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The Bigger Picture

Astronomy puts everything in perspective. When we ponder the vastness of the cosmos our minds are stretched to the point of hernia. On the ride to the emergency room, we find ourselves thinking of the grandeur of this universe of galaxies, stars, planets, moons, comets, and the oxygen mask keeping us alive.

Doctor: "When did you feel the first sharp pain?"

Patient: "Contemplating the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy."

Doctor: "I think it's just a sprain."

Against the humongous supreme overpowering collossalness of the universe, our petty human concerns seem all the more trivial, stupid and beneath contempt. But here's what few of us have the courage to accept: Even the universe itself - the entire universe! - is small, trivial, and borderline pathetic compared to the unbelievably vaster, super-genormous Multiverse, the all-enveloping Universe of Universes from which our own sorry little universe precipitated.

And yet even that Multiverse is surely a big zero, a giant nothing, a rounding error, a smudge, a flyspeck, compared to the surrounding Ultra-Humongo-Multicosmos.

You see, it keeps scaling up. Even this thing they call "infinity" is not that big a deal compared to "mega-infinity."

This is why people like Bill Gates wish they were richer. They know that someone out there has more money, like maybe in the Andromeda Galaxy. In this galaxy, the "Milky Way," Gates may be the top dog, but there are billions of galaxies. This is what gets him up in the morning. This is what makes him jangle his car keys in his pocket. This is why he says to his wife, "Yeah, we're doing well on here on Earth, but are we competitive galactically?"

--


[My story today on the extrasolar planets.]

Excerpt:

Staring at his computer screen in May, poking through images of the bright star Fomalhaut, astronomer Paul Kalas found himself staring at a tiny white dot. The dot appeared amid a great ring of dust circling the star. From one image to the next, the dot moved.

For four days, through the Memorial Day weekend, Kalas ransacked the possibilities before settling on a stunning conclusion: He was looking at a world, a giant planet circling Fomalhaut.

"At that point, I had a heart attack. I couldn't sleep. My heart was pounding out of my chest the whole night," Kalas, of the University of California at Berkeley, said this week.

Kalas's discovery was one of two announced yesterday that could be breakthroughs in the search for "extrasolar planets," or "exoplanets," those beyond our own solar system. The other, by Canadian astronomer Christian Marois and his colleagues, may be a triumph in triplicate, for the scientists say they have obtained images of three planets -- a scaled-up version of our solar system -- orbiting a distant star called HR 8799.

"I would have been happy with one planet, but finding three is absolutely amazing. I searched for these planets for eight years," Marois said.

Seeing an extrasolar planet directly was one of the last and most speculative goals of the Hubble Space Telescope when it was put in orbit in 1990, said Edward J. Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's science mission directorate, after a news conference yesterday at the agency's headquarters.

"I actually never thought it would happen," Weiler said. "This is kind of the last crumb on the plate of promises."

If the new claims, being published today in the journal Science, hold up to what is certain to be feverish scrutiny, they will represent significant progress in the census of planets in our galaxy. More than 300 extrasolar planets have been found in the past decade or so, but they have been detected indirectly through changes in starlight. Astronomers can tell they are there but have not been able to see them directly as distinct objects.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 14, 2008; 10:01 AM ET
 
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Next: Living Off the Land in Space

Comments

I'm sooo glad I have an excuse for not accomplishing a great deal. There is much to be said for humility.

Posted by: slyness | November 14, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I was going to mention that if doctors looked at X-rays all day, their eyes would cease functioning rather quickly. Along with the rest of their bodies.

X-ray images, on the other hand... :-)

(reposting)

*belatedly but heartfelt-edly setting the mojo fax on "inundate" and dialing Yoki's number*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Okay, here's a cool image for everyone to enjoy, and then I'm off to ride up the mountain:

http://www.booneweather.com/Photo+Of+The+Day

I'll check in later, folks!

Posted by: slyness | November 14, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Brag's Friday Haha posted.

http://www.subsim.com/radioroom/showthread.php?p=987086#post987086

Reminder:
Tomorrow, Saturday, 2 PM Brag will be signing copies of Kingmaker at the Downtown Silver Spring Borders bookstore.

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I feel so sub-galactic :o(

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I really like the final form of this story. It's fascinating to see how these things evolve. And I think it was probably reasonable to dump the details as to why the starlight changes. Those who care probably know. Those who don't know probably don't care.

As always, articles like this take me back to the themes in Joel's book "Captured by Aliens," which should be required reading for anyone who dares look up into the nighttime sky.

True, the vast immense vastness of the multidimensional cosmos can be intimidating - what with the vastness and all. But it can also be inspiring. I mean, what if we really *are* alone?

Sure, this would be sad in that "why won't anyone come to my party?" sort of way. But if we are the only examples of reasonably bright life out there, it does seem to raise the stakes for human survival.

It makes us kind of a big deal and we should probably take better care of ourselves.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 14, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you're so funny, you make me laugh. I still think we're like Neo in the Matrix... all hooked up to computers and our apparent 'reality' is just an elaborate computer program... and those anti-virus programs on the PC are just a way of keeping you distracted from the truth. Okay, a bit far-fetched but so is mega-infinity, no?

Posted by: MissToronto | November 14, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

something is wrong with the universe, Facebook is down!

Posted by: MissToronto | November 14, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel -- just to echo what RD_Padouk said above, I really like how this story turned out. Love the lead, love the way the story flows, love the way you don't screw up the science. (I'm an astronomer, too, so the last point actually kinda sorta matters to me.) You manage to get across both the discovery and the excitement of discovering -- thanks.

Posted by: mattorb | November 14, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

'mudge - I'll observe that just yesterday, I sent material to:
Deming (NM) Police Department
Dickson (TN) Police Department
Fayette County (GA) Sheriff's DepartmentRaytown (MO) Police Department
Dodge County (NE) Sheriff's Department
Seaford (DE) Police Department
University of Richmond (VA) Police Department

Not everyone has given up on such old-fashioned terms as "policeman/woman/ officer/ deputy".

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

i defer to scitim's assessment of the nuances and appropriate use of the word "image" in astronomy. he is a member of that academic discourse community. word use, conventions of discourse, rhetoric and genre vary from discourse community to discourse community. no one should presume to capture and define a word in an absolutely fixed way, or to consider themselves an expert on the use of word in a discourse community of which s/he is not a member.

in other words, have a little humility.

:-)

Posted by: LALurker | November 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they ARE out there, and are scared of us. Or maybe the first message we receive from intelligent life will be transmitted on a very brief and focussed laser, reading "SHhhh! THEY can hear you!"

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Wallis Simpson, once the Duchess of Windsor, had a maxim that "You can never be too rich or too thin."

I hereby move that Joel's suggestion that "people like Bill Gates wish they were richer" because "'infinity' is not that big a deal compared to 'mega-infinity'" be hereinafter codified as The Achenbach Corollary, thus:

"...or too infinite."

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 14, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

As I'm sure I've said before, I tend to have a pragmatic view of language. Things mean what the consensus says they mean (other than specific usages in specialized settings), and Canute ain't holding back that tide.

Joel's "Captured by Aliens" has an interesting section on the Hubble images/photographs and the degree to which they are "enhanced" "photographs" (running out of quotation marks here). There are probably lots of people (myself included) that are a little disappointed when you first get to a decent telescope and realize that what you actually "see" are ghostly white smudges and not the wonderfully coloured nebulae that you expect.

While on astronomy and recalling the nerd/geek/dork debate, this is what happens when astronomers have children. Check out astronomer Mike Brown's daily log of his daughter's sleep and eating patterns.

http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/lilah/

Confession: I did this too for the first year (the chart and log, not the graph. I'm a nerd, not a geek)

Posted by: engelmann | November 14, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Bob, you get in trouble EVERYWHERE!!! *impressed* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot to post this:
http://www.propublica.org/feature/buried-secrets-is-natural-gas-drilling-endangering-us-water-supplies-1113

This is even worse than merely using up surface water; Halliburton and others seem to be actively poisoning surface groundwater too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was charming that one of the scientists refrained from shouting in glee until he was off the airplane. It also showed a comforting level of good sense. Imagine explaining to jumpy employees and air marshals that he was just excited because he'd seen a planet, that nobody else had ever seen, orbiting another star. And it was on his computer.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 14, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Bob is as bad as a Norwegian.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 14, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I try to make sure that I never get arrested in any particular jurisdiction more than once!

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

WaPo.com sez Joel's piece is the most viewed at this point... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Mattorb

That's our Achenbach. He's a genius with words and the science stuff too.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 14, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

So what isn't a police department but is a law enforcement organization? A sheriff's office? The highway patrol? The local FBI branch? The Coast Guard? Will Smith in Men In Black?

Is everyone inside a classroom a teacher? What about the instructional assistant or the reading specialist? Is the assistant principal a teacher or an educator?

While I sympathize with the drive to avoid unnecessarily festooning perfectly good words with additional qualifiers, some narrow words don't always include all the variations of a theme.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"...or to consider themselves an expert on the use of word in a discourse community of which s/he is not a member."

But LA Lurker, that is EXACTLY the job of an editor: to monitor and referree that internal discourse. Editors do NOT allow subject experts to decide their own jargon (and it has nothing to do with humility). Editors do NOT allow IT "experts" to write email instead of e-mail, or website instead of Web site. Editors do NOT allow engineers to decide their own perverse grammar and puntuation, and to omit hyphens out of laziness and ignorance, and then use the excuse (which I hear twice a day) that this is how the engineering community uses their own punctuation.

Yes, there is a dynamic back-and-forth, and an interplay between jargon creators/users and outside editors, but no, ma'am, they do NOT get to make the rules. You might as well allow football players to make up their own rules on the field, and not have umpires and referees.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

As many of you've noticed, I have the Big Stuff on my mind, all the time.

From quantum mechanics to cosmology, I want answers to my questions about Everything. And of, course, I have some complaints and perhaps some suggestions...

When we look up at the night sky or thorugh a maginifying glass, when we look at the data collected from particle collisions in a large collider, when we look at a representation of a DNA sequence, when we look at these images of the cosmos brought to us from optical data sifted and processed through sophisticated computing techniques, what are we really looking for? Others? What we're made of, and where we fit in? Something to help us build the symbols we need to understand and comprehend and communicate? And maybe even -- love?

I suspect that all of these tools could essentially be sophisticated mirrors, because maybe what we're looking for is -- ourselves.

In Everything.

Vain? Perhaps, but we're all we've got, and we're just looking for somebody to understand, Somebody to Love.

Us.

Is it so much to ask that we find an Earthlike planet? And on such an island of hope in a cold, hostile, merciless multiverse, what would we really want to see?

Someone looking back at us in The Mirror.

Given the nature of light and information, of cosomology as we understand it, of the data gathering from various types of tools used to Observe our 'verse on truly cosmic scales, it's possible that somewhere on an astronomer's hard disk somewhere is data from photons that have journeyed around the Universe, showing a pale blue dot circling a yellow star.

And if someone looks closely, they may even see me. But with my luck, I'll have my eyes closed or my mouth open -- but since those photons have gone all the way around the universe, it'll probably be an image of the back of my head.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 14, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

My apologies to the fine scientists at Associated Press (and Wikipedia who is in cahoots with them), but saying that "x-ray" is a noun meaning a photonic particle in the 10 to 0.01 nanometers wavelength range without the "particles" part is just too Ming the Merciless for me.

Spider-Man got hit with x-rays. Real scientists use an x-ray beam which is composed of x-ray particles (except when the act like a wave going through an inferometer) that leave an x-ray image.

And the last time I had x-rays taken at the hospital, excuse me, the regional medical center, they gave them to me on a CD™.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

These are very very large topics, Joel and bc, for a Friday. Can we go off kit soon and talk about fashion, twin baby boys, imaginary lunch? My brain can't handle much more than that, today.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I've got some lovely garlic knots and calamari appetizers over here, Yoki... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Dropping in to note that the Lilah blog is charming and truly impressively obsessive. Thanks SonofCarl/engelmann. Yoki, if you want a distraction from science (if not from obsession with data) I highly recommend it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 14, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Diagnostic Imaging" is becoming more common as a collective term as MRI and CT increasingly enter the mix.

Posted by: engelmann | November 14, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm on my way, Scotty!

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

*setting out the good linens* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Now, anybody got any lovely filth?

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

That's in the bucket next to the table, Yoki. *nodding*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Well played, sir.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, Scotty, is that *grilled* calamari?

Yum!

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 14, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I love calamari. Don't mind if I do.

That Lilah is one cute baby, but I dread thinking of the data stream that is going to come out of the potty training years.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Für Mudge:

"Visual samples"

Dogs enforce this law:
Unknown materials on earth
are made to roll in.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

What, calamari and no salad? No cocktail sauce? I'm bringing a gigunda properly hand-made Caesar salad (with anchovies on the side, for them wot likes 'em). Yes, it contains raw egg. That's what the gin-and-tonics I'm bringing are for: to kill any renegade germs. Croutons included, BTW. Gotta have croutons.

Who has dessert?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You know full well that's a two-chamber serving bowl, bc, with the grilled on the right.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I just cleaned out my wood stove,is that filthy enough for you Yoki or do you want more.......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 14, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sour cherry clafouti, of course. On me.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, jeez, Yoki, you make my knees weak.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

That may be dirty, greenwithenvy, but entirely too dry and dusty. Properly Pythonesque filth is wet and really, truly filthy.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

How very nice! I think a little creme fraiche with that. *Hoping Curmudgeon doesn't faint*

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

In my old neighborhood, it wasn't either the Law Enforcement Agency or the police, it was The Man. (If someone were to refer to that group as the police, they wouldn't pronounce it like the 80s rock band, they'd pronounce it POH-leese. (FWIW, in other necks of the woods, POH can also mean the opposite of wealthy). Here, the troopers are called State Boys (even though they look like grown men to me), but then again, up here you go to a convenience store, in the Big City you go to a bodega but in Merlin, you go to the Sev.

Interesting how language separates us so harshly, yet pulls us together so tightly.

This afternoon DC and I may go throw sticks in the creek. Or the crick. Who knows...maybe it's a stream.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey the new Dirty Jobs segment of the Boodle.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 14, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Mike Rowe will show up, and all the Boodle ladies will swoon.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Well brunettes are fine man
And blondes are fun
But when it comes to getting the dirty job done

I'll take a red headed woman
A red headed woman
It takes a red headed woman
To get a dirty job done

-Bruce Springsteen

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe we could show Mike just how dirty a job Boodling really is...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Sombody's got to do it.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I think that I shall never see
an image as Truth, such as can be
a picture’s worth, it has been said
a thousand words, or so I’ve read
But what of us who want to know
where reality stops and “additions” grow
Quoting Def Leppard with a laugh
All I want is a photograph
So we’re left with imagery exampled
and poor plain speaking is once again trampled
You’ve sure put Mudge’s undies in a knot
Our new little friend of Fomalhaut!

Posted by: engelmann | November 14, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase "1776," that fine musical:

SIT DOWN, BILL!!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/11/14/ayers_elaborates.html

*SIGHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Such a good poem, SoCEngleman. Spirit of the kit and boodle.

I am late to lunch. Substituted for a colleague whose parents in Florida are frail but refusing help. They do use the cell phone, though, to scare up some sympathy. Hard to tell by long distance the upset tummy from the appendicitis attack, though.

What I have is a from Marathon Deli, which I believe that GWE and BC and Kim's hubby will appreciate: lovely eggplant parmeggiano but made by Greek hands. And yes, I did manage a tray of the lightest baclava this side of the Helespont.


Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The best I could scrounge up for lunch at the last minute is some shrimp summer rolls with really fresh cilantro in them. Enjoy.

Great poem, SoC. Fomalhaut may be a cool name, but it's no Betelgeuse.

And I wasn't going to plug it because we kinda beat it to death a few days ago, but I've got a really good Baby Boomer discussion going on my blog.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-my-my-generation.html

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

*sending up a flare to get frosti's attention*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14/AR2008111400259.html

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 14, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Wish I had known there was lunch. All I had was leftover mashed potatoes.

What Mudge said about editors and techies. But then, I'm smack in the middle of "translate technical gibberish into English" season. Ratzinfratzin work! Don't they know I'm three (or is it four?) boodles behind???

*sharpening my pencil and digging back in*

Posted by: Raysmom | November 14, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

the house is clean for Mom's visit and i am back out into the soup.

Off to work

Have a great day everyone!!!!

wet filth, i will have to think on that one...

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Is it too late for me to bring pumpkin pound cake? It's really good, even though it's sad.

Posted by: slyness | November 14, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't even have words to accompany this link...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/11/14/second.life.divorce/index.html

Posted by: -TBG- | November 14, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

General Dunwoody leads the Army Materiel Command. She's in charge of Stuff.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
All I can say is ROFLMAO. Just. Too. Much.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Heilig kittens, Fledermausmann!

Jeez... I step away for an hour or so and there's not only a new kit, but 8,000 comments as well.

What the heck do you guys eat for lunch? Crystal meth sundaes sprinkled with amphetamines and coffee beans?

Posted by: martooni | November 14, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

14/15 though I think we already did the spelling quiz. I'm completely answer 13 in that I got question 13 wrong. (hah, parse that sentence)

Posted by: omnigood | November 14, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Did you read this?


American Journeys | Boston
A Science Lover’s Kind of Town
A Science Lover’s Kind of Town
By ETHAN GILSDORF

Home of Harvard and M.I.T., the town is an inspiring place to spend a few days if your idea of fun is probing the structure of DNA or designing a faster toy bobsled.

Last paragraph:

The MIT Museum’s shop specializes in grown-up gifts and gadgets. One T-shirt has the symbol for the square root of negative 1, below the words “I have an imaginary friend.” Perfect for that budding Einstein on your gift list.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The link disappeared somehow.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/travel/escapes/14american.html?pagewanted=2&ref=escapes

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

My favorite MIT shirt is here:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2007/04/tale-of-tape-of-techs.html

I don't have the character set to do it justice.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Just wandering the halls of the Infinite Corridor is mind-boggling enough. A lot of the semi-permanent bulletin boards are nearly museum quality displays themselves. On the fourth floor they have a fantastic collection of ultra high speed stop motion photography right outside the labs where the images, er, pictures, were taken.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay, you got me, slyness. Why is the pumpkin pound cake sad?

"Heilig kittens, Fledermausmann!" Thanks, martooni. That's very funny.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 14, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom,

Been meaning to tell you, that my mom -- who could raise one very black eyebrow to great effect -- used to answer this when queried about dinner:

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Sweltered venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

THEN

cackle, cackle

----
When I heard this in high school in the play whose name must not be said by all thespians, I flashed on my mom as having written it to be borrowed by Shakespeare, then I caught myself....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 14, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yello,
You're making me weepy. I miss MIT. I miss the idea that incredible things were happening in all the building of the 'Tute.' I miss the infinite corridor with its bulletin boards with stuff from John Von Newmann and others; the painting of the giant dollar bill across from the Busar's Office (I was there when it was painted), and the free-for-all paintings along the Building 5 corridors, which we painted one or two weekends in the mid-70s with tacit permission from the authorities, and that lasted much longer than we imagined.

Memories are flooding me, most of them good.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I even miss the quonset huts that were built during the war and lasted until the Strata Center was built. There was even a "save the quonset huts" preservation movement. Many people even today prefer the huts to the Strata Center!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

LiT, such language!
The Sev.
We're *such* Merlinders.

Enjoying today's pomes, both original and repeated.

Off to pick up a friend and see a movie.
More later.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 14, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Of course, it's the 'Stata' Center.

Here are some pictures:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=M.I.T.+Strata+Center&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

(Apologies if this posts twice.)

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm not sure which I think is funnier: the Second Life divorce story, or the raging debate in the "On Faith" section about the Mormon practice of symbolically baptizing dead folks, many of whom (Holocaust victims, for example) would probably have no interest in receiving the favor if they could be consulted. It probably won't amaze you to find that my comments in THAT discussion thread are not likely to be considered particularly constructive by any of the folks who take the subject seriously. Oh, well.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2008/11/mormons_jews_contend_for_souls.html

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.

I found out that I had been baptized by Mormans and was horrified and then thought, what can they do anyway? Left an unpleasant residue, though.

The case of what you speak about is horrifically insensitive and righteous.

Apparently, some R.C. bishops have asked COCC-LDS to cease, etc. So, perhaps I am no longer on the Mormom Get-out-of-Hell list.

Oh, yes, who kindly ensured I would have stab at Morman Afterlife to Trail Celestial Clouds of Astral Splendor (TM pending)?: a person who asked me to prom my senior year -- I declined politely -- had many gels from the high school baptized in the Temple in Salt Lake. Made me wonder if you have to give a reason for why you are bringing the names forward.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 14, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I saw that Mormon story this morning and it made me furious. And I hated the headline even more: "Mormons, Jews Vie for Dead."

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

bob, your provocateur, how do you know what the FSM does with our souls? Perhaps they become seasoning in the great intergalactic marinara sauce that coats and covers all living things.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

According to the story, the Mormons have even gone so far as to baptize a couple of dead popes. What is the Latin word for unparalleled chutzpah? Maximum summum gallium?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's one of my pictures of the Stata Center:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/453230879/in/set-72157600060420972/

I still say it looks like a leftover set from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this is *very* disappointing: Ann Hornaday really pistolwhips "Quantum of Salace": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/13/AR2008111304154.html?hpid=topnews

I think this is the strongest language she's ever used hating on a movie.

Darn. (Could she be wrong? Doesn't sound like it.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

But Mudge... if you had a name like "Hornaday", you'd probably be pistol-whipping everything in sight, too. Even pistols and whips.

For what it's worth, I've heard the new Bond movie is really really really good. I've even heard it said that whatshisname that plays Bond now is the bestest Bond ever thanks to this movie.

But don't take my word for it. I won't see it until the edited-for-ABC-Family-Channel version hits the cable-tubes for free.

Posted by: martooni | November 14, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Heading out for the bus, then down to work on the vacation house tonight, so won't be boodling until tomorrow night or Sunday. Everybody have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I already though Craig was the best Bond ever, which is why I was disappointed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 14, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Got tickets to the 7 pm show of QoS (which sounds like the name of a Klingon beach resort), so the quality of the movie is a moot point. I'll give a capsule review if I get a chance.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

No love for Lazenby? I'm shocked, shaken and stirred.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

When I first bought the little bottle of black-truffle oil, I didn't know what to do with it. Now I do. I sliced up some button mushrooms and sauted them in the truffle oil. Along came some diced onions, and things started rockin'. Meanwhile, I put a boil on some frozen spinach, and got that a lighter shade of green, and I had judged the water perfectly; it was almost boiled away right when the spinach was ready. I took a pint of heavy cream and added a spoonful of flour and mixed it up, poured it in the spinach, got it bubbling again, and threw in all the mushrooms and onion. A hint of garlic. Seasoned with salt, pepper. Simmered. Then incorporated English cheddar. Rolled up flour tortillas full of this mix and barely browned them with a little butter in a teflon pan. I forgot the sour cream, dang it.

I know.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 14, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Whew, found my way out of the weeds thanks to s'nuke's flare about Gen. Dunwoody. Thanks! I knew she had been selected some time ago, but hadn't seen that the actual, real deal, ceremony had finally happened.

TBG-just about fell off my kitchen stool at that 2nd Life divorce.

Have been enjoying a long weekend of business and fun in St. Paul. Birthday dinner at a fab Italian place last night. Obligatory trip to Ikea tonight. Hope this is the last one this year as the Hip Urban Loft is nearing completion-except for that pesky kitchen back splash.

JA remains the best Science writer on the planet. Hope he doesn't now feel that is damning with faint praise

Off to back boodle. Happy weekend everyone.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 14, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Yello-- it does! That's one trippy bit of art-chitecture.

Mudge-- /Impudens unmigitatus maximus/ maybe.

Although I like your Gallic notions there.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Your birthday Frosti? If so... many happy returns!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 14, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

mudge, you didn't really get my point. unless you have extensive experience editing publications in astronomy, i defer to sciencetim's definition and assessment of the appropriate use of a term in his field.

that is all. language is a living, situated thing. i think bia would back me up on that...

Posted by: LALurker | November 14, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel has to take what he can, Frostbitten. You know how intense the intergalatic competition for science writing is?

There's a lawyer from Rigelly
Who wrote metered epics legally
About Rigel's solar burps
when key materials it slurps
From spacecraft passing illegally...

(And that is my first limerick, come to think of it)


... And while his work were achieved as the best ever produced by Rigel LI (They have 100 tiny planets around Rigel)...
He LOST the Galactic Science Gall prize so badly he wound up driving himself into Rigel.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "his work were achieved?"

Yikes, limericks scramble the brain cells.

"While his work was acclaimed as the best ever produced..."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I was too quick to blame limericks for my addled brain.

Turns out it's from the mind bleach that I've been using.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081113/hl_nm/us_bleach

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Happy weekend music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UY-aLZ4-2E&feature=related

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Help! I need advice from you foodies/cookies. Last night I cooked a stuffed chicken. After I took it out of the oven, I got an emergency call to babysit that took me out of the house for the evening. I wrapped up the chicken in aluminum foil and put it into the refrigerator, but I forgot to take the stuffing out of the bird.

Two questions:
Is it safe to eat the chicken?
Is it safe to eat the stuffing?

Thanks for your advice.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

looks like Obama has asked Hillary to be Secretary of State

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 14, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

It is safw to eat the chicken --Bon appetit

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

That's the scuttlebutt, but it could be a different cabinet position in the talks.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, of all the positions I could think of, Sec'y of State doesn't seem to be the best fit for Hillary Clinton.

http://www.ofsonline.org/white-house-cabinet.htm

It's not just one of the most public cabinet positions, it is also one that future presidents have almost NEVER held.

(Teddy Roosevelt was undersec'y of the Navy).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"According to the story, the Mormons have even gone so far as to baptize a couple of dead popes"

Ever try baptizing a 'live' pope?
They keep wriggling around, howling.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 14, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyone of the Clintons as secretary of state would be a disaster. Let's not fprget that Bush followed on Clinton's steps inb foreign policy. The present international sistuation is not a strictly Bush disaster but an American one.

Obama has to get rid of the entrenched neocons who have penetrated his staff

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Boko... you haven't been around nearly enough lately. You crack me up!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I will second TBG's statement, good to see you again Boko.

Hey TBG

Posted by: dmd2 | November 14, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Making them clean up their own mess, Brag? I do agree, but on the other hand, he's raising plenty of froth right now as it is.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

i thought obama would have hrc do something connected to health care. picking her for sec of state would be a bit out of the box, but i don't think choosing richardson or kerry would necessarily be better. brag, who would be mainstream enough but not neocon in your definition? (i'm not exactly sure why you're calling clinton a neocon, but would be interested to know.)

i'm also curious to see whether caroline kennedy gets appointed to something big.

ok, amigos, i gotta do some dissertation stuff. will check in later...

Posted by: LALurker | November 14, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Sign me up for the Boko greeting committee. Nice to have you around whenever you can make it!

Does Caroline Kennedy have any interest in something big? I've never gotten the impression that she wanted to be especially politically active (advisory committees, maybe an ambassadorship), but perhaps I haven't been paying attention. I'm sure that she'd be proud to take on any position for which she felt competent and was asked.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Me four! Hi Boko!

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki,
I would like to know your thoughts on my 5:57 pm dilemma.

Thanks.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, stop it :-)" - D. Letterman

Posted by: Boko999 | November 14, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea0, my best judgement says pull as much stuffing out as you can, using fingers not just a spoon, and throw the stuffing away, and the chicken meat will be fine, but be careful when carving not to get so close with a sharp knife to the bits not protected by ribs and wishbones that you pierce or cut through to the body-cavity, which is most likely now unsafe.

And I feel really, reely sorry to say that. We here chez Yoki are devoted to dressings of all kinds, but we know the dangers it poses and I am, unfailingly, about food-safety (a technical but not jargon term for a whole bunch of serialized steps to keep our guests from poisoning!). So sorry. Please, ricky, don't eat that stuffing or anything it has touched, and make sure the potential infection of the cavity does not make contact with you.

The Countess of Alberta has spoken.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog,
I don't think Clinton is a neocon, but he did follow their aims. The neocons are best described as a conspiracy where they take key postions in government to establish the American World Empire. They are a bunch of fools, but very well organized. Just look how they managed to start the mess in Iraq!

Posted by: Braguine | November 14, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I too am a member of the Cult of Boko. But then I love all the boodlers that make me laugh and he did.

Anne Hornaday and I saw the same movie and had opposite reactions. All the faults she saw I say were benefits. She seems nostalgic for Moonraker and the jokey Roger Moore films. I for one appreciate the post-Bourne action sensibilities.

A lot of the tension in the movie is emotional which heightens the action sequences. This will sound strange, but it's as if they decided to remake License to Kill but do it right.

I'm glad the boodle waved me off from the review because it has at least one major spoiler in it. Here is my spoiler (skip the sentence between the asterisks if you are so inclined):

******************************
There is a rather twisted homage to Goldfinger.
******************************

Hornaday needs to stay away from the action movies. I never thought I would say it, but she makes me miss Stephen Hunter.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Never knew a pope who needed baptism. They were all Catholic, big time. If I get baptized by Mormons, and I don't think it's going to stick, I'm going to Utah kick some a$$. And do some much needed sightseeing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 14, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

But does "Q" make an appearance? Cause everyone knows he's the *real* hero.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 14, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Not that big a Bond fan, but I did just see a promo for a new movie "Australia" Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, can't say it looks good but Hugh looked great - sigh.

Posted by: dmd2 | November 14, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

There may never have been a pope who needed baptism, but there are rumors that some of them may have needed a little help with salvation at the end.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

TBG-it was my birthday and quite a nice one at that.

What if a Mormon baptizes you, and you don't know it? If a Mormon baptizes you after you've died, and you didn't believe in it when you were alive, does it matter? Seems more silly, and fodder for a great comedy sketch (like squealing popes), than something at which to take offense. Though I suppose implying that someone else's faith is somehow wanting is offensive on its face.

HRC as Sec'y of State? I'm not seeing it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 14, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

The Second Life marriage and divorce in screen captures. My schadenfreude is making me queasy for once.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Second-Life-Virtual-Divorce-Amy-Taylors-Marriage-Ends/Media-Gallery/200811215151423

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

No Q, but James does learn how to make a martini. Part of the gimmick of what is supposedly part of a planned four movie sequence is that it is a reboot of the Bond franchise and the time honored cliches are not forced in fast and furious. There is a famous catch phrase that is completely missing from this movie despite ample opportunities to use it.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 14, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Bob, who doesn't need a little help for salvation at the end?
BTW quite a number of popes were most certainly heading straight for Hades, according to their own standards anyway.

I finally make good on a promise of a Thai restaurant meal for the fungi's 21st birthday. Darn good food. It's about the only good thing that happen this workweek, except for the Very Large Puppy flue vaccine and my leptospirosis booster. Good thing that week was only 3 days long, I'm telling you.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 14, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Brag and Yoki,
Thanks for your advice. I thought that maybe the stuffing was toxic, but I didn't know for sure. To think that I was cooking it for my nephew and his wife and two toddlers. Imagine if I had taken it to them today!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 14, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea - Since you went straight into the 'fridge, in all probability the stuffing was fine. But the way you avoid food poisoning is by being careful about stuff (hahaha!) like that.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

bobsewell is correct, but also sounds like a Boodler who doesn't necessarily think the safe option is the right choice.

I can validate his premise in general, but not food-safety-wise. When it comes to food, better safe than sorry (and very very sorry we will be, too, if we guess wrong).

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

True Yoki. But chicken stuffing is usually safe, unlike turkey's. It's a mass thing; turkey will cool down much slower thus spending more time in the dangerous zone.

As I have said before a good salmonella poisoning is like a slow painful death but without the final calm peaceful stage.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 14, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, now! I was supporting the wisdom of being careful! I run lots of risks in my own life that I would never countenance (or at least never counsel) in others. And with regard to food poisoning specifically, I'll give painful testimony that it takes a LONG time to get over guessing wrong.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 14, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

shrieking denizen is now making me laugh.

I totally understand the physics and chemistry and the difference between chicken and turkey, and i just don't care. No risks, food-wise.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

*laughing*

Good night, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | November 14, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Joel writes about the new zero gee toilet that the Space Shuttle Endeavour is delivering to the ISS, to be placed in the Destiny module.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/14/AR2008111400857.html

I am disappointed that Joel does not mention the 0G toilet scenes in "2001: A Space Odyssey," such as Floyd reading the very long instructions for use of same outside the Lavatory door - as if no one would ever be in a hurry to use a toilet up there.

On a related topic, I wonder what the heck the bathrooms in the Star Wars Cantina look like? And how much they'd need to pay someone - or a whole HAZMAT team - to clean them at the end of a night (The Cantina Men's room after a bunch of drunk Wookies with their bifurcated, er, equipment staggering around in there, or if Jabba the Hut and his brothers got hold of some bad clams (hint: Don't eat the bar food at the Cantina)? Ay Carrumba.)? Might've been a good place to first use the line, "What an *amazing* smell you've discovered."

Back to Joel's article for a sec - I'm considering the idea that I might drink that recycled water after it tested OK. And mixed with a nice single-malt Scotch.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 14, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I had a boss who accidentally gave himself salmonella poisoning. He said "I thought I'd died."

Never had salmonella poisoning, even though I DID work with it, in large quantities to purify DNA from it. It (and not just because of the medium used to grow it) always made me think of canned chicken soup with mushrooms.

More specifically, the mushroom bits in the soup alone-- it's an indescrible smell both fungal and faintly animal.

My motto: if it smells even slightly mushroomy and you didn't put mushrooms in the recipe... you have a major biohazard on your hands.

But of course, the threshold for illness is far below that for smelling the bacteria.

That said, SD has it right-- properly cooked, stuffed chicken should be safe (internal temperature for stuffing reaching 170 degrees+).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 14, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

On another note, I saw QoS tonigh with a friend, but I'll leave him to write the detailed review for the Boodle.

I thought it was OK entertainment -- long on action and suspense, short on gadgety fluff. Reminded me of the first few minutes of "Never Say Never."

Saw a trailer for the new "Star Trek" movie. Yes, I want to see it. But then, I'm 17% dork.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 14, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

That may all be as is, bc, but for myself, I'm just thinking...

Posted by: Yoki | November 15, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Just to report: Seasea has made the transcontinental journey from northwest to southeast safely and efficiently and is ensconced in the bertocci guest room for a few hours. At dawn we will arise and sally forth to the Miami Book Fair International (25th Anniversary Edition).

Eventually there will be a report of some sort, but in the short term I think we may be Too Busy To Boodle.

Good night to all...

Posted by: kbertocci | November 15, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

And the annual jealousy over kb and friends at the Miami Book Fair begins anew. Take plenty of pictures. And don't get carried away as Rock Bottom Remainder groupies.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 15, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm wit ya, yello. I've got to head down there.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 15, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

baptizing dead popes reminds me of one of my favorite novels - dead souls.

bob, when c. kennedy ran the veep vetting process for obama, there was discussion about how she never wanted to run for elected office, but might be willing to serve in the administration. i think she's interested in education. but i could be misremembering...

have book fair. happy weekend.

Posted by: LALurker | November 15, 2008 2:14 AM | Report abuse

bc missed the beginning of the Trek trailer, so we're going to have to dock him a few points on the dork rating... But the movie DOES hold promise!

As for "QoS," it's a fine "non-Bond" Bond film, go see it. A little bit of civilization-saving, a couple of familiar characters remade (but no Q), a lot of inner struggle for Bond, nowhere near as much sex as usual, lots of high-tech wizardry. Dunno if it was the theater acoustics or the audio mix, but some of the dialog was tough to hear. Overall, a fine action-spy-thriller flick. Craig IS a great Bond, perfect for this "reboot." Can't compare him one-on-one with Connery, since they're on parallel tracks. George Lazerball? Who?

*hoping-for-a-quiet-Saturday-despite-needing-to-get-the-usual-chores-done Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 15, 2008 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Oooooooooooooh, Dick Cavett is on FIRE today!!!

http://cavett.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/the-wild-wordsmith-of-wasilla/

*L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 15, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

It's always easier when you have your sweetheart to help you with the chores, Scotty. :-)

I enjoyed wp's front page picture of the fella on the porch, in the woods of his campground and am amazed that so many people will be coming to camp in January to see the inauguration. Most will camp b/c there is no other way to stay as most hotels/motels are already reserved, but some just like the great outofdoors experience. I looked at Shenandoah National Park's website to see if they will be open in January, but the only Jan. reference I saw was possibility of snow & ice, so maybe they are open,weather permitting. I love that park and go there, if just for lunch, whenever I can.

About HRC in Obama's cabinet. Well, why not? She's smart, dedicated, strong. Obama doesn't make mistakes if he can avoid them. I certainly like the idea of her in the cabinet better than some of the other names (Kerry) that are being thrown about. Too many inside, unidentified sources gabbing about, I think. Best to wait and see.

Good day to you all! Cardinals & bluebirds expect me to show up at the feeder shortly.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 15, 2008 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, this causes me MUCH inner turmoil...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/11/15/surf_turf___and_strife/

Proposed "resort" development right outside Acadia National Park. It's on private land, but still bugs me. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 15, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... Yello I wish I had never clicked on your link to the Second Life marriage and divorce slide show. Ick.

Lots on tap for today... what are y'all up to? Hope you have a great Saturday whatever you're doing.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 15, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning ye Boodlers.

I am glad to hear the new Bond movie came out well. This should inspire Boodlers and Lurkers . . .

Ahem. (Shameless self promotion ahead)

. . .to check out Kingmaker by Braguine. An exciting espionage adventure.

You can order it from Amazon, B&N.com.

And I will be signing at Borders in Downtown Silver Spring this afternoon.

Posted by: Braguine | November 15, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle. Hi TBG! What you up to today?

Me, I'll be at the computer working on the project. That's just fine, because it will the home computer and allows me to check the Boodle more frequently, as well as correspond with friends, a rare luxury these days.

And since my computer is near the laundry room, I think doing the wash will be on my to-do list as well.

Have a great day everybody, remember that "we are the people we've kept waiting."

Posted by: Yoki | November 15, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Morning everybody.

Heavy rain in the high country this morning. Mr. T is glad he blew the leaves down to the lower yard and did other outside work yesterday. Since there's nothing we can do outside today, we're going Christmas shopping. Until 3:30, that is, when we will come home and watch UNC and UMD play football in the rain.

Posted by: slyness | November 15, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki! We are going to a used book sale at Daughter's school this morning and then Daughter and I are attending another local high school's production of Pippin this afternoon.

Sorry you have to work today. And I hope you get the opportunity to sleep in sometime soon!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 15, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Dreary Drizzly Day. This reminds me much of the land of my youth, except, of course, for those leaves.

Speaking of "rebooting."

In addition to leaves from other places, I secretly suspect I have extraterrestrial leaves from those extrasolar planets I've hear tell of. I mean, should they be wiggling around like that?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 15, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

New Kit! And itsagoodun!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 15, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

TBG,
May I remind you that you were the one that sent me down that primrose path. You only have yourself to blame for where it led.

The "eco-resort" lost me at "golf course." Pretty close to mutually exclusive terms.

And I had no idea Dick Cavett was still alive, let alone had a blog. Good for him.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 15, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Scottynuke, thanks for that Cavett link, and for the Date Lab report on our seeing QoS together last night. And I refrain from mentioning our fauxs pas re. the Mussel Incidents at dinner later.

Just a quick comment about the potential Democratic Dream Team coalescing in the Obama Cabinet - with names like Kennedy and Clinton being bandied about, how could the public not consider it such? - several have suggested that the expectations for Obama's Administration may be getting too high given all of the political starpower that may end up in there.

If Daschele, Clinton, Richardson, any of the Kennedys, etc. all end up in that room together, let's hope it's like the '92 Olympic Dream Team with Jordan, Bird, Johnson, etc. and not some of the later disappointments where individual play was teriffic, but they couldn't play well together.

Maybe for some, the best they could do for the Obama Administration would be to remain in the House or Senate and work with the Administration, rather than for it.

HRC is an interesting case, I think. She does not have a lot of seniority to get Committee Chair, yet wields a significant amount of political power and influence on national and international levels. Does she *want* to go back to the Senate after being so close to the Presidency?

Interesting questions, IMO. I suspect that the soul-searching she's been doing since June is reaching a crescendo.

The 25th anniversary Miami Book fair should be fun - have a great time kbertocci, seasea, and all who are down there flying the Boodle banner.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 15, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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