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The Outback


Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, appeared out the window of the plane as I flew from Perth to Alice Springs. It was a thrilling sight, for it saved me from having to drive 10 hours round-trip from Alice to see it from the ground. With a little help from the Picasa photo program on my computer I was able to get a nice pic. Of course, you have to imagine how it looked in real life from the plane, and then rotate the image in your mind to imagine how it would look on the ground -- genormous, blazing, a massive red carbuncle on a flat and desolate landscape. A monument to nature's grandeur only slighty asterisked by the hundreds of tour-bus shutterbugs and gray nomads sharing the view. .


Much of the Outback is fairly featureless from on high, but there are also bits like this. You get a sense of very old continental crust, crinkled over time.


Yet another airplane shot. Note the mines. Australia is flush with cash from its mining operations, particularly coal getting gobbled up by China for its new electric power plants. The country's "terms of trade" ought to be great news, but there's much concern in Oz about inflation and the cultural downside of a go-go economy. The Sydney Morning Herald did a series of stories on people who are working so hard that they are forced to send their kids to boarding school and see them only once a year, and so on.


Just to prove I'm not making it up about exports. This ship is heading out of Perth (the view is from Fremantle), loaded with cargo containers. I try to back up all my assertions with photographic evidence.


Hiking around at Ewaninga, where there's rock art. The sandstone is chalky dry. This is a place that hasn't had any significant rain in a couple of years. The Todd River, which runs through Alice, boast not a drop of water at the moment. The annual regatta features captains running through the sand of the river, pulling their boats.

More photos after the jump.


What's it mean?


Way up high in the MacDonnell Ranges. The cycads grow in the mountain gaps.


"You go to the corner, take a left, and go, let's see, about a thousand miles, and you're there."


You can swing your elbows around here.


A lot of roads here are what they call "tracks."


Uh-oh. Do you think Avis will be upset with me?

[I'm back in the USA. More Oz pictures to come in the next few days, if you can stand it.]

[By the way: Bang-up job by Caitlin, Rachel and Nelson the last few weeks! Don't you think? I knew they'd be great and can say in all modesty that their fine work reflects well upon my judgment and proves me a genius once again. And many thanks to the boodle for keeping things hopping around here.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 22, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
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Next: Multiple Worlds and Black Holes


Joel's back.

I wasn't expecting him until Monday at the earliest. Quick. Hide the booze, put all the furniture back, and someone get rid of the goat.

***grinning guiltily***

Welcome, back Boss! We took care of things real good while you were gone.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 23, 2008 6:21 AM | Report abuse

won't let me post....and not a naughty word in it!
Morning all. SD is bringing scones. Note I said BRINGing scones, not MAKING scones.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 23, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Great pictures and comments Joel. Having you back makes me feel very comfortable. Glad you avoided snake bites and other bad stuff. I look forward to more pictures. Australia seems a strange and wonderful place. I remember the photos my daughter took on Kangaroo Island off the coast of Adelaide and the massive limestone rock formations there. Everything seems to be bigger and/or weirder down under.

I forgot to mention last night my favorite smelling flower in bloom, the lilac. I used to have a bunch of them at the old house but there were none here. I planted a small 'rescue' plant last year. It's about a foot and a half tall and has one very pretty flower blooming right now. It looks a bit silly but someday it will be a nice big shrub with many blooms, I just hope I live long enough to see it.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 23, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations on a safe and obviously successful trip, Joel!

*TGIF-and-joy-at-a-long-weekend-somewhat-tempered-by-an-aching-back Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 23, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Is it a first that the Boss announced a new kit this morning? How kewl is that?!

I've got a funeral to go to myself, Cassandra. But I'm counting my blessings: one of my good friends will go from this one at 11 to another one at 2.

Kber, I look forward to hearing what you think about God's Secretaries.

The latest book I've finished is the one my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday. It's a travelog of authors associated with the NC mountains and was more engrossing than I thought it would be. The author is a friend of my sister-in-law, and the book is the first in a series of three, the other two will do the same for the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain.

Posted by: slyness | May 23, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

... hey, where are the beach photos with you and hot Australian babes? you know what they say Joel... all work no play, makes Joel a dull boy... :)... we're waiting!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 23, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Joel coming home early reminds me of "Risky Business" and this Jimmy Buffett classic:

Lyrics here:


So long Boss, knock 'em dead, don't worry 'bout a thing
Wish that we could come along, we'd love to hear you sing
The limo's here, your bags are packed, the list is by the phone,
Me and Snake will watch your place and treat it like our own

Look at all this liquor
Look at all this food
It's only gonna go to waste
We're not really being rude
But the good stuff's in his closet, I swear he wouldn't mind
Hell, we''ll just shoot the lock off, I do it all the time


We're gypsies in the palace, there ain't no wrong or right
We're gypsies in the palace and we're raising hell tonight
Oh, hi there Boss, what's goin' on?
You say you're coming when?
I'll send Snake to pick you tomorrow night at ten

Everybody out of here, the show is closing down
We've got to find someone to clean this up,
He's coming back to town

Hi there boss, we waxed your car, we raked and mowed your lawn
We couldn't find enough to do in the short time you were gone.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 23, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for the welcome-homes.

Miss Toronto, I got no beach babes for you. But I do have some good pictures of ROCKS at the beach. I'll post those at some point.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 23, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

goodie! :)... I was teasing Joel... hey, aren't the rocks awesome in Australia... and did you notice the cool trees? along the beaches of course?

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 23, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the Desert SouthWest of the US.

Posted by: wiredog | May 23, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

*shrill whistle of the bosun's pipe, and the Officer of the Deck calling out on the 1MC:*

"ACHENBLOG, arriving!!"

Welcome aboard, sir. All present, or accounted for.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 23, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Hey folks... dropping by to say hello.


EJ's column was amazing. Well done.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Later in the day, a post may show up, that fit post 2 after YJ's early morning appearance. Forgive that it is random, as the youngens say.

I head off by bike to CPDot2's college graduation: walks through a humanities one then on to the social sciences. I am proud, natch.

Lifting high the banned of relieved parenthood, for said darling child HAS HEALTH INSURANCE and a job. HEALTH INSURANCE! You evolved Canadians may not quite understand that SHE HAS HEALTH INSURANCE.

May all of you have good news today. And, hovering angels, please attend Mudge.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 23, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Good to have you back Joel. I concur that your choice of such excellent replacements is a tribute to your decision making skills. Also, I think they deserve special commendations for hazardous duty. At the very least, they will probably better appreciate why you sometimes seem so oddly jumpy.

You were in Alice Springs? Oh my. I know of this place. You have my deepest sympathies.

I hadn't realized the degree of wealth flowing into Australia because of the coal mines. I can really see this becoming a complex issue for the Australians, especially when one considers what the Chinese and others are doing with all that coal. You know, burning it and all.

Erich Von Daniken just called and wants to know just where you found those rock etchings that have an uncanny resemblance to the, umm, laminar flow pattern in the engine cavity of a Lamborghini. Yeah. That'll work.

And finally, thanks for that photo of the car. We always wondered what happened to that field team.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 23, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Love the pics. The hubby and I plan on a lot of overseas travel when the kids have moved on and Australia is very high on our list. Welcome back, JA.

Yep, Caitlin, Rachel and the Nelsonator were fun to have around.

We went to see James Taylor last night. The hubby got the tickets as a Mother's Day present but did a little grumbling about geezer's, etc, because he's never really been a fan. He had to admit that JT put on a really good show, he was very charming in a sort of reticent James Taylor way. He did a cover of Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman that actually made me kind of weepy!

Posted by: Kim | May 23, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Double congrats, CP!!! *HUGSSSS* :-)

*faxin' Don the co-pay bill for my upcoming visit to the audiologist* ;-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 23, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey Kim,

Taylor is one of those musicians that I really started to enjoy recently after not much appreciation for him in the olden days when he was the bomb.

I am also really back enjoying Peter Rowan.

You ever heard of him?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Joel. Wonderful pictures. Australia was always one of the places I wanted to visit. I love the idea of the Outback, hundreds of miles and very few people. The reality is, I suspect, a place I would like somewhat less than the dream.

There used to be an Aussie show called 'Bush Tucker Man' or something like that. The host used to go out into the bush and show we modern folk the Aboriginal peoples food sources, where to our jaded western eyes, it looks so barren. Fascinating show.

I should probably have told you about this BEFORE the trip...

Posted by: dr | May 23, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home boss. Are those cycads? (not cyads)

Gas prices went up $0.19 a gallon here yesterday. Glad I don't have any travel planned this weekend. Strangely this is aiding our local tourist economy. People who would be flying, or driving out of state, are ending up here. Holding my breath to see how reservations go for next summer.

Morning to all and congrats to CP on the dot's great good fortune in employment. HEALTH INSURANCE!!!

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Congrats, CP, on a job well done!

Yesterday, second dottir and I purchased gap insurance for her. I paid, happily.

But now I know my job is done: Wednesday, I fielded four cellphone calls from her, with various *etikit* questions. She was writing thank you notes for graduation gifts. Without prompting from me that it needed to be done, and fretting from her that she was a week and a half after graduation getting around to the task.

Posted by: slyness | May 23, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Several of the snapshots-especially the third and to a far lesser degree the sixth (a petroglyph)--remind me of geoglyphs. Do the Nazca lines on Peru's Pampas de Jumana come to mind? See "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" for details. *l* With a similar dry climate in Aussieland, will these lines persist for as long a time?

Of course, I was hoping you might have mentioned Pangaea and how Australia split off from Antartica. You know, show the aerial seam that once yoked them. *l*

Of course, there's always the subject of Aussie Ian Klaus, and how he's using his former relationship with Chelsea Clinton to promote his new book.

Posted by: Loomis | May 23, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Cycads! Happiness. [Coonties are little Florida cycads, of course]

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 23, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Finally mangaed to get all my back boodling done, and I find I have missed much.

Hugs to those what needs it, and I will keep you in my thoughts, Mudge.

Posted by: dr | May 23, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Welcome back, Joel. I now have "The Boys Are Back In Town" tune cootie driving out any productive or meaningful thoughts from my easily distracted brain.

At least it wasn't the "Welcome Back Kotter" theme song.

Posted by: martooni | May 23, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Oooooh, ooooh, the lost continent of Sahul...and aboriginal DNA:

Do you think that early Peruvians could have used primitive hot air balloons in order to supervise the creation of the Nazca lines?

BTW, did some Google News searching last night, to learn that Chandler Field in Fresno was used to create the 1950s Ciudad de Mexico airport scene in Indy's "Crystal Skull." The film crrew also shot at WWII-era Eagle Field in Dos Palos (two sticks, poles, logs, masts, or trees in Spanish) in California's Central Valley. Don't know if shots at this locale made it into the film. Brings back memories--the sugar beet truck used to start off every morning in Dos Palos, pick up various samples (bags) of sugar beets at various stops throughout the Valley, before dropping them off at the Spreckels' processing lab at sunset for processing and testing at night--toughest, grittiest summer college job I ever had.

The academic scenes in "Crystal Skull" were filmed in New Haven, Conn., and at Yale. Need to go learn more about the Hawaiian scenes.

Posted by: Loomis | May 23, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

welcome back, joel. the airplane shots are very cool.

warm thoughts and hugs to mudge, jack and others who have posted sad news in the last few days.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 23, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

CP, congrats on daughter nbr2. I "give you joy", to use a favorite Patrick O'Brian expression.

That only leaves the Boy to edjumacate, now, right? Again, congrats, and BZ!

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 23, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Hey DM- no, I am not familiar with Peter Rowan. JT definitely did justice to his bluegrass material last night. He had a very good lady fiddler, Andrea something and he had a very appreciative (and large, almost sold out) crowd down here in southeastern VA.

Yes, CP - congratulations on your daughter's graduation. Very sweet time, I'm sure.

Mudge - hope you're doing ok.

Posted by: Kim | May 23, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Welcome back, Joel.

And congrats, CP. I'm sure your mind will rest easier today...

martooni - Thin Lizzy was a highly underappreciated rock band, back in the day, IMO. But, that's just me.

More later.


Posted by: bc | May 23, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I went to see James Taylor a decade or so ago after some worry about the geezer factor. I was awarded a front-center seat and had a nice time.

He was big precisely when I arrived in Chapel Hill.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 23, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Howdy and a hearty welcome home, Joel. Those are splendid pictures. They simultaneously fuel my desire to visit Australia and slake it thought vicarious living. I look forward to more.

Congratulations college parkian - that health insurance really hits home, doesn't it? Every now and again someone suggests I might like job x or job y, always something really interesting in a non-profit type way. I politely explain that I need pretty much what I've got now in terms of compensation because otherwise we don't eat or go to the doctor.

Mark me down as a fan of "God's Secretaries".

The Boy's science final is today then we have a couple of days to relax. Garden (read: weeding) here I come! Barring destruction by storm it looks like we'll have a good crop of blackberries this year and I'd like to get to them. All the tomatoes, peppers, squash and onions I planted are still alive and growing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 23, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The burned car is very reminiscent of "Walkabout." There have been a lot of good movies out of Australia over the years- "A Town Like Alice", "Breaker Morant", "My Brilliant Career", "The :Last Wave", "Rabbit Proof Fence", "Picnic at Hanging Rock", "The Piano", "Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith", "Cry in the Dark", "Flirting", "Muriel's Wedding", "The Proposition", "Mad Max", "Priscilla Queen of the Desert", "Babe", etc.

OTOH, why didn't I get the memo about this important meeting of the tin foil hats?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 23, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hiya. Welcome home Joel.
Any idea what kind of mines those are?

Posted by: Boko999 | May 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

k' didn't get the memo, 'cuz, see, at the last meeting, it was mentioned that you once had a red car, and, well, there's the chance that you chose that color to show your allegiance....

Posted by: LostInThought | May 23, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

That car was NOT red, it was burgundy, er, well kind of claret, no more of a pinot but with just a touch of berry but no oak, no no that's not quite right, zinfandel? barolo? chianti? Well, it definitely wasn't red anyway.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 23, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

It was also mentioned that you'd seen Dr. Zhivago and your library card shows you've read both Pushkin and Solzhenitsyn. I'm sorry, K'Guy, but you're out.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 23, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

k-guy... I laughed at your mention of "Priscilla". My previous VW Bus was named "Priscilla, Queen of the Western Reserve". (God rest her air-cooled soul, '75 with the fuel-injected 1800)

I painted her purple, then took a small brush and painted magenta and cyan overlapping squiggles all over her -- kinda looked like velvet when I was finished. I then chromed her out from nose to tail, added faux tiger skin seat covers, faux leopard skin on the dashboard, funky red curtains and a 9" disco ball dangling from the ceiling between the front seats. She also had one heck of a sound system (had a separate battery to power that).

I'd pull into "cruise night" events where everyone has a '57 Chevy and they'd all go nuts. She actually won a couple of awards.

* sigh *

Those was da days.

Posted by: martooni | May 23, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

But... but.. I didn't even like "Dr. Zhivago" all that much. I mean I liked the parts with Alec Guiness and Tom Courtenay, but Rod Steiger was chewing scenery like it was made of beef jerky and Omar Sharif didn't do diddly but moon about with his big watery puppy dog brown eyes and I can never see what Julie Christie saw in him anyway and David Lean has made lots of better films. There's "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Hobson's Choice" and "Great Expectations" and... and.. out, huh? I feel like the victim of a conspiracy, a right wingnut conspiracy, yes, that's it! A vast right wingnut conspiracy against... ME!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 23, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

kguy- you spotted what Christie saw in him "big watery puppy dog brown eyes." Which also explains my brief, disastrous second marriage to Mr. F#2.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to CPDot! Excellent move into the adult world. Keep your mama happy, too, while you're at it. Good times.

Son of G is over the moon today. FIrst day off in a week and a half and Girlfriend is arriving today. They haven't seen each other in person in well over a month (nightly visits on the webcam don't count).

Daughter of G's opening night of Godspell was last night--performance by a community theatre made up of high school kids from around the area... kind of like an All-Star cast. Amazing talent, energy, etc. So much fun to see--and she has had scads of fun participating. Two more shows: tonight and tomorrow night. If anyone local is interested, email me at boodler [at] mac [dot] com for details.

So... who's doing what for the holiday weekend? Our Canadian buddies had theirs last week... anything fun?

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Dolphin Michael! I love Peter Rowan, although I haven't listened to him in a long time and I'll have to look at wikipedia to remember what groups he was in. Do you have any favorite CD's of his to recommend? I love James Taylor, too - never seen him in concert. And talk about geezers - I'm going to Hippiefest (twice!) this summer, in the hopes of seeing Jack Bruce.

CP, congrats to the dot on graduating and getting a job - with health insurance!

Bad Sneakers, I don't have room for a lilac, so I go myself a tiny Korean lilac to bonsai. It is blooming now and very fragrant.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home, Joel! Wonderful pictures - keep them coming!

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Joel, as your welcome back gift, a verb agreement typo: "The Todd River...boast..." You're welcome. Good to have you home!

Posted by: bia | May 23, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The weekend will probably be the same as any other for me, just a day longer.

But today I celebrate World Turtle Day.

Posted by: omni | May 23, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC that first sentence. The way I worded it, almost sounds as if an extra day is a bad's not!

(Teehee, I said it's not)

Posted by: omni | May 23, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

It's not
It is

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

omni... they thought it was a booger, but it's not.

[Did I really write that? Sorry, folks]

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

My dear omni, we really must give you some horticultural lessons when you have the time. Those "smelly orchids" in your photo album are either stargazer or rubrum lilies (rubrum petals are more recurved than stargazer). I see that you have already learned to cut off the stamens to avoid the dreaded yellow pollen stain. Despite the misidentification I applaud your taste. I don't typically like such strong scents but forgive the lily and allow it to be my favorite cut flower.

Easily grown in NoVA by the way for anyone who wants to duplicate my favorite painting

(which I have shared here before, but perhaps there are new folks who haven't seen this Sargent masterpiece)

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't express how nice it is to see the "Achenbach" signature in the boodle and to have the boss back in charge of the kits, too.

No question the subs did a great job but so what--there is no true substitute for the Real Thing.

I'm wrapping up a three-week gig of working full-time from my dad's home office, about 1400 miles from my normal workstation. Cell phone and email, internet link to my office files--it all worked out pretty well but it was a little stressful at times, and certainly a little more difficult. The weekend, to answer TBG's question, will be about catching up on the home front, after a Saturday return to the Sunshine State.

Kim, I saw James Taylor at Symphony Hall in Boston, back in the late 70s. It was just him and his guitar on the stage, some kind of benefit performance, so intimate and very good show. He sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside" as a duet with himself by means of a reel to reel tape recorder (!)

Joel, thanks for taking and posting the photos. This is a much more convenient way to see the sights of Australia than actually going there myself. More, more, bring 'em on.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 23, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I swear its the flower guy who keeps me misinformed.

Posted by: omni | May 23, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Even the crickets are on their way out of town...

Posted by: crc | May 23, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I like turtles.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 23, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Everyone in my office is heading out for an unofficial early dismissal. In a temporary fit of insanity I agreed to a conference call at 1:30 today and I figure I might as well do it from here.

My weekend plans had consisted of sleeping late, working in the garden, checking out the farmer's market tomorrow, and perhaps hearing a friend play at a local arts festival Monday. [advertisement] Mary Catherine Reynolds, remember? Google her again now! [end of advertisement] However I swear that sinus infection isn't done with me; I've been drippy and dizzy all day. I hope it is just bad allergies; the combination of heat and humidity is aggravating everyone's noses.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 23, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I like Flo and Eddie....

Mostly, on Peter Rowan,

Seatrain, Seatrain (1970)

Old and In the Way, Old and In the Way (1973)

Peter Rowan (1978) (incl panama red, Outlaw love, Midnite Moonlite, Land of the Navajo, The Free Mexiacan Airforce AND A Woman I Love)

Reggaebilly (2001)

Quartet, Peter Rowan & Tony Rice (2007)

As a quick Sampler of music from multiple Genres that he has done.

Mostly, If you haven't had a chance to sneak a listen, try a free snippit of Reggaebilly ... A TREAT of a treatment and most recently Quartet is mahvalous.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Iron Man's website:

Posted by: ComicsGeekTim | May 23, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DM, I'll check those out. I did search wiki, and Peter Rowan played with the great Bill Monroe, of course.

Also, Flo and Eddie are part of Hippiefest this year! I saw them way back in the early 70s when they were with Frank Zappa. As a reminder, Hippiefest is at Wolftrap on July 30, and many other places:

Don't forget your tie-dye.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to say thanks frosty. Thank you frosty, I've fixed my flower labels. Now if I could just get them in the right order.

Posted by: omni | May 23, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting pics, Joel. Guess you really were there :-) The one of the burned up car reminds me of the car the kid ruined in "Into The Wild."

Hope everyone has a relaxing holiday weekend. eidrib spouse and I are going tent camping near Crested Butte, CO, for two nights if we can stay warm enough and not get flooded out--they had record snowfalls. Should be interesting.

Posted by: eidrib | May 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Heading home a tad early myself. Sticking close to home for the long weekend and will be tending to painting and yardwork. Always with the yardwork.

Have great weekend everyone!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 23, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Boko999 | May 23, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My conference call is ended and I am out of here. I'll show up again during the course of the weekend. Happy Friday afternoon, everyone.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 23, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The mines may have been copper mines Boko, the retention ponds are mighty blue...and Australia is the fourth largest producer of copper. The price of copper now is US$3.75/lb; price when I graduated in 1985 was US$0.90.

Good weekend all. More gardening in store for me. Hopefully this time it's going to be the dry type of gardening as opposed to last week's trudging in the rice paddy.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 23, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Right. With everyone out gardening, camping, having nice weekends at the cottage, it's time for a little taking over of the world. Let me see. We could talk yarn. Or knitting. doilies?

Posted by: dr | May 23, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

omni-You're welcome. I had hoped I did not come across as a Lucy van Pelt type know it all, but I do see a lot of gardening potential in you.

My plan to start the weekend at noon today was well under way, in the garden, when I got the call to sub for our Community Technology Center director. She's down for the count with a fever and the city clerk is recuperating from surgery so I am it. So I'll be working from 4:00-7:00 this evening and perhaps a few hours tomorrow. Weighing the need for the center to be open a few hours on Sat. vs. the likelihood that there will be no patrons on this holiday weekend. I can see which way that scale is tipping right now.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

So glad you're back, Mr. Achenbach. And the pictures are really nice. The place looks a little dry, though, kind of like there isn't any water around. But it's all good.

I hope the weekend is really nice for everyone. I went to the funeral, and was okay. The grandchildren were very upset, but that is understandable.

The g-girl is here, and being herself. I want to take a nap, but I know that is so out of the question.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 23, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

We made it up the mountain. For the first time this year, it was 70 on the porch and 63 in the house, so the windows are open.

Generally, gas along the way is cheaper than at home or in the mountains. We passed a new station advertising an opening price of $3.489/gal. A competing station up the road matched that. However, the lines were sooo long we didn't bother to stop, figuring the wait wasn't worth our time. At home this morning, the price was $3.959 and in the mountains, $3.859. Go figure.

Posted by: slyness | May 23, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

frosti... knowing you the way I do, I have a feeling the community center will be open tomorrow.

Bought my shade flowers today and will fill my boxes and new flower beds tomorrow. I patronized the more-expensive, but closer nursery today because when my dad lived in the retirement home nearby, they never made him pay for his plants--it's their policy to comp all the plants for the residents there.

I think I'll be buying all my meager gardening stuff there for years and eventually I'll have done enough to thank them for their generosity.

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Boko, thanks for that link. I like Jeffery Toobin - he explains the law so even I can understand it. He's preaching to the choir here, no doubt, and probably to much of the New Yorker audience. We're very afraid.

dr, I'm up to my ears in knitting projects. Only one of which has a deadline, or at least a deadline that's not months away. I've decided to become paranoid about moths that eat yarn, now that I have so much (expensive) wool and alpaca lying around. I was hoping alpaca wasn't affected, but have learned otherwise. So I brought out the lavender - probably need to get some plastic containers to put the wool in.

Nothing much on my agenda this weekend. I'm kind of the backup to the backup on call person - there's a power outage at one of the sites we support - those can get ugly. So I'll probably stay home and putter in the yard and knit.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

CP, Congrats on the DotGrad. That is a big, big achievement.

I've still got that row to hoe. We had high school graduation today. Went without a hitch. Since my wife is a county school employee, they let her on stage to present the diploma to him. It meant a lot to her.

We have a house full of relatives and more on the way. I'll have photos soon.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 23, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG-I guess you know which sister I am in Sense and Sensibility. Was hoping not to be so obvious.

Better get out of my garden togs and get to work. I am taking my garden diary with me, it is in dire need of updating and will make the time go faster.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Mostly L.... Are you local to DC?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Elin--I mean, Frosti, you will do the right thing, I'm sure. Take a book, or a project, and that will ensure that you are overrun with patrons.

Posted by: slyness | May 23, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

i'm always a bit behind in my boodling...

congrats to cp and others with graduations in the family.

have a good long weekend everyone!
i'm going to a pawty in new yawk.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | May 23, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

It's been a lonely afternoon. Apparently, the scientists are feeling waves of patriotic enthusiasm and respect for our fallen soldiers. They must all be off holding a vigil at Arlington National Cemetery or something, because there aren't so many here. And now, the time has come for me to depart as well. There is laundry to be done, a science fiction convention to be attended (Balticon, this weekend!), and a science talk to be brushed up and improved.

Catch you Monday, or maybe not until Tuesday!

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 23, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

DM, no, I'm in Seattle. But I'll be visiting DC in July for the aforementioned Hippiefest. Long story - I really want to see Jack Bruce, but the Hippiefest tour dates were sort of dribbling out. I decided to combine a trip to see him and my sister (in PA, but willing to drive to DC for a concert) - and there's a BPH opportunity, on July 29, if that works out. Then, after I had made plans to do this, Hippiefest came to me here. I'm still dubious that I'll actually get to see Jack Bruce - but at least I'm getting the chance. I'm also hoping he'll play for more than 20 minutes, but I'll take what I can get.

L.A, have fun in new yawk! yello, congrats to you too!

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The reason I asked is that I was by good fortune about a month ago meeting a person I know to talk about web projects and this person knew a guy who is a local radio and music legend, Damian of WHFS. We ended up sitting with Damian and his wonderful wife and my friend had to talk to the wife about some other business, so I spent two hours straight with Damian.

We talked about Zappa and independently about Flo and Eddie and then a show at Const. Hall w/ Zappa and F&E. Talk about the days! Damian was friends with Zappa. At one point, he went on a cross-the-country trip to some fishing place that Zappa told him about.(If I got my stories straight)... possibly somewhere near Seattle.

Damian played with JB Hutto. I have always loved blues music and can't get thru the day with a bit of HoundDog Taylor on the iPod. "Lookie Here!"

I bet you would have enjoyed the conversation too! It's not often that you talk to folks who have interviewed EVERYONE.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Damian. I am impressed, Dolphie. That sounds like fun!

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

That does sound interesting. I don't know Damian - I used to know folks in radio, in DC, so I wouldn't be surprised if we knew some of the same people. The Edgewater Inn in Seattle is where you could fish from your room - the Beatles stayed there, Led Zeppelin stayed there, Zappa wrote about it in Mudshark:

Mud Sh-sh-shark

FZ: There's a motel in Seattle, Washington, called the Edgewater Inn . . . The Edgewater Inn is built out on a pier . . . so that means that when you look out your window you don't see any dirt, it's . . . got a bay or something out in your backyard . . .

It's called the Edgewater Hotel now - no more fishing from the rooms, I don't think.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael,

What a great opportunity to chat with someone who has so many great DC music and radio stories! You are a lucky guy to chat for that long with Damian. Man, I am jealous. But I'm glad you had a great time.

Posted by: pj | May 23, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse


Damian is one of the sons of Jake Einstein, the guy who bought WHFS-FM and turned it into progressive (or underground) radio legend. Damian's brother was also a DJ and program director on HFS. Damian was severely injured in an automobile accident in the '70s and has had physical and speech difficulties ever since, but his mind still works just fine.

Posted by: pj | May 23, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

pj, I figured you would know who Damian is. I'm surprised I don't - but it sounds like WHFS was playing the same sort of music WGTB was at that time. If I knew about him or the station, it's been blooped from my sieve of a mind. And once again, wikipedia has a lot of info about the station. Amazing.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 23, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, WGTB and WHFS were playing very similar music. That is until Georgetown University pulled GTB's format because the politics of the station didn't go along with the Catholic Church's and sold the station license to the University of DC, which later sold the license to C-SPAN.

Posted by: pj | May 23, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Long day, heading home.

Mostly, that's it...

pj, also stories about John Prine, Jessie Colin Young, Jorma and Jack, Hendrix, and, of course, all the places around DC at the time.

Damian and I talked about how the Blues world and the Bluegrass world were intertwined in the old days. Talked about the Red Fox Inn and all the bands that used to run thru the Childe Harold.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 23, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I remember hearing Damien on WHFS way back in 1987 when I first moved out here. At first I was confused why a man with such problems speaking had a career in radio, but his obvious expertise soon won me over. And when I heard his back story I understood what had happened.

Last I heard he was working at a new station called WRNR - but that was years ago now.

I loved WHFS, and grieved when it became El Zol! So many great personalities like Bob Waugh (who I *think* went to WRNR) and, of course, the inestimable Weasel - who is still going strong at "The Globe."

Speaking of which, I am secretly in love with Schelby. Call me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 23, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Venn diagram, blues, bluegrass, I guess Gram Parsons would come up eventually, right ml?

If it wasn't for mostlylurking I wouldn't even know who Gram Parsons was, but now I'm impressed with him, he's a music legend, even though he only lived on Earth for 26 years.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 23, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I was listening to "Panama Red" and "Just Another Band From LA" last night. And "Stand Up"
And Poco, I love Poco.

A couple of drunks were hasseling the Turtles during a performance of "Billy the Mountain" in Ottawa so Frank stormed off the stage. Lucky I had seen him play in Montreal the night before.

My Mum loved Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia" but hated anything with lyrics almost as much as my libber girlfriend who thought Frank was a sexist pig. Kinda hard to argue that one. I was lucky the concert I convinced her to attend was mostly insstumental. Fantastic, Frank and the gang knocked all our socks off.
I wonder what Ainsley Dunbar's up to?
Did you know *Tim's MIL played on "Freak Out?"
*falls to knees*
I'm not worthy.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 23, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse


[tee hee hee]

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I just took a break to watch "The Jane Austen Book Club" with my mom. Everybody lived happily ever after.

I'm dying to post the lyrics to "Boulder to Birmingham," the song Emmylou Harris wrote after Gram Parsons died. But I guess the lyrics are beautiful to me partly because I hear her singing them. Oh! Youtube:

Posted by: kbertocci | May 23, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo front page headline and link to the article about the Naval Academy graduation says "Anchors Away for Graduating Midshipmen."

Posted by: TBG | May 23, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hope the silent boodle just means that everyone is off doing enjoyable weekend stuff, and not that I've missed all the fun because of refresh problems.

Enjoyed the first fire of the season this evening in an Adirondack chair with a couple glasses of wine. Oak seasoned 2 years burns very well indeed.

CP-a color suggestion for a pair of chairs facing a fire ring with higglety pigglety bloom in the background? (assuming we have a long enough summer to get some bloom)

Toodles boodle, sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yep, refresh problems. Should have known.

Oh my TBG, glad Mudge is not around to see that-unless it's revealed to be a pun in the story, then he might enjoy it.

Now it really is lights out.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 23, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Ahh, the old WHFS, Damian, Weasel, the whole gang I discovered broadcasting from Bethesda in - I want to say '78 or so?

The Psyche Delly. The Cellar Door. The Bayou. Good times, good times.


Posted by: bc | May 23, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

kb, I was listening to that song yesterday in the car - so beautiful, so sad:

I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
I would hold my life in his saving grace.
I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham
If I thought I could see, I could see your face.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 24, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

kb, jp, bc!!!!

burrito bros.... a favorite of all times. Hot Burrito!

Here is a guy for you, Herb Pedersen. He wrote one of my favorite songs "Wait a Minute" that you can hear performed live on the Seldom Scene 75 Anniversary Album.

Enjoyed him at the Cellar Door w/ The Dillards. The old days, when Cellar Door was something other than a phrase before the word "Productions."

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 24, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's looking to be a light Boodling weekend for me, what with unpacking, yard work, etc. I hope the DC-area folks enjoy what's shaping up to be a marvelous holiday, weather-wise, and I hope everyone has a good weekend regardless.

*Tim, enjoy the convention, knock 'em for a loop with the talk!!

*holding-a-long-salute-for-my-fallen-brothers-in-arms-and-then-providing-the-usual Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 24, 2008 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Later this morning we are off to the Graduation Picnic my aunt in North East is being kind enough to host. Then he has four more parties to go to in the next two days.

I have my niece who just finished her freshman year visiting for the festivities. Trying to think of a good place to take her to show off the area on Monday. Any ideas?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 24, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The white zone is for loading and unloading.

Posted by: The Central Scrutinizer999 | May 24, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, sun or shade?

Something neutral. But unexpected? A milk-style paint with a touch of color? Palest blue or one lighter shade of celadon green? Those cool tones would tamp down the higglety piggelty riot behind them. Tis easy for me in the shade to decide because during the golden hour of say 6 -7-ish, the primer takes on the pale dove lavender cast. The swing then whispers to me that this color is right.

I am the yard furniture whisperer....oh my goodness.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 24, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning folks.

slyness... I finally got around to potting a few of the iris bulbs you gave me last fall. This morning I am greeted by an amazingly beautiful purple bloom. It's like a royal announcement that Summer is Here.


Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Yello, is the niece into cool houses and gardens? I haven't been, but I understand Hillwood is a great place to see:

I want to go back to Mount Vernon and spend the day. The new visitors center does a good job of explaining Washington's importance for the country.

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I cannot stay long, the g-girl and her mom are on the way, plus I have an appointment. I got some bad news yesterday. A family member has passed. I don't know what to say any more. I just pray.

I want to check back in later.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 24, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

TBG -- love the garden center who comps the senior plants. Made my day.

Love the music chat here. May I say two words: Neil Young. ? !

Brunch for the dot with some high school and college teachers to arrive. I want to dig in the garden and hope that will happen sooner rather than later this weekend.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 24, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A busy day today, helping some friends out, visiting, getting work done, and a birthday dinner for my middle daughter this evening.

I hope everyone has a good day, and I'll check in later to see what's up.


Posted by: bc | May 24, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra... a special hug for you today.

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

With all those Posties taking the buyout, isn't there room on the Post staff now for Terry Shine?

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

New people moved in across the street! This is both exciting and scary. The record has not been good. But it takes pioneer spirit, and the first thing they did was mow the lawn. An auspicious beginning. Hmm, just noticed my blurry vision makes auspicious look like suspicious.

Posted by: Jumper | May 24, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm sorry to hear that. Been a week for death, at least around're in my prayers.

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse


Yes, Neil Young ... the best part of about him is that some of his best stuff is coming out NOW! Kids are getting into him. I also hear that there is a trend now amongst some younger folks to try to turn up record players and they are finding all the discs.

CP, here's another guy for you. Ry Cooder

But bringing up Ry Cooder, and then thinking back to my enjoyment of Neil Young, there just is a small point ... I see musicians who are extremely talented and great composers and then there are folks who become an extension of their instrument.

No one would ever claim that Neil Young was a "Danny Gatton," but I just can never get enough Neil Young. Sort of like Hendrix...

Speaking of Hendrix, there is a guy who has sort of hit that "extension of his guitar" level of play. If you want to see a master, check out Robert Lighthouse.

Robert has been thru a lot and coming back up and, other than he is a quiet person on stage, he could be huge. He reminds me a bit of Leo Kottke who, as I remember was the Calvin Coolidge of stage musicians. Reminds me of the old "you lose" story with Will Rogers.

Then as if it happened all of a sudden, they get really interesting on stage. Very witty... to see what I mean, take a look at Kottke on the YouTube clip "Leo Kottke Live Clip 6" funny little anecdote and then just a wonderful John Hurt song that he Kottke's.

A couple YouTube shots of Robert...

"Robert Lighthouse- Roll and Tumble"

and my favorite:

"Robert Lighthouse She's The One I Love"

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 24, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, condolences and good thoughts your way--

TBG, thanks for that link!

Posted by: kbertocci | May 24, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. May has been a rough month.

The password in our house today is...knock out roses.....*bing*

Posted by: jack | May 24, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

g'morning all, with thoughts to Cassandra. There is a voice in the back of our heads that often says "if one more thing happens..." and then one more thing does and we go on. I know your faith sustains you, but I hope you'll accept the fax of a heathen hug.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think the Hillary RFK remark is a nonissue? I know what she was saying... why the big fuss?

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

DM -- LOVE LOVE LOVE Ry Cooder and also T-Bone Burnet.

Leo Kottke owes John Fahey, from Takoma Park MD...Gatton also hails from MD.

i know Chris and Chick Hall,who played with him and also the fine bassist John Previti.....DC is a great gitar town.

Cassandra, I feel such tenderness toward you and Mudge this weekend.

Jack, I think that Knock-Out roses are related to the Simplicity line....workhorses of bloom!!!!!

Off to the day.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 24, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, condolences and good thoughts your way--

TBG, thanks for that link!

Posted by: kbertocci | May 24, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, condolences and good thoughts your way--

TBG, thanks for that link!

Posted by: kbertocci | May 24, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the triple post, but the sentiments can be multiplied by three without distortion.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 24, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I agree. She was making a comment about June, not assassination. This is the latest in such a long line of "gaffes" by various candidates that the real question is why have we created a kind of Culture of the Gaffe that makes us (well, the news media, the bloggers, the campaign strategist, etc.) so ready to pounce on comments that supposedly offend us.

It's a gorgeous day -- I hope everyone gets out and about. I just planted some tomatoes and am about to go on a power hike. Have a fun mem day weekend! I'll probably post a couple of things in the next day or so.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 24, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse


I do have a problem with HRC calling out two examples related to the California primaries--her husband's and RFK's. She, of all people, should be aware that the timing of California's primary no longer holds as a good example.

NYT, Aug. 30, 2004:
A bill that would move the California presidential primary to June from March beginning in 2008 breezed through the State Legislature this week with bipartisan support.

USAToday, Mar. 15, 2007
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday moved California's presidential primary from June to February, giving the most populous U.S. state a greater stake in selecting nominees and shaking up the 2008 political calendar.

We are having a staycation. My husband had the day off yesterday--and such a day to take a vacation day. It was 97 degrees yesterday with a 70 dewpoint, making for a heat index of 107. We were undoubtedly the hottest large city in the country yesterday, although it was worse in a couple smaller cities to our south in the Rio Grande Valley.

Compare this to 72 degrees last Saturday, my birthday, when we traveled to Stonewall for Becker Vineyards 10th Lavender Festival. A gorgeous day--the storm clouds were as dark and lavender as the enormous lavender field on one side of the property. Passed a large llama farm on the backroad getting there. Regretted not taking the camera.

Hadn't sampled this much Texas wine since the meeting years ago in downtwon Denver where and when different state delegations met to woo the superconducting supercollider. The tasting room was packed.

Had my first taste of lavender in cooking, and came home with lavender soap made in Provence, lavender lip balm, and lavender shea butter. Regretted not taking the camera and missing a 4:30 p.m. lecture about lavender growing in central Texas. I was amazed at the number of different vendors there selling local lavender products of all descriptions, as well as (overseas) table linens from Provence.

Interesting doings that afternoon over at the nearby LBJ ranch.

Posted by: Loomis | May 24, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

It seems clear to me that we focus on gaffes because they are easy to comprehend and terribly salient. And, of course, there is the pernicious influence of the Olympics.

See, in many Olympic competitions you begin with the assumption of a given score based upon the level of difficulty and then take various deductions because of imperfect execution. I think this kind of thinking has permeated the culture.

We are all mentally knocking of points because of that extra step on the landing or poor arm position during the triple Lutz.

Anyway...this morning I get to paint the stairwell. This involves ladders.

Ladders and I have a checkered history.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 24, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

CP-Celadon green, my favorite color but too soft for these chairs. Blue, yes a blue that will hold up against hot flowers in full sun during the day yet glow at twilight.

TBG-thanks for alerting us to that Terry Shine piece. I cannot imagine being in his position but he took me along for the very uncomfortable ride. There's a train engineer metaphor in there somewhere, and if I had Shine's talent I'd find it.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning y'all. I am up and moving, which seems like an accomplishment in itself. Cassandra, I am so sorry.

RD, please be careful with that ladder. Can't you bribe it to play nice? Surely you have something a ladder wants.

It is possible that I will join the Boodle garden work fest today, though the grocery store calls and the clouds look ominous. One can hope.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 24, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

CP and frosti... you've got me thinking. I have some rusty old green lawn chair, the metal sproingy kind. They are not only rusting, but the green color has been rubbing off on anyone silly enough to sit in them for years. I've been using them as plant-pot stands, but bought some dark green spray paint to redo them.

Maybe a nice periwinkle would be more fun. Or a hot salmon to match the impatiens.

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Hot salmon, wow! Sounds great!

HRC's remark should be a non issue, in my view. The media is ravenous for gaffes, ridiculous. However, it just reinforces my feeling that this dang primary has just gone on too long. They are both exhausted and nothing good and positive is happening.

cassandra - I'm sorry to hear your sad news. It has been a tough few weeks for boodlers.

The hubby and son are fishing down south of Hatteras for the weekend, so it's just my daughter and I. We're heading out for a bike ride when she is sufficiently awake. She is currently plowing her way through an unbelievable stack of pancakes and fruit salad. I am amazed at how much food a 15 yr old and a 17 yr old can put away. My neighbor remarked the other day that I seem to be unloading groceries 5 days a week!

Anyway, then we're heading out to the Strawberry festival with a few of her runnin' buddies and that's the extent of our Memorial weekend plans, so far. I join Scotty in a salute to our Armed Forces on this day.

I hope everyone has the same lovely weather we do. My tomatoes are going great guns, my hydrangea is about to burst forth and everyone mentions my dahlias and lantana as they stroll past. Life is good.

Posted by: Kim | May 24, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Hello from my BlackBerry. Work comp still down. Cassandra sorry to hear about your sad news. Wishing I was out enjoying the day not stuck at work. Hope everyone enjoys their weekends!

Posted by: Kerric | May 24, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

*adding my HUGS to those heading Cassandra's way*

I just think HRC should have had her mouth-brain interface checked out before that interview -- with existing worries about Obama and various threats, using the "a" word was stooooopid. *shrug*

Back to the chores and such.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 24, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

This is the second time Sen Hillary has used the old, "Why quit now? Bobby wasn't murdered 'til June", gambit.
Exhaution induced tone deafness IMHO.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Serious, serious frenvy at those DC and Tidewater area gardens. I've had a great morning dividing hostas and planting them as edging for a couple garden beds-no hardscape edges in this landscape, no siree. But, there is still a lot of garden angst. Here my established beds and borders are full of promise, with many zone 4-5 plants thriving, yet on Memorial Day weekend it is still a "before" picture. Your spring should reach us in about 2 more weeks.

TBG-return that dark green paint! (or use it for something else) Salmon, chartreuse, turquoise, lemon chiffon are the colors for sproingy chairs. (Wish I had some of those old chairs, the new ones are expensive and not sturdy at all.)

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hot Salmon? No, Jorma and Jack formed Hot Tuna.

Anyway, other guitarslingers from DC include Roy Buchanan and Nils Lofgren. Ones with DC links (so to speak) include Link Wray and Roy Clark.

Posted by: pj | May 24, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Frosti... considering my foyer and hallway are aqua and my family room is orange, it would be kind of silly for me to have plain, green chairs. Of course, you gotta have a surprise somewhere!

I'll post pics when the project is done.

My planting project is finished, though. All the boxes are impatiensed and the pots also have gorgeous red coleus and some sort of purple-flowered vine (I don't remember the name) that supposedly works in the shade. My deck only gets about 2-3 hours of sunlight a day--in the late afternoon--so it's kind of limiting.

Unlike my buddies here, I don't find gardening a particular joy... but I do love the results.

But now that I'm finished... Son of G and GF are off exploring DC, Daughter is at the pool (water's too cold to swim but it's all a social scene anyway), Dr G went into work (I thought gummint workers lived the easy life?)... Ahhh... a good, long shower and some quiet time on my prettified deck.

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey dbG... how's the raised-bed project going?

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

There was a heated discussion yesterday about HRC's remarks in one of the online knitting groups I'm in. Well, it's Knitters for Obama, so much umbrage was taken. For me personally, I didn't think she was saying, hey, there's still time for someone to knock off Obama. A few weeks ago, that's what her remarks sounded like to me. Yesterday, I thought she was emphasizing June, the time of year. Totally off the mark and irrelevant - and she did say assassination, and I think that's what got to people - especially with Ted Kennedy's bad news and the 40th anniversary of RFK's death coming up. Even Daniel Schorr was beating her up about this on NPR.

Your flowers sound great, TBG. The impatiens make me think about Mary McGrory. She wrote such funny columns about her struggles with gardening. I should get some for my pots.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 24, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

My gardening is done. I smelled the lilac, didn't lawnmowere the tulips and the day lilies should come back now that I've pulled the skids off them. Time for a beer.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You lucky dog, Boko.

My feet hurt and they are cold, but porch cleaning is finished. Tomorrow we stain the railing and Monday we stain the decking.

THEN maybe I can think about gardening, a little.

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Link Wray rocked. Like in Twenty Flight Rock. The Stones did a pretty good cover way back when...I saw this tour at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Heavily medicated.

Posted by: jack | May 24, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Just back from the dentist. I had a cleaning scheduled and he was nice enough to come in to take an impression for (another) crown. Then I trip to the cemetary to see my parents, then groceries and the drug store. On my parents' stone is the quote, "thy will be done." I believe this is a good phrase to repeat often when difficulty strikes. Once you've done what you can, leaving the rest to God, or Fate if you prefer, is preferable to stressing.

I am tired. I'll get some laundry done and then nap. The weather isn't as good as predicted, sort of cool and mostly cloudy. Tomorrow is gardening day. My best thoughts to Cassandra, it has indeed been a bad month for some here on the Boodle.

As it wasn't the first time Hillary made that remark, I am less willing to cut her much slack for it. Especially, as ML said, with Teddy's recent bad news and the anniversary of RFK's death. She needs to realize that her chances are less than slim and her continued campaigning is becoming a joke to many people. I'm at the point where when she comes on TV, I have to mute the sound or change the station, the same as I do for Bush.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 24, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, my prayers go out to you and your family.

All this gardeing talk has resulted in a soon to be container garden. Though we have ample acreage, we don't have ample light. With the trees falling last year, forcing cleanup of several other dead but standing trees, we suddenly have much more light in the back yard. I'm trying out some containers and hope to have some success. At least I know with things in pots, on the too hot days, I can move them to shade.

I'd have gone with celadon, but then my yard is all about shade, and the shade demands the green. The soft blue sounds right for you CP.

Posted by: dr | May 24, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi all...

{* Sending hippie gnome hugs to Cassandra *}

To paraphrase Lone Mule... funerals stink. Especially in May when the world is waking up and coming back to life all around us. It was fourteen years ago today that we buried my Mom, so I know of what I speak. I just wanted to bite the heads off every little chirping bird at the cemetery.

On a happier note, my back yard finally dried out enough for me to mow it. God bless Briggs & Stratton. The grass was nearly two feet tall and that little bugger of a mower just chomped right through it. Of course, the mower pusher is a wee bit sore now, but it's the "good" kind of sore. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Time to scare up some dinner, then out to the shop to get caught up on orders. The local college radio station does a really good jazz show on Saturday nights -- perfect background for smoking a cigar, sipping a little hootch and making magical doors.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | May 24, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

CP.. hitch a trailer onto your bike and head over to Capitol Hill...

Posted by: TBG | May 24, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my gosh, Cassandra, I hadn't refreshed my browser when you posted your AM note about a family member passing - I'm so sorry to hear about that. My thoughts are with you and your familiy today.

A lovely day here, wonderful temps and plenty of sun and enough cloud cover to cool things off when it gets too hot.

Spent a couple of hours this afternoon with a friend at an outdoor cafe; relaxing, solving the problems of the world while watching various segments of it go by, and enjoying a drink or two.

Back to some work here, then a birthday dinner later.


Posted by: bc | May 24, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse


I was planning on going to Lowe's to get soil and peat this afternoon, but a friend called so off to lunch at a new Mexican restaurant. We'd picked up takeout menus when we entered, but left them on the table instead of taking them. Infinitely mediocre!

I expect to be @ Lowe's soon. My goal is to have everything planted by the end of the weekend. . . Don't worry. That bag o'tomatoes will be yours sooner or later!

Posted by: dbG | May 24, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

dbG-your lunch detour reminded me of the biggest commercial news to hit our county in months. Bigger than the new steel mine/mill combo, the controversial coal gasificiation plant, and the opening of the first Super WalMart-there is a Mexican lunch truck parked outside the nearby (32 miles) power plant. This coal fired plant has had lots of construction going on for the past year and 3-4 more years to go as they install environmental updates and other stuff. YES! First the independent coffee shop, which also serves great vegetarian soups, was so successful it had to move to bigger digs, now this. Can artisanal breads and stinky cheese be far behind?

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

frosti, you've described Sweet Lucy's, a local BBQ place which went from lunch cart to a brick & mortar operation.

Good luck on the artisanal breads & stinky cheese! You get that, Ivansmom gets food delivery, civilization marches on! :-)

Posted by: dbG | May 24, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

'The Golden Compass', Ahh, a wonderfully fantastic movie. Can't wait for a sequel. Dakota Blue is an amazing up and coming star. The next Emma Watson.

And Eva's surprise appearance as a witch was a pure treat.

I recognized the singer of the song 'Lyra' in a heartbeat. Loverly. One of my favorite lyricists and such an angels voice

Posted by: omni | May 24, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

What a glorious evening. After spending the day painting it is good to get outside and check on the 'maters. They seem to be adjusting well.

Cassandra, so sorry to hear of your loss. It is a veil of tears sometimes isn't it? My best thoughts to you.

Ivansmom - the ladder and I had a little talk and came to an understanding. It promised to give me no trouble. In return I won't turn it into kindling.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 24, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

In other news: My basketball is possessed. When I shake it, it rattles. That's not normal.

Today I decided to play until I broke out in a sweat or was winded. To avoid sore thighs like last week. Third time I had to run after the ball I stretched my left Gluteus Maximus the wrong way. Ouch...

A few throws later, the ball bounced on a crack in the black top and bounced up straighter than expected, and I jammed my right ring finger. Ouch...

Anybody know of a good BasKeTbAll exorcist?

I just know this is going to be BOoO

Posted by: omni | May 24, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

omni-tape your ring and middle finger together with surgical tape and get back out there. Show the ball what's what. Don't let that old playground ball sound rattle you!

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse



Every time she sings the name 'Lyra" she sings it twice. The second time she sings it I think it sounds so much like Jane Siberry. But Jane went off the deep end quite awhile ago (So no way it could be her)...everything else about this song screams Kate to me.

Posted by: omni | May 24, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Just wave a utility knife at it, omni.

Or make it jealous. Get a baseball and -- in full view of the basketball -- pet the baseball lovingly and coo at it and tell it how special it is (unlike the bad nasty good-for-nothing basketball).

I know that the jealousy trick (as well as the utility knife threat) often works on power tools and old cars. I'm just guessing it might play to sports equipment.

Then again, you could always take up knitting. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | May 24, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

My prayer is with you and your family. Take good care of yourself and your beloved family.

Posted by: daiwanlan | May 24, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama's new fundraising model is a winner, according to The Sunday Times:

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama's new fundraising model is a winner, according to The Sunday Times:

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi frosti. I kept playing, even though I had this overwhelming urge to crack that knuckle. I'll also be back out there next Saturday and many more (when it's not raining, of course). Oops, TBG, I said "it's not" again, teehee

OK, I'm just boodling blindly. I have no idea what the boodle has been up to since COB Friday.

Posted by: omni | May 24, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, Boodle. Boss, welcome home. Cassandra, thinking of you.

Got home a little after 5 p.m. This is going to sound a bit strange under the circumstances, but I "enjoyed" my cousin's funeral. No, not the actual funeral part itself, of course. But the people part. After the service itself in a funeral home, most everybody went back to his house, where we all had a cold-cut kind of lunch, veggie platters, fruit, etc. I got to spend some time with my aunt (his mother), who is 92, but still sharp as a tack, though getting pretty frail. I got to meet no less than five of my six second cousins on that side of the family, none of whom I've seen in maybe 20-some years and several I think I've never met before, and now they're all grown up and have kids of their own. That being so, I also met for the first time two third-counsins. One was a cutey-pie redhead named Riley (love her name; Padouk, in 15 years she'll break your heart), age four, and her younger sister, Evangeline (love her name, too), who is pretty much brand new, at only three months old. Whether she'll become another redhead (as most in that particular line are) remains to be seen. They are the daughters of one of my cousin's two daughters (his granddaughters, in other words).

My aunt and my cousin's widow are holding up pretty well; they (we all, really) have seen this coming for nearly a year. I know that doesn't make it any easier for them, but in some ways it has allowed them to prepare themselves.

My cousin's widow is going to continue to take care of her mother-in-law (my aunt). As we were leaving, she said, "I know I'm not a [Curmudgeon clan] by blood, only by marriage." I said, "In [the Curmudgeon clan] we don't care about technicalities like who is related by blood and who isn't. You're family, you'll always be family."

Fortunately, she and my aunt have a lot of support in their immediate area from the rest of my cousin's family. And my wife and I are going back up to visit them in the late summer or early fall.

We got to my best friends' house in the Philly suburbs shortly before dinner yesterday. We immediately cracked open a bottle of wine (made from cranberries, which was quite good), and the usual noshes. Then we ordered a couple of braces of Philly chesees steaks (w/ pizza sauce and fried onions, of course) from a local joint a few blocks away. And so we sat around the dining room table and talked and drank wine and ate and drank wine. By about 10 p.m. we had consumed a total of four bottles of wine (three "regular" size bottles, and one 1.5-litre larger bottle, a red zinfindel, a really good riesling, and a chardonnay in the 1.5-size, plus that cranberry). Unfortunately, we are all getting to be old geezers who can't stay up late anymore, like we once could, and so we couldn't even make it to the 11 o'clock news. As we went up to bed I said, "Boy, I can't believe you three drank four bottles of wine."

This morning after breakfast we went to a local place called "Produce Junction," which sells not only all kinds of vegetables, but also a ton of plants. My friends bought about four various hanging plants, and my wife bought four plus a small palm tree, all of which we jammed into the back and back seat of our SUV. It was like driving a jungle down the road.

It's nice to be home, and nice to come back to the Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 24, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - you know, I understand exactly what you mean about "enjoying a funeral." It's all about reinforcing those familial bonds.

I will steel myself for having my heart broken by young Riley. She won't be the first.

I recall back in 1991 when my baby sister got married. She had a stunning collection of intelligent twenty-something young women as bridesmaids. All of whom had been her friends for many years.

After the ceremony many came up to me to say what huge crushes they used to have on me.

When they were in Junior High.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 24, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, you're making me laugh here. I have a softball, and three three tennis balls, and one of those pink balls the same size as a tennis ball ( you know what I mean, right )

Maybe next week I'll bring the tennis balls with me. Set the basketball underneath the basket, and toss the the tennis balls into the hoop instead.

Bet I make more points that way...

Give the basketball a headache along with the whole jealousy thing while I'm at it.

Posted by: omni | May 24, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home, Mudge. Glad you had a safe trip. Funny about family, isn't it? I recall a time when I couldn't STAND to go to a family affair, now I thoroughly enjoy them. The latest was my aunt's 90th birthday, back in March, a wonderful affair.

Sorry about the double post earlier. The story is worth reading once, but not twice. The first time I tried to post, Hal said I had to enter a name and comment...

Posted by: slyness | May 24, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad your home safe Mudge. I also understand the funeral-fun thing. The Irish side of my family has great funerals. Much laughter and stories of the deceased, reacquainting with cousins far removed. Even my dad's funeral, as shocking and unexpected as his death was, had some very funny moments that I'm sure he enjoyed from above.

I can't wait to get windowbox flowers and another hanging plant tomorrow. It hasn't felt very spring like here which has kept a lid on my flower fever. But I just can't wait any longer to pretty up the house and yard. And they are promising temps in the 70's tomorrow - altho' I'm skeptical.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 24, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, sorry to hear about your loss.

I'll be making scones today (It's all CP's fault. I've been thinking about scones since she started it.) I'll probably be making some kind of roll with canned tuna, as well.

I help with the bookkeeping of our local animal shelter on Saturdays. It's a relatively new organization and it's small. Yet, misunderstandings and accusations abound. Don't know what's with these people.

Posted by: rainforest | May 24, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Hiya! Gotta say, I'm still a mite shaken up from nearly drowning yesterday. Thank goodness for secured leashes and harnesses with handles.

Apparently you're not supposed to back up off docks into raging currents when watching somebody cast a baited fishing rod. Who knew? Wow, an instant workout there, too. Fortunately, I had a gnome handy to fish me out (so that's what they're for!).

It was Triple cuddles when we got home, I tell you. Time to walk the gnome for an extra thank-you. It's been a crazy chore day, and I'm not allowed my favorite sun-nap spot for a few days. Bah.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | May 24, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Wilbrodog, so glad you're safe. The water couldn't have been very warm.

Rainforest-sad to say much volunteer work seems to teach that "no good deed goes unpunished." Such a good cause though so I hope things improve.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 24, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, the water didn't even soak me to the skin, except on my legs. Also, the strong sun and my dense black fur helped majorly with the dry-off.

I'm STILL not persuaded that dogs are ever meant to swim for fun, though.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | May 24, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: b9 | May 25, 2008 6:36 AM | Report abuse

The biggest eyes I've ever seen on a dog was when my parents cairn terrier puppy pursued my sister's golden retriever right off the end of the dock on his first visit to the cottage. We never could convince him to go in the water again. From the expression on his little doggie face when he resurfaced I'm surprised he ever drank water again.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 25, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's working b9. Dogs sure swim for fun. The ancient giant lab "fell" in the pool often enough. He still jumps in any swimmable body of water he can find. The Puppy on the other hand isn't a recreational swimmer. It turns out it's hard to swim when your head consists of a lump of lead encased in a thick reinforced concrete shell.
More gardening for me today. Some lilies to plant and the vegetable garden to attend.
And then the mini-putt clean-up this afternoon. Don't ask, I'll just say it's not part of a "community service" sentence.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 25, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all.

Wilbrodog, I'm glad you're okay. That was scary, I'll bet.

Rainforest, will you fax me a scone if you have any left over? Thanks! SD, good luck with the gardening.

A cool 46 degrees in the high country this morning. I haven't been out and won't go for a while. But it looks to be a lovely day.

Posted by: slyness | May 25, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Psss, Frosty&College Montanian
a story on Montana and First Nations schools. Got to love the names: Roberta Walks over Ice, Roxanne Not Afraid.

I remember a CBC piece on the Canadian with the longuest family name (Bob, Bill, Jim?) Standing-in-the-Middle-of-the-Road. He was neighbour to the Two-Fence-Posts family.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 25, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

And here is the link:

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I know its working, I tested it! :-)

Posted by: Stands-In-Guts-Howling-At-Moon-999 | May 25, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse


Your post has me weeping like leaky faucet. We had that exact same funeral for my grandmother back in December. Part mourning, part celebration and family reunion. Only we weren't classy enough to have wine. Instead we broke into my late grandfather's liquor cabinet and tried to drain all the open bottles that had been bought twenty-five years or more ago. We failed to empty them all but it wasn't for lack of trying.

Yesterday at my son's graduation picnic, we had my brother, his wife and their four kids, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law and his new bride, my parents, and my dad's three brothers and sisters. People had arrived from Florida, Atlanta, and Boston. The Boston contingent had left at five that morning to make it by noon.

My aunt who was the host kept saying that it was wonderful to have the whole family together for an occasion where people didn't keep mentioning how natural the deceased looked.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 25, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Maureen Dowd will be on Meet The Press today if anyone wants an unbiased and insightful analysis on Hillary Clinton's RFK Assassination gaffe.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | May 25, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Ya'd think there'd be more Indians named Fletcher.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, faxing you some left over scones. They are just plain scones. We don't have berries here. Those in a can swim in thick syrup and are not suitable for making scones so I just left it plain. They are just a little hard, but not so hard that if you throw it against the wall, it'll make a dent in the wall.

My tuna roll using pastry turned out okay. Faxing you some as well.......

Posted by: rainforest | May 25, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Mudge, it is good to have you back and at home. Your description of the funeral was just wonderful, but I love reading you anyway. I'm happy you got to meet all your relatives even though the circumstances were not good.

I'm getting ready to jump in the shower. We're heading to Sunday school, the g-girl is here. My relative is a cousin that lived in the adjoining county. His sister and I talk on the phone all the time. When he would come up this way to visit, he would stop by and give me a hug. He was a young person, but not in good health, and he did not take good care of himself. I think it just got too hard. I will try to get that way sometime this week, hopefully. I wish cars ran on air instead of gas.

Thanks to all of you for your concern and kind words.

I hope all are enjoying your weekend and holiday. Have a good day, folks. I hope you can get some time in for church, and enjoy your families. They are so precious.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 25, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

And cassndra, let me also pass along my condolences. We are quite the family here, sharing all our rites of passages, happy and sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to you as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 25, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

The posts re. funerals and the fact that this is Memorial Day weekend has me in a reflective mood.

I'm watching the Monaco Grand Prix at the moment, where they're racing in the rain. Cars are bouncing cars off of walls and each other. My man Lewis Hamilton clipped some armoco and punctured a tire, forcing a stop to replace it. He's still running third, for all that.

The sun is shining in a clear blue sky today, just gorgeous.

A curious juxtaposition in my little cranium.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

yello... don't think I've yet congratulated your son on his fine accomplishments... we take graduating from high school for granted, but it's really not a given for everyone. He's worked hard for 12 years... good for him!

Your weekend-long celebration sounds wonderful. The picnic was a great idea--nice for the weather to cooperate!

Give your son Boodle Best Wishes from me, please!

Posted by: TBG | May 25, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Your man's on top now bc but I worry for his tires.
For a while at the start a rallye driver with a Suby WRX Sti would have had a genuine shot at it, not so much now.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 25, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle. My schedule includes helping to weed and plant the flower bed in front of the fire hall-not court ordered community service for me either. We had a wonderful volunteer step to the plate with plants from her garden and willingness to weed and water all summer. She's my mother's age so the least I can do is the heavy lifting today with bags of compost and buckets of topsoil.

SD-thanks for link about reservation schools. We have a little different system from Montana, but our nearest Bureau of Indian Affairs school is half the size it was 10 years ago. It's almost 30 years old but it certainly won't survive another 30 without a major redefinition of their mission. By default it's become the school of last resort for kids in trouble, all the high achieving students elect to go to "white" schools. One nearby system has seen the same demographic shift mentioned in the article, and now it's dealing with white flight to yet another school system.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, sd, we'll see if it rains again or not.

And as much as I loved the previous iteration of the Subie WRX STi, I thought the comparable Mitsu Lancer Evo (particularly the MR version) was more fun to drive. Haven't driven the new versions of both yet, though I really like the new STi wagon version.

And yeah, a good WRC car might have had a chance in the really wet stuff.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Today I'm going shopping with my wife for pants.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Dick Martin of the Rowan & Martin comedy team, passed away at 86...

I did love "Laugh In" as a kid, even if I only understood half of the entedres.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Be careful, RD. Women shopping for pants ask very loaded questions which, if answered correctly or incorrectly, often end in the decapitation of the fool who answers.

"What is your favorite color?"

"Blue... No! Yellow!"


Posted by: martooni | May 25, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Hi all. My family doesn't know how to do a funeral.

I have been putting off mowing. Today's the day. I hope my repairs to the steering mechanism worked. The front wheels look a bit toed-out still. Perhaps I will plant 3 sweet potatoes. They are pretty when flowering and taste great too. I finished a dumb blog post
and now will see if I'm too late for MoDo show.

Posted by: Jumper | May 25, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, my guy Hamilton won at Monaco with good strategy, good driving in mixed conditions. He had some very good luck in spots, and some bad in others (a pace car segment that wiped out a 40 second lead, for example). He's shaking Prince Albert's hand at the moment.

RD, enjoy the panting.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Also: Princess Caroline on the royal podium; a very classy lady. Great shoes, too.

jumper, a couple of wrenches and a few minutes, and you should be able to adjust that toe to where you like it.

Now to fold laundry and check on the status of the Phoenix lander that's supposed to touch down near Mars' north pole this evening.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. Mudge, we're glad to have you back. Yellojkt, congratulaions to Son Jkt. RD, please be very careful shopping. Develop a sore throat or sudden attack of muteness - even if they're your pants.

Our family funerals tend to be sprawling, chatty affairs too. I love yello's description of the graduation party. My dad and grandfather used to work for a company here that dissolved a few years back, but its founder was still going strong. About the time he hit 100, the former workers all got together and decided to have a reunion, so everyone could see one another and catch up while he could still enjoy it. I went for my family. It was great fun, and when he died a couple of years later we could appropriately enjoy the funeral.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Family gatherings can mean a lot no matter what the reason. In the days after my mom's brain tumor diagnosis, but before her surgery, she was constantly surrounded by her kids and grandkids.

At one point, with a grown grandson sitting on each side of her in her hospital bed and the others all sitting around laughing together, she actually said "I know this sounds crazy, but I'm so happy right now."

And like yello's grandmother's and Mudge's cousin's, both my parents' funerals were fabulous gatherings of friends and family. It makes me want to put a notice in the paper... "All friends and family of TBG: don't go to work on Tuesday... come to Fairfax and we'll buy you all lunch!"

Different reason; same result.

Posted by: TBG | May 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

At family funerals on my mom's side, the running gag is 'we have to stop meeting like this'.

Mostly, I read your post the other day about the moths, and was horrified. I've been worrying about the same thing happening and what would I do. There is a lot of animal fibre in this house.

Its all in plastic containers, but I was reading today that they need to be airtight continers. So I think I need to revisit my storage methods. I can seal the edges of the big tubs with good old duct tape, but I'm going to have to buy new containers for my lace yarns. Or put it all in ziploc type bags inside the existing containers.

I would consider the deep freezer for long term storage, but I can just see how that would go over when mr dr or stickman are digging for food.

Posted by: dr | May 25, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Quick drive by:

BC -- noticed P. Caroline's shoes. BC, we adore you. Paging LiT, real men appreciate footwear, but she already know this.

RD -- submit to non-pleated pants. Just do it. They look better and the fine woman who attends to your sartorial splendor will be pleased. Everybody a winner!

Shall garden today and not clean the house....huzzah for such flagrant irresponsibility.

Dear Mudge and cassandra -- you will hear a bird sing today. Tis Error and some angels, all for you. Jack is still smarting, so for you too...and to others with sorrows unnamed.

Be thou blithe and bonny -- says Wil S, in Much Ado....

Posted by: College Parkian | May 25, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Adore *me* because I notice shoes, CP? (The Princess' strappy black heels *were* quite nice...)

Wait 'till you see me in my summer spec Gladiator sandals...

My daughters are always amused when I make positive comments about their eye shadow and nails.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

yello writes:
Maureen Dowd will be on Meet The Press today if anyone wants an unbiased and insightful analysis on Hillary Clinton's RFK Assassination gaffe.

Russert's guests this a.m.:

Senior National Correspondent, Christian Broadcasting Network

Seems poor Brody doesn't know that feminists don't like the word "whiny" when aplied to women--and women presidential candidates. Brody should use the vocabulary lesson provided by the women seated on his right and left this morning. Maybe he should take a sensitivity class.

Columnist, New York Times

When Dowd says on-air and in print that her family used to frame and hang pictures of the Kennedys on the walls of their home when she was a kid, along with family pictures, one has to question how unbiased she will be in her comments about the Kennedys. That said, however, she did a bang-up job writing truthfully about the Kennedys on May 3, 1997 in her op-ed titled "Kennedy Family Values."

Presidential Historian

Her husband Richard N. Goodwin was a speechwriter for the Kennedys as well as LBJ. I'm not familiar with Doris' biography about LBJ, but I do wonder how familiar Goodwin is with DeCaro's three volumes in his four-volume series about Johnson? In DeCaro's "Master of the Senate," there is a fascinating passage about ol' Joe Kennedy and LBJ back in '56. I can't wait for DeCaro's fourth installment.

Host, PBS's "Washington Week"; Correspondent, PBS's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"

Graduated from Simmons College in Boston, wrote for the Boston Herald, as well as other important East Coast newspapers, and received a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Award. (This year's winners, by the way, are Dana Priest and Anne Hull for their series on Walter Reed, to be honored May 27 at the Newseum.)

Editorial Writer & Columnist, Washington Post

Writes for the Washington Post. Enough said. See below.

Editor, Newsweek magazine

Here's an interesting one. Meacham has paired with Sally Quinn for the Washington Post's "On Faith" series. Quinn is currently married to Ben Bradlee, who by his own admission said he was a water carrier for the Kennedy family. Bradlee's story for Newsweek, when he worked there, about JFK and Durie Malcolm was subsequently republished in the Washington Post. Shall we mention Gray Gardens? I'm tempted to try to get Bradlee's autobiography at the library.

Of course, we all know that these panel members are unbiased, right?

And, I'm still waiting for Russert to ask Obama what his greatest public humiliation was.

Of course, there's lots of political news from these parts this week. Controversial evangelist Pastor John Hagee of our local Cornerstone Church dropped his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, after McCain dropped him. In an earlier turn at the start of the week, McCain dropped the fifth lobbyist who had worked on his campaign, San Antonio attorney Tom Loeffler, who lobbies for Saudi Arabia, among other high-profile clients.

Posted by: Loomis | May 25, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

dr, have you seen those very large Ziploc bags (new last year, I think). Let me know if you can't get them and I'll send some. They might even be large enough to hold your containers.

Today I find myself remembering my dad's family's picnics. They were held on all spring/summer/fall holidays, everybody just showed up and brought the same thing every year. Punch, German potato salad, homemade peach ice-cream, Uncle Elmer's tomatoes. Aunt Ida's Apple Cake. Sounds dull, but it was wonderful. I know they continued while I was in college, I still went, but I think lack of large backyards and scattered cousins have halted them. I need to check this out, and maybe schedule one (or let more than 1 person know I'm back in town and need to be invited!).

Yesterday I bought round 1 of topsoil and peat, today I'll put down at least 1 raised bed, and go back to Lowe's for more.

Posted by: dbG | May 25, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm telling you, the best way with funerals is to schedule in advance-always the third Saturday in July for the Frostclan. Grandma Frostbitten was 12th of 14 so the extended family is what you could call over-extended and knowing the date in advance insures a good turn out. We even have a good crowd in years there is no one to bury and all we do is start the reunion with a memorial service.

I went to our family cemetery last night to take pictures of a headstone for a 2nd cousin whose mother died over the winter. He is having some engraving added to the stone she bought years ago to share with a grandchild who died in infancy. With perfect weather it turned into a long visit. There's cousin Gail's husband whose ashes were buried in a minnow bucket while his little grandchildren tamped down the newly filled hole, reciting Seuss's _Hop on Pop_ from memory. There are the Lutheran church organist and her husband, taking up prime territory in the spots two cousins wanted near their parents. I hope we can skip over the disinterment discussion and right to the laughter this July. Pop Frostbitten is under "my" tree, but he always said "if you want a spot, get in it."

On this memorial day the stone I really lingered by was Great Aunt Katie's. In my childhood she was the only Great who could dispatch a gaggle of teens to useful labor with just a look. I always thought she was one of the few people on this planet whose personality was improved by Alzheimers. She died at 92, which I knew, and I knew she was a gold star mother, but in all these years I'd never really looked at the stone beside hers. Her oldest was a WWII pilot who died on a mission over Germany when she herself was just 41, six years younger than I am now.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I've missed a lot of the wedding and funeral family gatherings because I'm so far away from western PA. Now the founding generation are all gone, the cousins are scattered, and the younger generations are scattered more - all over the world. One of my cousins held a family reunion in 2000 - very well attended and very fun. We had a great time - laughed till we cried, ate and drank a lot.

As for wool protection - I'm going the ziploc bag in plastic containers, plus lavender/rosemary route. I still have to get the big plastic containers.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 25, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

For those following the Frostbitten real estate saga, we have pulled the listing on Chez Frostbitten South and have a military renter with a 2 year lease lined up. This is not a bad outcome, we've done it before. (We lived in one house for 14 months and then had it rented out for 5 years.) My only heartburn with it is now I get to be a bad guy when the renters need to be told "no." Mr. F does not have the stomach to be a landlord.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope some of you with HBO are going to watch Recount. Tom Shales gave it a very good review:

Charlie Rose had Kevin Spacey, Jeff Toobin, David Boies, someone else (the director whose name escapes me?) on his show Fri night. Sounds like an interesting take on the Florida 2000 election recount. Didn't realize David von Drehle was also an advisor for the film.

I don't have HBO, so will have to wait for the DVD.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 25, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yello, thanks for the kind words, and tell your son, congratulations on graduating from high school. TBG, is correct, it is hard work.

Believe it or not, we have a hostage situation going on right now at a church in my dad's community. All the outlets are blocked, and I cannot find my father. I went in through a back way, and his car is not home. I don't know where he is, and when I came out, I asked the officer if I could go up a street to get out, boy, did he bark at me. Real nasty. The street wasn't blocked off or anything. I think he just wanted to be nasty. I hope none of the folks living around there get shot. And I'm still worried about my dad. I know a hostage situation is bad, and no less, in a church, but some of these policemen thrive on nasty, and this kind of situation fits right into their mode of thinking. I have to go back, but I don't want to get shot either.

I'll try to check back in later. If I don't get shot.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

My goodness, Cassandra, be careful! Hope your dad's ok (he probably is). I don't think cops are trying to be nasty in situations like this, but they're tense and stern.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, cassandra, that's terrible news. I hope the police can settle that situation without anyone being hurt. Those policemen are probably as scared and nervous as anyone else, only they have to be responsible for a whole community. A tough responsibility, and sometimes people don't handle it well.

I hope your father isn't involved, and will be home safe soon.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Be careful, Cassandra. Some folks will take any excuse to be nasty, particularly when it involves the use of power, especially when it may be affecting their long weekend holiday plans. Maybe you should wear a sign: Harmless Deaf Lady Looking for Old Father. Maybe you should wear the sign and find some media covering the scene (you know they're there) and tell them you are so worried because you can't find your dad.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom is right, Cassandra. And please don't get shot.

Yello, I'd like to add my congratulations to SoYJ. We don't celebrate everything we can, often enough.

I had my imaginary friend Canukistanis in mind just now. I've got most of the first level of the raised bed garden filled, thanks to a generous amount of Canadian peat moss. Now back to Lowe's. Looks like each level will take about 20 bags of topsoil and 1/2 bag of peat.

The beds took less than 5 minutes apiece to put together, no tools needed, and there was the added bonus of being able to assemble and then drag them around the yard to check the aesthetics and sun/shade combination. Right now, I'm happy with them.

Posted by: dbG | May 25, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, as bad as I feel, I'm laughing my head off at the sign. It is so right on target. That is me. 100% totally me. I needed to laugh. Thank you. And I hope everything is okay in your neck of the woods. I saw the tornado yesterday on television, and I thought about you.

My dad is okay. My daughter came by, and he is at home. The hostage situation is over. My dad went to the hospital because he could not get in to go home. He went to visit his friend. I was so nervous because my dad doesn't see well, and there were so many law enforcement folks, and medics, and whole fire trucks. I know these folks are on edge, and I can really understand that, but people live in the neighborhood and I just feel like there is a certain amount of diplomacy that can be used with them. A lot of the times these folks are scared too. From the little I could get about the situation, a mentally ill patient had a gun in the church, and was posing a threat to people. I do hope they didn't have to shot anybody. It will probably end up in the paper, and perhaps more details.

And that's another circumstance I don't understand, how do these folks get guns? I consider myself pretty competent, although there's enough room for arguement, and if I tried to get a gun right now, I doubt seriously if I would have one by sundown.

The care for mentally ill patients is not where it needs to be in this county because this is a poor county, and the state system is indeed lacking to say the least. There may have been signs that the person involved in the hostage situation was in trouble but because no one is really watching or money is short, adequate medical care suffers, thereby everyone suffers.

I think if I was rich, and I mean really rich, I would try to cover so many bases, I would probably run out of money real fast.

Thanks everyone.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

FYI, great speech by Obama today:



I'm glad you and your father are safe Ms. Cassandra.

Posted by: DNA Girl | May 25, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm so glad your dad is ok.

dgb, I actaully have some of those big bags. They are up in the broom closet, and till you mentioned it, I had totally forgotten about them. You can guess what I am going to do for the rest of the day. Stash reorganization!!!!Which is not nearly so bad as it sounds. I will get to play with my yarn, and dream about possibilities.

Posted by: dr | May 25, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you were due for a positive news day, I'm very glad you and yours are OK today.

*faxin' Wilbrodog some floaties and a life jacket* Dun DOOO dat no mo!!!! :-0

An effective but tiring day of moving things, cleaning and table assembly here. The house is beginning to resemble an abode as opposed to a box convention.

*wary-of-sunburn-on-such-a-fantastic-day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 25, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The raised bed outside the fire hall is officially weeded, planted, and top dressed with some composted cow manure. I must say we are feeling like garden design stars, having spent just $16 of our $200 budget. The volunteer caretaker and I have decided to splurge and spend another $20 or so on annuals to fill in with instant color. Between her garden and mine the circular garden will be full and ready for some plant division next spring already. Day lilies, irises, hostas (which can be grown in full sun here), Virginia bluebells, and two colors of phlox will form the bones of our "look like a town" effort with some ornamental sweet potato (not hardy) spilling over the sides.

Better run put the truck in the garage. Nickel sized hail reported just west of here and headed this way.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

'Evening, Boodle. Just got in a few minutes ago after working down at the vac house, and turned on the TV and discovered the Monaco GP was on. So I'm watching the racers in the rain, and thinking of a few quips for bc, and backboodling, and lo and behold, I discover the race is not only over, bc has told me who won. *sigh*

But it's fun watching, though, and I always loved Formula 1 and Monaco. (They not only turn left, they turn RIGHT as well!!!!!!) And I have been in love with the word "chicane" for more than 40 years.

Only in Formula 1 can you have a driver named Kiki, and who attracts women like a rock star. A NASCAR driver named Kiki would be stomped to death by the fans.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm glad things worked out well. If you want a gun, just go to Wal-Mart. I bet they'd sell you one without batting an eye. It is much easier than you think to buy a firearm.

Thanks for the thought about the tornadoes. They were up the highway sixty or so miles; close enough to follow on the TV screen in awe as weather porn, but not close enough to worry. They were something else - lots of little twisty ones,then they'd come together, then poof, then back again. We got no rain.

I got some weekding done this morning and, if we escape hail, it looks like I'll have a fine crop of blackberries; enough to share with the birds in peace.

I watched the last part of the Indy race and saw Danielle (woman, can't remember last name, starts with P?) get knocked out in the pit. She was in eighth place. Boy, she was mad. I really enjoyed watching her walk down toward the guy that hit her, and seeing everyone realize where she was going and run to head her off. The announcers talked like she was going to yell at the guy but she looked mad enough I thought she was going to punch him. I was sorry she didn't finish; I remember not too long ago when "girls can't drive race cars".

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

That's Danica Patrick, Ivansmom. I didn't see the replay of the incident that took her out of the race, but she looked like she was ready to rearrange somebody's genetic material. Luckily wiser heads prevailed to move her off to the side.

Posted by: pj | May 25, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, there were three women in today's Indy 500, not just one. Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, and owner/driver Sarah Fisher.

Patrick actually shoved another driver (Dan Wheldon, FWIW) last year when she felt he didn't give her enough room on track.

She's intense. Which is why she won in Japan last month - the first major open-wheel race won by a female in an amercian series, ever.

Keke, Kimi, Hekki, those Danes have names that *might* get them made fun of over here... but they sure can drive.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, there were three women in today's Indy 500, not just one. Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, and owner/driver Sarah Fisher.

Patrick actually shoved another driver (Dan Wheldon, FWIW) last year when she felt he didn't give her enough room on track.

She's intense. Which is why she won in Japan last month - the first major open-wheel race won by a female in an amercian series, ever.

Keke, Kimi, Hekki, those Danes have names that *might* get them made fun of over here... but they sure can drive.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Danica! That's it! Thanks, y'all - memory like a sieve strikes again. I knew there were two other women, but she has driven the most (as far as I know) and was certainly doing the best today. Besides, she's got all that youth & looks stuff going for her - kinda like the Nigella Lawson of racing, if Nigella had a wicked temper. I think she's a great role model.

Yesterday I went to the farmer's market and grocery and then fixed strawberries and chunked up cantaloupe and sliced old apples and boiled eggs and put out bowls of peaches and tomatoes and generally celebrated the start of summer. Now the brisket (okay, tri-tip) is out of the oven, the tabouli is made and the apple crisp is crisping. The piano has been played and the rabbit has frolicked. Not a bad day's work. [Had I not actually read this over you might have been able to tell from the typing that the wine is open, too.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I've done more yard work the past couple of weeks than has been done for the past five years. There are matching blisters as proof.

Cassandra, I'm glad to hear that your Dad is safe. Like you haven't been through enough lately. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

I'm watching live coverage of the landing sequence for the Phoenix spacecraft, and it's headed to the surface. Where's SciTim when you need him?

'Mudge, your post regarding the funeral brought some solace to me. I'm glad you're home safely.

...and Phoenix has touched down! 7.56edt

Posted by: jack | May 25, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Are we all holding our collective breath? We should be finding out any moment if the Phoenix Mars Lander got down OK, I think.

Posted by: Bob S. | May 25, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

There we go! (Interesting timing!)

Posted by: Bob S. | May 25, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

*wondering why celebratory cigars haven't been lit at Mission Control*

Posted by: jack | May 25, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Whew, Cassandra, I'm glad everybody is okay. Ivansmom is right, you want a gun, go to WalMart. Not a problem.

Mr. T and I have stained the porch and the railing. Boy, what a day! The deal was, we had to put on one coat and then another before the first dried. Floor was not an issue; we did it after supper. Issue was the railing. About sixty linear feet, with 23 pilasters per ten feet. Covered each one twice, as well as the top and bottom 2 by 4's holding them in place.

We're not done, but I don't think there's enough stain left to do the steps and their railing. Of course Mr. T ordered the product, so we can't go to Lowe's to buy more. We are ahead of the game, as we hadn't planned to do the floor till tomorrow. We'll see about the steps in the morning.

Good news about Chez Frostbitten South! I was actually thinking about it, about halfway through the railing.

All of you who gardened today, I'm envious. Maybe tomorrow I'll get to the garden center and buy something (fuchsias?) for my planters.

Posted by: slyness | May 25, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Its been a tough week here on the boodle. I've been lucky enough to spend today celebrating the 80th birthday our neighbourhood's "cool mum." When I was a teenager Mrs. B was the lady to explain your confusion.
There were her kids (my gang), their kids and a sprinkling of their kids (Buddy loves the little ones), plus an amazing assortment of friends.
It's nice to talk to someone who's known you since you were 13, who's seen your worst and still can put up with you.
The only downside of these octegarian birthday parties is that they tend to end a bit early.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 25, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. A few errors popped up on the Boodle when I tried to post (ended up with the double post, sorry).

Just watched CNN coverage of the Phoenix lander, indicating a safe touch down on Mars near the north pole.

*Very* cool.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I'd say that the Phoenix team looks - well, "elated" might be an understatement, actually.

Posted by: Bob S. | May 25, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh Cassandra, so happy your dad is okay. What an awful experience for you.

Today was just gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, warm but not hot, perfect weather after a very rainy and cool month. We got the window boxes planted, the seedlings also, and the rest of the seeds into the vegetable garden. I also changed over the bedroom linens, summer spread and blanket, and vacuumed the heck out of the room. We also had our first smoothie today. Watermelon, cantalope, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and yogurt all frapped together with ice. I still use the blender my dad gave me 40 years ago. It's chrome and weighs a ton but I'll use it 'til it croaks 'cause my dad gave it to me.

Happy to see that everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. We will be entertaining the granddaughters tomorrow. A long walk to the river, maybe some croquet and/or whiffle ball and a cookout should keep them, and us, busy.

Glad the Phoenix landed safely. It will be interesting to see what it discovers.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 25, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I am very pleased that the Phoenix landed successfully. I had been trying not to think about it because Mars has broken my heart before. Let's hope everything works as expected.

And in honor of this historic event I have some smashing new pantaloons. Well, blue jeans actually. So pleats were never an option. My wife was getting very annoyed that so many of my blue jeans were ventilated at the knees. And Kohls was having a sale!

I guess I should have indicated that we were buying blue jeans, but that would have messed up the iambic pentameter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 25, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why I'm doing this, but I've pulled myself out of the garden to watch the National Memorial Day Concert. I will cry from the poignant letters, close ups of Medal of Honor recipients, and quite selfishly from missing DC. October my friends, October-just don't want to wish away our all too brief summer.

Slyness-that deck reminds me of our NoVA house spring ritual of cleaning and/or staining each spring. One of the few things I don't miss in that yard.

Cassandra-glad things worked out OK for your dad.

Scientists just may be about to refute the "if it's happened 3 times it's a trend" stories a while back about blogging being deadly. According to Scientific American it could be good for you-
"Self-medication may be the reason the blogosphere has taken off. Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not."
Read it all here

I know the A-blog is keeping me sane. Mr. F is deployed on freedom's frontier for a short while (he'll be back next weekend). I don't worry, but it's not like I can pick up the phone and call when I have a garden report or see an interesting article.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

RD, you own new pantaloons in blue from Kohl's?

Whatever became of your old pantaloons of gold?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 25, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I suppose, RD, if you also have gold pantaloons, there is no question of mending the old blue ones and then wearing them. Just not done by your type, is it?


Posted by: slyness | May 25, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

"S" just called me out to the sunroom to try to identify an odor wafting thru' the air outside. It smells a lot like pot but is probably the green oak the neighbor a few doors away cut down last weekend. "S" is watching the Memorial Day tribute too, Frosti. I'm wandering back and forth as I'm making potato salad for tomorrow.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 25, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Better keep those new pantaloons quiet, RD, or the Treasury will be after you for falsifying the currency.

Oh. Wait. Congratulations on a successful shopping trip. There's nothing quite like pulling on a pair of jeans that fit.
Did I mention I lost 5 pounds when I was sick recently? I look on it as a good start.

Frostbitten, thanks for the Boodling reinforcement. Although occasionally my professional writing is creative, I don't think of it as expressive. Alas for the Boodle that my expressive writing here tends to the trivial. No doubt this signals something profound about my nature on which I prefer not to dwell. Here's to Mr. F's safe and swift return.

Speaking of expressive, I'm re-reading that venerable childrens' classic, "The Lost Prince" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (she of "The Secret Garden" fame). It is just as splendid now as on the first reading - innocent and sentimental.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, now I've killed the boodle with an image of RD grooving with his bunnies in gold lame' disco pants....

(And for that image, I apologize.)

Slyness, I also was staining the deck yesterday too-- just in time for it not to dry for 2-3 days because of thunderstorms.

Wilbrodog is doing well but he didn't have a happy day today when I had to leave him at home. I did get a nice snoopy hug when I came home, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 25, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

You left Wibrodog at home? Wow, I bet he was nervous till you got back. How could he be sure you were safe without him to take care of you? :-)

'Night, all. I'm taking my weary self to bed. I just hope I can move in the morning.

Posted by: slyness | May 25, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm taking comfort in the fact that I won't have to totally redo the raised bed garden every year, because just filling the thing is *work!*

I'd pulled the weeds from the location where I'd planned to put the bed, but found a better spot. When I went out with the dogz a little while ago, a bunny ran from the the weeded location, around that location, then underneath Cutter and out the picket fence gate.

Emma gave chase but missed his exit. She sniffed his trail out, including to the gate, but then came back and . . . started looking up in the trees. Hey, it works for squirrels!

Posted by: dbG | May 25, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I neglected to congratuate you *and* your son. Bravo to both of you.

And cassandra, I'm so glad your father's OK. Relieved and thankful.

Now, when do we see pictures from the Phoenix lander, and will it look like the Australian Outback, or the North Pole?


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I neglected to congratuate you *and* your son. Bravo to both of you.

And cassandra, I'm so glad your father's OK. Relieved and thankful.

Now, when do we see pictures from the Phoenix lander, and will it look like the Australian Outback, or the North Pole?


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I neglected to congratuate you *and* your son. Bravo to both of you.

And cassandra, I'm so glad your father's OK. Relieved and thankful.

Now, when do we see pictures from the Phoenix lander, and will it look like the Australian Outback, or the North Pole?


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I just got a phone call from Al Franken, not from his campaign, not a recording, but a real phone call from the man himself. Didn't keep him long so he could move on to a delegate or alternate to the state convention who is not as firmly in his camp, but wow. If I'd known he was going to call I would have had a question or two ready.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we landed on Mars. So what's the Martian Orson Welles broadcasting? Will traffic soon be clogging the highways from the Martian New York City? Will Science Tim emerge menacingly from the capsule saying "take us to your leader"? Or perhaps he will just say "I am your leader now." Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: pj | May 25, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Ay, carrumba! Clearly, I have some sort of browser issues. Apologies for the triple post (I'm so embarassed, I should have some sort of virtual Depends or something).

Anyway, there are some pics from the Phoenix lander's home page, fresh from Mars.

Cool, eh?
Or more precisely, COLD.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I love it! ScienceTim emerging from the Phoenix to lead the Martians onward to Boodle victory.

Frostbitten, what a brush with greatness! or something. It is great when a state candidate cares enough about his delegates to call in person.

Time to pry the Boy away from Guitar Hero and into bed. Vaya con queso, y'all, and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 25, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Just popped in to say good night, boodle. And thanks for the good thoughts and words.

Wilbrodog, I'm glad you're feeling better. I read your post concerning the water.

Slyness, Ivansmom, I am so afraid of guns. When I was younger I owned a gun, but was afraid of it. I bought it because I worked the late shift and the all nighters, and then traveled some miles to get home late at night.

Sweet dreams, boodle.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 25, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Had a wonderful day today. Spent the morning running errands with Dr G and then had a great lunch outing with my bestest, oldest friend, P, whom I have been friends with since I was three years old. Yes.. three years old. We grew up next door to each other and have been friends ever since.

She lives in Richmond, a couple of hours away, but her mom is still up here so we see each other often. My kids and hers consider themselves kind of cousins and besides my sisters and husband she knows me better than anyone--probably knows me better than they do in many respects because we spent nearly every waking hour together until she went off to college a couple of years ahead of me. She came up yesterday to see my daughter in Godspell and we marveled at how we could never have imagined that when we were teenagers listening to the Godspell album together.

After she left, I picked up my niece and her husband and their baby-to-be from the airport; they were returning from their 'last hurrah before parenthood' vacation in Eastern Europe. They live two hours in another direction and decided to stay the night (yay!). We had a big steak dinner out on the deck with the whole family plus GF of Son of G... seven of us all together.

It was already dark by the time we got the table set and the steaks on the grill so we scurried around to find some outdoor lights. Son of G came up from the basement with multi-colored, large-bulb Christmas lights, which we strung around the deck. It was a beautiful scene... the seven of us around the table, laughing and eating under the trees and the colored lights. Just heaven.

Now everyone is in bed. Niece and nephew-in-law were getting drowsy as it approached 4 am Budapest time. The kitchen is clean, and house is quiet and here I am, sharing my day with my buddies.

Frosti... we're happy to hear about your day-to-day activities (the "our 'look like a town' effort" quote cracks me up) and are proud to be your sounding board until Mr F returns safe and sound. When does he report to duty in St Paul?

Posted by: TBG | May 25, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

On behalf of my son, thanks for all the kind wishes. He has been out with his cousin since about 11 this morning hopping around graduation parties. He had two barbecues and one pizza party to hit. I hope they come home soon so I can go to bed. This being a parent of a high school grad is a tough transition.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 25, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

*Tim talking to Martians... all I'll say is that they shouldn't let him choose the topic. With him, it always comes down to the same thing...

More/better pics from the Phoenix lander...


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Bc, *Tim shouldn't forget me when he goes! See, I could enlist as their exobotanist, since I'd be busy looking for all the trees on Mars after such a long ride.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | May 25, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

People coming from afar for graduation. Sounds wonderful. Hope rising air fares don't make such happenings mere memories.

It's remarkable to live in a corner of the US where you can occasionally watch a rocket rising, and realize that its payload is going to Mars.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 25, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

TBG-I was supposed to find another phrase to replace "looks like a town" as our number one economic development goal. But, we are plain spoken people and everyone knows exactly what "looks like a town" means. The big-city government catch phrase "community branding" just sounds expensive and not all that useful. Mr. F reports to St. Paul August 15th. Not long at all now, and thank you for asking. Your day sounds perfect, certainly one to savor.

Ivansmom-I try not to get all star-struck with Franken, but it's hard not to.

Toodles boodle! Enjoy what's left of the long weekend, for those what has one.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 25, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Al Franken touched me, Frostbitten, and I liked him, too.

I'm Wilbrodog and I approved this message.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | May 25, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Dag, I have a prior engagement on this upcoming Tuesday (the 27th) evening, but if not for that, I would be here for this (in today's WaPo Book World):

7 P.M. Novelist and humorist Carl Hiaasen discusses and signs his new book on the art of golf, The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport, at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-364-1919.

I 'spect this will be well attended, and likely a familiar face or two will be there...


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I've also talked to Al Franken. Only I was in high school and he was still a SNL writer:

fb, you must be a much bigger wheeler and dealer than I thought for a future senator to be soliciting your support.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 26, 2008 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Morning all glad to see everyone had a great weekend, had a busy and very tiring weekend myself.

Cassandra I was very glad to hear your father was OK.

Wilbrodog glad you survived your ordeal as well.

My only story of note was while working this weekend someone noticed and commented on my beautiful earrings - and replying thank you I explained a friend had made them and that there were more available on the internet and gave the address.

bc the Haissen book is very funny - I have a few pages to go but have to wait until I repurchase the book for Father`s Day for my husband, I gave away my first copy to Yoki`s himself as I thought he would enjoy it as well.

Off to get ready for work - to the Americans enjoy Memorial Day.

Posted by: dmd | May 26, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I expect that Hiaasen book is funny - I've read almost every book he's ever written, and I've been playing golf (well, a couple of times a year, anyway) for about 30 years.

If you've ever seen grown men have temper tantrums and spend exorbiant amounts of money over a game to knock a little ball into a hole, it's got to be ripe for humor.


Posted by: bc | May 26, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

bc, I golf with my husband - nuff said, parts of that book are `very familiar to me :-)

Posted by: dmd | May 26, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Ooooooh! I think we will have the boodles for ourselves fellow Canuckistanis.

The real heartbreaker of yesterday's GP was Sutil being rear-ended by Raikkonen and having to abandon the race. The kid driver of a small team had a real chance at 4th place but got bumped because of a driving error by the reigning world champ driving for a mega team.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 26, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, dmd.

Good morning, everyone.

Today's Memorial Day - I'm taking a few moments to remember those who gave their all for us in the service of our country.


Posted by: bc | May 26, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. Happy Memorial Day. The only thing on the agenda is to go to Lowe's and get some bags of mulch (and thank you very mulch). After that, there's maybe a 50-50 chance my spouse will let me alone to write for a while. Then I think I'm grilling a London broil for dinner.

Congrats to whomever on the Phoenix landing; I'm glad they were able to find a parking spot on this holiday weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 26, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Just think, YJ, in four years time, SonofYJ will have such another celebration but you won't be on basement duty.

Good, Cassandra. Very relieved.

Well, Canadian brethren, soldier-on. We appreciate that you

stand on guard for me (thee).

Gardening, etc. Not cleaning house still. Am waiting for the house fairies to arrive. Sheesh, the fairy doors have been in the yard for nearly a full years!

Posted a Nigella entry in my gardening blog. Frosti and others, please don't hate. I HAVE ACHIEVED FULL-BORE BLUE NOTES. Last year, these flowers were mauvey-pink, which is I believe the world-wide default color for plants. But the children, well, they children are such blue-topped darlings. I will fax over seedlings to the first fifty callers.

RD -- pleated jeans would be an abomination. You may always say no to those, even if Nigella Lawson commands such slacks to be on your person.

SD -- thanks for the links. My Montana tribal classmates were actually a Canadian band of landless Kootanai indians. All the names were Franco, actually: Gagnon and Cyr, to my first recall. Two boys wore long braids and the nuns let them. This all before cultural sensitivity.

And, general wave to eidrib...will try to snap a birdie and post one. Missing me, my magpies, from way out there.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 26, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

BC -- I have my environmental-section students read one of two of Carl H's juvenile environmental thrillers. Really!

They write a book review for me; one third SPELL HIS NAME as if they were clerks at turn-o-century Ellis Island.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 26, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

New guest kit by bc!

Posted by: Achenbach | May 26, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

After two days of hard labor, the carpal tunnel on my left (writing) wrist and hand is kicking in and I'm not helping Mr. T use up the rest of the stain on the stairs. I did just discover that rubbing alcohol will take the stains of the hands and glasses.

Does anyone else remember selling poppies made by veterans to support veterans charities? My dad was a member of the American Legion and my mom the Legion Auxiliary, so that was a ritual during my growing up years. I helped even though it wasn't something I liked doing. I'm sure there was a drive around Veterans Day but I seem to recall doing it around Memorial Day also.

Posted by: slyness | May 26, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle. A wet, and unusually cool morning, even here. Lows nearing 30 again tonight, sheesh.

CP-rejoicing in your great good fortune (making a valiant effort to anyway, envy is a hard beast to subdue). On the hunt for more Jacob's Ladder plants myself. My "Ikea blue" delphie bit the dust, or is exceedingly slow in breaking dormancy. I have little hope. Without the Jacob's ladder, and the little wisps of late season flowers from Russian Sage there'd be no blue at all. Not sure we'll have a long enough summer to see Heavenly Blue morning glories.

Yello-Oh no, wheeler dealers pick up the phone and make calls. My theory is Franken was making the calls on Sunday evening of a holiday weekend in hopes of making it go faster by getting a lot of answering machines. Besides, I'm just an alternate to the state convention and won't even be going because I'll be house hunting with Mr. F.

Sort of a work day for me today-just trying to use this bonus day to catch up on a dozen loose ends that just never make it to the top of the "to do" list. Having them done will make life a lot easier though. I hope.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 26, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

sd, you're so right about Sutil and the Force India Team's showing at the Monaco GP yesterday.

Poor kid was inconsolable in the team garage afterwards.

Something that the TV commentators didn't pick up on was that Sutil may have been playing a very subtle game with Raikkonen to keep the Ferrari from passing. Sometimes race drivers key off of the guy in front to do their braking, particularly when they think the car and driver in front of them might have somewhat less capability in that area. Sutil left his braking for that chicane awfully late, and was somewhat out of shape and trying to correct when Raikkonen hit him. As a race driver, I've employed tactics such as what Sutil may have been doing in order to keep other cars at bay, and I can see how it may have backfired in this case.

Not an excuse for Raikkonen's mistake, but perhaps an explanation.


Posted by: bc | May 26, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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