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Big Ideas; Bad Decisions

I'm about to jump on a plane to Aspen for the Aspen Ideas Festival. Sadly I have no ideas with me, other than the idea that I'd like to get reimbursed for the insane roaming charges that I incurred with my "aircard" in Australia. But maybe during the flight I can come up with some ideas, and try them out on strangers at the airport before taking them public in Aspen. (My one goal is to get through the week without anyone saying, "Huh. Well. That's a really dumb idea.")

Check out the program: Lots of interesting talks. Sadly, a panel I was to moderate, on the Dumbing Down of America, has been scratched due to logistical problems. I'll be talking about G.W. on Thursday before heading back to D.C. But mostly I will blog the daylights out of the festival, except, of course, when hiking and goofing off.

--

Here's a question for you: Why should people who make good decisions have to bail out those who make bad ones?

That's surely on Obama's mind as the Clinton camp tries to get him to help retire her $22 million campaign debt. He didn't ask her to stay in the race for months after it became clear she had no mathematical chance of winning the nomination. But she now wants him to help fund her campaign, retroactively. (He's already written her a check.) As MoDo put it yesterday:

"It's hard to fathom why Obama should be mau-maued into paying off the debt that Hillary and Bill accrued attacking and undermining him, while mismanaging the campaign and their nearly quarter-billion-dollar war chest so horribly that one Hillaryland insider told The New Republic that it bordered on fraud."

A similar question emerges from the subprime mortgage mess. You know my general take on this: Lizard-hearted, frowny-faced hard-liner. It's a basic pocketbook issue: I didn't use those home-equity lines thrown at me by the bank -- didn't blow the kitchen out the back, or redo the fabled porch or anything like that -- in part because I had a flat income and couldn't see how I could afford the bigger monthly payment. (The sad truth, though, is that I also wasn't any good at finding contractors. But let's not confuse the point.)

Obama has been pretty consistent in supporting some kind of help for victims of predatory lending. But how do you define that? McCain has taken a harder line. If Congress actually enacts some kind of legislation, look to McCain to call it a bail-out of Wall Street and reckless spenders. That's a message that could play well with the fiscal conservatives, middle-class folks getting close to paying off their homes, and those whose compassion long ago got tapped out. The Flag City folks, in other words.

--

Knock me down with a feather. I thought McCain hated him.

[This just in: Here at the Denver airport there are electronic gadget recharging stations, apparently designed to keep people from searching far and wide for an outlet. It appears to be funded, in theory, by advertising in the cubicles, but no one has yet paid for an ad. It's weird to be sitting properly and not sitting on the floor in the corner next to the one available outlet.] [Which is where I saw Jeff Rosen. A big-time writer and college professor! Very dignified, normally, but forced by technological madness to sit on the floor at gate 58B in Denver!]

[OK I am now in Aspen, heading into the maw of the festival. On the shuttle ride from the airport a bunch of the idealogues, I guess is what we'll call them, got to talking about Obama, and his lack of executive experience, and Rosen pointed out that, historically, executive experience hasn't always mattered much -- look at Truman, look at Lincoln. So right there was an idea and now it's blogged! This is so easy.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 30, 2008; 11:12 AM ET
 
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Next: At Ideas Camp

Comments

I probably wouldn't understand the panel discussion anyway!

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The last kit was around all weekend long, and nobody answered the boss's question:

//What would Aristotle say if we could unearth him, clean him up a bit, give him a jumbo cup of coffee and ask him to look around? //

He'd say (in Greek, of course), "Where's the bathroom?" That's what *I'd* say after a jumbo cup of coffee and a 2000 year hiatus from the head.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | June 30, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi everyone!

Joel, here is my big idea: learn to laugh quietly. I got a text message on my phone during a session this morning, and laughter just JUMPED out of my mouth.

Are all the Boodlers contributing rumors to the Gene Pool?

Posted by: a bea c | June 30, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Pretty impressive list of speakers and moderators for that conference. But only one can claim to be first alphabetically.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. I called this a conference while it is clearly labeled as a Festival. I am a bit unclear, though, as to the difference. Are festivals just intrinsically more festive? By which I mean, you know, an open bar?

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Joel, as you probably know, this is a marvelous time to be in the Rockies. You sure get some great assignments. While short, summer is beautiful here in Colorado. And no bugs. And gorgeous flowers. I'll be in Breckinridge this coming long weekend to hear to fireworks booming from summit to summit. And of course, hike the trails, etc.

I hope they find your years of work. That is ridiculous and someone should be fired if truly the case. Everything we do on the network is backed-up daily and when we get a new version, say, of Lotus Notes, our old files are saved as "old files." Duh!

Posted by: eirdrib | June 30, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Joel's going to talk about Gene Weingarten? Whose Big Aspen Idea was that?

Oh... wait.. never mind.

‹(ô¿ô)›

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Reprinted from the Comments following today's Post article, "In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying"

I would like to offer the people of Findlay a wonderful opportunity to purchase time shares in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, if you act now, you can secure spacious and luxurious accomodations in a Christian-only development where all your neighbors will have names like Peterman, Pollard, and LeMasters. Breathe the fresh, clean air of Heaven unpolluted by the breath of Muslims, Jews, Hindu's, or Zorastians.

Your special Place in Heaven awaits you, people of Findlay. Act now, and receive - free - a special all-weather doormat with "No Muslims" printed in elegant gold script. A $35.00 value!

Posted by: CowTown | June 30, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Who says a Big Idea can't be a Dumb Idea? or a Bad Idea? or a Pointless Time-Waster? Is this one of those Festivals which only welcomes certain kinds of ideas?

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 30, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about not having any ideas while you're out there, Joel. Michael gerson's going to be there, too, and no one has more empty space in his head than he does. Another speaker is going to be John "I wrote the torture memo" Yoo. He has *lots* of ideas. They just suck, that's all.

One wonders if a visit to the fabled Achenbro Man-Lodge is on tap.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Um, this festival appears to be a nice excuse to party-on with a bunch of eggheads in an incredible setting. New ideas will be an afterthought.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Aspen Ideas Festival, it looks like all the major writers and thinkers in the Washington area (including the Post) will be in Colorado this week. Will there be apprentice pundits filling in for them this week, or will everything just shut down?

I have to know so I can arrange my schedule accordingly.

Posted by: CowTown | June 30, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I looked through the list of speakers. Other than Sandra Day O'Connor and Margaret Spelling, the only names I recognized were media types: Tom Friedman, Arianna Huffington, and a few others. Not that that means anything, except that I'm ignorant of people with big ideas.

Posted by: slyness | June 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Let's all go to the pool!" is an idea, too, you know. So is "the buffet looks delightful," when you think about it.

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh! A ritual of self abnegation to prime the pump of creativity. We can just tell that by time Joel lands he'll have thunk something biggish up already.

Barring that, he'll just tell them about The Talented Mr Stripey, share a funny story or two. And when the moment is just right, he will then beat feet before the audience realizes he's actually no 8-foot lightbulb deliveryman.

He'll already have had a long headstart when they begin running after him, waving their lightbulbs-onna-sticks waving and howling for his blood, like something out of "General Electric Frankenstein."


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Colin Powell is listed. He is a great speaker. I've heard him at another conference. Too bad he didn't wanna run for POTUS.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I think the grammar above needs a little editing. "Eight-foot lightbulb deliveryman" might be a tad ambiguous, no?

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Usually lots of music at festivals, singing and dancing and whoknowswhat else, to inspire those big ideas.

Maybe Joel's hiking will be the very thing for THE NEXT BIG IDEA. Pretty place, Aspen is, although it's been about ten years since my visit.

Surely with that list of festivalites, ya'll will come back with ideas as big as allgetout.

Posted by: VintageLady | June 30, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I think the biggest and best ideas come from the minds of children. Until they turn into teenagers, anyway. Hormones ruin everything.

I'm sure everyone remembers the "Groundhog War" Error was fighting. Well now I've got a war on my hands. Not a groundhog, but chipmunks. I leave my garage door open while I work and I've got at least two, maybe five or six chipmunks that shoot back and forth in front of it all day long. But they wait until I'm working a saw or some other potentially finger severing device before they go into action.

They don't cause any damage that I'm aware of, but the little buggers seem intent on distracting me at just the worst possible moment, like when a saw blade is less than a quarter-inch from my fingers or wrist. Mrs. M thinks I'm being paranoid, but then her digits aren't the ones in danger.

I suppose I could wear blinders like they put on horses, but I kinda need my peripheral vision.

So does anybody have any big ideas on how I can rid myself of these distracting critters without having to resort to explosives or poison?

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG...or let's take the chairlifts to the top and breathe in new ideas at 13000 feet. Maybe not since one does get lightheaded way up yonder.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, birds of prey would do the trick but then again you're talking about Chip and Dale.

Okay, I must get back to work!

Good luck.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, chipmunks are a problem if you have rock walls for landscaping or any slopes that could be undermined by rain runoff. Those little chipmunk warrens are gaps that cause the wall or slope to collapse.

If chipmunk are pests, get a large cat. Mine is about 15lb and kills at least eight chipmunks every summer. And, he's on a tether and has no front claws.

Posted by: CowTown | June 30, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Speak for yourself, eidrib, I am in la-la land above 10,000 feet, myself.

Posted by: slyness | June 30, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Play Chip n Dale records, Martooni? Have Little Bean do chimpunk patrol? Rent-a-Jack Russell terrier to mark around the place?

My guess is that one of your many piles of rubble is currently hosting a chimpmunk mansion; this happened at our old place in the pile of rocks by our shed.

If the chipmunk offspring seem grown you may want to consider relocating some of the rubble so the chipmunks aren't continually using your garage area to drill their young'uns on the art of diving for cover whenever danger looms.

Worst case, you could also try and put down some food on the same side of the garage as their main hideout, but a distance away, so they're not dashing back and forth for their food runs either. Also try adding MORE rubble on the route you'd rather the chimpmunks travel around your garage.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Chipmunks.

Chimpmunks were a very bad genetic experiment gone awry. They do live in rubble and also tend to be huge Wayne's world fans.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I don't think Bob Vila or "Nawm" on This Old House would approve of having fingers within a quarter of an inch of a moving saw blade.

There appears to be a photo collage of some of the speakersd at this shindig. Among them appears to be Karl Rove, but he's not listed among the speakers.

Gerson, Ted Olson, John Yoo, Karl Rove, Robert Kagan... the last time these a-hats got together they launched a war in Iraq that wasn't going to cost anything, was gonna be over in a week, and would get us lots of oil. THESE guys got an invitation to a brainstorming party?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that was a big idea. Just a really, really lousy one, Mudge. Toodles, hope the chipmunks get bribed to leave that area alone, or at least start learning how to drum and blow sweet horn so Martooni can have his own garage band or be inspired to create chipmunk bandstands to sell.

And dude-- back to work. There are a lot of fairies still stuck in trees and such awaiting your doors to free them.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

We are seeing a lot more chipmunks around the Vast Padouk Estate lately. This surprises me because I am convinced I saw none over the previous decade. Has there been some kind of chipmunk population boon or something?

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Patriotism speech:

http://www.barackobama.com/2008/06/30/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_83.php

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The Post's horticultural guru, Adrian Higgins, once suggested that chipmunks can be dealt with by filling in their burrows. Seems a bit draconian to me, but if the choice is between them and the risk of arterial spray, you do what you gotta.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a pet Peregrine falcon would do the trick.

I'm also thinking of renting Caddyshack -- just to remind myself what *not* to do.

I don't necessarily want the buggers dead, but they are very annoying. No rubble to speak of for them to call home... I think they're actually living under the siding on the house. As far as I'm concerned, they can stay there (as long as they don't chew up any important wires), but this is like Chinese water torture.

And Mudge... I do a pretty good job of keeping my fingers out of the blades, but I do detail work, y'know. And I work with small pieces of wood, so fingers and blades are almost always close together. I'm sure "Nawm" would have a heart attack watching me work (and so would OSHA). Of course, he has the million dollar workshop which if you can afford, you can then afford to be a bugger about safety. Me, I've got a jigsaw, a sander, a six-pack and deadlines.

Speaking of which... I'm thirsty.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Big ideas?

I am the Big Friggin' Idea Man, over here!

Please note in the previous Kit how I'd suggested that NASA develop sample return missions to sell gourmet water from Mars and the Moon that might defray the costs or even pay for themselves compeltely.

My idea from some years ago (out there on the 10thcircle, if you look) to put giant cooling towers at the north and south poles and vent the excess heat from Global Warming into the universe, which could not only alleviate GW, but possibly stave off the Heat Death of the Universe billions of years from now. [That one's *big*]

Combining Web News and On-line gaming - that was me.

The idea that our universe was simply a giant quantum computing network for storing and processing the Information of Everything... that was me, too. (OK, someone else may have a claim on that one).

But you get the idea.

My next Big Idea is to how to weasel a trip to Aspen for next year.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 30, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The James Hansen scree at Congress last week, nicely done on the Weather Blog, here:http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2008/06/why_is_this_man_so_worried.html

I am starting to lurk there, to glean storm information. Nerds are nice here there and everywhere.

Back to paper-grading eitch-ee-dooble-hockey-sticks.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 30, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

CP, here's some up-to-the-moment storm information: the sky directly overhead, here on the banks of the mighty Anacostia, is getting very dark. Very, very dark.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The morning weather news here predicted "gloomy".

Yes, the sky is gray and it's been spittin' rain off and on all day, but I'm liking it -- not gloomy at all. Temps at a very comfy 64F which is very pleasant for a sawing gnome.

I should probably move to Seattle or the UK. I don't necessarily like all the moisture, but 60/70 is my comfort zone and a bright sun just bugs me.

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Doing a test looking for a server error.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The question about bailing people out seems based on the conundrum of justice verses compassion. One of the ways of looking at this is that justice is a short-term benefit, while compassion is a long term one.

Not to help Clinton and foolish borrowers might have the short term benefit of enforcing righteous justice mixed with a smidgen of schadenfreude, but this approach introduces some very serious long term risks that could be minimized with a modicum of compassion.

In the Clinton case, the obvious risk is alienating Clinton supporters who are still smarting from her loss. And pushing too many people into bankruptcy, even if it is their own gosh-darn fault for biting off more than they can chew, seems economically short sighted as well.

Like all such dilemmas, the secret is finding the right balance.

And if anyone knows the optimum strategy for this, please let me know. Because I have a teenaged son.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

If you're getting too much rain, Mudge, please send it my way. Thanks!

Posted by: slyness | June 30, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The "Flag City" article certainly shows an especially ugly vision of older white America. Here's the question, can people like this ever be made more open minded? Or must we just wait patiently for them to fade from the scene.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It seems to habe blown by without raining, slyness. Sorry. If I had some rain I'd fax it to you.

The justice versus compassion equation is more complicated than that. You have to factor in "the best interests of the country" along with some other intangibles, such as, do you punish individual homeowners for being greedy and/or stupid and/or fooled/bilked, versus do you punish (or reward, by not punishing) greedy banks and mortgage giants, who started it? I don't care if "greedy banks/mortgage companies" go under --but if they also take down a bunch of otherwise innocent homeowners who've done nothing wrong, then it becomes pretty problematic.

Same problem with Clinton. Shye brought the debt on herself, by not dropping out when she should have (in my view), and then loaned herself another 10 million. Too bad, so sad, I say -- unless it costs Obama the election. I don't care if Hillary gets bailed or not-- but I want Obama to win, and if that's part of the price, well, pay it. I don't have to like it, but there it is.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - that's what I mean by compassion being a long term benefit. But finding the right balance is tricky - as is well known to all parents.


Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear! Mudge...

I'm glad to see that Hillary is backing Obama (though we could probably do without Bill's "help"). And I think Obama's gestures towards helping out with her campaign debt are not only the right thing, but necessary. When winners pull losers out of the mud, that's just playing fair and the winner scores bonus points for doing so.

Like buying a beer for the dude you just beat at a game of pool. You get your winnings *and* a pat on the back.

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

don't get me started on the housing fiasco! i think most ppl yearn for home ownership - makes us feel "safe" to have a home that is ours (well, the banks really but you get my drift). i think most people were fooled and bilked and shouldn't lose their houses for that. not only does it affect people... the animal shelters are reporting an increase in animals being surrendered to shelters b/c their owners lost their homes and couldn't keep them anymore.
besides, we show more compassion to every other country besides our selves! look at all the money we send to all the other countries when we still have katrina victims living in fema mobile homes!
sometimes i get so frustrated with the countries sense of priority! why is compassion for our own people a bad thing?

and 'tooni - don't kill the chipmunks! they are so cute! not worth losing digits i know but still!!!

Posted by: mo | June 30, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

That kind of "why should I pay" thinking though, can quickly turn terribly ugly. It leads to wondering why people who have worked hard to stay healthy should have to underwrite the insurance premiums of people who have not. Or why people who stayed in school and worked hard should feel any sympathy for those who dropped out. There is no end to the righteous indignation of the virtuous.

The problem, of course, outside of simple compassion, is that a culture of righteous indignation can quickly spiral out of control. Once the notion of the common good evaporates, brutality invariably follows.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... thanks to the link to Obama's patriotism speech. That guy has a way with words, doesn't he?

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Too bad those people in "Flag City" can't understand him, if they even would read that. I think they have to die out, RD. I had relatives that sounded like them. Luckily it didn't rub off on their kids.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Great speech. I had tears in my eyes when he quoted Truman about the job requiring the support of the people. Yes indeed.

Posted by: slyness | June 30, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What with that proposed US Sugar buyout in the agricultural portion of the Everglades, there's suddenly opportunities to come up with Big Ideas for sequestering unwanted nutrients (like phosphorus) from the water running off from what will be the remainder of the Agricultural Area.

Are there any retired, bored experts in bioremediation of contaminants out there willing to figure out some Big Useful Modifications to the ag area and the Big Lake?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 30, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, regarding the "right balance" RD, if you gamble enough money so that the economy will tank if you lose the bet, then you can be pretty sure it's going to be in the gunmint's interests (and everyone else's) to bail you out. That is, the size of your bet determines the future "right balance" of collective and individual interests.

The problem with refinancing your home wasn't that you bit off more than you could chew, it's that you didn't bite off a large enough chunk of the economy (like Bear Stearns did) and refinance everyone else's homes too... if you'd done that, you'd just be embarrassed, not homeless.

Posted by: uva yankee | June 30, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I guess what I'm saying (on kit) is... THINK BIG!

Posted by: uva yankee | June 30, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

For a lot of folks, I think the idea of the common good is lost or buried under the demands of daily living. For me it's the old adage, you are your brother's keeper. I'm not a churchgoer, and I don't see this as a Christian matter, but more like karma, in our interconnected world. The old reaping what you sow on a larger scale. It may take a while, but like the Billy Joel song, somewhere along the line (you know its just a matter of time, when the rent comes due... drat, I can never remember the rest of the lyrics. That's one album I wish we hadn't lost when we moved). I used to think we were helping other countries with things like foreign aid. Then I read John Perkins 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man' and what he describes doesn't make us look good. Another case where 'what's in it for us' instead of what we consider American values. And the 'us' isn't the average person in the end. Kind of like the Iraq war, where it was obvious at the beginning that the folks who got us in to it weren't going to pay with either their blood or money, and had nothing but contempt for those who were going to be stuck with the bill (shades of David Addington).

Did anyone see the Iglesia's interview on the Daily Show? He has a line that brought the house down, something to the effect that he thought he was going to work for the Jedi, and found out he as working for the Sith. The next night at dinner we were discussing the appropriate Star Wars character for the principals in the current administration. Not much of a problem with Cheney et al, but we had trouble finding a fit for Shrub (thank you Molly Ivins). Finally came to the conclusion that it had to be Anakin Skywalker.

Posted by: km2b | June 30, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

RD, mostly, if you look at the Flag City article as about racially-influenced closed-mindedness, then yes, it's a situation that does seem to be changing with time and we can get hope from the attitudes of younger generations. But if you look at it as about people being influenced by rumors to the exclusion of readily available facts, I'm less hopeful. I just read the transcripts of the chat about the article, and I was struck by the comment from the reference librarian that people aren't learning critical thinking and they just swallow whatever they find online. I don't know whether it's just human nature (exacerbated by the internet) or whether the prevailing cynicism about "authoritative" sources and gullibility for "what they don't want you to know" are worse than in the past. Either way, that situation isn't going to improve just with the passage of time.

Posted by: bia | June 30, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

what did the gubmint do for the dot com bust?

that's the problem - everything that goes up must come down... people become rabid when things like that happen and can't see the possible outcome! i wonder what the next "big thing" will be? nanotechnology?

Posted by: mo | June 30, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Umm. Aspen for big ideas? It makes sense. Higher up, less atmospheric pressure on the brain. That's why one feels light headed when suffering from hypoxia (that does not come from smelling glue).

Due to the lack of big ideas, I have one BIG question. Will Mr. Ashebach return a changed man?

Aspenback, The Return. Shown in caves everywhere.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | June 30, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the grocery store. It's ironic that hot dog buns cost more than the winners that go in them. Got 8 winners for a dollar and the lowest cost store brand buns were a $1.29. And buns are almost all air.
Ethanol is not the answer.

Posted by: bh | June 30, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

bia, yes, this article was quite depressing for me and probably explains why Democrats continue to lose elections:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/29/AR2008062901875.html?hpid=topnews

I think Obama is very easy to paint as "different" - weird name, African father, Muslim connections, Indonesia - and he's black. All the things I tend to think of as positive attributes, because I think he understands the world from a broader perspective than George Bush or John McCain - but which are viewed with deep suspicion by some people like those in "Flag City".

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 30, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Mostly but O'Bama, as my son thought it spelled sounds very O'Leary, O'Reilly, O' Sullivan, etc.

Still grading papers....Tues BPH is not looking likely. RD, help me pull a bunny out of my hat. Lend me a lapin, thank you.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 30, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I got my B.S. at what was (at the time) a very blue-collar state university. I recall noting signs of distrust of "official versions" of nearly everything. The Cuba crisis didn't help--I recall endless allegations that Kennedy had turned tail and surrendered to the Soviet Union. The Vietnam war didn't help, either.

My best guess is that carefully-edited, ethical newspapers are assumed to be producing "official versions" of nearly everything, while the truth is in the hands of Fox, TV preachers, independent blogs, whatever.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 30, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

CP... can't help you with lagomorphs, but you're more than welcome to a chipmunk or three. I'll fax them after I figure out how to flatten them.

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The chat transcript to the Flag City thing made me almost as angry as the original story, and I thought the reporter, Saslow, was being much too forgiving about some of those people. On the one hand, I appreciate it that he was even-handed and not editorializing in the article, and trying to be evenhanded in the chat-- but then he went way over backward to be too nice to those people because they are "confused." No, Eli, they are NOT "confused." "Confused" is when you don't understand something that is either too complicated for you, or is badly said,. written, whatever, so it's meaning isn't clear. Sometimes it is perfectly fine to be confused -- if it isn't your fault or your own lunacy that causes it.

But it is NOT Ok to be "confused" by the moronic notion that you don't really know if it's true or not that Obama is really a secret, gay, African-born Muslim who is going to "illegally" bring his "real" African parents over here after he is elected. That is NOT, repeat NOT "confusion," Eli, nor is it forgiveable to suggest that that is all it is. What it is is the need to be smacked upside the head with a two-by-four.

Nor is the fact that there supposedly all these "rumors" floating around an acceptable notion. There is a difference between a rumor, on the one hand, which may seem to have a plausible basis ("Britney Spears is pregnant" to make one up) and a notion that is inherently bizarre at best, and deliberately malicious as well as beyond credulity, on the other ("Martians have landed, but it's OK, they're heterosexual").

As a society we generally frown upon rumors and rumor-mongering; why are we suddenly find it either "acceptable" or at least free of any kind of rebuke? Since when is it OK to not only believe utter nonsense, but to pass it around, and then still expect to be considered "good, honest, smart Americans"?

Let's call a spade a spade: a lot of these people are morons. It's about time someone called them on this crap, not excused it or enabled it.

I don't give a d@mn if they want to vote for Obama or not. If they don't. fine. If thay are racists, fine; at least I'd have a little shred of respect for some redneck who came out and said, "I just don't like them [N-words.]" But these people aren't racists, and I don't believe they are "hiding" buried racism by disguising it with something else. I just think they're idiots, frankly. I wish to he11 they WERE racists; at least we'd know what we're dealing with.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I would like to thank the person who linked to the H.P. Lovecraft, jazz connection.
It brought me out of myself.

Posted by: Cthulhu Roarkechortle III | June 30, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I beg your pardon, my previous comment was meant to be addressed to PZ's blog. I think.
Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Cthulhu Roarkechortle III | June 30, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Mudge, now I'm glad I didn't read that chat. Some of this stuff that's flying around is just crazy! It was bad enough that I read Chris Cillizza's blog post about Obama's speech earlier today and then read some of the comments. Why, oh why do I do that? I wonder if it depresses people like Cillizza to read the comments on their blogs? It would depress the daylights out of me.

I do think that Obama's got a problem with these viral e-mails, etc. I hope he can get a handle on it. I certainly don't like the way this Wesley Clark nonsense is playing out...I really can't believe John McCain trotted out the Day cretin (architect of the original swift boating episode) to draw attention to Clark's comments. I honestly didn't think McCain was going to go down the standard Republican smear campaign path, but I'm starting to think I was wrong.

Posted by: Kim | June 30, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Dave - Alas, I was given most of my B.S. at birth. Gets me in trouble sometimes!

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, is "Martians have landed, but it's OK, they're heterosexual" available as a boodle handle?

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Y'know... I used to *like* driving a car.

Just now got home from a 2.5 mile round trip that took 30 minutes thanks to construction and jacka$$es who can't read signs or follow rules or even think of paying attention to anything more important than their cell phones and iPods (like the dang road and other drivers).

I don't know how you folks who have to commute to work do it. I'd need one of those "Mad Max" mobiles with the rocket launcher and machine guns -- or a very large stash of glaucoma meds.

Either way I'd be in trouble, but I'd either have my vengeance or be too stoned to care.

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you crack me up. Simultaneously I agree with you.

I have never seen the Dems go negative. Not really. Not negative like the Repubs do. Can't say I recommend it; after all, Hell is a real possibility. But it's interesting to ponder what a truly negative anti-repub ad would look like.

Martooni, either get a cat, or play realistic hawk or owl calls through your speakers. A remote external speaker from the computer, find some MP3s or WAVs of those calls, put 'em on a loop.

Posted by: Jumper | June 30, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Wilbroid, you can have it if you want, tho' I expect it's a bit of a handful to type out all the time. But have at it if you want it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Wilbroid? Where'd *that* come from? I need new fingers. Maybe "Martians...et al" IS better than Wilbroid.

Wilbrod. I know your name. Really I do. Honest.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Howdy all, hope your weekends were good.

Martooni,get yerself a cat and keep him hungry and your Chipmunk problem will be gone.I live on Chipmunk Way(yes I know,cute name for a street) anyways I used to have a whole herd of chipmunks everywhere. But since I got the Professor,he seems to keep them in check. I just wish he would stop bringing the uneaten half to me.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 30, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, what would Weingarten's pal at PETA think of the serious advice to place one animal into servitude explicitly in order to exploit the likelihood that it will then commit acts of gratuitous violence upon a (by Martooni's testimony) relatively harmless community of other animals?

Nothing good, I suspect.

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Oops, greenwithenvy DID suggest keeping the cat hungry, in which case I suppose the violence wouldn't necessarily be gratuitous. Hey, a cat's gotta eat!

[By the way, I'm all in favor of this solution. But then, I think that the inner-city crack epidemic of the 80's-90's subsided largely because crackheads are inefficient at survival (or at least at reproducing their lifestyle), not because there's anything inherently wrong with hitting the pipe every now and again!]

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. 'Mudge, thanks for that!
Funny how you did the rant and I feel lighter. One of those boodlenigmas, I guess......no Martooni, NOT boodlenema, although I could fax that for Chip n Dale...

Cthulhu Roarkechortle III, stay! This is an SFriendly zone. Plus I'll smile (in horror of course:-) every time I see your handle. also, what was that Lovecraft link?

Posted by: DNA Girl | June 30, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

First a Wilbrod wanders into your community. Then a harmless-looking Wilbroddog comes padding into view.

Then the Wilbroids start popping up here, there, entwined with everything you held dear...

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. I think DNA Girl had me in a sci-fi state of mind.

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Those recharging stations Joel describes sound cool. But I can see how they lack the panache of sitting on the floor next to an outlet. It's like the first time I used a wireless telephone. Sure, it was convenient not having to stand in the kitchen to talk, but I still missed the comforting embrace of our extra-long cord.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Wilbroids have been a problem in Mianus.

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, good point. One needs to be acclimated to the high country which begins, I guess, around 7000 feet or so. But la-la land can be nice...not realistic, but nice. Have fun in the clouds, Joel!

Martooni, cats are efficient...too efficient. Chipmunks, unite. Just away from tooni's place of business.

Hawk sound tracks? Now you're chirping.

Obamba is gay? What next. This is a crazy mixed up world.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., I have very little good to say about PETA and their understanding of animals' actual needs. For one, their founder would believe Wilbrodog is better dead than fed by me.
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/article_detail.cfm?article=134

Real animal care is 7 days a week, no vacations, no glamour trips, no major boardroom meetings, no getting arrested because then you won't be home in time to milk the cows, or feed the cats, horses, and dogs.

I remember Matthew 6:2-:4 whenever I read of their latest stunt to grab headlines for their cause.

I'm with Bob S.--balance of nature and all that. Give a poor starving cat a nice meal.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

You caught me. I was building gnome-bots. I saw Gromit's "How-to for bow-wows" on the K-9 show once, and I thought I'd give it a few nibbles.

Anybody have any idea how you stop Wilbroids from filling dinner bowls? I've already have had to dodge a few who kept trying to put ME in my dinner bowl. I'm now seeking refuge outside the house.


Posted by: Wilbrodog | June 30, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Martooni... did you see this?

http://www.bird-x.com/shakeaway-repellent-granules-small-critter-p-43.html

We've got more chipmunks than usual this year, too. I think there may be a family living under our deck. They don't seem to be a problem, though; I'll try to remember not to do any sawing back there.

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

RD... maybe Fairfax County has figured out that balance...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/30/AR2008063001599.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: TBG | June 30, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, you can get rid of annoying Wilbroids by applying a cream called Preparation W. It shrinks them and takes away the itching and irritation. I think it also comes in medicated wipes.

Good luck. Hope you feel better soon. I know how embarrassing it is dragging your butt along the ground.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,I use Preparation W already-- W for Weterniarian.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | June 30, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I guess my only issue with that article (other than its glossing over the fact that the vast majority of PETA sympathizers probably don't consider themselves on board with the most "radical" of the positions & actions mentioned) is the headline.

I'm guessing that most folks who consider themselves even moderately familiar with PETA are at least vaguely aware of most of this stuff.

As Weingarten has pointed out - PETA doesn't earn many points for their commitment to reasonable compromise, but (at their most extreme) they are fairly consistent. Any act by humans which involves the use of animals or their byproducts to serve the needs or desires of humans is arrogant and bad.

[By the way, as a minor quibble - PETA does NOT necessarily suggest banning the eating of meat. If a random sparrow should fall dead upon your doorstep, I don't think that PETA would be averse to your preparing a little birdie salad. They're just not big fans of sparrow hunting, farming, genetic engineering in order to make them bigger and more likely to fall dead upon your doorstep, etc.]

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The chipmunk and rabbit populations have exploded around here this year. I'm seeing more, I think, because the cat next door died. Since that household also contains two dogs, I don't think they will be replacing the cat. Darn.

I've been okay with co-existing with the chipmunks, but they have taken to eating my Roma tomatoes when they are about half ripe. That I don't care for.

Dunno that I will - or can - do anything about the chipmunks. They were here before me. At least they stay outside. I'm glad to say we haven't had any field mice in several years. The school system put up a fence and in the process must have destroyed the mice havens. Having mice in the house really sets me on edge. They don't survive long after I discover them.

Posted by: slyness | June 30, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks,don't get me wrong, I love all the little critters that run around the woods. Just today I removed a snake and turtle from the road, I put the turtle in a neighbors garden.The snake was mad I moved him,but he was a sitting duck(so to speak), just a sunning himself on the asphalt.

It's just that the Professor is an outdoor cat living in the woods,he hunts all sorts of stuff ,he once showed up with a lizard in his mouth and very proud of his accomplishment,till it dropped his tail and got away accross the deck. What is the old saying"it may be a dog's day,but a cat rules the night"

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 30, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

That aside, you'd be surprised how little the people who give to PETA DO know. Big names attract people who want to do something nice, but don't ask too closely. Or their pitch attracts, and once in, they get subjected to brainwashing. I've talked to quite a few PETA members (former or current).

On topic--I heard PETA wanted to offer a 1 million prize for developing vat-grown meat.

I just gagged at the idea-- I've worked with tissue cultures, it's a constant battle to keep them sterile-- even one mold or bacterial spore can have a huge party within 24 hours.
Also, immortal tissue cell lines (which they would need) are de facto cancer cell lines. And many cancers are actually contagious, whether by virus or whole cell infections.

The truth is, to get healthy muscle meat, you actually need innervation and stimulation by a nervous system. Just part of the complex signalling muscle that tells a muscle how big to grow, and so on.

What a big, dumb idea. They have absolutely no idea what it takes to grow flesh in vitro, do they? They'd be growing meat on meat, which would be extremely energy inefficient.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/04/21/peta-offers-1-millio.html

And I've had enough of being on-topic for now, my stomach is queasy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, since you're knowledgable thanks to Weingarten, what precisely is PETA's policy on killing rabid animals?

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

When housing prices exploded in the 80's, so did income and national debt. A leveling under Bush41 and continued doubling every 8 years thereafter until the subprime money was allowed to be generated by packaging them with solid equities. The current crisis is a direct result of lack of supervision in generating the cash and selling of these mortgages. The house of cards crashed when the middle class squeeze affected our sales and service driven economy. Citibank I believe has too much mortgage exposure in a recessive economy and probably is the next bailout.

Posted by: Jimbo | June 30, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Pace yourself Joel. Don't blog yourself out the first night. That's a rookie mistake.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 30, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah debt, leveling.. blah blah blah equities.. blah blah blah exposure..

Sorry Jimbo, I actually understand what you said, but it seems like closing the barn door.

Posted by: Yoki | June 30, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse


Hawks voices and such:

http://www.naturesongs.com/falcstri.html#LFALC

Posted by: nellie | June 30, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Hawks voices for annoying chipmunks.

Posted by: nellie | June 30, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Couple of quick items, mostly having to do with money:

Why would Obama be interested in helping pay down Sen. Clinton's campaign debt?

Er, could it be that Obama belives that he needs the Clintons' political support and connections (political, financial, corporate, international, etc.) in order to get elected? [And perhaps a deal was stuck when Obama and Clinton spoke after the last Dem primary, just before HRC suspended her campaign...]Hmmm. Maybe he'd prefer a running mate that does not have a financial albatross around her neck (though I don't *think* that debts incurred during the primary process counts towards the general election, even as a VP candidate), and thinks a clear mind where finances are concerned would help her (and her team) focus on the coming Convention and General Elections.

Why would McCain consider courting Romney for VP? Er, because Mitt's tall? Younger? Has great hair? Is charming? Maybe McCain thinks Romney can help in states where McCain's weak? Or... Romney sure does have a *lot* of money, and access to lots more, I think. Maybe McCain's weighing all of his options given that Obama appears to have a big financial advantage at the moment.

Finally, I won't comment on the situation in the housing markets, because I just can't.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 30, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki. How ya been?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 30, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Very cool, Nellie.

bc--you have great ideas.

Joel--sharks are disappearing. Do something. We humans are quickly pushing ourselves out of the equation.

How can we (the USA) really stop still being one of the biggest carbon footprinters? We need more action...soon. It's always "the next guy's problem, not mine." I don't THINK so.

Hey, we could finance more outer space trips or other important earthly projects by selling Mars soil samples for huge sums. Or legalize marijuana.

BIG idea contributions.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - My initial thought is that PETA would consider the killing (by humans) of rabid animals to be an intolerable infringement upon the natural rights of the rabies Lyssavirus community.

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen a juggler on a pogo stick.
Is such a thing possible?

Posted by: Boko999 | June 30, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Juggler / pogo -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jkzP0H7kzM

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

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The Minneapolis airport has one of those free charging stations too. No ads their yet either, but I bet they soon will have. MN has plenty of those bathroom stall door ads, and not just for things that won't make it past the filter.

bh-I was just remarking to Mr. F that it is insane to pay more for hotdog buns than the most excellent Wisconsin cheddar brats that go inside them. $2.99 I paid for the least expensive buns in town.

Flying on two consecutive Sundays gave me an opportunity to read two issues of the New Yorker cover to cover. You may have heard about this story on NPR-

The Itch
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/30/080630fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all

Midway through:
"Itching is a most peculiar and diabolical sensation. The definition offered by the German physician Samuel Hafenreffer in 1660 has yet to be improved upon: An unpleasant sensation that provokes the desire to scratch. Itch has been ranked, by scientific and artistic observers alike, among the most distressing physical sensations one can experience. In Dante's Inferno, falsifiers were punished by 'the burning rage / of fierce itching that nothing could relieve'"

I will take the word of any boodler who claims to be able to read it without scratching, but I bet you can't.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 30, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Really late to the party tonight. Mudge, I applaud and agree totally with your 4:52 post. And whoever mentioned critical thinking (sorry to forget, I am really tired) was right on as well.

As for those who were caught up in the mortgage crisis, I know we need to bail them out for the greater good. But I'd really love it if they had to get a tattoo that said, 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' We need to make budgeting and simple accounting mandatory in high school. It scares me how many otherwise intelligent people (I know a few) don't grasp the basics of money management. And then of course there is greed, for which the tattoo might read, 'what goes up, must come down.'

Chipmunks. My daughter gets rid of hers and the Boodle gets invaded, coincidence? Too tired to think about it. Goodnight all.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 30, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

By the way, we've linked to this particular but of juggling before, but it still makes me happy to watch it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8f8drk5Urw&feature=related

Posted by: Bob S. | June 30, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., now I miss Lyssa.

Frostbitten, I have skeeter nibbles all over, so that was really unkind to post. Just sayin'.

Itching is thought (last I read something on it) to be sort of subthreshold pain-- just like really annoying white noise on TV. The inconsistent signal tends to get more attention than actual pain.

The scratching tends to act to drown out the itching with stronger pain or pressure stimuli and also acts to help dislodge any pests causing the issue. I find if a spot is too tender to scratch, scratching a spot downstream of it (and thus causing a nerve block of sorts) helps kill the itch.

And now I must go rinse in a endless pink shower of calamine lotion. So kind of you to share, especially as my restless joint syndrome is suddenly acting up in empathy... and that's like a wet tickling itch in the joints.

AUGGGGHHH.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Ever notice when you "you Tube" a certain song, the 2nd selection is the best one.

I will try and miss every frog in the road on my way home,the deer too. Hey I forgot to ask. How are your ribs CP?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 30, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Did I ever tell you guys about Johnny Winter and the Tin Drum?

Posted by: Boko999 | June 30, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Wibrod-you do need to read the story, but perhaps after the mosquito bites heal. It supports a new non pain related way of explaining itching with lots of interesting stuff that is applicable to phantom limb syndrome etc.

Lots of chipmunks here this year too, but they keep to the margins of the yard and forest and hang about the wood pile. No harm done, except the frostcats go through a bunch of "Let me at 'em," posturing on the screen porch that often ends in them fighting each other.

Speaking of critters, we had a massacre in the yard last night. Woke up to eau de skunk wafting in the open windows and saw why this evening. Big hole dug in the sandy driveway and what was left of a clutch of turtle eggs strewn about.

Time to gather the frostcats and call it a night.
Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 30, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Reading it right now, with pauses to scratch. I've been known to scratch my shins bloody (due to a health condition), so this is not funny.

Yes, the brain can indeed manufacture sensations. Oliver Sack's "A Leg to Stand Upon" is a good discussion of phantom limb syndrome and its opposite...hemineglect when a person no longer recognizes a body part as his own (due to transient nerve damage).

Elsewhere he also mentioned that a man with phantom limb syndrome was receiving input from his face-- the areas mapping the face are close to the areas for the hands, and when he lost his arm, some reorganization in the brain occured.

That was so interesting that it stuck in my mind, as in "what are my auditory areas being used for now?"

Perhaps the mirror exercises help reboot the relevant parts of the brains by synchronizing it with the other, healthier part of the brain.
But what if both sides are damaged, both equally itchy or painful? I suppose synchrony might help even then, maybe not.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 30, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, I don't necessarily want the chipmunks dead, I just want them to play somewhere else.

They're obviously not bothered by the sounds of power tools or classic rock (even Styx, which sends *me* running to the hills -- if I ever hear "Mr. Roboto" again I will hurt myself or the DJ). I do have some left-over firecrackers from the last 4th of July, which may be useful, but I'd rather not burn down the house.

If I could figure out what the heck they eat, I could maybe eliminate their food source, but if I learned anything from those chipmunk sing-a-long albums from the 70's it's that they are very persistent little buggers that will eat just about anything before stealing your car (after singing old standards and Christmas carols at you in a very high voice).

Did I mention we've got squirrels, too? Squirrels the size of dogs?

I wanna play nice with the critters, but they don't help out with the mortgage payments or yardwork.

If the buggers would just eat grass and dandelions and keep to themselves...

Posted by: martooni | June 30, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

gwe, you are so kind. bless you.

Posted by: eidrib | June 30, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

This really moved me though I am not terribly religious; listen to the audio, it carries much more weight than the text alone.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91964687

Posted by: bill everything | June 30, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

bill, the transcript was pretty powerful. Thanks for pointing that out.

On a less poignant note, look what Ron Paul's up to:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/06/rep_ron_paul_rtexas_may.html

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 30, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

bill e, I heard that on the way home this evening, and I did sit and think in my car for a minute after I'd arrived at my destination.

Thanks for posting that link.

Now, to bed with me.

Goodnight, Boodle.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 1, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Happy Canada Day!

Posted by: TBG | July 1, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Yo TBG !

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 1, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Happy Canada Day to the Canadians!

We don't have cute chipmunks here. Heck, we don't even have ugly chipmunks here. No skunks. No wild rabbits. No groundhogs. I was told we've got squirrels, but I've yet to see one.

In the meditation classes that I attended years ago, I was taught to observe any sensation in my body with equanimity. If there is an itch, no scratching, just observe. I could do that for pain but not for itch. Nothing beats the satisfaction of scratching an itch.

A few years back, I was bitten by what I thought were fleas. They were barely visible to the naked eye. They must have come from the house sparrows that were always perched on the window grills. The itch was so bad that I dug hole in my arm. Nothing relieved the itch. The cream that I got from the doctor's clinic didn't help. I had pills for the itch but when the pills wore off, it's back to scratching. One day, out of desperation, I boiled some water, dipped a cotton ball into the boiling water and then place the cotton on the itchy spots. It was itch and pain at the same time. Two treatments on that same spot, it never itched again.

Sort of on kit - the boiling of water was it was an idea! Not a big idea but a small one. Still it was a small one that worked. I didn't get 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree burns or anything.

Posted by: rainforest | July 1, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

"no mathematical chance of winning the nomination."

Well that was the propaganda from the Obama camp and was designed to stop Clinton before the convention. It worked. But I suspect that she did have (at one time) the super delegates to win. Only they were never given a chance to vote.

This has the feel of "salt in wounds" for the Clinton people who know the facts. Just speculation - but it rings true considering the after the fact statements like this. People can not resist the opportunity to gloat.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 1, 2008 5:26 AM | Report abuse

Goodmorning everybody! Morning Cassandra, morning early birds.

Let me think, big ideas? My son had one the other day. He popped the back tire on his bicycle. I showed him how to fix a flat a few months ago, and this time it was his turn. The only inner tube we had in stock needed to be cannabolized from a older broken bike left in the shed.

I just let him work, but soon found myself shaking my head as he did about 15 trips from the basement where the tools are kept to the bicycle on the front porch stoop. I wanted to help him by insisting that he bring out the whole tool box to save a lot of time. I offered help, but he wouldn't have it.

It took him an hour to get the back wheel off and the inner tube out. Poor kid, that is, poor persistent kid.

then, instead of going out to the shed and removing the inner tube from the older bike, he had a big idea...

Another trip to the basement and he came back with a roll of duct tape. Figures!

I told him that it wouldn't work. I tried the same thing when I was a kid, and it didn't work. Been there, done that.

He didn't listen. I began feeling sorry for him, but as a parent, some things I have to let go and let him discover for himself.

It took him another hour to patch the hole, mount the tire back on the wheel, and put the wheel back on the bike. A little over 2 hours spent on the project. Man was he going to be disappointed when he pumped the tire back up only to here the hiss when the air pressure broke through the seal of the duct tape.

He put all the tools away without me having to ask. Geez, what did I create here?

Still, no hiss, but man was he going to be disappointed when he took the bike out for a spin only to hear the hiss when the air broke through the seal of the duct tape.

That was a week ago, no hiss, no disappointment. The big idea work for him. Amazing!

Posted by: DandyLion | July 1, 2008 6:03 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Gary, you're welcome to post anything you want here. But somebody ought to tell you you're babbling and a bit incoherent.

You are factually incorrect about superdelegates "never given a chance to vote." They get that chance at the convention. That was the arrangement from the git-go. You can have your revisionist "speculation" all you want, but you need to get your facts right. What they *did* have plenty of opportunity to do was announce who they supported. Many of them didn't. So it matters not a single whit whom you think they "might" have supported.

As to your opening quote, it has no apparent antecedent. What the heck are you referring to? Who are you quoting? Are you just pulling stuff out of the air? What? You allege that Hillary was somehow "cheated" out of something. Either spell it out or stop mumbling incoherently to yourself. You allege "propaganda" by the Obama camp. But if their statement turns out to have been correct (as it was), is it still "propaganda"? Maybe it was "truth" and you just don't want to believe the evidence in front of you?

Happy Canada Day, dear Canuckistanis. Hope you celebrate with lots of poutine and Molson's and LaBatt's, or however it is you celebrate.

Good Gene Robinson column this morning, pretty good Dionne column, pretty good Cohen column on McCain's pandering to disfunctional pastors.

Yes, another thanks for that link, bill e. I'm not much interested in the content of her speech--but I always wondered whatever happened to her. Two of the three most searing photographs that came out of the Vietnam era are the famous photos of that girl in the street, the girl bending over and then looking up from the body of the student shot at Kent State (anybody know what happened to her?) and the shot of the Saigon policeman shooting the Vietcong suspect in the head. Never forget those three pix as long as I live.

OK, friends, time to get a move on. Padouk, you've got the point this morning; yell, your his wingman. Cassandra and I will try to get our old bones moving and cover your six. From a couple of miles back.

One down, three and three-quarters to go (most likely an early dismissal on Thursday).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 1, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

wow... heheh... that's practically a lake wobegone! I love it.

I guess they make duct tape like they used to not.

good morning boodle (late morning, GMT... you don't have to be an early bird when you're five hours ahead... but then you have to stay up 'til 3am to watch the Nats game).

Posted by: uva yankee | July 1, 2008 6:21 AM | Report abuse

rainforest, a hair dryer set to hot will also work to get rid of even a bad itch. Once you reach the point of pain from the heat, the itch disappears. I think I read that pain takes precedence over itch. Luckily, the itch will also disappear for hours if not days.

bc, your good words kept me from trouble once again. Thank you.

Posted by: dbG | July 1, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

and in other leg-powered horseless carriage-related news, parking's a bear whether you drive or cycle.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/nyregion/01bike.html?ref=nyregion

I would fear for my life, trying to cycle in NYC. But seems like they're doing something about it.

There's also a bike lock called the "New York Fahgettaboudit."

Posted by: uva yankee | July 1, 2008 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, not that I'm NotLoomis or Gary Masters, but if enough was enough for NL, it's enough here.

The antecedent to Mr. Master's statement is contained in this kit, he said he "suspected," and politics in America is nothing if it's not speculative. His last point about not gloating makes a lot of sense.

You won. Get over it. :-)

Posted by: dbG | July 1, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody!

Rainforest, I've also had luck putting ice on an inch to make it stop. The deal is to interrupt the feedback loop, which heat and cold both do.

Posted by: slyness | July 1, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Surprisingly nice summary of a study on moral hypocrisy by John Tierney, whose op-eds I usually think are utter gutter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/science/01tier.html

Posted by: DNA Girl | July 1, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Hey there, dandylion. Mudge, I know I've said this so many times, but you do, my friend, have a way with words. I agree, some of these folks are just morons. Plain and simple.

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

I'm running late, can't talk long. As for the kit, I suspect one might need a set of good ears if using JA's method. It sounds like it just might be more fun to be a tourist, and can the other aspect of the festival. Will you still get paid if you take that route, JA?

As for Obama bailing out Hillary Clinton, I suppose it is a good thing as far as drawing in some of her voters, yet as JA termed it, when looking at it that way it does not make a whole lot of sense. But as a peace offering, yes. And the housing problem falls in that same category. I hate to see homeowners take the fall for bad business on their part and the people that sold them the loans. If we could get to the real culprits and spare the homeowners, that would be the best of both worlds.

Time to find the water. Have a great day, folks. No water in sight, in the form of rain yet. Slyness, we need some strong prayers right about now.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 1, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Happy Canada Day!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Y8L0L3ns0

Posted by: frostbitten | July 1, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I went an entire day Boodle-free. Alas somebody left a laptop unguarded this morning while the rest of the house is asleep. When the topic of bailing out other people's bad ideas came up, I thought for certain a certain Land War In Asia would come up. Hillary's campaign debt will be an easy nut to crack compared to extricating us from the Iraqi Tar Baby.

I had no idea my dad lived in Flag City. He sent us a 60 minute long video link about the truth about Obama. I haven't had the nerve to touch it.

My big idea for today is to trick four other guys of varying ability to ride bicycles to Wellfleet and back. The ladies will be spending the morning antiqueing.

Sorry I am missing the BPH today, but I will find a way to have a drink in support.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 1, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I went an entire day Boodle-free. Alas somebody left a laptop unguarded this morning while the rest of the house is asleep. When the topic of bailing out other people's bad ideas came up, I thought for certain a certain Land War In Asia would come up. Hillary's campaign debt will be an easy nut to crack compared to extricating us from the Iraqi Tar Baby.

I had no idea my dad lived in Flag City. He sent us a 60 minute long video link about the truth about Obama. I haven't had the nerve to touch it.

My big idea for today is to trick four other guys of varying ability to ride bicycles to Wellfleet and back. The ladies will be spending the morning antiqueing.

Sorry I am missing the BPH today, but I will find a way to have a drink in support.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 1, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Hah! I too have fallen for the double-posting trick. Yesterday we went to the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. Sure could have used a personal guide, mudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 1, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Yello, you are having great weather, which is not always the case on the Cape. I went to #2's house after work last night, bracing myself for the attack of the cicadas. There were none. None. Not even their hum in the air. If I didn't have supporting witnesses, I would think that that I had imagined the whole scene on Saturday. Did they finish mating in one day? Were they all at the nearest beach bar for happy hour? I can't wait to call my daughter and see if they showed up this morning. I don't understand nature.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 1, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

I realize there are still some very sore feelings out there over how the Primary went, but I really don't think Mudge was gloating in the least.

I am looking forward to hearing more news from the Festival. At least until it it gets too rowdy and they have to bring in the police to break things up.

I'm not that impressed by the executive experience argument based on Truman and Lincoln. All this does is establish that a strong president lacking experience is not automatically precluded.

Historical comparisons do not give much support to the proposition that Obama will necessarily be a good president.

For this you need to look at all the relevant qualities that Obama possesses and then compare these to the various requirements of the presidency given proper weighting to their relative importance.

I'm hoping Joel gets to hear good stuff like this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 1, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, the woman in the photo last I read was married and living in Toronto.

Happy Canada All

Posted by: dmd | July 1, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Bonne Jour de Canada!

Oh, I'm sorry, I should have suggested les Quebecois in the audience cover their ears... :-)

Anyway, I also read that "Flag City" article and yes, "morons" and "Know-Nothings" are the phrases that come to mind.

Sadly, we have evidence of foul play for the in-custody death of the suspect in the police officer killing... :-(

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/30/ST2008063001413.html

Well, the Earth continues to rotate and a dome of Canadian coolness has brought some weather relief to the area, so it's off to another day of minimal back pain (hopefully) and a gathering with friends this evening.

And Boodlers have topics they must sometimes avoid discussing on the Boodle? I had no idea... :-)

*not-as-perfunctory-as-you-might-think-and-obviously-hearfelt Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 1, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Beautiful weather for Canada Day, clear skies and dry air, for a change.
The stats for June are out, 22 days of rain for a grand total of 10,4cm or 4in in Christian units. 9 out of 10 days of weekend (counting May 31) with at least some rain. No wonder the level of water in the rivers is so high.
I read the Flag city story and found it immensely sad. No wonder more than half the population doesn't beliveve in evolution.
Also, it made me wonder what those folks would think of an Idea Festival. Ideas would probably sound subversive to them.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 1, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

RD - you never fail to crack me up. Thanks for that.

bill e - thanks for spreading that link. Like bc, I heard that piece on NPR, very powerful. Those "This I Believe" pieces frequently make me all weepy. My kids think I'm a kook, because I'm such a sniffler.

I have to get going and take a really hot shower because I've been itching all over ever since Frosti's link.

Happy Canada Day to one and all.

Posted by: Kim | July 1, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle. Happy Canada Day to my compatriots, and you 'muricans can raise a nice glass of cold beer in our honour.

Just running to the airport; catch you all on the fly from time to time; back late Thursday.

Wilbrod, check out the current issue of the New Yorker for a most interesting (and horrific) story on itching and the physiology behind it. The "threshold pain" theory seems to be outdated.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/30/080630fa_fact_gawande/

Posted by: Yoki | July 1, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

The first thing I learned during a trip to Quebec and Montreal is that you pronounce those city names as "Kay-beck" and "Mon-ree-all" or they toss baguettes at you and expel methane in your general direction.

Just curious... do the Kaybeckers participate in Canada Day? Or do they demand an hour or two of private time for themselves to laugh French laughs and expel methane in the general direction of Vancouver?

Posted by: martooni | July 1, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Itching. You had to mention itching. You see, perhaps because I foolishly chose to be born in a part of the world where it does not grow, I am notoriously sensitive to poison ivy.

As I have mentioned before, I actually mow the lawn and do yardwork in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt because I prefer heat stroke to the evil effects of this demonic vine. And this weekend was no exception. I wore my gardening burka while pulling weeds beneath the grape trellis and followed up with the traditional full body exfoliation.

And I nearly succeeded. But I overlooked one small spot. For lodged beneath my gold wedding band was, evidently, a tiny droplet of Urushiol.

And a droplet is all it takes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 1, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, RD, I hear that urushiol won't wash off with soap and water. I can spot poison ivy at 20 paces, and must, if I am to avoid its clutches. I keep Roundup on hand specifically to nuke poison ivy when it rears its ugly little head in my yard. I've never had to get steriods to abate a poison ivy rash, but I've come close.

Posted by: slyness | July 1, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Yah, slyness, regular soap and water just makes urushiol angry. The best preventative I have found is dishwashing detergent. (Plus you emerge from the shower squeaky clean and extra shiny.)

Once the rashes have emerged, the only way for me to get relief is a good scrubbing with lye soap, which is probably not recommended by dermatologists, followed by a hot bath in colloidal oatmeal. (I believe that colloidal is a French term for really really expensive.)

I have never tried steroids. Although I probably should have.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 1, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm here, Wilbrod. considering yet another new handle---maybe one not so rabid. I'm just happy to lurk. Hope you and all the boodlers are enjoying the summer.

Posted by: Lyssa | July 1, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, Happy Canada Day, all.

I hope that at tonight's BPH, the revelers recreate Yoki's visit and sing "O Canada" good n' loud! The M&S bar patrons *love* it.

Dag, I'm sorry I'm going to miss that...

dBG - my good words? You're welcome.
[bc sheepishly looks at the ground, puts his hands in his pockets, and kicks the dirt, thinking "I use the same words most other people do. Sometimes I just use them in a different order. Well, other than the words I make up, that is."]

Scottynuke, Mudge and I both expressed a lack of surprise at the events surrounding the PG county police officer's death, including the death of the suspect in his cell. Natives (as he and I are) know the PG county police and government by their reputations, and these tragic events are congruent with that reputation, unfortunately.

More later.

Possibly including a Boodle-related announcement re. the 10thcircle...

bc

Posted by: bc | July 1, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Yay - BPH tonight! I have a babysitter for the little one, so I should be able to make it (work willing).

Hey - random question for you guys. I have this really weird tingling in my right arm. It goes all the way down to my fingertips. I didn't sleep on it funny - it started about 8:30 and hasn't stopped. Anyone care to hazard a guess? Should I wait a little bit and see a doctor? :-)

Posted by: PLS | July 1, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

PLS.. looking forward to seeing you tonight!

Put down your mouse (or close your laptop), shake the sillies out of your arm, put it down to your side and go take a walk.

If that doesn't help... I guess it's time to call the doctor.

Posted by: TBG | July 1, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

PLS - Sounds like a nerve constriction. Those of us who work with keyboards suffer from them all the time.

Have you been doing a lot of work on the computer lately? Perhaps at a station that isn't very ergonomically correct? It really is important not to have to reach for the mouse or bend your wrists too much when you type. Bad habits can creep up on you.

Probably not serious unless it keeps up for more than a day or so.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 1, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

New Kit! With Pictures!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 1, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! Happy Canada Day, y'all. Thanks for the beer, Yoki! Breakfast of champions.

Have a great time at the BPH tonight. Wish I could join you.

RD, you have my profound and heartfelt sympathy. I too do yard work heavily clad. So far I know where the poison ivy is and I've avoided it. That's why the fields outside the fence are so shaggy. Urushiol is an agent of the Devil. Although I have the Technu, or whatever that powerful anti-urushiol wash is, and the colloidal oatmeal, and the Sarna lotion (now there's an efficient anti-itch cream), I pretty much always wind up taking steriods for even the least exposure. It is an invasive agent inside my body as well as outside.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 1, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

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