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Arugula Madness

[My story in today's Style section.]

It lurks in the Produce Department, sneaky-silent, all tied up in a bunch, seemingly minding its own business even as it threatens to change the course of the 2008 presidential election. It is arugula. Some call it rocket, or roquette. It's a trendy salad ingredient, often viewed as a type of lettuce, though the government lists it as an herb.

Without question, it is the most politically explosive of the leafy greens.

At the loftiest levels of American politics, there are operatives who are eager to play the arugula card. When Barack Obama's campaign skewered John McCain this week for forgetting how many houses he owns, the McCain camp responded by dropping the a-word on him -- twice.

First, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers sent out an e-mail describing Obama as "a guy who worries about the price of arugula." Later in the day, Rogers said in an interview, "In terms of who's an elitist, I think people have made a judgment that John McCain is not an arugula-eating, pointy-headed-professor type."

Obama's arugula problem dates to last summer, to an offhand remark in Iowa. He was saying that farmers could make good money planting specialty crops rather than just corn and soybeans. He asked his audience if anyone had seen the price of arugula lately at Whole Foods. Pundits howled: Arugula! Whole Foods! As if the mooing masses of Iowans had ever heard of such a thing or such a place!

The arugula controversy raises an obvious question: When did arugula become the undisputed symbol of elitist food -- what you might call the anti-cabbage? And what about the other lettuces? Can a politician seeking to connect with ordinary people safely eat anything other than iceberg?

We all know, intuitively, that kale is on the elitist side of the elitist-vulgarian divide, but what about romaine?

Click here to keep reading.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 23, 2008; 8:08 AM ET
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Next: Biden: The unCheney


Good morning. If you care to read my morning comment, please return to the last kit. Thank-you.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Pundits may arugu, but it's Pho as in:

Doe Ray Me Pho Sew La Tea...Doe
I like this Joe Pho better than that other Joe

Phee Phy Pho Phum

Still love Mr. Mudge's gem :-)

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 23, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. I glanced at the front of the Style section, saw that glam shot of artfully arranged arugula with the Achenbach byline underneath, and knew that for a moment at least, all was right with the world.

Very, very clever article - although I am shocked and dismayed to learn that I, as one who has proudly declared my love of Kale, clearly display elitist tendencies.

But at least I don't order cappuccino. None of that fancy Italian stuff for me. For I am just an ordinary joe who likes his ordinary, um, "joe." And lots of it. Good solid 'merican-style coffee that gets the circulation going and stimulates the colon as God intended.

Besides, whenever I drink cappuccino I get foam on my nose.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Might as well transplant my early arugula comment:

The arugula goings-on remind me of a Jacksonville developer (nicknamed Squirrel) who, seeing whole hillsides of mustard greens on a spring trip to California, flew home with enough for a couple of meals. He couldn't understand why Californians would ignore good greens growing all over the place.

Politically, Biden was indeed just barely 30 when sworn in to the Senate.

I did high school near Dover and summer programs at the University of Delaware and Delaware State. I'm sure Wilmington's thriving banking and corporate flag-of-convenience economy will be slimed during the next few weeks. America's Hong Kong, or something like that.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I heard the Brer Rabbit story as a child in India and learned the term "tar baby" free from any context other than in that story.

I'm guessing from Ms. Cassandra's pointed question (last kit) that this term is fraught with other meanings in this country and should be avoided?

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 23, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Biden as Obama's running mate, hmm? Seems like a reasonable pick, but I wonder how much of that stuff from the '80s will resurface now...

I'm up watching the Formula 1 Qualifying session live from the seaside streets of beautiful Valencia, Spain. Yes, my mmancrush Hamilton is currently fastest in Session 1 (of three knockout qually sessions), and it's starting to rain...

Bob S., Error Flynn and I used to Boodle about the idea of havng low-budget windmills on our individual properties (for fun and profit and so that I can watch "What Not to Wear" when Western Civilization collapses) - I've meant to scan that article. Thanks for reminding me.

Now, I'm going to read about green leafy veggies for fun, profit, and digestion.

And not a word about my homemade polenta, cornmeal mush disguised as gourment elitst food.


Posted by: bc | August 23, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey, when folks are done reading about arugula take a quick look at the other leafy article in the Metro section. The one by Lori Aratani on Poison Ivy. (I would link to it, thus increasing page clicks for the Washington Post, but, as we all know, the Washington Post evidently, doesn't want that.) Anyway, the article is making me all itchy just reading it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I think Biden is a prudent choice. His selection does no harm.

I really liked Joel's observation in the last 'boodle that Biden shows the power of sticking around. I am hopeful Joel will post something about Biden eventually - although I am in no hurry for the 'boodle to become inundated with politics on such a pretty Saturday morning.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Great article Joel. I find arugula very bitter and avoid it. All of this ‘elite’ based on food preferences is just silly. I think McCain using a motorcade to get a cappacino is outrageous. Either send someone out, in one car, to get it or buy a $500 machine and get one of the servents to make it. If he’s going to spend almost $300 k per year on staff for his houses, he should get his money’s worth.

Biden is okay with me, I think he will be a good attack dog but I do hope he learns to be a bit more concise.

We’re packing up for our mini vacation. Hope I don’t miss too much in the next few days. Happy weekend everyone.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 23, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Good point about links in the blog comments, RD.

In the Boodle, we tend to link back to WaPo content more often than not. It seems silly that they'd disable the link functions based on that, but clearly they're thinking about preventing abuses of that function more than they're thinking about driving content back to their own site.

Personally, I'd be very interested to do a comparative analysis of site traffic before and after they did the blog comments "upgrades."


Posted by: bc | August 23, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I really, really hate all this half-a--ed sociology the *&$#@%$# Republicans started, all this "elitism" crap, the arugula crap, the beer versus wine crap, the brie-eating crap, the Dunkin Donuts versus Starbucks crap, the "who would you rather have a beer with" horse---. It's not only crap, it is seriously heavy-duty counterproductive nonsense crap. And I know Joel doesn't believe a single molecule of it either, and that his arugola article is intended to make fun of and debunk it...but I can't help thinking it just adds more noise to a campaign and a culture that is so overflowing with noise and crap and nonsense.

We all KNOW it's crap...yet we perpetuate it, we discuss it, we listen to it and nobody ever stands up and says, "JUST SHUT THE HELL UP, ALL OF YOU."

I don't know what the answer is. All I know is I'm sick and tired of it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Biden = bummer. I can't disassociate the name Biden from the word plagiarism. Biden's public statements over the years haven't helped. If Obama wanted to interject the consummate pol into the mix, he succeeded.

Posted by: rookhaven | August 23, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Gang!

It was nice to see Mudge at the Book Club yesterday. What's a vacation without literary discussion?

Posted by: Brag | August 23, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Rookhaven, I think having a consummate pol is the point.

I'm nursing a wasp sting on my right hand. Here I was, minding my own business while digging up irises to divide them, and this nasty insect stings me! Through my glove even! Hydrocortisone cream and ice will get me through, I hope. It's just aching now, with a red spot about 2 inches across.

Mudge, thought about you when I saw the hed in the local section about portions of the Outer Banks beaches being closed to traffic by turtles' nests: Fertile turtles frustrate fishermen. How great is that!?

On the green side, our local branch of the Federal Reserve is getting in on the act:

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Wal*Mart was selling Widmer Hefeweizen yesterday. Who in Florida would know what Hefeweizen is? Sounds elitist.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

DNAGirl correctly limmed the non-racially motivated context of my Biden comment. Biden has a lot of baggage and by bringing it on board, it becomes Obama's cross to bear as well. Have I thoroughly mixed my metaphors enough to resemble a mixed greens salad.

DNA Girl also noted that while pho puns are fun, the real pronunciation is closer to "fah" than "foe". And that is just because that is all my hopelessly mid-Atlantic mouth can do with out working on the exact intonation and inflection of the tonal based Vietnamese language.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mornin All
Heading to work today so I can have the next 2 days off.

Biden is the safe choice, but i was really hoping for someone else. I thought Obama is dynamic and different and his veep would reflect that. I thought Obama was all about change and changing the political norm. But,alas it is not to be.I was hoping he would go across party lines or at least bring a new player into the mix. I guess even though you talk about change it all pretty much stays the same. The political landscape has pretty much stayed old school. I am quite disappointed.

As for Argula i have never tried it,but it sounds like something I may yell at a football game!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 23, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Hossenfeffer! Cook, bring me my hossenpfeffer!

****flashback Proust-like to endless childhood Saturday mornings watching The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour****

Ironically, the latest trendy high priced restaurant salad menu item is a quarter (or half) head of iceberg lettuce served intact and dribbled with bleu cheese dressing. Those tricky elitists.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

slyness: Thanks for your reply. In my opinion, Obama's chief appeal derives from his outsider status. By bringing Biden onto the ticket he seems to be jumping into bed with insider Washington. You may view this as the point. I view it as a mistake.

Posted by: rh | August 23, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

My wife flew in on Thursday to join me so we can stretch a business trip into a mini-empty-nester getaway. I took her straight from the airport to a Vietnamese mall that makes Eden Center look a flea market. Very upscale. We had lunch at the all-Vietnamese (well, one Thai place) food court. I had cha gio and my wife had her favorite pancake-bean sprout dish. Each order came with an enormous plate of greens on the side.

Eating Vietnamese food can be a very labor intensive DIY affair as you add the greens to your food and even use them as wrappers to hold the food in while you dip it in chili garlic and/or fish sauce.

Anyways, these greens were enormous. There were mint sprigs the size of oak leafs. My wife thinks the soil these were grown in must be radioactive.

She had the cashier only give us one plate of greens to split between us since the second plate would have gone to waste. There were several varieties of leafy stuff which may have included arugula.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I was deliberately vague in that last comment about where I am because my latest blogpost is a Joel-style guessing game.

I caught myself nearly uploading pictures with the location in the filename. I nearly Pulled An Achenbach.

As a bonus to the automotive aficionados, the post has a picture of a seven-figure exotic sports car. Bonus points to the boodler that can identify the model and tell me the new and used retail price.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Obama picked for Veep a candidate who is, at the very least, clean and articulate.

Lessee, Biden went to the Senate in '73--the same year that I graduated from college (shoulda graduated in '72, but the year abroad on fellowship didn't count as far as college credits). This is change we can believe in? The man's practically a Senate relic or mummy (so, too, McCain).

Speaking of mummy (and Dowd may make hay with this), Obama's mommy was an internationalist of sorts. So Obama matches himself up with a running mate most like ma.

The three things I most remember about Biden: the Anita Hill hearings, the plagiarism charge, and his hair transplant.

You don't suppose the McCain campaign has been reading David Kamp's Sept. 2006 book, "The United States of Argula," do ya?

Posted by: Loomis | August 23, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it "limned"? Or is there yet another word I have to look up after reading y'all's comments? Dang, this is an eggheaded bunch! Who was it that pulled out "stochastic noise" the other day? Maybe Mr. A, his own self. Can't remember. Too senile.

Posted by: KPage | August 23, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm also disappointed with the choice. I would have hoped for a more dark-horse choice, but heck, until a few months ago I never heard of Biden. I might have vaguely remembered him as an also-ran in some presidental primaries, but that seems to be true of half the Democratic Senate that has any age (and Republicans too).

However, Biden sounds like an enthusiastic campaigner, and the analysts dissing the pick may have it wrong.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

yello, your location looks kind of santa barbara-ish to me.

that david brooks article arguing for biden yesterday (before the story broke) was pretty intriguing.

of all the things obama has said about his choice, the thing i appreciate most is that he said he wanted someone who would challenge his thinking, who would not be a "yes man."

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 23, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Yes, it is 'limned', KPage. Here I am trying to be all pretentious only to be brought down by a typo.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's what our local Dem Party chairman has to say about the Biden pick...

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

You're in the right state, LA Lurker. Think further north.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

pssssst, yellojkt...

Don't trust Mel's pronunciation skills -- it's "Hasenpfeffer."

And come to think of it, we might have brought the no-link curse upon ourselves a few weeks ago when we noted the spam put at the end of some previous Boodles. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse


Why be pretentious with me? I just wanted an explaination that was little closer to my level of understanding exactly what you were saying. And I felt the only way to get that understanding was to ask. As it is, I'm still don't understand. But, perhaps it is something I don't really need to understand.

Save it. I don't know if you're aware of this, but most people take offense when one talks about their mom. Politics or whatever.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

yello, you're prolly in los gatos, but only the dealership clue narrows it down any. the trees, architecture and mountain lions, as well as expensive cars, could be anywhere between l.a. and the northern bay area. my aunt and uncle live in saratoga, btw.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 23, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - May I assume that you've not actually read your Uncle Remus stories?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - I'll go ahead and assume that you either haven't read it, or have forgotten it, since your question makes little sense otherwise.

The more you try to get away from the tar baby, the more you're stuck to it. So figuratively, it's a person or problem that you can't get rid of.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Feel free to inquire of this 'ol Georgia boy about any other Southernisms that might puzzle you!!


Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I've forgotten the story if I ever read it. And if the comment is in reference to the choice of Biden as a running mate, it just seems to me, that in order for a anyone to make a change in something, there is the necessity of knowing the nuts and bolts of the thing that's going to be changed. Biden, according to most folks brings that knowledge to the ticket. I'm guessing "thinking" is something Washington doesn't want to do. Pretending everything is simple, does not make it so.

I can hardly talk gentlemen, my presence on this blog is hardly "me, among peers", if you get my drift. What's up, Bob?

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation, Bob S., but I think Cassandra (who I love dearly) was deliberately taking umbrage. The phrase does have a racial connotation in addition to its metaphorical meaning that I did not intend but is there.

The tarbaby reference was added because I was riffing off my "briar patch" politics comment, which is also a Uncle Remus allusion about a situation where people use reverse psychology to trick someone into doing something. David Brooks endorsement of Biden seems like some sort of trap because Biden has said some very unflattering things about Obama in the past that could come back to haunt the campaign, including using the racial code word "articulate", albeit allegedly unaware of the negative low-expectations connotations.

I will try to be more sensitive and less literary in the future.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse


I boodled out of order and missed your 12:41. We need lots of perspectives on this blog and you are one of my favorites.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought Uncle Remus had been tucked away in an attic, to be forgotten until some date far in the future when all of us are dead and gone.

In Florida, I think romaine has pretty much cornered the lettuce market, so an iceberg wedge could indeed be a novelty. The Everglades Agricultural Area produces lots of winter lettuce, all kinds.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Arugula is no lettuce, it's more closely related to mustard. I'm a roquette man; I should know. Order Brassicales. More of a kale than a lettuce. It gets too strong in the hot summer but is most flavorful and sweet when young or any new fall growth. I too lament the cost of it. The seeds are easy to harvest and replant on a month-to-month basis for rocket almost all year round.

If Obama ate collards, he'd trump that McCain guy easy.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I had to laugh when I read Maggie O's umbrage about David Brooks and his piece about Biden in yesterday's kit. When I read it I thought it was interesting but I did have a fleeting mental image of the Trojan Horse when I finished it.

I'm working today but it's very quiet so I've been reading a few of the comments on the some of the blogs and columns. I'm telling you, there are a lot of crazies out there.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend.

Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hawaiians don't eat no collards!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

" Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. "

Elitist? Kale is no more elitist than Brauchli or the other common Brassicas.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 23, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I probably did take umbrage, yello, the reason I asked for the explaination, so that you could enlighten me. Remember I'm from the Civil Rights Era, catching up is hard to do, but, oh, how I try. And the umbrage is probably more related to the fact that my hearing-aid fell apart than what you said. Forgive me, I'm cranky, ill, and everything else today, but that is not justification for taking it out on any of you, whom I love dearly. You, too, Loomis.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Let us not go there, with the collard thing. Mine seem to be dying. Let us let those comments die also. Can't we talk without doing all that?

Before I can get over one thing, another one jumps out there. I've had my meds, does anyone else need to take theirs? Please do.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Biden's "articulate" comment is another plus for Obama. By picking a fellow whose comment is widely interpreted as unintentionally, but actually, racist, Obama defuses the nitwits and pinheads who would like to label him "an angry black man." I personally think that Biden was not making a racist distinction between Obama and "other black folks" I think he was making a distinction between Obama and other politicians. A person who can speak eloquently and intelligently, as well as persuasively, is darned rare among politicians.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | August 23, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I meant to sign my 1:02 "Plainly".

And whether Biden meant something coded or not, that's the way the rest of us interpret it. In fact, lack of intention makes it all the more pernicious and diagnostic of a continuing mindset and social problem. Which makes it all the more significant that Obama is able to rise above that level and take Biden as his running mate.

Posted by: PlainTim | August 23, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Over the years, some bigots have taken perfectly good black fictional characters and used their identities/names as racial taunts. Such people tend to spoil everything.

Now, on pho or Phở. I was told, and have some backup, that it's pronounced "f(schwa)" or to my ear, and Wiktionary's audio aid, "fuh." At any rate, it's somewhere near the two and not particularly close to fee, fi, or fo. I smell the blood of an Englishman!

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - Alas, the kit was about the cultural implications of different foods. Would you have ALL traditional Southern foods removed from the realm of the discussion?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Cassandra!

Boodle, what is the appropriate NSAID to take for a wasp sting? It hurts when I move my fingers but, thankfully, isn't red or swollen. The hydrocortisone cream and ice appear to have done their duty. I have ibuprofen and naproxen in the house but can get something else upon recommendation.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm wrong. Abe Lincoln choose Hannibal Hamlin, possibly the Joe Biden of his time, as his running mate in 1860. Hamlin brought experience and political savvy to the ticket. In 1864 VP became Tenn. Gov. Andrew Johnson, southerner. Perhaps in choosing Biden, Obama is taking a page out of the Lincoln campaign book.

My memory of Uncle Remus is overall cagy rascality. I had no notion of racial undertones.

Posted by: rh | August 23, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

chose, oops.

Posted by: rh | August 23, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the collards, Cassandra. Maybe they need a tiny bit of fertilizer to take hold. Sigh. Many vegetable gardens are not doing too well here. My brother's up in the mountains not so well either, although his are pest related. The neighbors' horses ate the tops off the corn and so a lot of the ears were not properly pollinated. And they had no suitable remedy for insect depradations, attempting to go organic on pest control. My brother attempted "soapy water" but I'm betting he used detergent not knowing any better. Between the bugs and him, the broccoli was ruined. Lots of bugs on everything, I saw. It all gave me the idea that maybe a portable dustbuster vacuum might be worth trying for nonchemical (I hesitate to use the word "natural!) pest control. If I were still up there visiting I'd try it. I relayed my idea to him.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Have you thought about mixing a little miracle grow with some water and putting it on your collards? It worked wonders for all my plants. I am still getting beans out the wahzoo. i wish you lived right around the corner and I could drop by and give you some. Miracle grow and beans too.

I sure hate working on Saturdays.....aruggggggggggula

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 23, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

One more thing and I'll shut up. I've never been to Hawaii but I've had poi, and I like it a LOT. I could take one step off the boat there and compete in a poi eating contest. I'd get beaten, but not for a while.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

rh - Your memory is partially correct. Certainly the Tar-Baby/brier patch story is devoid of racial undertones. Others, not so much. There's also the fact that the stories were narrated with strongly rural, "black" voices, which grates on a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I should probably amend my comment to say that the story is free of ostensible racial undertones. Much literary hay has been made of the deeper implications of the work.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I wear starched kollards on Sundays but otherwise I am an arrugula guy.

Posted by: Brag | August 23, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Now, I'm taking the rest of the afternoon off and taking my submarine out to fight the Royal Navy.

Posted by: Brag at sea. | August 23, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I don't know if I've ever eaten arugula. I eat green stuff without asking for its name.

When I was a little kid with the mumps, a friend of my parents gave me a book to keep busy. It was a book about a boy with a new outfit, who is forced to give his clothes to three tigers so they don't eat him. Then he makes the tigers jealous of each other by complimenting their shoes, shirt, and pants. The tigers chase around a tree trying to steal the clothing from each other until they melt. The little boy puts his clothes on again, then collects the tiger lard to bring home to his mom. I LOVED the story.

When I met my husband many years later in Louisiana, I told him about reading the book with my mom over and over as one of the fondest memories from childhood. He freaked out and warned me not to tell that story to ANYONE.

To me, it was a neat story with beautiful illustrations.

I've never heard of the Uncle Remus stories, but I wonder how many kids had to rearrange the memories of having read the stories with their adult contexts.

Posted by: a bea c | August 23, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Please don't throw me in the briar patch, but the book a bea c remembers was written by Helen Bannerman in 1899 and was about a boy in India named Sambo. Later versions were sanitized to Sam because of the perception of Sambo as a pejorative. In fact, a once popular restaurant chain by the same name ultimately closed over 1,100 stores because of its name.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 23, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I found some on-line commentary on the term "tar baby" that may explain some things about why the term is racist to African-Americans while whites remain oblivious:,8599,1221764,00.html

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that each community remains flabbergasted by the notion that the other community is serious in how they interpret "tar baby." Given that it originated in stories told among slaves, I have to give precedence to the interpretation that it is racist. I found a lot of other material by Googling "tar baby" and "racist". This link was pretty much the only one that addressed differing interpretation of the term between communities. Another article I found described an intentionally racist use of the term within a specific white community, as a code for "troublesome" blacks.

Most whites with whom I have spoken or corresponded know the tar baby only from the Uncle Remus stories (usually from the Disney version) by Joel Chandler Harris, a white man. We forget that it can have an independent life separate from the printed page -- and in any case, the Uncle Remus stories were supposedly a folkloric recording of stories that were common among the black community of Harris' time. He could have captured only a limited strain of thought, while the black community of that time has handed down all the many strains of thought to their descendants today. The story-motif probably had interpretations completely distinct from what we get from reading Joel Chandler Harris' book. I would have to question the accuracy with which Harris, a white man, could, or would, record stories from the freed-slave community. Anthropologists and folklorists struggle to overcome ethnocentrism, but the concept of ethnocentrism as a negative property did not yet even exist when "Uncle Remus" was published.

It's for exactly these reasons that I resist telling ethnic stories and stick to original material. Ethnic stories depend upon a specific context for their interpretation. Like satire, an ethnic story taken out of context can be perceived to mean the opposite of its true intent. I was struck by the fact that in my own memory, I had reversed the identity of protagonist and antagonist between Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit. I had been thinking of it as Br'er Rabbit tricking Br'er Fox and getting away with it; whereas in fact, Br'er Fox tricks Br'er Rabbit and is deprived of his meal only by a last-minute bit of desperate counter-trickery from Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Fox may be undone by his lust for vengeance, but Br'er Rabbit is nearly undone by his simple stupidity. Between the characters, which one represents whites? Which one represents blacks? Which group is more harshly insulted by the story?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | August 23, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, I'm not really getting the adult context of that story, either.

"Ring around the Rosy" does lose its charm when you hear it's supposed to be a Black Death description. Likewise, "The Lion and the Unicorn" is an allegory for the Tudor-Stewart power struggle. Or something.

I think you need to take it as "Grown-ups see the darndest things in kiddie lit."

While the tiger story MAY apply to what your husband's thinking of (whatever it is), it also applies to a lot of things. That's why stories work thoroughout the generations... that and oral narratives tend to change according to the teller, as StoryTim will attest.

Uncle Remus had some good stories. The secret is not to throw those stories out, but to retell them so the "baggage" doesn't distract from the story.

Trickster tales are inherently difficult because they are in their nature not "politically correct", and tend to violate norms of behavior. That's why they're trickster tales.

Cassandra, the tar baby is just a trap-- like a scarecrow made of tar.

The more you fight it, the more trapped you get. (Brer Rabbit made the mistake of throwing a punch at it, thinking the tar baby was being rude by not replying.).

The story could be retold as the chinese finger puzzle of doom, quicksand, almost anything where the natural impulse to be aggressive or pull away is the wrong reaction.

Those stories illustrate how reacting without thought to new things can be dangerous.

Unfortunately because tar= black, it's been taken as a racial slur many times. (And maybe used as one, I have no idea.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

To talk about food, yes, by all means, fine. In relation to people, that may require tact(?), because some of that stuff has been used to hurt, even when done in a joking way. More than likely the reason we're talking about it is because somewhere in some part of this world, someone thought it was a good idea to make their case look better by dissing someone with this same thing. I suppose I may be ultra-sensitive because of my location. But, Bob S, being from Georgia, you probably know that, right?

And speaking of food, I think I may need to eat. My blood sugar just might be a tad low.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Slate has some fun words about arugula:

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That's right, Shiloh. My husband, studying Civil War and Reconstruction history at the time, was very clear that the boy's name offensive to many.

Posted by: a bea c | August 23, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse


Our grandparents used to put chewing tobacco juice on wasp stings, and that was some kind of nasty, considering they took the juice directly from their chewing the tobacco. I don't know if it was the tobacco juice or the fact that we endured such home remedies. Did you get the stinger out?

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Nothing pretentious about using a good word, Mr. Yello. It's just that you people are so hot about this SCC business (and I miss most of the initial typos) that I wondered.

I think Biden's a great choice, if for no other reason that it'll stop my dad from writing to the DNC about their failure to more vigorously support his presidential bid. The man's written so many letters, he's on a CIA watch list, fer shur.

Posted by: KPage | August 23, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, that was Mr. T's first suggestion. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who chews. Fortunately, I had my gardening gloves on, so the stinger didn't stick. The hand is feeling better.

I certainly did the female shriek, trying to get the darn thing off my hand.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

As a sidenote to history, there is still a "Sambo's on the Beach" at 216 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. The story of the little boy and the tigers is printed in the menu. If I remember correctly, this was the original restaurant of that chain and allowed to retain the name because of the historical significance. (Don't visit it for the food!)

Posted by: nellie | August 23, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Just lost a comment, aaargh.

Yello-I think your trip took you to San Jose and you were on the Stevens Creek Trail.

Biden doesn't bother me, doesn't thrill me either. What bothers me is that I didn't receive my personal announcement e-mail until hours after I heard it on BBC radio (0500 CDT for radio vs. 0836 for the e-mail). On the other hand, I may have an unread text message on my phone. I am such a digital immigrant.

I live the cultural nightmare of saying the wrong racial thing every day. Our fair city's name contains a term many American Indians (aka Native Americans) find pejorative. To not use the name and substitute the "first initial" Lake instead, as some local agencies and the tribe do, offends many people. To use the full name offends many people, and a vast majority don't care one way or the other. Among those who do care, passions run high on both sides of the issue. Try being the mayor of a town and not saying its name. It can be done, but it's not easy.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - O yeah, I know for sure! I suspect that the reason "soul food" is so inextricably linked with race in the American consciousness is that the great migration north & west out of the South didn't consist of equal numbers of white folk & dark folk. So a menu which is/was characteristic of poor, rural Southerners in general was associated in the rest of the country with the newly arrived black folks. Sometimes I feel sensitive to people's sensitivity on that point, sometimes I educate them, and sometimes I throw it in their face and let them stew in their own rancor. Depends on my mood, and what I'm trying to accomplish. Ultimately, race is whatever it is, and that depends on an uncountable number of different variables.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Bob, when was "the great migration north & west out of the South"? I'm not familiar with any such general migration.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Biden are on television. I'm going to look at that for now. I hope Biden doesn't talk too long.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I think southern food has been unfairly stereotyped, Bob S.

I enjoyed Cracker Barrel when I was in Michigan; it amused me to find southern dishes that far north, and they were delicious too. (I do like okra, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, etc.).

My guess is that if we could get more of those dishes really trendy, like cajun food or fried chicken, some of the stereotyping might disappear.

I still don't like argula much, it's too strong raw... maybe with some light steaming or with oil and such it'd turn delicious, just like watercress is.

And I do like watercress sandwiches. Color me elitist-- watercress and cream cheese, delish.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I just turned Obama and Biden on; it's 3:23 and Biden's talking... when did he start?

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I think this is what Bob's talking about...

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, all. Just ducking in briefly to tell ya that if I could (which I can't and never have been able to do), I would do cartwheels over and over again for kale. I simply *luv* that veggie! And it's so jam-packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals -- it's like a super food. Elitest? I think not!

I'm pleased with the Biden nomination. He comes from blue collar roots, and can (and does) give as good as he gets.

Now, back to what I thought I was doing (now, what was that again?).

HBTY again, Mudge, for tomorrow. Celebrate mightily!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 23, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

TBG-I didn't catch the exact start time but it was a very brief speech by Biden standards. There were a couple times when the crowd started chanting that made me wonder if we were hearing some of the famed Obama campaign discipline. Perhaps there is a cadre of staffers who are in place to start the chants when it looks like Joe is going to go on too long. I certainly hope so anyway.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, I was away. Yep, TBG, that would be the one(s)!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that I have had arugula in restaurant- and store-bought salads, but I don't buy it myself. I bought some endive the other day, to see what the fuss is about (not all that much, it turns out). I used it in burrito filling to use it up before it went bad.

The whole arugula flap is a typical pretense of stupidity on the part of critics, since Obama wasn't whining about the cost of his own arugula habit -- he was advising farmers to get on the gravy train and start taking advantage of people dumb enough to pay that much for an unexceptional leaf-crop. It's a position that you would think Republicans would cheer, if they actually meant what they say about market forces and free trade. What I *do* find distressing in that story is the suggestion that Obama, who does not have an agrarian background, should be telling farmers how to do their business. In general, I tend to trust that most people do not embrace incompetence and have figured out on their own how to do their job well. It's not necessarily so, but it's my preferred starting position. I suspect that farmers give a lot of consideration to the cost/benefit ratio of switching to specialty crops. The biggest downside obviously being that a fad can suddenly peter out.

Posted by: PlainTim | August 23, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The only problem I have with Kale is it's so fibrous I have problems cooking it the way I want to. Otherwise, it tastes fine-- I like all brassica vegetables when prepared properly (some need more specific prep than others).

I'd like to hear your kale recipe, ftb.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Biden didn't talk that long. It was odd to see him moving so spritely. For me, he has the look of a statesman. He has a lovely wife, and she's a school teacher. It was a very large crowd.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The Great Migration was the movement of approximately seven million African Americans out of the Southern United States to the North, Midwest and West from 1910 to 1970. Precise estimates of the number of migrants depend on the time frame. African Americans migrated to escape racism, seek employment opportunities in industrial cities, and to get better education for their children, all of which were widely perceived as leading to a better life. Some historians differentiate between the Great Migration (1910-1940), numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and the Second Great Migration, from 1940-1970. In the Second Migration 5 million or more people relocated but migrants moved to more new places. Many moved from Texas and Louisiana to California where there were jobs in the defense industry. From 1965-1970, 14 states of the South, especially Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, contributed to a large net migration of blacks to the other three Census designated regions of the United States.[2]

Since then scholars have noted a reverse migration underway that gathered strength through the last 35 years of the 20th century. It has been named the New Great Migration and identified in visible demographic changes since 1965. Most of the data is from 1965-2000. The data encompasses the movement of African Americans back to the South following de-industrialization in Northeastern and Midwestern cities, the growth of high-quality jobs in the "New South", and improving racial relations in the South. Many people moved back because of family and kinship ties. From 1995-2000, Georgia, Texas and Maryland were the states that attracted the most black college graduates.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Farmers do change their crops, but I believe it is based on something other than what the fad is at the time. Here in the Sandhills, peaches used to be the number one crop, but not so much now. Strawberries on the rise, peaches still have a place. Both crops can be hit hard by frost, and farmers lose everything. Of course the staples of cotton and tobacco have long faded out. I see a lot of corn and some soybeans. Cotton and tobacco have not disappeared altogether, but not so much. Farmers, like anyone else want to make money, yet I don't know if private operations can do that. The big guns have taken over everything now.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

When I first started doing a good bit of cooking for myself (around age 21, when I moved out of military dorms into a house that three of us rented off of the base) I was stunned by the price difference between green bell peppers, and the red/yellow/orange varieties.

I wondered what kind of fool would grow and/or sell the green ones when the others were worth 3-10 times as much. Obviously, there are other issues involved, 'cause your basic farmer doesn't last in the business by working against his/her own self-interest.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

While it's still early and his announcement is less than 24 hours old, do you guys think it is possible we could put a moratorium on ALL discussion about how effing long Joe Biden speaks? Because it is neither fair, accurate or especially true (Clinton talked as long or longer, and you guys don't breathe a word of it) -- and it sure isn't helpful to the cause. And I know darn well I'm gonna get testy if I have to listen to eight years of this bull---- , and to hear it from his "friends," no less, just makes it all the more irritating. So can we please just knock it off?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, got it. No Biden, no collards, and we've done the tar-baby almost to death. Any other banned subjects?


Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes sir, Mudge. And I am sorry for even saying that. You will not hear those words from me again.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm in, Mudge.

Bob.. I may be wrong, but the way I understand it, yellow and red bell peppers are just green ones that stayed longer on the vine. I guess the farmers balance out the difference between what they can get for the longer-ripened peppers and how much more they can make with another crop on that field.

Did that make sense?

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.- when it comes to green vs. yellow, orange or red peppers they are almost always just varying degrees of ripeness of the bell pepper. Green are cheaper because they are harvested unripe, like those baseball style tomatoes, and thus can be held longer and shipped more easily. Sometimes peppers can be ripened off the plant, but they'll never be as sweet as those on. Thus, the extra expense comes from more time on the plant and extra care in handling. Pepper growers typically get multiple crops a year out of the same fields and leaving peppers on the plant reduces days available for growing other stuff.

I think the willingness, or ability, of farmers to consider specialty crops is a product of so many factors it's almost impossible to predict with certainty what they'll do-but our patchwork of farm policy does steer growers toward one thing or another. Going after a specialty market, or trying something entirely new, takes a person with a real entrpreneurial frame of mind. How many of us would throw off our every day lives for something we'd really like to do, that could even be quite lucrative if everything fell into place, but we're not willing to take the big risk? Farmers are not so different.

Pa Frostbitten is a cattleman down to the bone. However, he is also a prostate cancer survivor (23 years now) who makes the stereotypical healthy eating California nut look like a Dunkin Donuts denizen. I don't see where the foods we eat say anything politically, unless the foods we don't eat are the ones we're boycotting in solidarity with one group or another.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I've already written and deleted several more posts about tar-babies and Sambo, on the theory that it creates an unpleasant atmosphere for some of our friends while not accomplishing anything other than puffing my own ego. At length.

If the only problem Biden has to counter is a reputation for being a little verbose, this election will be a shoo-in. As supposed "political defects" go, a reputation (false or not) for having a lot to say, and saying it intelligently, is not too bad.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | August 23, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Yes, even back then I understood that was probably the underlying issue. More investment of time & care = higher prices. But it STILL took my breath away when I saw green bells for $0.50 a pound, and red/yellow/orange right beside them for $2.50-$5.00 per pound.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I see TBG said it faster, and clearer.

Mudge-point well taken. However, someone needs to tell Biden to quit saying "literally." Although, at least he used it correctly, for the most part.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

It would bore most folks, but I've had friends & relatives who were acutely interested in market trends, government policies, and long-term weather forecasts, because that stuff matters a LOT when your family livelihood depends on gettin' stuff to the market.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I generally make a melange of veggies along with fish,chicken, quinoa, or quinoa pasta, depending on my mood (not *everything* at one time, in case anyone's confused or saying "all THAT???"). I throw in some herbs and spices (caraway seeds are good with kale, I find) and nuke it. Years can go by before I use my regular oven (I'm trying to remember where I put the instruction book). With nuking I don't have to use any extra fat to cook with, and the veggies keep their color and nutrients. I agree that kale can be fibrous, but if you can find it in smaller leaves, it's fine.

I'm finding it almost funny that the Repubs have gone after Biden for his plagiarism, which, of course, opens the door (a HUGE door) for the Dems to go after McCain for his fraudulent activities as part of the Keating Five (and I hope they do). Be careful what you wish for, eh? What I really like about Biden is that he gives just as good as he gets, and that's what the Dems need to have.

Go get 'em Joe!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 23, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Eek! Frostbitten said Dunkin Donuts!
It was on the original "JUST SHUT THE HELL UP, ALL OF YOU" list.
Eek! Now I said it too!
Ok Ok, I'll just shut up and finish my Starbucks cappuccino quietly.

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 23, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl - Chuckling out loud here!!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Home town pride alert -- Lions are leading Cleveland 13-0 in the second quarter. At least there will be something to watch later this evening (Redskins-Carolina) other than Olympics commercials. What a relief!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 23, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Dunkin Donuts! Dunkin Donuts! Dunkin Donuts!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl-A thousand pardons, I was so revolting.

Bob S.-no phone call with Pa Frostbitten can begin without a long discussion of the weather and what it will/won't do for crops.

Hot News! Mr. F scored a free (just 25k miles and no fee) airline ticket for my mega BPH/visiting the 'rents in Newport News trip.

Don-meant to tell you "way to go" on the running progress!

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a testy little group today. Everyone, put the umbrage away before someone breaks it. (Kidding!)

We went to a state fair, had a lot of fun looking at animals and tractors and quilts and vegetables and such. Taped the Obama/Biden event, haven't watched it yet. The Dems running the booth at the fair seemed very happy.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 23, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

What the frack?

Posted by: Starbuck! Starbuck! Starbuck! | August 23, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

We can't say DUNKIN DONUTS? Well if that ain't just a bunch o' dunkin donuts.

Frosti... I was going to say something like "Well, Frosti said it much better and in more detail." ha

Someone on the Interwebs has already pointed out how much "Obama Biden" looks like "Osama Bin Laden." And this was a Dem supporter. So watch out, folks. It's gonna be a rough ride.

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I've been offline all day, doing real world things (jogging, shopping, cleaning) and 20th century things (watched "Harold and Maude," rode my bicycle)--and now I just check in to the internet after being away for less than 24 hours and find the world has rushed on without my knowing it.

Check out Cafe Press, already:

Posted by: kbertocci | August 23, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger - I asked a co-worker recently if Detroit still had a pro football team. She was not especially amused!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

When I was a dorm-inhabiting Penn State student, the dining halls attempted a soul food dinner. The food was quite OK, but the students were surprisingly unwilling to partake. I recall consuming several pieces of sweet potato pie to demonstrate that it was not only edible but yummy. The usual German-inflected cooking was remarkable considering that universities aren't supposed to be competent at food. In tiny State College, the food operation was a major industry.

I was a University of North Carolina student after campus food service was shut down due to a strike/civil rights action (I wasn't around to get a first hand view). But the biology buildings were across from the little cafeteria at the Carolina Inn. As an impoverished student, I consumed lots of greens.

Years later, I had to admit that the new food operation at Portland's Reed College was really nice, though I think students did a lot of their foraging at Trader Joe's and the two produce stands that flanked the campus. One of the stands was at a tiny but apparently very successful lettuce farm that operated (in summer) on spring water.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Tim can give us some professional context here:

"Cleaning Up After Foreclosures

Astronomical foreclosure rate in Prince William County has made junk disposal a growth industry."

[ ]

That sounds like a lot of foreclosures! How does it compare to the rates on other planets?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

You see, Bob, the problem was with the ill-advised plan of making a major astronomical development in Prince William County, a region not noted for good seeing nor atmospheric transparency. It works all right for office facilities, but it's simply not a good site for "big glass." What we're seeing now is the inevitable adjustment as the telescopes are sold off to various minor colleges and universities and the graduate student apartment housing is converted back to the use from which the blueprints had to be modified, as minimum-security prison barracks. I envision a major growth opportunity in for-profit prison management, and I advise you to invest accordingly.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 23, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - I knew you wouldn't let me down!!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

25,000 volunteers for the DNC...many of whom showed up for training/instructions this morning--self included. The city looks beautiful. The mayor was there. They anticipate 17,000 from the media alone. Lots of police milling around.

Gonna be a hot time in the old town...

Politics and food...or...we reap what we sow.

Posted by: eidrib | August 23, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Let it be noted for the record that I'm in total awe of Tim's ability to compose that commentary on short notice, AND that I'm in some abdominal discomfort from laughing so hard.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Bob -- that cracks me up! I tell ya, when you're from Detroit, ya gotta have resiliency. Actually, we're kind of spoiled, in that the Red Wings are so dominant in hockey and the Pistons, while they can't quite seem to win the big title consistently, are still a dang good basketball team. We had high hopes for the Tigers this year, which were dashed pretty much immediately, but they'll come along again. The Lions have always been the poor stepchild and one of these days (one of these days, maybe in my lifetime, and I'm getting on in years) they might even break even.

So, tell your colleague not to get annoyed. She should be highly amused! I mean, I laughed out loud at your comment!

Lighten up, folks. Grab some koffee.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 23, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. I like aragula. I love mâche (corn salad). Most year I plant both mâche and aragula in the garden. This year I've got mâche and mesclun, a good deal of the "tangy" mesclun mix being aragula. I guess I'm so effete I'm positively gay.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 23, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Just be careful, denizen. Greens are a touchy subject 'round here!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

sd... my laptop is covered in spewed iced tea. Hilarious!

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

SEDONA, Ariz. — Senator John McCain publicly reacted Saturday to the news that his good friend, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., would be on the Democratic ticket with his now daily vacation ritual: going for a morning coffee run with his six-car motorcade to Starbucks and saying not a word.

Six cars for a cup of coffee. No wonder he wants a moratorium on the federal gas tax.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 23, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I think the idiocy of the Arugula smear is pretty self-evident. What annoys me is the "pointy-headed-professor type" indictment.

Oh, mercy me that we would ever have a President who values nuance and deep thought.

This advocacy of ignorance reminds me of a line in "Blazing Saddles."

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons. "

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Re PlainTim 3:57-- "People don't need to be told how to do their business."

Generally true, except that there ARE agricultural experts who help farmers with soil science and other concerns. We have a whole department devoted to agriculture and developing new crops and so on... while also acting as a regulatory agency (which I think is a conflict of interest).

Organic farming and new crops with very niche appeal aren't a fad in the Midwest-- you see it mostly on the coasts. There are reasons for that (lack of marketing vs shipping/perishability), but maybe times have changed recently.

I believe Bob S said it best when he said his relatives continually monitor every source of news they can to figure out what they must do to get their crops to market safely that year.

It's a very complicated system of hedging bets, folk fortune-telling, and hard work.

If you bet on the same crop too many other people bet on, it has to have a great market for the yield that year, or you'll lose your shirt.

BTW, I bet some of those Iowans HAD heard of argula, but would call it rocket instead.

Hey, I'd take pointy-headed over blunt-**ssed anyday.

As my grandma likes to say-- We are made with two ends and it matters which you use-- heads you win, tails you lose.

This seems rather evident in their respective routes to wealth-- head vs tail.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Wilbrod, thanks for the shout-out! Now I'm regretting that I deleted (because I thought that I was pontificating a bit too much) the snippet:

"gettin' stuff (whether it's hogs, hay, or habaneros) to the market."

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting "Elitist Celebrity Quiz"-

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse


Your 7:08 comment really, really, made my day. I'm still laughing. I like "Blazing Saddles", but don't remember that line. It feels good to laugh. And yes, we have been slightly testy today. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. Most of my umbrage came from me. The fact that I cannot hear the doorbell or telephone is just so frightening. I forget it for awhile, and then it comes back. Oh, well, there's nothing I can do but dig in.

Thanks, Jumper, and all, for the advice on the plants.

Time for bed. Have a good evening, friends. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 23, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

You folks all understand that I don't expect any of you to actually READ anything that I post here, right? I just do it because my fingers need the exercise!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I read every word you post. If I didn't, I might miss something important. Or funny. Can't let that happen!

We're back from family reunion picnic, had a great time. I am blessed with delightful relations. It's always a good time to be with them, and I'm glad that we get together for the fun times, not just at funerals.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'd come and comfort you anyday.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 23, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

You're having chicken for dinner, right?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 23, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I posted my guess to the foma blog and was wrong. Oh well.

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I read your posts too BobS.

I sometimes wonder myself...

Posted by: omi | August 23, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The proper response would be to close the comments, not disable hot links

but maybe that's just me thinking again

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I once grew Chervil in High School. I was supposed to take the plant home with me at the end of the year. It was pass fail. Show up for class and plant some seeds and water them: you pass. I had a green thumb that year. The teacher said so. Never had a student grow Chervil so full and lush. But I had a locker to clear out. A diploma to carry. Cap and gown to return.

Yeah, I have some regrets...

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I've been off-line all day, and only have a few minutes for now...

Er, I'll consider my compliance with the EmBidengo for a while - probably until the Dem National Convention.

Ha - *Tim, when I read that "astronomical" comment, I had the same thought you did. And thought that maybe they were considering rezoning large sections of PG County for Observatorical (ahem) Use Only.

yellokt, one look at the horseshoe grille of that car told me it was a Bugatti, I'm pretty sure it's a 16-cyl quad-turbo 1,000 hp Veyron. Er, what do I win again?

Going to hop off now - Boodling, playing games with my youngest and her cousin (aka managing a , hanging out with my middle daughter and catching snippets of the Washington NFL Franchise preseason game (big-dollar J. Taylor may be hurt, as I feared he could be, and Washington's down 27-0 nearing the half. Sheesh.), the NASCAR race at Bristol (aka the Bristol Stomp), and the Olympics.

Good thing the cousin brought over some homemade fudge. I'm busy, but not too busy to try a little of *that.*


Posted by: bc | August 23, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

See, here's why I love the Achenblog. Omni states, calmly and reasonably, that, "The proper response would be to close the comments, not disable hot links".

Other fora (that's the plural of "forum", right?) with which I'm acquainted would be full of people making plots to track down the access nodes of the miscreants, and wreak terrible digital vengeance upon them, their friends & families, and their service providers.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I like you when you think AND when you don't think omni. You are charming either way.

Not to go back to territory everyone has covered (interesting conversation today), I just want to comment about one tiny thing. Wilbrod IIRC, said "The more you fight it, the more trapped you get." a little earlier, and that holds true for many many things in life.

I try to apply it to everything I read online. I really try not to load my own personal interpretation and history on to another person comments. When you go looking for evil connotations, you will find evil connotations in everything you see and do.

I come from a really really small town in the midst of the Canadian prairie, and I understood both yj's metaphorical use, and the reasons for cassandra's concern.

My question is how is it that such things are not disscussed? We learned the stories in grade school and again in highschool, and we talked about the way modern people took the terms from the stories and used them. It was a lesson in politics, and literature and human nature all in one sitting. I choose to look for the good core of sense that the stories contain.

and now, because "The more you fight it, the more trapped you get", I will go have dinner and keep quiet.

Posted by: dr | August 23, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

This is not a football game; it is a fiasco.

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

With prejudices not yet past, such discussion becomes harder, especially with hysterical parents. Huckleberry Finn is one of the MOST banned books in America, simply because it does portray racism... for what it is.

from the drunken Pa who got angry at the educated black who was a professor... (and indeed, I sometimes wonder about the "target group" of that Argula comment), to the causal racism, to the whole suffering Jim experienced, and the whole allegory of the reconstruction... it's a good book. But the N word is dynamite.

I look at it this way, we all agree that ideally we shouldn't show kids pictures of naked people gratituously, but in art, biology and medicine, nudity is necessary to study form, function, and disease.

That's common sense-- and it's lacking in K-12 education those days, thanks to politicization of education-- and not just from the parents downwards.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I sometimes wonder about the "target group" of the criticism of that Argula comment.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse


Today I watched a movie and have been thinking along the same lines.

The movie is rated PG13 because it "contains sexual content, smoking, and some frank conversations."

When did frank conversations become the exclusive realm of kids older than 13? Are we getting ridiculous in the sheltering of our kids?

Posted by: a bea c | August 23, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG, that trainwreck is enough to make me give up football forever. I finally couldn't take it any more, and switched off. Am watching 101 Greatest Moments of SNL, weeping, and drinking heavily.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

No offense Joel but AA Gill, food critic and travel writer of the Times, has my vote for the feature piece of the week. Learn how Loomis' ancestor "had that other curse of medieval monarchs: a ruthless, scheming and vindictive wife, who produced a very suspect heir, considering Henry had never shown anything other than disgust and incomprehension at the idea of hiding the pink sceptre. For long periods he would retreat into vegetative states. England had a cabbage as a king."

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 23, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Watching the marathon...waiting for the closing ceremonies because I hear Jimmy Page is going to play - that should be good. I've never figured out the time difference - CBC says the closing ceremonies start at 3 am Pacific, so I'll be taping it. I kind of thought they were going to be Friday...

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 23, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Ouch! Because of warning comments here, I hadn't turned my TV on at all tonight. I just did so, and it happened to be tuned to the channel of the football game.

So, what channel's the SNL special on?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

sd-thank you, thank you, thank you. Love this in re: archers. "They were nation-specific – only the English and the Welsh took on the discipline, the plebeian odium and the round loathing that came with a bow. None of the continental countries deigned to partake, preferring to be nobly kebabbed."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

shriek, I'm LOVING the article about Towton!

"So the two armies, screaming obscenities or just howling like mad dogs, slithered together and joined one of the most hellish experiences of human ingenuity: a medieval battle in the snow."

That's vivid, baby!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I just went downstairs where my roommate (housemate? He & his wife have their own room!) happened to be checking out the football game. He made the observation that if it was a boxing match, they'd have stopped it long before now. Where's the mercy rule?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 23, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. This is an interesting Boodle. I think ScienceTim should get some sort of award for the explanation of astronomical foreclosures.

I myself don't like arugula, because it tastes bitter to me. But I'm happy for other people to enjoy it. Joel is absolutely right when he says there's just more kinds of food around than there were thirty years ago. I know, I grew up sheltered - but when I went to college, yogurt was a deeply exotic discovery to me. Until I left home I never had a lettuce that wasn't iceberg (and haven't bought iceberg in almost the whole time since I left home). We had green beans, pinto beans, baked beans and wax beans (exotic!). White potatoes and sweet potatoes. Green olives with pimiento or pitted black olives from a can (exotic!). You get the idea. The Boy is growing up in a completely different culinary world, ignorant of his gustatory advantages.

My understanding is that, when Biden speaks, Mudge wishes us to refrain from comment on anything other than its substance. Okay. I'm fine with the choice. In fact I'm glad Obama picked someone with a national profile. I'm also extremely relieved it wasn't Hillary.

One comment on the "tigers" story. Jerry Pinkney, an astonishing African American artist who illustrated some great kid's books, reclaimed this story from any ugly connotations in a splendid and exuberant book called "Sam and the Tigers". It is one of our favorites. I've shared it with Cassandra and most of the other folks I know with young children.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again SD, that Towton article was worthy of "feature of the week" status. I was breathless reading it.

Toodles boodle and sleep well.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Um, where was Washington in the football game? Did the team stay home? Sorry to see that it's so, so one-sided.

Shriek, that's a really cool piece. I knew about Edward IV, of course, but not about that battle. Tough century, the fifteenth. Almost as bad as the twentieth.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

No, Ivansmom, that isn't remotely close to what I wished for.

47-3. And the WaPo headline writer, in a moment of gallantry above and beyond the call, merely states that the "Redskins Stumble...." That's like saying the Hindenburg ran into some turbulence.

HBTY2, ftb.

Sleep tight, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

LA Lurker wins. There are only about eight Bugatti dealers in the country. The hotel is done in a distinctly Spanish style native to California and the southwest (although some resemblance to the French Quarter can be understood). The town name means "The Cats" and is named after the mountain lions that live in the Santa Cruz mountains. Los Gatos Creek runs from a reservoir down to San Jose.

I had a delightful dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant in Saratoga.

My wife collects fairy tales and legends from various ethnic traditions. Many of the B'rer Rabbit stories have been recast as Anansi the Spider, an African trickster legend. Neil Gaiman has written a book called "Nancy Boys" about the fictional sons of Anansi. The title itself could be considered offensive to some.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

slyness, Washington was the Maroon.

You know, the guys the Carolina ball carriers ran past on their way to the end zone...

Ivansmom, I was lucky to grow up in Washington in a very ethnically mixed neighborhood, raised by women who could cook (which was helpful because we didn't have money). I had a lot of good interesting food; being Italian, we had a lot of food prepared that way - eggplant, mussels, calimari (all kinds of fish, really), gnocchi, polenta, carbonara, homemade pastas with homemade gravys and sauces (incl. homemade pesto), etc. but also all kinds of other good stuff from cultures across the US, Europe, Central and South America, and the far East.

Gastronomically speaking, I've lived a full life.



Posted by: bc | August 23, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Just because Bill Clinton is notoriously long winded ("bill clinton" + "long-winded" = 35,100 hits []), that doesn't make Joe Biden Calvin Coolidge. Just sayin'.

It is indeed a Veyron. Not that I knew that before I went to the Silicon Valley Motors website.

Your correct answer and two million dollars wins you the car. Second prize is your correct answer and four bucks wins you an elitist McCain cup of coffee. Arugula flavor not yet available.

I was indeed at Century Plaza in San Jose. My wife called her mother during lunch. When she heard that my wife was in San Jose, she asked her to go to a specific herbal medicine store there to get some suspiciously overpriced pills. I was just fascinated watching the pharmacists preparing traditional medicine poultices or ointments or soup broth ingredients or something. It involved precisely measuring out a variety of mushrooms, dried herbs, fungi, small stones, and magical dust onto dozens of sheets of butcher paper and wrapping them up. Very mysterious.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

French automotive styles
Military aircraft
Upholstery accessories
Caffeinated beverage chains
Politically incorrect folktales
Long-winded Democrats

Just updating the list. Any I missed?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - I love that stuff! It's the personal touch that makes all the difference, you know? A prepackaged mojo bag just doesn't have the oomph of one prepared by your own personal staff of shamans!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Ummm, leafy vegetable matter was prominent.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

evenin all
glad the long work week is over, I didn't get to see any football,but from the looks of it,neither game was worth looking at. I did see the end of the marathon and it always gives me a nice feeling when that first runner comes into the stadium to all the cheers.

Mudge, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday and many more my friend. I will be celebrating mine on Monday. I hope to be on and in the river most of the day!!

I have grown fond of the night and all of the night sounds.

One of my favorite songs

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Mudge.

After the first 995, they must all seem the same.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, 'mudge!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse

My mother graduated with a home economics degree from UMass in the early 60s. Traditional doesn't begin to cover her cooking style. Bland is also insufficient. Three years in the Philippines with a live-in maid/cook broadened our horizons somewhat.

The real test was when I was first dating my wife and insisted on eating what was prepared for her instead of the food cooked for her dad and brother. I would ask what it was and would just get shoulder shrugs and head shakes. It was too complicated to translate.

Yesterday in Pacifica while my wife was looking for a fog-repellent sweater in Ross, I went to the tacqueria next door and got a real taco (double flour tortillas served flat with beef chunks, sauce with cilantro and some secret ingredient. No cheese, lettuce, or sour cream). I saved the chips and salsa for my wife and warned her that it was a little spicy.

She laughed it off but quickly discovered it was impossible to scoop any salsa without at least one chunk of jalapeno. She asked that if that was a little spicy, what would really spicy be.

I protested that my developed tolerance for hot food has been falsely maligned by my son who thinks vindaloo is too tame.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday dear mudge,
happy birthday to you.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 24, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

hey, gwe, my birthday's on monday, too.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 24, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mr. Mudge. This is for you:

Warning: It mentions both a Caffeinated Beverage Chain and a certain Long-winded Democrat, but I think that you'll like it.

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 24, 2008 3:39 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge. Hope you have a wonderful time celebrating.

Posted by: rainforest | August 24, 2008 3:41 AM | Report abuse

We have arugula here. People who eat arugula are not anymore elite than people who eat spinach. The price per kilo for both is about the same - $5.50. Both can be grown locally. Local veg are priced between $2.50 and $3.50 per kilo. The elites here eat Brussels sprouts. They are insanely priced at $13 per kilo. Fresh button mushrooms are even worse - $15.50 per kilo. Both are from Australia.

Posted by: rainforest | August 24, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey rainforest! *waving*

Happy Birthday 'Mudge and all my fellow end-of-August-beginning-of-Sept.-birthday celebrators!!! *jumping-out-of-a-cake Grover waves* :-)

On a more serious note...

I know that border all too well, and it's a very jarring change. And kudos to the writer for (in a very Achenbachian move) points out some intense dissociation between the Border Patrol's rhetoric and its performance. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 5:31 AM | Report abuse

My original post seems to have run afoul of the "too many links" non-rule, even though they've disabled links... *rolling my eyes*

In the "failing journalism" department, I was nearly apoplectic last night when NBC interrupted the marathon coverage to give airtime to the loon who disrupted the Athens marathon, costing the Brazilian runner the gold. I mean, you can tell the runner's story without rewarding someone's insanity.

It also seems the post-9/11 (investigate first, justify later" mindset existed well before 9/11:


If yellojkt and *Tim haven't seen this already, I'll be surprised.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 5:33 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, the front page folks gave up on gallantry: "Panthers Pound Redskins, 47-3" Ow.

Resolved: It is not a positive developement when teachers have to resort to Mickey Mouse in an effort to teach evolution to "the faithful"...

In happier news, Hubble's spotted intergalactic evidence of the Noodly Appendage:

And I'm so NOT interested in the Boston Globe's interview with the lifelong con artist.

I'll stop now.

*cleaning-the-cake-frosting-off-before-going-jogging-or-else-people-will-talk Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Hi Scotty. It's Sunday, Scotty. In case you forgot.

Posted by: rainforest | August 24, 2008 5:44 AM | Report abuse

And we can't have cake on Sunday, rainforest??? :-)

*makes mental note to cut back on coffee*

*crumples up mental note and tosses it in mental wastebasket*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, you all.

Happy Birthday LA Lurker and Mudge, you both are Virgos, right? Must be neat & tidy person to be a Virgo. Tidy bunker and all.

Waiting for my Libra day, balance and beauty in all things. We Libras like to give a good party.

Sending virtual tunnel of fudge cake for your birthdays, today.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 24, 2008 6:25 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, morning, friends. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUDGE AND LURKER. I hope you have a wonderful day, and so many more wonderful days. And eat lots of cake and ice cream.

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

Just wanted to stop in and say good morning. I'm running late. Time to jump in the tub. I hope everyone gets a chance to go to church this morning. I'm heading to Sunday school and service later. I'm not sure what it looks like outside, but it was hot yesterday, and I suppose, more heat today.

Some of my plants are looking good. The others are drooping. I've taken your suggestions, so we'll see.

Have a good day, folks. Time to swim.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 24, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I found that fortification of the border pretty sad too. The HS Industry, a.k.a. The War on Tourism and Commerce, strikes again. They forgot to mention that US Coast Guard vessels are now equipped with .50 cal machine guns on the Great Lakes. Like the old 7.62 left them ougunned in the frequent gunbattles out there. It has become a state of mind, not a risk evaluation exercise.
It's uncanny how the birthdays of so many boodlers are grouped tightly, mine was last Friday.
33 minutes to the start of the race. Looks like a bernie special, with a name like the Eropean Grand Prix. That guy sure gives a bad name to gnomes and leprechaums.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 24, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

SCC European *sigh*

Posted by: shrieking denizen | August 24, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody and a very happy BD to Mudge, La Lurker, and gwe.

I probably should have been watching the tv coverage of the closing ceremonies, but I was reading a very good book since I got up, and am now off to knit. I do enjoy all the Olympic sports (mrdr watches as much as he can) but I'm relived that the hype is over.

I was watched CTV national news and the verbiage used indicates the newsies from here are looking for a dirty presidentail campaign. I really hope not. All the nasty words obscure the roots of the matter, and I am reminded of one of Martooni's poems, Roots and Tongues.

Posted by: dr | August 24, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

And a belated Happy BD to you SD.

Posted by: dr | August 24, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Busy Sunday morning here. So g'morning to everybody, and happy birthday to Mudge and LA Lurker. I hope you both have pleasant days and GWE has a delightful day on the river tomorrow.

So nice to get one's birthday off. As I got seniority, I got into the habit of taking a vacation day on my birthday. One birthday I spent in a local museum going through the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, all by myself because that's what I wanted to see and nobody was interested in going with me. Great way to go.

No Sunday School for us, we're going to brunch at a friend's house after worship. We do this for the fun of it, and it is a good time.

The Geekdottir is driving south today, into the remnants of Hurricane Fay, to visit her significant other, now a grad student at the University of Alabama. I'll get glad when I know she has arrived safely.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Happy Birthday, Mudge.

Watching a bit of the GP from Valencia myself, sd. Hamilton's hanging on to Massa, maybe the McLaren's carrying a little more fuel? We'll see.

Scottynuke, I'll check that noodly appendage link a little later, thanks for that.

Whoops, gotta go, I have some hungry children to feed this AM.

More later.


Posted by: bc | August 24, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Mudge! And also to greenwithenvy and l.a.lurker tomorrow. Kids and I are off to the beach tomorrow and I'll be looking for some WiFi to keep in touch.

That Towton article shrieking linked to last night is FABULOUS and a must read for all. Very Achenific writer. I was surprised that a Boodle has not sprung up in his comments section, but most all of the comments were very nice.

Just reading the first paragraph made me wonder if The Boss isn't moonlighting as AA Gill in the U.K...

"Get onto the B1217 – the Ferrybridge-to-Tadcaster road – just after the M1 joins the A1M, and you’ve crossed that unmapped line where the north stops being grim and begins to be bracing. Go through Saxton, past the Crooked Billet pub, and on your left you’ll see rising farmland, green corn and copses – an old landscape, untroubled by poets or painters or the hyperbole of tourist boards, but handsome, still and hushed. The road is straight; it knows where it’s going, hurrying along, averting its gaze. Through the tonsured hedge you might just notice a big old holly tree on the side of the road. It seems out of place."

The entire piece is filled with gems, but this particular turn of phrase about Henry VI tickled me enough to share...

"And he had that other curse of medieval monarchs: a ruthless, scheming and vindictive wife, who produced a very suspect heir, considering Henry had never shown anything other than disgust and incomprehension at the idea of hiding the pink sceptre."

Here's the URL again...

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh! I forgot to wish shrieking denizon a belated Happy Birthday!

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

If you are using Firefox, install the add-on Linkification and all the URLs in the Boodle will show up as links...

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle. Happy Birthday wishes to Mudge, Lurker, and belatedly to Shrieking.

Absolutely frothing with indignation, umbrage, and disgust over the David Tenenbaum story. Thanks for pointing it out s'nuke As a heathen, religious bias in the military has always been a sore spot for me, but it particularly rankles when they beat up on someone whose main suspicious activities included working hard and eating Kosher meals. (Although Mr. F has long believed that working hard is considered a criminal offense among much of the DoD civilian work force, he contends it is not normally officially frowned upon.)

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Thank you all for the birthday wishes. Thank you for that link, DNA; pretty interesting. Imagine -- having somebody in the admin who actually KNOWS something about a foreign trouble spot.

HB, La Lurker and GWE. GWE, here's my favorite "night" music:

I especially like the drive-in movie theme -- and take note (with some shock of recognition) who the unknown actor is among the three guys, the one who takes note of the brunette in the malt shop.

Don't know what we're doing today; may go swimming. I think we're going to our fav Chinese restaurant for afternoon lunch/dinner w g-kids. (Maybe SWMBO will give me the day off to write; wouldn't that be nice?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

TBG-hero worship does not begin to describe how I feel about you right now. Thanks for the linkification!

I better wish gwe an early happy birthday now. Happy Birthday! I may have mentioned before that I buy belated birthday cards for family members months in advance of the day. I always remember the day, but alas I never remember to get the card in the mail on time.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Copious BD wishes to SD (belatedly), Mudge (natch!) and for tomorrow, GWE and LAL. One of my friends also has a BD tomorrow. I typically serenade my friends with the Swedish equivalent of Happy Birthday, but tomorrow, my friend will get the serenade of "Will you still need me, will you still feed me" since she's turning -- yeah, you guessed it -- 64. That'll be fun. We always celebrate our birthdays (2 years and 4 days apart with a dinner -- sometime during the year. I don't think we've ever celebrated actually in August -- ever!

The laundry's on, and I'm hungry for breakfast. Gotta roll. Have lovely days, all.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

AA Gill's Towton piece has the florid prose of Bulwer-Lytton down pat:

"Above, the thick mauve, mordant clouds curdle and thud like bruises, bowling patches of sunlight...."

Apparently, it was a dark and stormy day.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 24, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks for those links and quotes this AM.

I have a family birthday to attend to today as well.

Apparently, the effects of Holiday celebrations can last a lifetime.


Posted by: bc | August 24, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Towton. I'd never heard of it. Very interesting. And the article is written with all sorts of beautiful words you don't see too often.

Posted by: a bea c | August 24, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Mornin all
so far a little cooler here in west by god this mornin. I am gonna take advantage and get out and pick some (drumroll please...) you guessed it Green beans. It has been so dry,some of the leaves are starting to fall. We have a main stream that comes from most of our community.It is named constant run.Well it isn't constant anymore. A rain dance may be in order later today. Have a Great day everyone and thanks for the well wishes.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

On another quick side note, the Speed TV coverage of the F1 GP at Valencia is reporting that the family of retired race car driver, team owner and occasional actor Paul Newman is gathering at his home in Connecticut.

My thoughts are with the Joanne and the family.


Posted by: bc | August 24, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

That's sad news about Paul Newman, bc.

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Mass birthday wishes to appropriate boodlers.

I better not tell my wife about Paul. She'll just start Clooney-Sighing.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle and special greetings to BDBs, Mudge, Denizen, Lurker!
Am I missing anyone?

Posted by: Brag | August 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all! Many happy returns of the day, Mudge. I hope you have a good time today. Also, belated birthday greetings to shrieking denizen.

I am also a Virgo. While I've never ascribed to astrology, I do think the world is more pleasant when things are clean, tidy and orderly, and I value attention to detail. I once dated a guy who laughed at me for using coasters. "Typical Virgo" he said. Because I am nice, I refrained from replying that no, I used coasters because I bought and maintained my own furniture rather than still living with my parents. We didn't date long.

I think Arugula would be a nice name. The Boy has a friend named Kale. It bothers me every time I see him. I have great difficulty calling him by his name.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This Bulwer-Lytton prizewinner seemed particularly apt to the boodle foodies, although there is no mention of arugula:

"The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job."

--Bob Perry, Milton, Massachusetts (1998 Winner)

Posted by: Shiloh | August 24, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Omigad, that linkification things works! Thanks, TBG!

Happy belated, Shriek.

So sorry to hear about Paul Newman. Some people are just too good to ever go. He's one. And never mind the acting career; it's his character and private life and works that will be missed most. Helluva man.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I switched to Mozilla Firefox, added the addon and lo, the angel of the hyperlink appeared and said "blessed art thou, TBG."

Posted by: Shiloh | August 24, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Dammit, Shiloh, that was the opening sentence to one of my novels! I should have never let Bob Perry look at the draft.

Apparently Newman has lung cancer. A read this and try not to tear up:,2933,365221,00.html

I am about 80% of a "typical Virgo" but lack all that neatnik/organized aspect, and not a perfectionist nor (laughing like mad) a conservative.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Re: Mickey mousing with evolution,

Here's a line from the article:
Mr. Campbell smiled. “Mickey evolved,” he said. “And Mickey gets cuter because Walt Disney makes more money that way. That is ‘selection.’ ”

The guy has to deal with teenagers who have been taught evolution doesn't exist since about birth (or perhaps conception :-). So step one probably has to be demonstrating the existence of evolution and its relation to selection with topics students can relate to.

Next step, deal with the issue of how evolution can occur without direction from a deity. Here, I think it is counterproductive to simply pound on the message. Rather, teachers should simply let it remain hypothetical, and dive into the mechanisms that allow it to happen. That is a world of endless depth, beauty and mystery, and when the kids come up for air, the argument over whether evolution exists or not seems less pertinent, if not downright silly. They become interested in more important questions--e.g., how do does life work?

They, you know, evolve.

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 24, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If Virgos are supposed to be neatniks, perfectionists and conservative, the only thing Virgo-like about me is my birthday.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Yeesh! Just saw coverage of a taekwondo competitor at the Olympics attacking a ref after losing a medal match! Kicked the man in the HEAD! Ai chihuahua...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

me too Scotty,but I was born a month earlier then expected and lean more towards a Libra then a Virgo.

Sorry to hear about Paul Newman,i enjoyed all of his movies especially "Cool Hand Luke"

So I am out picking green beans and it is hot and I am still not fully awake and I go to pick a nice looking bean and it moves.I wipe my forhead and try again and it moves again. Come to find out it was a Praying Mantis and he/she didn't want to go in my green bean container. So I left him alone. When we were kids,we were told if you kill a Praying Mantis the cops would come fine you and take you away. I once spent an hour watching a Mantis eat a fairly large was fascinating.

Gotta go the woodpeckers are making a racket and want me to fill up the birdfeeder.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Snuke! I may be a Virgo, star-wise, but nothing else I know about it fits. And that's the way I like it (*I like it* -- toon cootie).

Very sad about Paul Newman. Tremendously talented and big-hearted. I like his older films, but he smoked so much (as did practically everyone then), that I'm not surprised it's lung cancer. I also like his food products and where the profits go.

Off to the mall down the street (ugh -- I hate going there, but I gotta get some stuff from the Body Shop during my birthday month (so I get a "present")).

Heart beating like it never has before (although it has beaten mighty powerfully before) for Paul Newman. *alas*

BTW, before I go, Ivansmom -- what a great line about your furniture in regard to that date.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's the article...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Virgoish attributes from Wikipedia:

Ideal Careers
Suitable occupations are those in which analytical and practical, methodical qualities are needed, such as doctor, teacher, psychologist, technician,[5] nurse, hygienist, scientist, accountant, secretary, and inspector. In medical astrology, Virgo governs the intestines and digestion, also spleen and nervous system.

Health foods [6], arugula,(1) • Order and lists [6] • Hygiene and cleanliness [6] • Wholesomeness [6] • Penny-pinching • Details • Peace

Hazards to health [6], mayonnaise (1) • Sloppiness [6] • Squalor [6] • Uncertainty [6] • Uncleanliness • Confusion

(1) proposed additions.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 24, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

TBG, thank you, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Er,no, that's not right - you are an Achengoddess! Excuse me whilst I go click on a week's worth of links.

gwe, a praying mantis! I saw some of mine hatch from the egg cases I bought, but haven't seen an adult. I love those bugs.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 24, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

bc, I agree with you --

//Apparently, the effects of Holiday celebrations can last a lifetime.//

There are 10 birthdays in my family in August and September.

Happy birthday to all in the Boodle who fall into this catagory!

Posted by: nellie | August 24, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

mighty predators
man and green bean aliens
I bet on mantids

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Those of us born in late August and September may be holiday celebrations.

Although not in my case. I've done the math, and I was conceived 17 minutes after my father got home from WWII. If it hadn't been for Tojo, I coulda been retired by now. *sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Who are you who who who who.

Who are you who who who who.

I really want to know

Who are you who who who who.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey TBG -- what a great add-on (linkification)! Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you have officially been elevated from "genius" to "goddess."

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Very slick, TBG. I zipped over to to see if there were versions for IE. There are, and it offers me to be the "first to comment" and only ~400 people have downloaded either of two versions and the editors have not commented. I'm still leery. But for the Firefox people you are a godsend.

(I'm a dying clown with a streak of Rin Tin Tin, gwe;)

AfFter careful consideration I propose instead a hot dog eatin' contest between Obama and McCain. My skeptical neighbor claims Obama would lose; he doesn't eat enough. I pointed out the "girdle of fat" theory would work against McCain, but she wasn't familiar with the insider lore of the contests...

Posted by: Jumper | August 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Linkification for IE doesn't work! Boo hoo :(

Now to uninstall the nonfunctional little piece of craola.

Posted by: Jumper | August 24, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Now it DOES work. It's a weird l'il program. But I got links back! The stupid thing has no instructions. Had to go to the original download site and read them there. I don't download anything but from CNET.

Posted by: Jumper | August 24, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Bless you and all your good works. I am relinked via Firefox.

I once again feel complete.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 24, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Jumper. All Obama has to do is skip a few meals beforehand, and organic tea helps the metabolic burn.

On the other hand, McCain will be too addicted to his expensive cappucinos with tons of whipped whatchamacallits that add calories to really get into fighting shape.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm very glad I helped!

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

OMIGOSH- TBG IS a goddess. I'm so happy I'm now linkified.

Let me add my happy birthday wishes to Shrieking D, mudge and greenwithenvy AND ftb...I hope I didn't miss anyone! Many happy returns to you all.

Also, Shrieking D, great article on that battle, I really enjoyed it.

Now I'm going to go back and see what I missed when I was too lazy to go looking for all articles.

Posted by: Kim | August 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Bird reports from an undisclosed location.

Fat redhead duck-type
Tall maple full of hollows
I spy Woodpecker.

Branch aerobics class
Goldfinch tutors hidden young--
Worm to hole; repeat.

Seagulls circle sky
Sailboats white-grey on blue lakes
Both billow in wind

Lady mallard bobs;
On shore, mutt ignores; watches
Three shelties walk by.

Grebe quaffs fish, gargles
Beak dips down, somersault.
Lake quaffs grebe, ripples.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Paul Newman is one of the finest actors, along with JoAnne Woodward I have ever seen. His early movies made me a lifetime devotee. Cat on a Hot Tin Room with Elizabeth Taylor. Exodus with Eva Marie Sain. The Long Hot Summer with Joanne. I suppose I have seen most of the movies he acted in, not sure how many in which he was the director.

And, he was such a decent guy, such a good example for the lesser hollywood types. I am so sorry for his family.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 24, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia, Paul Newman's response when asked about infidelity... "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

And we see Giuliani stirring the pot yet again...

*rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

At least it wasn't noun, verb, 9/11.
For what it's worth.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

We're on the edge of our seats as we watch our Hawaii team play Mexico in the Little League World Series. Wish us luck!

Posted by: Aloha | August 24, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

every sunday this summer i've gone out for brunch at a restaurant where the bartender will play a movie on the big flat screen tv.

only a quarter of the brunchers laugh at the funny bits. i'm always thinking: is dc seriously this humor deficient?

Today we watched "The Princess Bride"

Everyone laughed at the funny bits.

There is hope for humanity yet...

Posted by: omni | August 24, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Not laughing at The Princess Bride is inconceivable!

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the early birthday wishes.

tbg, the links thing is awesome. you rock.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 24, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The Princess Bride is a classic! Exceptionally funny. And Billy Crystal is a hoot.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I went to the river for a dip(hot here today) I ended up taking a boat out, for what i thought would be an hour or so. I found a hole where all the big bass are,I caught 6-7 keepers(16-20" long) and about 50 other fish.I kept paddling back upstream to hit the hole again and again. A couple of guys came by and joined me in the fishing frenzy.

Now I have fished the river hundreds of times and never had such luck. Also the fish were very gracious and kept giving me the worm back.

When i got back to the beach,there were a couple of teenage boys there. I had 4 worms left and said,take my boat and go have some fun. I hope they had as much luck as I did.

I think I may go back tomorrow too!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

A literary note for yellojkt: while I don't doubt that somewhere in the book there is a reference to "Nancy Boys", the title of Neil Gaiman's actual novel is "Anansi Boys." We have it on the bookshelf, but I have not yet read it. I like Gaiman better in graphic novel form than in novel form.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | August 24, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The collected works of Dicken: The Graphic Novels would be... a lot shorter.

Hands up if you're in favor.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

From this article:;_ylt=Aq96.JG2pILarTvtwcagMOhh24cA

..Obama joked he was running for president to have Secret Service protection for his daughters — 10-year old Malia and 7-year old Sasha — when they start dating.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I read Jason Linkins "Sunday Talking Heads" roundup sometimes. He's funny 'cos he has gone a little cuckoo from watching the shows I think.

Posted by: DNA Girl | August 24, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Congratulation to Hawaii Little League - world champions.

Posted by: Shiloh | August 24, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl... thanks for the Huff Post link... lots of fun. And plenty of bull testicles.

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The no. 2 story on the home page is "Giuliani Criticizes Obama Ticket" (meaning the Biden pick). Can somebody tell me why this is a story worthy of such high ranking on the front page -- even on a slow news day? Just who the eff is Rudy Giuliani? Why is his opinion important or relevant? Who made him any sort of spokesman for anybody? He's only one of about 8 failed Republican candidates' are the other seven gonna get equal play when *they* criticize the Dems? Are we gonna get the same treatment when Rove criticizes the ticket? When Gingrich does? When the governor of XYZ state says the same thing?

In other words, ytf does Giuliani have any standing? (Yes, I just invented that piece of shorthand: ytf.)

When McCain picks Romney, is the no. 2 story a day or two later gonna say: "Mayor Daley Criticizes McCain Ticket"? Are we gonna hear what Dennis Kucinich thinks about Romney? Tom Dodd?


Somebody on the news desk screwed up. Insofar as this deserves to be a story at all, it deserves one paragraph on the bottom of page 37.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, greenwithenvy. And a belated Happy Birthday, SD. And if I missed anyone, Happy Birthday.

Congratulations, Hawaii.

Time to turn in. It has been an exceptionally quiet day. I thought I might see the g-girl, but it hasn't worked out that way. Tomorrow is the first day of school. I hope it is a good day for her, and for my grandsons. It seems summer vacation is over for the kids, and back to work. Time does fly.

I've always thought Paul Newman to be one good looking man.

Have a good evening, folks. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | August 24, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

DNA girl - Jason Linkins always cracks me up with his stream of consciousness blogging about the punditocracy and their Sunday a.m. gabfests. He's an equal opportunity hot air foe. He used to be merciless about Tim Russert.

Yea Hawaii!

la lurker - it came to me while I was chopping veggies for dinner - Happy Early Birthday to you!

The hubby and I are watching "Bleak House" tonight. We saw it when it was on PBS but a friend has a copy and lent it to us. She says that it's even better the 2nd time around.

Posted by: Kim | August 24, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Good night cassandra.

I thought the last paragraph of this piece about Obama's decision points out how Biden might be an interesting choice!

Posted by: Kim | August 24, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Hawaii rules! A local team here was in contention, but they must have lost. I couldn't keep up, what with the Olympics and all. Congrats, Aloha.

Mudge, my thoughts exactly. DNA Girl, thanks for the link. I haven't watched the Sunday shows in years, because they're on too early here, and well, I guess I just don't care. That was a good synopsis. Could we just vote now, please?

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 24, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Kim | August 24, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl.. I meant to say this morning that I like your 11:04 about teaching evolution.

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you all for the congrats on the LLWS. The boys are truly to be congratulated for their hard work and determination. One of the players, the small scrappy center fielder Kainoa Fong, is a classmate of Alohaboy. He's missed a lot of school being away since the end of July but I'm sure they will be happy to help him make it all up.

Happy B-Day to all the August babies. May you live long and prosper.

Sad to hear about Paul Newman. He's one amazing actor and human being.

TBG - thanks for the Linkification tip. Makes everything right in the world.

Posted by: Aloha | August 24, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Congratulations Aloha to the little league team. We saw some of it (giant screen tv in BigBoxORestaurant) and they looked good.

Thanks for the bird report Wilbrod.
Welcome back, Anonymous Haiku!

I didn't know Virgos were supposed to be conservative. I think of myself as fundamentally conservative because I like routine, prefer to plan for change, and am leery of surprises. Of course if I describe myself as conservative I get a lot of laughs since politically and philosophically that's not the correct label at all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG and Jumper - Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I have links

Happy birthday to all celebrating.

Very sad about Paul Newman such a fantastic actor and person.

Attended the wedding of some dear friends this weekend, it was about an hour north of us, the ceremony was in a lovely wedding garden at the hotel - beautiful but HOT, sunny and 90, nothing like sitting on plastic chairs in the heat, ring bearer came close to fainting. In the end all worked out well.

On the drive up we took the scenic route through the rolling hills and forested countryside, saw the first trees that were just beginning to turn brilliant year, orange and yellow - sugar maples I think that turn about 6 weeks before most other trees - just beautiful. That particular area has a lot of horse farms just a lovely drive.

Hope everyone had a great weekend

Posted by: dmd | August 24, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The evolution of Mickey Mouse is a famous Stephen Jay Gould essay. I forget which book it is in, but it explains that being cute is critical to survival. I discussed it on my blog a long time ago.

It's one of the most hit posts of mine. For a long time it was the number one Yahoo hit for "cute baby picture".

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I don't think that word means what you think it means...

Except in in this case...LOL

Posted by: omni | August 24, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected on the Gaiman title. I should know better since I reviewed the book on my blog back in 2006:

I mostly read written Gaiman as opposed to look at Gaiman. I've read some of the Sandman series, but it's a long order to get into the whole thing. I have written about Gaiman so much I gave him his own tag on my blog.

This post in particular has a picture of SciTim doing his schtick:

Thanks for the linkifier, TBG. My long personal nightmare is over. I had the highlight-controlC-open new tab-past link tango nearly down pat. Now I can go back to right=click-open in new tab routine. You've probably saved me from Achen-related carpal tunnel.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Did everybody read this cool story? I love the pictures too. Not many of us get up close and personal with butterflies like this:

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

'mudge - I love you pal, and fully endorse your right to be a bit tetchy about whatever you wish, but...

It's gonna be an AWFULLY long campaign season if you insist upon going into conniptions every time anyone is mildly critical of Obama and/or Biden.

Peace, brother! It'll all work out.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Aloha & Alohaboy!

I've just turned off the closing ceremony, and enjoyed it; watching the handoff of the Olympic flag to the Brits reminded me of something wonderful.

Where were you when they did the Bolero?

Winter Olympics, 1984 The Brits

if you watch to the end, you will see their artistic scores, all 6.0.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 24, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you missed the point by about 84 miles.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 24, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful, VintageLady... thanks for that link of Torvill & Dean.

One striking thing was that the commentators kept quiet through the entire performance (Dick Button?). That would be impossible today in the era of nonstop chatter.

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Bob's right. It's just part of the news cycle. Announcement leaks, puff pieces proliferate, opposition to reaction sought to look balanced, deeper dragging up of old news (Biden is a serial plagiarizer, watch for that to get a lot of play), defense of selection, lots and lots of Monday morning quarterbacking. And then some other shiny object will come along and the cycle will start again.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Some quick comments about Rudy Giulani - I didn't read his piece, but I think what he has to say about VP running mates has *some* value.

Wasn't Biden a failed Pres candidate for his party as Guilani was? And wasn't Rudy angling to become McCain's running mate for awhile there (as is Romney)?

Personally, I'm not a Rudy fan, but I can see why some would think his opinion of some interest. Even if it's just sour grapes...

I'd put it at about Page Four myself, clearly after Page Three (ahem).

Been reading Gaiman for a long time (sheesh, over 20 years); all of 'Sandman,' and was convinced he was going to be great in the pure text medium after reading "Good Omens." [Co-written with Terry Pratchett and one of my top-5 ever. LOL funny from beginning to end.]

Speaking of Neil, I believe he'll be at the National Book Festival here in DC at the end of September. And yes, if I'm down there, I'll go see him.

Back to PL Newman for a minute -- he's not gone yet, and his illness has been discussed amongst auto racers for a while now. I neglected to mention his amazing array of philanthropic efforts, which raise millions of dollars every year for a wide variety of good causes.

The DNC this week should be interesting, don't you think?



Posted by: bc | August 24, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I got the point completely. I just decided to discuss something else. I do that sometimes. It's part of my... ummm... charm?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it may have been Dick Button, he was on for the ice skaters for so many years. Must say, I have not tried your brilliant find for linking, I am a technodolt and will have my husband either install Foxfire or see about IE., thanks for the tip.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 24, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

For the record - Yes, I understand that the placement of articles is an editorial decision which carries weight in and of itself, and is (like any other editorial decision) fair game for criticism.

There, is that better? I STILL contend that you're gonna need to stock up on blood pressure medication between now & November.

AND, I still love you!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

What browser are you using, VintageLady?

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually, TBG, I installed the tool (at least, I got a message indicating that it had installed itself, and I subsequently killed & restarted Firefox) and haven't yet had the wondrous appearances of hyper-links. I'm just a tad jealous of y'all who have them!

Since it isn't actually a particularly complicated process, I'll just un-install, then re-install, Firefox with the applicable add-ons sometime this week. I'm sure that'll take care of it.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

My blog post about cute babies has a bad link. Here is the Stephen Jay Gould article as a pdf:

It's also in his book "The Panda's Thumb".

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

TBG, IE. I read that Jumper has been able to use that, but please, don't try to talk me through it, it's probably beyond me. Will lean on myhusbandthecomputerexpert.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 24, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it's not the "this day and age", it's largely the network.

ABC knew how to cover the Olympics (they were covering the entire Olympics in 1984).

When the Olympics changed networks to CBS, I remember I got so infuriated with the chatter during the figure skating that I turned the captioning off altogether, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see the sport. The verbosity affected viewing of more sports but it was particularly irritating with figureskating. That'd have been 1998, 1992 or thereabouts.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

See there!?! Yellojkt's just taunting me, because he knows that the links won't link for me! Life is so harsh.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob... is there a little funky "L" at the bottom right of your Firefox window? Right-click it and choose Options...

Or go to the Tools menu and click on Linkification and get into the Preferences.

Posted by: TBG | August 24, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Ah boodle, with linkiness restored I am reading so much more interesting stuff than I would every find all on my own, but the old eyelids are heavy.

I was going to cut and paste a long portion of the last page of this piece on Obamanomics in the NYT magazine, but without the preceding 7 pages it doesn't make much sense. Let's just say I found this well worth the read-

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I haven't bothered to look Google it, and I wasn't using any captioning, but I remember exactly what you're talking about. Having watched figure skating (at my mother's side) for many years, I definitely remember the new commenters coming on board, and not knowing when to shut up.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

My apologies to those who have not had links restored, I did not mean to seem so callous.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I'm sure they had a lot of viewers who'd have shot them right and there just to shut 'em up.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 24, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

The National Book Festival is September 27, one week before the MBPH. I haven't been since the first one in 2001. Since this annual event was the labor of love of Laura Bush (my First Lady crush), I hope it continues when we have a new administration.

Here is the list of authors:

They have Neil Gaiman listed in the Teen and Children category with R. L. Stine and Judith Viorst.

Brag, your invite must have gotten lost in the mail.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., I'm utterly charmed by you.

Made a big, spicy pot of Gunpowder Chili tonight. Con frijoles. With kick.

I find I've been laying in food today for Tuesday's observance. There'll definitely be beitzah, and horseradish will stand in for marror (perhaps it should be arugula, though also not an herb as horseradish is technically not an herb). There will definitely be wine, karpas, perhaps haroset. I don't think I can observe the occasion with matzot, because I am extremely tempted to have some chocolate cake in honor of Geri's birthday--she turns 73. Then there's the 88th anniversary as well.

Posted by: Loomis | August 24, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

That was a fantastic article on Obamanomics. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of Democrats as the party of fiscal responsibility, but it is time to take the punch bowl away from the corpocrats.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, VL, and other IE users:

Just use this as your excuse to switch to Firefox. You'll thank yourself later.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - High praise indeed! I'm flattered & humbled.

For those booklovers in the D.C. area, the annual Daedalus warehouse sale starts this week in Columbia, MD. I've got a 10%-off certificate, but their prices are so low that it's a bit redundant, ya know? ["Whoopie! I saved another fifty cents off of a book that should have cost me $25, but is instead costing me $4.99!"]

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

By the way, in all of the side-chatter, I forgot to mention the most important thing:

I really, really like the "ytf" shorthand! Thanks, 'mudge. I'll definitely be using it.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

YTF hadn't I thought of it before now?


Posted by: Bob S. | August 24, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I saw Bolero at the time - I may have been working second shift, without a VCR. And probably not watching ice dancing much, although I would have watched the other figure skating events if possible. The ice dance performance that is my favorite, that I still have on tape somewhere, is this - the Duchesnays in the 1990 Worlds in Halifax (I think they got silver):
Christopher Dean choreographed the routine - and I was heavy into Andean music at the time. We went to one of those Tour of Champions shows and got to see them perform a short version of it.

I'm surprised by the lack of chatter. Maybe there just wasn't much to say about ice dance free dance routines - no required moves, not much explanation needed. The rules have changed so much that may be different now.

It is kind of sad to see the perfect 6 taken away from skating, the 10 from gymnastics.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 24, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody thought about Bloomberg being McCains running mate? And can we really vote for a McC canidate? Good thing most voting boxes all you have to do is pull a lever.

The first time I voted in west by god.The ballot was a 3x3(feet) piece of paper,it had to be folded down to fit in the ballot box and a offical(1 of 3 old ladies)had to hold the ballot as you dropped it in the box.And yes I had to mark an "X" in Gore's box.

Listening to the Cars,I once saw them for 98 cents

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Bloomberg would want to be McCain's VP - he seemed to be leaning toward Obama at one time. And I don't think the evangelicals would be thrilled - they didn't even like Romney. I can hardly wait to see what gem McCain picks - not that it matters much. Two of the worst VP's, Quayle and Cheney, didn't do much to drag down the ticket. I do not understand the American electorate.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 25, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

mostly - I think RD Padouk already covered this for you:

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons. "

Anyway, that's one of the theories going around.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 25, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

TBG, you are a life saver. Thank you for the link tip.

Happy Birthday, L.A. Lurker, GWE and FTB. Many happy returns of the day.

Italian priest organizes beauty contest for nuns.

Posted by: rainforest | August 25, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

thanks, rainforest!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 25, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

rainforest - That is so hot!! I was raised outside the True Church myself, but I've got some friends, relatives, and acquaintances (well, OK, I don't actually have any friends!) who've spent time as altar boys/girls and will be fascinated by the concept. Actually, both of my (Methodist-raised, still regularly church-attending) cousins in Savannah, GA attended the local Catholic high school. I'll bet that they'll be amused and/or intrigued. They're both kinda hot chicks, if they'd known that a Catholic nun beauty pageant was a possible career option, maybe they'd have taken that whole "religious class" thing a bit more seriously, eh?

Posted by: Bob S. | August 25, 2008 2:43 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Looks like I'm the first one up this morning on the Dawn Patrol.

There's a ton of op-ed stuff, including a new "mini" section of op-eds, the theory behind which I'm still a little unsure about. Maybe people will learn to like Gerson if they only have to swallow a few small grafs? I dunno.

But the best op-ed by far is this one:

Haven't gotten to the Sunday mag yet.

I finished reading G. Pelecanos's "Drama City." I have to say I didn't much care for the first 100 pages or so. I liked the two main characters, but nobody else. But I gradually got into it, and actually finished it with some anticipation. Pelecanos's technical skills as a writer are excellent; that wasn't the problem. I just didn't like the people he was writing about.


OK. Monday. Ugh. Well, let's get 'em flying.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 25, 2008 6:10 AM | Report abuse

{* sputter - cough - sputter - bang *}

Not ready to fly yet, Mudge.

I'll try again after a couple cups of coffee.

Posted by: martooni | August 25, 2008 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Tough readjusting my body to EDT after a week on the left coast. Liked that article about English teachers ruining books for kids. My son and his friends grew to despise 'Watership Down' when they had to read it in middle school. I told them I and all my friends read it for fun when it first came out. I might as well have been praising the Leatherstocking tales.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 25, 2008 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and happy Monday. It's the first day of school here, so there will be much chaos. I was glad to hear that the school system had filled all the bus driver positions, though.

Nothing on the op-ed page tempted me to click through. I suppose now that my mind is made up, it's also closed.


Posted by: slyness | August 25, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninckzz, Boodlers!

Chuggo, chugga--rolling out with engine at idle. The Evil One's kennels seem quiet. Only proxy dogs barking here and there. Yushenko had to write an op ed and provoked a mud slinging match in the comments section.

Posted by: Brag | August 25, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm at work and trying to get into the swing of things...

I think I need shorter ropes for the swing.

Congrats to the LLWS champs from the great state of Hawaii!!

*watching-out-for-school-buses-and-stuff Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

new kit, folks.

Posted by: Kim | August 25, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

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