia, I love the idea of the champagne ceremony. Good luck, you'll get through!

Dave, no more cafeteria at the Carolina Inn, just a four-star restaurant. And yes, the whole campus is a mess. Our graduate says she's kinda sorry she won't get to work in the new computer science building, which is about to open. But not sorry enough to stay, now that she's graduated.

Good morning, Cassandra! Cool start to the day here. I hope yours is pleasant. I'm going on a field trip with the older folks at church to Stowe Botanical Garden and looking forward to it. I hope I manage to get out without spending large sums of money on plants.

Posted by: slyness | May 13, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Just wonder how you'd get them all home, slyness!

The bot is trying to get me to click submit twice, but I'm not falling for that again!

Yoki, do you have a fresh nutmeg grinder?

Posted by: dbG | May 13, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I think it was the Biogimmickry Institute who was responsible for those silly singing fishes a while back.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 13, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. What a wonderful kit, and a great idea the ink. As a super hero, I don't know what I would like my trait to be, don't have a clue. Maybe something really nice. There is so little of that in the world today.

Good morning to you, Slyness. Enjoy your trip, and don't bring too many plants back. And that's a good question, how will you transport them?

Mudge, Scotty, Martooni, get the lead out guys, and good morning to all.*waving*

I found out this morning why I was so weepy yesterday. The lady I was visiting in the hospital died yesterday, but no one informed me. I found out this morning in the local paper. She had been transfered to a nursing home in another county. I had known her since I was a child. She and her husband ran a small store in my neighborhood where I spent those saved up pennies for candy. My memories seem always to be associated with sweets.

I know some of you here are going through issues of some kind, even though they aren't expressed here, but I really do pray for you all. Whatever it is, my prayer is that God will forgive and bless. I am not a minister, but want good things for my friends. Keep me in your prayers, too, because I have all kinds of things I'm dealing with. And if there is anything you want me to pray for in your life, you all have my email address. Just let me know.

Have a great day, folks. I have some studying to do, so I will get with that. The weather is quite chilly, but I like it.

I can't wait to hear what kind of super power you guys yearn for. I'll bet it is totally exciting!

Posted by: cassandra s | May 13, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, thank you!

For PG-rated, general amusement (but turn down the music if you're at your office):

Superpower? I'd like to be psychic and/or fiscally astute.

Posted by: dbG | May 13, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Cassandra - I am so sorry to hear about your old friend. I hope those happy memories comfort you.

Well, I've been mulling over the whole super hero trait question for a couple of minutes now. And really, I don't think I can outdo the ink squirting thing. I don't have many opportunities to lift tall buildings or save damsels in distress but I surely have some aggravations in my life that ink squirting would solve (well maybe not solve, exactly). After I stopped laughing at Rachel's imagery, I drifted off into a pleasant daydream that involved ink squirting and my 15 year old daughter. She's a great kid and let me say that I know how very lucky I am to have her. I have every reason to think that she is going to be a well rounded, capable, generous, wonderful adult but.... AY YI YI!

Thanks for that, Rachel!

Posted by: Kim | May 13, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you know you have my good thoughts always.

Super power? Heck, I'd take a normal power these days. :-)

Biomimicry? Does this mean I can do my cow impression?

I think we can understand these Google ads, based on the topic:

Cheetah Habitat
Save on Arts & Gifts Compare & Buy from 1000s of Stores

Great deals on everything Cheetah themed.

Cheetah Girls Party
Celebrate a Cheetah Girls Birthday With these Amazing Party Supplies!

*happy-to-have-a-working-Boodle-again Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 13, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

My superpowers?
Going to have to think about that one for a minute.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

There's a chemical (forget the name) that turns your pee blue. Roughly the same effect you're talking about.

Posted by: wiredog | May 13, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I would like the superpower of photosynthesis. Let my freckles be areas where the light and dark reactions take place. Let me give off oxygen to the gift economy of all life.

If I cannot have that, how about the ability to see a weed across the lawn, aim my annihilate-o-vision and kill the week. Poof. I offer to share this ability with Frosti. She can swing north to help in the weedy portions of Canada.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 13, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I would like the superpower of photosynthesis. Let my freckles be areas where the light and dark reactions take place. Let me give off oxygen to the gift economy of all life.

If I cannot have that, how about the ability to see a weed across the lawn, aim my annihilate-o-vision and kill the weed. Poof. I offer to share this ability with Frosti. She can swing north to help in the weedy portions of Canada.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 13, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! We still have temps about 20 degrees lower than normal, but at least it isn't snowing. Now if the rain would just slow down a bit so the newly planted grass seed doesn't wash away.

Hmmm, I'd have a hard time choosing a biomimicry style super power. My current one, the ability to see things that family members can't-like cat vomit, dust bunnies and other things that need cleaning-is not such a good deal. If not restricted to biomimicry then there's no question, the ability to time travel both forward and back. Figuring out how to not change events in a disastrous fashion would be the interesting part.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

CP-how kind of you! Annihilate-o-vision would be even better than having the flame thrower of my weed destroying dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I would like the superhero ability to go back in time. Since, having watched all three "Back to the Future" movies, I am keenly aware of the dangers of introducing causal paradoxes into the temporal flow, I would limit my ability to a few moments. Sort of a rewind button just long enough to gain the benefits of time travel without introducing too many risks.

For example, I think it would be exceedingly useful to be able to immediately take back things that I just said once I realized that they were not nearly as amusingly witty as I initially believed. Such a seven-second delay would avoid all manner of domestic unpleasantness.

Further, imagine the benefits of being able to repeat that first bite of peanut butter chocolate ripple cheese cake without having to actually consume additional calories? Besides, the first bite is always the best.

And just think how useful such a temporal rewind feature would be should I ever find myself attempting to choose between the blue wire and the red wire whilst disarming a bomb.

Even if I had to pay for this superhero ability, the inevitable reduction in my auto-insurance premiums would easily cover the expense.

But I guess the greatest and most awe-inspiringly nifty aspect of this ability would be that in those few seconds after posting, when the demons in my brain finally unveil the inevitable typographical errors, I would be able to redo the post and correct them.

I mean, how cool would that be.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

And to risk descending into seriousness, biomimicry is a tremendously useful concept. A few years ago I was involved in the development of a high-resolution acoustic sensor capable of locating and amplifying a sound with an accuracy that defied conventional beamforming theory. This innovative ground-breaking design was based on the ears of a bug.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

At nearly $4 a gallon, I'd like to be able to pee gasoline.

Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Haven't boodled lately; the black helicopter blades have been whirring furiously.

On kit, here,I *am* a superhero:

Faster than a speeding saber saw. More powerful than a nail gun. Able to set up tall ladders on a very steep slope. Look! Up in the gutters. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's HANDYMAN. Yes, it's HANDYMAN - strange visitor from another subdivision who comes to your house with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. HANDYMAN - who can unclog mighty sewer pipes, bend 18 gauge steel in his vice grips, and who disguised as Don from I-270, mild mannered gubnmint worker for a great federal bureaucracy, fights a neverending battle for meetings, paperwork, and the American cheeseburger.

I've even got my own costume: paint splattered overalls with a Binford3000 tool belt.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 13, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Don... you are truly The Greatest American Hero.


Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

This clip from MLB confirms that baseball is better on radio than TV. I was excited about this rare unassisted triple play, until I saw it

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Off-kit but true scene in my house now:

CPBoy is finally roused but instead of getting ready for school, he is back in bed playing his bass....I have seen him do this before. He is not defiant or a slacker. Just, that when he is drowsy, he defaults to bass-man.

Off to rouse him vigorously into school-mode. They start at 9:40; you know, the science that says teens do better later in the day.

I guess I could use the superpower of a lion's roar at the moment.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 13, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

TBG-you need a spew alert for your 8:30.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

RD, your beat me to the 7-second delay superpower. I've often thought I need a network censor following me around, bleeping the worst of my "jokes." Absent that, I just stay quiet.

And now my co-workers think I'm insane after my snorting at TBG's gasoline-peeing superpower.

I'd like the procrastinator superpower--things just get done by themselves after you ignore them long enough. Like washing windows, cleaning the pile of mail and assorted crud on the kitchen counter, organizing our finances...

Posted by: Raysmom | May 13, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Wiredog, re your 8:11. The chemical you are talking about is metholine blue. My dad told an interesting sea story about it. He was a hospital corpsman aboard an aircraft carrier in WWII. One day, somebody was being a real jerk to him about something.

You can guessed what's comeing, he had the guy's coffee secretly spiked with the stuff. Quite harmless; indeed, it's used for medical diagnostics of some sort. When the guy came to my dad, in a much more solicitous frame of mind now, my dad told him that had contracted a very serious disease, but with a few (placebo) pills, he would be OK in a few days.

My dad just loved that story.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 13, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I need something simple - like the Supermom power, the ability to come home for work at the end of the day, fix dinner, do some laundry, clean, garden, walk the dog, help the kids with homework, have a glass of wine with my husband - all pleasantly and easily.

Posted by: dmd | May 13, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like RD's power to retract 7 seconds. So there wouldn't be iced-tea all over my monitor from TBG's comment.

TBG, got reserved seating on PHILA-MN, but not for the return trip yet. Is it true they have those subway strappy things for those of us who have a ticket, but no seat?

Posted by: dbG | May 13, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad I'm not the only one who laughed out loud at TBG's 8:30. If we can figure that one out, the fuel crisis is solved!

Off to look at beautiful plants. The garden recently opened an orchid house. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Posted by: slyness | May 13, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

tbg, that is hilarious. maybe a corn-based diet could yield pee with ethanol like properties.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 13, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who missed it, National Geogaphic's April issue had a prominent story devoted to biomimetics. So, I think NPR is simply mimicing National Geographic.

Rachel's use of the non-descript word "stuff" is a letdown. Her segue to superheroes if hugely disappointing--I can already see where the conversation is headed.

The boxfish has a sleek design--and low drag--that helps the fish swim up to six body lengthhs a second. The boxfish inspired Mercedes-Benz's bionic concept car.

The thorny devil lizard of the arid Australian desert wicks water to its mouth via channels between its scales. Scientists are studying this phenomenon with the goal of developing water-capture technologies for dry regions.

The cocklebur and Velcro connection dates back to 1948.

The U.S. Air Force is exploring the talent of the Melanophila beetle, which lays its eggs in feshly burned wood and has evolved a structure that can detect the precise infrared radiation produced by a forest fire.

These are just four examples from the story, which is chockful of tales of biomimicry. The incredible photos are what drew me to the article. The photos are vivid, startling, eye-stopping.

I found myself using one of the photos for my own artistic purposes. Two full-page photos are side-by-side: a close-up of a tokay gecko and the Stickybot at Stanford University, which researchers one day hope to use for search and rescue operations. I was attracted to the gecko's beaded skin and went out trying to match the colors of the hot coral orange and the pale blue--hoping to bead a necklace in that striking color combination.

Posted by: Loomis | May 13, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the NPR story carried the biomimetrics story a little further by talking about the Biomimicry Institute, which means corporations don't necessarily have to start at Step One.

If there's a scientist who has devoted her life's work to a certain research, it may mean more grant money for further study... or at least it'll mean that the corporation won't be plagiarizing her work.

And she might see her research turn into some pretty cool stuff.

Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'd like instant camouflage, like the octopus or like Bert in "Soap".

Posted by: jack | May 13, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

After re-reading the kit, I think the spirit has to do with superhero traits based on nature. (Note to self. Always read these things twice.) So although I stand by my time-buffer idea as a free-floating superhero concept, as a specific trait rooted in biomimicry. Now, it's hard to think about this stuff without risking trademark violation from Marvel Comics, but I would advocate the ability to blend into different environments much like a chameleon. The ability to infiltrate crime syndicates, terrorist organizations, and women's volleyball teams could be useful in a tremendous number of ways. Chameleon Man would be the greatest stealth superhero ever.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I dunno about the ink thing. It works for squids because they live in water and don't have to wash it off. Can you imagine having to get your clothes cleaned every time you get pi$$ed off? And frosti and RD took the time travel that I wanted, although I think I would delight in installing paradoxes just to see what happens. Horny toads shoot blood out of their eyes, that would be kind of cool. A prehensile tail would do me right, also. But I think I would have to go with the ability to teleport anywhere instantly, as long as I could bring my clothes and another person with me. It wouldn't be as fun or as productive if I appeared naked in the bank vault and then found that I couldn't take any of my new-found wealth out with me.

Oh, and did I mention that I would be a supervillain? Screw that hero stuff. Not as profitable, and everybody's always relying on you to help them out of the scrapes they have gotten themselves into.

The ability to stop time and move around in the freeze-frame world would be cool too, but again, only if I could bring a companion. Trouble is more fun to get into when you have an accomplice.

Posted by: Gomer | May 13, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey jack - Octopus Man - even better!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

There are many, many places where one can go to learn about the history and future of biometrics. But where else can one go to see how such concepts might be applied to innovative superhero concepts?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

jack and RD... sixteen legs of fun! If you can see them.

Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I mean biomimicry, not biometrics. See, that time thingie would really be helpful

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

One other interesting sorta serious observation about biomimicry. Although it can be very useful, it can also delay technological advance because the solutions used by animals are not necessarily the best.

For example, birds fly by flapping their wings, thus integrating both propulsion and lift into a single elegant solution. But imagine how long it would have taken people to develop airplanes if we insisted on following that model?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Superpowers always seem to come with a big price; I don't think there are many really happy superheroes, but I'm not an expert on the subject. I don't think I've ever even held a comic book in my hands, much less read one. But I've seen a few movies. I'll watch anything if Christian Bale is in it.

I want to warn those of you who are wishing for the ability to eat without gaining weight that there may at some time be drugs available that do just that. Do not take them. Or at least, read Stephen King's book "Thinner" before you go there. A body that takes in food but can't use the calories is not a blessing, it's a curse, and a very scary one at that.

So, biomimicry that could change the world. The first thing I thought of is this. You know how when people look at a panda or a koala or a kitten, there is a more or less universal heart-melting, an "AWWWW" response? Well, I'd like to remain my own tough, no-nonsense self, but with the power to change people's hearts in that way (a superstrength version of the AWWW response). Instead of fighting the supervillains I would just make them happy and peaceful, give them a kitten to pet and go on my way.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 13, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Depends Man- the ability to induce incontinence. Imagine you are in an uncomfortable situation or even a physical confrontation. You just hit your opponent with an irresistible urge, or in extreme cases, a complete loss of bladder control. The only ones who can resist Depends Man are infants and the elderly! This would be useful in more mundane situations too. Clear out those long lines ahead of you at the DMV, the movie theater, holiday shopping, Costco, the post office. Amaze your friends! Confound and embarrass your enemies! Become Depends Man!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

What a great Kit question. I'll have to ponder my own biomimicry superpower desires. The one which immediately comes to mind is a consequence of my current illness (and boy have I felt awful). Cross me with a slug and voila! MucusMom! Oozing slime from every pore. Wage the fight for the righteous with gelatinous goo.

I do like the suggestions so far, and think kbertocci's cuteness power could be very useful. Cross TBG with corn and she'd have ethanol. I also share with frostbitten the power to see things others in my family cannot. Perhaps I could cross myself with an elephant and forget that power.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 13, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

O.K., you have provoked me to answer how I would like to be a FEMALE superhero. I would like to be like Jodie Foster's Erica Bain in "The Brave One." I would have the ability to dismember, with my laser-like vision, a man's most valuable "asset" in a second's time--with surgical precision.

To the man who followed me home from junior high in his car and the man who followed me home in the middle of the night when I got off work from the sugar beet processing lab. *Poof* The family jewels would be lying on the floor south of the dashboard.

To the lieutenant colonel who gave me the full body gaze slowly downward and then back upward after our interview at Brooks AFB. *Zip* He'd be seeing stars and they wouldn't be the ones pinned to his chest.

To the newspaper publisher who paid the sports writer more than he paid me to write features, even though I had more education and had been on staff for a year? *Zap*

To a man who overcharges just because I'm an female unversed about the goods or services he can jack up the price for? *PPffzat* To men who date-rape? *Bam*

To John McCain and his answer to the Lilly Ledbetter situation by saying that women need to get more education. Should I send MY resume? *Ka-pow*

You get the picture--and maybe Hollywood will, too. Might make compelling fantasy vision.

Posted by: Loomis | May 13, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Memo to self: buy some lead-lined skivies.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 13, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

And keep Loomis away from Oprah and The View. She might start a movement. Oh wait, that was kurosawaguy's power.

Posted by: Gomer | May 13, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, find a copy of "Hard Candy" with Ellen Page. Something tells me you'll love it.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Why must a superhero who opposes sexist behavior have to be female? As a man I am horrified by such concepts as date rape and disgusted by the exclusivity and demeaning nature of sexism.

Of course, I don't advocate vigilante castration for wage disparities, but I figure most women wouldn't do so as well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

wait, the boodle was down. Aw man, see what I miss when work interferes.

and what's this I hear about backboodling? did you all lose me e-mail.

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Squirrel Woman! Aaaawww factor cute, industrious beyond belief, knows how to have a good time, can climb or jump to get into and out of just about anything-then I'd turn back into my everyday human self whenever something bigger threatened to make me lunch. Best of all, easily anthropomorphized for profit. I'd have all the rights to my image, right?

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Rather than the zapping technique proposed by LL, I think a sort of reverse Pinocchio effect would work better. You remember-every lie made his nose grow longer. In this case, every act of sexism would make something grow smaller. They'll call her... The Shriveler! And instead of "Pow, bam, zap!" there would just be a sound of air escaping from a balloon.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

just finished the Kit and only read a few boodle posts, but so far you guys are thinking very small.

My SuperHero power would be the ability to mimic any SuperHero at will.


Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

dbG, I don't have a dedicated nutmeg grinder but I have various grades of microplane which work fine. I'm sort of off single-purpose gadgets (with the exception of my fuzzy-logic rice cooker).

The trick will be to find a whole nutmeg. Apparently this is beyond the ken of the average southern-Albertan.

Do we need nutmeg?

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

You know, a superhero is supposed to help people. The Avenging Warrior is something totally different.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

OK, I obviously boodled to soon.

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Let us recap:

TBG = Mobil/Exxon/Sunaco BladderWoman
Ivansmom = MucusMom (hey, its better than SnotWoman, OK?)
K-guy = DependsMan
kbertocci = AwwwwwwwwwwWoman (a.k.a. Cutsey-Pie)
Padouk = BleeperMan
Gomer = supervillain FreezeFrame Man
Jack = CamoMan
LALurker = AlternativeFuels BladderWoman
dmd = MerryMaidsMom
Raysmom = MañanaMom
Don = HandyMan (a.k.a. TimtheToolmanTylerMan
Frosty = RescheduleWoman
Loomis = The Castration Avenger
Rachel M. = The Incredible Inkstain ("Inky," for short)
bc = Either GladiatorMan or possibly EVOOMan, who is covered with oil and is so slippery bad guys can't catch and hold onto him. (By day he is a mild-mannered artisanal bread-and-pesto salesman)

As for me, I think I would be a variant of the Riddler, although I'd use my powers for good, not evil. I would be "The Punster," who, in critical circumstances, inappropriate moments (weddings, funerals, presidential debates), and dire emergencies, comes up with pun of such staggering ferocity and awfulness that it stops the generic VillainPerson cold in his/her nefarious tracks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'd be ConfusedMan, obviously...

Oh, the power is supposed to affect OTHER people? Hmmmm...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 13, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Faxing TBG a P-Mate:

Just in case

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I think yours would be rather obvious: NukeMan, who glows faintly in the dark and whose superpower is the ability to generate massive amounts of power from his control rod.

(I may have to work on that superpower description a little bit.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Continuing in my line of unpleasant flora and fauna, may I suggest a cross with poison ivy and - zap! - Poison Ivy! One gentle caress and my opponent is covered with an itchy rash. Provoke me to a punch and watch things get much worse.

This leads me naturally to Aloe Woman, whose merest touch is pure soothing balm. Perhaps I could team with kbertocci's cuteness power. Together we could restore peace and calm to the universe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 13, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh well, if it's helping suffering humanity you want,then nothing beats I.T. Man. This superhero would have the power to make technological devices work as they are supposed to and would be able to infuse ordinary folks with the ability to use them with ease. Yeah, yeah, a pipe dream, it'll never happen, some superpowers are just too outlandish, etc. I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

You promised we weren't going to talk about that, 'Mudge. You know how bc gets.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 13, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Note: I started writing this at around 7:00 AM, but meetings and work prevented me from posting...

For my superpowers, I think I'm going to go with being the Quantum Mechanic (powered by Theory). I'm able to scale up Quantum Weirdness beyond the Planck length, and step right out of spacetime. Classical Newtonian physics, Relativistic physics, and Cosmological reality mean nothing to me.

I can move about the universe through the aether to anywhere and any time I want, completely lawless and utterly theoretical. I can be in two places at once, that I can sl once, Clearly, my Superhero outfit is a that of a Gladiator with a the Toolbelt of Observation, the Broadsword of Probability and the Shield of Uncertainty and winged sandals. Not sure about the Crown of Relative Subjectvity.

And yes, I'm open to the idea of a female partner.

I'm thinking she'll go by the name of the Aether Bunny.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Don't we always need nutmeg?

Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ooops. My bad.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of superheroes...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 13, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "I can be in two places at once, and can slip through the branes of dimension aided by my coating of Extra-Natural Olive Oil."

I'll have three home bases on Earth, San Fransisco, New York City, and Amsterdam.

But my full-time home is the Time Castle inside the event horizon of a Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way (I didn't want to move far from my mother).

And besides the Broadsword, I wield the Beam of Entropy, which emits a focused beam of EntropicChaos, that causes things to age at a whatever rate I choose and dissovle into Chaos.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Classical Newtonian physics, Relativistic physics, and Cosmological reality mean nothing to me." Yup, don't mean much to me either.

Posted by: crc | May 13, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Skunkman. No explanation needed.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 13, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Aw heck, Boko, that's ANY man after a good bowl of chili...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 13, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, the post-chili-eating superhero would be "The Windbreaker."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Flight. I wanna be able to fly. With actual wings, so I can feel the air and respond to it. Forget helping people, I just want to be a birdie. Want to lose weight? Try having a bird's metabolism. Get out of lines at the DMV (or, locally, the MVA) by just flying to destinations. After all, you won't be able to fit those wings into a normally-configured car, in any case.

Failing flight -- breathe water. Great for physical conditioning, too. Still able to drive a regular car. That is, I am assuming I can choose whether to breathe water or air. If it's water only, then it would be somewhat less appealing. Or, just be able to hold my breath for 20 minutes, like a sea-lion. Good at parties, too.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | May 13, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The Weingarten chat has already started, and it isn't even listed in today's chats; you'll have to navigate to the weekly schedule to find it. Dave Barry and Tom the Butcher are jointly hosting it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I would be animal man, able to change to whatever animal I want including,birds,fish,reptiles or even insects.

That way I could fly,gallop,swim or slither to wherever I want.

If I wanted to be an Eagle,I could soar above the mountains,enjoying a (birdseye view).If I was a horse I could gallop through a field. If I was a snake I could slither to my favorite rock and enjoy the sun. Heck I think it would even be cool to be a slug for a day and just do nothing.

I think I will discuss this with the person in front and back of me as I go to vote.I'm glad my girl is still in the race,sort of.It is a good day to be a west by godian!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 13, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

And here I thought I already had some (albeit limited) superpowers.

Eyes in the back of my head, able to see Dear Child reach for the chocolate.

Ability to detect shenanigans from a distance, knowing Thing 1 wasn't in class, but was sneaking into another neighborhood's pool.

Mindreading, actually hearing Thing 2 think the word b1tch while I sit in the passenger seat of the car in the grocery parking lot, knowing she has plans when we get home, yet refusing to drive because she *must* learn to drive a clutch.

Highly evolved sense of smell, able to detect nearby contraband (tough call as to whether this is a gift or was learned in younger years).

Powers of transmutation...I could feed a family of five in 15 minutes making a meal fit for kings using a little leftover chicken and whatever else I can find in the pantry.

Not sure what my costume would be, but it would definitely include some kick-@ss shoes.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 13, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Note to Padouk:

See "The Brave One." Then tell me that Jodie Foster's Erica Bain character doesn't help people.

Posted by: Loomis | May 13, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link, Mudge.

And thanks for yours, too, Scotty.
An "Iron Man" sequel and lord help me, "Thor" (why don't they say "god of thunder?") in spring 2010?

Oh, I'm all verklempt.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Will it be the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee Thor, or will it be the much more interesting Walt Simonson Thor of the early 90's? Or whatever it is, currently?

Will there be Beta-Ray Bill?

Posted by: ComicsGeekTim | May 13, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I know several people that have developed the ability to appear to be wasps while actually being friendly ol' flies.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 13, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

If you want things from nature, I'd like to be a little more like a sloth, nice and slow see...

Oh wait, I've got the sloth thing down pat.

Posted by: dr | May 13, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but you'd like to swat them just the same.

Posted by: dr | May 13, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"The Brave One" is a revenge fantasy, like dozens of others from the Batman films and the "Death Wish" series to really execrable stuff like "Last House on the Left" and "I Spit on Your Grave". Jodie Foster isn't out to help people, she's out to shoot criminals. In the course of the film she kills seven men and helps one young woman, the gal in the cab. This is not a story about helping people.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

No Loomis, I do not. I do not advocate vigilante justice, for it totally bypasses the laws and other manifestations of civilization that separate the guilty from the merely accused.

And even if one accepts, which I do not, that our laws and legitimate law enforcement are insufficient to protect the citizenry, the character in "The Brave One" goes after the "vilest of the vile," after suffering a horrendous beating leaving her in a coma, while your colorful post advocated castrating a publisher who paid more to a male sportswriter than he did you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse


Your 8:30 comment had me laughing really out loud. I know my neighbors think I have gone around the bend. The door is open. That would be great. Gas here is almost four dollar a gallon for regular. The silver and gold already there.

k-guy, had to laugh at yours too. I knew you guys were going to go absolutely crazy with this. And, Mudge, that list is out of this world. Loomis, it sounds like you want to clear out half the male population, perhaps the numbers aren't that high.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 13, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Pardon me to DNA girl, but I want the superpowers of the main character in "She Blinded me with Science."

Hey, but what is this: I HAVE been blinded by science, so I am on the receiving end. So, DNA-g, you can be thusly powered, if you like.

I shall be Rhetorica, and blind others with cogent thinking and clear writing. I wear something between a medieval wimple and a the LiT shoes that are killer and comfy.

Oh, yes. After the blinding comes uplifting, etc. Only temporary 'tis the rhetorical blinding.

Posted by: College Rhetorician | May 13, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

CP - I loved Thomas Dolby. He was a musical superhero.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Okay, let's see if I've got this straight. I'm smuggling in drugs (that are perfectly legal in North Montana but which are almost impossible to find), grits (well, actually someone else in my party is doing that), and now whole nutmeg. . . how can you LIVE without whole nutmeg? :-)

Posted by: dbG | May 13, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, now I'm just plain scared. I've gone from irritated through disgusted to frightened. It is like holding an asp to your breast.

I've never been able to think of a superpower I would like. That probably means something.

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I just naturally assumed you had superpowers already.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Not *smuggling* for goodness sake! If I've told you once I've told you a thousand times that it is "gifting" or at most "transporting!" Hee hee.

I can get nutmeg, I just need to hit the right store. When do we need it?

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Aw, shucks.

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to Chuck Palahniuk, it would be wonderful to be able to convert one's own excess body fat to high-quality soap.

Good thing the eminent author hasn't gotten into the superhero genre.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 13, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you can be what you already are: The Shark Wrangler. Whenever there's trouble or menace, The Shark Wrangler uses her superpowers to summon a battalion of Mako sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, arbitrage experts, Great Whites, ambulance chasers, blacktip sharks, and clerks to Supreme Court Justices into an all-powerful feeding frenzy that destroys an enemy. Afterward, you, discarding your superpower Shark Wrangler costume (a lot of faux scales placed carefully in strategic locations) make a wonderful bouilliabaise out of the bad guys' remains. Also a pie. Probably rhubarb.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Captain Sarcastic - My dry wit would stop all dead in their tracks as they tried to discern whether I was being honest or just messing with them.

But that's just my day job.

Posted by: Kerric | May 13, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The Shark Wrangler sounds a lot like Aquaman.

Or Mermaid Man, if you're of the SpongeBob persuasion.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Turning human body fat into soap is a snap, Dave.

The catch is, ya gotta be dead. The Museum of Natural History has a saponified man, but he's not on view to the public. Guess they're afraid some folks might get lathered up. Dr.K and I took Kurosawachick and some friends of hers into the attic to see him amidst the mummies once around about sixth grade. The reaction was unanimous- "Cool!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 13, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

dbG, thanks for the pipe cleaner man. I'm kinda cranky today, and it helped :)

Posted by: bia | May 13, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

That's perfect, 'Mudge! I'll wear a shark-tooth necklace as my symbol of power.

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Kurosawaguy, for some reason I never heard of the Mutter Museum nor the soap lady. Shows that years ago, I should have applied for undergraduate admission to a Philly institution of higher learning that I could actually get admitted to. It's an old city with lots of interesting attics and closets.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 13, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Dave ot Coonties:

Have you read "Rant" by Chuck Palahniuk? Not exactly a superpower, but the title character has figured out how to time travel and mate with his female ancestors so to strengthen his future self. Definitely a fun read. I'll freeze time so that you can go get it and be back at the office before the boss knows you've left. (Arms crossed, and Blink!)

Posted by: Gomer | May 13, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I would love to turn into guitar hero when I enter Metro. Nothing says "Don't push, shove pregnant or old ladies or tug on a blind man's sleeve" like a few 5000 watt power chords, wailing riffs, and a screaming lead solo. Just may fix a few obnoxious cell phone conversationalists to boot.

On a nicer note, tune cooties for everybody that takes the train.

Posted by: DandyLion | May 13, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

In that case, DandyLion, your superhero name would "The Incredible Roadie."

Yoki, the shark's tooth would also make a great superhero logo for your costume. And youresignature quip/bon mot at the conclusion of each caper could be, "Goodbye, old chum."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you really are The Punster! I'm chuckling.

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I saw an ad for this the other day and thought of those on the boodle who wished they could fly, perhaps this is your opportunity (there are US events as well).

Posted by: dmd | May 13, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

boodle is back? cool. dmd, I've crossed your lovely harbour 4 times in the past couple of days and I was impressed. I've seen a cormorant landing in the water, staying a few seconds and yet it was still well enough to take off and fly away. Things have improved indeed.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

There are actually artificial islands set up for cormorant nesting - they are thriving.

Next time you are in the area let me know - great BPH spot by the lake, just past the harbour.

Posted by: dmd | May 13, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Since Rachel "Man-Devil" did such a poor job on this Kit by conflating biomimicry with superheroes, I thought I'd play along on the Man-Devil theme.

As "Iron Man" (Why is it still doing big box office?) shows the audience, there is the devil on the outside (in this instance, Afghans) and the devil within (the guy who minds the store and ends up trying to run it). Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah (Oh bad!, Die ya!) As a female superhero, I hardly see myself taking on the Afghans. *l*

Interesting that Terence Howard played a supporting role in this testosterone-saturated summer comic-book stinker as well as "The Brave One."

Psst, Padouk, it's just FANTASY. You know, what Hollywood never tires of cranking out.

Posted by: Loomis | May 13, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. I think Rachel did a fine job in this Kit by asking us to exercise our imaginations regarding the superpower (note the lack of gender specificity) possibilities of biomimicry. As is so often the case, Loomis, you would have been more honest and accurate had you written that Rachel did a poor job of writing the Kit you would have preferred to read, as opposed to the Kit she actually wrote.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 13, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Just noted the passing of Robert Rauschenberg (sp?) -- one of the all time wonderful expressionist artists. Ah, that goat with the tire around its middle -- who could forget that???

While I generally appreciate impressionist art and greatly admire the genre, I have acquired a genuine fondness for modern and expressionist art -- especially Mark Rothko. Man, his squares simply *send* me. I went to an exhibit of his works in the relatively recent past (years) at the East Wing of the National Gallery and simple loved it. One of the security guards noticed my admiring sighs and asked me why I clearly loved his art so much. Hard to articulate, however. A sigh, or many of them, will have to do, and you have to be there.

Carry on. *sigh*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 13, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, still disagree, Ivansmom. Please, please don't put words in my mouth. You're entitled to your opinion; I, to mine.

On to other news...Big Texan Backs Down [Again] (His wife was the guest speaker for Mothers Day.]

A few grafs from "The Trail."

[San Antonio] Pastor John Hagee, a McCain endorser whose controversial comments had angered Catholic leaders, issued a letter of apology today to the president of the Catholic League, who heartily accepted it.

That can only be good news for McCain, who had sought Hagee's endorsement in the heat of battle for evangelical voters with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Now, as he prepares for a general election, Hagee -- like Wright -- had become a liability.

Not all Catholics are prepared to be mollified by the letter, however. Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, said "it would be nice if McCain apologized," and called the candidate's previous efforts to distance himself from Hagee's comments "somewhat conditional."

Posted by: Loomis | May 13, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

That would have been nice dmd, but I'm with a small group.
I've had a couple of good meals around H-harbour and marina as a matter of fact. Any suggestion for the GBA (Greater Burlington Area)?

I feel no superpowers at all, I'll think about it but I'm just too tired now.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - then why did you bring it up in the first place?

And I agree enthusiastically with Ivansmom. I am sure this is not an easy gig for Rachel and Caitlin, and I think they are doing a wonderful job.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to be able to be at more than one place at a time but communicate with myselves so I know what's going on wherever I am. What would you call me Mudge?

Posted by: Aloha | May 13, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Switchboard Woman? Omnipresent Woman? The Borg?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Best places in Burlington are around the centre (Brant St) close to the lake park and there is a small village age full of restaurants and bars.

Try Sonzz, Pepperwood, Carriage House, Landmark.

For view first, but still good food Water Street Cooker or the restaurant at the end of Brant Street, or Spencers at the Lake.

If you have the time just walk the area - pick the menu up like and enjoy the area.

Posted by: dmd | May 13, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm so disappointed in you guys.

Has *nobody* come up with Captain Methane yet?

Who needs ink when all you need to do is eat a can or two of baked beans and maybe some cabbage?

Kinda like the squid thing, but it would actually disperse in the air and not just make a big puddle on the floor. Call it "invisible" ink.

You also get to wiggle your bum at your adversaries as you aim (unless, of course, you're doing covert "inking"... like in an elevator or jacuzzi).

I'll check back later for the obligatory Monty Python taunt I'm dying to say but won't.

Posted by: martooni | May 13, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ooo, good one Martooni. Alohaboy could be Capt. Methane Jr. He is notorious for letting it loose on us in small confined places.

Posted by: Aloha | May 13, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't give me any superpowers, give me a Star Trek teleporter with infinite charge/uses on it and the ability to activate it anywhere I am.

But right now the superpower I most want would be to zap all mental confusion, headaches, and other nagging malaise that prevents me from focusing on stuff.

Call ba bum bum....

The Wishing Well Gnome....

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 13, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Making fun of people's names is rather 3rd-grade. Yours is such an easy target one would think you'd steer clear of that. (Remembering Error with much fondness.)

Posted by: LostInThought | May 13, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmd, if the colleageues aren't willing on Chinese (first choice kitchen on Fairview) we'll try the village.
What a gorgeous night here in the GBA!

Aloha, the Ancient Giant Black Lab has the Superpower of methane. He can empty a not-so-confined room in 15 seconds.
He has mastered the Force of Methane. With the help of mechanically separated chicken.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Shriek I am laughing you are so close, also try Chaps, Chop house on Fairview - at least you could enjoy the outdoors. Seriously not the town for Chinese.

To go all out Steak/Seafood - Napoleons on Fairview - terrible location - great food.

Posted by: dmd | May 13, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

oh, Toons and Shriek, I am collapsing in laughter. You have truly made my day.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 13, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Anybody notice the photo on the front page, with the caption that the young man is an earthquake survivor? He doesn't look very alive to me. I'm happy to read, though, that China is accepting foreign aid. I wonder if any of the Urban Search and Rescue Teams from the US will go. I hope so.

Posted by: slyness | May 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I have finally found the superpower I want to have.

Love that low fat truth syrup, indeed I do.

I love this movie. You can have your Superman movie, and your Batman. Me, I'll take this and Galaxy Quest.

Posted by: dr | May 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Aloha... As long as he promises to only use his gaseous powers for good, I'm sure Captain Methane would take on Alohaboy as his trusty sidekick.

Capt. Methane: "Fartboy! The Methane Mobile is almost out of gas! We... must... re... fill... it! Ex-Lax Man and Commander Incontinence need our help!"

Alohaboy (aka Fartboy): "No problem, Captain. I had Taco Bell for lunch today."

I think I've spent too much time today around the lacquer and lacquer thinner.

Speaking of which... I better get my butt back out to the shop. Busy, busy, busy. :-)

Posted by: martooni | May 13, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey, keep that salt away from gwe.

Catching up at home...

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

More likely Alohaboy went to Zippy's for the chili on rice and that's why his super power kicked in.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

wow, Kazakhstan has a Tiffanys.

In the city of Almaty. The best candidate for the ancestral home of the domesticated apple.

How is that for off topic (We seem to be very much on topic with the Lady Kits, hmm). (Hope we haven't be hurting JA's feelings)

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh you hit it right on the nose Frosti, that's one of the deadliest of amunitions! Actually, pretty much anything Alohaboy eats serves to fuel the methane machine.

Posted by: Aloha | May 13, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, I missed "Rant"!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 13, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Slyness very interesting. this morning I was listening to some of the Burma foofra. It fills me with sorrow that the military government is so narrow minded. We have a world of help waiting for them and they care more for their power than their people.

The boodle has been nice and escapist today. Sometimes humanity needs it. Hurray for the silliness Rachel and Caitlin.

Posted by: dr | May 13, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Rotuma Day in Fiji

let's not forget Our Lady of Fatima

Koji Suzuki (Ringu) turns 51 today

Stevie Wonder 58

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

i think i'd be "global warming girl" and do away with all global warming!

that or "bat girl" i mean, think about it... bats have wings AND fingers and apposable thumbs... (but i wouldn't be the chzy bat girl in all the movies - i'd have REAL wings!

Posted by: mo | May 13, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

anyone remember the movie "mystery men"? paul rubens was the spleen - his power was of the gasheous kind as well... i loved that movie...

Posted by: mo | May 13, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I never thought of Bat Girl as cheesy mo. But real wings and you can fly, yeah, that's cool.

If I had to be a Fem SH, I'd be Red Sonja.

Down RDP, down!

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, we don't actually need nutmeg. Please do not trouble yourself! :-)

Posted by: dbG | May 13, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Aha! Another cruel nutmeg emergency hoax!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like the hearing of a canine, and the ability to read body language that an ordinary dog has. They are both pretty advanced abilities. My dog knows one of my friends is coming before I do. Each engine sounds different. She knows if rustles in the bush 250 yards away are important or not. She also can figure out everyone's mental state, motivation, secret self, etc., all from watching them move. We keep few secrets from our dogs.

Posted by: Jumper | May 13, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Alligators will sit for hours, waiting for dinner to come to them.

I *need* the patience of an alligator from time to time. Earlier today was one of those times.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 13, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't know *why* [holds up sarcasm sign], but now I've got that dang "Particle Man" song by They Might Be Giants going through my brain on an endless tune cootie loop.

Hey... I could be Sarcasm Man. (like I'd really want *that* job).

Sarcasm Man gets beat up a lot, especially when female superheroes ask him whether their outfits make their butts look big.

Posted by: martooni | May 13, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Can I change my mind, oh wait I'm Red Sonja, it's my prerogative to change my mind. If Fem SH I want to be Jean Grey.


Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW, martooni, why aren't you in the shop?

Posted by: slyness | May 13, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

As long as I'm not Marie D'Ancanto I'm OK with 'em all (I think)(although Marie is a cutie, it is worse than the Midas touch, I think).

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I *was*, slyness. I know I only put in about nine hours today, but I promise to try to do more tomorrow.

I blame the "Particle Man" song. You can't run power tools when distracted by a silly tune cootie.

Serious tune cooties are a different case, but the silly ones that make you do silly dances and attempt Pavarotti impersonations (I'm thinking Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody") can cost you a finger. Or worse.

Posted by: martooni | May 13, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

oh, martooni, I know exactly what you mean. for those who don't:

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Rachel, you forgot the most important reason to be Cheetah Man... fast women and good times, until the king of the jungle (or castle) catches you.

Wait, you didn't mean that kind of cheetah. My bad.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 13, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

oh, I hope it's not to late!!!Don't nobody click on that link....Itill scare you for life.

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Erhm, the Wishing well gnome was filling in for the Punster. (Toss in a few coins, and you get a wellspring of effort.)

Jumper, I agree those abilities are awesome, but you forgot the biggie--the ability to lick yourself. I'm always being asked not to show that off in polite company, so maybe it's a taboo, I don't know.

This morning I let the gnome know with a ever-so soft nose poke and mysteriously quiet wait on the rug that there was something important and sad going on.

The gnome then found out there was a phone call about how an uncle has cancer in more locations than previously thought.

It can be hard to know that stuff when nobody else does, especially when all you can do is shoot meaningful looks, poke with nose, bark, and lead people about, or give up and slump down like Hamlet with indigestion.

Discussions are on to go visit the uncle, last I heard.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | May 13, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

mo - yes, I can see you as Bat Girl. I mean, you have the aura of mystery bit down. Not to mention the black garb.

I remember watching Mystery Men. Paul Rubens is rumored to have been horrified to have to rely on flatulence for humor, but claimed that he was just happy to get work.

I recall the line by Janeane Garofalo, "The Bowler" when Rubens tries to hit on her. "There's not enough beer in the world Spleen, I'm sorry."

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

damn, I had completely forgot about that song martooni.

without even watching that YouTube I remembered the accordion piece well. It's on one of the two TMBG CDs own.

I wish I could find my sole Sonic Youth CD. They're a tune cootie chaser if ever there was one...

ambling off in what will sure to be a fruitless search


Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Shhhhh...I'm invisible...

Posted by: camoman | May 13, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I've got "NCIS" on the tube, and I'm laughing my butt off at this show, as I often do. The team is trying to find somebody and discover he lives in a trailer park in Alexandria. Right away this notion is as preposterous as a trailer park near the Loop in Chicago, or perhaps on the Left Bank across from Notre Dame. I mean, jeez. So anyway, two of them go out to the alleged trailer park, which is dry and dusty and has a mountain range in the distance. Bwahahahahahahahahahaha.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree Mudge, it can be unintentionally funny. I always giggle at the way Abby, the Goth woman, seems to have mastered every piece of technology imaginable. No that's a superpower.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 13, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Did they mean... Alexandria, VA? Not like, Alexandria, Pennsylvania? That would be near Tussey Mountain.

But yes, I can't stand the obvious fake DC scenery in some of those shows. I often amuse myself by trying to guess where it was actually shot instead.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 13, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

YeeHaw, found it:Sonic Youth:GOO

It case I'm to late with that warning: Sonic Youth:Dirty Boots

Sonic Youth 'An Exercise in Disharmony'

If that is not to your tastes there is always this 'A Real Girl:EMMA': OH so much fun this vid...I think I've watched this one a dozen times (ellipsis)

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

ooh, I love me some Abby, she can fix my 'puter anytime

oops, here comes the wrath of you know who

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Just found out I can set my default browser to the Opera browser. thing is I can't seem to find the Opera browser on my system

A question for other more experienced mac users: is there a way to set my Safari preferences such that when I click on a bookmark it automatically opens in a new tab???

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I love. They went to yet another trailer park, this one right off I-95 at Arlington Boulevard. I didn't know there was a big ranch there, and another mountain range.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 13, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

But wouldn't it be great if it showed them driving through actual Alexandria, then turn a corner, and there's a trailer park right next to Old Town? That would be some good humor.

Maybe they mean a DIFFERENT Alexandria. Alexander founded so many. Maybe this is really Tashkent (one of the many).

Posted by: StorytellerTim | May 13, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

There's a trailer park in Alexandria VA on Rte 1 just south of the WW Bridge. No mountains in the background though.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 13, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I see mountains

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

You mean the rest of the country doesn't look like Southern CA?

Posted by: Aloha | May 13, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry I missed such a good boodle and people already took all the good powers. I too wanted to be Sarcasmo. And pretty much any good superhero has already been invented. We live in a world with both Dazzler and Yellowjacket. I disavow any connection with him since he was a domestic abuser.

Howard Stern actually portrayed Fartman on MTV and recreated the moment for his movie.

We already have SharkWrangler only he's a supervillian. He was Alberto Gonzales as the torture memos were written.

Truly awesome real animal powers would be regeneration, hibernation, and bioluminescence. The Electric Eel would be a great villain as well. As well as Pufferfish.

And if I could fly, I'd like it to be hummingbird style because I can never remember the words.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 13, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I thought I recaledl some stigma about Hank Pym. Actually, one of Marvel's most difficult heroes. Lame powers, changing identity all the time, and some... domestic problems, as you say. But also one of the smarter heroes. Just behind Reed Richards, smarter than Peter Parker (after all, he's doing Nobel level work in chemistry, biochemistry, and physics), smarter than the Beast (Hank whats-his-name, who is a genius only in biochemistry and genetics -- only two fields), probably about equal with Dr. Doom.

Posted by: ComicsGeekTim | May 13, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you dmd, the canyon chop house was great. The Woman was in a celebratory mood and opted for the steak house. She got her visa and passport back from the embassy of a Very Suspect Vacation Destination (VSVD) she is heading to next Saturday. A VSVD I would never go to for work or fun. She goes there on a 6 weeks work stint, working directly for the (female!!!) president. I'll be worrying for the both of us.

]NCSIS is not so bad. Mrs. Denizen, who holds supernatural powers as far as electron beams and forensic science are concerned, thinks it is the lesser of the many evils on TV. Her and her ilk used to have laugh-in sessions at CSI's DVDs but that show got so bad it's not fun anymore. The Science in NCIS is very bad, but better than anything else. And the Goth girl is hot too.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I change my mind again. I want to be be Music Persons. My weapon is not my staff, but my song. I can play any instrument virtuously, and can tame any beast. My SH costume has a Bass and Treble staff on my sleeves, and a dynamic image of whatever instrument I happen to be playing at any moment chest/breast. My Super Powers are so great that I can be several places at once playing any instrument. I'm a freaking Orchestra if wanna be, for crying out loud.

Oh, wait, I just killed musicians all over the world...

Never mind

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

SD so glad you all had a good experience...props to dmd, way to go...

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

All hail Omni-Orpheus. Wait, didn't he have his share of bad luck?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 13, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC: there should be on 'on my' in there.

Cause of course, when I play violin I look like Hilary Hahn, and on cello it's Jane Oliver

Don't get me started on Opera Babes.....andSTOP

I'm an equal opportunity Musician

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Oh! I think I know this one! The VSVD is... (am I right, Shriek? The SA country which recently [but not most recently] elected a woman president?). I know this one!

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

So what you are telling us, omni, is that you wear your heart on your sleeve? Kinda unpleasant in the colder months, I should think. Might think about tucking it into your doublet.

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, this is the one with the star (singular) spangled banner.
It's worth about $600 of vaccines.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps your j*****

[My previous post was held by the moderator for review]

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

NCIS is all about Mark Harmon for me. What, you mean that's not the Blue Ridge in the background? (I'll spare you my Deer Hunter tirade.)

Love a lot of the super powers you guys came up with - the cute kitten with aloe is my favorite. I could really use the Frosti weed zapper too. I was thinking of something along the lines of a tune cootie destroyer - replace some dreck with the call of a loon, or something...

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 13, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I *so* knew that!

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

That would be Loonie Tunes.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 13, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, all. Perhaps they meant Alexandria? Before it sunk into the sea? Along with all its books?

Posted by: Yoki | May 13, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

omni, look in you Safari Preferences (under the Safari menu item). There is a Preferences tab for Tabs, under which you can set it to open links in a tab.

Posted by: PlainTim | May 13, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

That's it yoki. You've nailed it. It's all about the lost city of Atlantis.
We are taking NCIS way too literaly, it should all be methaphorisized like Lost.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm signing off for a day or two. I will however not that Gene Hackman, in his early 80's or so, isn'nt a proper military leader. I'm watching a show in which he is the alpha guy.
The French tried it in the late 30's early 40's. Let's just say it wasn't a resounding success.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 13, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Um, Wilbrod, I had bad luck last month,,,don't jinx me...

And tho' I have sworn off women (really still recovering from 3 badd relates lately), I really know I think I'll never be into young boys

Have you been paying attention to my YouTube links at all

I give you this:

Shimmer lyrics (by Throwing Muses)

You in the water
Underneath the tarp
It don't rain under the water
It don't rain inside my heart
Don't follow me home
Don't follow me home
You walking in the gulf stream
Tail between your legs
It's not funny if you ask me
It's just funny in your head
Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on
My tongue is filled with sugar
And my back is filled with pain
Your tongue is on my shoulder
And there's nothing on my brain
Don't follow me home
Don't follow me home
Shake barrels of whiskey down my throat
I'll still see straight
Ride out on a pony
Even loose I won't be late
Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on Hang on
I'll ride on a pony
Till I'm dusty and I'm old
My head is filled with flowers
And I'm dressed in shiny gold
I'm dressed in shiny gold
Keep an eye on me I shimmer on horizons
I shimmer on horizons
A shimmer on horizons
A shimmer in your eyes, son
A shimmer in your eye

Saw them twice at the Nightclub 9:30

Have a couple of their CDs (I AM not Going to Search for Those Right now)

This performance doesn't have Tanya Donelly (Who I shook hands with, and still.. be still my beating heart...).

I also own a solo CD by Kristin Hersh: "Murder, Misery and Then Goodnight"

Appalachian folk songs about murder and death. These were songs sung to App children.. Really creepy when you really listen to the words. Her children are on the CD cover, yeah, I said it...creepy

98.6% off all my CDs are women singers

OK, I just made that up...

But it's probably true

Now I'm just running off on the key bored, boodle hooging

Next I'll be forming at the month

what other ridici thing kant e blimey on me ...

OK, now I am being riidici

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Canuckistanis-please to explain why Rick Mercer is already in reruns. What does he do, 6 or 7 shows a season? Seems like it to me anyway.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 13, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the mountains and ranch in Alexandria is funny stuff. Next thing you know they'll put Metro stations in Georgetown and Dulles Airport...

Speaking of currently unemployed bioengineered superheroes, I see that Barry Bonds has been indicted (again) on 14 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

I'm guessing that the prosecutors must think they have a pretty airtight case, knowing that Bonds can afford the best legal defense money can buy.

On the other hand, when the Giants waived him last year, why didn't any other teams pick him up? Oh, yeah, because they thought he'd be a distraction...

Lastly, I'd like to thank Rachel and Caitlin for doing such a good job stepping in for Joel while he's Down Under.


Posted by: bc | May 13, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I just realized, that even though my 10:58 AM post wasn't on the BIO topic, I did use the word 'mimic'.


Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you lost me with 'Heart your Sleeve'. but i've been up since four, to bed last night past eleven

I hope it's not another last (insomniasuckage and all that)

PlainTim. I'm clicking on the bookmarks bar. I know I can left click and choose a new tab. I'm just still to used to windows, that when I pull dpwn the favorites menu I automatically get a new window get a new

It's hard learning a new OS when I still use an old MS OS eight hours plus a day. And I spend most of my time on my mac watching DVDs while drinking Boddingtons

I keep trying they same old MS shortcut keystrokes at home, but am slowly learning the MAC OS X shortcuts.

I Figure, in another year, I'll be ready for half the boodle to be asking me for advice (by the way, I figured out how to get my PERL script too run).

I counted my taxable income for tha span of my work life. Imagagine my misery that I'm not a millionaire. times that b,um,carry the, um, wonder you in pain

Your mor than twenty of our years and you still klivein a hous and not a mansion or a castle witha chef butler anf main ... and ...and...

OK, Guinness kick, and I'm gonna leave it like hat for laughs

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

That would of course be a French Main...

Of too bed before I do too much more damage to English and my expensive MAC keyboard.

Posted by: omni | May 13, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Omni, Ovid was totally lying about Orpheus's turning away from the ladies to the laddies.

It figures a Roman would decide that all Greek fellas deal with a broken heart inside strong, boyish arms, instead of going out and conquering a country, maybe decapitating a few nobles, like a /vir virorum verus/(true man of men).

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 13, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

That was so much fun I had to boodleskate in slomo.

Let's see,
BallBreaker, thanks for the National Geographic article tip

bc, will you have an army?

The Grand Mechanic of Quant(um)
Had ten thousand ferm(i)en
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
On the way up they were up
On the way down they were down
And when they were all halfway up
Some were up and some were down

ComicGeekTim, remember that Beast is a medical doctor as well, and I think he's good at maths too (?), so I rather wanted to be like him (BeastlyGirl?).

CP inspired me in another direction (love that song!), but I don't want to blind with science...appears kinda anti-enlightenment, ya know? But wouldn't it be great to have the powers of a science muse? Astronomers have Urania; I will dream of being Coria for biochemists tonight.

Posted by: DNA Girl | May 14, 2008 2:06 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 2:39 AM | Report abuse

It'd be neat if I could time travel. Then I could attend a BPH! What I would really like is the superpower of healing. Then I would be able to heal my dog. She got bitten by ticks and got tick fever like her mum. She's going to join her mum in a month or so.

Posted by: rainforest | May 14, 2008 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Mudge: //Aha! Another cruel nutmeg emergency hoax!//

It started out with a recipe I used to make soup when I cooked in restaurants, and I got to the point where I couldn't make a cream soup without it. Then French toast, but just once in a while. Chili, spaghetti sauce, here and there. The occasional chocolate chip cookie batter. I had it under control as long as it was pre-ground, sawdust nutmeg.

But now I have one of those little nutmeg grinders (think of a flatter pepper grinder) and . . . I put a quarter-turn of freshly-ground nutmeg in everything. Oatmeal, cold cereal, grilled meat, sauces, all baked goods, juice and even, sob, roasted vegetables.

I know of its purported hallucinogenic properties and I just don't care.

No doubt my Boodle-friends will help me make it through the weekend without it.

Posted by: dbG | May 14, 2008 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm sorry to hear that your uncle is still on that road.

Posted by: dbG | May 14, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I am so freaking odd! I kept checking in all day, expecting the conversation to turn to an examination of the phrase, "both renewable and less toxic".

Obviously, we never went in that direction. [For the record, I think that everything is renewable. Except that the pesky laws of energy conservation tell me that entropy demands that, in the long run, NOTHING is renewable. It all just, well, wastes away.]

Posted by: Bob S. | May 14, 2008 3:46 AM | Report abuse

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I almost damaged one (possibly both) of my own balls when I noticed DNA girl's appreciative notice of the NatGeo citation. Please, don't make me laugh like that. I'm old, I damage easy!

Posted by: Bob S. | May 14, 2008 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Bob S., I hear that can be helped by a chilled bowl of Howard Dean's tears.

DbG, thanks. I really rather expected that road to be one that he won't get off of until it ends, but bad news before breakfast isn't the best.

Jumper's superhero wish was just ironic in a way.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 14, 2008 4:50 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Ruth Marcus has a pretty good column about federal judges and McCain's simple-minded analysis of them. And there's an interesting news item that the Army is dropping charges against the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker because the only evidence against him came from tortured confessions, and nothing else. Of, course, we've been holding him for many years, and will never let him loose, no matter what. We just can't try him. What a great job Arbusto and his team have done. Jeez.

It seems most analysts are treating Hillary's landslide win in WV as the irrelevancy it is. Yawn.

OK, onward and upward.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 14, 2008 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Morning, morning, friends. Well, well, what a kit! The writers of this, and the other kits are doing a great job. I laughed a lot yesterday, and this morning.

Martooni, you cracked me up with your choice. The "gas man"?

Slyness, I hope the trip was good. I love looking at flowers, just not good with trying to grow them.

Scotty, Mudge, and all, time to move.*waving*

Ivansmom and RD, words just will not convey my thoughts about your recent comments. I know it was hard not to. I felt the warmth, believe me. Oops, I'm trying here, and not succeeding. If this comment does not make sense, and I know it doesn't, I'm really trying. We'll just leave it at, I'm glad I'm not drinking coffee yet.

Wednesday, the busy day. I've already baked the cake, and the apartment smells like cake. A good smell considering all the others. Just a plain old box cake, but I hope the thought will be taken into account.

I've been up so long, and now I'm getting sleepy. Maybe just a small nap. Have a good day, folks. The weather here is slightly chilly, but suppose to warm up.

I'm going to leave all of you with one thought: Play nice. NO throwing sand.

And I am still laughing.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 14, 2008 6:02 AM | Report abuse

New kit! Playball!

Posted by: Shrieking denizen | May 14, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

And Beast's real name is Dr. Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy and was played by Kelsey Grammer in the movie version. Why did I have to know that?

Like another Boodler, he is very erudite and has a large blue bottom.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 14, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

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