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Fred on Fire

Fred's back. Remember: Big guy, TV actor, ran for president at a leisurely stroll, appealed to all those voters for whom the most important characteristic in a chief executive is "laziness." Apparently he still has presidential ambitions. This gives me an opportunity to post yet again a link to my incisive, not-entirely-boring and tragically unread profile of the former senator and Watergate personage.

He looked much better last night at the convention, thanks to some extra weight (he'd gotten too thin during the primary season -- not good if you're playing the character of "commanding leader"). He hurled the red meat. He whacked the media (liberal jackals, one and all). He told the McCain POW story in visceral detail. He all but said: What has Barry Obama ever done that compares to being tortured in Hanoi? So maybe that would have been heavy handed, even by sledgehammer-politics standards.


" On October 26, 1967, on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile slammed into John's A-4 Skyhawk jet, blowing it out of the sky.

When John ejected, part of the plane hit him -- breaking his right knee, his left arm, his right arm in three places.

An angry mob got to him.

A rifle butt broke his shoulder.

A bayonet pierced his ankle and his groin.

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said "No".

After days of neglect, covered in grime, lying in his own waste in a filthy room, a doctor attempted to set John's right arm without success ... and without anesthesia.

His other broken bones and injuries were not treated. John developed a high fever, dysentery. He weighed barely a hundred pounds.

Expecting him to die, his captors placed him in a cell with two other POWs who also expected him to die.

But with their help, John McCain fought on.

He persevered.

So then they put him in solitary confinement...for over two years.

Isolation ... incredible heat beating on a tin roof. A light bulb in his cell burning 24 hours a day.

Boarded-up cell windows blocking any breath of fresh air.

The oppressive heat causing boils the size of baseballs under his arms.

The outside world limited to what he could see through a crack in a door.

We hear a lot of talk about hope.

John McCain knows about hope. That's all he had to survive on. "

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 3, 2008; 8:24 AM ET
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Next: Palin Unleashed


Happy anniversary, Vintage Lady.

Posted by: daiwanlan | September 3, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

And that prepares McCain to be president... how?

Posted by: TBG | September 3, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary VL, and happy birthday s'nuke.

I thought Fred's speech last night sounded like an old time Vegas comic's deliver. Very staccato, never more than 3 lines delivered in a breath-like it was less a speech and more a series of one liners and sentence fragments strung together. Again, I wonder why the detailed intro of McCain's bio? Who hasn't already heard this? As Joel said "issues schmissues."

TBG-It doesn't prepare him at all. I was just thinking this morning that while the personal hardships of being a POW are unfathomable to people like me who haven't been in that position, he was essentially responsible for himself and no one else. Not a leadership experience.

This just in via MPR, female delegates to the RNC were treated to a fashion seminar yesterday with a teaser that they may have had a preview of Gov. Pawlenty's Thursday night ensemble. I hope it covered smaller hair and subtler scents.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 3, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Caught some of Fred on TV. More fire now than some other days last spring. Meanwhile administration officials slip further away from prison. Alberto's own department won't indict him. Brazen. I don't understand it.

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Boils the size of grapes: Congressman
Boils the size of golfballs: Governor
Boils the size of baseballs: President...

I've listened a bit of the Convention. Not compelling, to say the least.
I enjoyed Scheitzer, Eisenhower, Big Dog et al. a whole lot more than Fred and cie.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 3, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey all,

Back from mountains - some photos from the weekend:

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 3, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Happy Bday Snuke and Happy anniversary VL,I hope you two have a wonderful day!!

It all sounds so nasty,especially the bayonet piercing the groin...oysh

I tell you if I am ever captured all they would have to do is tickle me and I would give up the state secrets.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 3, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary VL, and HFB again, Scottynuke!

Reposted from previous Boodling:

"Fred's going into a lot of graphic detail of McCain's wartime injuries and torture.

Feel like I'm watching "The Passion of McCain" as directed by Mel Gibson.



Posted by: bc | September 2, 2008 10:27 PM"

Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Getting shot down was never considered a plus for a pilot.

Enjoying enemy hospitality is neither plus nor minus. Though, It could show strenght or lack of character.

Denizen's list makes a lot of sense.

When McCain said 'Civilized nations don't invade others in the 21st century,' He sure tossed us into the dirt pile or suffers from remarcably bad memory.
Would he be able to find his way back to the White House without a chauffer?

Posted by: Brag | September 3, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

bc, I thought Happy Football started tomorrow... *confused*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 3, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Happy anniversary, Vintage Lady. Happy Birthday, Scottynuke. And a belated Happy Birthday to mo!

If your campaign is no issues, all personality, and your current personality is irascible, reckless, and a little whimsical, why not emphasize the one time in your life which will garner sympathy and respect? Sure, it doesn't reveal any qualification for president beyond the ability to survive and inner strength. However, when was the last time your base payed any attention to qualifications for president anyway? Not in the last eight years for sure, and they were joined by people for whom enjoying a friendly beer was a legitimate qualification for the office. Why not tap into that with the POW story? And bring on the guy who looks like a president and delivers sound bites like Paul Harvey (only with a much better voice) to tell it. Bathos all round.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 3, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, you're right.
Happy Football *does* start tomorrow (being a Washington NFL Franchise fan, I don't think that it's going to be *quite* so happy for me...).

I'm snickering over here.
Go ahead and play the ingenue, my friend.

It's your birthday.


Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Looking back for a don't suppose a comment like this helped throw the election toward Bush some eight years ago, do you? *w* Style over substance? Issues schmissues?:

"Al Gore, despite all appearances, is actually a human being. He's super nice. He does normal-person things all the time. He's only weirdly stiff, mannered, and mechanical on the exterior. You'd really like him if you were to spend twenty or twenty-five years getting to know him."

Or this:

"The 2000 primary had achieved its esential shape by the time of the Feb. 1 New Hampshire primary. There were two Establishment-backed front-runner candidates, George W. Bush and Al Gore. They had every imaginable advantage: money, name recognition, strategists galore, huge leads in the national polls. Neither, however, had anything like the sparkle of the former Vietnamese prisoner of war, Senator John McCain, who was out there blitzing New Hampshire in his bus, the Straight Talk Express. The McCain insurrection was stealing the show; it would dominate the storyline until the spring thaw."

--As excerpted from the book, "It Looks Like a President Only Smaller, Trailing Campaign 2000." I think it was written by that guy who also wrote a book about Washington and canals.

I mention it only because NYT columnist Frank Rich took heat in the comment section that accompanied his article last Sunday when one astute reader pointed out how Rich had written about Bush and Gore eight years ago. This response from Alan below got the second highest number of votes from readers of Rich's column.:

"This is an interesting column. Calling out the media who were trying to create friction between the Clintons and Senator Obama. However, Mr. Rich you said in 2000 that there was little difference between George Bush and Al Gore. As I recall you along with the rest of the idiot pack journalism (Maureen Dowd included) ridiculed Al Gore endlessly in 2000, so you are partly responsible for the mess the country is in and the lack of serious journalism in the country today."

Posted by: Loomis | September 3, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey bc,I wouldn't be so down,the skins may do alot better then their preseason showed. The starters get to play 4 quarters and they can settle down after a few series. Plus playing the defending SB champ is enough incentive not to mention it's the Jersey Giants and a hated division rival.

I'm looking forward to watching the Ravens on Sunday with "smokin" Joe Flacco at the helm. I don't expect much out of them this year,but it is the NFL and anything can happen.Right now everyone is tied and everyone can dream about the Super Bowl!! Enjoy the game my friend.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 3, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Scotty

Posted by: dmd | September 3, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Piling on by adding my congrats to VL and HB to Scotty. I think I already said HB to mo, but if I didn't (or if she wasn't paying attention; you know how she gets), then happy belated, mo. Happy to see that Mr. VL knows how to celebrate an anniversary Curmudgeon style.

Sooooooooooooo happy to see that DNA Girl used "tchotchkes" in the previous Boodle. Be still my heart.

Joel, your Thompson profile wasn't "tragically unread." I read it (even past the jump, IIRC).

If being tortured and held incummnicado for years and years was a serious qualification for president, then wouldn't it stand to reason that Sheik Khalid Mohammed would make a dandy president of Kuwait (his birth country) or maybe Afghanistan (where he fought/was a bin Laden mastermind)? Just speculatin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, gwe.

I'd rather play the Bengals at home than on the road against the current NFL Champions in their regular season home debut as such.

Granted, the Giants' defense is weakned due to Strahan's retirement, Umenyiora's season-ending injury, and I think at least one of their staring DBs went to another team, but Football is a very emotional game, and the Giants will have a tsunami of it on Thursday.

Washington, not so much.


Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

And of course, HFB to our Unforgettable mo!


Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, what a TV dilemma tomorrow night-- watching the McCain acceptance speech, or watching the Redskins get themselves Wounded Kneed and Sand Rivered at Jimmy Hoffa Memorial Park. Wonder if there's a good chick flick on? "Sisterhood of the Wandering Undergarments," or one of those (starring Jane Seymour and Tori Spelling). Maybe a Very Special Oprah. A Billy Mays Infommercial for a powerful, citrus-based hemorrhoid ointment. Anything.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Is it going to be a real game or are they still playing for McDo coupons?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 3, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to Scotty! Maybe Nukespouse will find the time to bake you a cake. :-)

HB to mo, too!

Posted by: TBG | September 3, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Popping in for a second to cast copious birthday huzzahs for Snuke-ums, and belatedly to mo, as well as copious anniversary huzzahs to VL.

It continues to astound me that people throw around "leader" as if it's something people can buy at the Dollar Store.

Again, as I've postulated before:

"If you have to call yourself a leader, by definition, you *aren't* one! If you have surrogates call you a leader, you *still* aren't one!"

Leaders -- real, true leaders -- are inclusive, they are generous and they are empathetic. So-called leaders in name only are not. Leadership is defined by an outward, sharing, inclusive posture. Leaders -- real, true leaders -- think more about others in place of themselves directly, or about how their so-called "leadership" will be reflected upon themselves.

When I think about Obama's campaign (and I voted for Hillary in the primary -- full disclosure), and the way he energized so many people who had never been politically active before, much less registered to vote, I said, "now *that* is leadership."

Both parties have had real true leaders, but such persons have also been few and far between. The denigration of the word and the concept -- a dummying-down, if you will -- makes it like a box of corn flakes.

Real leaders will always be more appealing, if we can claw our way out of the packaging of the fakes.

Gotta go and continue drafting a pleading.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 3, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC (*sigh*) -- "not" how their so-called "leadership" will be reflected upon themselves.

Sorry -- still in draft-mode. Will be perfect before it's filed. . . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 3, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

We knew what you meant, ftb... well put, too. A good definition of "leadership."

Posted by: TBG | September 3, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

sd, Thursday is the first game of the regular season.

They all count from here on out.


Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that Jeremy Shockey left the Giants, too.

Still, as much as I want Washington to win on Thursday, I don't see it happening. Though I will watch (I'll DVR McCain - please).


Posted by: bc | September 3, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks bc, with the steady feed of Detroit Lions games we are getting on cable it's hard to tell if they are playing for keep or not...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 3, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

She's Nice -- but Not Ready

The writer is a Democratic member of the Alaska House of Representatives. A former columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, he writes mystery novels.

Why she was selected is a mystery to me. -Shiloh

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Just got this email from my sister...

SUBJECT: Election Solidarity

There are less than three months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans. To show our solidarity as Americans, let's all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice.

It's time that we come together, Democrats and Republicans alike. If you support the policies and character of Senator Obama, please drive with your headlights on during the day.

If you support John McCain, please drive with your headlights off at night.

Thank you for your participation.

Posted by: TBG | September 3, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Robert Novak: John McCain: Political Genius
Shiloh's Post: Robert Novak: Journalistic Jerk

The truth is tractable to Novak. He can write about Palin, "...she shares his loathing for earmarks..." without mentioning she sucked up $26 million in earmarks for a small town. His half-truths are as half-fast as his ideas.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

happy birthday, sn, and happy anniversary, vl!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 3, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary, VL. 26 more years and I have you caught. Happy Birthday scotty.

I kept plugging that semi-bio that ran Sunday. McCain in his very short career lost four planes. Crashed two and had two shot out from under him, one by the Vietnamese and one by the Navy. It seems like losing hardware was a bit of a habit with him.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 3, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

A tasty sampler from .dot comments.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: slyness | September 3, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Back from a walk and it is hot today. Came home and found a woodpecker pecking on my house. I threw my walking stick at him(like a spear) and got close,hopefully that will keep him away. Lotsa leaves falling here in west by god,we could use Hanna's rain or anybody's rain. Might be time for a dance soon.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 3, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I've read "It Looks Like a President Only Smaller." Several times, in fact. Indeed, I own one of the special leather-bound editions with illuminated text.

The brilliant thing about this compilation, as is true of all Joel's writings, is that it is mercilessly even-handed. He calls 'em like he sees 'em and plays no favorites. Yes, he poked fun at Al, but that other feller received a few choice jabs as well.

Joel is a true journalist in that you can't really predict what he will write except that you know that it will be clever and that it will be fair.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 3, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to VL, Scotty and Mo.

TBG's story reminded me of a previous election year. My ex and I were crossing the street to our apartment in an extremely heavy rain.

There was a car at the curb. Lights on, wipers going, frantic, locked out driver; on the back bumper, a sticker for the person we weren't supporting. My ex later said, "I always wondered who would be stupid enough to vote for /person we weren't supporting/."

Posted by: dbG | September 3, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't know the details of three of those four events, yello, but I'm not sure that's very fair. Loosing planes is an occupational hazard of being a military combat flyer. I wouldn't attribute anything to the pilot. Any time a military flyer looses a plane -- or is even involved in any kind of non-standard event -- they are rigorously drilled and investigated.

And of all the types of military pilots there are, being a carrier pilot is the hardest there is, bar none. If there was even the slighest hint McC couldn't do the job, even as the son of an admiral, they have plenty of subtle ways of sidetracking him off to a safer (less threatening) job; hell they coulda made him an admiral and sent hiom off to the Pentagon.

So much as I hate to do it, I give McCain a pass on the four losses, and no questions asked about any of 'em, especially the shoot-downs.

I know and have interviewed a lot of military pilots, both at Andrews AFB and even more so at NAS Pax River (it was even my specialty for a couple of years). Loosing planes is a regular part of the job, unfortunately. In particular, I know a lot about test pilots, and at Pax River, if you and an airplane or rotary haven't had a serious disagreement, you just ain't doing the job.

Here's a story about how the late Navy astronaut Willie McCool, who died at the stick of the shuttle Columbia, almost lost an EA-6B Prowler over Chesapeake Bay. In about the third or fourth graf it notes that 13 of the 14 previous pilots who got into this situation all lost their aircraft.

I fault nobody for loosing an aircraft, even if there's a finding of pilot error.

And unfortunately, it seems the very best pilots are often the wildest ones. Alan Shepherd was one crazy dude in the air, as were all his fellow astronauts. Little known fact: the "right stuff" contains a large component of "nuts."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

RD, I agree that Joel's "true journalist" qualifications include that he is not predictable but is fair. However, his consistent ability to be clever puts him in a category separate from mere true journalists. Add in the humor and you've got a pretty rarefied skill set, all for our enjoyment.

And yet, no parking space.

TBG, loved it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 3, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Three months before she was thrust into the national political spotlight, Gov. Sarah Palin was asked to handle a much smaller task: addressing the graduating class of commission students at her one-time church, Wasilla Assembly of God.

Her speech in June provides as much insight into her policy leanings as anything uncovered since she was asked to be John McCain's running mate.

Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.


Will we be asked to change the National Anthem to "Onward, Christian Soldiers" if she is elected?

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Religion, however, was not strictly a thread in Palin's foreign policy. It was part of her energy proposals as well. Just prior to discussing Iraq, Alaska's governor asked the audience to pray for another matter -- a $30 billion national gas pipeline project that she wanted built in the state. "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

Ibid. @ 12.31

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

And so we get back to the issue of President as Beauty Contest.

Fred has described a brave man who is owed the thanks and gratitude of a nation. But that shouldn't automatically include its nuclear launch codes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 3, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

If I want somebody to refight the Vietnam War - I'll vote for McCain

Do you suppose any of the other brave young men and women who served in Vietnam ever suffered so?

We could use some of this hot air to spin T. Boone's windmills!

Posted by: Mac - AL | September 3, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Tempted to pick up Joel's book on, Padouk. Tried to put Alan's (the one who criticized Rich) money where his mouth is, so searched the NYT archives. I don't know that Frank Rich was writing op-ed columns back in 2000. Loomis Chaffee grad and NYT reporter Frank Bruni was writing lots of articles back then about the Bush-Gore race, but articles, not opinion pieces. I have Bruni's book about Bush, "Ambling Through History," but sadly have not cracked it yet.

I did find an op-ed by Rich in 2002 titled "Do We Have to Call You Al?". Not at all flattering to Gore, and I also unearthed the Maureen Dowd column, pure dreck and exclusively about Gore, that ran right before the 2000 election titled, "Liberties; I Feel Pretty."

But on to far, far more current events. Our local paper ran as its second, less prominent op-ed today, the now-common bit about how a candidate's kids/family should be off-limits. Then this from reporting late this morning by AP at the NYT:

"But the media focus on Palin's difficulties won't go away, particularly since Bristol Palin and the unborn child's father, 18-year-old Levi Johnston, were to attend Wednesday's session."

Is putting the unwed father on display at the Republican convention a good idea?

The shotgun weddings on both sides of our own family, the nieces, have difficulties--the one on my husband's side is turning into a soap opera of gigantic--and tragic--proportions--about as bad as a story can get.

Posted by: Loomis | September 3, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, the thing is this kind of talk is *precisely* what many of the Republican Evangelicals have been yearning to hear.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 3, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Good old Fred! Getting back on his regular nap schedule has helped a great deal (as it would help so many of us). Just a minor nitpick, though - John McCain was never tortured in Hanoi; he was merely subject to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques - I've heard them described as sort of like high school rough-housing. So that's hardly a qualification to be President. It must be his keen, thoughtful judgement that makes the difference. That and his fine BBQ technique. And really, isn't that what counts in a President? As long as the VP can run the country, we're fine.

Posted by: JohnR | September 3, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I haven't watched it but this clip is purported to be of the talk Shiloh is referring to.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Chatter from last night's coverage (I can't recall if these were mentioned on MSNBC or CNN)--who cares about what's happening in Soviet Georgia or the future of the energy industry or immigration reform?:

Levi Johnston's Facebook page was scrubbed very recently. The picture showed a blonde who had jumped up on Johnston's back, piggyback style, the blonde not Bristol Palin. Johnston's text was alleged to say that he didn't want to be a father.

Also interesting is that neither vice president candidate currently were the candidate's first choices. McCain wanted Lieberman; Obama wanted Kaine. Anyone else hear this?

Posted by: Loomis | September 3, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, too, as I've mentioned here before, that Obama campaigned for Joe Lieberman in Connecticut instead of outspoken anti-war Democratic candidate Ned Lamont.

Posted by: Loomis | September 3, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Re my 1:41...I think it widely known that McCain wanted Lieberman, but I haven't read much about Obama preferring Kaine.

I'd like to know more about what I heard and Brag pointed out, about the Texas passport being found in Ossetia, given that we're now going to ship a billion in aid there. Even my Tajik hairdresser says not to judge prematurely since all the facts aren't known.

And Brag, give me three good reasons why I should buy your book. How do you treat women within your pages?

Posted by: Loomis | September 3, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Howcome the Brits get the best scoops?

Posted by: slyness | September 3, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Three good reasons to buy any work of fiction:

1. It is entertaining.
2. It is easy reading.
3. It treats its characters, regardless of gender, according to their design and merit.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Boko's 12:57 link had me mezmerized as I watched Palin. It's very revealing. Some people will be shocked; I'm from the south so I'm not, but I am fascinated. It's as if she fell in love with Jim and Tammy when she was a kid; along with all her contemporaries. And Palin is very likeable here. In a sort of way that will be compared to Kathy Bates in "Misery."

And Mudge, are you loosing it?

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"How do you treat women within your pages"

I personally prefer sheets; paper cuts are a real turn off, but each to their own.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 3, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

On agenda; upcoming: Charlie Gordon for President (Algernon)

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, you should buy Brag's book because:

1) He needs the money. The poor man walks around in rags, and steals food from trash cans behind alleys in restaurants. (He's especially fond of the one behind Citronelle, however. The man is nothing if not a sophisticated gourmand.)

2) All writers need love and support, especially writers working on mystery/suspense/thrillers. *Most* especially them.

3) He's a crackerjack wingman on the Dawn Patrol, except for this slight tendency to come home with shrubbery in his landing gear.

Suggestion: ignore the repeated references to babes, ho's, hookers, bimbos, etc. Artistic license. It's usually just the characters speaking, not him. Mostly.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I am, Jumper, I am. bc has already taken me to task very sternly over it.

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

Happy Anniversary to Vintage Lady and Happy Birthday to Scotty! Obviously great minds think alike.

Also belated birthday wishes to mo, 'Mudge and gwe (or is it ftb?), l.a. lurker, and everyone else I've missed recently. I'd forgotten how busy a month August is for the Boodle.

Loomis, I'd heard the McCain wanted Lieberman. I don't know how strongly Obama wanted Kaine. The big downside with Biden to me is that if Obama wins, Biden would be too old to succeed him. Choosing someone like Kaine would have turned the Vice Presidency back into a farm team, so to speak.

Posted by: pj | September 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

4⅝ good reasons to buy any work of fiction:

1. It is enthralling.
2. It teaches me something about people.
3. It teaches me something about the world.
4. It is well crafted.
5. (optional) It is clever, amusing, and tweaks my emotions in a way that seems beneficial or transformative at this point in time.

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. Borrowing S's grovery persona for the moment. First day of teaching and am bushed-wacked for tired.

Hippo Birdie Day to ScottyN
Hippo Cassowersary Day to Vintage Lord and Lady.

Fred is a good basic name. Unlike Trevor or Seth or Porter or Parker or Taylor or Tyler or Madison....sheesh, have not had a Fred or Mary on my roster in a very long blue moon.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 3, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge is loosing it and I'm mezmerized.

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

6. You have a need to be treated sensuously between the pages.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 3, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh crap, slyness. That's bad news. Sending that kid into Iraq is gonna be every bit as problematic as it was sending Prince Harry into Afghanistan. Maybe worse, because Track's combat zone is worse.

And like P. Harry, there's no good answer. Keeping him there is as bad politically and every other way as pulling him out. Poor kid's a human target now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The congressional pages.

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This piece on women in fiction and reality seems appropriate to the question Loomis posed. Here is an excerpt: (one word edited)

"This is a line of reasoning that the people commenting on several of the articles seem incapable of grasping. Instead, they're slamming Obama in crypto-racist terms (They're calling him "arrogant." "Arrogant?" What's next, "uppity?") and tearing him down on weak grounds. For example, the same people who cannot let go of Obama calling a female reporter "sweetie" are perfectly willing to go vote for McCain, a man who called his wife a c--t in full view of reporters. Which do you think is more indicative of a lack of respect for women?

And this is where I lose sympathy for the angry and disappointed supporters. At this point, they're reminding me of one of pop literature's ugliest caricatures of feminists: the Ellen Jamesians."

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Levi's facebook is so 2 days ago.

The blonde on his back is his sister, seen in other photographs with Bristol Palin.

Genealogy to follow.

Posted by: CC | September 3, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I tell you if I am ever captured all they would have to do is tickle me and I would give up the state secrets.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 3, 2008 9:24 AM

for some reason that struck me as sooooo funny!

Posted by: NALL92 | September 3, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I get called "Hon" or "Sweetie" by waitresses in places like Tuskaloosa. Or "Sugar" if I'm lucky.

Posted by: Paavo | September 3, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Clair De Lune (abbey road)

Posted by: Jumper | September 3, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Waitresses can get away with that, Paavo, but waiters do it at risk, regardless of gender addressed.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mudge,
I shlepped my tokhes to schlecht places across town, got into all sorts of mishigas, and then kvetched about it all with other meshugines for years in NYC. I'll tell you the whole megile someday :-)

For S'nuke:

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 3, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

You put your finger precisely on what I was thinking, Shiloh.

Posted by: Paavo | September 3, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Kurtz's column recounts the furor in the McCain campaign over the way the press is approacing the candidate for VP. IMHO, the third estate is doing its job. I guess the expectation is that the press will roll over at the prospect of a politician of Gov. Palin's caliber being handed the keys to the nation. Balderdash.

Posted by: jack | September 3, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Just a few moments for some comments:

First, Happy Anniversary to VintageLady, although I don't believe for one second that it is her 48th. 28 maybe?

Happy Birthday to Scottynuke and a belated HB to mo.

Props to Ms. Paris Achenbach on another wonderful photo. That lady has a great eye!

Ivansmom brought back some memories for me:

Hey omni, that's my appetizer tonight. With Moose Mozzarella, of course.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 2, 2008 7:21 PM
In Naples, Italy, they make "Mozzarella di Bufala". Bufala, or Buffalo to Italians, is the Wildebeest (or gnu) which has been imported from North Africa. The Wildebeest looks like a scrawny, dirty, ugly Moose without antlers. So Moose Mozzarella it is! If you have never had an authentic fresh Insalata Caprese (mozzarella di bufala, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt) as made in Naples, you have missed a slice of heaven. Just make sure you have all your shots up to date before you try it!

And thanks to Curmudgeon for setting everyone straight on McCain's piloting skills or at least Navy piloting skills. I was sitting here thinking that for a bunch of smart people, y'all were sure expounding a bunch on a subject you knew nothing about. Just to get a dig in. Curmudgeon, you said it much better and soooo much nicer than I would have, so thanks again.


Posted by: DLD | September 3, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I'll check out Kurtz in a minute. In the meantime, I just love everything about this column, from the illustration to the ending:

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

Oy. For you such warem libshaft I have, DNA. Such a mommeleh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The bufala is a smallish water buffalo of Asin origin. They've been around southern Italy for so long, they're paractically local.
Trying to milk a wildebeest, which is a kind of antelope, I think, may be hazardous to your health. Them things have nasty horns.

And DLD is right, real mozzarella has nothing to do with the white rubber we are accustomed to in North America. *sigh*

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 3, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Paavo, welcome to the Boodle. Come back again soon, toots, and post often.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks shriek. I was biting my lips.

Posted by: Yoki | September 3, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Would McCain's speech have been improved if he said "sugar" instead of "my friend?" (Amici)

Gotta bid a fond "ave sed numquam vale" to the hoodlarum boodlae.

Memento: Sic Semper Tyrannis!

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

SonofCarl--Those are dramatic pix! Canadian Rockies?

Posted by: Brag | September 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I've heard that it's usual to serve wildebeest with gnu potatoes. Is that true?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I love pilots, and don't discount the skills and nerve it takes to fly in combat. But, speaking as someone who was a military pilot-they are the least experienced among the officer corps in leading people. While the Army has tried to make the Aviation branch virtually identical in career progression to the other combat arms (Infantry, Armor, etc.) it's still not the same as having a young 2LT (Second Lieutenant) in charge of a platoon of regular soldiers. The Navy and Air Force wait until pilots have much more rank before giving them any people to lead. (Wish I had a clean inter-service joke to put here.)

In McCain's case, his first and last major command was of the "Navy's largest squadron" but it was one responsible for training pilots and maintaining some aircraft. I know it makes no sense at all, considering how important pilot training is, but commanding a training unit is barely one step above having no command at all (if it is your first command at that level, there are some rare special exceptions). As for his aircraft maintenance record, "McCain says he sought and received permission to break a restrictive Navy rule against using some grounded planes for parts. With the new maintenance regimen, he promised that by the end of his tour he would get almost every plane in the air at least once." Who couldn't get every plane up at least once if allowed to cannibalize? Sheesh.

Quotes from this Boston Globe piece from Aug. 31

Posted by: frostbitten | September 3, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

My expectation of Moose Mozzarella is akin to that of Yak Butter.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Loomis--Shiloh answered for me perfectly.

Three good reasons to buy any work of fiction:

1. It is entertaining.
2. It is easy reading.
3. It treats its characters, regardless of gender, according to their design and merit.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 2:13 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

OOPS, the above is by me

Posted by: Brag | September 3, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Frosty's right -- and although McCain may have had "command" of that squadron it was the NCOs who ran it and made it work -- which is basically true of every squadron from time immemorial. Biggest challenege for the NCOs is to keep the totally green, incompetent new "commander" from screwing up too badly and keeping everybody from getting hurt. The very best NCOs are very good at letting the CO think he (she) is in charge. The very best COs know better.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I've outdone myself in bad spelling and typing in my last post. I blame it on the unseasonal heat.
One problem with fighter pilots in particular is that they must have the attention span of a gnat. They can't fixate on a single thing because they will quickly lose track of something important and cause an aircraft interaction with the ground. Their mind must quickly and constantly jump from one thing to another to stay alive. It's not the best attitude in other venues of life. Mccain had plenty of time to retrain himself though, it's been what, 40 years, since he climbed in the seat of a jet?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 3, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, I think you would be pleasantly surprised by mozzarella di bufala, assuming that is what you mean by Moose Mozzarella. It has very mild odor considering that it comes from what is an wild animal. Did I also say it is ugly. OK. The taste is also very mild but not bland, very distinctive. Milder than most sheep cheeses and much milder than goat cheese. It is a soft cheese but firmer than most soft cheeses. The taste and texture is very complementary to the other ingredients in a Insalata Caprese (Capri Salad).

Never had or seen Yak butter but that is probably a different animal altogether. ☺

Curmudgeon, as long as gnu potatoes are not similar to road apples I'll go with that. Never saw anyone eat wildebeest in Naples although I'm sure they do. Italians eat sparrows, whole, so roast gnu is not unthinkable.


Posted by: DLD | September 3, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

...AN wild animal?????


Posted by: DLD | September 3, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

That Vestas wind power ad on the WaPo home page makes me dizzy... anyone else?

Posted by: TBG | September 3, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am sure some Republican delegates will be squirming in their seats tonight if they have read this:


We renew our call for replacing "family planning" programs for teens with increased funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior. Abstinence is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies..."

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

...excepting parents that let their children run amok.

Posted by: jack | September 3, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Or, Jack, those parents who fail to have their teenagers injected with hormone repressing drugs.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Why are all my google ads

1 rule of a flat stomach:
Cut down 9 lbs of stomach fat every 11 days by obeying this 1 rule.

1 rule of a flat stomach:
I cut down 32 lbs of stomach fat in 4 months by obeying this 1 old rule

1 rule of a flat stomach:
Cut down 9 lbs of stomach fat every 11 days by obeying this 1 rule.

Posted by: Kerric | September 3, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Change your browser homepage to something other than Tim Horton Donut's web page.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 3, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Brilliantly snarky article over at Slate on the predictable praised to be heaped on Palin. Here's the bit I love:

"She used to be a newscaster, for Pete's sake, and as governor she's shown herself to have a competent, even warm, presence when delivering a prepared speech. The speech itself will be written by Matthew Scully, an experienced speechwriter who's served two stints in the White House, most recently for President George W. Bush. The speech's content will be vetted within an inch of its life by the McCain campaign staff."

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 3, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

from Kurtz:

"The tabloid quotes an insider as saying that the governor wanted to announce that Bristol was expecting and had set a wedding date before McCain went public with his vice-presidential choice. But, the story says, the baby's father, high school student Levi Johnston, balked at the plan."

And they listened to a 18 year old? Let him dictate POLICY?

Posted by: nellie | September 3, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I fully expect Palin to deliver her speech well tonight. People are so cynical about "government" and "politicians" they forget that, by and large, politicians are likeable as people. Mostly they are gregarious and outgoing by nature and like people. There is always the exception, like my friend who didn't like campaigning but felt God had called him to state politics. Some politicians would rather discuss the issues than have a beer, but they're all pretty comfortable with talking, individually and to crowds. A halfway decent politician should be at least able to deliver a speech, if not rise to great oratorical heights. Whatever else she is, Palin appears to be a more than halfway decent politician.

These characteristics - liking and being comfortable talking with people - is one of the ways we know Dick Cheney isn't a politician, despite his presence in elected office throughout his career.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 3, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Levi Johnston may have balked at the plan because he didn't want to get hitched, a personal rather than political decision. Now that he is in place with the program, don't be surprised to hear about wedding gifts from well-heeled Republicans that may include a new snow machine, pickup truck, top-of-the-line hunting rifle and other toys. Hey, any kid can change his mind with the right kind of inducements, including a kick in the pants from his old man.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 3, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Shiloh. With those acoutrements, to paraphrase his FB, he could *really* f*&^%n chill.

If Gov. Palin is going to talk the abstinence talk, she should walk the walk.

Posted by: jack | September 3, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's see tonight's GOP convention TV schedule: speeches by


and then Palin.

And I'm supposed to watch?


That's just not gunna happen.

Meanwhile: We have Gustav dying in the midwest, Hanna coming our way, Ike formally became a hurricane today and is headed toward the Keys, more or less ... and now Josephine is forming up. Sheesh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

The Secretary of State just rolled out plans to provide the country of Georgia 1B for rebuilding the country, some of which may be dedicated to rebuilding their military. Congressional approval must be made, but the gesture is sure to escalate tensions with Moscow.
Dollar foolish?

Posted by: jack | September 3, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Josephine? You just gave me a tune cootie about flying machines, Mudge. Wonder if that tune could be modified for hurricane spotting.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 3, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I have every confidence in you, Wilbrod. Have at it!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Am I the first to spot a new kit?

Posted by: yellojkt | September 3, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

By George, you are, yello!!! See you there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 3, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I can see that their media is not interested in what America thinks just McCain!!That's the republican double talk tell what you did wrong and say that they did the same thing but it's not wrong!! DUH!!!!! I can't get over the fact the a person can claim to have more experience, when they have never written a law one. Never sponsored one or pass one federal law!!!! That's what the federal government does LADY!!! ""NEWS FLASH"" OBAMA HAS PASS, WRITTEN, SPONSORED MORE FEDERAL LAWS THEN YOU WILL EVER DREAM OF DOING!!!!

Posted by: jrlecato | September 4, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

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