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Weed Season Again

Now comes our annual session of whining and mewling and sputtering about the dreaded, dratted weeds that proliferate in profusion starting right about this very second. Today I saw a scout for the coming crab grass invasion. It poked an inch above the grass line. It was pretending to be nothing special. But these things are ticking time bombs and I don't take any guff from them and what I did to that little weed was so brutal and grisly that it can't be described in this family-friendly forum. Total annihilation, let's put it at that. Hopefully that sent a message to the rest of the vegetable vermin that dare insinuate themselves into my estate.

I've been particularly focused on the little shootlings, the emergent up-pokings I guess is the technical term, of bindweed. These weed-saplings pop up in all the flower beds and are, at first, so modest in size and so gentle in shape that you barely notice them. Turn your back, though, and they instantly turn into boa-sized strangler vines that can eat small dogs. I'm told by my landscaper friend Lindsey that the secret to getting rid of bindweed, other than moving (as Henry Mitchell used to advise), is to go around and pull them all up by hand, and then, two weeks later, when they re-emerge, pull them all up again, and then keep doing that roughly for the rest of your life. Eventually they'll be mostly gone. So that's my plan, to just use muscle power and determination and discipline to remove all of these hideous things until such time as I despair and get out the stuff invented by DuPont that kills anything green and makes every fish in the Potomac grow a second head.

I keep meaning to find out if the USDA will sanction my yard as "organic" if I am very conscientious about using RoundUp in moderation.


Good column by E.J. but didn't we write that a coupla days ago? We're so ahead of the game!!! Our slogan: "Tomorrow's Punditry, Yesterday."


Via the Times' political blog, here's Katie talking about sexism and the Clinton campaign.

There's also this story on sexism in the media. It mentions the Robin Givhan article on Hillary's cleavage. Question: Can women be sexist against other women? (A two word answer comes to mind, of course: Charlotte Allen.)

More at Buck Naked Politics and from Rachel Sklar.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 13, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Time Running Backward
Next: Tim Russert


Hi, cassandra. hi, Martooni. Glad to hear little Bean graduated. A milestone indeed.

Posted by: daiwanlan | June 13, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. I just came in from pulling the DEVIL WEED.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 13, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I am currently battling the weeds in my yard, I just keep pour grass seed down in the hopes I over power the weeds - I am not sure I am winning.

Posted by: dmd | June 13, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

When did Joel starting writing in the first-person plural? "We're so ahead of the game!!! Our slogan..."

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 13, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

We've taken a much more literary approach to the weed problem: my wife and I describe them as "ornamental grasses" and pretend we paid a few bucks to buy and plant them.

(The funny thing is, in the herb garden we actually did deliberately get some mint, and the *&%$# stuff is like kudzu, "Attack of the Killer Condiment.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 13, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Bindweed? You mean this stuff:

I didn't even know it was common around these parts. Back in the Pacific Northwest it was well known. Heck, as I kid I thought it was kinda pretty. So there's your fallback position. Convince your family that, you know, a bindweed invasion is a good thing. Yes, it's all good. Just relax and accept. Relax and Accept.

Round the Vast Padouk Estate we too are assessing the herbaceous threat. After last year's Chickweed attack, I have tried to be especially vigilant. I broke up the connective strands early and often. So all seems fairly quiet on that front.

What I fear is a newly resurgent attack of bamboo.

Several years ago my wife bought two benign plants, not suspecting that she was inviting herbaceous evil into our home. For once they had been welcomed across our threshold and next to the Azaleas, they spread, like, um, well like bamboo.

After the second year the Cellulose Menace had infiltrated the lawn and established sleeper cells all throughout the property. I engaged in a long and bloody struggle, in which spades, strong chemicals, and, yes, even fire were employed.

Eventually, I brought them to their little green knees.

But the victory was short-lived.

I have noticed some new growth poking up from the deck, and new runners extending out like vile tentacles. Clearly they have just been in hiding. And plotting. The battle shall soon be rejoined.

It looks to be a long, hot, summer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 13, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. "The Long, Hot Summer." Good title.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 13, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Little shootlings? Since I first posted about the problem in our backyard, my marksman husband has accomplished the following, creating our own little shootees:

Pop! One squirrel down.
Pop! Another pest with paws up.
Pop! The third bites the mulch.
Pop! Four's a crowd.

Two to go.

Found this blogger's writings this a.m. (for the record there is a YouTube Media Hall of Shame with award-winers from 2005, and who leads the list then? None other than Lowry Mays of San Antonio, this Texan the founder and chairman of Clear Channel Communications.):

I think Lemos has got it just about right: MSNBC, the Misogynistic & Sexist Neanderthal Broadcasting Corporation.

Driving around town this morning, I was listening to Texas Public Radio and discovered another interesting San Antonio connection to the McCain campaign. Lionel Sosa will be heading up McCain's Hispanic advertising efforts.,8599,1093622,00.html

Soon clients like Bacardi rum, Dr Pepper and Coors beer came seeking his advice on how to woo the Latino market, eventually turning Sosa & Associates into the largest Hispanic advertising agency in the U.S. At one point it was billing more than $100 million annually.

Posted by: Loomis | June 13, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Normally I'm the last one qualified to question Joel's choice of words, but "the rest of the vegetable vermin" seems to imply his yard is being over-run with zucchini and pole beans. "Vegetative vermin" evokes more of a Swamp Thing type of menace while still be suitably alliterative.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about the mint Mudge - definitely a container plant. I had a similar experience with poppies (Iceland?)- pink ones with pretty little flowers resembling soft pink peonies - after flowering they had lovely seed heads. Five years after removing and flowering plant from my garden seedlings would emerge anywhere in the yard (approx 50 x 60 ft).

Posted by: dmd | June 13, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Weeds? We just call it grass. A lot easier that way.

Did anyone mention Milbank's excellent article?

Why Tomatoes Hate America

One particularly meaty paragraphs includes...

"The tomato had been a suspicious plant to begin with -- Is it a fruit? Or a vegetable? -- and now he had to justify leaving the nation undefended despite signs that the tomato could turn against us."

Posted by: TBG | June 13, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I've always found the "sexist press" rap to be pretty week. Although I am not naive enough to believe that it wasn't a factor with some, nobody has been able to prove that it was the definitive factor.

As I have argued before, where Hillary Clinton lost was by failing to convince the superdelegates. If these pros had gone her way she would have won. Are we to believe that this was all because of sexism in the press? Maybe, you know, the superdelegates just weren't that into her.

Yet, I have no doubt that this argument will be loudly advocated by many from now until the end of time as a justification for Hillary Clinton's loss. Fine. There are some arguments that you simply can never win.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Please be kind to your dandelions!

Posted by: DandyLion | June 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Weeds. I've got everything growing in abundance. Can't get to anything until it stops raining and my garden dries out.

Posted by: MadisonMama | June 13, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Weed season? Weed is a year round thing, dude.

Posted by: Cheech & Chong | June 13, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

That reminds that I forgot to add Season 4 of 'Weeds' to my DVR schedule. I have to have something to justify the Showtime subscription now that 'The L-Word' is on hiatus.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "That reminds me that..."

I wish I could blame the glaucoma medicine.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

RD.. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you've said, so I'm sorry if I have, but we know there was/is sexism in the press.

Whether it had anything to do with Hillary's loss is the question.

Or is that what you're addressing?

Posted by: TBG | June 13, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Dood... like wake me up when it's 4:20.

Posted by: martooni | June 13, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Swamp Thing type of menace"? Swamp Thing was a good guy. I know I know, he looks like something regurgitated by a possum, but anybody who can resuscitate Adrienne Barbeau merely by, ahem, placing his hand on her chest, can't be bad, can he?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | June 13, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there are still some grasses in my lawn but I doubt they form the majority. With over an acre (about 200'x280') to take care of, one has to find inner peace despite the presence of 3 ft tall thistle under some evergreen trees. The typical weed I pull out would be a young buckthorn tree or a young white ash tree. Chemicals are used against garlic mustard, poison ivy, ragweed and the like. Mrs. denizen does the flowerbeds, but lets say that mulch and geotextile are used generously. And again, Padouk's advice to relax and accept could be our mantra.
Mudge, I should have checked, they have a very good Trintignant article. I'm with you, I didn't remember there was a guy in "Et Dieu...créa la femme". It's hard to believe that movie was made in 1956, with a 22 years old Bardot. It made a strong impression on me, ca. 1970.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | June 13, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Easy THumbnail guide to weeds here, for NJ.

I have the hideous twining vine thingie that like Mile-A-Minute weed, grows very quickly. I cannot find a picture of it. If it gets to the flowering stage, white, somewhat fragrant flowers. Dark, glossy leaves and it twists tightly and quickly...Grows easily a foot or two a day. Evil twining thing......

Posted by: College Parkian | June 13, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I have a gift for choosing plants that are actually invasives. First it was Snow On The Mountain (or as Mom calls it, Bishop's Weed). It was supposed to fill in bare areas in my perennial garden. Oh, did it! Space between those two hostas? I'm in! Hey, you astilbes don't look like you need all that space you were given. Move over. I bought ornamental ginger, same deal. Last year I learned the mint lesson when it took over the herb garden. About the only thing I have trouble cultivating is grass. Unless it's in the cracks in the driveway.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 13, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Eagerly awaiting the reading of the R. Kelly verdict. Do you think I can talk my boss into playing it over the intercom like they did with the OJ trial?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

St. Augustine grass, when healthy, overwhelms most of its competition. But there's bits of Bermuda grass everywhere, and it prospers wherever the St Auggie falters. Which is OK. What's not OK is that the Bermuda has any number of underground runners, so it's exquisitely difficult to keep out of beds and such. It'll creep up right through landscape fabric and expensive rubber mulch mats.

So the new coontie bed is a battleground. Another massacre is scheduled tomorrow.

Caladium leaves shade out would-be competitors. My "Gingerland" plants (a variety developed at the University of Florida) are up and doing where the petunias were.

Just like daffodils, it's the cheap heliconias that proliferate and yield flowers. Last year's $5 plant is about 4 feet tall and sending up new stalks like that creeping bamboo. Great excuse to foist flower arrangements on Mom.

I don't like "vegetative" except as an adjective to describe a plant that's making leaves, not flowers or fruits. Mixed mobs of plants are "vegetation". Still, "vegetative vermin" sounds pretty good.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 13, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I've been cross-posting between here and Celebritology all day. Sorry for any non-sequiturs today. I really, really, really wish I could blame the glaucoma medicine.

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

TBG - Sorry for not being clear. Of course there was some sexism in the press. The weak argument is that the existence of it is the reason Hillary lost.

Maybe it was. Maybe all the superdelegates decided that since some blowhards on television dissed Hillary they should vote for Obama. But I really, really, doubt it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 13, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing, Shriek: I'm not sure I ever saw it. But I defintely remember it vidily: I was 10 years old, and we were vacationing at my grandparents' place in brigantine, NJ, and one night we went "next door" to Atlantic City to walk on the boardwalk. We had to park a few blocks away, and while walking to the boardwalk we walked past a movie theater. And. There. She. Was. About 20 feet tall on the marquee. I think my father might have smiled or snickered, and my mother had this dark look on her face, so with those two clues I knew better than to blurt out, "Hey, can we gio see that?" But man, do I remember that marquee. Yikes.

Sorry about the "Man/Woman" tune cootie a while back; here's a replacement for you:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 13, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

When a colleague moved to Connecticut some years ago, I spotted a lovely poster of a marshy stream with lots of purple flowers. The "Dreaming Meadow" was actually purple loostrife, once a popular garden perennial and lately a wrecker of wetlands.

I'm beginning to wonder whether the backyard spearmint should be imprisoned in a pot. Who woulda thunk the stuff would grow so fast in the near tropics?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 13, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The pocket door works and I didn't even have to trim the door. *making Tim Allen noises*

CP: I'm so glad you know the *real* name for parsley.

martooni', your oak trumped my pine. I'll have you know, however that I have a collection of hole saws and paddle bits that have been victimized by the dreaded heart pine, Pinus resinosa. BTW, the 'i' in the genus name is a short 'i', so the genus name...oh well, you'll get it.

Posted by: jack | June 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I concur with those who feel there was overt sexism in a lot of commentary against Hillary Clinton. I am not persuaded that it was the conscious reason WHY many pundits and commentators opposed her, but that hardly matters. Sexist code provided a concise vernacular to convey opposition through a widely understood subtext. The failure to strike back effectively and discredit sexist code makes its message an accepted "truth." The language we use to formulate our thoughts has an effect upon the thoughts that we form.

I claim that Jeremiah Wright did Barack Obama a favor by bringing race out into the open so that Obama could identify it and oppose it directly without the appearance of whining over a "perceived" slight. Wright made the slights and their meaning obvious, so that Obama was able to smack it down. Hillary Clinton needed a female Jeremiah Wright. If only Geraldine Ferraro had stuck her foot into her mouth earlier in the race. Seems like every candidate needs a loose cannon that can be repudiated and provide the electorate with a face-saving way to indirectly address their own biases. Our own biases.

Posted by: PlainTim | June 13, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

In Florida, there is no need to plant (or sod) St Augustine if your neighbor has it. In two years his St. Augustine completely strangled the bahia in my side yard. Because it has such thick runners, anywhere else in the country it would be mistaken for crab grass.

St. Augustine is also a thirsty grass. I was too cheap, er, ecologically minded to add the requisite sprinkler system.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

CP, does your dark green, fast growing, vine taste good in a salad? Perhaps with a side of fava beans? Sssspppttt....

Posted by: Don from I-270 | June 13, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Don, you forgot the "nice chianti".

Posted by: kurosawaguy | June 13, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Don -- I think it is a climbing milkweed. I did not go after it so aggressively two years ago, because I saw swallowtail caterpillars on it. I now move them to the parsley plants and pull out the offending vine. Stop it, with the Lechter are scaring me.

Jack, not really understanding the parsley reference....are you channeling Hannibal L. too?

Posted by: College Parkian | June 13, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

My yard is probably 50% weeds and 50% clover. Man I love the smell of that stuff when you mow it. It also seems to attract honey bees (I've actually seen a few of those flying striped unicorns this year, so they must not all be dead).

I generally leave the purposeful planting and cultivating of things to Mrs. M.

I think I've mentioned here before the "fertilizer incident" -- when a tipsy me decided the garden wasn't growing fast enough and thought "more is better" and proceeded to dump a cup or so of fertilizer at the base of each plant. When I told Mrs. M what a wonderful, thoughtful, useful thing I'd done, she was not pleased. She was even less pleased with me after spending a couple of hours (on her birthday, no less) trying to dig it all out before the entire garden shriveled up and died.

She still gives me dirty looks whenever I get within ten feet of the garden.

Posted by: martooni | June 13, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Gonna be running for the bus soon (sneaking out early). Everybody have a good weekend.

Fellow Fathers, your fete awaits you!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 13, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap, just heard Tim Russert died, of a heart attack, age 57. RIP.

Gotta run, d@mmit.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 13, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to bring bad news to the 'boodle. Tim Russert has passed away. My whole office just came to a halt on hearing this. He is one of my favorite news people.

Belated birthday wishes to Cassandra. Congratulations to the little Bean.

Have a good weekend all.

Posted by: aroc | June 13, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

You took the words right out of my mouth, Mudge. I just popped in from the shop for a minute and saw Tom Brokaw talking about it and literally said "Holy crap!" when I realized what was going on.

Man... 57.

He was just getting started.

Posted by: martooni | June 13, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't have lawns. I have an ecosystem. After reading "green" articles I'm convinced that a yard is healthier when one doesn't attempt to stifle the natural variety of vegetation. Consequently we have lots of different kinds of grass as well as dandelions and other noxious weeds - whoops, I meant "naturally occurring". I have yet to convince Ivansdad that this is a more desirable option than manicured lawns, but it justifies our complete inability to devote the time necessary to tame the things. We do try to keep them mowed.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 13, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Tim will be missed. He WAS Meet The Press. Those are big shoes to fill. So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

New kit.
Tim Russert eulogy.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 13, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Not only was Cheney kicked out of Yale, he was chucked out of kindergarten.

Radio Interview of the Vice President on the Chaz and AJ in the Morning Show

Posted by: Boko999 | June 13, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Anybody still hanging out here?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 15, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about that myself. Apparently not.

Posted by: Bob S. | June 15, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Re. bindweed. The answer is to cross it with lonerica - as Flanders & Swann observed:-

"Said the right-handed Honeysuckle to the left handed Bindweed
'oh let us get married if our parents don't mind
we'd be loving and inseparable, inextricably entwined
we'd live happily ever after' said the Honeysuckle to the Bindweed.

To the Honeysuckle's parents it came as a shock,
the Bindweeds, they cried, 'are inferior stock,
They're uncultivated, of breeding bereft
We twine to the right and they twine to the left'.

A bee who was passing exclaimed to them then;
'I've said it before and I'll say it again
Consider your offshoots, if offshoots there be,
They'll never receive any blessing from me'.
Poor little sucker, how will it learn
When it is climbing, which way to turn,
Right, Left, what a disgrace
Our it may go straight up and fall flat on its face."

Posted by: strum | June 16, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

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