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The Redder Belt

[On vacation this week. Today I'm off to Seattle and will post a bunch of pics tomorrow. I hear they have a bunch of Starbuckses there.]

Here's a fascinating map from the Times that shows a very distinct belt in the Upper South and Appalachia where the Republicans did better in 2008 than in 2004. It's like the opposite of Obama Country.


I'm changing planes and I am pretty sure this is Minneapolis, but you never know these days.

On the flight here I read the Gladwell piece on Myhrvold and invention. Then the Kakutani take-down on Gladwell today in the Times. Ouch.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 18, 2008; 8:37 AM ET
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Good Morning Boodlers!

Yup, fascinating map! Have a good trip, Joel and enjoy some alderwood grilled salmon.

Posted by: Braguine | November 18, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Cassandra, we need to go there, and apparently Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald does, too (a column reprinted in our own paper today...and did not Michelle Obama, in her interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes on Sunday, say that education is one of her priorities?):

"Meanwhile, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 48% of D.C. eighth graders had attained basic reading skills in 2007 -- "basic" being a term denoting "partial mastery" of necessary knowledge and skills. Only 12% were rated proficient readers. The corresponding numbers in math: 34 and 8. Those statistics, dismal as they are, represent an improvement over previous years.

"And D.C. is hardly unique. ...

"The failure here, then, is not the students', but ours, a failure of will and imagination. We need to reassess the things we take for granted. We need to decide that our children deserve better.

"And we need to ask a simple question: If public schools are not good enough for the president's kids, what makes us think they are good enough for ours?"

Posted by: laloomis | November 18, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse


Well, as long as it's just a belt and not a floor length gown with a train, it's okay with me.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 18, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Seattle in November. It's so wonderfully dreary!

You are, of course, venturing into my familial homelands. Be careful, as I have many relatives in that area. But they are mostly harmless.

I am sure that if you have time you will be checking out some of the attractions. There is, of course, The Pike Place Market, what with the fish flinging and all. And then there is that startlingly futuristic "Space Needle" thingie where you can see the world rotate while sipping wine with a truly astounding markup.

The Chateau St. Michelle winery is fun. And the mark-up not nearly as extreme.

One eccentric place to visit is the "Ballard Locks." You can occasionally see people flinging fish around there too. (Not to mention the occasional starfish.)

But then, my memories of the place are getting pretty old.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

RD_P, don't forget it's also the intersection of the Old Economy (Boeing) and the New Economy (The Software Company That Shall Not be Named).


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 18, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

reposting from tail end of last kit, because my own tail end is freezing and I feel that everyone should know about it ;-)


Hooboy! The shop is just a wee bit chilly this morning. The thermometer I have out there is reading about 25F, which actually isn't all that bad, but being dressed like Nanook of the North makes detail work a little difficult. I feel like that kid in "A Christmas Story"... "I can't move my arms!" It also doesn't help that my goggles keep fogging up.

I figure two more Irish coffees and all will be just fine.

Oh... and all my paints froze overnight. Good thing I'm not painting or staining today, but I gotta remember to bring them into the house when I'm not using them.

Do I miss being a computer programmer working in a nice warm office? Not one bit. (sorry for the pun... just had to... I'm weak)

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I want to know why that election map doesn't show the locations of all the Starbucks nationally? Don't they have fact checkers and researchers at the New York Times?

Posted by: -TBG- | November 18, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Loomis - once again you are missing the point. You insulted Joel's daughter by implying her essay reflected a sub-par education. This was a mean spirited thing to say and Cassandra called you out, quite correctly, on this. For the simple truth is that what Paris wrote, at 17, I find far, far more insightful and interesting that anything you have inflicted upon this blog.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - you are right. Throw in trade to Asia and you have a dynamic exciting place.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

That "red band" map is interesting. It shows that, in many cases, state boundaries are kind of stupid. For example, it is well known that the Western regions of Washington, Oregon, and Norther California have a natural affinity that ignores state borders.

And then there is Northern and Southern Virginia. About which much has been heard.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's just me, but "Ballard Locks" sounds suspiciously like a Cockney rhyme.

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget the foreign policy experience of the residents north of Seattle... they can see Canada from there!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 18, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Somali pirate economy is booming, ship owners consider ransom demands reasonable. Maybe I should write a modern day pirate novel. Though, I already have a minor character, a Dutchman who finances pirates in Kingmaker. :o)

Posted by: Braguine | November 18, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I think the "Ballard Locks" are what locals call the locks in the Lake Washington Ship Canal. They link Lake Washington with Puget Sound, and their is some entertainment value in watching them operate. Plus, there is a beautiful garden nearby (although in November it might not be at it's best.)

TBG - you know it. As a small child I remember getting up each morning, pulling out my spy glass and making sure that none of them Canadian-types had snuck over from British Columbia during the night.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle! 15 degrees and our river channel is frozen over-2 weeks earlier than last year. This is good for winter tourism, but even when snug inside with a kitten on my lap the view makes me cold.

TBG-I think a Starbucks:WalMart graph would have been a big improvement. Perhaps the NYT should totally rethink the whole general interest newspaper/web site model.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! I was in Washington state once, pre-Microsoft. It was very nice and I hope to visit again someday. I look forward to the Starbucks report.

Brag, thanks for the pirate updates. If only I didn't get seasick! This seems to me to be a real career opportunity for an attorney or business-oriented person able to advise the increasingly successful pirates on laundering their ill-gotten gains and diversifying their portfolios. I often suggest a similar career path, as gang consigliere, to students looking for a job outside a law firm. Oddly, they don't see the possibilities.

Thanks to RD for a fine concise post.

Y'all let up on Martha Stewart. She's paid to be perfect and think up ridiculous things. If you were paid to do that you would do it well too, and enjoy it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 18, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I also want to congratulate the Iraqi prime minister for ending the corruption formerly endemic to the new government. According to today's paper, he's been firing all the oversight officials. That's brilliant and very tidy. Without oversight officials to find it, there is no corruption. I wonder which U.S. government officials counseled him.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 18, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the good wishes! I felt much better but then had a nasty time of it at 0530 but percocet helped me through. I think I'm good now and yello is right. I'll be saving the rest of the percocet, very happy in the knowledge that it is there for a rainy day!

As far as the kidney stone vs. childbirth debate goes, I don't feel that I am a reliable source. I had epidurals for both my baby birthin's so childbirth really wasn't all that bad. CP is right, as usual, that the end result of childbirth has a way of mitigating all the pain anyway.

Oh and I've always thought that Percocet and it's delightful la-la feeling would make me feel kindly disposed to anyone. Today I found out that even Percocet can't make some hatefulness seem less hateful!

Ruh-roh, my two fave pundits disagree on the whole Hillary as SOS issue. David Ignatious thinks it's a bad idea and Andrew Sullivan thinks it's inspired. I guess I'll have to think for myself. NO! Wait! What does RD think? That'll clear it up for me!

Posted by: Kim1 | November 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I've seen that map before...oh yes.
laughed at the Doughboy obituary too, Ivansmom. I was surpised taht boys can get yeast infection too.

I don't think the culture war is over. It's too easy to use as an electoral tool and it works just fine with so many people. The NYT had a wonderful map, yesterday or the day before maybe, showing all the places that have voted more Democratic (a lot!) or more Republican (a few). It showed that some of the poorish red south-south central states(Arkansas and Kentucky as I remember, plus a couple of neighbouring states) were actually getting redder, i.e. the MCain campaign worked just fine out there. I'm sure that it didn't go unnoticed by Republican stategists. The culture wars may become regional though, instead of being the national onslought it was this year.

Back in the late swinging seventies I witnessed an argument between members of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and In Struggle! (a Trotskist joint IIRC) partisans turning to an exchange of blows. I knew right there that these guys and gals were not ready for the Enlightened Dictatorship of the People they were proposing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 6, 2008 1:50 PM
Here's the map on differential voting. Should have looked for it in the first place, it was easy to find.

Unfortunately, I got the Tripods reference.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 6, 2008 2:07 PM

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, that assumes the primary reason for not sending the girls to public school has to do with the level of education, not the inherent security issues. Funny how this wasn't quite the stink in 1992 as it is now.

It does seem your rants are based on it that Paris has a loving father, or is it that Paris has JA for a loving father? (You've taken out the baseball bat when he shows support for Rachael too. Again, jealousy?) When the stars align, it also appears as if Mudge and The Tims occupy big spots in your heart (I'm guessing there's a fair amount of unused space there), and you swat at women who have an honest intellectual debate with them. Words to the wise...secret crushes aren't always so secret (all those with a secret crush on RD please take one step forward), and supporting PA would probably endear you a bit more than swatting at her will.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 18, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see Hillary Clinton develop a second Democratic power center in the Senate. Byrd is becoming The Crypt-Keeper and Kennedy has his well-known problems. Somebody is going to need to bear the standard for moderate liberal political ideology. HRC is reasonably young, reasonably inspiring (after all, she did *almost* beat Obama), and brainy. She can develop the role and keep it for a long time. Unless Obama is even more better-than-me than I imagine, it seems likely that he will be a one-term President -- recovering from the Bush years of bingeing on low taxes, high expenditures, high borrowing, military adventurism and moral depravity, is going to demand an unpleasant period of self-sacrifice, austerity, self-restraint, and self-examination. A very "self"-ish time. Who would want to stay with that program for 8 years? Somebody will be needed to force us to stick with the recovery process during the backlash. HRC could do that job.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 18, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Not gonna go to yeast infections or culture wars, but these kidney stone pix make the ineffectiveness of percocet seem logical:

I found the demerol drip, involved in a polypectomy, to be quite my Achilles heel. I liked that entirely too much. Keep it away from me.

A friend told me he ate a pureed can of asparagus and drank a liter of coca cola and the phosphoric acid in the cola, and some sort of magic in the asparagus, made his stones disappear overnight. One wishes this sort of anecdotal story might be true. One suspects it is nonsense.

Now for a tall glass of water and the trip to the trade in the printer cartridges.

I found the Loomis questions not difficult to answer using basic knowledge. Racism = tribalism / clanism, and "heaven" easily translates between the two religions in question. And further grilling the lad about refugees was not necessary. A friend who writes for the paper and has a blog tends to beat dead horses and hit the reader with large hammers. I think it's not necessary.

Speaking of papers, our local ran a story about how the Mayor thinks the idea of appointing a local "crime czar" to, you know, deal with crime, to be a bad idea. Since, at least in my view, we have a CHIEF OF POLICE. I wish when I got a job I could appoint someone Czar of Doing Jumper's Job For Him.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that we've linked to them before, but Mark Newman's cartograms are pretty cool:

Posted by: bobsewell | November 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Sign me up for the Crushin' On RD Club.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yellowjkt, no fair pushing me out of line. Geez, wait your turn. I have a photo of RDP plus his two books that MUST. BE. SIGNED.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Or YK, let's be friends. Hold my place in line.

I'll run over to the LiT-plus-rhinestone-on-shoes booth. OhMiGoD! I have a new and improved crush. And, the Acme "Football Fetish with Feathers" tiara is on half-price....swooning, swooning.....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Here is Wonkette's oddly compelling electoral map.

There is a thin blue thread through the red belt.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Taking a step forward too.

That's funny, Jumper. Perhaps the Chief of Police misunderstood and thought "crime czar" meant someone in charge of the commission of crime, rather than its deterrence, and was worried about the conflict of interest.

I'd like to appoint a Czar of Doing Ivansmom's Jobs for Her. Perhaps it could be a seasonal position. I hear it is hard to find work in retail or manufacturing these days.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 18, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Ladies of the Boodle, this is a useless exercise! Now we're all standing in the same crowd we were before we all, each and every one, took a step forward.

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I have worked in the DC schools, making science presentations to 6th and 7th-grade students and leading workshops for teachers. The DC schools were not in good shape. Physical plant of many schools was in terrible condition, sending a clear message to students that society's priorities do not include its children. No adult would tolerate such conditions if he had a choice. A principal told me that if he had the budget to fix just one thing, it would be to get all his bathrooms 100% functional, because it is simply humiliating and disgusting to find yourself immersed in such squalor. Unfortunately, even that was not possible at that time.

As one of the organizers of our education and public outreach program, I had the honor of being sent to some of the lowest-achieving and least-rewarding schools in DC. We sent our volunteers to the schools where they were more likely to find a warm embrace and a sense of accomplishment from their outreach efforts. Those are the kind of DC schools that PA and siblings attended/attend, but there also are a lot of DC schools that are in deep trouble. Or, at least, that were in deep trouble. I have not been involved since the advent of the Fenty-Rhee era, so I don't know whether, and to what extent, things may have turned around. I think there is a lot to be said for Rhee's demonstration of determination and the understanding that deep-seated problems require extensive and unorthodox solutions. Whether or not Rhee is proposing the *best* solutions is somewhat beside the point. What is needed is a sense that things should be made better, that they can be made better, and that people in the system who actually make it better can expect some reward for their efforts. When I was a child, we had no money, but I didn't have the sense that we were poor -- we just lived in poverty. What made it acceptable was the sense that we weren't living just to get through the day, we had our eyes on the horizon. That's what I tried to convey to kids when I visited DC schools, and that's what Rhee is trying to do.

All that having been said, I can't fault a parent who chooses to send their kid elsewhere than DC Public Schools. There is a limit to how much I will make my child bear the costs of my ideals (which is why we have recently moved to a better school system). Also, even the best of DC Public schools would face a heavy strain in providing the kind of physical security that a Presidential child requires. The national scrutiny would be difficult. Probably better for everyone to send the child to a private school where a Presidential daddy is only a moderate step up the social ladder and where the school has better physical plant.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 18, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Bob, yeah, I like those cartograms, and also the NYT maps and numbers from shriek and JA. I am proud to report that my county went for Obama by 6 whole votes. Every splotch of blue makes a difference, right? (Well, not electorally, but I'm sure there's a mystical effect somehow.)

Posted by: -bia- | November 18, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, faxing you my personal facsimile maker. I have 32 holograms of me standing in as many lines, with more on the way.

The booths of each boodler for signing autographs, purchasing memorabilia, and even for photo ops: Staggering, tis, simply staggering.

Perhaps I have passed on into heaven?

Crushing in 360 degrees of directions....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Be careful, CquaP, we don't want you to crush past your SchwartzBoodle radius and collapse into a Boodle-arity, now do we?


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 18, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

ScottyNuke! I take my Schwarz Vitamins each and every day, especially the ones you recommended to help with radius-tion poisoning....

oops, help me with that very anemic puny pun.....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

*ironing the pun to help the anemia*


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

For those interested...

I'm taking two GIANT steps forward for RD! Hey, ladies, no pushing. I'll bet the rent, Ivansmom, is first in line?

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

May the Schwartz be with you.

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, folks.

A busier than expected morning, doing what I can to help the economy today.

Hey, Lewis Hamilton is my #1 mancrush but I can spare a little for RD - that's one small step for a man, one giant leap for Boodlekind.

Having said that, I don't think it's appropriate for any parent to have to justify how they're providing for their children's education to anyone not involved in the situation. It's offensive.


Posted by: -bc- | November 18, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

While we're all standing in line, anyone care for some iced-tea?

I can bring grilled salmon to imaginary lunch and I have a few pounds of tiny, red (windowsill-ripened) tomatoes from the garden--not first rate, but I'm marinating them in a good vinaigrette right now. Twist my arm and I'll make some of my Great-Aunt Ida's plum cake (*working* from home this morning).

Did y'all see the article about how half of all primary care physicians would switch jobs if given an opportunity? Heh! I'll bet that's true for many professions, including mine.

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

dBG -- trade you some of your plummy thingie for plum glazed shortbread. I learned this from a Swiss exchange student. In summer, the Swiss eat fruit all the time...fruit soup for supper too.

Cannot eat lunch with y'll; can you believe that we are having a lunch gathering about how bad the budget on campus will be? Talk about indigestion.

Faxing my hologram no.58 to lunch. Be kind as I may be slow on the uptake:

Lovely to see you.

Delicious; please pass the dish to me.

Why yes, so-and-so's (tie, frock, etc) is splendid....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Paying the price for yesterday's gluttony. Not a sprout nor a speck of fudge left. When I squeeze in time for lunch I'll be eating cottage cheese and Fritos. At least I have excellent coffee-the $30 espresso maker keeps plugging away. Piping hot mocha, or vanilla latte anyone?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

No jokes about Ballard Locks, please!

My husband's family had a reunion in Sedro Wooley* about 10 years ago, and one of the highlights was driving back down to Seattle and watching the fish climb the fish ladder.

Come to think of it, that was *the* highlight of the gathering.

*no one knows why the town is named Sedro Wooley.

Posted by: nellie4 | November 18, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Great. Now my boss wants to know what I have been looking at on the internet that makes me blush so.

I will just say that I have a secret crush on most all the ladies who hang around these parts. But don't tell anyone, because you know, it's a secret.

Enough of this silliness.

Regarding HRC as Secretary of State. I think that in terms of power consolidation it would be a brilliant move. It would also certainly establish Obama as a grown-up who avoids petty rivalries.

Yet it would be very risky. I agree with Ignatius that it might end up being too much of a sideshow. It all depends on how much confidence Obama has that HRC will be wiling to be make her (and Bill's) foreign policy ideas subservient to his own. But on balance I don't think its a terrible idea, just a risky one.

Of course, should HRC misbehave Obama could always insist that she resign to spend more time with her family.

That said, if I were Hillary Clinton I would turn the job down. I think she has much more potential to do good things and have a long "Ted Kennedy" career in the Senate.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

never enough silliness, RD you da man!!!

Just had a wonderful conversation with a friend,so nice i may just float to work today.

we ended up with about an inch of snow,sure looked lovely out the window this AM.Thankfully it will all be melted by the time I hit the road.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 18, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

[I see that Mary Peters at D.O.T. got her "heckuva job" moment:]

"I appreciate very much the fabulous job -- and I emphasize fabulous job -- that the Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, has done and is doing for our country... Madam Secretary, you did your job. That's what I expected when I asked you to serve, and I really want to thank you for your service. "

[Also, there was hilarity:]

"I know that a lot of folks in our country think about transportation a lot, particularly this time of year... They're not nervous about their safety, but they're nervous about what the experience will be like -- the long delays, lost bags, overbooking of flights. One way to look at it is they're saying, will traveling home for the holidays be "It's A Wonderful Life," or will it be "The Nightmare Before Christmas." (Laughter.)"

[And there was discussion of pressing issues:]

"Yet there's a lot more work to be done. For example, at an age when teenage drivers use GPS systems in their cars, air traffic controllers still use World War II-era radar to guide modern jumbo jets. That doesn't seem to make any sense to me, and I know it doesn't make sense to the Secretary and a lot of folks in this audience."

[It seems obvious to me that the solution here is to hire more teenage drivers as air traffic controllers. With the reduced retail holiday hiring opportunities this year, I'm sure that plenty of them would be available.]

[And finally, a little folksy charm:]

"Just a little advice. Of course, we all wish the American citizen to have a safe and pleasant travel -- travels during this holiday season. We wish them all the best. And our citizens must know there's some really fine people in this Department of Transportation working hard to see that goal comes true."

[So ya'll be careful out there, y'hear?]

Doesn't sound like 'mudge missed any earth-shattering revelations.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 18, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The high-tech solar panel manufacturing place finally responded, telling me they won't consider hiring for a minumum six months. I doubt their plan is proceeding quickly in this economy. Oh well, I can dream. Now I can brush up on my vacuum units conversion skilz at leisure. Torrs, micro-Pascals, etc. And I do need to brush up.

I helped the economy for sure. Just after emailing the printer manufacturer with my "help" request, I fixed the dumb printer. I took ALL the ink cartridges out, closed the doors, proceeded as if I had ink in there, and it alerted me. I then reinstalled all three, and lo and behold it decided to unfreeze and use all the colors. I didn't really need the overpriced refills at all; that is, not yet.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Jumper... my way of fixing ink jet printers that act up (or just run out of ink) is to buy a new one. With rebates (they always have rebates), it's cheaper to buy a whole new printer than replacement ink cartridges for the old one (even recycled/refilled ones). Heck, I bought one that was on sale for $50 that had a $50 mail-in rebate, so the printer and included cartridges cost me a postage stamp.

Not exactly an environmentally-friendly practice, but definitely much easier on the wallet. Use the savings to buy compact flourescent light bulbs.

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hi, all! Hey, Martooni, you might want to consider giving the inkless printer to your favorite inner-city school. A clerk in the big box o'electronics, who was also a teacher in one of these schools, told me they need printers and PCs desperately. I asked about the cost of cartridges - she said it wasn't a problem. Day-to-day expenses, like printer cartridges, are approved, but capital expenses (like new printers) aren't. She got the two that lived in my garage, still in their boxes, but sans cartridges. I still wonder how the school gets the cartridges, but it's none of my business. She was grateful.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 18, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

*gasp!* Joel's in Seattle?!? So am I, after a delightful weekend at the Miami Book Fair (thanks, kb). We are having typical weather here - what a friend calls "3D" - dark, dreary, dismal. Add drizzly for 4D. I always wonder what Joel's up to on his trips, and I'm never right.

Not sure I'll be able to catch up on the Boodle - what did I miss?

Posted by: seasea | November 18, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Back when home color printers didn't exist, I patronized my local art store with their excellent Canon color laser printer. They made great prints up to 11" X 17" and even provided me with a tech to tweak the color settings, and all the paper was acid-free archival, as were the toner colors (archival, that is), which I proved to my own satisfaction as I happened to work in a lab where we had just purchased an accelerated-weathering simulation module, that bombarded any specimen with intense UV while in a highly warm & humid atmosphere. The sample prints I stuck inside were unchanged over the lifetime of the tests (months) I was also conducting on some paints for our outdoor transformers. Sweet!

These sorts of quality guarantees are absent from current promotions of color prints in the retail markets, although most of the toners lately hold up quite well. Archival paper seems to be impossible to get at a decent price in the major stores, however. The people get all aflutter and think it's an abnormal request nowadays.

The sad fact is that most people don't know what the he11 they are doing with visual quality. They take 100s of photos of their family members with the tops of the heads cut off, in front of wretched backgrounds of squalid clutter, or backlit, or out of focus, or entire histories of their children with not a single profile view, and each making a dorky face on purpose. Printed out and placed in albums that no one will ever want to peruse because they are staring, after all, into an abyss of horribly bad photos.

I think differently.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hi Jumper....were you looking at a new job opportunity? Forgive me if I missed this somehow. I am sorry this did not pan out. Would you like some extra-rich, ancho-chile, twenty-month-aged, super-emollient mojo? I have some composting in the yard under a tarp. Let me know. Place a bushel basket under the tray for it is heavy and dense and best applied by the square-yard.

(NOT LEAVES, I promise.)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"in front of wretched backgrounds of squalid clutter" or, as I call it, home.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Which leads me into my next, more positive rant: the professional excellence of news photographers. I study their work for tips and ideas. No one can frame a shot like these pros. And all the finer details are right on.

That's why I'm always impressed by Joel and his kids' photos. They "get it."

The humor, the irony, comes from the fact that most journalists are SO language oriented they have geniuses working amongst them in the photo (and platemaking)department(s) and very few of the wordsmiths even comprehend it. Some do. Bless 'em.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Fax mojo immediately, CP. The DHEA is barely working.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Should be arriving momentarily.

Ain't it grand when a word person and an image person shake hands?

Off to more errands of the day. I report a few snow flurries on Route One in College Park. First flakes of 2008. Huzzah!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 18, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Memo to self: don't let Jumper look at the pictures on my I-pod.

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of pictures, those with an interest in Thomas Kincade might find this amusing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

But is anyone at DOT doing a heckuva job?

And most family/vacation shots can be improved by taking three giant steps forward, mother, may I.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The pictures stored on my phone right now-a quilt I wanted to use for inspiration before I realized I don't have time to quilt anymore, the floor of the craft section of Wal-Mart, and the inside of my purse. I'm thinking this is more a phone problem than a photo problem.

The best thing that ever happened in the frostfam was switching to digital cameras. No more taking Frostdottir's film in just to find the class trip to Kauai was the perfect time to take self portraits in the bathroom, or that sidewalks at the National Zoo come out much clearer than red pandas.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge is.

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm hurt, Jumper...

*sitting in corner and sulking*


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 18, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

You're just messing with me now, RD. (Kinkade) But back in the day, we had to mess with these earnest and awful artists, and found that a kind heart towards them still is the best working solution. No one REALLY regurgitates in their mouths over these things, they just say they do.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

See, it's like this

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 18, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Count me in as one who has a crush on RD!

Just checking in after a day spent wandering through the mountains. It's just amazing how the weather changes from place to place, even just a mile apart. We had snow this morning, about 3 inches in the highest elevations but none in the valleys...and cold, it's really, really cold for November. Currently it's 22, the coldest November 18th in fifty years.

Posted by: slyness | November 18, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching CNN, and the Congressional hearing for the big three automakers. Chris Dodd gave a blistering opening statement to these folks. And Rick Sanchez is monitoring the emails, and people are saying they're tired of bailing these folks out. He also had an 83 year old retired auto worker as a guest. This gentleman got so upset he was actually trembling. He said when he served in the military one did not think in terms of Democrats or Republicans. He, like a lot of folks, is tired of the gridlock in Washington.

Dodd went back in history on these executives. If they get the money, they surely have earned it today, if no other day. I suspect some of them may have wanted to fight. You know it's hard to hear that stuff when you're asking for help.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

On kit: Has anybody else followed Bill Bishop's blog on Slate, the Big Sort?

His premise is that Americans have sorted themselves geographically by political persuasion over the last forty years, and he uses some impressive graphics to show how counties have become more Democratic or more Republican during that time.

I was interested enough to buy his book. It's really scary that we're not talking to each other any more, we're hiding in enclaves of people like ourselves. We're even doing it online!

Posted by: slyness | November 18, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Did I kill the boodle?

Obama has named his choice for Attorney General according to CNN. That's on the front page.

I hope this doesn't creep anyone out, but I think the Treasury Secretary, Paulson is not a bad looking guy. I like to hear(what little I can hear on TV) him talk. Of course, I nearly fell out of the chair when he said don't give the automakers any money, and there he is, justifying Congress giving him money. I think I like the fact that he uses his hand when talking.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I understand the urge to beat up on auto executives for their incompetence in running their businesses. Yet, Warren Brown makes a decent counter-argument in the WaPo car section -- they were building the cars that Americans were buying, vast gas-guzzling SUVs. Where the car companies failed was in (a) not anticipating that there must some day be an end to the appetite for vast gas-guzzling SUVs; (b) not maintaining any flexibility to deal with changes in the marketplace (including the end of appetite for VGGSUVs); and (c) not investing in advanced technologies early enough. For instance, when Toyota was developing and then early-marketing the Prius, there was much derision about how it was an unserious offering, a useless vehicle offered at or below its true cost as a stunt and of no import to the eventual direction of the auto industry. An impractical car that could lead to nothing. "Oops! Egg on our faces!" Turns out that Toyota had plans that played out over a decade or more, regardless of momentary vacillations in the market, while US auto-makers were thinking in terms of months or maybe a year or two, and were entirely at the mercy of market variability. Now, Chevy finds that it has a potential savior (the Volt), but they proclaim their fear that they may go bankrupt before they can bring it to market. American auto-makers apparently try ventures and hope for the best. Japanese auto-makers hope for the best, plan for the worst, and *make* their ventures work.

Dumping on the auto-makers' lack of foresight, while good sport, is not productive. If legislators are so wise, and have any inclination to bail out the industry (otherwise, why summon them to 'testify' and take their lumps?), then they need to put up or shut up. It is clearly in the long-term political interest of the U.S. to lessen our dependence on petroleum fuel so that we will have more freedom to make market choices in the future. We may still have to buy foreign oil, at whatever is the price of the moment, but a decrease in our thirst will decrease our need to go to unpleasant suppliers in order to meet the necessary volume. We should bail out the auto industry precisely so that we can demand work on implementing advanced technologies that otherwise could not serve the short-term quarterly goals that rule modern American business. Build electric cars and plug-in hybrids! Build urban recharging stations so that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can recharge in dribs and drabs without extensive down-time. Build solar power plants! Investigate, consider, plan, then act.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 18, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that's not Mapplethorpe's best work, but his really good work is not work-safe.

Such a talented photographer. I'm not a fan of photography in general as an "art form", being of the ink 'n' clay crowd, so when I sit up and look at a photograph as a work art, that means something. I find that I love mid-distance and near-distance black and whites the best, they feel so immediate and 3-D.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-I share your concerns, and will buy the book if I don't receive it as a gift (fairly likely, I've made great big hints). However, I found some assumptions challenged, in a good way, on Sat. at a party hosted by some of our Hip Urban Loft neighbors. They own a much larger, hipper, and expensive loft. They are also older, and more conservative than Mr. F and I. Surprising to me was the rapidity with which the conversation turned to politics (never, ever happens at social functions with military folks) and how diverse the opinions. No one of Rush listener ilk (this is St. Paul after all) but some McCain defenders, some lifelong reps, and a couple far, far, lefties. Not sure what to make of this one gathering, perhaps we've just entered the civilian version of the big sort and it looks diverse by comparison to our military life.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse


I've been reading the editorial section of the local paper. They now have a blog. People can comment on the different letters. And some of the comments you would not believe. Some are so mean, so totally wrong in their conclusions, that one has to laugh to keep from crying. Most of their opinions seem based in fear. And they all keep saying Obama is a Muslim. Most of them talk like the country is going to blow up because we have an African-American president. And I keep thinking where have you folks been for the last eight years.

This had been a Democratic stronghold for many years, but after the county sheriff died, the Republicans gained control, hence, we had Robin Hayes. Now the Republicans are talking about getting "their country" back.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim

The automakers had a taste of what was to come in the seventies with the long gas lines. They didn't change their product, so now they're stuck with those gas guzzlers. They've had sufficent time to come up with something better. My heart goes out to the workers because in all of this, they're more than likely being used as hostages, as one emailer stated. And that's a lot of people. Unemployment numbers are already high, do we need to add to that?

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Why, thank you, Yoki.

Hey, Boodle. Just got home a little while ago. The preliminary reading from the stress test was that everything seems to be fine. Of course, the radiology doc still has to read the resukts of my radioactive scan (SPECT scans, if that means anything). But in general the day at the hospital went smoothly and efficiently, just a bit boring. (The pre-stress scan takes 30 minutes lying motionless on a gurney inside this huge camera gizmo, which rotates around you. The post-stress test scan is 20 minutes, because they give you a higher dose of radioactive tracer that has a shorter half-life.) So yes, I probably glow in the dark, though in diminishing amounts.

Highlight of the day was stopping at Barnes & Noble on the way home: "squandered" the better part of a gift card on buying Garrison keillor's "Good Poems" anthology.

Just spent the last half hour clearing out my e-mail box. jeezey-peezey, you have no idea. Among other things, there were a couple dozen e-mails from my team, who are all commuting. So they sent me an e-mail when they checked in. An e-mail when they went to lunch. An e-mail when they returned from lunch. And already a few e-mails from people who have signed off for the day. Plus the usual work-related e-mails and updates and daily bulletins and notices. And then all the other stuff. I think I've developed carpal e-mail deletion tunnel syndrome.

I'm told we had flurries down here in Suthin Merlin, but I missed 'em.

Being home early I may actually get to have dinner early, with my wife. Very rare occurrence on weekdays, believe me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Billy Bishop! The man must be ancient. Wasn't he born in, like, 1895 or something?

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Eric Holder as Attorney General. Leaked and reported by NPR, not yet confirmed by Obama spokesfolk.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It didn't hurt MY feelings that Robin Hayes was defeated, Cassandra! But you probably could have guessed that. And the behavior on the paper's blog proves Mr. Bishop's point.

One of my good friends is from Ashe County, here in northwest NC. She is recounting a story from her cousin, who is head of the board of elections in Ashe. He got a call from a citizen who could not understand why Kay Hagan and Obama won, when they lost in Ashe County. See what I mean about being partisan?

You'll enjoy the book, Frosti. Your new neighbors are Republicans living in a "liberal" area, right? They will be more moderate than those who live in conservative areas. One of his major points is that living among people you agree with makes you more partisan than you were before.

Posted by: slyness | November 18, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

My prediction: if Hillary Clinton does join the Obama administration in any way, it will be in a post that will not have to be confirmed by Congress.

Just because whatever carp hasn't been fished out yet WILL be.

So, something like: White house Counsel, and, this is my favorite perverse fanasty-- being an independent prosecutor like Starr was. However, independent "task force" to analyze crucial stuff or deliver aid would be up her alley.

(Remember Clinton and Tsunami relief? That kind of thing, only less gladhanding of foreign leaders.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Eric Holder is an excellent choice! He's a former judge and he's been on the front lines in very high profile positions. I'm very happy about that, should it break out beyond the rumor stage and into reality. I've met him a number of times, but the last time was so many years ago, I wouldn't blame him for not remembering me (after all, my only relatively high profile position is in the Boodle, so there we are . . .).

I think it's time to get myself into the kitchen. Hmmmm. I think I'll make some millet tonight and throw a buncha root veggies onto it, nuked in ginger and curry, a little garam masala, perhaps some fennel seeds and some lavender. Oh, and some thyme (my thyme is your thyme (best when administered through a megaphone)).

Taking the car in on the morrow -- at least I'm old enough to get a 10% "senior citizen's discount" -- makes me want to gag, but I will, indeed, take advantage of the discount.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 18, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the federal government offer some sort of tax deduction for trucks (under the guise of helping small business?) should there not be accountability there?

Hello all.

Posted by: dmd2 | November 18, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, the "SUV tax exemption". I hated that one. Under which president was that passed, anyway? It's been a while.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it was nice that your hospital visit wasn't so bad this time. I hope all your reports are good. We missed you today.

Have a good evening,folks. It's really cold here. I hope everyone that needs to can get in the shelter tonight. And, Slyness, I'm happy they found those young people that got lost hiking yesterday.

Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 18, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

ftb-you forget to mention that Eric Holder is hot. Obama is certainly headed toward the finest looking administration in some time, perhaps ever. Some may quibble that HRC is not as attractive as Condi Rice, but then she's not Albright either.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to my back yard, but please we have way better coffee than Charbucks. (though they could probably use the cash. )

If you find yourself in Freemont head up the hill to Cafe Vita and/or Lighthouse for some of the better coffee in town.

Posted by: foxn | November 18, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Gotta see this bit about embarrassing e-mails. Note the shout out to Weingarten.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

There were heavy flurries in Fairfax today, too. Pretty cool. I bet the kids at school looking out the window were excited.

A new series of layoffs at my old company today puts some very fine people out of work. A very short-sighted company lets go the folks who actually do the work and don't get the big bucks and keep the managers who don't contribute to the product and make a lot of money.

Just getting rid of one of those folks could have saved several jobs. But of course, those are the people making the decisions. Duh.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 18, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

What goes around comes around:

More reason for rejoicing!

Posted by: slyness | November 18, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I really need to remember to keep my head down and plug my ears when passing through the living room while Mrs. M has that whack job "Nancy Grace" on.

It probably wouldn't hurt to yell "LALALALALALALA" at the top of my lungs at the same time.

I swear, that woman takes dead horse beating and invented umbrage to levels even a San Antonian obsessed with genealogy couldn't fathom.

Aside from the sad story of the little girl from Florida who's been missing and presumed murdered by her mother, the ongoing saga of the cocky cop who is presumed to have murdered his wife (after murdering another wife or two) and is now consulting with a divorce attorney for "desertion"... now it's Michael Jackson being sued by some very rich Arab guy in Dubai or Bahrain or some other Middle Eastern island nation for blowing $7M that was supposed to be used to relaunch his "music" career.

It wasn't that the Alien from Neverland was involved that got me. It was the $7M.

Here I am fretting over $10 and $20 at a time and busting my butt to keep the utilities on while some freak of nature gets to blow millions that aren't even his.

What am I doing wrong? Do I need a nose job? Do I need to set my hair on fire while screaming like a little girl and calling it music?

Do I need to submit a puffed up resume to AIG?

And the people who manage to pull this guano off wonder why they have to hire bodyguards and live in gated communities...

These are challenging times for pacifists.

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Murricans, what about this gerontocracy thing? Senator Stevens looking for a 6 years term at the tender age of 85. Senator Byrd in his early 90's who had to be pried from his chairmanship with a strong bar and a long leverage arm? Jeez. Have they not heard about retirement? Our senate may be unelected but they get the boot at 75.

It snowed quite a bit and the small roads and streets are icy. Winter is on. I fetch the big winter coat and the official winter boots from storage. *sigh*

Strange day today. Started badly with the sight of a pedestrian accident this morning. Getting the dogs out just before 0600 I heard police sirens, ambulances, firetrucks, the whole thing until I came in at 0620. Taking the bus at 0700 we passed by the the accident site (cars were detoured but buses rode by). A fifty something guy got hit by a car (gold Cherokee) when crossing the main drag and was killed nearly on the spot. So you ride along in the bus looking at a backpack, a grocery bag, a coat, a hat, a small shoe and a pair of bloody sox strewn on the road to start your day. Just a reminder we are mortals. Apparently, he ran a red light. 55 yo peds shouldn't run red lights, it's a young person thing

Last week everything I touched at work changed to sh!t, the Sh!tas touch so to speak. This week, I'm Miracle Boy. Today I was Superman, despite the ominous start. I expect to return to my Sh!tas status shortly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree, unfortunately the constitution never thought to put in a mandatory retirement age, and we're faced with pressuring congress to do so when a lot of 'em are already on the older end.

We tried term limits, but it doesn't seem to work. I'd be happy with a mandatory retirement age of 75 myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

shrieking denizen, I'm so sorry. So sorry you had to witness that.

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

What a terrible way to start the day Shriek.

My day at work ended early and I was home in time to pick up the kids as school - fortunate timing as the older one has just learned that a classmates father had passed that morning (cancer).

Posted by: dmd2 | November 18, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

You know what got me Yoki? The shoe and bloody socks. I picked up the Fungi's bloody boots 2 years ago after his accident but I left the bloody sock on site. I must say he still wears the old beat up pair of boots. His mother washed the blood off the boot. And life goes on, with a little limp.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I do know, shriek.

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear, what a sight to start the day, SD. It is always the little details that get you the worst, for some reason. It is how we're wired, I supposed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

A good picture, taken later than when I passed by. It was still darkish at 0700. It was dark at 0600 when the accident happen. Sorry, no story in English.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"Facing a Slowdown, China’s Auto Industry Presses for a Bailout From Beijing "

The Chinese are learning everything they can from more or less successful American companies.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I notice "rendu l'âme"-- life departed, the soul departed. Some of the writing seems rather poetically phrased for a newspaper article, but that may be my anglophone bias showing.

It says it was the 2nd time this week somebody was hit by a vehicle at that intersection? The other pedestrian, a 18 year old girl, got off lucky with a broken leg, a sprained back, and two cuts to the head.

The head of the traffic committee believes that intersection is safe as they already put a pedestrian (crossing) light there.

"all things indicate that human error played a role in those accidents."

At the time of the two collisions, darkness reigned in the muncipal streets. On the other hand, according to the information received by LeDroit, indications are that the pedestrians were at fault.

According to police statistics in Gatineau, Between 1st January and September 15 of this year, there were 48 pedestrians struck by autos, with two deaths.

"We ask that pedestrians and cyclists travel on the designated right-of-ways, such as at intersections and at pedestrian lights," said the spokesperson for the Gatineau police, Isabelle Poirier....

I'd say poor visibility is a very probable factor, even if the pedestrians were at fault.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

It is the police blotter Wilbrod, it's so badly written it hurts my tits.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 18, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen a police blotter use purple prose, I must admit. Be careful.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 18, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Check this out. LA auto show design winners, complete with an autocross model by Honda engineered to be equally at home on the land, in the sea, in the air...,0,4820158.photogallery

Sorry to hear that you had a rough day, shriek. I had a similar experience traveling the freeway to Charlotte early one morning. A person was hit crossing the northbound lane. *sigh*

Posted by: -jack- | November 18, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, dear Boodle. I know today has been a tough, contentious day for many of you, and not just shriek. May you all get some rest. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 18, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I too will say sweet dreams, and toodles boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 18, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

shrieking_denizen: "it's so badly written it hurts my tits."

That. Is. Incredible.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 19, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

So does that hurt more or less than a kidney stone?

Posted by: yellojkt | November 19, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

"Dear Murricans, what about this gerontocracy thing?"

Shriek, love you, but this is a particularly odd time to ask that question, given the age of the mostly recently elected president, and that of several of the most recently elected senators.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 19, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning,friends. I've been up studying, preparing for the day. Shriek, I am so sorry you had to go through that. Hopefully, today will be better. I'm sending a prayer your way, and happy thoughts.

Martooni, I read that about Micheal Jackson. I don't watch Nancy Grace. She calls African-American women girls. Very disrespectful, I think. Plus, I'm not crazy about the screaming. She does bring the light of the media to certain cases, especially those involving children. And for all the stuff(not taking sides) that Jackson has been through, and still going through, would any of you change places with him? Even for the money? Let see a show of hands?

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

Anyone have a clue about what can be done about the pirates? When one thinks about pirates, it is from another time, another era. It's like being in a time warp to hear it talked about on the evening news. The last time I read anything about pirates was during my North Carolina history class. There was much discussion concerning piracy in relations to the state's history. One could almost feel a sense of pride in those discussions. Of course, I did not get that sense in the evening news about the modern day pirates.

Have a great day, folks. Try to stay warm. I'm going to do that since I'll be outside a lot today. But first, I need to warm it up in here a bit before the swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 19, 2008 4:15 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Good to see Cassandra up already.

Well, here's a story that'll warm the cockles of your heart, although I doubt it'll actually turn into anything. Still, ya gotta admire the guy's chutzpah:

OK, I admit it: Kathleen Parker's column made me laugh, especially the aside when she's tying on her own blindfold for the GOP execution squad. And she's right, as well:

Started reading Garrison Keillor's "Good Poems" anthology last night. Instead of getting somebody else to write his introduction, Keillor wrote it himself (which makes sense, since it's his anthology): jeez, what a great piece of writing. I mean, I've always loved his writing anyway, both for his viewpoint and also for his exquisite turns of phrase generously sprinkled throughout. But everyone in the country ought to be required to read his into. (Actually, they should be required to read the whole anthology, which incidentally ought to replace that damned Northon Anthology that plagues every freshman college student.) Keillor isn't shy about castigating famous, big-name poets (T.S. Eliot, Plath) whose work is impenetrable, and lauds the poets who use simple, accessible, everyday language and ideas. And he mixes new and unknown poets right there among the famous. And right there midst them all he includes the entire verses (lyrics) of "Home on the Range," by Anonymous (whose diverse works I've long admired, and he's been around at least as long as I have, if not longer), and yanno, "Home on the Range" is not a bad poem at all.

OK, troops, onward and upward. (Everybody run out and buy Keillor's "Good Poems.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Nice cold quite morning. Temperature dipped below -8/20F. The old fool rolled in the snow making its signature bear sounds. That dog loves the snow.

It was largely in jest Bob. The new senators aren't exactly rolling in on their motorized chairs either. It' incumbitis really that baffles me. Around here it's difficult to win three elections in a row, people throw the bums out on a regular basis. Well, there is Alberta, but still.
It will take an organized international effort with a UN mandate to deal with the pirates Cassandra. The ad hoc surveillance system isn't working, obviously. Better yet, Somalia could become a functioning country. Don't hold your breath on that last one, the groups assailing the capital now are a ragtag army of fundamentalist Islamic group. They'll be at each other throat shortly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle. More snow over night. Which position am I flying this morning?

Off to the pithead for another shift. Have a great day, everyone.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

SCC oh jeez scratch the whole coffee-deprived thing at 0628.

'morning Yoki. Darn, you are early.

Mudge, thanks for pointing at Parker's piece. It was funny. Off to to gunmint-owned salt mine.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

EYE thought your 6:28 was a fine piece of work, shrieking denizen.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I know, Shriek. Hopefully, Somalia will become an organized country in this century. And I realize not many are holding their breath for that one. We talked about Somalia in my North Carolina history class also. Not about their piracy, but about the ugly behavior they displayed when the US sent soldiers and food to them some years ago. Many of the students were upset because of that behaviour and regretted our efforts there. I asked the question, where do these folks get their guns from. I added, I didn't see a gun factory in the video they showed of the country. Whose selling them guns, when at the time they desperately needed food. And if not selling them, whose giving them guns.

Would Somalia come under UN jurisdiction if they're not an organized country? I don't know, but I'll bet the rent, life is hard there for some. Very hard. And I'm not excusing bad behavior by saying that, just thinking that to be the case.

Thanks for answering my question, Shriek.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 19, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning ye Boodlers.

Ha! I hear pirate talk this morning. Indian navy sinks one mothership, meanwhile three other a ships grabbed.

Pirates 3, Navies Not so United 1.

Posted by: Braguine | November 19, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody. It's a cool 16 degrees F here in the high country. Mr. T's task for us today is to find a suitable Christmas tree. I shall dress appropriately for that endeavor.

Here's a link to the story Smithsonian did last year on piracy. I thought it was a good intro and analysis of the problem:

Posted by: slyness | November 19, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Hmph. Gonna have to speak to the air traffic control folks tonight, as the Brunswick Dawn Patrol did a fair imitation of stop-and-go traffic this morning.

All my parts are working, however, the air was properly frosty coming in and there's coffee to be had, so I'm ahead of the curve.

For now.

*middle-of-the-week Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The issues addressed in Gladwell’s essay are not without interest to me and my government masters. A few years ago we started a think-tank project full of curiously bright individuals in the expectation that hundreds of nifty new ideas would spin out. Which is exactly what happened. We ended up with some truly fantastic ideas. But here’s the problem:

There is no shortage of really good ideas. As is recognized by that essay, any time you stick together some clever folks the air will soon be filled with the buzz of nascent inventions. (Fermented hops help.) The problem is that cool ideas are just the beginning. The real problem is solving the plethora of tiny little details needed to bring a cool idea to fruition. This is a hard unglamorous job that is far more difficult than just having a blinding moment of insight.

But an even more fundamental problem with the think-tank approach to innovation is the tricky question of determining which Big Ideas will lead to something that people actually care about. You can spend a scary-large chunk of change developing a new idea only to have the resulting product fail to incite the expected revolution. Further, sometimes the smart folks who come up with ideas have only a fuzzy understanding of exactly what the real world wants or needs. (For some reason the term “Segway” comes to mind.)

DARPA, which is a government agency whose sole function is to invest your tax dollars to develop new technical concepts for the military, faces this problem all the time. They will develop a super cool idea (that there’s a technical term) for the military only to have the military yawn. Or, if the resultant device is intended to be carried by soldiers, actually snarl. (First question a soldier will ask when presented with a cool new gadget: “How much does it weigh?”)

This whole conundrum is sometimes called the “push-me pull-you” problem. It isn’t enough for clever technical individuals to “push out” big ideas. You also need equally smart individuals who are willing to venture out into the Real World, identify key problems, and then come back to the ivory towers to “pull out” some solutions. Then you need pragmatic hardworking people to turn these shiny solutions into something that will actually work. And of the three groups, I believe the hard-working pragmatists are the most useful.

So if you know any such people, please give me a call.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 19, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Hard-working pragmatists, RD_P??? You could always call the latest AL MVP, Mr. Pedroia...

Congrats Dustin!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Also, I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of a single company attempting to patent a huge plethora of good ideas. I am worried that this will discourage the actual development of such ideas out of fear of legal action. If you look at the history of innovation, the efforts of people to bring an idea to market have often been challenged by individuals who originally thought up the underlying concept and then did nothing but sit on it. It's a form of intellectual hoarding.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 19, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

How piracy is affecting world business and the economy:

Posted by: Braguine | November 19, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, ScottyNuke. But he might have to endure a modest decrease in salary should he come to work for the government.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 19, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

You could always pitch the steady working hours, RD_P...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

What's that old adage about curiosity and cats??


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

From the Parker column, I love the phrase "armband religion." It strikes just the right notes. Of "Deutchland Uber Alles." Here is her NRO column from when she said tha Sarah Palin was an idiot:

David Frum resigned from National Review for refusing to drink anymore Palin-Ade. This leaves The Weakly Standard as the premiere intellectual organ of the conservative movement. It's a month long schadenfreude fest.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 19, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

yello, here's parker's original article on palin (the one that generated all the hate email):

other than peggy noonan's accidental on-the-mic comment shortly after palin's nomination, i think this was the first really public conservative dissent over palin.

i love parker's comment today about god showing palin the door.

Posted by: LALurker | November 19, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

RD, I am the pragmatic man. My own thoughts are that if development is too difficult, then the idea is by definition not "good." It might be clever and cool, but if development costs are high then the idea only ranks "medium" or less on the scale of "good."

Having said that, there are many tricks to bring down the cost of development. One of them is a fanatical commitment to using off-the-shelf components when possible, whether hardware or more intangible things such as ad campaigns. Piggybacking. A good innovator can find ways to do this that are not so obvious upon first approach.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

cute cat story Scotty,here is another one maybe not so cute.My cat the professor,used my slippers as his litter box last night and #2,funny I had warned my mom to take her shoes and slippers off the floor.I guess I didn't heed my own warning.

Congrats to Dustin Pedroia,first, rookie of the year last year and now MVP.He reminds me a lot of Cal Ripken who accomplished the same feat,most impressive was his 17 homers and 52 doubles.I see him having the same type of career as Cal.

Driving Mom back to balmer today,We quite thouroughly enjoyed spending the last 5 days together and the house has never been cleaner,except maybe from her last visit.

Have a great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 19, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about you-- and I cannot account for the change in her schedule -- but I for one am delighted to have Yoki showing up at Dawn Patrol muster. If this sort of thing keeps up, we may wind up having virtual breakfast as well as virtual lunch. The mind boggles at what possibly delights she might bring to our otherwise very hum-drum and pedestrian Dawn Patrol repasts, which is usually coffee, a bit of gruel and a badly microwaved leftover hardtack biscuit before being lofted off into the wild dark yonder. I count my blessings, which have increased by one.

Someone pass the boring old grape jelly, please.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Fire up the hotplate, 'Mudge. I'm bringing homemade chicken/apple sausage patties (a touch of nutmeg, CP), a frittata prima vera, some fruit salad and a basket of blueberry muffins. I confess, I bought the croissants at the bakery on my way to the air field. You do have the coffee on, don't you?

That's keep us flying until imaginary lunch.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hi everyone! Tangential to your talk of good ideas and pragmatic people, I have thought of a device I want. It may exist out there in the world of commerce, but a quick Googling doesn't reveal it. Perhaps you all could help me.

I have a 13 y.o. who is intent on saving the planet. This is a new obsession - last week she was intent on extending her two hour long showering record. This week it's saving the planet. So she's going around morning and evening unplugging my things and turning off little (15W) lights I leave on to light dark corners. Like, the dark corner in the basement where the cat box is, and where the cats won't go without a little light.

Anyway, I want a device which includes several plugs (1 per outlet) and a remote control. When I'm ready to go to bed, or leave the house, I push the OFF on the remote, and all items plugged into the device lose power throughout the house. When I return, I press ON and they are all restored.

Is this unrealistic?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 19, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

SD, hope today is better.

The pedestrian in the dark thing is really getting to me. I used to drive in the dark through industrial areas, and very seldom had to worry about pedestrians. When they were there, they were smart and wore vests that let you see them a long way off.

In the evenings I now drive through 6 blocks of residential area to get to the main road, and I tell you, I worry about pedestrians. With the lights of oncoming traffic, you really just can't see them. I'm going to change my evening route just to avoid them.

And then there are the people who walk along the the unlit country roads, with dark coloured jackets...

I keep hoping that parkas of that shiny reflective stuff becomes a fashion statement.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 19, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

You see what I mean? Why didn't I find this woman 40 years ago? (Admittedly when she was in utero, or maybe even pre-in-utero. I'd have been willing to wait 18 years.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

*blushing and smiling*

'mudge, you know perfectly well that forty years ago I was a perfectly capable tween, nowhere near infancy.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, this will work if you want to use a webphone for remote control. I like the idea; no line-of-sight required as in normal TV remotes.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Here's another option:

(My keywords to search were
"universal remote" switches
and then I added
to the search string a minute later.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dawn patrol breakfast sounds wonderful. May I come if I bring homemade country ham biscuits?

I managed to get the boots on, no mean feat; they are pull-on, almost knee high, fleece lined and waterproof, from LL Bean a number of years ago. I can't justify replacing them due to age, because I don't wear them enough for them to be worn out.

Now, out into the cold for a Christmas tree! Fraser fir, of course. There are probably 20 million within 25 miles of here, but Mr. T is fearful that the right one will be gone if we wait till Thanksgiving to shop for it.

Posted by: slyness | November 19, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

You are always very very welcome, slyness. You don't need to bring anything.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, i have a pair of 15 year old LL Bean hiking boots that are just the best.I have tried other brands and they never have the right "feel" to them.I just need these resouled is that the correct way of spelling that.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 19, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jumper. I've bookmarked them. I may commission the little planet saver to do a research/cost write-up for me. She owes me money, so I can use her brain. When it dovetails with her own agenda, that is.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 19, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle. Slow start here at Chez Frostbitten. Worked late last night, despite it being the evening I'm scheduled to leave early.

According to some commentary I heard on radio this morning Google is going to start selling search terms on YouTube and using professionally produced content to "monetize" the video service. (Is "profit from" not a useful enough phrase?) I fear nothing good can come of this. It took but one quick search to find this bit of musical innovation-

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 19, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Sorry about the rant last night, but the combination of Nancy Grace and the mindless excessive spending habits of celebrity mental midgets just kinda threw me over the edge.

Anyway... y'know how they say to be careful what you wish for? Well, I did it again and wished for a busy Christmas season and forgot to specify in my wish that I wanted a *manageably busy* Christmas season, not the whole thing thrown at me in 48 hours.

Anybody know how to quickly grow four additional arms (with hands)? I don't want to become a Hindu deity or anything (though that could be pretty cool) -- just want to get more done in less time with limited resources.

dbG... I'm looking for a special jewelry-type something for Little Bean and prefer to deal "local", so to speak. I've never seen your work (do you have a website?) but I've heard nothing but good about it. Please email me at headgnome[at] so we can discuss details.

Off to work now... that commute from my desk in the bedroom out to the garage ten feet away is a killer. Better grab a fresh coffee on the way.

Anybody got a danish they can fax me?

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | November 19, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Country ham biscuits?

Yoki, please don't discourage her if that's what she wants to bring. After all, who are we to stand in the way of such generosity?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

*faxing martooni a microwaved leftover hardtack biscuit and the grape jelly*

Sorry, mate, that's all we've got this morning. Unless you want some of the gruel.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Yoki! /tosses untouched 12 hour old soft (name, not actual description) pretzel in the trash/ Wonderful! (And I know this is really rude, but. . . tomorrow or Friday would you be kind enough to make those Croque Madames you made us last Spring?)

Martooni, thanks. I'll send you the site from home, mainly because there's so much I don't have on the site and I can also e-mail some examples. Happy to trade if you like, and I wouldn't need the door until after the holidays.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 19, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, perhaps what you want is to go with X10. It was a passion of the ScienceSpouse, for a while. Personally, I feel it is an insufficiently reliable technology. Anyway, a few X10 wireless receivers are situated within the house. You have wireless remotes that talk to the receiver. The receiver transmits signals through the electrical wiring of the house that are picked up by a variety of devices, including switching units that are plugged into outlets, or wall-switches that control outlets. These devices can then turn electrical devices on or off or control the current they receive. You can set up a computer with an interface unit so that the computer can turn devices on and off, or receive data from some devices. In particular, you can set up scripts for complex actions (such as switching many devices, turning lights on and off in a scripted pattern, and so forth) so that your remote control signals the computer, and the computer controls the system.

Note that X10 is not appropriate for most compact fluorescents, only those few that are specifically designed to operate on dimmer switches. Non-dimmer CFLs can emit an irritating whine on a dimmer switch and burn out very early (my experience).

My problem with X10 is that it complicates the decision-tree in understanding why, for example, a light did not turn on. Is the X10 switch bad? Is the lamp unplugged? Is the bulb bad? Is everything fine, but the X10 receiver lost its recorded addresses? Are the batteries dead in the remote-control? I think these problems could be overcome with a little thought and determination, which we were unwilling to invest.

Wanna give it a shot? We have (I estimate) a couple hundred bucks worth of X10 modules that I refuse to install in our new house. Perhaps the ScienceSpouse would be willing to part with them...

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 19, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

If not never? When!

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think the better road, Wheezy, is to get more-efficient lighting. CFL's use about 1/4 of the electricity of incandescent bulbs. They are affordable these days, and last a longish time. Long enough that their lifetime cost is below incandescents (or so I hear).

For your cat-box area, there is an even-more efficient solution. At the hardware store the other day, I saw a variety of white-light LED units for sale. These use about 1/10th the electricity of an incandescent. I suspect most of the power loss is in a built-in transformer between wall current and DC, as the LEDs themselves are more like 100 times more efficient. These things cost $10, which is steep, but will run essentially forever. I don't think that they will work with dimmer switches -- better to arrange for multiple LEDs, each with its own switch. The color balance probably is not very appealing, but I doubt that the cats will complain.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 19, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good thing I refreshed before posting, as *Tim did a far better job of discussing X-10 than I would have done.

We've used X-10 for at least 12 years, and except for a little cursing when changing from winter to summer settings, they work well.

Posted by: nellie4 | November 19, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

dbG, there is nothing rude in letting a cook know you really enjoyed something she made :) Au contraire. You can have croques mesdames any time you desire.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"...I am pretty sure this is Minneapolis, but you never know these days."

Ain't it the truth? This cracked me up.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Sci Tim - thanks for the info. I will definitely look into X10 (thanks to Nellie too).

We use CFLs throughout the house (that's why the cat box area only uses 15W) - but you're right, for one that's left on all the time, I could go lower. The only incandescent bulb I have in the house is in the room where my houseplants are, because they all began to die when I switched to CFLs there last year. So for 2-3 hours every evening they get the premium stuff.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 19, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Very cool, dbG... I'll keep an eye on the inbox.

And speaking of cool...

My commute's not too bad, but the destination is absolutely freezing. Below freezing, actually. Some day, when I have Norm Abrams' riches, I will pay a professional heating/AC company to install a furnace out there (and maybe even a centralized dust collection system). My little radiant heater kinda-sorta takes the edge off the cold, but just the edge. I'd love to put one of those kerosene "jet" heaters out there, but with all the sawdust and lacquer and lacquer thinner (not to mention my stash of "antifreeze"), I expect that would be just begging for an explosion I'm sure my homeowner's policy won't cover.

Posted by: martooni | November 19, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Unless he left the airport, Joel was not in Minneapolis. MSP (Minneapolis St. Paul) is in St. Paul. Hummph. I wasn't going to mention it, as I think most of the umbrage taken by St. Paulites at being slighted by Minneapolis just makes them look needy. But, I've spent enough time in St. Paul lately to have acquired some of that always overlooked put upon attitude.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 19, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I want a rig where I can let the dog in the front door with my remote.

And no, doggie doors are not an option. She's big enough that it would also be a "burglar door." Also, a Florida friend has a cat door and finds stray cats grinning at her from atop her bed when she comes home.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

martooni, I have found that the worst thing is when I have to work on a chilled floor (in astronomy, floors often have their own cooling system). Heat goes right out through your feet, which tend to lack insulating fat. I bet you have the same problem in your workshop. Try standing on a neoprene rubber mat in front of your stationary tools, I believe you can get them from your hardware store for a princely sum. Alternatives would be to get some of those rubber "puzzle-piece" mats that they sell for children (at a serf-ly price -- maybe $20), or even just a cheap (thick) rug from a yard sale, thrift store, or other cheap source. Something to insulate you from the floor. Heck, a piece of plywood would be better than nothing, except for the risk of slipping across the concrete so that you fall face first into a table saw.

Maybe a rug is still the better idea.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

martooni, somehow I always imagine your shop having a nice, cheery, old-fashioned wood-burning pot-bellied stove, into which you occasionaly toss scrap wood. And after a little while it begins to glow cheery red.

If you don't have one, please don't mention it. I need to hang on to whatever few cheerful illusions I have left.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

First of all, I'm all for a nice breakfast on a cold morning, as I'm on the tarmac warming up the Dawn Patrol flight hardware.

Warm bluberry muffins, biscuts w/ham & gravy, good strong coffee or hot chocolate, eggs & sausage, fruit salad, yes, please.

I'm reading Gladwell's and Kakutani's pieces, and am a little surprised to see myself in a lot of those folks. I probably have 10 or 20 Good Ideas for innovation a year, just because my mind just won't stop. I have file folders of scraps of paper, Post it notes, napkins, receipts, etc. with my scrawl all over them, somtimes with illustrations. Usually, I don't follow through or patent anything -- sadly, my overactive little mind has moved on to what's next. Over the years, I've seen many of my ideas show up in various places and as consumer products; validation for the idea that sometimes many people have the same good idea at the same time (not just Newton, Liebnitz, and calculus, for example).

One of the reasons they keep me around at my job is because I actually can buckle down and figure out how to take ideas and concepts and then make them real with some degree of practicality; the Guy Who Gets Things Done. I know that there are plenty of Boodlers who have these kinds of talents as well...

These creative and practical skills come in handy for doing things around the house, auto repair, and for my racing hobby. It's always an interesting challenge to rend new ideas and thoughts out of the aether and to manifest them into the real world. Even better when they work as advertised.

A Dilbert-reading friend of mine referred to me as an "Idea Rat," a which is OK, but I like to think I'm more than a Rat. More like an Idea Beaver, perhaps? If there's a problem, I'm the dam idiot who might be able to fix it.

[On a side note, a friend of mine gave me a disassembled desk he was using so I could put it in the basement for the kids. No instructions, and as it turned out, there were significant pieces of the structure missing. I called, and he didn't have them. What to do? I just took the pieces I had, thought about it for a few minutes, and built a different desk. Sometimes necessity is a mother.]


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"I just took the pieces I had, thought about it for a few minutes, and built a different..."

bc, were you involved in the design of the Pontiak Aztek?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd say bc is more of an Idea Otter... Sleek, flexible, and perpetually floating on his back in the river, trying to crack open a solution with a sharp concept.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Esackly, Scotty. And bc has a really great smile, as I perceive otters do (except when they're mad at me for disturbing them, and then they bark/cough quite fiercely).

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

martooni, a good friend of mine used an ancient kerosene jet heater to warm his detatched garage for years.

Only two things would prevent me from recommending using one for long periods:
1)The Noise
2)The Fumes

In your case, the sawdust and other flammable fumes would be mitigating factors as well...

If you do need an open flame heater, I'd recommend propane. Much easier to tolerate being around for long periods, though you can't direct that heat exhaust the way you can with the jet.


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Otters are sleek little demons. Last college summer I spent a week at a friend's cottage (a trailer home really) on the shore of a very small creek. One very early morning I noticed an otter running, bounding really, from the creek toward a farmer's pond. It slithered underneath the fence and jump in the pond to catch itself an early breakfast of easily-caught domestic trout. Then it slithered back to the creek to leisurely try its luck at the wild ones. I saw the furry snake do the same routine a couple of more times, always early in the morning. I learned later the farmer had accused my friend the year before of "stealing" his trouts by fishing the pond. We did not told him what clever bugger was actually guilty of the depredation.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The otters I knew lived on a lake in your area, shriek, where my parents had a cottage for many years. I always loved to watch them fish.

they really were very fierce (in a sort of w'ats ee going to do, nibble on me bum? way) about protecting their nest-sites.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Carpet foam and used carpeting found on the side of the road awaiting disposal are often fit for workroom floors.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes Yoki, they are fearless. I wouldn't annoy one too much, they have a nasty set of sharp teeth.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

And I had a canoe paddle :)

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Ay carrumba!

It is *not* my day to blush while sitting at my desk, is it?

Yoki, you're too kind, and I don't bark or bite -- much, anyway. Scotty, my friend, you know me well. You tied several things about me together in that comment - my love of a good bath, penchant for navel-gazing, love of seafood, etc. Well done, sir.

s_d - I had *nothing* to do with the Aztek, that pox of a crossover, an awful sheetmetal sacrifice that probably had 600-year old Mesoamericans angry to be associated with it. Ya made me laugh, though.


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me if someone posted something on this earlier - here's nice short piece in today's WaPo about Green Bank, WVA and the Robert C Byrd (ahem) radio telescope.

Carl Sagan and Francis Drake did observations there, and it has been a center for SETI research. I believe that Drake drafted his famous Equation there, and Our Man Joel writes about it in Chapter 28 of his book, "Captured by Aliens."


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You'll all probably ask me not to participate in the football pool after this week...


Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know who kurosawaguy is these days? I either missed the memo or is not here lately.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm really laughing, omni. I have about half of them figured out...but I'm laughing. (Did you do them in the order I gave you? That's throwing me off.)

Oh, and it's "thieves," not thiefs. But that was an easy one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, any kguy appearance is cause for major celebration these days.

*pondering omni's list*



Posted by: Scottynuke | November 19, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse


I think.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 19, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Scotty almost has it

theives: is another word for a misspelled team
chickies: are little chickens
sharks: think westside story
commies: in the USA are un....
sissies: don't let your child grow up to be a ...
savages: discovered america before columbus
ponies: um, the other kind
kittens: make cars
gnomes: are the second team in this city (not the sharks)
movers: the other bay team

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

gnomes-giants or titans

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 19, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Finally turned on the puppy cam, sensed blood pressure dropping from medium down to real nice and low. Advised friend in newsroom. Said newsroom been watching puppy cam for a week now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 19, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thiefs [sic] = Stealers
aborigines = Browns or Redskins?
chickies = can’t tell if this is Ravens or Eagles
sharks = Dolphins
pirates = Buccaneers
pandas = Bears
commies =Cincinnati Bengals? (referring “Reds”)
bisons = Buffalo Bills
tabbies = Jaguars or Panthers?
savages = Vikings
ponies = Broncos (because the Colts are playing the Chargers, see below)
kittens = Jaguars or Panthers?
gnomes = Giants (or Titans?)
batteries = Chargers (you took the Chargers over the Colts?)
movers = Packers

So who is Dallas? (Unless you picked the 49ers)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

for shriek...

chickies: go a little farther north
gnomes: farther north still

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

hey, if Toronto can have Maple Leafs Pittsburg can have Thiefs.

sending Bronx Raspberry in Mudges general direction.

(OK, i'll probably get grieve for that two)


Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Fax an h to Pittsburg.

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse


I'm not even a native and I can hold a grudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 19, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* It's all my fault, I should have specified that submissions to the football pool be given in plain English, not in Cockney rhyming slang. Who would have thought I'd need to specify that in the bylaws?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

all this talk about NFL has poor Yoki scratching her head

I'm calling it happy hour

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

omni, that was a fun little game. Of course I had no clue, but I can still admire your ingenuity.

I'm just coming up for air after a busy weekend and two days of catching up at work.

Whew. Now to try to get back to normal. (yeah.)

Anyway, I wrote up the Miami Book Fair, Achengirls Gone Wild, Part III -- it's long, but as someone smarter than I am said, that's just because I didn't have time to write a shorter version.

BIG CLUE: there are some pictures, not many, but some, and the link is at the VERY BOTTOM of the blog entry. Feel free to skip the prose and go right for the photos.

Here goes:

Posted by: kbertocci | November 19, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I assume omni is betting against the Washington Ethnic Slurs.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 19, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I saw that map a while back and thought it provided a good cultural map of Appalachia. The North Carolina mountain counties weren't in the redder zone, which figures--they're in the Appalchians but have never really been part of Appalachia. No coal mines, no oil, no gas. But always tourists.

The past year or so, I've begun to worry about nocturnal pedestrians and bicyclists.

On the Gladwell side, I was a very good reader in high school (thanks to working very hard--it didn't come naturally). As a result, I tended not to trust advice from others and was (and am) a bonehead.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Cheney & Gonzales indicted in Texas.

Posted by: Braguine | November 19, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I'd never do or say anything to cloud (let alone disperse) any illusions you might be hanging on to about anyone or anything.

So to prop up whatever you've imagined...

Think of Santa Claus personally making you a scrumptious breakfast-in-bed of butter-drenched eggs and slabs of Canadian-style bacon, with cinnamon toast and pancakes and waffles smothered in strawberries and blackberries and grapes and innocent virgins and other stuff while a pot of freshly ground coffee percolates away in a very chrome, very vintage General Electric percolator, providing a comforting aroma that makes you believe that all is well and fine with the world and that President Bush and Vice President Cheney will not be stealing stool samples from you for mysterious, nefarious and possibly pornographic purposes while Martha Stewart takes out your trash, which has been stuffed neatly into biodegradeable designer bags made from the recycled poo and dreams scraped up from the floors of New York City subway cars left by the homeless and destitute, and even those deranged souls who have the wherewithal to write an even longer and grammaticaly correct sentence than this one, which was intended to please (in a manly way) your editorial self.


I'm sure I messed that up, but i *did* win a contest in college for the longest grammaticaly correct sentence written in 5 minutes. I think mine ended up somewhere around 1000 words. The prize was a copy of Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit and Three Other Plays".

I say God bless the adjectives, be they small or large or yellow, blue, green, purple, inside or out or insane or even strung together like heads of garlic in an Italian market on the outskirts of Bangla(!*()*&!)(*&% %^^^ OW! OY! OW! Son of a... ST... Sh... Jee... Fffff... Uhhhhh...

[The editors had absolutely nothing to do with the sudden silence of this dangerously verbose submitter. Please look over there (no, not there, *there*)... We are unanimous in our statement that any bodies disposed of in the course of writing and/or publishing this interjected statement of our umbrage and innocence were disposed of in an environmentally-friendly and humane manner. Commemorative issues of this bit of nonsense are available for $5 each.]

Posted by: martooni | November 19, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

That's OK, omni. A dear friend has offered to teach me about football, and I think I'd better pay attention to him so as to stop embarrassing myself amongst the Boodle-guys.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Martoony is a literary fiend :o)

Posted by: Braguine | November 19, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Since football is boring everybody, here are my pictures of military aircraft from the Palm Springs Air Museum. Sorry ladies, I didn't make it to the Museum of Upholstery Accessories.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhh, Tooni -- I I I don't know what to say. That were a superb piece of writing, is all I can blurt out.

I've back-boodled just a wee bit, and yeah, frosti -- Eric Holder *is* pretty hot. Even better in person.

(fanning oneself from the sheer fantasy of it)

going now. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 19, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Good pitchahs, Yellow. No footbahls in sight.

They either carry or toss by hand an oblong object. Once in a blue, sometimes orange moon, a player imported from England or other such exotic places, gets to kick the oblong object.

Shouldn't the sport be called seldom kicked notball?

Posted by: Braguine | November 19, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Good photos, yellojkt, though I think the one marked in your collection as a Corsair is a SBD Dauntless.

Posted by: engelmann | November 19, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

But surely corsairs are dauntless?

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

football boring? I guess it could besometimes,like when your home team is getting trounced and it is raining like a monsoon in India and even your underwear is wet....but other then that not that much.

I did have a football question,If an extra point is blocked and run back to the other much is that worth 1 point or 2?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 19, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Who said football was boring?

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Please note that I'm not a physicist. I saw one of the astronauts speak at a state science convention many years ago. He stated that the shuttle fell around the Earth at some 17K MPH, giving the appearance of weightlessness in video imagery from the vehicle. Things aren't weightless, they're just falling at 17K mph. He also stated that the shuttle really wasn't that far from the Earth's surface. He made the analogy of putting the front edge of your shoe an the seam between two floor tiles, then backing off less than an inch. The ISS can't be that much further out in space, the shuttle regularly docks with it , they would both seem to be falling at 17K mph and a tool bag was lost during the latest spacewalk. Wouldn't the tools and wipes also be moving at 17K mph? I'd hate to be the thing that meets the grease gun that was lost.

Posted by: -jack- | November 19, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of football: why not the Pittsburgh Thieves?
From a John Gorka tune:
Grand larceny, grand larceny
It's what you you get away with and who you can deceive
Pittsburgh has the Steelers and the Pirates and the Thieves

Posted by: dschalton | November 19, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Very gnomic writing, Martooni.

Just a detail, you forgot to mention the coffee-maker was hooked up to a zen motorcyle in a Rube Goldenberg contraption intended to simulatenously caffeinate gnomes and drive the sawblade correctly while the gnome inhales that deep nepthenan draught of fortifying heat (with marshmallows and other goodies) therein, while the virgins smother themselves in jams and use their clever toes to flicker paint upon completed doors.

Good job, hob. May I recommend that you study this video for inspiration on how to make two arms do the work of three?,122939

(This cute girl is really skilled at dribbling).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 19, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. Football isn't just for the guys. Shoot, the boodle goofiness on the subject started a few weeks back when Mudge took the tiara off of my head after I had a slamming-good coupla week in a different pool. I'm sure had a man started the goofiness, we'd be vying for something like a football chainsaw.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 19, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Jack, you're assessment of low-Earth orbit (LEO) is correct.

An object in orbit around the Earth is simply falling fast enough, high enough, and in the correct direction to miss the Earth (and it's atmosphere), which for LEO is about 17,500 MPH, more or less.

Anything loose up there - tool bags, metal shavings, flash-frozen human waste pumped overboard from the ISS, missing Cosmonauts, Gene Roddenberry's ashes, separation bolts from old rocket upper stages, debris from satellite collisions (intentional or not), Snickers wrappers, etc. are all travelling in LEO are all travelling at roughly that speed in various orbits up there.

IIRC NORAD tracks thousands of pieces of active hardware and unused space junk in Earth orbit - after 50 years of the space age, it's getting a little hairy in orbit. Even a little piece of something - a flake of paint or a washer - packs a pretty good whallop at a full-on orbital intersection with a significant delta V. f=ma, right?

Going to get some dinner, then check yello's pics later.

gwe, extra-point-after touchdown (PAT) attempts can't be advanced by the defensive team. If the defense recovers a blocked kick, the play's over. I think if there's a fumble on the snap and hold, only the fumbling player on the team trying the PAT can advance the ball intially, though I think he can run, lateral, or attempt a forward pass for a 2 point conversion.

A 3-point field goal attempt is more like a regular play from scrimmage or a punt. IIRC if it's blocked and never passes the line of scrimmage, or, perhaps more interestingly, if a long attempt is caught without hitting the ground after clearing the line of scrimmage, the ball's live and can be advanced by either team. If the ball hits the ground after clearing the line, I *think* it's essentially an incomplete forward pass and goes back to the spot where the ball was placed for the kick (not the spot of the previous line of scrimmage).

How big a dork am I that I didn't need to look that up?


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

bc, you're right about the PAT. It makes the rulebooks balance nicely with the 'game can't end on a touchdown, you gotta go for the extra point even if the clock says zero' rule. Which sorta came into play last Sunday night, until they accepted the incorrectly-called penalty, thereby ending the game before Polamalu streaked in from out of flippin nowhere to snap up that ball and take it into the endzone (causing me to *almost* spill my wine).

Posted by: LostInThought | November 19, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Awarding twin nerdish tiaras -- studded with green peridots to invoke sciencey things and a centerpiece worked as electrons-circling-the-nucleus -- to

LiT and

dbg made these for us. How fun is that?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 19, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

and bc, we're not dorks. We're nerds. In this particular instance, football nerds.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 19, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I was going to dissent with "dorks" for football. "Gridiron heads" might be more apt, bc.

(Rush, rushing, it's all the same to me.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 19, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info you football nerds....BC and LiT.....

and if this phone rings anymore,I gonna bust it into a million pieces

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 19, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

LiT, Football Chansaw if it were just men? I dunno -I'm thinking a Football Ez-Boy Barcalounger or Living Room Porta-John/Throne Room (never miss a play or Super Bowl Commercial, y' know?).

I completely agree with your assessment of the end of that Steelers game.

I suspect that the reason you remember it so well is because of Palomalu's hair.


Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC on my 7:22: started to write "you're right," but changed course on the sentence and should have changed over to "your."



Posted by: -bc- | November 19, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

It all started with an e-mail for a pool.

Steelers were the first on on the list I was looking at.

Then I remembered the first game I saw the Steelers played.

I saw a guy on defense steal the ball from the opposing team and to my uneducated eyes I thought that can't be legal. (it is)

I have thought of the steelers as Stealers ever since.

I'm glad we all had some fun today. I know I had fun making all that up. And I really enjoyed all your efforts to figure out my nonsense.

Especially yello's packers/colts crackup (that made laugh out loud in my cube you know. (thanks yello, I needed that after yesterday.

I forgot how many horse cats and birds there are in the NFL

And let me say again, I really enjoyed the response from everyone

I am smiling

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm not so easy bc. It's the way he seems to know where the ball is going to end up and gets himself there a split-second before. Beautiful. I like a man who thinks.

That, and he's got a nice butt.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 19, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

quick Mac question: how do I determine how big my IPhoto library is...I wanna make a back up

I'll send a flower photo to the first answerer

Posted by: omnigood | November 19, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Look at the files "Properties" write-up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Omni... go to iTunes and click on Music; look at the bottom of the window and it will tell you how large the Library is. You may have to individually check Videos, Podcasts, TV Shows, Movies, etc. to get your total.

You can also go to your Music folder in the Finder and select the iTunes Music folder and then GEt Info from the File menu. That should show you the total size.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 19, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that what I said, about looking up the properties?


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 19, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

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