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Solve the Biggest Problem

Gave a talk this morning about my George Washington book, and had an excellent and attentive crowd that for some reason came out at 7:45 on a glorious Aspen morning to hear about some dead guy's canal obsession.

Introduced them to the Washington they'd never met: Woodsman, river rat, card shark, philatilist. Obsessed with the Grateful Dead (no, said Jefferson, I don't want to hear the bootleg of their '69 concert at the Cow Palace).

I did try to connect GW to the Ideas Camp. He was, after all, a Grand Idea guy.

This week we've heard how the country has a long list of really big problems that have to be tackled. They won't be easy matters to deal with, but now's the time to try. We'll have a new Administration. Everyone is keenly aware that we have an energy crisis that is connected to a long-term environment question, that it all swirls around the concepts of security and sustainability. And our government so far has failed to do anything at all.

The other day Jamie Dimon on J.P. Morgan said something to the effect of, "We don't have an energy policy, we don't have an environment policy, we don't have an education policy and we don't have an infrastructure policy."

Of those, the hardest to fix is going to be the energy problem -- converting the economy to one that is greener and isn't built on carbon.

George Washington had his own Big Idea: That the country needed internal improvements (canals, roads, etc.) to bind the country together commercially and keep it from disintegrating. But he also knew what the biggest problem was: slavery. And he was at a loss to find a way to end the loathsome institution. Ultimately the institution grew manyfold in scale, millions of people lived in bondage, and the war came.

Lesson being: Solve the biggest problem first.


Cornered Justice O'Connor yesterday after her talk, and asked why the Supreme Court has so many 5-4 decisions. Do justices simply like those close decisions, and will add their name to the minority to make a 6-3 turn into a 5-4? She indicated that this was nonsensical. It's true, she said, that the percentage of 5-4 cases has been up for a while, but that it doesn't surprise her.

"At the Supreme Court, that court is taking questions that present the most difficult issues before the nation...I think it's surprising there aren't more 5-4 decisions...They don't take a lot of slam-dunk cases."

Here's what I'll say the next time I bump into Sandy: Sure, the Court takes tough cases. You'd expect some to be narrowly decided. But in theory they're all working from the same original document, the same set of precedents, the same set of facts and briefs. Why are the "liberal" and "conservative" rulings so predictable, and so distinct that one side routinely accuses the other side of having cat food for brains?


Ideas Camp official site blogs about my blog and mentions rival blogs, like this one, from someone who got to go to yet another spiffy event here called the Socrates Seminar.

My one gripe about this whole gig is that I didn't get invited to the Alice Waters dinner, or, for that matter, to the Chevron dinner, or the Anything Else Dinner. I was shunned! Maybe they just fear the power of my mighty pen. I gotta work my connections better next time. Also I need a private jet like these giant things out the window here at the Aspen airport (mine will run on some very green energy source, like Zero Point Field energy).

Please don't tell anyone that I'm flying Coach, and am too cheap to pay the $30 to upgrade to extra leg room.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 3, 2008; 12:35 PM ET
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Next: News We Remembered to Report


Another great kit!

Posted by: Kim | July 3, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, I did go back to tell everyone, but tonk beat me to it!

Posted by: Kim | July 3, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

You gonna stay around to hear Bill C. speak on Saturday night?

Jamie and Sandy...laughing. When one mentions JP, I think of Miles Morgan, one of the founders of Springfield, Mass.

Alice Waters was cooking for youse guys and you missed it?

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

*faxing Padouk his very own water bottle with his name on it 'n' everything, to take with him on his field exercise in Area 51*

Hmm. According to Jamie, we're policy-challeneged. Who'd a thunk?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I work in a world of policy, and frankly, it's not all that helpful.

Unless policy is used to actually drive change - to actually *do* something - it's typically just there to beat someone over the head with the Big Stick 'O Blame *after* they've done something someone thinks they shouldn't have.

Things *can* get done without policies. I don't think there was a policy to send Americans to the Moon (was there?), Kennedy pulled some people into consensus with him, announced his idea and got wheels in motion, and as a nation we decided to support it and just *did* it (sorry).

What we need is more doin' and less beatin', if you know what I mean.

I occasionally get into hot water at work with this philosophy, but they always call me when there's a problem.


Posted by: bc | July 3, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 3, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Meant to add - Alexey, I think your book signing will work for me. I have an appointment in the afternoon/evening (so I won't be able to stay long for drinks afterwards), but I should be able to attend for the signing hours, anyway.

Looking forward to meeting you in person, sir.


Posted by: bc | July 3, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

bc, I think the reason we have leaders - like JFK and trips to the moon - is to create the consensus for whatever needs to be done. We already have the expertise, what we need is the collective go-ahead and support to do it.

I'm already there, when it comes to energy. No convincing necessary. Let's get moving!

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

bc, not to quibble, but getting to the moon before the end of that decade *was* the policy.

Also, not having a policy about infrastructure, or GB, or whatever, is also a sort of a defacto "policy." Basically deciding to do X, Y and Z and setting the wheels in motion *is* making and implementing a policy.

Beating you over the head, well, that's simply a management perk.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Such a distinguished woman, yet since the Press Club dinner with John Riggins, she'll always be Sandy Baby.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 3, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

They apparently are not all operating from the same premise and assumptions. Justice Thomas at least, has said he does not regard precedents as binding, to him a justice is free to ignore precedents and go anywhere he thinks the constitution supports.

Of course, this is nonsense, if they all operated like this, we would be in trouble.

Posted by: alan s | July 3, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

My dad's favorite and oft' said words...

"Do something... even if it's wrong."

Posted by: TBG | July 3, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Just got "the word." Discreetly heading for the bus. Everybody have a happy. Eat lotsa fried chicken. Pat a lagomorph on the head. Drink a belated Molson's or LaBatt in honor of our friends up yonder. Don't blow off any fingers with cherrybombs.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The big problem I'd like to see solved is caniculares dies.

Posted by: omni | July 3, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, beg to differ, sir.

Someone suggeste to me that going to the moon was a goal, not a policy per se.

Granted, we may be splitting hairs here, but I consider policy as documentation to influence courses of action, not the actions themselves.

My $.02, anyway.


Posted by: bc | July 3, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "suggested."

Sheesh, somtimes I really irritate me.


Posted by: bc | July 3, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The boss quotes "We don't have an energy policy, we don't have an environment policy, we don't have an education policy and we don't have an infrastructure policy."

What we really don't have is a clue. I like JA's own words better "Everyone is keenly aware that we have an energy crisis that is connected to a long-term environment question, that it all swirls around the concepts of security and sustainability." I would like to see all these new policies look at all those connections and swirls.

The Tampa Tribune's series about the "mortgage crisis" profiled a family losing their home after a health crisis. So is that a mortgage issue, or a problem with having a health care market instead of a health care system? I'm afraid if we have an "energy policy" and an "environment policy" without a major rethinking of both, it will be like the old peanut butter cup commercials. Only instead of saying "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" or "you got chocolate in my peanut butter" we'll be hearing "gas is $4 a gallon because you won't let us drill in ANWR" or "you want to drill in ANWR so you can keep selling $4 a gallon gas."

Posted by: frostbitten | July 3, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Lurking. Not typing much.

Frosti, until we really admit that most problems are linked and that solutions require polices and resolve and self-restrain, rather than the market alone, we will live under many burdens as you identify.

Even then, once we realize this, still tuff work. But imagine the possibilities.

Analysis, useful for examining problems, is limited when we come to the will and wisdom phase.

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

Happy almost Independence Day, all you dear ones. You heard 'Mudge--Shop Steward--say he "got the word" so if you can safely do so--scoot away and begin to enjoy the long weekend.

I have much "back boodling" to do myself--have skipped over much because am knee deep in "private University fiscal year end gift closing thingy" for my employer.

I'm leaving at my regular 4:00 p.m. time today--no matter who calls or e-mails with a query, a complaint, or mere confusion or delusion.

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

Ah yes, soundbites are the death of national discourse.

This is not a soundbite, but this reflects the kind of bills people are trying to get passed in multiple states.

I drove through Northern Wisconsin just a while ago, lots of nice, spacious dog kennels there and in the UP. I saw dogs boating without leashes. People have far more to fear from wolves, bears, and other wildlife than they do from dogs.

Any puppy lemon law assumes that people have god-like knowledge about the puppies they will breed even before they are conceived. Heck, if we had that about our own kids...

The best that can be done is to require breeders to screen for common disease in the parents and honestly report that information to the buyer.

Kennel clubs can enforce standards by refusing to register litters as purebred if the breeder violates their ethical guidelines. Some purebred clubs are already working harder to bring modern genetic knowledge to their breed.

A great pup and a "lemon" pup can be born in the same litter, and that will always happen from time to time.

Decent breeders will offer to take the dog back to prevent that dog winding up in shelters or rescue; the contract should stipulate that before dog is purchased.

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

I must say, imagine if there was a car lemon law in place to this level-- brake jobs, etc. within 18 months-- no matter whether the sale was as-is, or came with a warranty?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Policy or no policy -- big problem. This afternoon I decided to fix the problem. To unearth a problem one must gig. I dug.

Found an insurance policy. It had expired.

Looking forward to meet you in person.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Have a great Fourth of July everyone. Please be careful and safe. Eat lots of food and enjoy your families and friends. And remember folks around the world that are going through a lot, and say a prayer for them.

I'm home and going to hit the sack. So sleepy. My car was almost on empty, so I filled up. No spending money now. I couldn't believe how much it cost. I could almost fill my car up for not much over twenty five dollars, now it is almost double and a half that.

After paying some of my bills and getting gas, I cried on the way back home. I ask God to forgive me for crying because I know somewhere in the world someone has a much harder time. With all the violence, famine, and disease in the world and the suffering that so many people go through, I know I was being selfish and childish. I think I felt just a tad lonely and forgotten, as if I have no one, and I know that isn't true. Maybe I just felt like crying.

Thanks for the information, Slyness. I did miss it. I was hoping it would be on this side of Charlotte.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 3, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone agrees that the biggest problem should be solved first. The tricky bit is defining what that problems is.

Is it global warming, the economy, gas prices, terrorism, hunger, overpopulation, underpopulation, pollution, racism, violence, underpaid technical analysts, sexism, too little prayer, too much prayer, the imminent threat of Canadian invasion, godless hedonism, gay marriage, immigration, pornography, censorship, abortion, too many guns, too few guns, or the shocking lack of sufficient legroom on commercial jets?

I dare say each would get a lot of votes. (Well, maybe not each.) That's how it is in a democracy. And this is why governments tend to deal with each problem just enough to placate the relevant advocates, or wait until some problem gets so horrible that all debate ends.

The only reasonable alternative is to give absolute power to a few wise people who will make these decisions for us.

And some might suggest this solution has a downside as well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

While our great leader sits scrunched up in an aluminium (I refuse to spell it the other way) tube toghether with the masses of unwashed, I've been thinking how to celebrate this July 4th.

I predict that our prez will be wearing loafers because the butler gets a day off and there isn't anyone left around to tie the Prez's shoelaces.

Inspired by the great leader of the Western World, I want to add a new word to the English language--Patridiotic.

Happy Fourth to all Boodles!


Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Brag, is Patridiotic a combination of "My country, right or wrong" and "L'Etat, c'est moi?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes we all just need to cry,don't be ashamed we all deserve to cry and not feel bad about it. Tell you the truth sometimes I just want to go out into the woods and scream,that it just isn't fair.

All I can say is just try and make something to feel good about everyday,do something to make yourself happy.

I am taking a short vacation this weekend,having my Mom come out and stay with me for a week.I think she needs it more then me,but having Mom is always fun.

Have a safe 4th everyone!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 3, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, we probably should have a Presidental Lemon law to be activiated whenever a presidental popularity rating hits below 20% for more than 1-3 months. We wouldn't have had to suffer this long, then.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Add: Patriotism is the scoundrel's last refuge.


Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Jumper | July 3, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, could we bump that up to about 35%? Please?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

A lemon law for the president. Isn't that how other countries do it? And not just the ones that throw a coup every once in a while.

greenwithenvy... as a mom it tickles me to hear you say having your mom around is fun. I like to think so, too, from a mom's point of view. Hug her and enjoy her while you've got her... but I certainly don't need to tell you that.

Posted by: TBG | July 3, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Now that could be an interesting Constitutional amendment. How do we gauge the approval rating? Who gets to create and administer the poll? Do we throw out the VP with the Prez and start over again? Who certifies the results and makes the call to dump the prez?

Brag, I really like *patridiotic*. Such a descriptive neologism.

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It is alot of fun TBG....thanks,plus it gives us a week to take "care" of each other and that includes at least a couple of nice hugs a day. heck I am sure she will be hugging all my friends too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 3, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Boko999 | July 3, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that whole "vote of no confidence" bit like they do under the parliamentary system does seem tempting. But the problem is that it isn't just the head of the government that gets tossed, it is all the initiatives, good and bad, as well as a lot of the political appointees. And although this can work quite well, like it does up north there, it can also become very unstable with new governments put in place way too often for anything to actually get done. Of course, that too might have its upside.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Precisely... see how much hassle it would be, Slyness?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Precisely... see how much hassle it would be, Slyness?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

To be trully democratic, we need to change to a parliamentary system. What we have now is too close to a max eight year dictatorship.

Monarchies are a lot more liberal than the stuff we have now. By calling it stuff is as polite as I can be to name what these dingaling Neocons have wrought onto our country.

Let's burn some hotdogs, have a few drinks. I'm yet to see a Neocon who has faced bullets. Chomp, chomp, chomp,slurp, slurp, slurp.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I completely agree, Wilbrod. The Constitutional amendment I'd really like to see is one that would apportion Electoral College votes in the same ratio as the popular vote. Then we wouldn't get into messes like the 2000 election.

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about tweaking the system is fun. Sort of like Fantasy Football for Poly Sci majors. Of course, we all know these kinds of changes aren't much in the works. And I think that's okay because I am of the opinion that the system really can work if all the various institutions involved do their jobs properly. That's my fantasy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

But instead we'd have messes like the Democratic primaries?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Will it be climate change or will you go international with Husain Haqqani for tomorrow morning?

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Patridiotic -- that's wonderful! I luv it!

This whole flag pin wearing nonsense reminds me somehow of the story (which I think is true) of the Danish people -- almost every single one of them -- wearing the Star of David on their garments as the Nazis marched through -- including King Frederick. Now, *that's* a sign of love of country, as well as love of fellow human being. And it's also a sign of tremendous courage.

Anybody can wear a flag pin or put a "Support Our Troops" magnet on the car. But not everyone who does is what might be called a "patriot" or even a "matriot".

Gonna go read this morning's paper. It's old news by now, but, well, it does need to be read by somebody.

Enjoy the holiday and the predicted thunder-boomers.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 3, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

We had a wild and crazy thunderstorm overnight. I slept through most of it, but woke up to a heavy downpour. That's ok, it has cooled off and wet things down prior to the fireworks frenzy tomorrow.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Heres a Novel Idea about Saving the Earth;
Every Man.Woman and Child that is old enough to understand -MUST Change their Attitutude towards their Fellow Man and This "ECO System" we call earth!!
Instead of "Every Man For himself" we Must instill a Social Conscience in the Mindes of our Children as soon as they can Comprehend what it means!
EVERYTHING we Do on a Daily Basis has Social Implications..
The Education of our Society MUST start at a Very Early age FOR ALL children of this Planet.
WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE in and Work around our Environment Throughout the World. EVERY Homo Sapien MUST Learn how to act with Responsibility in EVERYTHING they do to Sustain this VERY fragile Environmental Eco-System of this Planet.

Posted by: Sherwin S. | July 3, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

The Problem is that We as a Species DID NOT Recognize that there were a number of "Small Problems" or chose to ignore them all together.
As a result the Consolodation of all these of these "Small Peoblems" has added up to a Gigantic Problem>..
By attacking each one of these "Small Problems" Concurrently-,We will eventually elliminate or drasrtically diminish the Bigger problem.
WE already know what a number of these "Small Problems" are so lets get moving and Rectify them!!
To say that "It's easyer said than done" s a defeatest attitude that must be ignored.
If this Planet and its Life are to SURVIVE for future Generations,WE HAVE NO CHOICE but to try to "Undo" what we have caused.
Either you are a" Part of the Solution or a Part of the Problem"..

Posted by: Sherwi S. | July 3, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The Problem is that We as a Species DID NOT Recognize that there were a number of "Small Problems" or chose to ignore them all together.
As a result the Consolodation of all these of these "Small Peoblems" has added up to a Gigantic Problem>..
By attacking each one of these "Small Problems" Concurrently-,We will eventually elliminate or drasrtically diminish the Bigger problem.
WE already know what a number of these "Small Problems" are so lets get moving and Rectify them!!
To say that "It's easyer said than done" s a defeatest attitude that must be ignored.
If this Planet and its Life are to SURVIVE for future Generations,WE HAVE NO CHOICE but to try to "Undo" what we have caused.
Either you are a" Part of the Solution or a Part of the Problem"..

Posted by: Sherwi S. | July 3, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to go totally off topic,but we haven't talked about SPORTS in awhile.I so thrilled to see the Tampa Rays doing so well. Having just swept Boston on on top in the A.L. East. I am also happy with the Orioles play,they have surprised me this year and are fun to watch(or listen too).

I am really excited about the Olympics and may have to try and get TV back when that comes on.

Still interested in a Nats BPH if anyone else is.

well back to work, be safe and Happy tomorrow!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 3, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Ring-a-ring o' roses
A pocket full of posies

all fall down

Posted by: omni | July 3, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I stumbled across this posting by accident, and reading it confirmed my belief that reading blogs is almost as great a waste of time as writing one.

I've run across the name Joel Aschenbach somewhere, perhaps on NPR. He's capable I'm sure of good writing, but his off-the-top-of-my-head-while-I-sit-in-an-airport-waiting-room ramblings are no more interesting than yours or mine would be to anyone but ourselves.

If he hasn't noticed, the U.S. has been locked in an increasingly bitter ideological struggle between what we inaccurately call "liberals" and "conservatives" since forever, or at least since the early '60's. Supreme Court justices have been appointed by presidents on both sides, with the result that the court is split between old liberals (or moderates) and a growing group of undistinguished jurists chosen for their right-wing allegiances. The result is a rightward-moving court, with a dwindling number of liberal dissenters.

If Obama is elected, the division will likely continue, perhaps swaying back in the other direction, but hardly to a working liberal majority. Otherwise, the court will become increasingly unanimous in its illberal decisions.

In any case, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are notoriously full of ambiguities, because the framers themselves disagreed on many points, like slavery and gun-ownership, and therefore had to fudge their language to achieve a consensus. And Sandra O'Connor is right - 5-4 decisions arise from the complexity and contentiousness of the issues being decided.

It may take a few minutes to think all this through, but before that can happen the blog is hurriedly posted as boarding is announced for the blogger's flight. Another mish-mosh of fuzzy thought and petty feelings ("Why wasn't I invited to the Alice Waters dinner?") are hastily added to the bloggosphere, to be greeted by smiley faces and responses as innane as the blog itself.


Posted by: Robert Crosman | July 3, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you whole-heartedly, Robert, when you said that your blog postings were uninteresting. Wonderful insight into yourself. Keep up the good work. Come back often. Although we are, indeed, chock full of inane responses, we can always use a couple more.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Just popping in for a minute. Saw your post about SPORTS, Greenwithenvy - made me smile. Although I'm not a sports fan.

I just love the Achenbloggers. Hi, everyone!

Posted by: Wheezy | July 3, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, had to say hi before laying the bones down. Nice to see your fine handle on the boodle.

Night all. God bless even the cranky drive-by posters. Happy 4th to all. Still a good place. I will make sour cherry sauce for vanilla ice cream. Sorta like rhubarb in that sweet-pucker effect.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 3, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ☠999 | July 3, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you're brilliant tonight. We should send you off to be ambassador to Kormungahoochia.

Good night Boodles

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 3, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

happy fourth, everyone!

i'm hoping we don't completely burn down the state of california this weekend.

Ѩ ѩ Ѫ ѫ Ѭ ѭ

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 3, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

As long as you're prepared to cut through the raw jungle and muzzle all the gators to help him get there, that sounds like a brilliant idea, Alexey.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

my last post included wildlife from kormungahoochia.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 3, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, folks.

I wonder what the Achenblog's been linked to in the Wild Wild Web?

Been a few, um, *unusual* posts in the past couple of days, I'd say.

Cassandra, I hope you find some solace over this holiday weekend. It's awful to cry over gasoline and/or money (though somehow, I'm imagining Dick Cheney cackling over them...), though I do understand why you feel the way you do.

gwe, I'd be up for a Nats game, but obviously not on the 12th...

And on a sports-related note, I see that Gilbert Arenas has decided to stay with the Washington Wizards for less money than they were offering him as a free agent, in order to allow the team to sign other players, and keep the core of the team together. I'm not sure where signing a contract for $111M versus $127M falls in the Spectrum of Good Will and Generosity, but I suppose it's *something.*

Good night, all.


Posted by: bc | July 4, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Happy America Day Merkins.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 4, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Boko! Belated patridiotic greetings to you on Canada day.

We're going to have strawberry pi tomorrow (today!) for the 4th.

Must go back to playing old union/civil rights songs on the piano for the offspring at full volume. I've been tippling for the holiday and it seems to bring out the "Bread and Roses" and "Internationale" in me. What are parents for except to educate and embarrass their young, right?

Posted by: Wheezy | July 4, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Happy 4th July to the American.

Posted by: rainforest | July 4, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

SCC: No, I'm not wishing Happy 4th to just one American but to all Americans.

Posted by: rainforest | July 4, 2008 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Hi, CP! Thanks.

I'm thinking you probably know everything I could type about our need to educate our young about responsibility and de-classified noblesse oblige. And the downright joy of a good union song, or "We Shall Overcome."

Perhaps this economic downturn will yield some good for America, after all, if it turns our majority working class back to their roots and their interests again, as opposed to the Bush/Rove agenda that has been fabricated for them?

Hi, Yoki!

Posted by: Wheezy | July 4, 2008 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Someone once had the Great Idea to dig a canal across Cape Cod to shorten sailing time. The someone else had the Great Idea to build a railroad from Boston to Provincetown. Then someone had the Great Idea to build bridges over that canal so cars could come. That destroyed the railroad idea of the other guy. Then someone had the Great Idea to turn the unused railroad right of way into a bike path.

My idea this morning is to go ride that bike path from Brewster to Dennis and back.

See you on the flip side.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 4, 2008 6:02 AM | Report abuse

A quick BackBoodle shows I could be first with very sad news...

Bye Bozo...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 4, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning to all, and a happy Fourth!

I saw that about Bozo, Scotty. All our childhood idols are dying off.

As a lefty, I was delighted to read that our next president will be left-handed:

I wasn't so happy to read that winning North Carolina will be an uphill battle for Obama. NC hasn't gone for a Democrat since Carter in 1976. Of course, this is the state that elected Jesse Helms. Not that *I* ever voted for him.

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse


I think we have a distinguished lurker; someone was listening to my idea the other day...


*slightly-delayed-to-show-proper-reference-to-Bozo-and-hoping-things-dry-out-a-bit-before-a-planned-bike-ride Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 4, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy Independance Day to youse all!
Brits are thick on the ground around here. Should I throw one in the harbour in celebration?
Sure Yoki, keep us posted. Picking-up Gran Pa M.'s kitty?

Einstein was right say some canuckstanis:
Young astrophysicist René Breton was on local TV this morning explaining the paper some more. The binary star system is really small and really dense.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 4, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

This is weird.... I was just this morning thinking about Wheezy and wondering where she'd gone... then I read the boodle this morning and who's dropped by while I was sleeping?

Wheezy! So glad to see you around.

I remember meeting DC's TV Bozo the clown when I was very small... Willard Scott. Of course, he moved to the logical succession of the role of Ronald McDonald after that.

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and Happy Independence Day to all Americans.

I was sorry to hear about Larry Harmon's passing. I've spent my entire life fighting the good hair fight as well (and I've been called a Bozo plenty of times as well. I *think* it was because of the hair...), and he made a lot of people happy while doing so.

sd, thanks for that science link - that was pretty cool. I'd like to read the paper itself - I expect there'd be some mention of frame dragging effects as well, but the abstract does not mention it.

I'll be enjoying a nice holiday with family and friends, and I hope the rain holds off this afternoon and evening, but if it does not we'll have a good time anyway.


Posted by: bc | July 4, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy was here! Wheezy, come back. I need to give you a hug. *hug*

TBG, no, no connection to our Poppa. This is a cat who has been doing his duty in a cattery and is retiring. I've spent the last 6 months looking for that elusive being, an adult male Siamese who has the required personality to fit into the large menagerie chez Yoki. Max fits the bill in all respects and just happens to be in Ottawa. Thence we go to retrieve him.

I get to go shopping for kitty stuff. Fun!

Posted by: Yoki | July 4, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! The rest of you can still have a Fourth of July, just not as festive. I just got back from a twenty-three mile ride through the Cape and saw plenty of red white and blue bunting, proudly flying American flags, and other patriotic tokens.

Most Great Ideas seem to have a life span of a century or so. The Declaration of Independence, like the Sermon on the Mount and the Magna Carta, seems to be a keeper. It's in it for the long haul. Let's hope we can keep its ideals going for another couple of centuries.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 4, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Hi Wheezy!
Hello everyone. Got your sunscreen, umbrella, bug spray, beer and fireworks? Ok, off you go and celebrate your Independence Day but play safe and if you're using fireworks remember to count your fingers afterwards. And no hitting!

Posted by: Boko999 | July 4, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! Just heard the Declaration of Independence read on NPR and was most disappointed to hear they've recorded a new version which does not include Red Barber's voice. Perhaps this "new" reading is already a few years old and I just hadn't heard it.

Anyone see the Colombian Defense Minister talking about the hostage rescue on the News Hour last night? Maybe they should be sending people to us to conduct training and technical assistance instead of the other way around.

Have a great holiday, or regular old Friday, as applicable.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Happy 4th of July, everybody!

Posted by: Yoki | July 4, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

When Washington was President, the C& O Canal was their equivalent of the Moon shot. I still like to walk there. While it did not thrive after the railroad, it was a grand national project. To say it should have waited for an end to slavery, ignores the benefits of an industrial north.

Some times we must muddle our way and do things when we can and not when we want. Even a trnsition to new fuels.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 4, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki.
Tell us when you're coming to Ottawa so Shriek and me can get haicuts 'n' stuff.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 4, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"'It's bang-on,' says astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor of Princeton University." (From sd's Einstein link.) Is that a pun?

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The Erie Canal was a certifiably Big Idea that Worked. Not to mention it was enormously beneficial to New York City, which suddenly had cheap transportation to Buffalo and far beyond.

Brad DeLong is into Distributed Co-Creation:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 4, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Thank you to all our Canuckistani friends who have been wishing us Merkins well this morning. 'Morning, Yoki, you're up early. Wheezy, welcome back. (Don't worry, I'm not gonna put you on the roster for the Dawn Patrol. Any anyway, we've suspended air operations for the holiday weekend.)

This thing about the two very small, very dense stars is interesting, but I never read Krauthammer or Gerson any more. *rimshot* Try the fried chicken and three-bean salad; I'll be here for the whole holiday weekend.

I've got my fingers and toes crossed, but I think I may have special dispensation to "do nothing" today in terms of major honey-do's, so I may be able to do some writing. It'll be back to the domestic grindstone tomorrow, I'm sure. Now, if I sit here very, very quietly and open up Microsoft Word...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Happy Fourth of July to everybody. Merry picnic, fireworks, barbecues, and whatever else is in your plans for the day.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to our buddies up north for your well wishes today.

Although he first thought it would be commemorated on July 2, John Adams said of Independence Day....

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

This Aschenbach dude's off the top is way beeter than mos publish'd reportas cohairence

plus, he got fly away hair...

(guess who?)

Posted by: dribble | July 4, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

That Robert Crosman is going to feel so bad when he realizes he spelled Joel's name wrong and there's no way to go back and correct it.

His comment reminded me of when somebody(Tom Shroder?) referred to the contents of the blog as "toenail clippings" -- well, fine, but apparently there is some demand for this casual writing. I for one enjoy it very much. I even think it's a good forum for big ideas, the kind that flash and are gone--we can hope that Joel will jot them down here even if he doesn't have time to develop them into a feature-length prize winning article or a 1000 page book.

"Solve the Biggest Problem" could be a book, an audio cassette/cd series, a seminar, a franchise, a management strategy, a Presidential campaign. It's truly a Big Idea. But if it lives as a blog post, at least it got some exposure, maybe did some good.

Happy Fourth of July to everybody, including the cranky commenters.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 4, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Aschenbach was the fictional author in Thomas Mann's "Death In Venice." Was Robert Crosman being intentionally snide?

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

A blog without a comments section is like a mono-hemispherical brain.

Jumper's big secret: pre-caramelize the onion prior to assembling the kabobs. And of course presoak the skewers in coconut milk. But that's no secret.

I also like one small piece of peach in the center of each kabob.

Posted by: Jumper | July 4, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Happy Fourth of July!

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Senator Scumbucket Jesse Helms has passed. I passed something that resembled him a coupla days ago.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 4, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Some of you may be aware that the SciFi channel is doing a "Twilight Zone" marathon. (it's promo'ed on teh WaPo home page, too.) Currently running is the episode of "Will the Real Martian Stand Up" about a group of travelers temporarily holed up in a diner during a storm -- and one of them is an alien.

At 1 p.m., they are running one of my all-time favorite episodes: "King Nine Will Not Return," about a WWII bomber not coming back. Also the one about the airliner that goes back in time to the Jurassic age.

Weather radar shows whopping big green blob just west of Frederick and Hagerstown. Northern 'burbs about to get hit, methinks. Southern burbs look to escape, at least for a while. Scotty, bc, maybe TBG, Alexey, some of you others, prepare to hunker down.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse



Sparklers, ala boko who is copying/pasting wing dingie thingies here to some success.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 4, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget to fly your stars and stripes. Yay America...! Off to the high country (actually high country starts at 10,000 ft). I live at about 6800 ft.

Everyone, enjoy your special day of freedom. The former hostages, too.

Posted by: eidrib | July 4, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, the plot thins:

"In order to serve the various needs and desires of various readers, text *ought* to have plural meanings." -Robert Crosman, "Do Readers Make Meaning?" cited in FLAWED TEXTS & VERBAL ICONS.

This Robert Crosman teaches English at UAA. If he is the critical poster, the spelling *Aschenbach* may be a thin allusion in an attempt at plural meaning. Or, maybe spelling is no longer a concern at the UAA English Department.

Apparently, I have little to do today until after dark. (Plural meaning?)

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

But Crosman doesn't understand that many (most) writers don't write "to serve...the needs of readers." And *no one* has the right to specify what they think text "ought" to do. That's solely and completely the writer's prerogative to decide what he/she "ought" to do. You don't go around telling Michaelangelo what to carve out of that block of marble, not even if you're the pope. And if you eff with the Muse, she'll kick your a$$.

Crosman apparently comes from the Home Depot School of Literary Criticism: writers are plumbers. Feh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Happy 4th everyone! It feels really good to be back here after almost 2 weeks in Germany. I think I saw everything, large and small, in Bavaria and had a fabulous time. Although I was stoopid and left my European phrase book at home and had to spend considerable time deciphering road signs, menus, etc.

After a nice flight home (thanks for the upgrade, Raysdad!) we picked up The Wonder Dog from the kennel and had our eyes on a lazy evening and early bedtime. It was not to be. I went downstairs and discovered that our water heater had ruptured. Fortunately, it hadn't happened long ago and most everything in the basement was still dry. Raysdad rigged up a hose to drain the remainder of the water while I sopped up the water on the floor. Did I mention that the shutoff valve didn't work? Good times.

The dear man has spent the better part of the day installing a new shutoff and plumbing and wiring in a new water heater. Oh, and the dog has diarhhea. But it's still good to be home. I missed you guys!

Posted by: Raysmom | July 4, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I said to my husband, "Too bad Jesse Helms had to die on July 4, to lend thin credence to his supporters that he was some kind of patriot."

My husband replied, "Too bad he did all that damage before he died."

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home, Raysmom! Glad you had a great trip; sorry your homecoming was a little spoiled. We miss you, too!

And hey... We ate at the Bavarian Chef a couple of weeks ago after dropping off Daughter at camp. Now you can tell me if it's authentic like everyone says it is.

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Some writers are plumbers, Cur, working on the flow of words and plumbing the depths of the psyche and sewers. Others are electricians, wired into the human condition, or writing for shock value. Some are painters, with either a broad brush, airbrush or pointillist technique. Journalists try to nail down events and editorial writers often put the screws to issues. The Home Depot School of Writing begets the Home Depot School of Literary Criticism.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to try the Bavarian Chef someday and let you know, TBG. If it has lots of potatoes, sausages, and fried food, it's probably authentic. And spatzle with cheese and onions, mmmmm...

Water heater now installed. Waiting to see it it makes hot water. Fingers crossed...

Posted by: Raysmom | July 4, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Now I have to figure out the possibility of "plural meaning" in Raysmom's screed about "...installing a new shutoff and plumbing and wiring in a new water heater. Oh, and the dog has diarrhea." The last a malady of some writers writing.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, I bought a copy of Death in Venice for my daughter when she was studying German. Part of the reason I bought it was because it was a parallel translation edition (is that what it's called--German text on one page, the English translation on the facing page) and part of the reason I bought it was because I opened it up and saw that name Aschenbach on the first page. It seemed like an omen. But maybe it wasn't because neither of us ever read it.

I read The Magic Mountain and thought it was highly overrated. At least Death in Venice is shorter. Do you think it's a good book? The title always makes me think of Death in the Afternoon, and I have to remind myself that there is no bullfighting in Venice.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 4, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Smashing all records for early postmortem bashing. But then again, Galatians 6:7.

Today the skewers are soaking in tamari sauce.

Apparently lots of authors put metaphoric symbols into their work quite unconsciously. One possibility is that Crosman himself is Aschenbach, and Joel is Tadzio.

Just today, can I be a Murcan and not a Merkin? Yes, I can!

Posted by: Jumper | July 4, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic has his head examined, via MRI and at the suggestion of a friend

"...I was hesitant, for two reasons. First, I believed that I already possessed a superior grasp of my brain's division of labor: 30 percent of my brain is obsessed with the Holocaust; an additional 30 percent worries about my children; 10 percent is reserved for status anxiety; 7 percent, The Sopranos; 4 percent, Kurds; 2 percent, Chinese food; and so on. I reserve approximately 6 percent, on good days, for The Atlantic.
In addition, I think about s3x, and the New York Yankees."

David Brooks makes an appearance. That new book on the brain better be good, it's getting so many mentions you'd think he was already out signing it.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I like your 1:14 a lot, Shiloh.

Posted by: Jumper | July 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Happy Fourth to everyone! Welcome back, Raysmom! And Wheezy, Shiloh, Boko, etc. kb, I love your gentle rebuke of Mr Crosman...

I should probably not say anything about Jesse Helms...The only anecdote I like to remember about him is that Bono was able to get him to support funding for Africa:,9171,1187308,00.html
Not sure it wipes out the damage he did...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Great comment, Jumper. Especially because of Mann's symbolic use of hair in "Death In Venice," but Joel as Tadzio seems a little far fetched, flyaway hair notwithstanding.

Karen, I agree with your estimation of "The Magic Mountain" and can recommend "Death In Venice" only for it cleverness in symbolism.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I just finished reading JA's tomorrow's feature article, and I laughed out loud in many places. Congrats, Joel.

Oddly, there are no comments that I could see.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 4, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh... I better not write anything complex today. My mind is spinning from your 1:14, and I'm afraid I'll write double-entendres without realizing.

In Writer's depot, would I be a cabinetmaker, or would I be the one who stocks the paint?

Too much. I prefer Menard's anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Happy, happy 4th.

Thanks for weather heads up. For such emergencies that require for me to go outdoors, such as having a ciggie, a retired KGB general gave me an umbrella.

I haven't yet tried to poke someone in the leg with it and see if it works.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 4, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. In another example of time shifting, the article I read thinking it was tomorrow's was last week's. I'm a little confused; I think my mind must still be on vacation.

Now you can go back to shooting off firecrackers. ("You'll shoot your eye out!")

Posted by: Maggie O'D | July 4, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

All I will say about Jesse is that the sin of voting for him is one the Lord does NOT have on my list.

Mr. T and I are back from hiking, and my feet hurt. The trail we hiked is five miles and listed as strenuous. We last walked it four years ago, and I didn't remember it being terribly difficult. I think of strenuous as being aerobically challenging, but this trail is not that. It is, however, difficult walking in the extreme. It's rocky in lots of places, there are protruding roots in lots of other places, and one has to climb over and round boulders in between. Yep, definitely strenuous.

I'm off to shower, and I hope I can stay awake long enough to watch fireworks tonight.

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think, Wilbrod, you would make a good cashier at Writer's Depot, checking out the merchandise as your dog is sniffing out possible shoplifters.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, but at least we get this sentence...

"...Hillary Clinton talking about health care, which caused me to realize that if you haven't lain supine in a claustrophobia-inducing magnetized tunnel while watching Hillary Clinton talk about health care one inch from your eyeballs, well, you just haven't lived. "

That'll have to be next on Joel's Bucket List.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, Maggie. My computer search engine was groaning in failure at finding tomorrow's feature article.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

There is a feature article in the Magazine tomorrow, Shiloh...

And Joel will be chatting about it on Monday...

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Oops! Not tomorrow... Sunday. Sorry for the confusion.

It sure feels like Saturday, doesn't it?

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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

Good afternoon, friends. Thanks for the kind words, greewithenvy. And bc, not crying about the gas or the bills. Those were triggers for a lot of things to cry about in this world.

I'm getting dressed so I can go to a cook-out. One of the church members invited me, and I'm taking her up on the invitation. I do hope your Fourth is going good. We're suppose to get rain, I hope so.

It is hot here. And humid.

As for Jesse Helms, I never voted for the man. I always thought his politics a bit mean-spirited, and not for the good of the state or the country, unless you were rich.

Have a great day, folks. I have a whole week off, and I'm planning on doing absolutely nothing, which won't be hard to do.

Don't eat too many burgers, ribs, steak or any of that. Hang with the veggies. Of course, I should take my own advice(smile).

Posted by: cassandra s | July 4, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Raysmom!!! Haven't tried the Bavarian Chef yet, but I can report the Schmankerl Stuble in Hagerstown IS echte Deutches essen.

Anyway, my back held up magnificently during our bike ride, and we saw a doe and a buck together on the C&O trail! My neck is rather stiff, tho -- perhaps from trying to catch a prolonged glimpse of the pair as we pedaled along.

Off to a picnic dinner with friends and hopefully a nice flash/bang display to wrap up the evening. Stay safe, please, one and all! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 4, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, TBG. It's a fine piece of photojournalism with a cutline narrative that touches all the right humanist buttons.

Well done, Joel, as porkburgers should be.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Is it ironic that Bozo the clown and Jesse Helms died on the same day?


Heading out for a picnic dinner and hopefully for some fireworks as well.
[Weather's looking shaky at the moment.]


Posted by: bc | July 4, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

They're not the same person??!!!

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

We wish, Frosti. Oh, how we wish.

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Happy 4th! Went to the Fairfax Parade earlier. Local pols. Some horses. Many municipal vehicles. Lots of flags to stand up for. A surprising number of Bolivian dance groups. And, of course, high school marching bands. Including one with that good looking kid playing saxophone there to the left. You know, the one with the funny white hat.

Now 'tis time to break open the Shiraz and grill up some fine meat products.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 4, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

CP, check your e-mail. Three more stanzas; it is finished: a good day's work. My wife wants a marguerita; I go to find the rum. I think my work today is done.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Frosti... you crack me up! Brilliant!

Today's comic... please forgive the language... I hope the URL gets past the wordy dirt filter...

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

RD, back when I used to *twirl baton* as a kid I marched in that parade every year (wearing what we fondly called our "sequin underwear"). No one wanted to follow the horses (that was before they put those diaper/sling things on them.)

Last year I walked in it as part of a huge group supporting our candidate for state senate (he won! quite a fine Chap, too!).

I was supposed to go walk in another parade today to support the local Dems, but preparing for our G family vacation has kind of gotten in the way.

Son of G is on his way to DC for the festivities there. Let's hope the weather holds out for him and the rest of the hordes.

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus was probably reacting to McCain's comment about 100 years in Iraq.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG-that's priceless! Off to forward it to Mr. F.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It seems like there are some dribbles in the DC area. Hope it did not interfere with firework. The day is beautiful. Count my blessings, in the land of the free.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 4, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Horses here parade last because they don't wear diapers. All the more fun for me to smell!

I got to see a lot of dogs and wear mardi gras beads, and the festival was a gourmet feast plus an early supper for me too.

In all, it almost makes up for visiting the vet this morning. Almost.

Now off to sleep on the cool linoleum and meditate on the wonders of horses' behinds, and the pretty lights in the sky to come.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | July 4, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Be careful Wilbrodog.... those pretty lights in the sky will be loud!

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Looking at those pictures of Iowa, I must consider being an Iowa resident in 2011-2012, to see this madness first-hand.

By the way, photo 12 may be Shiva as he is the master of dance and often portrayed with 4 arms. That would mean one hand may be holding a drum (shaped sort of like a hourglass in other examples), the top right hand may be holding a moon, and the bottom right might be a skull club (he is commonly shown holding a trident, but skull clubs also may be shown).

The pattern on the body is hard to see, but Shiva often has a snake wrapped around him. Shiva would be fitting in many ways. I note 2 Virgin Mary charms and an angel coin as well.

I like the confetti angel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Awww...don't worry about me and the 4th of July, TBG. I wasn't whelped last year.

We have good seats a distance away, and the dogs barking hysterically on our street will probably be louder than the fireworks.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | July 4, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I love the confetti angel, too, Wilbrod. It could have been taken in 1952 or in 2008.

I especially love the descriptions of the Democratic candidates on the stage.

(We're talking about Joel's article in Sunday's Magazine linked to above)

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I resemble that remark!

-Elitist Frappuccino Sipper

Posted by: yellojkt | July 4, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

bc, I thought about you when I read this:

"Candidate" means nice white toga? Who knew?

Happy Fourth, everybody!

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Died July 4, 1826
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams.

Died July 4, 2008
Bozo the Clown, Jesse Helms

I hope that like Jefferson and Adams, Bozo and the evil clown became reconciled before the end.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 4, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A too long comment about the campaign photos was lost in the ethernet and I was unable to retrieve it, bringing to mind a lesson from my grandmother.

Whenever I said "I forgot what I was going to say" she invariably replied "Then it must have been a lie."

Posted by: Shiloh | July 4, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Ah, jee, so many things to read and so many I wanna respond to. Oops, I forget what I wanted to post...

I guess everyone has already headed out for the works

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Spent most of today watching tennis - looking forward to Breakfast at Wimbledon with the Williams sisters:
They're in the Womens' Doubles final too.

And Rafa and Roger:

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, omni. No works for us; the rain just stopped a few minutes ago. And the Haute Mainers seem to be stirring.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Your grandmother was... interesting, Shiloh.

Mine said "Every day you grow older and dumber." She died with advanced Alzheimer's just to prove her point. I hear she liked to have the last word, too.

I think I'll go with "with age comes wisdom" and hope it's a self-filfulling prophecy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm here too, watching the Capitol Fourth. But we're going to take out shortly to find a spot to watch the local works...

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Jesse Helms was still alive yesterday???
Wasn't he , like, from the 18th century?

Boko, I may even clip my toenails if Yoki is coming.
Yoki, the Very Large Puppy and the Liquid Cat have, finally, come to terms. I think. It took 13 months but, eh, who's counting. We don't hear that disturbing powerful snap of the jaws anymore when the LC is jumping on the counter, so that's something. Good luck with the Siamese, I hope he ain't nothing like the ones I knew. Bucky in "Get Fuzzy" is the prototype for siamese cats, IMHO anyway.

I've been shopping for trees in the past couple of days, it's a shortcoming of mine, one of the very few (cough, cough...) My name is S and I'm a tree shopper. In the process I found a concrete gargoyle that is the doppleganger of the VLP. I'm not too sure what to make of that. The VLP is a monster?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 4, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what words of wisdom Trent Lott will drop at Jesse Helms' funeral. Should be interesting.

Raining here. No neighborhood fireworks. I think there are a lot of disappointed kidlings. Some grownups, too.


Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

DC's fireworks are live!

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Just got back in from watching the fireworks with my elderly(95)neighbor, and some of the other neighbors. We had our chairs out in the courtyard. It was nice.

I hope everyone got a chance to watch fireworks or go to a cook-out. Hello, wheezy, frosti, daiwainlan, and all that I missed. Glad you checked in. And Shiloh, how you doing?

It is time for bed. Have a good "rest" of the evening, folks.

Night boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 4, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey mudge, the locals here are settin' 'em. Some are pretty impressive.

TBG, when I paged down, and saw only your message post, and link, but not the handle I said to myself: "I bet that's TBG." Haha, we know us all imaginary friends so well.

I'm headed back out for a walk to the corner. Living on a hill has its advantages on the Fourth

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

We've been watching the Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade. It is always fabulous. This year they did a talent search in high schools for a singer. The winner was a girl from the Vinyard, Katie Mayhew - what a voice! I think we will be hearing more from her in a few years. They also performed 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame'with a singalong and 'Shipping Up to Boston' (Martin Scorcese is in the audience and the song was featured in "The Departed") complete with Irish dancers. They just did the 1812 Ovature complete with cannons, as they do every year and every year I get goose bumps. The show goes to national TV at ten, but it won't be as good, except for the fireworks part.

Speaking of fireworks, they are illegal in MA which makes me wonder how much more noisy it would be around here if they were legal. Happy Fourth everybody.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 4, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Yep, TBG, we will have to wait till a better evening to set off our fireworks. My son joked that we just ignite them indoors. At least I think he was joking.

Good golly I hope he was joking.

'scuse me while I go upstairs and check on something.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

We're baaack...lucked into a parking spot, pulled in just as somebody pulled out. We only had to walk a block along the highway. The fireworks were spectacular, for a rural kinda place. I think everybody in the county was there.

We returned the back way, thank heavens we know it so we didn't have to deal with the traffic on the highway.

G'night all!

Posted by: slyness | July 4, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Our best fireworks displays have always been in the smallest towns. You can get close and everyone's there... and usually the traffic and parking problems are minimal.

We did have a neighborhood fireworks display after all... my sister who lives down the street, her family and the family across the street. The dads lit the fireworks in the drizzle and the rest of us sat in the dry garage and watched. It was great! The ages of the kids range from 5 to 10, so it was perfect.

As I write, there are several other neighbors lighting their own. I love this street... folks are moseying up and down oohing and ahhing and cheering.

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I figure if terrorists want to launch an attack, they should do it on July 4 - we'd think it was more fireworks, at first. (Hope no terrorists read the Boodle.) We can hear some of the nearby cities' fireworks - sounds like the world is coming to an end.

A young guy from across the street knocked on our door this afternoon and asked if it was ok if he set off fireworks. We said yes, with provisions (don't aim at our house, clean up afterwards). We thought he meant then - we haven't seen him since, so he'll probably show up at midnight...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like everbody's havin' fun...

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Fireworks downtown and in College Park, in between thunder and rain. Managed to swim in the pool, despite several showers. Amazing. Swim meet in the AM. Shall rise for the dawn patrol at 5:40 or so. Ughh.

Totally off kit about ideas, however, ideas and minds also require a life of the body. Hope y'll get in gardening, swimming, running, biking, walking, hang gliding, bungee-jumping and what-have-you on this long weekend.

Cassandra -- I hope your picnic was delish. Ours was rained out, so I have huge batch of thin green beans dressed in balsamic vinegar and slivered almonds. Would love some potato salad or watermelon or chicken you for what every you have. I am up early for the swim meet so send it overnight and I'll eat it for breakfast. Take care and sleep well. Let's leave the light on for the Pacific Rim crew.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 4, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

North Carolina managed to thrive regardless of Sen. Helms' legislative skills or ability to make friends in the Senate.

His career reminds me of Soviet factories that transformed valuable inputs into manufactured goods that were actually worth less than the inputs.

The News and Observer has a judicious obituary. The Guardian is less inhibited. I continue to be amazed at the attention the Brits pay to US politics.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 4, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with small town bestest sentiment. Or maybe it's just a bit of nostalgia. The best in my memory were when, as a kid, I lived in Lawrence IN. Cut through a neighbors backyard. Cross a street. Into the park. Walk a couple football fields in distance. Sit on a hill. At first, before it got dark, they set of the loud ones. That was always a blast. Then,,,Ooohs and Aaaahs. yeah

Around here (the locals), you don't get the successive right after another, but the over there and over there and and. You see the trail going up, so you know just where to look.

And they do this every year.

J.Adams was a smart man with a Big Idea.

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I like the way the Post headline calls Helms a politican.. not even Senator. I suppose somewhere they're calling him a statesman. Sigh. That's just sad to think about.

Posted by: TBG | July 4, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

G'night Boodle.

Had a nice afternoon and evening with friends and family (yeah, we watched some of the Twilight Zone marathon during the rain), and was even able to see a public fireworks display in Germantown (MD). There were minor difficulties with the parking and timing, but so what?

A good time had by all, and a fine 4th.

Some darn good homemade ribs and BBQ sauce courtesy my Mom, and a darn fine apple pie courtesy of some good friends. I'm going to sleep full *and* happy.


Posted by: bc | July 4, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

No fireworks for me tonight. Had the John Adams HBO series on all afternoon and am now making my way through the John and Abigail correspondence- almost 2,000 letters all available digitally. Steamy, if stilted, stuff in their courtship. If they lived today their parents would be rolling their eyes, and saying "What could you possibly have to say to each other, you just saw him/her this afternoon?"

Hi Cassandra, glad you and all the boodlers who were able saw some fireworks tonight. I hear them now being set off over the lake, but don't have any desire to brave the super vicious mosquitoes to see an amateur display.

Toodles boodle. Happy Birthday USA!

Posted by: frostbitten | July 4, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog alerted me during a call that fireworks were beginning, so we headed outside to watch-- oopsie.

Talk about a burst of mid-air bombing by skeeters. I think 20 got me in 2 minutes, half of them on my right ankle. Wilbrodog had to battle his share as well.

In the face of overwhelming attack I thus sounded a strategic retreat to the sunroom for us both, where the others were already ensconced. So I incompletely saw plenty of sparklies while treating Wilbrodog for his heroism.
Yet the foe was not yet defeated.

We had to warn our departing guests to beware surprise ambushes by the aeroborne horde. Being wily and woodwise, they fled to safety with their skins and blood supplies relatively intact... I hope.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"Jesse Helms, John McCain and the Mark of the White Hands"

Posted by: Boko999 | July 5, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Joel's riffs on the Aspen landscape reminded me of J.B. Jackson's "Discovering the Vernacular Landscape." Some of it is on Google Books. JBJ's "Landscape" magazine is long gone, alas.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 5, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Boko, an interesting article.

Somebody made the profound point on either Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report that today cannot be judged by the same electoral context of 1992; millions who voted then are now dead.
18 million americans born that year are now eligible to vote, as are many more who could or did not then (like me.).

So it'll be interesting to see how the Dirty Tricks Express operates this year.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Whew. WiFi at the swim meet. Been up since 5:10, which is an abomination.

How about this quote for the day after the Fourth:

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
-- Albert Camus

Posted by: College Parkian | July 5, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, morning, friends. I'm up and getting ready to dive in the water, if that's possible with this small bathtub. I hope all got some rest last night, and ready for a new day.

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

I've said my prayers, and I feel pretty good this morning. Some of the doom and gloom removed so I can continue. Oh, He is my portion in this world. I wish all of you would try Him. Jesus.

I don't have anything on tap for today. Just a little study, and try to find out where my grandchildren are, and what they're up to. I didn't hear from them yesterday. One just might show up today.

I found out from my dad that Jesse Helms helped my uncle with his military records, and was able to get his benefits started from his time in service. I did not know that. My dad says those were the kinds of things that Jesse Helms did that many people did not realize because of his stance on race. Yet my dad also said he called Martin Luther King, Martin Luther Coon, so I don't know if the good outweighs the bad.

That's one of the things that most African-Americans remember about John McCain, his opposition to King's birthday as a holiday. I know he's apologized for that act, but did he really change his mind or just doing what is good for the campaign?

In any event, some things are still defined by race. And let us not forget, we still have those separate cemetaries. Here in this county, they're allowing Black folks in the graveyard, and you'll never guess where in that graveyard. In the back. I'm thinking what a mindset. Even with death it doesn't change.

Have a great day, folks. Does anyone have leftovers? Not me. I had a take home plate, but I gave it to my dad. He cut grass yesterday with his new lawn mower, so I thought he might enjoy a plate since he did not cook.

Slyness, we haven't had the rain yet, but I saw on the news that your area got quite a bit. Maybe today will be the day.

Time for the water.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 5, 2008 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod writes about having been in Wisconsin recently and seeing unleashed dogs boating and kennels and "pure bred laws". This blogger writes "decent breeders will offer to take the dog back to prevent that dog winding up in shelters or rescues", referring to "lemon pups" that perhaps are not as healthy as a "non-lemon" littermate. To that I can only say decent people would not try to make money breeding dogs when so many of them are already in shelters and rescue groups. Decent people would realize there are great dogs everywhere turning themselves inside out for the chance at a loving home as they sit in cages and hope to be picked. It's "Sophie's Choice" of the canine world and it's sad as heck. I think the law should be breeders should be outlawed until every dog in every shelter and in every rescue and in every city walking around homeless have homes. If there were a need for breeders due to a shortage of God's greatest gift, dogs, that's a different story. There is not. Snobbery exists but I'll take my two magnificent mutts over any pure bred. Mutts, unlike purebreds, are not only unique, but healthier. So for the mutts of the world, I'm with you. For the purebreds, I hope you are shortlisted for the training school of your choice.

Posted by: ellen hilburn | July 5, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

'morning CP. The swimming peeps obsession with early starts caused Witch no. 1 to quit the swim team. Let's just say she isn't a morning person.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 5, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a mutt, I'm a love puppy.

Posted by: Buddy999 | July 5, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

So am I, although folk who know me refer to me as, "that loud-mouthed b@st@rd."

Posted by: Boko999 | July 5, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning folks... Do we need any more than a headline that says "President Remains A Skilled Fundraiser" to understand our current administration? I guess "fundraising" is what the kids are calling it these days.

Going to pick up Daughter this morning from camp; we'll have enough time to do some laundry and pack for our G family vacation tomorrow to the Bay Area. We haven't seen ac in aj for a while... any other Bay Area boodlers?

Posted by: TBG | July 5, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

How unusual, Boko, I'm often the "smart-a$$ b@$t@rd"... :-)

*trying to clear wax out of ears following last night's festivities*

I can report a very servicable 4th for the Spawn and myself, complete with good friends, great food and a special guest appearance by Buster Keaton! He was on the small screen, o'course.

Today, however, seems rather less promising, judging from the damp ground, grey sky and all. No bike\ing on the canal path, I'm afraid. *SIGH*

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! *yes-I-think-my-back-can-manage-full-speed Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

What a gray morning. Hope everyone is recovering nicely from the fourth and still has the same number of digits and everything.

Gonna replace some rotted posts in the picket fence before the heat of the sun becomes too objectionable.

Looking forward to that Achenbach article in the Mag tomorrow.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 5, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

CP, I forgot to thank you this morning for the kind words. I read your comment, but forgot by the time I was writing. That happens a lot. Hope you have a good day.


I read the Show of the White Hand. I remember Helm's race against Harvy Gant, and that ad. It was awful, yet it seems some folks love that kind of stuff. And I'm not surprised that McCain has these folks on staff, they get results. I thought John McCain was different. In fact I said on here that I thought he was an honorable man. I did not know his history. My dad had to enlighten me. Fear, is what these folks use, and it works so much of the time. Somewhere in life, at some time, somebody was mean to Jesse Helms, and it stuck.

I think I've told this story here before, but pardon me while use it again. As a teenager I worked in peaches, cotton, all sorts of agricultural pursuits. I graduated from those summer jobs to a summer job in the District at the Department of Agriculture. God is good, and I wasn't that familiar with Him then. Anyway, on my trip to Washington I rode the train because I got a free pass. My grandfather worked for the railroad. On this particular trip, I was alone. A high school student traveling alone and going to a big city. The train stopped in Richmond, Virginia to change engines and the passengers had a long wait. It was two or three o'clock in the morning. I went inside the train station and took a seat. Just sitting there doing nothing. An African American that worked there, and lived in same town I did, came up to me, and told me, you cannot sit in here. They sent him over to ask me to leave. The station was empty. I'm sitting there alone and kind of scared. I got up, went outside, and stood in front of the station until time to board. That man is dead, and before he died he didn't know who he was or where he was. His family sold everything he had, and it completely unraveled him. I doubt he had any choice in the matter of asking me to leave. He was probably doing his job. Some things have changed, much has changed, yet some things have not. The young people get a chance to improve on what has been done. I do hope they are up to the task. It is good work, but hard work. Not for the faint at heart or those that don't know where they come from.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 5, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Something's amiss here... NO COMMENTS on JA's magazine piece yet??? :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Interesting conflict near Sneak's neck of the woods...

Anyone else get the impression the opponents don't really have a "people person" in their midst? *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for pointing out that article S'nuke. A good friend lives in Sudbury, I'll have to ask her what her take is on this. I think it's a classic NIMBY. A lot of the residents of that town are nouveau riche snobs. Liberal except when it affects them personally. I can't remember too many news stories of bike paths hereabouts being rife with crime. I hope saner heads prevail in the battle.

Now off to my cleaning 'job,' followed by lunch with daughters and then a visit with granddaughters. Hope it doesn't rain anymore today.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 5, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninckzz, Booglers!

What a job, without leaving Paris, Zarko steals the Colombian Rescue headlines. Gotta hand it to the guy, he knows how to put on a show.


Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 5, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninckzz, Booglers!

What a job, without leaving Paris, Zarko steals the Colombian Rescue headlines. Gotta hand it to the guy, he knows how to put on a show.


Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 5, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Scotty: Some may feel it is unseemly to comment on a magazine piece the day before it appears. (My comment was at 3:07 pm yesterday)

Posted by: Shiloh | July 5, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. It made my morning to see Scotty Nuke waving so vigorously!

Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July.

Posted by: Yoki | July 5, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

For those who lost track, NC Senator Elizabeth Dole is up for re-election. Her opposition, Kay Hagan, is not well funded.

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Dave, the Brits and everybody else pays attention to your politics because the person you elect has an influence on our lives too.

In Canada, it makes far less difference who we elect. It has never mattered a whole lot to anyone else who we elect but part of it is the parlimentary system and part of it is the people we are. We like elections, and we wish we could get do overs, but when we do, we all run the other way, cause they take up time we could be spending thinking about things like hockey and curling and doilies (gratutitous doily reference for the weekend!)

Apropos of nothing, in an effort to lower our carbon foot print, and to lower our schedule of monthly payments, the R household has followed SciTim's footsteps. We picked up a new vehicle yesterday and it is a Honda Fit. Cool car. The rear passenger seat in combination with a fully laid back front passenger seat with the headrest removed, makes a really spiffy first class lounger. I intend to try this out next weekend. We have a wedding to go to in Regina, about 8 hours drive from here.

Posted by: dr | July 5, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I watched ESPN on a event at Kennedy Library. Juan Williams discussed his book of Justice Marshall with two other lady panelists. Very intriguing discussions and challenging questions from the audience. Living a life with passion. It is a program I caught up between the advertisement when surfing of US swimming meet. It was the best July 4th night for me.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 5, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I watched ESPN on a event at Kennedy Library. Juan Williams discussed his book of Justice Marshall with two other lady panelists. Very intriguing discussions and challenging questions from the audience. Living a life with passion. It is a program I caught up between the advertisement when surfing of US swimming meet. It was the best July 4th night for me.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 5, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget the human trait of being facinated by car crashes and train wrecks,dr. Speaking of which:
"Buchanan really liked the way Hunter captured how ridiculous the whole process is. People who are inside the process really do, at heart, understand what a ridiculous thing this political pageant is."

Posted by: Boko999 | July 5, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Mornin all
We had a great 4th at my Bro's and his cooking prowless.The man just loves to grill.I brought home plenty of leftovers and my Mom too.We watched National Treasure last night,appropiate for the days activities. Lotsa rain in "wets" by god yesterday. Been invited to the towns independence celebration,dinner and parade this afternoon,hoping the weather holds out.

Then I think I will treat myself to a little dusk fishing on the river,I just love that time of day(dusk).All the day creatures going to bed and all the night creatures waking up.

Have a great day everyone and Hug someone you love.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 5, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine where Jesse Helms will end up, the devil won't have him and neither will God till he repents, which he never did. The Times of London had a big article on him. Like Dave, I don't understand the interest, unless it's the fascination of watching a train wreck.

That said, there are lots of redneck Republicans in NC who were won over by the Southern strategy. It's a shame.

However, it's too nice a day to dwell on such ugly thoughts. I am recovering from the strenuous walk yesterday. Mr. T and I have been to Lowe's and the farmer's market already. I planted the ferns and hostas I bought at Lowe's and then went to the local nursery and bought a couple of coral bells and an anemone. It's sprinkling now so I'll fix lunch and then see about planting them.

Yes, Cassandra, rain at home last night and I hope more today. Pretty good chance of rain here in the mountains. It's currently 65 degrees.

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Posted by: slyness | July 5, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

daiwanlan, I watched Juan Williams on C-SPAN too. He's written a biography about Thurgood Marshall which sounds fascinating. The other panelists were Lani Guiniere (sp?), and a judge whose name escapes me; the moderator was a Georgetown Law professor - Cheryl Cashin, I think, who clerked for Marshall. Juan and Lani were not seeing eye to eye on many things - I think Juan's been on Fox too much, or maybe that's why he's on Fox.

Happy 5th, everyone. As predicted, our neighbors were setting off fireworks till 1:30 am, and would have gone beyond that, except that Mr Ml went ballistic on them.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 5, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Eileen, I think parenthood should be outlawed until every foster and adoptive kid in the system gets a home, never mind people's rights. That makes as much or more sense than your position.

I also favor stopping the import of 300,000 homeless dogs a year FOR SHELTER REHOMING until our American dogs are homed.

Our american dogs are in need of homes because they were already owned and are in need of a new home because of neglect, abuse, or as more often occurs-- family moves, life changes such as divorce, allergy, death, or even "dogs-siblings" suddenly deciding they hate each other and must be separated. Feral dogs are very rare in most parts nowadays.

Get your facts straight and maybe you'll get some respect. I've adopted 2 shelter dogs in my life, helped adopt more. Many breeders do rescue themselves. What have YOU done, other than smart off about breeders using very poor logic?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

That didn't take long.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 5, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, who's dissing one type of dog over another?

All I care about in dogs that they're nice and well behaved. I've played with Jack russells, chihuahuas, Great Danes, mutts of all sizes, purebred retrievers, Weimaraners, Ridgebacks, rottweilers, shelties, etc.

You know what I've learned? Life is more interesting with variety, and all dogs are pretty much happy being who they are.

Except the fearful ones who hate all other dogs because of lack of socialization on the part of their owners.

I also find that people are diverse and fun, and I figure the ones who hate dogs-- in part or in whole, just need more socialization and fuller understanding of dogs. How about it, Eileen?

Are you ready to let your mutts introduce you to purebreds and tell you that they're really OK dogs?

Posted by: WIlbrodog | July 5, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Uh, I think it's "ellen" not "eileen." Who was probably being histrionically hyperbolic. I hope.

I once as a teen raised Dalmations. There was deafness, skin trouble, and personality disorder in the resulting litter. I felt like a bad guy, even though I was young and ignorant. We live and we learn. Now I always have an adopted mutt. It is true there is no shortage of dogs. There is indeed no shortage of wonderful dogs.

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

My current dog was rescued by me from abusive owners. I would have rescued her, of course, if she was purebred or not. As far as purebreds go, I particularly am fond of the Labrador Retrievers...

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Joel, What has happened to the luntic Express? No word for over a month going up river in Africa.

Posted by: bh | July 5, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows you purebreds think your butts don't stink, Wilbrodog. It's so pathetic that a bunch of inbreds think they're some sort of elite while the truth is that they just don't have the courage to bop who they like and instead mate with who their humans tell them to.
Wankers! :-D

Posted by: Buddy999 | July 5, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, we're purebred, and we're rescues too. See? Nothing is as black and white (except Yeoman) as it appears to the simple-minded polemicists.

Posted by: Yokisdogs | July 5, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Um, no, I don't think she's being histronic. I think she's really afraid of something.

Jumper, Dalmatians are tricky, the deafness occurs a lot. The genetic deafness actually expressing itself depends on many other genes-- "genetic background". So two non-deaf parents can cause siblings with very similar deafness profiles, but those siblings might never whelp a deaf puppy if bred appropriately. Breeders look for solid eye, ear, and nose color before breeding, but I don't know how reliable that is.

There is a deaf dog rescue out there, but the major problem now is people breeding merles to each other to cause double merles which have increased risk of deafness and other problems.

That coat is in demand by people who want pretty grey splotched dogs, otherwise it wouldn't be bred. People want what they want, and they often pick flash over substance. Fortunately many people breed both; flash is only controlled by a few genes, and merle won't breed 100% true, so they want to be sure to have good homes for the nonmerles.

Faddism does more to hurt dogs than anything else. When everybody wants the same thing, a lot of great dogs suddenly are going begging for homes just because they are not "what is wanted." In L.A., I'm told a large percentage of the dogs in shelters are pit bull and rottie mixes. Nobody wants them.

It doesn't matter if you stop breeding 1/2 of the dogs in california tomorrow, most people just don't want big athletic dogs with no training and poor reputations, subject to overnight breed specific legislation even though they may have almost no genetic pit bull or whatnot altogether. That's not selfishness, that's just unfashionableness.

Sadly, the dogs suffer from this particularly badly. Hundreds of people are always trying to pass laws to ban "unfashionable" dogs from their areas.

Since when did the thinking that laws can be passed and dogs simply be rid of if enough people don't like the IDEA of a breed, size, or color? IMO this is far greater animal cruelty than anything else I've heard-- to arbritarily ban specific types of dogs from living in town.

I got Wilbrodog because I DID want a big atheltic dog with some training (provided by shelter as a start), and he looked lab enough to get by. I get told he's a beautiful dog all the time. Yet he spent 2 months in a shelter and nobody went to look at him.

Recently I was infuriated to find out some dumbass in my state wanted to pass BSL that would have outlawed chow mixes-- which he is popularly seen to be.

Don't blame the breeders. They didn't breed those mixes nobody wants. Blame their owners for not putting in the work to be sure their dogs could live with them, obedience train them, or at least to find their dogs new homes without dumping their problems on shelters.

Blame the narrow-minded people who make it dangerous to adopt any dog with no papers to defend themselves against BSL.

I'm telling you-- I am really considering a purebred for my next working dog-- not that I wouldn't love to scour shelters for a new dog and take the risk on the dog's health and all-- but simply because I'm seriously worried that one day some idiot will decide to ban my SDiT out from under me just because it's not "the right kind of dog." And by definition, most dogs I will see in a shelter were not "the right kind of dogs" for somebody.

And THAT'S where my anger goes-- not to the breeders, but to how seriously f'd up this country is when it comes to dogs.

In Wilbrodog's case, I don't blame his ex-owner (although she was neglectful), or the person who bred him-- in fact, I think he's a good dog because whoever owned his mother made sure he had a nice start in life with food, playmates, and exposure to people, that carried him forward.

I would NEVER adopt a dog whelped in a shelter because there is a critical period right before whelping where stress on the dam can permanently make the dogs more fearful and "wild"-- a form of doggy autism.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for Black Pearl link!

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Merle (In Welsh:Brych [well, duh!]) is a colour combination in dogs' coats. It is a solid base color (usually red/brown or black) with lighter blue/gray or reddish patches, which gives a mottled or uneven speckled effect.-wiki

Hell, I didn't know.
Just trying to help.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 5, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I learned about merle today. I had not a clue until now. So it's a good day.

If I had to guess, and sometimes I wonder if there is any point in it, I would say my dog Trouble is part border collie with some chow. She has much longer hair than a border collie. At least, until haircut time. Which was recently. Although brittany spaniel mix is a possibility.

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Howdy and a happy belated Fourth to all. It sounds like everyone celebrated properly according to your lights and inclinations. After a nice family dinner the Boy and I went downtown to the church picnic, from which one can see the municipal ballpark fireworks very well. Lots of oohs and aahs were said by all.

I took a vacation from my computer for a couple of days and missed all kinds of interesting Kits and boodling. Ah, well. Just repeat to yourselves the scintillating comments you know I would have made, had I been present. I will say that Joel's projected future question for Her Former Justice is absolutely on-target.

Alexey, thanks for "patridiotic".Brilliant and timely.

It is hot and dry here. I spent the last couple of days cutting shrubs, trimming trees and moving branches. Today I'm not doing yard work.

RD, enjoy that field exercise. Don't forget your personalized water bottle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 5, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

ml, I cannot tell the difference of ESPN and C-SPAN. I stand corrected. Thanks. The other panelist is Nancy Gertner, and US court judge. She seemed interacted better than Lani Guinier, a Harvard Law professor during the discussion. I am intrigued to learn that 50% admitted to Harvard Law school is for pursuit of happiness, 25% for social justice and a quarter is not yet decided which career path to lean to. It is one of the frank talks I ever heard.

Posted by: daiwanlan | July 5, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Her beautiful face can be seen here:

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hello boodle. Taking a break before getting ready to go to the fire department's pig roast. Usually the local Catholic parish puts on this annual event but they yielded to the FD this year so we could start replenishing the coffers after buying a new fire truck. I'm on table clearing duty but will have plenty of time to pig out.

Meant to post this for the 4th-
from Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman

We thought our Union grand and our Constitution grand;
I do not say they are not grand and good--for they are.
I am this day just as much in love with them as you,
But I am eternally in love with you and with all my fellows
.....upon the earth.

We consider the bibles and religions divine . . . . I do not
.....say they are not divine,
I say they have all grown out of you and may grow out of still,
It is not they who give the life . . . . it is you who give the;
Leaves are not more shed from the trees or trees from the then they are shed out of you.

The sum of all known value and respect I add up in you
.....whoever you are;
The President is up there in the White House for you . . . . is not you who are there for him,
The Secretaries act in their bureaus for you . . . . not you for them,
The Congress convenes every December for you,
Laws, courts, the forming of states, the charteres of cities, the
.....going and coming of commerce and mails are all for you.

All doctrines, all politics and civilization exurge from you,
All sculpture and monuments and anything inscribed
.....anywhere are tallied in you,
The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records
.....reach is in you this hour--and myths and tales the same;
If you were not breathing and walking here where would
.....they all be?
The most reknowned poems would be ashes . . . . orations
all plays would be vacuums.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 5, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Jumper-I think you just might have some Brittany there with that coloring, especially on her gorgeous face.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 5, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Whitman, frostbitten.

Daiwanlan, Nancy Gertner was one of my law professors back when she was still a practicing attorney. She was very good. I was glad when she got elevated to the bench.

The interesting thing about Harvard Law is you can go in thinking you have one set of goals and come out with a whole different set. Same with interests. This is partly due to the influence of professors, and partly due to the astonishing range of possibilities and ideas to which you are exposed. Even if you don't change your own goals, most people leave better informed and more appreciative of those who make different choices.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 5, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd say chow chow mix-in is a definite possibility with those small ears and the really thick coat, particularly on her neck. However, not knowing her size, I cannot judge. She has fairly flashy Irish spotting pattern which occurs in many breeds (rough collie, border collie, Bernese, St Bernard, Brittany, boxers etc.), and is relatively dominant, although can be under-expressed in mixes with the wrong color (but tends to be expressed more with red/yellow).

For that reason I'd probably vote border collie-golden-chow chow in some combination, if I assume she's around 50 pounds. This dog is likely a second generation mixed breed, and has gotten ee coat, long hair (looks very fluffy), and Irish spotting, small ears, a somewhat shorter muzzle and broader face than average, and a definite dish/stop in front of her eyes. The nice-sized almond eyes fit golden, labrador, and some other breeds.
The brown nose (if not just sunburnt pink from the white over her face), and light eyes could indeed indicate a brown-coated dog in her ancestry (brittany would be a good guess).

It's always a challenge to figure out a mutt. Trouble actually looks much more chow chow than Wilbrodog does-- but no purple on her tongue, so it could be another spitz mix-in instead.

Cute pup!

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

50 lbs. is spot on. (Her ears used to perk up when interested, but hematomas and their stitching treatments ended that.) An extremely dense undercoat develops, and she would naturally shed it in August - although I believe the follicles tend to shut down sooner. She would look obese (hair illusion) if she did not get regular haircuts.

Posted by: Jumper | July 5, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Jumper... she's beautiful. Looks soft and cuddly too.

Posted by: TBG | July 5, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, my friend lab-chow mix is like that-- really foofy, you have to touch the dog to be sure the dog is actually slender. When clipped or in full summer coat with undercoat all brushed out, he looks more like a miniature newfoundland. He's 50 lbs too, but very different in the face, much more like a spaniel head (I rather suspect he is a cocker spaniel-chow mix rather than a lab-chow mix). Picture here:

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow. The gnome killed the boodle.

I keep telling the gnome to talk about ME only, the boodle'll keep sparkling right along.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | July 5, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

'S okay, Wilbrodog. We're just getting ready for supper.

Rain in the high country for about three hours now, and coming down hard. Yay! I'll put the hose up when I get a chance, 'cause I won't have to water tomorrow.

Posted by: slyness | July 5, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. Been busy all day unloadint the boat and taking all our stuff off of her. Can't afford to launch her, can't afford to put gas in her if we did launch her. In this market, I have no idea how long it'll take to sell her. Anybody wanna buy a boat?

Didja hear about Dara Torres? Jeez, ya just gotta love that story: a 41-year-old woman who's been retired from the sport for 8 years just qualified to be on the US Olympics swim team.

Radar map shows a line of green blobs just to the west, probably moving into TBG territory soon, probably hit here an hour or two later.

Carry on.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 5, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Local PBS station (26) is showing "The Princess Bride" at 9 p.m.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

The current model of the Nissan Xterra is roughly the vehicle I would like to have had around 1998. This weekend, new ones have $4000 in rebates. Probably not enough to pry me from a 60,000 mile station wagon.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 5, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I'll trade you a boat for a bright yellow 2005 Ford Focus SES, mostly loaded (no sun roof), Mudge.

All kidding aside, Mudge, it's sad that you can't take her out.

Posted by: dr | July 5, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The Dara Torres story is amazing:
Good for her. 60 Minutes did a story on her a while ago, I think.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 5, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it's been said here before, but my dad always said the two happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it.

Good luck, Mudge. Sorry to see your blue bottom so... well... blue.

Posted by: TBG | July 5, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I wish the situation was better for you, and for a lot of people.

Time for bed. It is raining here, and more, hopefully tomorrow. Have a good evening, folks.

Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 5, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Purebred dogs are bred for a reason you know. I didn't came to be a world class drooler by chance, it was all part of an effort done over over centuries. Dogue de Bordeaux with poor doubles or who couldn't hold a foot-long single slimy string swinging were rooted out and only the successful slobberer were allowed to prosper. This is how I came to such a ar5tful mastery of the saliva, make no mistake it's not a talent handed out by the drool fairy.
Speaking of dog saliva, here is another proof that ridicule doesn't kill.

Posted by: the Very Large Puppy | July 5, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

california has over 1000 fires right now, something like 1400. they were mostly started by lightning storms. i was up at a wedding in wine country a couple of weekends ago. there was a dry lightning storm overnight that ignited a few fires. apparently a lot of the fires resulted from lightning.

at least southern california isn't doing too badly this time around.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 5, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Back from a long but fun day of cleaning #2's house, lunch and a visit with granddaughters. It was raining on the Cape, or at least in select locations. The traffic was awful, as it always is when it rains there. Everyone goes out shopping. Speaking of dogs, I got to see five of the cutest Berner puppies today. #2's friend has a litter of 4 week olds. I love Berners and maybe when we retire...ah well.

I was thinking about the midwest floods and the California fires while driving in the rain and bumper to bumper traffic. It put things in perspective. Although rain and crutches don't mix well. I was amused by #1's tales of the granddaughters' inability to get along with each other, the usual "she looked at me funny" sort of thing. I remember very well all the similar spats when my daughters were small. Nice to see that they grow up to be friends with each other and with me too.

Mudge, I am sorry about the boat. There are a lot of them for sale on the Cape this year too. My almost son-in-law does charters but I don't think he's making any profit from it.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 5, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Interesting link VLPup, I think this guy makes a lot of sense-

"Ibrahim Mogra, one of Britain's leading imams, said the measures were unnecessary: "In Islamic law the dog is not regarded as impure, only its saliva is. Most Islamic schools of law agree on that. If security measures require to send a dog into a house, then it has to be done. I think Acpo needs to consult better and more widely.

"I know in the Muslim community there is a hang-up against dogs, but this is cultural. Also, we know the British like dogs; we Muslims should do our bit to change our attitudes."

Posted by: frostbitten | July 5, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the boss was not the first to think about which problem to tackle first. The Copenhagen Consensus 2008 ranked mitigating man-made global warming at #30, their lowest possible ranking. However, the 8 big idea people in Copenhagen were all economists working from the premise that they had 75 billion "extra" to spend and had to prioritize how to get the most good out of it. #1 was increasing the availability of micronutrients (vitamin A and zinc) to children and #2 was widening free trade.

Read more about the Copenhagen Consensus here:

Posted by: frostbitten | July 5, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Uma Thurman is shunning me again. When will she see the light?
"Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" might have been a stinker but Uma was good in it. So said the Robbins and Uma fan.

Arpad Busson, what kind of name or athletic equipment is that? Does it fit over the delicate parts??

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 5, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, same here at the marina. The big boats are not moving as much a they use to. Smaller fishing boats aren't affected as much, yet.

Nick or Heikki tomorrow? We shall see. My man Robert starts 10th, it's a tall order on the narrow Silverstone circuit.

And the pharmaceuticaly enhanced Tour de France is under way. Stay tuned for further scandals.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 5, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

scc repeating myself in a single post. must be getting senile.

mudge, it will make me sad not to be able to bring up your blue bottom anymore.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 5, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh crap.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 5, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, when I first read that article I was going to comment on Islamic law but that Imam said it very well.

I also think the point of dogs' roles here needs to be covered in citizenship classes here as well.

Wilbrodog generally does not lick people unless invited to do so. Like I told Mo once as she was inviting Wilbrodog to do so, "I know where that tongue's been."

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 5, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

LA, you can still bring up my red bottom (it's on my 22-foot sailboat).

Thunder, lightning and heavy rain here. Just went to pick up my son from his work. *sigh* The things we do for our kids.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 5, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I helped my neighbour's maid bought a pre-paid mobile phone card today. If her employers ever found out, they are going to be really mad at me and their maid would be in big trouble.

The rules for maids here are fairly standard : not allowed talk to their neighbour's maids or their neighbours, not allowed to make phone calls on their own or receive phone calls, not allowed to have visitors, off-day is once a month, and the contract is for 2 years. There are employers who are lenient but in general those are the rules.

As for my neighbour's maid, she is not allowed to have the address of her employer's house which means she can't receive mail from her son in Bn or her family in Indonesia. This seems rather harsh, but I can understand why. My neighbour's house had been burglarized before and it probably turned out that it was the maid who had asked their friends to do the breaking in.

Posted by: rainforest | July 6, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, your dog is beautiful.

Posted by: rainforest | July 6, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Per BBC news : ...researchers found high tofu consumption - at least once a day - was associated with worse memory, particularly among the over-68s.
....A third theory is that damage is caused not by the tofu, but by formaldehyde, which is sometimes used in Indonesia as a preservative.

I don't like tofu and seldom eat it. I also don't particularly like soy products, so if I get dementia, it is caused by something else.

Posted by: rainforest | July 6, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse


Gotta take NukeSpawn to the airport...


Well, it was a good two-plus weeks, anyway. If only my back could have waited until NOW to take ITS vacation... *L*

As usual, I shouldn't have bothered checking the comments on JA's magazine article. Hope springs eternal and once again is intercepted on the upswing by the slings and arrows of reality. *shrug*

Hope everyone has a nice close to the weekend! And keep up the good work, SciTim! *waving @ Mauna Kea* :-)

*tinged-with-more-than-a-little-sadness-but-at-full-speed-anyway Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 6, 2008 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Morning all...

rainforest... that sounds almost like slavery rather than employment. It's a pity that so many people need such jobs and that there are so many who will exploit them.

Scotty... glad you enjoyed your weeks with Nukespawn... she's quite a girl. It's tough having to put her on a plane after such a short time. I can't even imagine.

Why can't I get motivated to pack for our vacation? Lemme finish my tea and cereal first. Yeah.... that's it. Has nothing to do with procrastination.

Posted by: TBG | July 6, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Happy Sixth of July!

Hit and runs from back-boodling:

From the roof of our Cape Cod rental we could see about six different fireworks shows. The most distant was either Plymouth, Boston, or Provincetown. Our sense of distance and direction was not too good.

Visited some old friends we hadn't seen in six years. They have a very old beagle and a nearly as old beagle-Jack Russell mix they got from a rescue group. What a bad idea that combo is.

We've seen a lot of labradoodles and Golden Doodles and King Charles Span-a-poos lately. It seems everybody loves the non-shedding poodle fur and want it bred with everything.

Went by Saratoga Springs yesterday and recreated some Achenphotos. One of the the springs is actually municipal tap water for the tourists. Lame.

Also found a rare book store in SS with a KV limited edition I didn't have. My big splurge for the vacation.

Today we are off to pay tribute to the empire that Cohen and Greenfield built.

Happy boodlin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 6, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Bye-bye, Ms. Nukespawn; we'll miss you (I got to see her no less than twice this visit; she plays first base for her softball team, yanno). Little-known fact: she takes home with her her very own Washington Nationals baseball hat.

Where ya goin' on vacation, TBG?

I knew there hadda be a good reason why I hate tofu. Senility. Yeah, that's it. Senility.

I should have imposed those rules for maids on my children. *sigh*

Kinda of a boring WaPo home page news day, I thought; not much interesting on the op-ed page and Outlook, either. Some slow summer weekends are like that in the news biz.

Bunch of small-but-irksome chores to do today. Piece of siding blew off the deck edge. Sort through retrieved boat stuff, find homes for it all. Install a speaker to the radio/CD player out on the deck. Find the spare cellphone belt clip I suspect is stashed in my "junk drawer" (you all have your own personal "junk drawer," right? The drawer where you put all the small stuff you accumulate: shoelaces; empty film containers; foreign money accumulated from various vacations; two old penknives; stuff I've cleaned out of my wallet over the years but couldn't throw away, such as my AARP membership card; a collection of a dozen or two dozen keys I have no clue what they go to; a box of cufflinks [actually, I *do* remember the last time I wore cufflinks: it was on the cruise when I wore my white dinner jacket and cummerbunds]; a handheld GPS; two small walkie-talkies; a bunch of those little small plastic gizmos that you look into with one eye and see a photo -- what ARE those things called? -- of my children 15, 20 years ago; a small plastic mounting bracket to I-have-no-idea-what; 17 broken ballpoint pens; those small "school" pictures of kids and grandkids, and in at least one case of a person whose identity is completely unknown to me [I'd ask my wife who this is, but she'd just tell me and then I'd feel like an idiot, so I'm not gonna ask; not for nothing do they say ignorance is bliss]; four expired coupons to whatever. I could go on. [You *know* I could.]). May also finally get to read Joel's article, sans the comment section.

Enjoy your Sunday, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 6, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I'd ask CP how her ribs are coming along, but then I'd just start daydreaming about Famous Dave's, what's for dinner, etc.

I think I better go find something to eat.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 6, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

We're heading for the Bay Area, Mudge. Dr G grew up there, but the rest of us have never been, so we'll be taking the Dr G Childhood Tour.

But between the iPhones, MacBooks and free WiFi, I shouldn't have to travel Boodle-free. Whew.

Posted by: TBG | July 6, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

G'morning, all. Mr. T and I slept in, so not much to say here. It's still wet and a chance of storms today. Cassandra, did you get a lot? There were 2.5 inches in our rain gauge but the local weather stations were reporting 1.5. Oh well.

Hope everyone has a pleasant day!

Posted by: slyness | July 6, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Bon voyage, G Family: Try the Palace of the Legion of Honor in SF for gardens and arty stuff AND the Exploratorium for sciencey stuff.

Chilly in SF; hot in SJ. Light sweaters are your friend.

If you make it to the South Bay to Mission de Santa Clara, which is a fabulous place, imagine me in my salad days walking about this college campus. Imagine also, Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown cassocked in Jesuit garb and picking grapes for the Novitiate Winery.

Half Moon Bay is a great seaside stop. The beaches are not the SoCal sandy sort...more narrow sandy spits with some tidal pools. Half Moon Bay is also a flower-growing region so the valleys just before you hit the water are carpeted in Crayola cascades of colors. The water is FAMOUSLY cold because the Alaska current wells up and down this coast. Sea otters are darling and visible in the kelp beds. The Monterey Aquarium is way better than the Balto one and a bit less expensive.

Ribs are better, Mudge. Hold the hot sauce, though. I have rubbed some "hot pepper" lotion for the pain, which substitutes a mild burn that interferes with the ache. I do this for swimming because the lidocaine patches are not seaworthy.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 6, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Loved the Mag article and I left a positive comment to try to balance out some of the nastiness. I hope we see it referenced here today before I take off tomorrow morning.

Busy day getting ready for my absence at home. Simply instructing the family in the proper way to entertain the bunnies is exhausting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 6, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning y'all.

I sympathize, RD. I will be going on a conference trip in a few weeks and already I worry about the family's dedication to our rabbit's comfort. I know the Boy will pat her on the head as required but there's so much more.

Have a great trip, TBG! I have not visited the Bay area for almost twenty years but would like to go again. You may be in time for the U.S.Fencing Summer Nationals; I think they will continue through part of this week in San Jose. The Boy qualified but we couldn't go.

Two commercials running here show scary signs of the times. One Dodge dealer is advertising $15,000 (yes, you read that right) cash back on a truck purchase. If you buy a truck from another, they'll give you a popular small car for $1, plus they'll pay tax, title and tags on both vehicles. Those are sales of desperation, no doubt because the Dodge truck gets about 8 miles to the gallon.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 6, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

TBG, glad to hear you'll be connected. I don't think I could handle being Boodleless these days.

In 1959, my parents and I visited SF. One of the touristy things we did was to go to the bar the top of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel on Nob Hill, which has a spectacular view of the city and the bay. My dad bought me a Coke for 35 cents, which he thought was outrageous. Fast forward to my next visit, in 1999. Mr. T and I went to the same locale. The Diet Coke was $3.50. Also outrageous, but the view made it worthwhile.

Soooo, go and have a good time!

Posted by: slyness | July 6, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to all who like my dog. I think it's bath time for her today. Then, one for me.

My modem overheats lately and also my computer crashed. Not too badly. Frozen browser; reboot. I noticed today some of my icons in my file system display are transparent or ghostly, and others remain sharp. How bizarre. Hmm, noticed my graphics board fan whirring when I cranked up Photoshop yesterday. Voltage drop? Think I see pattern developing...

Well, here goes the dog bathing.

Posted by: Jumper | July 6, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

From the Aspen Times Weekly, July 5:

Ten Ways to Look at the Aspen Ideas Festival

Theory Nine: Either the festival has a gender bias or there aren't enough smart, innovative women willing to engage in public debate.

It's worth noting that more than three times as many men were scheduled to speak as women.

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New kit!

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