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The Ute Trail


It is not true, not true at all, that I've spent the whole time hiking and taking pictures of wildflowers and goof-off stuff like that. No, I've been to many sessions, including a great one this afternoon on the genius of Jerome Robbins. I figured I'd listen in for just a few minutes, but the presenter, ballet dancer Damian Woetzel, was brilliant -- performing passages from Robbins' work and then explaining what the choreographer was trying to communicate. I found it an inspiring talk-and-dance -- from now on, I'm all about ballet.

Also I've been listening in on the politics panels, including one last night with Arianna and Six Other People, and one this afternoon with Arianna and Seven Other People. Possibly these events would have been better with just Arianna. (More on this later.)

I did take a break to hike the Ute Trail. It goes right up the mountain from downtown Aspen. There were no Utes on it, but there were a lot of buff Aspenites -- thin, toned, wearing 21st-century athletic fabrics and holsters with water bottles. Major traffic on the trail. Uphill has the right of way.

I went with media mandarin Jacob Weisberg. We huffed and puffed and wheezed our way up the mountain and never for one second stopped talking about The Fate of Journalism. Ritually we trashed Fox News. It was a great workout, and finally we reached an outcropping high above the town. From the rocks you can see distant snowcapped peaks. There was one guy standing there on the outcropping. We chatted for a moment. Then he revealed his profession: He's a reporter for Fox News. No! And then he wanted to talk about Bush. Poor Jake has written a book on Bush and had no choice but to ENGAGE. You can't ever get away from this stuff, it will follow you everywhere.

After we got back down the mountain it occurred to me that the Ute Trail is not really a hiking trail. There are no level passages through the woods, but rather it is just an endless series of switchbacks. The mountain is an exercise machine, with nature as a pleasant, ancillary element.

That explains the buff "hikers": These were just the folks from the gym, trying to stay in shape so they'll look good in fancy party clothes.

Come on, you gotta admire the ability be cynical after a mountain hike in Paradise!


By Joel Achenbach  |  July 2, 2008; 3:01 PM ET
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uva blogger went back and got everyone and didn't post "first!" free will, schmee will, that's iron will, and better manners than I have.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 2, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC- aaargh, uva yankee, of course.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 2, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

it looks and sounds like fun,someday I got to see the rockies

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 2, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the Boss is having a good time, and I'm also glad we have a new kit. Old one had creeped me out quite enough.

Posted by: slyness | July 2, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm soooo jealous of you guys who have knees that work, so you can hike. I fondly remember those days.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 2, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm impressed that Joel is out doing healthy things. As much as I love to hike, with all the distractions and discussions at camp, I'd be tempted to just sit and listen.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 2, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Joel.. was there ever a time during your hike that either of you turned to the other and said, "This was such a good idea!"

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

well, frosti, i'd love to say that i had the restraint, but i'm afraid i have to plead ignorance. i'm still getting used to the customs.

slyness: FOX gives you fewer jibblies than free will (or lack thereof)? Oh... you meant the hiking and the fresh air. I gotta get me somma that.

Posted by: uva yankee | July 2, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

oh, and we should have philosophy in schools, experts say.,,2288603,00.html

But, they say, we shouldn't start with Socrates, no matter what he was wearing.

Posted by: uva yankee | July 2, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone driven a Smart Car yet? Son of G and I went test drivin' after work today. Very cool. Doesn't feel that tiny inside since the smallness is in the rear (or lack thereof).

The salesman said he's been driving his since February and gets 43 mpg on his commute and about 49 mpg on the open highway. Reserve yours for $99 and it'll be ready in a year.

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't watch Fox, uva yankee, in fact, I watch practically no TV at all. (WaPo and Achenblog are my addictions.) I was ready to move on, to sunshine and fresh air...

Posted by: slyness | July 2, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Can't help it. I keep hearing Joe Pesce.

To make matters worse, DC is out feeding the deer.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 2, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Aristole (original one, folks, not Jackie O's hubby) once claimed that "the deaf become incapable of reason."


And I tutored Philosphy too. I'm all for teaching critical thinking and fact-gathering skills. (Including to long-dead philosophers, but that's another gripe.)

Speaking of which, read "Dyslogic syndrome" by Bernard Rimland. This is a serious approach to the problem of poor thinking skills underlying many behavioral issues in our youth.

He is one of the major scientists who studied autism and helped change the idea that autism was caused by poor parenting.

His conclusion why our kids have stinkin' thinkin'? It's biology, diet, and even sleep habits.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 2, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah, waterbottles, the identification mark of Americans. Achenbach (for the moment known as Aspenback), perfectly describes the mentality of Americans in a way understandable to foreigners.

An interesting question arises. From this dispatch. Does altitude have a positive effect on Fox News or they stay in low range regardless of the elevation of their employees?

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 2, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom.. you're getting an NBA team! I sure hope mostlylurking doesn't mind giving up the 'Sonics.

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Lit, that movie is so flippin hilarious, I love the train that shakes the hotel room so much. Also when they stay in the country cabin and every animal is making so much noise.......Thanks for a great laugh.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 2, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Meeting the Boodles.

What surprised me the most at the BHP was to meet people of action, not intellectual but physical. Among the ten or so, beer and wine slurping, attendees, we had two former merchant marine masters, a resident of Hong Kong and a blatant photographer; this is without mentioning MBT and her video.

All I can say about the Boodlers is that their opinions are backed by the practical experience of storms and war.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This is so many boodles ago but I'll post it anyway. Finished planting the big bucket o' plants and spent a good deal of that time glad I can look at so many of them and know, without running to the computer, what they are called and where they grow best. Would the drive through the forest be half as interesting if I didn't know a tamarack swamp from a slough? Critical thinking and research skills are well, good, and necessary, but not sufficient for a really fulfilling existence. Humans like to know stuff, and share what they know. Besides, someone has to get the Wiki started.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 2, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I can't help but think of you.. I just discovered a channel on our FiOS lineup called American Life Network and right now they're showing Lou Grant... remember him? The tough, gritty newspaper man who used to be Mary Richards' and Ted Knight's boss in Minneapolis?

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I went looking for more pictures of the trail and found this video:

Ah, yes, the vicarious life.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 2, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

So glad to hear the Colombian hostages have been rescued! Being held hostage would be so awful, and I worry about those folks. I remember when Terry Anderson was released, after 7 years, I think. I went to a talk he gave after he wrote a book, and was amazed at how he dealt with the experience. Hope Ingrid Betancourt is ok.

Gotta go back and look at BPH pics, then hike the trail, virtually.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 2, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Looks like you hiked in the morning...! Everyone must visit the Colorado Rockies in the summer. A great break from the heat and humidity. And an excellent workout.

Just can't help bragging since I have lived here these last 7 years.

...but one can never replace their roots.

Posted by: eidrib | July 2, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Lou Grant. That was my nickname on a couple of papers I worked for. Not without reason.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 2, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I see that, but Lou Grant never had a haircut or a thong as good as yours, Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 2, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Lou was only a surface curmudgeon. Underneath it all he was a teddy bear.

And so I suspect are you. The look on your face when sweet mo is planting a big kiss on your cheek confirms it.

Mo, I hope you like the scarf, and that you are not allergic to wool. It should be just about right for damp cold winters. (I can say that and think that because it is very HOT here, August hot. Am hiding in the arctic basement)

Posted by: dr | July 2, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Utes. Carlin. Joe Pesci.

Suddenly it is all making sense.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 2, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, have you read Terry Waite's Taken on Trust? A powerful, powerful book. I could NOT put it down till I was finished. It's an autobiography, you know going in that he was released, but the story captured all the emotions of a hostage. The ending is poignant, in how he describes all the difficulties of reunion with his family. He changed, they changed, putting the pieces together was a challenge.

Posted by: slyness | July 2, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

For balance I might add that Aspen is really too Hollywood for most Colorado locals and very expensive. But for Joel, when in Rome...

Mudge...the Lou Grant of the A-blog. Ya think Lou had a thong?


Posted by: eidrib | July 2, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"Lou Grant's Thong" sounds like a rock band name for some reason....

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 2, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"Lou Grant's Thong" is certainly a Googlenope. At least it was.

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

C'mon. Lou was boxers. No question.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 2, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

slyness, no, I haven't read Terry Waite's book - will get it. Thanks.

And no, I don't mind that the Sonics are leaving. OKC can have them - and welcome. I'm sure lots of basketball fans here are disappointed.

I saw a Smartcar on the freeway the other day. Makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 2, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

My guess is Lou was boxers *and* sock suspenders. White wifebeater undershirt.

Now there's a look that gets all the women.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 2, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Sock suspenders. You crack me up, LiT!

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, calling them garters just doesn't go with the whole Lou Grant thing. Makes it sound like you need to throw in some size 12 FMPs. Or a feather boa.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 2, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't the word... it was the idea. The image of Lou Grant with his sock-holder-uppers.

Complaining about the utes.

Posted by: TBG | July 2, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Just checkin in. On the last kit people raved about the BPH video. I don't know, but all I saw was some lumpy movement with some sunlight above. Did you guys raving get another video?
BPH photos? Another disappointment. Where were the ties? And fish clips? Only a glimps of a tie that I couldn't tell what the feature was?

Posted by: bh | July 3, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Just checkin in. On the last kit people raved about the BPH video. I don't know, but all I saw was some lumpy movement with some sunlight above. Did you guys raving get another video?
BPH photos? Another disappointment. Where were the ties? And fish clips? Only a glimps of a tie that I couldn't tell what the feature was?

Posted by: bh | July 3, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post. Wapo was just sittin there. Nothinw as happening so I refreshed.

Posted by: bh | July 3, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

i loved the photo of mo kissing mudge.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 3, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

I kinda liked it myself, LA. If I'm gonna let anyone throw me under a buss, it's mo.

'Morning, Boodle. Well, I've already looked at the WaPo home page, and I got nothing. No big stories worth commenting on, and certainly nothing on the op-ed side. Today is rightwing op-ed day, so we've got Novak on whatever, and G. Will on the meaning of the 4th of July, which I certainly can't bring myself to read. Broder seems to have a similar yawner.

About the only interesting news is that the legendary town of Big Sur, California, is on fire. I've never been there, but I've been reading about the famous Big Sur coast for maybe 40 years or more, and probably seeing its even more famous coastline cliffs in photographs for that long. For me it's probably the greatest literary landscape in this country that I haven't ever visited, but I always wanted to make that famous drive down the coast. Maybe some day. I suspect it would be a pretty expensive trip--it is a couple hundred miles, and the cost of gas being what it is. But my problem is I'd hafta stop every couple hundred yards, and it'd take me a year and a half to drive it.

I'm expecting us gummint drones will get an early out today. And wouldn't ya know it: at 4:30 yesterday afternoon I got hit with a 60-page rush job they want edited, reviewed, corrected and then all laid out by our graphics people, proofed, corrected, and final-reviewed and then posted -- by COB Monday. Morons. Just simply morons. Well, we'll do it -- but it's gonna be GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.

I hear the sound of aircraft engines warming up. Time to go jump in the shower.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, 'Mudge, today will be an interesting day for the drones who aren't already on vacation... *ahem*

Actually, NukeSpawn and I will brave the wilds of commuter rail and try to do the museum thing that my back so rudely interrupted last week. Yes, I put a lot of faith in naproxen sodium. :-)

I hope those who travel for the holiday do so safely, and that everyone has a wonderful long weekend.

*still-not-quite-100-percent-but-heartfelt-as-always Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2008 6:24 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I have a lot to catch up on in regards to the kits. Yesterday was the busy day, and I did not get a chance to check in. I did see the pictures of the bph, and everyone looked as if they were having fun. I hope so.

Today is the last day at the Center. We will close for a week to observe the Fourth of July. I so need the rest. It is chilly here in the mornings, and blazing hot in the afternoon.

Morning, Martooni, Mudge, Scotty, Slyness, and all.*waving*

Slyness, you probably missed my question concerning the cloth shop. I wanted to know the location.

I watched the video of the woman dying in the hospital emergency room in New York. That was one sad video. They treated that woman worse than we treat our animals. They came and looked at her, but no one tried to help her. Someone even had the nerve to kick her. What happen to this woman, do you think that could happen to you?

And then there's the law enforcement officer that was killed, and later someone decided to strangle the killer while he was in jail. This all happened in Prince Georges County. Why bother to take him to jail if you're going to kill him? What happen to the rule of law?

So these are just some of the images framed in my mind as we begin to celebrate the birthday of our nation. Not good images, but they are what they are. At the Center we lost our small flag that we use when saying the pledge of allegiance, so someone bought a big flag and hung it on the wall. Now all we have to do is turn and face the flag. If our hearts would get as big as the flag, wouldn't that be something?

Time to find the water. The pictures are lovely, JA, and I'm happy that you're getting out and including the exercise. Have a great day, and a lovely Fourth, folks.

A belated Happy Canada Day.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 3, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse


Years ago, when a student pilot, I flew along the Big Sur cliffs. Spectacular scenery, but stupid move from my part. Had the engine quit, I would have ended up as wet toast. Now, taking an SUV, driving it too fast and rolling it off the cliff is dumber. People do it all the time.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. I am envious of Joel for getting to hike that trail. I love trails. Perhaps it is because I am easily distracted, but I find the narrow focus and clearly defined goals inherent in trails comforting. There aren't a lot of confusing decisions to make. Not a lot of anxiety. You just walk where the trail leads and try not to stumble.

Staying on the trail will generally keep you out of trouble. It is only when you wander away that the Orcs will get you. And trails combine this inherent guarantee of safety with the promise of great adventure. Or at least some nifty scenery. I mean, if there was nothing to see, either at or along the trail, why did anyone bother to make it?

The DC area has many delightful trails. A favorite of mine runs by Roosevelt Island and presents one of the most breathtaking views of the Jefferson Memorial I have ever seen.

I often wish life were a bit more like a trail. But for most of the time it seems more like pushing your way through the untamed forest. And you need to always worry about the Orcs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Happy day-before-a-holiday!

Cassandra, I did see your question and answered it somewhere in the last three days's worth of kits. It's Mary Jo's in Gastonia, right off I-85 at the Cox Road exit.

I was up early to take Mr. T to work. On days when we're going to make the run up the mountain, it's sensible to do this. We gain an hour by his not having to come home and leave from here. It works, as long as he remembers to take appropriate clothing so he can change out of the uniform.

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Big Sur is such a fun drive though. In a good car on good rubber that is.
The Northern Rain Forest is doing well. Yes, it's raining again in Ottawa.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 3, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the childhood house of the Man in the Basement has been found.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 3, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

G'day boodle.
Happy 400th Birthday Quebec City. I'd like to help clebrate but I'm all celebrated out after Canada Day.

The news from Big Sur reminds me that I still can't find my copy of Henry Miller's "Insomnia." I hope they can get those fires under control.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 3, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

RD, very well put. Happy day before a long weekend. I'm hoping for an early out as there aren't going to be many people in my office today and the phones have been fairly quiet all week. Looking forward to time to do some fun things around here like attempting to dry some hydrangea blooms. Yes, fun is in the eye of the beholder. ;-)

Years ago I drove the Big Sur. My vocabulary was reduced to repeating over and over, "oh wow."

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 3, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I would have loved to have seen a ballet based on Robbins. Perhaps Still Life With Woodpecker. The romance between Leigh-Cheri and Bernard would be so sweet set to dance. Or maybe Another Roadside Attraction with it's post-modern take on belief and faith.

JEROME Robbins?



Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

CP, you just had to mention Baton Twirling, didn't you?

Check this out:

Truly amazing what this girl does...

Posted by: omni | July 3, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

One of the nice things about the Rockies is that the higher elevations have afternoon showers, which means the flower fields are busy the whole summer. The Sierra Nevada tend to dry out.

Someone, years ago, concluded that flower meadows in the Rockies have far more flowers than pollinating insects, so most of that frenetic activity by the plants is for naught.

Same goes for the supply of cavities for cavity-nesting birds in tropical forests. Build a simple bird apartment--just a pvc tube--and prospective renters will arrive. Parrots have been known to resort to nesting in concrete blocks.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 3, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle. I hope the whole world is not taking an extra long weekend because I'd like to have some calls and e-mails answered. Probably won't happen as I don't think Minnesotans work on July Fridays anyway. They'll need an extra day off to make the 4th special.

Big idea, or at least big finding that could lead to big ideas, in education. The "math gap" between boys and girls seems to be better explained by social equality than biology.
"...The researchers, noted, however, that the math gap wasn't consistent between countries. For example, it was nearly twice as large as the average (the average gap is 7%) in Turkey, while Icelandic girls outscored males by roughly 2 percent. The general pattern of these differences suggested to the authors that the performance differences correlated with the status of women."
more here:

Posted by: frostbitten | July 3, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Math is hard, let's go shopping.

Posted by: Barbie | July 3, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Since tomorrow is, as a sign in a Saigon Hotel once said, "American National Holiday", I heartily recommend the movie "Miss Firecracker" starring Holly Hunter and based on the play "The Miss Firecracker Contest." But best of all, it features plenty of baton twirling.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

When was the temporary insanity defense first used in an America courtroom? What does that have to do, rather indirectly, with "The Star Spangled Banner"?

I was reading about Sanford, Florida and Henry Sanford, then pulled from my shelves a Grant biography to learn Grant wouldn't appoint Sanford as an ambassador to Spain, but appointed Sickles instead.

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but some of those afternoon showers can be pretty wild. I was down in Chama, NM one time, and watched a big storm pass just to the north of us. When we got up to the top of Cumbres Pass (about 10,000 feet), there was about 6 inches of hail on the ground! Looked like a winter wonderland in the middle of July.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 3, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Alexey Braguine, thanks for your post. It gave me a chuckle. Welcome to the Boodle.

Posted by: CowTown | July 3, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The black choppers have been most insistant. That, coupled with a long weekend, has kept me from stopping in. I had a great time at the BPH, makeing some new acquiantences and renewing some old ones.

Looking forward to going to Alexey's book signing in a couple of weeks, near by me up I-270 way. I've only known one other published author, but he was a jerk.

I saw a news item last night 'bout how boomers faceing retirement are taking to blogging in a big way. Who'd-a-thunk-it? Even my daughter, who has looked at my imageinary friends with a slightly skeptical eye, is considering starting a blog of her own. A question: does any one of the plethora of d.i.y. blog sites that are available stand out above the rest?

Posted by: Don from I-270 | July 3, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Cowton!

I just visited Novak's column. The comments (rants)there are hilarious.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Testing, testing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Busy today trying to get things done and out of the door before the DC-area 4th of July traffic becomes onerous.

Or is that odiferous?

It is supposed to be a Code Orange day for air quality (who makes that stuff up, anyway? Code flippin' *Orange?*).

Alexey, where's the book signing, and when?
I must have missed the announcement somwhere, but I'd be glad to go if I can.


Posted by: bc | July 3, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ah, now I understand: Boodle was cat-napping.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

No, Mudge. The boodle is @$$-hauling, not cat-napping.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | July 3, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

dr - i LOVED the scarf - i sent you an email... it's so beautiful and delicate! it's light so i think i'll be able to wear it on cooler days as well... I LOVE IT! (and i'm very touched that you thought of me! *blush*)

drove through aspen during a snow storm... with a sinus infection - thought my head was going to explode.

Posted by: mo | July 3, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Our paper's cartoonist John Branch has Uncle Sam as you may have never seen him depicted before:

George Will discusses how we Americans self-validate the holiday of 4th of July--as well as explains the important dates in 1776 that both preceded and followed July 4.

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse


The book signing is on the 12th. (Saturday) 1:00 - 03:00 PM at the Gaithersburg Borders bookstore on N. Frederick

We could even do a BPH at the Growlers brewery afterwards. (neat place, good beer.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope that all the 'merican boodlers enjoy the 4th of July Weekend. I guess those from them foreign-like places are free to enjoy themselves as well, but my understanding is that a lot of them did that last weekend.

Anyway, we are staying close to home this year because, like Richard Gere once said, we've got no place else to go.

We will be celebrating by setting off some nice fireworks that I am sorta kinda pretty sure are almost legal in the Old Dominion. I figure as long as I avoid violating public airspace in too egregious a manner it'll be cool.

Of course, my son is also planning to do that "Coke and Mentos" geyser bit. So it will be just like Mythbusters. But without Kari.

And for those of you who are so inclined to care, let me announce that I shall be absent from the boodle all next week. Despite my protestations that I really, really, really, really, don't want to, I am taking part in a technical field experiment.

This will involve 16-hour days of which a large portion will be spent wandering around an arid landscape often described as "post apocalyptic." No wildflowers there.

But fear not. I have no intention of littering the landscape with my dessicated body. I mean, I watched the safety video.

And, more importantly, I bought myself a really neat hat.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Hiiiiiiiii Everybody! *madly enthusiastic Grover-waves*

The BPH sounded marvelous. I wonder if Alexey will appear at the massed-Boodler October BPH?

I boarded a flight this morning at 5:00 am, so feel that I have already done a full day just getting home.

Big news Chez Yoki is that we are getting a cat! Just under a year since our Bobo died, CH. Sa-Shai Blue Max will become part of the household. Beautiful blue-point Siamese, 4 years old, *fantastic* personality. Can't wait!

I go to Ottawa to pick him up in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps we can BPH in Canada's capital? Perhaps outdoors along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal?

Posted by: Yoki | July 3, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Any Americans not getting 10/10 on this quiz will be forbidden to participate in any 4th of July festivities.

(I'm just kidding, really)

Posted by: omni | July 3, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I give up, time to stop expecting to make progress today.

RD-don't stop there. I figure you can justify some really good hiking boots, new pants with lots of pockets and some cool sunglasses.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 3, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Yoki, glad to see your catless days are over, along with your illusion of free will.

Posted by: frostcat#1 | July 3, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Hehe, omni, I was 10/10 on that one!

I have steaks to throw on the grill tomorrow to celebrate the Fourth. We are also hoping to be able to watch the fireworks show from our front porch. They will be shot from the park a mile away and through the trees. I'm sure we'll be able to hear, just don't know yet about seeing.

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

new kit

Posted by: tonk | July 3, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I usually walk about two and half blocks to a park with a view down 16th street, and watch the Mall fireworks from there. But the forecast is looking worse for us. Will probably be raining right around the usual start time.

Posted by: omni | July 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

10/10 on the quiz, but two quibbles: why in the picture is Crispus Attucks wearing a necktie? And it says Arnold switched sides "after" being convicted of treason. But that's just not true. His only conviction was for two misdemeanors over some accounting stuff. He switched sides "first" -- and that was the treason (of which I don't think he was ever tried, even in absentia).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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