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Darwin's Bar-Tailed Godwits

The best story in the paper today is about the bar-tailed godwits -- birds -- that flap from Alaska to New Zealand nonstop. And the best part of the story is how this bizarre behavior is an adaptation to boost survival rates during the long journey. Contact among species is inherently dangerous; best to keep flapping and not even attempt to land. (This is how I function at work: Head down, fingers flailing, no interpersonal communication whatsoever.)

As astounding as the feat is the fact that it represents a highly evolved solution to a problem, not a fluke or one-time occurrence.

The nonstop, over-water route is free of predators and substantially shorter than a hopscotching route down the eastern coast of Asia, which is the alternative. Landing and eating -- literally, refueling -- would expose the birds to disease and parasites when they are probably somewhat immune-suppressed. Refueling also would add weeks to the trip and itself take energy.

All in all, flying nonstop across most of the north-south span of the Pacific Ocean is the safest thing to do.

OK, fine, but I still wonder: Why commute to New Zealand? Why not fly from Alaska to, say, Seattle? They got that nice market there, with all the fish. It seems fundamentally outlandish to migrate from one end of the Earth to the other.

But then, maybe we humans do crazy stuff, too, like inventing this concept of "adolescence" in which people who are perfectly capable of going out and getting a job and contributing to society are permitted to lounge around the house watching "Gossip Girls" and rolling their eyes and sighing dramatically every time their father tries to teach them something.

Maybe I'm the one who should migrate to New Zealand.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 22, 2008; 10:29 AM ET
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Morning, all.

Even in Minnesota, Elwyn Tinklenberg must not have been an easy name to grow up with!

Posted by: bobsewell | October 22, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle.

It's a beautiful day here. I'm happy to know you all and to have good work to do.

Cassandra dear, hope you are OK, even feeling better.

Love the Kit.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I so get this concept!

I'm drinking cold Soup at Hand for lunch because our local microwave is broken and if I use the communal ones outside our doors someone in the business division will ambush me and try to get me to do something for them.

Likewise, I use the ladies' room that's furthest from the division--where I see women who will ask me to do nothing more than smile.

Evolved solutions are a wonderful thing.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 22, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

That was firsttimeblogger with the healthy back chair. Although I'd like one too.

I'm finding a bit more about VPs with this excellent article.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all
I have been seeing or noticing a lot more birds lately. The turkeys have all come into our community.It is turkey season and there is no hunting in here. Who said turkeys were stupid?

In the last week I have seen,2 large Owls(maybe just the 1 in 2 differnt spots) 3or 4 hawks,a gaggle of geese on the river and some of the biggest woodpeckers I have ever seen( i like to call them woodknockers) What does all this mean? I haven't the slightest clue,but it sure is nice.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 22, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm just about as impressed by the Ruby-Throat hummingbirds, which have to cross the Gulf of Mexico non-stop. The godwits may be able to soar a bit with the right wind, so they don't have to flap every minute of the day. The hummingbirds HAVE to flap, at some rediculous rate, to stay airborne and burning all that energy.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 22, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how Bryan Allen of Gossamer Albatross fame
would have done with a nine pound weight strapped to HIM? Poor birds.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: ridiculous

Posted by: ebtnut | October 22, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Yep -- it were me with the new Healthy Back chair. It just came, all put together even. I'm adjusting all the levers, and I'm getting used to it. So far, my back just luvs it. Very expensive, but very good value for the money. Definitely.

I'd love to go to New Zealand and Australia. The trip is very, very long from these parts, tho. On my list.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 22, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Greenwithenvy, it's /domesticated/ turkeys that are so stupid they'll drown in the rain. Brain damage is in their DNA.

The wild article is quite wily. They know to come in out of the rain of bullets.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

gwe, Pileated Woodpeckers? They're huge.

There were some stories in the last few years of possible sighting of the previously-though-to-be-extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker, but nothing confirmed and further south than you are. It would be nice to think that a beautiful thing like that could be brought back.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Howard Waldrop's beautiful story "The Ugly Chickens" is available here:

I recommend it in the strongest possible way. Even Joel, whose time is precious. Or "especially Joel."

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. This new system just held my post for "review" (for no good reason). So when I hit the back button to go back and copy it to be saved -- as I've done in the past -- it instead kicked me back to the page without the ciomment box. So my post is gone.

Grrrrrrr. I hate this new system. I hate my boodle handle.

And I'm not having a good day as it is.

Somebody fax me some damn twinkle-pings.

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Song of the Eastern Fence (with Godwit birds)

I built my house in the midst of the haunts of men,
But there is no portico here for their carriages/
And if you ask me why that is so, I will say
"Because my heart lives far away, and keeps itself for company"/
Lazily, I pick chrysanthemums by the eastern fence,
The mountain breeze from the south is delicious in the fading light./
The godwit birds fly home in pairs,
Somewhere there is a deeper meaning,
I would like to say it, but have forgotten the words.

-Tao Qian (Yuanming)

This translation by -tao-, also see:

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- twinkle-pings across state lines is a Fed off. So, when you get back to MD, I can send some. Hold on, buddy.

Get some peanut brittle or something to gnaw on.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' 'Mudge some Twinkies*

Oh, wait...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I had a post not show up either. And it was completely innocuous. I just was telling GWE he's lucky to see birds. What gives?

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with a post about pileated woodpeckers?

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes that is them Yoki,there are plenty of those around here. Not only do they sound like jack hammers on trees,but their call almost reminds you of being in the jungle somewhere. A couple of weeks ago,one swooped down on me when I was in the Kayak.i thought he wanted a fish.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 22, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I too lost a post. It was ostensibly condemned for verbosity or "posting too frequently" and sentenced to oblivion.

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Nothing at all, slyness. Just don't confuse them with depilated peckerwoods, as I sometimes do down in Southern Maryland.

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The transmitters must have placed a substantial burden on the birds.

Birds have better-designed respiratory systems than we do (think of geese flying across the Himalaya).

For info on our feeble human capabilities, "Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival" by Frances Ashcroft (University of California Press) is one of the most entertaining science books I've ever read. It should be a staple of high school libraries.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

mr. joel: adolescent eye-rolling while being instructed by one's father is a felony at my house, punishable by being assigned to rake leaves, sweep out the garage, etc.

these tasks, paired with the proviso that no food shall be consumed by the guilty until said duties are completed, has been known to WIPE OUT eye-rolling for an entire afternoon. not that there isn't an uptick in muttering and sneering....

Posted by: butlerguy | October 22, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to see the new variations on Boodle handles.

Busy working on Earth stuff and clearing nonsense from my desk after a week away in Ithaca, home to a college that some Achenblog-related folks might be considering for matriculation. Let me just say: the food at Moosewood is really excellent, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the folks are very nice, but the price may be a bit beyond the average college student. Then again, everything else I encountered in Ithaca also was beyond the means of the average college student.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

JA, you just made my day! There is nothing in the world like a good bird talk, even better than tomato and mayonaise talk. In fact, this morning I was nattering on about birds and dear CP & Scotty offered a helping hand/claw/wing.

Husband was eating his bowl of chili and wondering how they could go so long without eating? The idea of storing up energy is so foreign to us human types. Amazing creatures, and yes, ebtnut, we enjoy the hummingbirds in the summertime (they are partial to our zinnias) and wonder at the sheer force of will that these beauties exhibit.

The pileated woodpeckers live in our woods and they cackle and make a racket while working on the deadwood for insects, I just love them all.

As to visitors this morning to devour new seeds, basically the same old gang, how glad I was to see them: chickadees, nuthathes, titmice, ladderbacks, blue jays, no finches as yet, but they will come as will our eastern bluebirds as they can manage the seed in chips. The cardinals will come later, I think. Also saw a chipping sparrow, but it was just being friendly, not eating the seeds.

Well, the godwits are certainly a stouthearted bunch, winging all that way, sure hope the population had a buffet waiting for them upon their landings.


Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, the godwits' private flying arrangements are the precise opposite of what we humans do with airports. The surviving Masters of the Universe who travel via executive jet, preferably from quiet little airports in, say, Greenwich, must benefit from not being exposed to runny noses from all over.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

-tao-, I TOLD you the Wirty Dird Filter was going to catch on at some point... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Mudge.

Dave, I could get used to the executive jet from private airport thing. Last two times I've flown, I've come down with nasty colds when I got home. NO fun a-tall.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

When I don't refill the birdfeeders, the birds squawk and stare at me balefully. I love woodpeckers - we have the flickers, downy and pileated here. I've always thought they sound like jungle birds, too, and sometimes they cluck like a chicken. My other favorites are the chickadees and the hummingbirds. Bushtits are very cute - they come in a flock, and are so tiny. Then there are the crows. Alas, no cardinals here.

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I'm flying off tonight to a welcome respite from work, TV, computers. Boy, will my arms be tired! Back late Sunday.

(aka mostlylurking)

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Years ago, a delightful co-worker told me her motto: "At work, I like to fade into the whiteboard. After work, I like to fade into the freeway."

Posted by: Fifty | October 22, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I've noted before my concern about the disappearance of many bird species in the DC Metro area. Birds such as meadowlarks,
Bob-whites, a lot of warblers, cuckoos have been scarce to non-existent for years now. Yes, we still have cardinals, robins, mockingbirds, crows (LOTS of crows!) and the English invaders plus the Canada geese. I see an occasional Pileated, red-belly, nuthatch and flicker. Even driving through the Ag farm over in Beltsville I see few bluebirds, even with all those birdhouses they put up.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 22, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Stopped by my office to pick up a few things to work on at home and heard the unmistakable squeak of a bald eagle. Two were circling above the playground looking impressive but sounding much less so. Most will take off for warmer climes soon, but a few will stay all winter.

Frostdaddy, who has been having trouble with his dominant eye and getting regular shots right in the eyeball (eeewwww) from his opthamologist, reports he missed a grouse yesterday. At this rate I'll be working on little grouse tidbit appetizers for Sunday instead of a hearty stew. On the plus side, he is seeing grouse. The past two years they were quite scarce. Winter drought robs them of the snow cover they need to escape being fox dinner.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Try these 婊子養的, 狗狼養的, on the filter. Their equivalent is the American phrase SOB.

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

frosti1, we have a small flock of spruce grouse that frequent our neighbourhood. I think they are just lovely. The dogs think so, too.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

No new bird sightings today,but right now they are hard to spot.With all the color we have now,it is tough to anything but the beauty that lies within the trees.

Off to work

Have a Great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 22, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

see anything

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 22, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I was charmed and moved by this article on the front page of the NYT.

Maggie O'D

PS: How do I get my name back?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | October 22, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

About the only thing to add about birds I have is that it is the annual gathering of the starlings around here, late in the afternoon you see swarms of them flying around or covering a tree or lining telephone lines. Interesting to watch them swoop and fly in such large groups.

A little past discussion update McCain last night on W. PA

Posted by: dmd2 | October 22, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

If the godwits are flying themselves non-stop across those tremendous over-water routes in just days, they don't have *time* to queue up "Gossip Girl" for any in-flight entertainment. I suppose flapping your own wings is *not* flying first class?

Only watched one episode with the oldest two of my brood, but I didn't enjoy it. Followed it up with an episode of "Gilmore Girls," and my middle daughter commented that she remembered why she liked that show so much - "It's smart *and* funny."

And Joel, since you can't fly to NZ nonstop by flapping your arms, maybe we can work something out with Richard Branson for a nice suborbital trip on Spaceship Three (whatever that ends up being...).


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay, -tao-, now I've *got* to learn Chinese.

{muttering, putting more on list, running out of paper (real and electronic), muttering some more}

Now I got work to do. Exiting from whence I entered. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 22, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Mudge's stuff if getting caught up in the Dirty Bird Filter?


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The original dirty birds are red-cockaded woodpeckers. They drill nesting holes into living pine trees that are conveniently ifected with heart rot, making nest excavation easy once the bird's gotten through the bark and living wood.

The woodpeckers encourage the trees to bleed lots of resin. They get quite a bit of the stuff on themselves.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Man, those birds are flying for week without eating, and I can't go from Newark to Pittsburgh without a bag of peanuts.

And the birds don't have to register for nuthin', neither.

Posted by: byoolin1 | October 22, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Now I know what "is" is.
It's "if."

Such a dodo I am.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

seasea... bushtits? I've seen those in National Geographic, but never in my backyard.



Posted by: martooni | October 22, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

All this "pals around with terrorists" baloney reminds me of the "left's" obvious riposte: Republican administration full of people placed there by Bush family father-son team recently in business deals with Bin Laden family.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Teenagers: don't get me started on that parasitic lifeform.

Ooooh! Lucky Yoki! Spruce Grouse/Tétra du Canada! That beautiful but dumb bird should be our national bird. They are almost in every province aren't they? Just North of Quebec City we were making mix bags of Sruce and Ruffed Grouse when I was hunting with my older brother. Equally good to eat but the Ruffed is a lot more cagier.

We have our usual mix of local birds at the feeders (cardinals, chickadees, house, song and white throated sparrows, goldfinch, purple and house finches, etc) but fall always brings visitors on their way to their winter quarters. We have tree and white crowded sparrows in transit right now and about 10 days ago a pair of fox sparrows stopped by. This was a first for us, I think. The fox sparrow is big enough that I first looked into the thrush section of the field guide to try to identify it.
We have flickers feedding on ants and hairy and downy woodpeckers feeding on my special mix. Feeding the pileated woodpeckers is becoming a running joke though. Despite having plenty of them around they just don't come to the various contraptions I've tried to attract them.

We had one new resident bird this year, a couple of pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks (strangely, rose-breasted cardinal in French). The males are beautiful birds but the females are a lot drabber, pretty much like what happens with the Northern Cardinal (the red one).

I've seen a large flock of migratory Canada Geese on the river last saturday, there was a sprinkling of Snow Geese in the group, like African-American at a Republican event. The Snow Geese have been doing very well recently, there are lots of them but they tend to travel on a more easterly corridor so we don't see many of them.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

GODWIT KID 1: Are we there yet?

GODWIT DAD: We've only gone 1500 miles.

GODWIT KID 1: How much further?

GODWIT DAD: 5,742 more miles. Now shut up.

GODWIT KID 2: I have to go potty.

GODWIT MOM: Now honey, I told you to go before we left.

GODWIT KID 2: I have to go really baaad.

GODWIT DAD: You're a bird. Go anywhere you want.

GODWIT KID 2: Ewwww! Dad! You are so gross.

GODWIT KID 1: Are we there yet?

GODWIT DAD: Shut up, missy. I don't want to hear from you for two more day.

GODWIT KID 2: She's touching me.

GODWIT DAD: Don't make me come back there. Because if we have to turn around, I will.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

shriek, the cardinals are in the grosbeak family. Evening grosbeak are quite common in our area, but rosebreasted are not. A male stopped by last year and hung out near the feeder for a couple of days, but I never saw him again.

Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Maryland confirms 301 species of birds (MD Ornithological Society/Dept. of Natural Resources.)

I am happy to say that I have seen all these heron species on the Anacostia River paths (Northeast Branch, Northwest Branch, Sligo, Creek, College Creek, Paint Branch)

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

For those who don't know, the Anacostia is the very, very poor relation of the wide and mighty Potomac River.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "...two more days."

SPC (self-punning correction): "Because if we have to tern around, I whip-poor-will."

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

No fair, bc, I already claimed the dodo!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt: Too funny and too true. I read your Godwit family post to two young people and they laughed appreciatively.

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Loved the last dodo story.

When I was in fifth grade I had to walk a mile to school (uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes, but that's not relevant) so I used to entertain myself (and the occasional fellow traveler) by making up very elaborate stories about a secret flock of ultra-intelligent dodo birds that had escaped extinction by hiding in their underground fortress for several hundred years before befriending me as their sole human ally.

So, yeah, my problems go back a long way.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, -tao-, uh, rainforest, uh, whoever.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Stamp out teen angst, support child labor!

Amazing how quickly Frostdottir has been able to gain control of the eye rolling now that she works 40 hours a week (at one job) plus the occasional weekend at another. September came and went with no school to go to, and summer with no long vacation stretching out before her will be a real shock. I am giddy with delight.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

CP, Mrs. Denizen found a mini-heronnery of Black-crowned Night-Heron during one her jogging expedition. Three/four couples raised a couple dozens (heronlings?) around a small ponds near a bike path. Awesome birds that could be observed from 20 ft away but all these heronlings scooting around drove the Very Large Puppy nuts, sa it was very harsh on the leash holding hand.

I had a Aaaaaack moment earlier today. For those who know the little third floor passageway linking Rideau Center and the old Hudson's Bay Company store over Rideau street: it's now filled with Christmas trees, Christmas balls, garlands, lights and all the Holiday trimmings. On the frikking 22cd day of October!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, I worked in the tower over the HBC Queen Street store for years, each Nov 1 I would enter the store and it would be the Christmas season - I do remember that passage in Ottawa.

My garden centre has been working on installing their Christmas displays for about a week now, start of November they have the open house with 15-20 large decorated trees - they are one of the larger christmas decoration stores in the area.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 22, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

First time corned-beef & cabbage making. OMG. Been too long. Waves of joy. Very nutritious. Glad I made it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Sd, I read this literally for one iota:

Very Large Puppy nuts

Very-large Puppy nuts(predicate compliment of to drive)

So, thanks for the laugh.

These heron are very distinctive from a distance and actually a bit eerie. I encountered an oddly-shaped green heron last week on a foot bridge. I got within six feet of the thing before the gold-eyed bird spooked off.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

As if any more proof were even remotely needed, I've again come to the realization that we men are idiots. Case in point:

Over the weekend, I developed aches and pains in my neck, shoulders and back. I concluded this was do to the physical labor I was doing.

For the last three days, I've been headachey, very, very rare for me.

For two or three days, I've gastrointestinal "issues" (nice double entendre, that). Conclusion: I must have eaten an improperly washed carrot or something.

For two or three days, I've had a runny nose and have been sneezing. Conclusion: side effect from my zetia, plus leaf mold or something.

Yesterday and today I felt yucky. Today I'm feverish.

So. Let us summarize: body aches and pains, headache, congestion and sneezing, gastrointestinal "challenges," sneezing, runny nose, fever, and feeling yucky.

Can I see a show of hands of all of you who might have a diagnosis? Excellent. And virtually unanimous. Yes, I am what is known as "sick."

Why, then, did it take me four days, up until about 10 minutes ago, to reach this conclusion?

Answer: because I am an idiot.

I rest my achey, weary case.

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

And let's see, Mudge. How many people in your office have you infected by being sick there?

I hope you have a minor case of the flu and get better quickly.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I hope you are at home and in your own bed! Drink ginger ale and eat plain popcorn for gastro part, then, toast and tea and chicken soup.


Hope you feel better soon. No fee charged.

Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' 'Mudge more chicken soup, it couldn't hurt* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't know, mudge. Those all sound the symptoms of having watched a very bad football game where your team loses. Until the vomiting kicks in, I'd tough it out.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Love that Bar-Tailed Godwit story. And might I add that Bar-Tailed Godwit is extremely fun to say. Just don't get the syllables mixed up.

This is a very salient example of the contingent nature of evolution. If groups of these birds hadn't started flying in random directions sometime in the distant past, this bizarre migratory pattern would have never occurred. I just feel sorry for those birds who ended up flying on a less fortuitous course.

For intrinsic in evolution is the demise of the unfit. For example, a teenager incapable of actually operating the most elementary kitchen appliance should, by rights, starve. Yet, through the intervention of his mother he manages to continue to thrive. Forget survival of the fittest. This is survival of the whiniest.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, apologies for my overflight.

Er, I mean oversight.
Didn't catch your dodo reference.

Tweel, if you're reading this, apologies.
And for the Gubru, I ask in the name of the Progenitors, forgive me.

Hm. Perhaps I'm not a dodo as much as a dork.

Sometimes evolutionary adaptation is as much a PITA as much as it is an advantage.

For 160 million years, you're the masters of the planet, eating anything you can get your teeth into, then - BOOM - next thing you know you're getting put on spits by hairy little apes, getting clubbed in the head because you're too dazed to run (and where would you run to, dodo?), and being asked uncountable times a day if you want a freakin' cracker (is it a wonder so many parrots learn to cuss).

Evolution: it's for the birds.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

CP, the Very Large Puppy nuts are long gone. They were small at the time. You made me laugh though.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Of course I'm not home in bed, VL. That's because I'm a guy (q.v. "Men Are Idiots," above).

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

AchenCurmudgeon: Sadly, that does sound like either the proverbial "change of season" cold or (hopefully not) the flu.

My advice: mega doses of vitamin C--ones with the rose hips are the best. Echinacea tablets or powdered in envelopes all will help your ailment speed away. Coca Cola syrup is good for an upset stomach (and yes, pharmacies still carry it.) Any sort of chicken soup--homemade, canned, boxed and if you can stand it, lots of fresh garlic cloves in it. Vicks on the chest--and--yes, ginger ale and or tea. Also cuddle up in bed with a good book and rest. And don't go near others near and dear to avoid spreading "it" to them. Be on the mend soon.

Posted by: CoraCollins | October 22, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Ancient ages ago the bar-tailed godwit would migrate between New Zealand and Antarctica. Then the magnetic poles shifted.

Whoa, didn't this trip use to take about a day.

Are we there yet, indeed.

Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"As if any more proof were even remotely needed, I've again come to the realization that we men are idiots."

When in doubt, Mudge, ask a woman.

As far as being an idiot, I can speak for myself to the affirmative, though sometimes it's soothing to hear it said in a woman's voice.

As far as the ability to detect illness and other symptoms requiring treatment that we men tend to ignore, I refer to my previous comment about visting the doctor and embedded objects.

I could make some comments about teenage boys believing we're, er, I mean *they're* immortal, and how old we might be in our heads, and some sort of correlation.

One I'd rather not pursue at the moment.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't go pulling this "proves evolution" thing on me. Let's look into the creationist, er, intelligent design explanation. These birds learned to fly long distances and for many days during The Flood when they were used by Noah to scout for dry land. They now continue to fly such distances to glorify their Lord and Creator, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a question about "intelligent design." Has anybody who proposed such a theory ever gotten undressed and looked in the mirror? I mean, jeezey-peezy.

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse


Dow down over 500 points...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse


I feel sorry that you're sick, but that was really funny.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of arguments against intelligent design...

*rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

We are created in His image which only proves that Whoever created Him had a sense of humor as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Babies are beautiful. :-)

Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, hope you feel better soon, your description of analysing your symptoms if very similar to what I do. I break the female stereotype and do not seek medical attention unless I absolutely have to.

My husband on other hand will seek help much faster.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 22, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's something interesting (or maybe its my delerium): now half the time the "Comments" box is visible and useable-- and half the time I have to click the "Sign in" link to get it.


Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Are you sure that this is Achenblog and not Intel Dump? 'cuz you folks sure write like your brains end up in the toilet when you take a dump.

Posted by: angelos_peter | October 22, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi all. I loved the story on the god-wits. You just never know what you'll find in the A-blog. I sent it to a couple of bird-watching friends. I know they're going to be impressed. Other than that, cardinals are the bird of choice around these parts.

Maggie O- that NYT story you linked to earlier was poignant and yes, charming. It's sad that she died at a relatively young age, but what a lucky woman.

Posted by: Kim1 | October 22, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I just love it that the Repub Campaign Committee had to spend $150 THOU getting Mrs. Joe Six-Pack, Mrs. Just-Like-You-and-Me, ol' librarian-next-door Sarah Palin dressed and accessorized.

I suppose the next-day reaction stories will be how much other candidates have spent on clothes and stuff. Also wives/spouses of same.

And uh, the Palin's have a net worth of what? $2 million? And she can't pay for her wardrobe?

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks MaggieODRickOShea; trieste but important.

The Godwits phenomenon reminds me of the chestnut about engineers not clear on how the bumblebee can hover and rise thusly, given weight, wing span, beats/instant, etc.

I guess I am pretty basic: I shall take as given what I observe and confirm. Then, analysis as needed.

Whew: EXTREME birdies.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Why commute to New Zealand? Why not fly from Alaska to, say, Seattle? "

Well largely because in an effort to keep ourselves from being overrun with Californians Seattle packs up the sun and turns the hose on in October and doesn't turn it back off until March.

@yellojkt that reminds me of the last flight with the whole family. I looked over an saw my 4 year old squirming in her seat with a 'concerned' look on her face.

Me: Do you have to go potty?
Her (in a very sheepish voice): Uh huh.
Me: Ok let's go.
Her (eyes big as saucers voice full of wonder): There's a potty on the jumbo jet?

Posted by: foxn | October 22, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your input, Angelos_Peter. I admire your sensitivity, wit, delicacy, vision, suave and debonair attitude, in fact your entire je'n'est sais quois insouciance.


Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

CP, the ones with the $1000 binoculars, $5000 camera, the $500 Chameau boots and the little black book? Double whew.
Tilley hats are acceptable.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

USGeological Survey on Godwit flight:

Last update = 21 October.

You know, the most fabulous information from science is often sent up as a Proxmire Fleecie or Stupido-Expenditure (bear genetics as revealed by scat in Montana).

I still love this knowledge-type. Makes me think about what we people are really capable of doing, in a good way. Thanks Joel, for the science-world-wonder.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Ooh! Ooh! I am excited that I finally can report how much money I have so far lost due to stock market slumpiness. I just checked my TIAA-CREF accounts this morning: lost $16k this year. Wheeeee!

Of course, we have a couple other retirement deals going, so I figure I should multiply my losses by three to account for all of them.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Why do people say they're going to the bathroom to 'take' a
I only leave stuff.


Posted by: Boko999 | October 22, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

SD, but a TinFoil Chapeau is the best topper of all. DR and a few others here will shortly patent the fulling, spinning, and knitting of tinfoil fibers into the most cunning of beanie caps. You may request, dear Francophone SD, the test model in beret-style.

Off to some driving! Tune cootie:
Whoooo I'm driving my life away, looking for a sunny day whoooo..oooo,....whoooooo.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm still mopping up the computer monitor from the Puppy nuts comment. Incredibly funny.

Poooooorrrrrrrrr Mudge. Another thing to stave off the nausea is ginger tea (either powdered w/ hot water or chopped/sliced "live" ginger w/ hot water) -- ginger is supposed to help a lot in that, um, department. Ginger ale, of course, too.

Kim, I *adore* cardinals. They are incredibly beautiful (even the female), and have made my occasionally visiting Swedish friends very happy indeed to get a look at them. One of my friends, who was here only for maybe 3 days got to recognize the cardinal's distinctive song, and would tear out looking for it. I have a fondness for blue jays, too, even though (or maybe because of) their assertive personalities. Birds are cool.

Back to the drudge, Mudge (couldn't help it).

Toodles, boodle, and, as we say at the water cooler -- fondue. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 22, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I love the 'recommend' feature on the comments section of the news stories (like the pants suing story.) I look for double posts and then recommend the second post but not the first. Ha!

I'm such a scamp.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 22, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan has a very good piece on the Palin wardrobe brouhaha and why it matters:

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Rats. Fading fast. First World Series game tonight and I'll be lucky to make it to the third inning.

I hate being sick. That's why denial is a good thing, I think. Generally speaking, I'm all in favor of denial. It is vastly underrated and disrespected.

Crawling for the bus...go, Phillies. Too debilitated to even put an exclamation mark on that.

Posted by: Achenblogcurmudgeon | October 22, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I was told by a bird boffin that some species of swifts they never touch ground and spend their whole life aloft.


Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"So. Let us summarize: body aches and pains, headache, congestion and sneezing, gastrointestinal "challenges," sneezing, runny nose, fever, and feeling yucky.

Can I see a show of hands of all of you who might have a diagnosis?"

Um, I might have some bad news for you here - checking my dog-eared copy of the post-Anthrax-period "Bioterrorism Symptom Checklist" (aka "What are _you_ dying of?"), I find that your symptoms indicate that you are suffering from a combination of Inhaled and Gastrointestinal Anthrax complicated by Foodborne Botulism and Pneumonic Plague. You might also have Smallpox - do you have "small red spots on the tongue and face"? I wouldn't worry too much about it, though - I've had all those things over the past several years; sometimes more than once in any one winter, and I'm more or less still fine.

Posted by: jcrobin | October 22, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Ha, the comment box appeared automatically. Hafta see if this post works

Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As bad a case senile goital subfluxion as I've ever seen.
I recommend a good chiropractor or flushing the contents of your wallet and stomach down the toilet. Remember to leave a tip if you're in a nice restaurant.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 22, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I like popping into the Bunker Bar for the evening slurping hour and running into Boko.


Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

jour de pomme

Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me is the navigational skills of creatures. I think we rate our intelligence too highly, and underestimate that of others. Somehow, the many forces we experience shape and "guide" us, but we filter out the majority.

As a father, the sensation I feel when holding my kiddoes is something of a high which I cannot describe.

There is more to it than it seems.

And, to think of this sensory system we have, which is so capable, but rendered numb by modern life.

I have a great navigational sense personally, whether jungle, mountain or woods, yet become lost in the mall.

Nice to see science and nature.

Posted by: GreenHornet1 | October 22, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

RG nails it again. I care not one whit for fashion, and had already figured out that 150k for clothes from places like Needless Markup would not play well, but she connects the dots so lucidly. I may just forgive her for when she first arrived at the Post and dumped all over women who wear running shoes to and fro with their work shoes in a bag.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see you too, GreenHornet. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi brag.
The stoopit thingy stole my post.
I don't know whether it disliked my warning brag not to swallow every swift canard from loons or my description of the misnamed Minnesota Squatting Gobbler.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 22, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon all! So sorry you're ill, Acheyblogcurmudgeon. You realize now you'll feel worse, even though since you've been sick for three days you should be on the mend soon. It's the power of the mind.

Sometimes we need less mind and more instinct, like the godwits. The only way to improve them would be if their name was, as I first read it, bat-tailed rather than bar-tailed. I have nothing intelligent to add (surprise) but am very glad to know about them, as I did not only a few hours ago.

I keenly appreciate the distinction between the instinct of nature and our wholly parental construct of "teenagers", though I don't quite have one yet. I'm training the Boy to forage and use kitchen appliances in advance. So far he's mastered microwave popcorn.

Howdy GreenHornet and foxn. And I must say the Frostbitten One has a ring to it. It is all in how you read it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

My ads are disturbing. I understand "nonstop migration" and "picture of a bird", but am worried about "21 day parasite cleanse".

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

What hath Joel wrought? I leave for a couple of weeks on an island with no phone or internet connection and come back to a changed world. A gun has been stuck on my name, I had to sign in and half of my investment portfolio has disappeared. Are these things related? And why is almost everybody using pseudonyms for pseudonyms? Omni is now good, Boko has nined out, Curmudgeon has commandeered the entire Achhenblog (it was only a matter of time) and CP has a qua stuck in her middle. New names abound. Who are these people? Why are some pre and post hyphenated, or worse, underscored? And why didn't I get a number like some, instead of a gun? Who are rickoshea, jcrobin, tao, cora, seasea and, most ominously, foxn. Is fox news buying out wapo? Is that what the change is about? And what's all this about registering or changing registration? Do we now all have to become Republicans to keep our old names, like yellojkt? I look forward to an explanation. Signed: The blogger formerly known as Shiloh.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

SOME things remain the same, Shiloh... ;-)

Ivansmom, are you with me in envisioning Frostbitten One as the only appropriate conveyance for the most Boodle-in' mayor around? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

*striking up the Boodle Band in a rousing rendition of "Hail to the Frosti"* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

So I see, Scotty. Does this mean you are a Republican?

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

s'nuke-you are a genius. Until now I have avoided having a mayoral entry in the annual St. Urho's Day Parade, which can be seen in its entirety in this video

If I should be so fortunate as to win again on November 4, I shall parade in Frostbitten One. The Miata with the top down in March should suffice. Off to practice my princess wave.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I love shilohgun's new handle.

But, I must also add, I know one very fine Republican of whom I am rather fond.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Shiloh! I am still me and still not a Republican, but I cannot explain my good fortune. seasea is Mostlylurking, maggie o'd is rick o'shea (I think, at least someone is), cora is aroc, I think jcrobin and foxn are new, I believe tao is new too (rainforest disclaimed all tao-ness). I don't think foxn portends a Boodle takeover. Oddly, though you astutely note that Mudge has commandeered the entire Achenblog, he's not happy about it. We think the dashes are wings or seraphs (that last was college [qua] parkian) and the numbers appear to be random except for boko's which are gone. Omni's true nature is revealed.

Frostbitten One is an excellent conveyance, capable of being a Miata or any other mode of transportation. Frostbitten One is also versatile enough to serve as a title or description, if cold enough.

Is it bad to pour the wine into the cooking pot directly from your wineglass, when you're just cooking family supper? I didn't think so.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Independent through and through, Shiloh. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Shiloh! We were wondering where you had gone. I'm about to leave for one of those internetless vacations (for just a few days, though). I hope the world has not changed too much when I return.

You can look back a few Kits to see the announcement of Registration, and in the previous Boodle as we came to under its odd regulations. TBG came up with the "dashing" as a way to comply with names of at least 4 characters, while preserving Boodle handles.

I, not being too clever, have accepted my WaPo registration name.

(aka mostlylurking)

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

RD-look away, 538 now has mobile updates. They'll text you as new polling data comes in. I swear that site is more like crack than the A-blog.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh sweet cheeses...

DHS is going to require your full name, DOB and gender before you can get an airline boarding pass.

What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Two weeks of back boodling begins to reveal the anticipated changes and while we now have Chinese and Sanskrit fonts, why don't we have italics and bold? Does it have something to do with China and India being the most populous nations?

And I have also known a few fine Republicans, Yoki - especially those who crossed party lines when voting.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

"To bolster their argument for the change, U.S. officials for the first time disclosed the number of individuals on the no-fly and selectee lists -- fewer than 2,500 and 16,000, respectively. Fewer than 10 percent of individuals on the no-fly list and less than half of those named on the selectee list are U.S. citizens, Chertoff said."

Wow. I mean, for less than one percent of the flying public they're trying to pull this. *shaking my pointy 'lil dodo head*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

An alert signaled that my name had been mentioned. I am not "new" as indicated, but a frequent visitor of some years. My lost persona is buried in the archives.

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

That's a relief about fox not taking over. Thanks, Ivansmom, for that and the other revelations.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I just lost a post. Is this also new? Thanks for the update, Ivansmom and seasea (this will take some getting used to).

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Paging everyone one who can open links: -Tao- is one of us and you must go to the links to find her(him). Hint: the poem will help you, as in when you link to a poem you are nearly there.

Shiloh is now a mashup of Shiloh (a battle of Southren disctinction) and Shogun (a Japanese warrier or business strategy).

Welcome to you to new ones. STAY a while.

Where is Birdie(Eidrib) on this day of days for HER especial handle? Here is a poem that fits JA's kit:


It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

Pablo Neruda

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

kguy??? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I saw tonight on nbcnews that Sara Palin is releasing her medical records. Well, that's very nice, of course, but what do you suppose could be of interest? She looks very healthy to me and has spent much of her adult life having babies. What on earth would anybody look for?

Posted by: VintageLady | October 22, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse


Pommes du chevals
Oublié par les carousses
qu'en neige roulent

Monseiur Wilbrodogge
(Corrigez-moi, s'il te plaît.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I am not a dead director of celluloid ephemera, nor his namesake on the boodle.

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Brain cells, VL, brain cells.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but you certainly knew who I meant, -tao-.

Not that this information helps me decipher you any further, however. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG will recognize my new handle, and that reminds me that my Error08 shirts did not arrive in my absence. I had hoped to wear one on November 4th which is fast approaching.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, TBG announced that the shirts will be going out soon. Welcome back.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 22, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Pure genius, Frosti, pure genius! I'm ROTFLMAO.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama campaign slogan reported on fivethirtyeight-
"One car. One house. One spouse. Vote Obama!"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh as a person

The term "Shiloh" occurs also in Gen. 49:10. The verse in question is from the benediction given by Jacob to his son Judah, where he states that "the scepter will not depart from Judah... until Shiloh comes...". This is among the most obscure verses in the Hebrew Bible.

For those who hold that Shiloh is an otherwise unattested personal name, the verse is interpreted as a Messianic prophecy. This tradition is reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targums, and various Rabbinic sources. No other verse supports this, nor does the personal name make any obvious sense either to Christians or Jews.
Shiloh is, however, a given name, most recently to a celebrity child. It has never made much sense to me either.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to everyone for the "welcome back" greetings. It is nice to see, dmd, that you have been replicated.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

who is going to be singing "We are the Champions" in a week or so? Rays or Phillies

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 22, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh is a beagle

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Bird by Bird

Posted by: -tao- | October 22, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse


Where's Wilbrodog?

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dreamer :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

RD_Padouk and I have grown an underscore. As we can both can relate to DOS 2.3 it's understandable. But we both break the 8-digits rule.
Welcome back Shiloh.

There is a foreign cat stalking the birds at the feeders. Launching the VLP or not, that is the question.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking tao could be Dreamer...but then I thought about daiwanlan too...Actually, I was thinking Dreamer would be the one to figure this out.

Cassandra, hope you're doing ok.

Back to packing.

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Oh! I have two favourite Pablo Neruda love poems that I will post once I find my book and transcribe them.

Hee hee. When I sent one of them to a literary friend, he replied "Commie Bustard," which pretty much ended that conversational thread.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Pommes de cheval
Oubliées par les carrosses
roulant dans la neige

Monsieur Wilbrodogue (hehehe)
(Corrigez-moi, s'il vous (we haven't watch the cows together would say an old Brother I knew) plaît.)

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

shriek, that cracked me up. Very very funny. You might should translate it for us.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

C'est vrai, M. Denizen, mais nous avons surveillé "Cowtown" de concert, non?

Monsieur Wilbrodogue.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

St. Urho's Parade looks very frosty.

Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Road apples
Abandoned by coaches
In the snow, tumbling along

Mister Wilbrodstiff

(Vous pouvez me tutoyez Mad. Wilbrod, même si nous n'avons pas gardé les vaches ensemble!)

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

It's fairly easy to see what's not there if you try, but there's too much not here now!

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Apples of Horses
frolicking in the snow

Babel Fish doesn't help me with the second line at all:

Forgotten by fit with body???

Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

And now you know, omni, never to believe a word Babel Fish says!

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

OK Babel didn't help at all

Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

If the haiku smelt, 'twas I who dealt it, Yoki.

L'aique en Anglais:

Horse apples (drop),
Forgotten by carriages
rolling on the snow.

* (drop is included for syllable count)

Second haiku:

So good the smell of
Apples falling from rears like
Crumbs trailing horses.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

fit by body=>coaches???HA
BF actually gave traveling in snow, I don't know where I came up with frolicking, oh yeah I do: Horses like Apples...

I'll stick to Spanish
French just doesn't make sense
(Please don't shoot me

Posted by: omnigood | October 22, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Watch it guys; y'all might inspire angelos_peter to dump on us again.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't that far off, was I?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

That was me again-- no signature, no registration. I want my own e-mail.

Boy, try and help out a Nigerian relative of Wilbrod just once and I get banned from all unsupervised e-mail. Just when I found a really great deal on mortgages and male enhancements too.

I ask you, is that fair?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

On the latest McCainfiascocampaign.

You can dress a mare to water, but you can't make her drink.

150,000 bucks?
A fashionable disaster
What next, Playboy?

Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Time for my practice of the ancient art of energetic sleeps.

Good night, Boodle.


Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Two weeks (10 days, actually) on an offshore island unconnected to the mainland in any way has changed my circadian rhythm. I am usually wide awake until midnight, but right now I'm fighting to stay awake. The island, a weekend retreat owned by friends, is solar powered with minimal electrical gadgetry. No clocks, for example, and I only knew the time by daytime sundial. I was there alone for 5 days between weekends and never knew what time I went to bed (hammock) or got up in the morning (always dark). It will take me a while to readjust. Good night.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 22, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Si bonne l'odeur
des pommes qui tombent
des chevaux qui nous mènent

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for allowing me to tutoyer you, SD.

Shrieking Denizen, oui.

Tu comprends excellemment le français de Wilbrodogue même que ils écrient avec l'accent canin tres fort.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

SD: Oui, oui!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

SD, you are as poetical as SoC. Poesis is to make; poems are made things, like engineering.

Many boodlers are makers.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 22, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

This is really eidrib but once when I had to sign in on another blog I used hotsocks...for no particular reason. Now I guess I'm stuck. Oh could be worse.

godwits...impressive. Another reason I love birds--they never give up.

I have not had time to backbodle much but I am enjoying San Diego--beautiful weather and the people are friendly. I love my new job!

Joel, the teenage years are the very hardest. You know nothing.

I have to go work out now--a must for the frequent flyer and sampler of so much food!

Posted by: hotsocks | October 22, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to report my last post is under review by the Denizen's Grammatical Review Police (a.k.a. Witch no. 1 and Mrs. D.). The last mènent appears highly suspect, upon cursory review. Discussions are going on. It's loud.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

eidrib=hotsocks, cool to know

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

hotsocks, that's great. I am knitting some socks now in hot reds, pinks, purples. I had to make sure I can take them in carry-on baggage - I can - otherwise, my plans would have gone asunder. Mr seasea (aka Mr Ml) saw my knitting on top of my suitcase, asked me if I could take it, and sent me scurrying back to the TSA.

One of my favorite pomes is Pablo Neruda's, about wool socks:

Ode to My Socks

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

And since Joel so kindly referred to the "nice market" in Seattle, here's a link:

Posted by: seasea | October 22, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

So many poets new to me have been shared this week.

Pablo Neruda for one, and Philip Larkin (from the Bora tribe kit). Thanks all.

And yes, wherever there is true winter (like up here), wool socks have a special wonderfulness.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

And Jumper, thanks for that Ugly Chicken bedtime story.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart- "how do you spend $150,000 on clothes in a month? What did she do, buy the original 'Thriller' jacket on e-bay?" then a picture of Palin in the red leather jacket.

You'd think someone at the RNC would have enough imagination to see this happen.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 22, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

The first of two Neruda. This is the one my friend RR dismissed. But I still love it. I think I may have posted it here once before.

La Muerta

The Dead Woman

If suddenly you do not exist,
if suddenly you are not living,
I shall go on living.

I do not dare,
I do not dare to write it,
if you die.

I shall go on living,

Because where a man has no voice,
there, my voice.

Where blacks are beaten,
I can not be dead,
When my brothers go to jail
I shall go with them.

When victory,
not my victory
but the great victory
even though I am mute I must speak;
I shall see it come even though I am blind.

No, forgive me.
If you are not living,
if you, beloved, my love,
if you
have died,

all the leaves will fall on my breast,
it will rain upon my soul night and day,
the snow will burn my heart,
I shall walk with cold and fire and death and snow,
my feet will want to march toward where you sleep,
I shall go on living,
because you wanted me to be, above all things,
and, love, because you know that I not just one man
but all men.

Pablo Neruda
Translated by Donald D. Walsh

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

And I know I posted this one before, because I remember that one of the Boodle-guys took it home for his anniversary. Don't remember who it was, but how lovely was that?

Si tu me olvidas

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
iIf little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda
Translated by Donald D. Walsh

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, where'd kbertocci go?"

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Seasea and Yoki....wonderful poems. So glad I took the time the read them.

I will be glad when the election is over and we can bicker bout other things. ;-)

Posted by: hotsocks | October 23, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

So Shiloh's a marathon swimmer?? What???

And I'm sure 'Mudge will be feelin' better when he checks the sports scores this morning... frostbitten, not so much (sorry!). :-)

*tossin'-an-few-extra-electrons-on-the-space-heater-but-still-enjoying-the-change-of-seasons-while-preparing-for-the-Dawn-Patrol Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all,

Frostbitten, was funny, your answer to my question re medical records...

Yoki and Lostinthought (right seasea?) your poems were beautiful, thanks.

Echoing Jumper, where IS kbertocci?

Echoing everybody, hope Casandra is doing well, hope 'mudge is fast asleep, or at least resting, comfortably. Which reminds, me, must go to cvs for flu shot today.

Feed the birds, you all, they are now growing their winter feather coats.

Posted by: VintageLady | October 23, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. No need to check the sports score, Scotty; I stayed up until 12:02 to watch that squeeker.

And I may have solved my Internet problems, at long last. For some reason, the Achenblog wasn't displaying properly in Firefox, so a minute ago I switched to Opera, and it appears to be working fine. I suspect the problem is that *&^$%$#@ rollover drop-down ad at the top of the page, which I know for a fact wasn't running properly. Also, I appear to have fixed my handle problem; YEEEEHAH!!!!

Now, to hit the submit button and see what happens...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you're back! I'm glad to see that, and I hope you feel better this morning.

Happy Thursday, all. Tomorrow's Friday, and payday for me.

I thought about Martooni when I read David Broder this morning, and then I skipped over the rest of the op-ed page.

Hey, Cassandra, are you moving yet?

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 6:56 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Clear skies and crispy grass this morning. The old fool rolled on its back and grunted like a bear, delighted by this false snow. You have to love old dogs.

Mudge, Curmudgeon- is very classy.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 23, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Céleri Day


Mole Day

Posted by: omnigood | October 23, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

If I could do diacritical marks correctly, I'd make a mole-made-from-celery joke...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

For a moment there I thought our good omni said it was "Celine Day" which would have put me right off my feed.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

I thought I saw the same thing Yoki - frightening way to start the day. Thank goodness I didn't get any tune cooties from it.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 23, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Another day in the bunker. It's going to be like this for a while I fear. Hiding out crunching data. Crunch crunch crunch.

Not that it's making me punchy or anything.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like it's making you crunchy, RD_P...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you are looking much more like yourself this morning. I hope the chicken soup is kicking in and you feel better too.

This post reminds me, a few weeks back, we saw flights of cranes heading south. They are over us in spring, but this was the first time we have seen them in fall.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 23, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Part 3 of Michael Leahy's excellent series of mini-bios on McCain ran today.

This article covers his role in the Keating 5 and its aftermath. He was the only one of the five to survive and even prosper. After getting his hand caught in the cookie jar, he became the maverick reformer he is today. There's no zealot like a convert.

It also talks about all the bridges he burned in Arizona that crippled his 2000 bid from the start. Long before he started having black babies in South Carolina.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!
Need a bear suit for the Dawn Patrol.

Interesting article in NYT about candidates stance on foreign policy.

Here's my Dawn Patrol report:

At the moment, both candidates are pandering to the masses of the less informed and trying to cover their vulnerabilities. To predict what the U.S, foreign policy will be, we need to watch not so much the candidates, but what the Secretary of Defense and the Join Chiefs of Staff are doing.

A defeated and powerless Bush sits isolated in the White House. A newly independent Pentagon is preparing to serve the next administration. Secretary Gates and his generals have been busy patching up relations with Russia, a new assessment of the Afghan war is being prepared. All indications are that regardless of who gets elected, we will have a more rational foreign policy after the elections.

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. Glad to have you back with a proper handle, 'Mudge. Band, health problems with my FIL, a pregnant dog, and dthe end of the 1st qtr have conspired to make for multiple weeks of very little sleep. We finished third in the Upper State competiton, having been outmarched by another band. The State Finals are this Saturday, the dog is due anytime, my FIL's problems haven't been diagnosed as cancer, yet, and I hope to return to a somewhat normal rhythm by next week. With that, I bid you all a good day...peace be with you all.

Posted by: -jack- | October 23, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

kb did survive the changeover with boodlehandle intact. She just may be busy. I'm confident she'll be back.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle. Glad I didn't stay up for the end of the game, but no matter, the Rays will prevail.

Will have to head over to the NYT piece Brag points out. My impression is that the military is preparing for a new administration, and is betting it will be one led by Obama. Unlike when Clinton came in, where preparation was somewhat like battening down the hatches, I think this is more like relief that either candidate would be better than the status quo.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Continued good wishes to you and yours, jack.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The godwits made NPR yesterday. they're celebrities.

Once again, Achenboodlers are ahead of the news curve.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 23, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all and greetings to jumper and yellojkt: my illusion of invisibility is shattered. I like to imagine that I keep a very low profile here, rarely comment and rarely "chat" so if I don't show up for a while it won't be noticed. As they say in AA, Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Yellojkt had it right: I've been very busy. Yesterday I left work at noon to attend a real estate auction on my dad's behalf. This is something I've never done before and don't know anything about. Sarah Palin was my role model. Just because you don't know what you're doing, that doesn't have to stop you. I wondered whether showing up on a bicycle would hurt my credibility, but it seemed like I might have gotten into "eccentric millionaire" territory since I was representing a cash buyer. I was the high bidder for the property in question, but the owner has seven days to decide whether to accept the bid.

Since I got home earlier than usual, I went for a jog (6 miles) and then last night I had a board meeting (my interfaith group) that went to 11:00 p.m.

This morning I was moving slow and it is raining, so no jogging and I took the car to work. Today is a recovery day and I hope to get to bed early.

Of course, having left work early yesterday, I have catching up to do here, too. I hope everybody has a good day, wish good health and happiness for all.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 23, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

New kit!!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -tao- | October 23, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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