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Big Government Is Back!

If you're Obama, you gotta be getting tired of all this hiring, appointing, nominating -- the endless grind of putting together what we can all agree is a stupendously vast Executive Branch, with departments you thought had long ago been abolished (Labor, Housing and Urban Development), and departments that have wildly misleading names (Interior manages the outdoors, Defense manages killing people overseas, Treasury gives away all our money, etc.).

I wonder if, just for a moment, Obama thought: "Do we need a Department of Agriculture?"

I'm not against the Department of Agriculture, mind you. I am sure that, without the Department of Agriculture, nothing would grow. The heartland of America would be like the Atacama Desert. The thing about corn and soybeans is, you can't just stand back and hope for the best: You gotta coach 'em up, like with football players.

But I guarantee you that, a couple of times already, the Obama team has smacked itself in the forehead and said, "Doh! We forgot to nominate a U.S. Trade Representative!" Or whatever. Again, I'm not trying to pick on the Trade Rep, and I think the current person in the post, [ ], has done a marvelous job.

The Trade Rep is a "Cabinet-level" position. I am pretty sure the same can be said for the Climate Change Czar and the Technology Czar, a couple of Obama innovations. Soon there will be so many czars that there be someone whose job it is to coordinate all the czars.

The Czar Czar.

Yesterday, when I was working with Juliet on the science article, a number of scientists and politicos said it was very important that the science adviser be Cabinet-level. What they really meant was that they want this person to be in the room when the decisions get made. You don't have to have a big, sprawling department with thousands of employees -- you just need to be in the room. Here's Bart Gordon, a Democratic congressman from Tennessee: "They can be deputy janitor or they can be whatever else, deputy president, but the one that's in the room is going to have the real impact. It doesn't matter what your title is."

(But how big a room can you have?)

At some point, the Obama folks will have to figure out who gets what desk. The problem is, the EOP has something like 3,000 people (right? Or am I thinking of the WHO within the EOP? Heeeeelp meeeee....). [Wait, here's a really good story that says I'm right, again.] They can't all fit in the West Wing, or necessarily even in that architecturally overwrought building next door.

One more thought while we're wonking up a storm here: The first thing Obama will do is push through a genormous stimulus package. The Democrats have solid Keynesian cover for what will be, just watch, a porkfest for the ages.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 19, 2008; 12:03 PM ET
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Next: What $850 Billion Will Buy


Reposting, speaking of Big Gummint:

R.I.P. Mark Felt, "Deep Throat" of Watergate fame. Considered purely on the basis of service to country, that man deserved a Presidential Medal of Honor.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 19, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I suppose in these politically correct times, one might point out that instead of having a czar, we might have a czarina.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Atacama Dessert? Joel, you need to get on the Dakar story, soon to unfold... you're getting close. There's some pretty amazing science and technology involved... go for it!

Posted by: MissToronto | December 19, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

oops, 'desert'... is it lunchtime?

Posted by: MissToronto | December 19, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

having a wicked snowstorm up here in the Great White North... time to break out the Shortbread cookie dough and get baking!

Posted by: MissToronto | December 19, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Cf. last kit for the expose on the x-rated version of "It's a wonderful life."

No reposts, sorry.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Not czarettes for the smoker, Mudge?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I thought Czar Czar like, totally stunk up The Phantom Menace.

Haha ha.

I amuse myself so.

Anyway, although I am a dedicated acolyte of Science, I am also keenly aware that many of the most important questions Obama must deal with are not, necessarily amenable to The Scientific Method. Should we invade Iraq? The response "Well, first let us create a statistically significant stochastic ensemble of little Iraqs in the lab and see what happens when we invade them." isn't too helpful. (Or is it?)

So, although I think having a Noted Scientist in the room will be great for true matters of Science, I get a little leery of them exerting to much influence beyond their expertise.

Many Scientists have pretty high opinions of their intellect, and are neither as humble nor as conscientious as our own Science Tim. Many do not take off their Science hats when they should. They have been known to expound on things they really don't know anything about and assume their Scientific Street Cred will carry the day.

I am hopeful that those who serve the cause of Science in the Obama Court know when to speak up, and, just as importantly, when to keep quiet.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"Porkfest for the Ages"

Well, at least we'll be entertained.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I see that the EEOB was designed by a feller named "Alfred Mullett." Suddenly, it all makes sense.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Too subtle, RD_P, too subtle. I think we should just come out and say it:

Please, no Czar Czar Binks.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, initially when I saw "porkfest for the ages" I mis-read it and thought, Oh, boy, Joel's bringing BBQ ribs to a virtual lunch at the senior center.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I forget, SciTim, that normal people do not have a brain filled with obscure movie trivia.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

My first thought was Gabor

Posted by: omnigood | December 19, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse


You guys are great.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Reposting as I missed the New Kit post (I am blaming snow blindness)

Just got in from an hour and a half drive, for a roughly 20-25 drive, picked kids up from school and shovelled driveway.

OK the predicters (sp) were right, it is a mess outside, 6-8" already since 8:00 am, high winds, very little visibility going to no visibility in spots, tree branches everywhere, but not many people on the roads - all driving suitable to the conditions - plows doing their best.

Just built a fire and may make some hot chocolate.

It is interesting winds are swirling so we have snow covered windows on the entire house in all directions.

Kinda fun.

Yoki so glad #1 in transit, feel terrible for the people stuck at the airport in Toronto - might be slightly better than at my house due to the wind direction but only just.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 19, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

*Shh..busy calling*
" 'Allo, any aide-de-fur jobs...
I do photos too.."

*Been on hold a hour*
"What about Franken? We're buds!
...not seated yet? What?!"

*Given senate list*
"Only republicans left?
...What's their pay rate?"

"I need that porkfest,
man! Patriotism and all!
I live to *burp* serve..."

*Listen and hang up:*
"Gnome? Time to write some new grants,
I got a few leads..."


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, folks.

RD, *Tim: Gentlemen, please -- you're flouting the rules about explaining jokes.

Besides, for me, that whole bit about Czar Czar stinks.

Waitaminnit - wasn't Czar Czar one of the Gabor sisters who lived in Boston?

And Joel, of course everyone gets to sit at the porker table to get a hand in the New Deal. Too bad Deep Throat's no longer around to get dealt in this administration; it would be valuable to see where and how Mark Felt.

[Apologies. The Jackson Pollock of the English Language takes a card and declares 'el foldo.']



Posted by: -bc- | December 19, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be nice if the government stimulus funds were devoted solely to important infrastructure projects and other noble causes of universal benefit. You know, stuff like repairing bridges and roads and sewer pipes and providing free coffee to all civil servants.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't look at me. I'm still waitin' for the damn ribs to git here.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Pass the Saltines, please.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been in a snow storm for years. Reading this article made me consider just how ill prepared our home is for such an event. The storm is "...tracking across the a Technicolor bruise." Yikes.

Posted by: -jack- | December 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

No self respecting republic should appoint a Czar.
Republicans prefer Tyrants.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

A link would be helpful.

Posted by: -jack- | December 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Saltines are gone, Mudge--
Depression made me hungry.
(Job hunting's so hard.)


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Be careful what you wish for, RD. Imagine the horror of government-provided coffee. You'd have to take a number, fill out forms, accept the withering glance when you didn't use Block Capitals and stay within those little hash marks (why do they have those, when nobody uses a typewriter anymore? Wouldn't it make more sense to have just a box?), meet with a Coffee Program Intake Officer, make several oaths that this coffee is for injestion by a civil servant and won't be shared with anyone else; wait six to eight weeks for approval (delayed another six to eight because the CPIO transposed two of the numbers on your driver's license), endure the obligatory two-week waiting period, and then, and only then, could you line up for coffee once in the morning and once in the afternoon, only to find that what is poured into your cup cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered coffee but rather the words that spring to mind are "brown swill," served with powdered creamer (an edible oil product)and artificial sweetener.

Or maybe that's just the Canadian government-type program.

My recommendation? A French Press and a small jar of good coffee kept in a desk drawer.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Next, a meditation on Contractor-provided coffee.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Barbecue, Saltines and coffee for gummint workers. I loves Big Gummint!

I was toying with all kinds of fun ideas about what Gummint Agencies could be combined or obliterated, or simply ignored. But no time to tease them into coherence now, ha ha! I have just finished a Big Project which I am about to inflict on my boss. My work here is done.

I'm off to finish errands and perhaps corral the family for a Christmas tree purchase before the Big Cold Front hits tomorrow. And let me just note I want to slap that young ignorant weatherclown who referred to the coming Arctic Air as a Blue Norther. He seemed unaware that Blue Norther is synonymous, not with a fast-moving cold front, but with a fast-moving blizzard. Like the ones currently being experienced by you Northerners. I had a brief few seconds of panic this morning before he cleared that up.

Anyhoo I hope to check in later today. I did sing carols this morning, and thought of you while I sang "O Holy Night", Mudge. Someday I'll figure out a way to record it and send it or post it or something.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 19, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Another really – really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS

Posted by: hclark1 | December 19, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

(Nods at Yoki).

And worse, what if you want an exemption to have tea instead?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the French press, this just in: Bristol Palin's loser boyfriend's MOTHER was arrested on six counts of felony drug charges.

I can just hear Sarah Palin now: "You're not going over THERE for Christmas dinner, young lady!"

And in other news, for the first time since the election, Al Franken leads Norm Coleman by 126 votes.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Fur de camp hope lives!
Thanks, Mudge, for joyous job news--
Back to bootlicking.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Private enterprise provides employees with free coffee for one reason only: it's a legal stimulant. If heroin increased productivity, companies would be running needle exchange programs.

Clearly nobody wants to pay for stimulating gummint workers.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I so totally had Zsa Zsa on the brain that I actually didn't get the Binks joke. I was scratching my head thinking "She wasn't in that movie, was she?"

Har har

Posted by: omnigood | December 19, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

She played Darth Vader's fifth wife, omni.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Stimulating government workers? hmmmm.

Here is a conundrum that I hope, since we have civil servants amoung us, the Boodle can help me resolve.

In my work and in my private life, I have lots to do with mid- to high-level civil serpents, and they are, almost without exception, very able, energetic, intelligent people who work very hard.

And yet, Government itself, the programs and the face of various agencies, invariably inefficient, surly and frequently misguided in both policy and implementation.

How can that be?

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, are you sure you never worked for a U.S. federal or state gummint?

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 19, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A Republician as transport secretary...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm what's the word limit?
Trying again...

For SciTim

I recommend trying the Amato Opera:
The performance space is teeny. You almost have to lie in the laps of fat singing ladies. Which is just as it should be.
More fun for young 'uns than those other fancy schmancy places on the upper West side. Although those are great too. Especially since the Big Apple Circus is right there.

Our favorite dessert place Mozart cafe closed a couple of months ago. So that's not much use to you. I just had to lament the loss of superduperdecadelish desserts. No more "Death by Chocolate" for me :-(
Any other suggestions... :-)

But there's always Serendipity on 60th St and 2nd Ave (upper east side; there's often a line though not so much in winter) right next to the Tramway that goes over the East river to Roosevelt Island (my daily commute for 4 heavenly years!). I wasn't around when Wulfgar killed off one of those UN peeps, but I was close enough to be deafened by Mary Jane's screeching when the Green Goblin sliced the cables--that was a narrow escape! The round trip is ~ 20 min but it's really fun to stay a bit and walk the perimeter of the island and breathe in the Rockefeller U, Cornell Med, Sloan Kettering etc skyline. And watch the river. There's a diner on the island, but it has crappy food (I think).

The free ferry to Staten Island is always a good deal. ~ 40 mins round trip (be sure to stay at the back end of the ferry to watch the Manhattan hairline recede).

Dimsum pretty much in any restaurant and fun fruits from the vendors on Canal street.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Here you go Jack - experience a snowstorm from the comfort of your own home.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

...and one of her sisters was in a couple of Star Trek episodes. Yes, that would be (...wait for it, you know it's coming...) Eva Gaborg.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

No, but my Dad was for a time a very senior bureaucrat in Ottawa.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe because even a hard-working government serpent is still a snake, Yoki?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Funky movies at Angelika theater, Film Forum, Sunshine Cinema, also Lincoln Plaza cinema, Two boots still open?

Oh and christmas fairs in all the city's big parks--South side of Central park (59th st), Union Square (15th st), Bryant park (42st st) along the city's spine, that I know of--all selling crafty handy tchotchkes from all over the world. And hot chocolate. And the stalls have space heaters. The Union square fair is right next to a mega movie theater, a Whole Foods store with a whole upper floor dedicated to a whole lot of people coming in to get warm and use the wash room. A few blocks east and north (Lexington and 28th) is little India. Yummy food, e.g., Chinese Mirch that sells Indian Chinese food, which is NOT American Chinese or even Chinese Chinese. Bryant park has ice skating.

Grand Central station.
Not Penn station.

Walk all of Broadway Ave. to see the world--probably not feasible for a short trip in winter, but at least cover Columbus circle to Empire state bldg? ~ 25 blocks. Better yet, all the way to Wash Sq. park with lots of hot chocolate etc. stops along the way. And the holiday fairs.

All the amazing churches (esp. St Thomas on 5th, midtown, Trinity, next to the WTC site, St. Bart's on Park ave? next to Walled off Astoria, upper east, St. John's on Amsterdam, upper west--St. John's usually has really beautiful performances during this season, as do many of the other churches.

And BAM always has fun things on.

The Intrepid is back if you're into that.

I know I'm forgetting the good stuff.

Can you tell I just submitted a grant proposal?
Now to sleep. And then back to grading.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 19, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse


I think I sould take umbrage here Yoki, just too tired to do so. But just for a laugh plese note this extract of a corporate email we got this afternoon.
"To stabilize the current Information Management (IM) and Information Technology (IT) environment, we are moving forward with the implementation of an e-mail upgrade from Microsoft (MS) Outlook 2000 to 2003 for all XX employees starting on January 12, 2009"
We will move forward to 2003! YESSSS! It was about time!
We got IE 7 (browsing with TABS!) a month ago. Chrome is just around the corner, I'm sure.

Yeah Mudge, I'm surprised Bill Clinton hasn't hit on the delightful Sherry yet, she looks like his kind of women.

Meanwhile hockey player and future Palin clan member "Levi Johnston told the Associated Press in October that he dropped out of high school to work as an apprentice electrician on the North Slope oil fields".
What a great family.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Mozart Cafe. Chocolate. A dim memory makes me think "Portland, Oregon". Sellwood, maybe.

I guess the Cabinet should be somewhat smaller than the Senate. Of course recent Presidents haven't had Cabinet meetings, they've had staff meetings.

I worked for Little Government. The Bureau of Land Management was rather proud of being tiny and non-officious (no uniforms, unlike the Forest Service). The Fish and Wildlife Service is if anything even more mini. It takes very few bureaucrats to create endangered species kerfuffles.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, no no, don't take umbrage, please. I've just paid the civil service the highest of compliments! See my 2:40.

I apologize from the bottom of my heart for offending you and all the other fine government workers on the Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW, we're on the front page.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

My Mom grew up in the New York Hospital/Sloan-Kettering neighborhood, on E 70th between York and 1st. It's changed enormously, presumably no more neighborhood vegetable gardens at Rockefeller University. The Sokol Hall is still there on 71st.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 19, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

So Bristol's baby daddy's mom runs a meth lab? Good for her. It's good to see that that entrepreneurial spirit with regards to the recreational pharmaceutical industry is still running wild in Alaska. Maybe Sarah can do a guest spot on 'Weeds' next season.

And speaking of Bristol, it seems her due date is tomorrow, which only gives Todd a few more hours to get the shine on his shotgun for Levi to make an honest woman of the poor high school drop-out.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I'm heading out of work, on vacation, this very minute. And when I picked up my purse, my beeper clunked to the floor and fell way back under my desk.

This is a sign, right? The beeper doesn't want to go on vacation with me? I should just leave it where it is? Let it spend the next 11 days echoing in an empty department?

I thought so.

Oh, I'd be really surprised if Levi Johnston joined the Palin clan anytime soon.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 19, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I know, SD. We Murkins are just so proud. And if McCain had won the election, wouldn't a White House wedding for Britney been so charming? "The mother of the bride, Vice President Sarah Palin, wore a $170,000 Vera Wang paid for by the Republican National Committee. The mother of the groom wore a vertically striped jumpsuit with the number 5398763 stenciled on the back; her accessories included matching ankle chains "shackles" and matching wrist bracelets cleverly linked together to symbolize unity and togetherness..."

Yoki, to answer your question, the poor gummint performance is due to the fact that many of these fine people you mentoned all have multiple personality disorders. Which makes them Sybil serpents.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Do you imply that the high romance, the fairytale beauty, of the promised Palin-Johnson nuptials was just a campaign promise? I'm shattered, really shattered, by your cynicism.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Good one, 'mudge.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I have that effect on wimmin. *sigh*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Not *only* that effect, my friend.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl is full of good ideas.

The Bryant Park Holiday Village also features Celsius, a Canucki themed outdoor restaurant featuring mac-n-cheese and slider burgers. Sadly, no poutine.

And Union Square is only one block from Strand Bookstore whose motto is Eighteen Miles Of Books. Let me say that again: Eighteen. Miles. Of. Books.

One year we did a 'Serendipity' movie-themed trip where we stayed at the Waldorf, ate at Serendipity3 (which is also very close to Dylan's Candy Bar), watched the Central Park figure skaters, and stopped off at Chelsea Piers. Just never ran into Kate Beckinsale or John Cusak.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse


And I pity any poor broadcaster who would have to attempt to read a piece on how Czar Czar Zsa Zsa Gabor coralled Obama's czars in the Rose Garden for a rousing rendition of Christmas carols...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 19, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I know that many of you will be even further shocked and dismayed to learn this gummint contractor is bugging out early today. As their Christmas presents this year, my wife and I are taking our two oldest granddaughters (age 18 and 16) to see "West Side Story" here at the National Theater tonight. Yes, I thought it was high time they were introduced to the harsh realities of life of the struggling lower classes on the west side of the steaming tenements of Manhattan, where teenaged boys twirl, grand jete and pas de d'oh in a mad frenzy of lust, passion, envy, jealousy and hand-to-hand finger-snapping. My wife swears she's bringing a roll of duct tape, in case I cannot resist singing along with Officer Krupke. (My wife thinks of every contingency; it could happen.)

Following this night of madcap nostalgia, we are leaving at 5:30 tomorrow morning to drive down to Colonial Williamsburg, where we are attending a breakfast/cooking demonstration by six or so chefs at the Williamsburg Inn. We did this last year, too, and it was terrific. Then we're probably spending the day and night at our friends' house in W-burg, may tour the Xmas decorations in town, etc. (Bruton Parish Epi Church there always knocks me out.)

The consequence is I prolly won't be boodling again until some time on Sunday, perhaps during the next Redskins embarrassment.

So be good, kids...and if that little peckerwood pops up again yapping about the Democruds, you have my express permission to beat him senseless with a cudgel.

Until Sunday, then...

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 19, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The reason why government is sometimes terribly slow is because the only way a government official can be fired is if he or she breaks a law. Therefore, the highest priority of many employees is to make sure that all regulations, no matter how obsolete or inefficient, are followed.

My joke is that the worse thing about being an employee of the federal government as that you have to deal with the federal government every day.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I once passed John Cusak on the street, near Bryant Park. Also a character actor who had a most familiar face, but I could not for the life of me remember his name, to this day. The Tragedy of the Character Actor.

Say, on a completely new topic, has anyone read John Burdett? The Bangkok detective novels? Also, he apparently used to review books for the Washington Post! Anyway, my brother just put me on to him, and I am completely crushing on everything about these books. Funny, violent, philosophical... really wonderful. I can't think how I've missed him 'til now.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Never heard of him either, Yoki. How violent?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

That's a good joke, RD.

Many years ago the Mining Association of Canada's ED was an Englishman who sounded exactly like all those parodies of RSMs in the movies, very "capital, capital, old chap, what what?"

When he retired there was a big dinner for him, at which he told a long story about how metal mining is essential to civilization, to the great cities and transportation corridors of the world, etc. etc. and on and on. Of course the miners just ate it up. And then JB closed his remarks by saying,

"And in spite of the adventurous spirit and dedication to this great offort that each of you in this room has shown over the years, I must say that, as a group, you are singularly lacking in Charm!"

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like quite a holiday weekend. The West Side Story has gotten several good WaPo write-ups.

Since my son's marching band did WSS as their half-time show last year, the mere whistling of "When you're a Jet, you're Jet" gives him painful flashbacks. We offered to take him to the National Theater production, but he reacted violently.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, BTW...

Front Page Alert -- squared. Two links!!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 19, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

That was better than having to report on Hanna Mandilakova and Martina Navratilova back in the 80's or so. Broadcasters nightmare.

Mudge, enjoy the show! Now I'll have "I want to live in A-mer-i-ca." running through my head for the rest of the afternoon.

Posted by: ra1967 | December 19, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Not excessively for my taste, Wilbrod, and often amusing in a sort of Elmore Leonard/Carl Hiassen way. What might not be to everyone's taste is that the crime in question is often centered on the Bangkok sex-trade (in a manner entirely sympathetic to the poor girls), but even then the style is never gratuitously seedy.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You're eating my dust, Scotty.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

And happy to do so, Yoki. *bowing* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 19, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Do we really need an Education Department. About 50 years ago federal AID to education was controversial, arousing fears of federal control of education. Now states and municipalities have become dependent on federal money (being unwilling to raise taxes)

Posted by: GWGOLDB | December 19, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

THIS is your Internet AT WORK!!!!

Live coverage of the Minnesota Senate Recount, challenge, argument from Star Tribune...

Riveting stuff

Posted by: russianthistle | December 19, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like folks to know that I am cutting out your many fine suggestions and saving them off-line for perusal and tiresome prioritization. Who knew that DNA Girl would have such a wealth of touristic knowledge? DNAG -- I have forgotten, are you still affiliated with one of those NY-area institutions of higher learning? Should we try to arrange a meet&greet between the ScienceFam and the DNA Couple?

I am debating whether to try to pull my thin but non-negligible strings at AMNH and try to get some behind-the-scenes at the museum. Is there any meaningful behind-the-scenes? Having worked in such places for many years now, I can verify that behind-the-scenes doesn't look like all that much to the casual observer.

By the way, I am having some problems with my acronyms: what is BAM? I hope it is significantly different from BM.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 19, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse


Due to most schools being funded by property taxes (as the schools contribute to property values), that mean poor neighborhoods already suffer from educational segregation in educational quality.

Now, states could raise taxes and fund all school districts equally, and probably even throw out local school boards who insist on spending tax money THEIR way instead of actually educating kids, but that's not going to happen.

If all states did do fair financing of schools, then sure, you don't need a Department of Education.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Franken Coleman recount panel just said that watching the process is almost as exciting as watching a Chiefs/Bengals game.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 19, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

And 50 years ago, a lot of people doing the complaining also supported racial segregation in schools.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

As they closed the session today on the recount... Franken ahead by 250 plus or minus 1 vote as Franken tossed Coleman a bone.

Looking more and more like Coleman is going to be in court for a lot of time from now on. Not only on this, but all the money he has been taking. Star Tribune reporters were suggesting that this is going to drag on until January ...

Small populations states like Montana has two Senators, but larger states like Illinois and Minnesota only get one. Can you hear the wheels of the American system turning?

Posted by: russianthistle | December 19, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Crazy weather here in the Oregon banana belt. We are at the 2200 foot level. Last Friday night we had 5 inches of nice fluffy snow and Medford 600 feet lower had hardly any. Then the temp dropped to 15 F here and the snow stayed nice and fluffy until yesterday when a great big snow warning was issued the night before. Well the temp went up to 37 and all we got was alternating rain and slushy snow. It finally cooled back down to 25 last night and there was a couple inches of the new fluffy stuff this morning.
The sky is really mixed up today. Patches of blue sky with snow and small ice crystals intermixed with some sun. Went down to town earlier and there is no snow on the other side of the hill. Now the temp is up to 35 and we are starting to have light rain mixed with snow. The result tomorrow will be what they call here Cascade Cement.
Alas a hawk snatched a bird this morning where we put seed out for the quail and any other birds that want to share. I thought the gray squirrels were looking anssy this morning.

PS: We got the big snow warning because up in seasea's country they got hit harder earlier.

It's snowing again now pretty good.

Posted by: bh71 | December 19, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

No offense taken Yoki. I'm so thick-skinned glancing harpoon shots just bounce off me.

Tell you the truth I've seen enough gunmint failures and gunmint successes to have my own ideas on what does what. Regarding forms, it might sound strange to you but people expect them from the gunmint, nah, craves them. I ran a formless regulatory program, on purpose. I ask people to tell me, by giving me their procedures, checklists, forms and reports they give their customers how they plan to comply to the regulations. I swear that 90% of the "regulatees" ask me back what form they have to fill. I have to disappoint them and tell them that,alas, there ain't no form to fill. They have to tell me in their own words. Rats and all that I hear back.

BAM, Beaux Arts Museum? Ha. One of those lame bilingual joke.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Now I forget what I wanted to say...
Thanks for the laugh Yoki, and thanks to yello for the Palin link.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 19, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Bayonne Academy of Morticianship.

Bella Abzug Mauseleum.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 19, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Very happy indeed to have succeeded, Jumper. What's happening in your kitchen today?

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Benedict Arnold Mansion.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 19, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Big Apple Microbrewery.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 19, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Bring Alotta Money.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 19, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Bat A' Mania

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. Great day on Achenblog for laughs, thanks to all!

Strange weather here also. It's currently 56 with a high wind advisory. Mr. T and I went to walk but only got one lap done when it started to rain. So we came home and watched the front come through. Lotsa clouds hauling a$$. Of course the sun came out just before it set.

Tonight we have tickets for a concert that was cancelled because of the weather a month ago. It's Appalachian music, and I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: slyness | December 19, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

JA swims in international-style conventional wisdom in dissing the "architecturally overwrought" building next door to the West Wing, the Executive Office Building (former State, War and Navy Building). The EOB would be rated a sightly addition to Second Empire-era Paris or the Ringstrasse in Vienna. And it looks pretty good compared with the underwrought buildings to its west along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Posted by: cbustard | December 19, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Tried to take advantage of the storm and the family went to the mall for Santa photos thinking there would not be a line up - there wasn't - Santa cancelled due to the storm. Some stores were even closed.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 19, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, I spent the day in the laundry room, and just getting back from my dad's house. I'm just tired. Just wanted to pop in and say, good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 19, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

cbustard - I very much admire anyone who feels strongly enough about architecture to get bent out of shape over the characterization "overwrought." Personally, I like buildings thoroughly wrought. They show the architect had something to say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Cassandra. Sleep well. Roust us for Dawn Patrol, please.

dmd, you cracked me up. Santa canceled because of the snow. You know how to set up a joke, for sure.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Brian Adams Music ( inside joke)

actually bfam

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 19, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone think it wise of government to spend billions to preserve the Everglades when global warming and rising tides do not assure that the 'glades will continue to exist? I just told Charlie Crist that it was a "stupid move."

Posted by: -tao- | December 19, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

tao - even if it turns out that helping the Everglades is like applying a fresh coat of paint to the Titanic, I still support the efforts. For such efforts establish a precedent for the restoration of natural ecological systems. This, to me, is money well spent.

Besides, I hear that climate change might just be a big ol' hoax.

Hey, that's what I heard.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

tao, yes, I do think it wise.

There may (I sure hope there is) be generations before rising water levels take the Everglades forever, or we may adjust so it never happens (unlikely), and in the meantime they are a carbon-sink and a source of invaluable biodiversity.

Sometimes there is virtue in doing what one can (you of all virtual people should know that!), even if it ultimately turns out to be a futile gesture. It may not turn out to be a futile gesture, that very preservation may turn out to be part of the solution.

By your logic we should now stop developing clean technology and carbon-capture, and just give up on the whole enterprise right now, globally. Universally.

And that would be both cynical and ridiculous.

But by, Gum! It sure would save the taxpayers some money!

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I am very sorry to say that, as a card-carrying Canadian, I actually understand greenwithenvy's comment.

Look, dude, we've already apologized. What more can we do?

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, Yoki, you're good. No country that produced the Backstreet Boys or Neil Sedaka could ever throw stones at anyone for bfam.

Posted by: Kim1 | December 19, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse


Thanks, Kim. You are a treasure.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The sugar company thinks it's wise to sell out to big government. That's a good business plan that looks at the futurity of the Everglades ag potential. The same billions invested in clean tech and carbon capture might do more to preserve the 'glades than a corporate buyout.

The Titanic on its maiden voyage didn't need a new coat of paint, but its contribution to global warming lives on. And there is a fundamental hubris in the belief that humans can restore natural systems that we have helped to destroy.

I suppose there are some who still believe we can stop the tide.

Posted by: -tao- | December 19, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The Canadian apology for Brian Adams was one of the best parts of the South Park movie.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of certainty. Perhaps we can save the Everglades and defeat global warming. Mebbe we can't. But I kind of prefer the good fight.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 19, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, we could get out of the way and let nature mend, tao.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh Wilbrod, your youthful naivete and optimism is so refreshing!

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

#1 and Physics-boy just pulled into the driveway! 'bye all!

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Good evening all. It took a while, but I'm finally caught up with the past day and a half worth of 'boodle. Feel free to proceed.

Thanks to Bob S for the inspiration there.

Yoki... give #1 a big hug from the G family, please!

Mudge... hope West Side Story is good tonight. I'm going tomorrow night! That's after Extended-Family Christmas at my sister's house, too. A big day for me.

But I just had to cancel my Sunday plans as I realized that now that I'm working, I need my weekend days to actually get stuff done in my life, especially at Christmas time.

Time to hit the hay... get back to my book. G'night all... see you in the morning!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 19, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Waitaminit, has everybody gone to bed already?

Hammered dulcimer, acoustic guitar, flute, Celtic harp - the concert was fabulous. I bought the CD. It's just the thing to put me in the Christmas spirit!

Posted by: slyness | December 19, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I just got here! It's so disconcerting to finally get caught up, just to read everybody's good nights! The night is young, it's Friday, for Pete's sake. Not that I wouldn't mind a nap, but I have to get the dishes done.

Yay to dbG for losing the pager on the way to a vacation. My company's famed "holiday break" is coming up, but there are so many critical projects and power shutdowns planned that I keep telling everyone it takes the holiday break out of the holiday break for us computer support types. But it could be worse(!), I could have no job at all. That would be bad.

We're supposed to have another monster snowstorm coming over the weekend...hope it's not too bad. I would like to get out the house eventually and go about my normal routine. They are so bad at predicting the weather here it is almost laughable, and not entirely the fault of the weather people. Large bodies of water and mountains make things unpredictable. But Seattle area schools had a snow day when there (It came later that evening).

Posted by: seasea | December 19, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I didn't say we WOULD ;).

But the bottom line is that we MUST actively help nature find a sustainable balance if we can't reduce our impact on the environment.

And now I will go off in my naivete to work on brokering peace between lions and lambs.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Weather forecasting seasea, is a very strange thing. We expected a foot of snow tonight but have had maybe half that so far. I spoke to my daughter on the Cape and a friend north of Boston and they both had more snow than that. We must be the thin filling in the thick sliced sandwich. I have just finished making Swedish bread and meringue cookies and assembling two cookie gift boxes for delivery tomorrow. Oh, I also did two loads of laundry. I’m catching a cold and feel less well than I’d like, but I’m looking forward to the weekend. And I agree, it’s good to have a job, Slyness, sounds like a great concert! I’d be jealous if I wasn’t so tired. Sleep well everyone.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 19, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the annual Jewpardy Party. They have a game show contest hosted by Alex Jewbeck on Jewish trivia. Categories include:
Jews In The News
Sporty Jews
Jews In History
"He-Brew" (alcohol related questions)
Happy Jew Year

And others.

Our team of Gentiles called the Maccabees won. There was alcohol involved. And dreidel spinning.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Good job, Yello. Is it good that your team wasn't too drunk to win?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 19, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's the webpage for the musicians we heard tonight. If you want to hear some of the music, it's on the CD page:

Posted by: slyness | December 19, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt: *snort*

Now schlepp those presents from the car to under the tree, boychik.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

slyness, that's nice, listening now.

yellojkt, what can I say? You do such interesting things!

Posted by: seasea | December 19, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news:

I got off the phone with Mudge a little while ago, and he reports that at about 10:10 PM, roughly 5 minutes into the second act (that's during the Officer Krupke number, for those keeping count) of "West Side Story" the fire alarm went off.

The theater staff cleared the facility and patrons are milling about on the street just outside the doors. Including Our Man Mudge and the lovely Mrs. Mudge (who managed to get a word in edgewise to her husband and bid me "hello").

Our Man on the scene reports that once the local fire and rescue teams have completed an inspection of the premesis, he expects that the performance will resume. Hopefully from the top of the second act, so Mudge will get a second chance to sing along...

He said he'd report in later.
G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | December 19, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I sure do hope Mrs. 'Mudge is well.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

hi seasea, yoki, bc, and anyone else still up.

i'm still at work but doing diss stuff. as i mentioned, it's a little chilly over here. may not seem so to you, but i don't really have proper heat at home. just a fan thingy blowing through some hot coils. no temperature control at all.

hope the mudges enjoyed the rest of the show.

Posted by: LALurker | December 20, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Well hello again Yoki. The story today was ham and green pea soup. That seems to be real thumbs-up-or-down, no middle ground for many. That is, they love it or hate it. I love it. I half-caramelized the onions, and put them and the celery in the blender before I added them, but the carrot slices, & red and green bell pepper dices, went in as-is to simmer a long time. 1" chunks of ham. The hambone stayed in until it was done and is now set aside for puppy dog. Some black pepper, garlic powder, and the main herb was marjoram. The dirty work involved skimming the gray skim off as it came along. Yagh! But once I got it, it was gone. That ruined the story, didn't it? Yes, skimming the soup is a lonely business, best done in private.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Each auto company should get its own czar. The most intimidating czar should be for Chrysler because I say so. The czars need an overseer czarina, Zsa Zsa, the car czar czarina.

("Oo you make my motor run, my motor run
Gun it coming off of the line")

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Bon Appetit Mews?

Reporting in, safe and sound. About 10 minutes after I called bc they let us all back in, and restarted the show from the beginning of the Officer Krupke scene. Apparently a smoke detector in an adjacent building went off, and the way things are wired, if an alarm goes off in one building on the block, they all go off. Which makes sense if you think about it.

Show was great. Maria and Anita were fab, Tony was good (but not great). Maria's voice overpowered him a bit. But not complaining at all -- it was terrif. One really cool thing-- in all the scenes where there were just Sharks and the Puerto Rican girls, the cast spoke and sang in Spanish 100% of the time. "I Feel Pretty" and "A Boy Like That..." were both entirely in Spanish. There was a teleprompter kinda thing beside the stage where you could read the subtitles, but I couldn't see it from up in the nosebleed seats. But I really didn't need it since I know the show well enough. Set decoration was fab. Dance/choreography and supporting cast all fab.

Fab fab fab.

'Night, Noble Boodle. Until Sunday...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 20, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

"nite, mudge!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 20, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | December 20, 2008 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | December 20, 2008 3:36 AM | Report abuse

Born Again Muslim?

'Morning, Boodle.

Jeez, I need more sleep.

Hitting the road now.

Later, Dudes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 20, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Witch no. 1 tried to sneak in about an hour and a half ago but was met by the noisy eight-legged intruder detection system. All good but I can't get back to sleep now.

Yesterday she was proposing a public execution of the exam scheduler of her university and I concurred. A final term exam from 19:00 to 22:00 on a Friday night just ain't right.

Good for you Mudge, lucky for you you weren't pounding the street here (-18C/0F) or in Yoki's hometown (-27C/-16F).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Which is greener, the plastic tree made in China or the natural tree cut from a plantation? A life cycle analysis suggest the natural tree is the winner:

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Brooklyn Academy of Music (and much more), sillies :-)

S'Tim, I've moved to another institution a ways north of NYC. I may pop in to the city a couple of times, but nothing will be set until the last minute given the multitude of family visits just starting to coalesce.
I promise I won't be too shy to say hi next time I'm in DC.

Re connections: faculty at Columbia astronomy do stuff with the AMNH. Maybe you know any of them?

Also, people who don't like big art museums, should Frick themselves

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 20, 2008 6:25 AM | Report abuse

I went to that Frickin' Museum and the they had some frickin' nice stuff. It used to be the house of some frickin' rich guy with tons of frickin' money from being a frickin' robber baron, but when he died they just kept the frickin' house as an art museum. And it's really frickin' close to the frickin' Guggenheim which looks like a frickin' parking garage turned inside out. And that's not too far from the frickin' Met which is frickin' huge. Too frickin' big if you ask me. So yeah, definitely see the frickin' art at the Frickin' Museum. It's frickin' cool.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

mudge's big night out in the cold is probably because some sociological sick depraved and deprived delinquent pulled the fire alarm. I blame society.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Mudge, so glad you and Mrs. Mudge are safe and the show was good.
Slyness, wish I could hear the music, but glad you like it.

I'm not walking this morning, only do it five days. I'll start on the cleaning, or not. I might just walk so not to start on the cleaning. I know, I'm terrible. The cleaining will have to get to the "got to do it" mode, then I'll jump in and complain the whole time. That definitely says something about my life, but I'm not going there.

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

I saw the Governor of Illnois on television yesterday, but there wasn't any captioning, so I didn't get the words. I'm understanding he's not going down without a fight. It has become a contest. The President-elect, along with others, say he needs to go, and he's vowing to stay. And he can't wait for us to find out he's not guilty of any wrong doings. Those tapes we heard of him are just voices in our head caused by a deep mental condition that doesn't have a name yet.

Have a great weekend, folks. The weather here is still nice, but changes on the way. Back to the cold, and rain.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 20, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Winter break is here!!!

Hello everyone!

I'll try to spend some of it with you guys. You always make me laugh.

Got a very nice postcard in the mail yesterday from Obama for Change asking for help during the presidency. The picture on the front shows the Obamas and the Bidens on election night greeting the crowd in Chicago. Very nice. The kids are fighting over who gets it to hang in the bedroom. Too bad. I'm bringing it to the office.

And I have super good news, too. I've been selected to present at the National Educational Computing Conference at the end of June in DC. My first time presenting at the national level. I've been grinning about it for two days. My school division may not be able to cover the costs this year, but I'm going anyway. It is an investment, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: abeac1 | December 20, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

a bea c... excellent news! I like to think there was a little Boodle Mojo involved in your selection to present at the conference. :-)

I'm so proud of you... and hope we'll have a BPH in June to celebrate with you!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 20, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A busy pre-Holiday weekend for me and I'm sure for many others.

Glad to see you all up and about, and that Mudge's singing along with Officer Krupke didn't trigger any further alarms in the theater. Well, those requiring clearing it, anyway.

Have a great day, folks.

Jumper, Chrysler doesn't have a Czar, but Nardelli used to be the Home Despot...


Posted by: -bc- | December 20, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

I likes the Atacama. It's a deamatic, weird place.

You see green hills, but not ONE blade of grass. The color comes from copper dust.

When you walk in the warm sunshine, your nose get's cold. It is so dry and evaporation so high that your nose gets super-cooled.

The oldest mummy in the world is found in the Atacama.

The town of La Tirana is inhabited for about two weeks a year when the inhabitants visit their homes and hold a festival. The rest of the year, they work elswhere. :o)

Posted by: Braguine | December 20, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

a bea c,
That is great news and a big honor. I bet somebody plans a BPH in your honor.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra.

abeac, that is good news. I'm sure you deserve the recognition.

I have a mystery to solve over the next while. A friend, very close and dear to my heart for many years, has stopped communicating with me, has cut me off completely, and I have no idea why. This is a sadness to me but more, it causes me real worry about his well-being. I will try phone and email again, but also summon the troops on the ground in his city to investigate and report back. A little Boodle Mojo would help the effort.

Other than that, everything is good, and I wish you all the same.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

a bea c

So happy to hear from you, and the news is even better. Bask in it, and have a great holiday.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 20, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Yea, a bea c, very impressive!

I have the exact same postcard in my office. It makes me smile every time I see it. And I REALLY love it when someone walks in and a flash of crankiness crosses their face when they see it. But, I am happy to say that most people make positive comments about it.

Glad to hear the show went on for Mudge. Christmas time in Williamsburg is fun, as well.

Happy Saturday all.

Posted by: Kim1 | December 20, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Backboodling with some umbrage! yellojkt called my revered FL Wright Guggenheim a parking garage. Grrr.

The Frick is amazing, isn't it? Being what she is, Yoki was most impressed with the handtooled leather covers to keep the dust off the books in the library, they fit perfectly!

The pictures were nice too.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

a bea c, great news, congratulations! It’s still snowing here, ocean effect snow now. Very pretty and festive out there. Happy Saturday everyone.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 20, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the verbal postcard from the Atacama, Brag.

Alas, we get supercooled outside here without benefit of warm sunshine or high evaporation rates, and the hills here are white.

It's also kind of weird, come to think of it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Keep those NY suggestions coming in! Right now, our ability to take the trip is back into the category of uncertain, due to issues with the settlement of the old house, which is seeing delay after delay for foolish reasons having nothing to do with either the sellers (us) or the buyers (them), both of whom are eager to see this deal settled -- it's all related to middle-man stuff.

My acquaintance with the Columbia/AMNH astronomy faculty is minimal -- I have a very thin connection to two of the adjuncts from AMNH. The problem is that Columbia doesn't do planets.

The Frick is getting added to the list.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Okay, here's a phrase I would not have anticipated I would ever come across: "lesbian werewolf anthology". Sounds like a highly specialized niche market.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

A very special niche, anyway, SciTim.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

That's what you get for cruising those nasty "anthology" sites.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 20, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear from you, a bea c, and congratulations!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 20, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Crossword help, please.

Military operations for a specific objective.

8 letters. _A _ _ _I _ _

Thank you.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

But of course! Thank you, shriek. We all feel a bit sheepish.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm out of that wretched business of Christmas funerals. One is too many.

After the 6 dark-aired beauties, 3 sisters on one side and 3 cousins on the other, wheeled in the coffin there weren't many dry eyes in the packed church.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

cripes, haired.

It's too cold to type.
Off for some food shopping to get back in the Season's spirit.

Boko, this was very good.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I think s_d's got it.
And I hope your friend is just having a very busy holiday season and that he'll be back in touch soon. Boodle Mojo heading your way, ma'am...

a bea c, I neglected to add my congratulations. Hopefully, we'll have that BPH for you in June...

More Holiday fun this evening, and if I can catch the Ravens game later tonight, so much the better.


Posted by: -bc- | December 20, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Phew. Shoveling 8" of snow is hard, especially when it gets wet half way through. More to come tomorrow. Yay!
No really, I LOVE snow. Hence no snow blower for me. Not yet anyway.

Here's a pretty story on the holiday fairs I mentioned yesterday:
I fell in love with a wool scarf from Nepal a couple of weeks ago in one of the stalls. It has reciprocated with great warmth since then.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 20, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all
Down here in Baltimore to help Mom get the house ready for Christmas.We have already taken the major step of getting the christmas branch cut and up.I only had to go to the third rung of the step ladder with the extended saw and the branch cut pretty easily.This years problem was,after it was cut,it landed on several other branches,so I used the extended saw to push it up and then down.The branch was sort of a left sided branch,so I cut a smaller branch to use as a filler.It has all been tied together with twine and wire and is sitting in my mom's livingroom waiting for decorations.

Tomorrow when i get back to west by god,I will survey the yard and find my tree.Although,there is a perfect tree in my neighbors yard.....naw I can't do that.

I hope everyone is enjoying their saturday and you folks up north are staying warm.

Off to do the decorating,my Mom's tree just has white lights and a few ornaments.Maybe 20-30 wishbones from turkeys eaten on Thanksgivings past,stained and preserved with that years date.Just something different for our normal family....yeah right!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 20, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, you all. A bea c, that's quite an honor, congratulations!!

Regarding Obama's stimulus package, there's a fellow in Tenneessee who has developed ethanol from kudzu and needs a little help to get this agro gas off the trees, the ground, everywhere else it thrives, (which is basically everywhere in the South), and into our gas tanks.

This kudzu is a weed which thrives and spreads and is good for nothing. If you have ever driven on interstates and back roads southbound you will see this very green vine along the way which smothers everything in it's path.

Watch the video, love the two dear gents who speak in the sincere, soft, southern manner.

In my view, it would be money well spent.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 20, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Maybe get the children to play, make an igloo. Cut snow blocks from the walkway for you. I did that. But now they don't work.

Posted by: Paavo | December 20, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

They made kudzu booze?
Moonshiners hooching kudzu?
Kudzu vine wine? Great!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody! This will be a quick drive-by to say congrats to abeac and hi to all. You realize, bea, that no one here is surprised. Pleased for you, but not surprised.

We made it down the mountain and now must get ready to go again, to family Christmas party. This is my mother's side, all my cousins and their children and grandchildren. We still have two aunts, so there will be four generations present. I should count up and see how many there are of us, from my mom, her three brothers, and one sister. We have gone forth and populated this end of the world, for sure.

The nice thing about it is that they are all great people and fun to be around. There is much to be said for sanity and productive lives in this crazy world.

Posted by: slyness | December 20, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

My mom grew up in a poor corner of the Upper East Side, down the street from the Frick. I've only visited the big city once as an adult, just a two night stay. MOMA, Met, Christo, Philharmonic doing Mahler's 7th (it's not weird).

The Frick mansion is amazing from the street. Just a short distance down 70th, south side, is the Explorers' Club. Worth walking by just to affirm that there is such an outfit.

Central Park is the greatest ornament ever built by a great city for itself. One of its enduring marvels is that it's full of statuary (I like the panther, ready to pounce) but monuments have basically been forbidden. The place could have been buried in thickets of Civil War generals, Walls of the Dead, fields of Eternal Flames, and heaven knows what else.

I was struck by the beauty of the Rockefeller Center buildings. No one since could afford anything like them. Look for the Isamu Noguchi sculpture over the entry to the old Associated Press building.

Lincoln Center is under construction now, and is anyway sort of disappointing unless you're attending something. Avery Fisher Hall (Philharmonic) is terribly run down.

The Met has incredible nooks and crannies. I've rarely seen art looking so comfortable in its settings, probably a result of the museum having the same guy in charge, and the same architect, for so many years. Over a very long period, all the stupid stuff done previously was ripped out and replaced with good stuff, even as the building grew and art works flooded in.

When I visited the Japanese gallery, the wood floor squeaked. No, it wasn't an effort to emulate the "nightingale" floors of certain temples. A fountain with a big Noguchi sculpture had leaked.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The fir tree is slowly thawing in the corner of the living room, there is a faint smell of conifer already. I brought it in in the frozen upright position, it's much easier to handle that way. And you get to be surprised by the shape of the tree when the branches get down. I never had one that pruning shear couldn't get right.

In New York, I've been to the ASME headquarters, twice. I don't recommend it. It's full of old geezers whose debates make the Canadian Senate lively in comparison. Positively boring.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

What a quiet day on the Boodle. We're all in pre-Christmas rush-about mode, I expect.

I have been loving the New York insiders' reports. It has sparked a desire to visit again soon. I seldom deny myself such desires, so perhaps in the spring before it gets too hot for Northern-type people. I have enough airline points to get there, and am lucky in having a place to stay gratis. Why not? Why, I'll bet even the prices in restaurants will have to go down over the next months.

Back to the world. Later, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Snow filtered fine
Whispers through the bright air
Inside, tea and fetch.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

To the Achenblog

Every time I started to write something the tears would fall. I've been trying to pull myself together so I can write a nice thank you note, but it's not working because when I think about all of you and your kindness to me, I'm moved to tears. I do thank you from the depth of my heart with much love. May God bless and keep you, and may His light shine on you always.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 20, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Maple Syrup tears
Can always be dried by shoulder
Need fur therapy?

-Wilbrodog (who is puzzled but pleased)-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra -- you are indeed family amongst the Boodlers. The very best part of this family, as I told a dear friend of mine (a woman in the UK who is part of my "adopted" Zambian family (she calls me "sister" even though I'm closer to her mother's age)), the best part -- the *very* best part -- of this family we have created, is that we don't have to share in each other's family politics. The relationships we have created here are thoroughly devoid of all that.

We are, indeed, the relatives we wish we had within our biological families, bringing to mind one of my favorite phrases: Friends are the family you pick, not the family you're stuck with.

abeac -- congratulations! I will definitely try to take part in that BPH to honor you in June.

Cable finally installed for the television. I must say, the picture is much, much better, and Jon Stewart is a gas! Funny beyond words.

On my various errands today, I had the "opportunity" to drive around Montgomery Mall (down the street from where I live). Lines and lines and lines of cars waiting to get into the parking lot. Lined up down 270, for those who are local.

Cya all later. Have a great rest-of-the-weekend (leaving Grover waves to the expert himself (Snukie)).

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 20, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Evening all
most of the stuff is done at mom's,nice dinner provided by a friend.

Now out to watch
Ravens vs Cowboys,and most of the media picking the cowboys in their last game at Texas stadium(who cares) maybe one emotional drive out of the cowboys,but after it all it is just football.A must win for both teams. I think if Tony Romo is rattled or even out Ravens win,if not it will be dallas.

As a ravens fans a special Thanks to the NFL for having the ravens as the last game at Texas stadium,Let's put the cowboys out with a loss in their last game there.

Let's just hope the refs don't have the game in the balance at the end.

Go Ravens!!!!


Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 20, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

That's just mean. You knew I would Google that phrase and find "Women Who Run With The Werewolves". Talk about letting the fur fly.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree a little with the NYT article about the Union Square Holiday Fair. I found the layout crowded and confusing. The booths are laid out in a series of concentric half circles based on the park shape, but the paths through the booths are serpentine and random with no clear walking pattern that will take you past all the booths without having to double back at some point.

That said, the quality and variety of the goods is excellent. Much better than the Bryant Park one. (I can't judge the Columbus Circle one since it was just being built on the Saturday after Turkey Day. The Macy's Parade keeps it from getting a holiday headstart like the others.) We found gifts for all three of my nieces, the best one being a hand-knit Bolivian sweater for a toddler. Just fantastic.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

But Yoki, it's a very pretty inside-out parking garage. Once again, you take umbrage where none was intended. There are two styles of traffic patterns in museums, the Wander Aimlessly and the Guided Tour. The Metropolitan is one of the best Wander Aimlessly ones and the Guggenheim is a great Guided Tour. You take the elevator to the top and then wander down the spiral ramp seeing the exhibits in a specific order.

Here in DC the Wander Aimlessly seems to prevail, particularly at the National Gallery. I haven't been to the National Museum of American History since it reopened, but the gallery layouts used to be fairly aimless, but specific exhibits tend to be Guided Tour.

The most effective Guided Tour style museum here in DC is the Holocaust Museum. It just unfolds that story in a way that just tears you apart.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm officially boodle-hogging, so it's time to do something else. Go Ravens!

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The excitement is starting already as the Obama family is to arrive in about half an hour or so here on Oahu. The newspapers are already asking people to send in pictures if they happen to come across the Obamas during their vacation here. I wish people would just leave them alone. This will be the last time they get to have a vacation like this. They will also be having a private remembrance of his grandmother who died just before the election. I know he's the future leader of our country but they're still a family and they're still grieving, no doubt. They are entitled to some privacy I think.

Sending warm wishes to all the Boodlers out there!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 20, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, porkfest. Today, hogfest.

I think the boodle has a few things backwards.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

yello, I apologize again. The umbrage was entirely tongue-in-cheek and meant as a tip of my virtual hat to your amusing description.

I've done the Guggenheim about six times. Four of them were top down, but twice I did bottom up, just to see how the experience would be different. The answer is, very.

Since there seems to be wide support for the Ravens tonight, and I happen to own some purple football beads, I am wearing them now, so show solidarity. My football education proceeds apace.

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

As was my umbrage at your umbrage. It just gave me a reason to finally put to print my museum navigation theories.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Those would be Museum Navigation Theories, surely?

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I have yet to publish my account on how to see the entire British Museum in under 90 minutes. It can be done.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse


Did you use a video recorder mounted on an toy helicopter, Yellojkt?

I look forward to your museum-engineering solution.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, I did skip a little bit, but nothing important. I once did three Paris art museums in one day including spending less than an hour in the Louvre.

I am a power tourist. Clark Griswold has nothing on me.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

congrats to the ravens fans. just happened to check the internets now as the game ended.

Posted by: LALurker | December 20, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Good night, all.

That was a heck of a game by the Ravens to beat the Cowboys in Dallas, at the last home game in Texas Stadium.

Dallas' failure to stop those Ravens TD runs of 77 and 82 yards from scrimmage on the first downs of consecutive possessions was remarkable, even though I called the second one just as one of the TV announcers did before the play even happened. Dallas had the same defensive alignment, why not call the same play that worked last time? Sure enough, same result.


Posted by: -bc- | December 21, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Howdy all
I was happy to end Texas stadium with a win for the Ravens and a chorus of boos for the home team. Nice fun game out with friends ,good food and good game.Those 2 run at the end bc were great,still love the stiff arm McClain did on the last one and a heck of a block by Lorenzo Neal on that run.

wow it was fun,1 more win and we are in the Playoffs.....funny saying that....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 21, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the Ravens will go to Tampa for another Super Bowl.

And while it's not my promised magnum opus, here are the pictures I took at the British Museum. We got pilfered Greek antiquities, mummies galore, Roman "send money" letters, and antique chessman.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

Don't y'all be trying to out-umbrage me. When I'm properly motivated, I can bring vast amounts of umbrage to bear. Or, at least, I can play the part pretty well!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 21, 2008 2:52 AM | Report abuse

One more day without internet, I’ll have to be committed to the nut-house. Apparently there were some cable problems and it took the Telekom guys five days to fix. I think they deliberately took their time to fix the problem just to see who’d go nuts without the internet.

Unable to access the internet, I was forced to doing long neglected cleaning up of what’s in the computer. While deleting unwanted folders, old emails and other stuff, I found this :

Newspapers and Their Readers

One Journalism professor has looked at this survival formula and arrived at
the following analysis, which has been passed along...

1. The Wall St. Journal is read by people who run the country.

2. The NY Times is read by people who think that they run the country.

3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the

4. USA Today is read by people who think that they ought to run the country
but don't understand the Washington Post.

5. The LA Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country if
they could spare the time.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.

7. The NY Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the

8. The NY Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as
long as they do something scandalous.

9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure that there
is a country, or that anyone is running it.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 21, 2008 3:50 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'm getting ready to dive in the bath tub, and looking forward to Sunday school and church services this morning. The children will recite Christmas poems this morning. The g-girl is suppose to participate, but I suspect her mother lost her poem. She may show up. I hope you guys can give God some of your time.

Mudge, Scotty, Martooni, Slyness, Yoki, and all the boodle, Christmas is almost here. Have a great day, folks.*waving*

The church is sponsoring a Christmas Party for the seniors after the service. It's always nice. The folks from a local nursing home join us for this event. And we get a chance to fellowship and get into the holiday spirit. I tried to get my dad to go, but he won't budge.

The weather here is still slightly wet. It is suppose to get colder. I know some of you will get even more snow and cold. Please keep warm.

Enjoy your weekend, and thanks again. Good to hear from you Boko.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 21, 2008 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! As Cassandra noted, cool and very damp in the Carolinas. I hope those of you experiencing extreme weather conditions stay warm and well.

Family party was much fun, another drop-in today and then the marathon that is pre-Christmas. Time for me to wrap presents!

I hope everyone has a lovely day!

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Rainforest - that list was very clever. Clearly clip-worthy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 21, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

Thanks everyone for the kind words. Slyness, that was especially nice. I am very excited about NECC, not only because it is NECC, but because it is in DC. On top of seeing many of you guys, I might get to lobby to get schools some help.

Between now and then, I'm also applying to participate in the Apple Distinguished Educator program. I think that would look beautiful on my resume. The application process is intense.

Today we are peeling a TON of potatoes for latkes. I'll fax all of you the crispiest batch. Get your apple sauce and forks ready!

Posted by: abeac1 | December 21, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Abeac, yum! My fax machine is READY!

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra.

abeac, that's just cruel :)

Very happy morning chez Yoki. a)Heard that my missing friend is troubled but well and knows he can rely on his friends, and will be back in touch when he's able (who knew tax lawyers lived such dramatic lives?) and b)received a message this morning that I did not expect from another special and cherished friend. Everything points to a fine day.

Well, everything but the weather. The stupendous cold continues, -37C out there right now with wind chill. Being socked-in is lovely for a day or two, good excuse to nest, but after a full week those charms pale. I'm thankful for the internet.

A gingerbread house-building shindig with twenty friends-of-young-ladies is in the offing this afternoon, tremendous fun. The english majors and science kids tend toward the traditional Bavarian style, the drama students and musicians create anything from art deco movie marquees to bird feeders. There really are two types of people in this world. I just keep the food and drink coming.

Have a great day everyone. Don't exhaust yourselves in the pre-Christmas rush.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki, if ONLY I coulda exhausted myself in pre-Christmas stuff yesterday.

Instead, Mr. Botulism paid me a special visit Friday evening, and after a decidedly unsettled overnight ("O Horrid Night," if you will), yesterday was an exercise in discovering how many variations of "flat on my back" I could come up with. Blech.

And the Cowboys' defense was almost as blech last night, judging from the lowlights. (Sorry, gwe, I hadda root for the 'Boys to help the Pats out.)

I'm much better today, thankfully, so I'll go get NukeSpouse's not-so-surprise gift and try and figure out where there's an extra square foot or so of space in the house to fit it. :-)

*you'll-all-understand-if-I'm-not-quite-as-energetic-as-usual-but-my-heart's-in-it-nonetheless Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 21, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hello folks... Slyness, we had the same Extended-Family Christmas yesterday you did... fun, fun, fun with two girlfriends added to the family and a new baby girl! We are growing by leaps and bounds.

I'm sure that by next Christmas one of those girlfriends will be an official member of the family (the other is a tad too young to be making that change next year, but I anticipate she'll be part of us eventually).

a bea c... I was out with a friend last night whose paper was not accepted from that conference.... she was mightily impressed that I have a friend who will be presenting. Yay!

DNA Girl... I love this phrase of yours... "I fell in love with a wool scarf from Nepal a couple of weeks ago in one of the stalls. It has reciprocated with great warmth since then." So poetic.. thanks.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I know my description can't possibly do it justice, but the woods behind my house is glistening and it's beautiful.

The ice hanging on the branches is just starting to melt and as the sun emerges from behind the clouds, the droplets at the end of the bare branches are sparkling and huge sparkling drops of water are falling from all the trees. So it looks like it is only raining in the woods, while the sun shines on it all.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Do you live in front of the Hundred-acre woods, TBG?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, think of it as commencing the Christmas season with a whole new intestinal flora. Out with the old, in with the new.

The blizzard conditions have let go quite a bit but it's still snowing. The snowblower will get a work out later and the girls will probably go for a ski outing. To each his or her own pleasure...

I'm still thinking of that Mass in Portuguese I listened to yesterday. The church is dedicated to Our-Lady-of-Fatima, so the Ave Maria is pretty much their theme song. Ave Maria is as beautiful in Portuguese as it is in German, Latin, Italian or French (I don't remember hearing it in English, strangely). Shubert really hit it with that song, it's magical.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 21, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It is a remarkable piece, isn't it, shrieking_denizen? It moves me to tears, not through any particular association, just the beauty of the phrases.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, hope you're feeling better! Food poisoning is not fun.

TBG, the aftermath of ice storms, with the sun out, is so beautiful (if you're safe and warm). I remember quite a few while living in the DC area. We had sideways snow last night. Only got a few more inches, but it managed to drift because of the steady wind. Very strange. It's supposed to get a bit warmer over the next few days, but will still be right around freezing, so getting out and about will be difficult. I'm with Yoki - eager to get back to normal after almost a week of this.

Posted by: seasea | December 21, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

God bless the Boodle.

I recommend some yogurt, Scotty. It's no cure-all, but it'll help a bit even now.

Shouts-out to all! And my stomach audibly shouted to me when I read "latkes."

So happy Solstice to all. And if you go for the Twelve Days of Christmas, surely they have started as well. Ditto for Saturnalia. And I don't know if Festivus would not want to be out-done, but I have no problem with Twleve Days of Festivus either.

(offshore wind farming)

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 21, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Good morning all, kind of like living inside a giant snowball around here, big fluffy flakes fall from the sky earlier this morning, now just lots of wind swirling the snow around. At least a foot of the fluffy stuff on the ground - very christmasy.

Just had the eight year olds birthday and despite a few hiccups all went well. Favorite quote of the week from her,

Dad asking (he thinks) what to you want (to eat).

She, Dignity!

Apparently there was some miss communication between the two.

If I recall correctly there is a boodle birthday tomorrow!

Posted by: dmd2 | December 21, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Greetings, all-- we're having lovely winter solstice weather here in S. Florida, about 80 degrees and mostly sunny--I need to go out and prune my tomato plants so they don't get top-heavy and blow over the first time we get a big windstorm.

Meanwhile, I was looking at the Christmas cards my husband had helpfully put up around the entranceway to the kitchen. We don't get many cards, which is only fair since we hardly send any, either. But we have about a half-dozen so far, from work colleagues or faithful relatives. One is a Russian-themed graphic, very nice, but signed "xxooo, Mom." Well. It's not from my mother and it's not from my husband's mother, and my daughter's mother, that would be "me" so that's not it. The only conclusion I can reach is that this is somebody else's Christmas card, and how it came to reside at our house is a mystery.

I am periodically struck by just how much more chaotic my life is from the average American middle-class existence. It's mostly the result of being married to an artist, but my own temperament is also somewhat eccentric--certainly, I don't value order and stability enough to fight for them; I don't care about home decor enough to spend time or money on it; I have an ability to tolerate less-than-perfect conditions. But most of the time, since it's my life, I feel it's "normal" -- just occasionally I face the reality: other people don't live like this. Other people know who their Christmas cards are from!

Still, I wouldn't trade: it's perfect hammock weather and I might just go take a nap pretty soon.

Suggested soltice soundtrack:

Posted by: kbertocci | December 21, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, Saturnalia suits me fine. Just so long as turkey dinner is traditional.

Did some shopping this morning, not too bad early in the day, gradually getting caught up on 6 or 7 discrete lists.

And even though it is still cold, the sun shone and the wind dropped, so it was a rather crispy crunchy cold, not pure misery.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

We came home late Wednesday night, around 10:30 p.m., since one retailer at The Rim shopping center was staying home until 11 p.m. My husband has been home all week on staycation. The week has generally been overcast, with heavy fog, drippy skies, decreased visibility sometimes, winds occasionally quite gusty (but unfortunately, no rain). Wednesday's black night was foggy, but the blanket of heavy precipitation wasn't low to the ground, as it has been at other times.

We were almost to the turn-off to our subdivision, only two blocks away, when suddenly the road before us was lit up with a what seemed like a humdred small red lights. As we descended the crest of the small hill and approached the lights, the small red flickering orbs took on the look of a runway, but as we drew nigh, it became apparent that the red dancing lights were flares, and the road had been narrowed to one lane. We looked across the median to see the same situation on the roadway going the opposite direction: one lane of traffic. There must have been at least eight patrol cars and numerous uniformed officers on foot.

According to the mother, as reported in Friday's paper, her son had wanted to be a physicist, like his cousin, and was interested in all things that have to do with outer space. The 11-year-old boy had accompanied his mother to WalMart to buy a bicycle for one of his older sibling's children. But one of Wednesday night's apparent tragedies is that his own mother either didn't insist he wear a seat belt or didn't ensure that all of the kids in the vehicle that night were strapped in. Unfortunately, the child took a premature space flight Wednesday night that took his life, ejected from the vehicle, his trajectory the result of a drunk driver who also happened to be on the same road that night, speeding. The drunk driver's SUV collided with the van, causing it to veer off the road.

And when we're out on that stretch of road so close to our home, when it's another dark and foggy night, and late, will I see the form of a little boy, a faint outline in the median--the Ghost of a Christmas That Could Have Been?

Posted by: laloomis | December 21, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Crunchy munchy snow
All over bouncing sunshine
Calm blue sky, cold toes

(Gee we must have the same weather!)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, Wilbrodog! I do love your pomes.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Doggy bag from brunch
Stirs up poetic appetite
For walks in the snow


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

afternoon all
Just got back home from Mom's quite nippy here in west by god,nippy in the house too,colder then a cave. Happy winter solstice to everyone,usually an outdoor fire would be in order,but it is windy very windy here now.Cool sight on the way home.All the tops of the mountains were still in a frozen glaze and with the sun on them it was quite a sight.

Time to get the woodstove a rolling....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 21, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Happy winter solstice!

TBG, I'm sorry your friend didn't get selected for NECC. She can come hang out with me at my poster session. She probably has interesting things to say about the student projects I'll be highlighting.

It is cautiously sunny here, a nice change after a whole week of clouds and rain. I'm sitting at the kitchen counter watching the seamonkeys twirl around as the light hits the water.

Posted by: abeac1 | December 21, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Spoke too soon. A giant, dark cloud just took over. Naptime.

Posted by: abeac1 | December 21, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to this afternoon. All the young'uns are clearing out, and I will start the pre-prep for Christmas dinner; make the stock for the gravy (some lonely skimming will be called for, Jumper), make breadcrumbs for the dressing.

I believe in sneaking up on Christmas Dinner, rather than getting into a tizz on the day and losing my composure, which is otherwise inviolable [insert derisive laughter by friends here].

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Lonely skimming
Brings up skinny-dipping dreams--
Skins of cream in lakes

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Now this little gift demonstrates that you, Wilbrod, are a person after my own heart.

Just, not for a couple of months.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Just got home from a brunch downtown with the "chick gang" -- most of us 60 (this year)or older (2 years ago) and one mere puppy of 56. We exchanged gifts, drank mimosas (with orange juice and mangoes -- deelish) and had a high old time until it was time for two of them to head over to FedEx field for the game. Now the significance of this is that one of them came down from Pennsylvania (near enough to Philly to be one of them) and is rooting (of course) for the Iggles, which I know will please Mudge no end.

I just checked the scoreboard and note that the Lions are down 28-7 playing New Orleans fer goodness sakes! Yep, now it's official -- the Lions are going to have a perfect season which only goes to emphasize the exquisite mess that Detroit and Michigan are in right now and clearly now into the future. At least the Red Wings are doing reasonably well in hockey and the Pistons are getting their feet under them on the basketball court. But, still. . . .

One of the people going to the game today came over in time to get some champagne before heading back out. He's a career foreign service guy -- I asked him what he thought of Hillary as SoS, and he said that she was a very good choice, as (1) she's very, very policy oriented; (2) she's got a huge work ethic and so will put in a huge amount of time into it; and (3) she's very, very tough. That was good to hear from someone on the ground, so to speak.

So, now I'm gonna go huddle under the newly knitted throw I got from my PA friend (a knitting goddess, who made 4 of them in different colors to match not only our respective decor, but our respective personalities), read the paper and perhaps look at the game.

cya all later.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 21, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

hey Yoki!!!
How about insert a laugh like Dr. Evil?
I don't even want to know how could it is up there,probably make me seem like a sissy,sittng in my winter coat typeing this message.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 21, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all, and a happy solstice. Later this afternoon I'm singing in an Evensong concert for the Longest Day of the Year. It will be lovely.

It is unreasonably cold here - we woke up at 10 (F) and it made up to to 23 so far. I know that isn't real cold but it plays cold on TV. Our heater, which is valiantly laboring to keep the place at 65, started to make a thump after it cycles off. I worry.

Friday we got the tree and acquired presents for my in-laws, and there was much rejoicing. Then I went to a party which features much enthusiastic caroling, an opera star, and a rousing rendition of Hallelujah Chorus and the B.C.Clark Jewelers' Song. "Those other parties, they don't have this!" Yesterday the Boy had Church Pageant rehearsal - he played the bass guitar as part of the accompanying orchestra, and did a reading - while I addressed Christmas cards, my very own tradition. Also we did grocery shopping, laundry, attended a family dinner. Etc. Today was the Pageants itself, two services, and I'm resting before the Evensong. Perhaps before Christmas the tree will be decorated, cookies baked, and cards mailed. In any case there will be much rejoicing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Blue Florida springs
Same temperature year round
Christmas memories

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 21, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I love the final line in this Doonesbury.

Pretty tough to argue with.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh my! Wouldn't that be fine?

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I love Toggle and hope he gets past his problems!

It can be Christmas now: I'm wrappping presents. For the Elder Dottir, the big wrapped gift will be a picture of the refrigerator we bought for her, cut up into pieces so she has to put them together to figure it out. The question before me is how small I should make the pieces. I don't want to frustrate her - much!

Muc colder here than earlier in the day. It's nice to see the sun on the shortest day of the year, since it's been several days.

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Ack! No no, slyness, please don't make it be Christmas yet, I'm not ready.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

We decorated the tree this afternoon, Mrs. D is baking some more Christmas cookies and even roasted frikking chestnuts, in the electric oven though.
Listening to 70's music while watching Steelers-Titans, how more christmassy can it gets?

Scottynuke is coaching the Tennessee Titans??????

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 21, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Just overheard my kids talking about the picture of two reindeer in the newspaper.

"These are Rudolph and Nixon"
"No, Blintze and Nixon"


Posted by: abeac1 | December 21, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Happy Hanukkah y'all! The woman who lived next to us when we first moved here used to very kindly invite us over for the first night. I have very nice memories of the ceremony. I especially liked the gratitude about being kept alive.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 21, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, Boodle. Just got back from Williamsburg a little while ago; we had a good time (bought 10 bottles of wine at Trader Joe's in W-burg to replenish our wine closet). Still have to backboodle to see how everyone's doing.

Happy Winter Solstice to any of you wiccans, and anyone else who cares, as of 7 a.m. this morning. And Happy Channukah about an hour from now to FTB, abeac, and the SciTim clan.

Just updated myself on the football scores; after the early round, omni is leading with a 6-3 record; the rest of us are 5-4.

I *knew* I shoulda picked the Ravens.

No, I'm not ready for Christmas, either: still got wrapping to do. And one minor present to buy.

Yoki, howaya? CqP, you still buried in papers?

This is encouraging: so far, the Redskins aren't sucking. (But it's still early.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Alas, I have not had the pleasure of Hanukkah yet, RD. I'm looking it up right now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

It’s been snowing here for two days but it has now either changed to rain or stopped. Yesterday’s trip to deliver cookies was a lot more difficult than it should have been. Even with the snow, or maybe because of it, everyone was out on the highways trying to finish shopping or deliver their own cookies or whatever. It took twice as long to get where we had to go and back. The restaurant last night was rather disappointing. We’d been there once before and it was good, but last night the service was slow and our entrees were luke warm and one came out medium well instead of medium rare. Ah well. It was fun to be with friends. We made our trek out to the local very large store for meat and veggies for Christmas eve dinner. I made fudge and now I am ready for the final push to Christmas.

Scotty, sorry about your tummy but thank heavens it was now so you have a few days to recover before Christmas.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 21, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Still not sucking. 3-0 at the half, Skins lead.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon! You're home. And RD was here, gwe stopped by earlier. It's nice to have everyone back where they belong. Time for tea and cookies.

'Mudge, I hate it when you leave us on the weekends, we need to keep us rolling.

Did you say wine?

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Just getting back in. It feels like I've been in church all day. The fellowship dinner was nice, and there were lots of people. I went to visit my dad after the dinner, and stayed and talked with him for awhile. I couldn't persuade him to join me at the dinner.

I asked my dad what he was going to be doing tomorrow. He said, I'm going to be doing what everyone in the county is doing. And I said what is that. He replies, I'm going to Wal-Mart. I worry about him going to Wal-Mart during the holiday. He can't see that well, and there are so many people. And me taking him is out of the question. Not that I wouldn't, but he won't allow that. I'm hoping he'll go early.

Loomis, that was awful. Have a happy holiday.

Slyness, it is so cold here now. And Kbert, it certainly sounds warm where you are, and you still have tomatoes. I'm so jealous.

I'm tired and going to bed. Goodnight, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 21, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Cassandra. Sleep well.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Just got power back on,out for 3+ hours,thankfully woodstove was going good and I had coffee to heat on the stove.Replaced batteries in the boom box so i could listen to the Skins game.I was able to cut my tree down and get it in the stand,no sense putting the lights on without power,perhaps in a little bit.Doing some prep work in case we lose power again.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 21, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

And you all missed the Saturnalia that featured skinny dipping in gravy. It was *great.*

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Give me slack for Christmas. LOL

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 21, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse


Sounds luxurious and warm, Yoki.
I'm surprised the dogs didn't try and jump in too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

We could all use some.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Who said they didn't?

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't invited?!
Snooze one saturnalia
And I SO miss out...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

What kind of gravy?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I favour beef gravy, myself, silken and richly flavoured, but several Boodlers held out for turkey, in the spirit of the season. I'm an easy-going sort, so it was easy to concur.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, they ain't going anywhere after next week's game, but it does do the heart good to see Mr. Zorn and his crew win one.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 21, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Gravy forms on floor
As doggy drool coalesces
With tears of stomachbreak


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank god Walt Coleman wasn't the ref!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 21, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

We'll invite in you plenty of time next December, Wilbrodog. Only, we don't feel too good, right now...


Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Redskins win!!!! Still not sucking!!! But it was ohhhhhhhhhhhhh sooooooooooo closssssssssssssseeee at the end!

Turkey gravy? For Saturnalias? I find the giblets tend to get in the way, and occassionally hinder Saturnalian-type body-to-body contact. Or maybe it's just me; I tend to wind up at the bottom of the scrum, me and the giblets.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Please! This was a symbolic and high-class-type saturnalian skinny dip, a ritual, if you will.

Any body-to-body contact was strictly accidental and immediately regretted by at least one party to the transaction.


Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

THAT's what I'm tryin' to tell ya! It was regretted by me, slippin' and slidin' around on them giblets!

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Where there cranberries?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

You, sir, are incorrigible.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Here and still grading, Mudge. Managed the tree up with colored lights. Very pretty. My solar door lights -- outdoors -- are wiggy.

Planning for fondue for the Eve. Leftovers for the day. My Italian connection is dead, really, so no fish times seven supper. Rest in Peace, Uncle Eduardo Antonio, RIP.

Thank you, KB, for the story about cards. I do not send cards, so do not receive cards. BUT did open a nice card from my boss. Surprise, actually and quite pleasant.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear you're still up and about CqP, although get that grading over with PDQ, that can't be so fun.

I will be be in the DC area tomorrow evening, if all goes well, and won't be able to boodle much.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Today I finally got the Christmas cards ready to go in the mail. Probably most won't make it to their destinations before Christmas. kb, that is funny about the one you got from "mom". I have an aunt by marriage who is in her 90's now. She was married to my father's brother, who died in the 1940s. A cousin mentioned sending her a Christmas card a few years ago, so I did too, but felt compelled to explain who I was. Of course, she remembered me and now sends me a card every year, bless her heart.

It's still snowing here. This is very disconcerting, and quite unusual. At least the temperature has warmed up a bit, enough that I thawed out the hummingbird feeders because they wouldn't freeze up again immediately. kb, would you mind faxing a few degrees of warmth? Thanks.

Posted by: seasea | December 21, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, Wilbrod.

Chilly but clear today.

I am in the most intense grading ever. Due 9PM Christmas Eve. Usually due January 3 or 5. Amazing. Of course I could through them down the stairs, and take the pattern as a grade distribution. But that would be so Scroogey of me.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

How about playing punchbuggy or a (non-alcoholic) drinking game whenever you catch a flaw in logic, CqP?

Personally I'd probably just toss Wilbrodog his ball to alleviate the tension.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Wb, I would be a dangerous blood alcoholic levels, should I try that!!!!

Would love some real eggnog, though. Had some in 1982 and still dream about it.

My tree smells so perfect. The end was trimmed by Neighbor R with a chain saw. WOuld not fit the humble tree stand that dates from the 1960s. Tree end sits in

water laced with aspirin, molasses, and one TBs of bleach...Granny Mary Grace's recipe.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I hope your students realize what a gem of a teacher they have in you. They probably don't, but they'll figure it out one day!

Fondue for Christmas Eve! I like that thought. My problem is that Christmas Eve communion is at 5 p.m. so we are home around 6:15-6:20. I either come up with something that can be fixed beforehand or have to rush madly to have dinner before everyone starves. My pleas for suggestions from the family have been met with blank stares. I still don't have any idea what I'll cook.

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

cp, do you do portfolio grading, or is this just all the final papers and final grades?

either way, faxing mojo for the grading...

Posted by: LALurker | December 21, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to mention the passing of an amazing Native American, Vi Hilbert:
She pretty much single-handedly saved her tribe's language. I never met her personally, but I was at a pow-wow where she was an honored guest.

Posted by: seasea | December 21, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Modified portfolio, LaLurker. Thanks for asking. We are running a three year experiment on rubrics, portfolios, benchmarks, etc.

Thanks to all for caring. Teachers tend to her complaints not compliments. I appreciate the cheering on and etc. I am done for the night, though, so that is a relief.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess that means no cranberries. *sigh*

I hate rubrics. I can never get all those squares of the same color anywhere close to lining up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll send you whatever grading mojo remains in me after tonight, CqP. I have decided to get the @#!$!%%! thing done before daybreak.

Having set tough tests, I am now wading through the bloody aftermath... must learn to use this superpower more responsibly...

This is for you and the 'skins 'Mudge

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 21, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DNAGal Faxing you caffeine but without the shakes.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

IDaughter just read this to me... I guess it's made the rounds on the interwebs. In the interest of scientific experimentation, I am posting it here...

"Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

"Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the 'loser' and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

"I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

"Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is mishapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.

"When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503, along with a 3x5 card reading, 'Please use this M&M for breeding purposes.'

"This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this "grant money". I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion.

"There can only be one."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DNA, very apropos...sort of. (See below.)

Well, sports fans, we had a stunning second round of football prognostication in the 4 p.m. games. Seems LiT. bc and omni all went 1-4, while I, defending tiara wearer and football handicapper extraordinaire, went 0-5. Yes, fans, it was a gloriously ignominous tea time of the soul for all of us.

At the moment, omni leads, with 7-7. LiT and bc are tied for second, at 6-8. I am fighting a heroic read-guard action, at 5-9. If the Bears win tomorrow, omni wins this week's crown. If they lose, LiT ties with him.

(Alas, LiT nearly produced a small miracle. bc, omni and I all picked the iggles to win; only LiT picked the Redskins, But just before kickoff, she changed her pick, to the Iggles. *sigh*)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I once got a girlfriend of mine a whole jar of green m&ms.

Didn't work.

And speaking off good things, I am currently enjoying a most delightful cookie flavored with anise. Thanks again dbG. And I think all would agree that as all I provided was a big bag of bunny poop, I got the best of this particular transaction.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 21, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

cp, i figured from the sound of your grading pile that you were doing something like portfolios. i've never done them (grad student teachers weren't supposed to). i've always been skeptical towards the idea because of students' lack of time management skills, but i know many great teachers who use this approach.

dna girl, you can do it! you. can. do. it.

Posted by: LALurker | December 21, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

LaLurker 'zactly. We are finding that the idea in theory is great, but not in practice. We are trying a modified version with extensive peer review opportunities. Eventually, we will likely drop this practice, but must experiment to justify a change.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

We'll see what the tomatoes in my garden have to say about that next summer, RD! :-)

Very busy weekend--working, lunch with my cousin, then helping my good friends Christmas shop on the Internet for a camera, printer, netbook and double strand of freshwater pearls. Tomorrow, straightening up for the dogsitter and packing.

Time for bed, I think. Merry Christmas to all, sleep well!

Posted by: -dbG- | December 21, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

CquaP, a former (despised) professor of mine had worked out an algorithm so he had less grading to do on finals.

His spreadsheet would tell him what final grade(s) would have to be achieved to change a grade upward (he wouldn't grade downward from the semester's work).

He'd either look at the person's name and say, "Nah, it's impossible" and toss the exam aside, or grade only as much as he had to, to the point where the necessary uplift grade was impossible. Then toss it aside. He'd end up grading many fewer finals than the other CS profs, and actually, there's still a bounty on his head for being a general glassbowl.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 21, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

dbG-- Horrors! And, no figgy pudding for him ever!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, TBG, howja like "West Side Story"?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Here is my boodle Christmas card:

Black hole visualization from NASA

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 21, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

CqP, that's really kewl. I am glad to associated with people who understand black holes and can explain them.

G'night all. The second half of the local game is about to start, but I won't be staying up for it.

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all and goodnight. The concert was excellent, if I say so myself, and I do. I have done all the Christmas cards I can and must off to bed - the Ivansclan as a whole may not have to get up tomorrow but I must. Vaya con queso, buenos gnocchis, and fondue to all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I can hear your sublime, soaring voice, Ivansmom, over the orchestra and chorus. So beautiful.

And I wish you and the boy and Ivansdad a happy holiday.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Giants just won in overtime, 34-28. Heckuva game.

Reckon I'm the last one up. It's OK, I'll bring in the dog and put put the cat (or is it the other way around?) Oh, well. One or the other. I'll turn off all the lights, bank the fire in the fireplace. put the coffee on to timer perk.

Checked my wee bairns, and tucked everybody in.

'Night, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Yoki's still up. 'Course, it's only what 8:45 out there? The night is young where you are.

You have a good day? And yes, I can hear Ivansmom's voice, too.

Still waiting for the promised continuation of our correspondence from the other day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

The continuation of our correspondence is indeed on its way, but very cathartic for me to express, good friend. Let us trust each other, that this will come.

I need to pull it out, and haven't managed yet.


Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I've only had a few teachers demand portfolios or portfolio-type assignments.

Generally, assignments done-in-class or done on sub-deadlines comprised part of the overall portfolio.

I had one teacher who actually graded homework as done, then insisted we keep all of them once returned and turn in at the end of the semester for additional grading (presumably, late assignments would not get the inital grade, but would get the portfolio grade).

That was the only high school class I ever did do 99.99% of all homework assigned. Most of my teachers didn't bother to grade homework at all. She was the most organized teacher I ever had, hands down.

Project management in life will demand people learn how to break tasks down, and it's a good skill to teach students by example, even if you do most of the work for them.

And any projects involving cooperation between team members MUST have very clear deadlines, expectations of hours put in, etc. Otherwise you're looking at a major bloodbath between serious students and "hey, just wing it when it comes" students.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

OK, no pressure, no hurry.

I'd stay up and keep you company, but I just gotta get some sleep. You should try it. Talk to ya tomorrow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 21, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of management skills, my flight is cancelled; we'll be going out on Tuesday instead. I at least do not have to get up at 4 AM this morning.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

wilbrod, portfolio grading in writing classes pretty much means you don't get a grade (or at least a final grade) on any paper until the end of the term when everything is turned in together.

in other words, the temptation to procrastinate on revising and finishing your assignments is *very high.*

Posted by: LALurker | December 22, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

It's yours CqP.
No strings attached.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 22, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, I turned in a portfolio 5 days early for a writing class once, L.A. Lurker.

The class involved workshopping pieces in progress, so there was an incentive to work on pieces for feedback throughout the class (and some grading for participation as well), and I had already workshopped plenty in class and gotten a fair idea of what I needed to do.

I do remember being paralyzed on picking a single topic to work on for a major paper... a portfolio at least avoids that problem, but there MUST be feedback going on so the student has incentive not to procrastinate.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 2:13 AM | Report abuse

In general, I've found time management issues affect far more than portfolios-- it affects studying for tests, doing papers last minute, etc.

Sometimes the problem is not being tempted to procrastination per se but limited judgment as to how long an assignment will take to do properly.

Cues and suggestions can go a long way towards guiding students to decide what they need to be doing.

I still remember how swamped I was my first semester ever in college when finals came-- partly due to a major project that required more of a time commitment than I expected.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 2:21 AM | Report abuse

I started my first semester in college in January. It was the first time I saw snow and experienced snow falling from the sky. There were a bunch of us who were experiencing it for the first time. We were all fascinated by the white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. When there were enough accumulated on the ground, we went outside and built a snowman. I was outside for along time and only went indoors when my fingers and toes began to hurt too much. They were painful and numb for a long time.

Every winter, I had wished for at least 8” of snow because school would close when that happened. The 8” never came while I was there. The year after I graduated and moved to the SF bay area, the city had 9” of snow and school closed for several days.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 22, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. I'm trying to build up the courage to go outside and do the walk. I know it will be trying this morning because of the food eaten yesterday, and the harsh cold. I can feel the difference in temperature inside the apartment. I have another gathering to attend this morning at the health department.

Yoki, Slyness, Martooni, Mudge, Scotty, and all the boodlers, good Monday morning to you.*waving*

Have a great day, folks. We're almost at Christmas time, just a few more days. My prayer is that I can do it with dry eyes and a joyful heart. Yesterday was my mother's birthday. She would have been 81 years young. I thought about her and the Christmas celebration yesterday after church. She started going first, and we tagged along. Lord knows, my mother was legally blind, but that never stopped her. She could always find the door, and step out of it.

CP, I think I've said this many times, I think teachers are great, even those we don't especially care for. And I'm not putting you in that category, I'm just partial to teachers. They have the toughest job in the world, but that's just my opinion.

Time to go.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 22, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle.

Cassandra, wait for just a minute and I'll come with you for the walk. After being cooped up inside for days it will be a fine thing. A balmy morning for us to show our superb elan as Boulvardiers. Flaneurs.

Just think, today is the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve. The world is full of richly suprising gifts, Christmas or no Christmas, don't you find?

And with that thought, dear friends, I head over to the Ready Room to set out the spread. Spinach and ricotta frittata, grilled tomatoes, and a compote of spiced fruit with scones.

Have a great day, everybody. I plan to do the same.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra! A very crisp Monday morning here: reports current temperature as 23. That beats the heck out of the 1.1 at the weather station closest to the mountain cottage. But it was cold enough for Mr. T to put on a jacket.

My father died on December 18, so that was a rather subdued Christmas. He was 85 and had been in the nursing care unit at the Veterans Hospital for a year, but he got sick and died overnight. His death was a shock but not a surprise.

Ivansmom, I wish I could have heard your concert. Maybe one day we can get a recording!

Cassandra, stay warm. I'm going to take the walk, but I'll be bundled up!

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

As I read of snow and extreme cold from many of the boodlers and then the warmest words from our southernmost pals, I am reminded of what a hardy (and hearty) congregation of JA devotees we have 24 hours per extraordinary gift.

Scotty, hope you bounce back to your 100% cheery self.

CP, I remember a sociology professor I had back in the day. We swore she truly graded on the stairs instead of the curve. After roll call she lectured to the ceiling as some of us in the back rows crawled out of her class on our hands and knees. She never knew we were gone.

Today will find me with many others at the grocery store buying all the ingredients for baking. I have baked but most of the things walked out of the door as we shared with others at holiday parties/events, etc.

Am way behind on boodle menus, but will only mention that as a child of the Tidewater, our Christmas Eve dinner was always highlighted by fried oysters...big, fat oysters, clean healthy oysters. Mama would stand at the stove cooking, Daddy would stand by the containers of oysters, eating them raw. He always made the eggnog and the fudge. That's the only time I remember him cooking. He was more the "go out and catch fish or hunt rabbits" with his brothers and bring them home to clean/skin before handing them over to my mother. Long ago memories, all good.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 22, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, wish we could do that. And the foods sounds really, really, delicious.

Slyness, I did bundle up, but my face is still cold. It's a sharp contrast from yesterday's balmy temps.

Scotty, I forgot to mention this morning that I do hope you're feeling more like your old self. I hope the stomach thing doesn't impact your appetite for Christmas foods.

Well, time to get to the packing of stuff. I can no longer pretend that my apartment is clean and ready for inspection. That just is not the case. I'm in the first phase of this massive job.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 22, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle!

Today, is the day after solstice (The real new year) if the sun fails to rise one minute earlier than yesterday, it is the end of the world.

Brrrrrr. It's a cold morning.
Have a great day!

PS, the Kindle edition of Kingmaker been selling briskly over the weekend.

Posted by: Braguine | December 22, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

The bouncing is underway, VL, thank you. :-)

shriek, you made my Monday!!! *ROFL and very honored*

*darn-these-short-work-weeks-that-actually-contain-WORK-but-glad-to-have-enjoyed-(and-yes-I-mean-that)-this-morning's-brisk-Dawn-Patrol-sortie Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 22, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I’m trying to keep the Christmas spirit even tho’ I have a terrible cold that makes me want to call in sick and sleep all day. Of course I can’t do that as there is much to do during this short week. The temp is in the teens and I think there’s a good breeze as well.The sun is out for the first time in I don’t know how long. Hope everyone is ready for Christmas. I also wish I could hear Ivansmom sing.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 22, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm back from the walk and my face is cold too! It felt good to walk briskly and to come back into the warmth.

There's still wrapping to do, and a trip to the mall. I'll be baking on Wednesday, as well as cleaning house. But I'll be ready when the time comes!

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Just ducking in. It's coooold outside. The Danes had to break the ice in the water bucket. Take care of yourselves, and keep my FIL in your thoughts, as he's having a bypass surgery this morning to correct a blockcage.

Posted by: -jack- | December 22, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

DNAGal's comic is one for the ages and for each needing a soupcon or more of MOJO. Highly recommended. Thank you, kind compadre.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, still cold here, but it is expected to warm up Christmas Eve and then be unseasonably warm and rainy for a few days, good thing we have lots of snow so our white christmas won't get washed away.

Lots of running around to do over the next couple of days, plus big house clean.

TBG Happy Birthday.

Jack three years ago today my Dad had his heart surgery, I will keep your FIL in my thoughts.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 22, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and a Happy Birthday to TBG!

It's cold and windy today, and I have some Backboodling to do after a busy but productive and enjoyable weekend.

And congratulations to omni for taking the Football Tiara this week, notably for his bold predictions of the Ravens over Dallas and Falcons over the Vikes. Tip 'o the hat to LiT, too, for picking the Bills in Denver.

A quiet week in the office, but things will start heating up soon for holiday celebrations galore...


Posted by: -bc- | December 22, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse


Best thoughts for your FIL...

FILs seem to need them a lot these days. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 22, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. This is one of those Mondays when I was darn glad to get back to work so I could get some rest. Been a very busy, hectic (but good) weekend. And pretty durn chilly, I might add; my desktop thermometer says 17 degrees. Some of you Canuckis and Wisconsiners and Montanamineers might be chortling. Well, chortle away -- but for us effete, thin-blooded Merliners, antyhing below freezing is interpreted as hostility from Mother Nature. What kind of Mother would subject her precious children to this mishagas? Zackly!

And among other things, with everything else going on, we're having the master bathroom in our house completely redone, down to and including a new sub-floor, the old one being rotten and in need to replacement. All walls stripped back to the insulation and new drywall put up; the old hot tub removed (due to lack of use) and replaced with an 8-foot wide double closet. The only thing remaining intact was the shower stall, and even that has been re-grouted. Most of this is being done by a contractor, but my wife has been acting as apprentice and gofer. I did my favorite part of the project: the "mindless destruction." I find it very therapeutic on a project like this to utterly destroy and rip out stuff. If you're ever down in the dumps, try a little demolition to lift your spirits. There's nothing quite like destroying something to put a bounce in your step. So not only did I get to do the mindless destruction over the past few months, I also built the stud walls around the new closet and hung the slide-by double louvered doors (big, heavy 36"-wide suckers).

In the "old" bathroom, when we built it (the entire master bedroom-and-bath suite used to be the single-car garage), we bought an old antique porcelain sink that had a built-in backsplash, very ol-fashioned but artsy. Then we bought an antique oak three-drawer bureau, and I cut a hole in the top of it for the bowl of the sink to sit in. Then I cut out parts of the drawers so they would hit around the blumbing underneath. And it was very cool, if I do say so myself. But over 20 or so years, the oak countertop took some water damage and started to delaminate a little bit in one spot. The upshot is, the top of the vanity needed major fixing.

I meantion all this as prelude to explain that during the Redskins game late yesterday afternoon, I watched the game while cutting foot-square pieces of marble tile with my wet-saw tile saw, and gluing the marble down as the new countertop to the old oak vanity. And of course I had to cut a big roundish hole where the antique porcelain sink would go. Finished that up about 8 p.m. After a quick dinner (a micro-waved chicken pot pie) I spent the remainer of the evening assembling a couple of those stacking shelf modules that will go inside the new closet, while my wife applied the third coat of undercoat on the drywall.

All of which is to explain why I was so darned happy to come to work today.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

When I'm down to the dump I like to shotgun rats. Shooting the bears isn't considered sporting. Funny, eh?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 22, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 22, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, TBG!!!!!! Have a delightful day, filled with people saying nice things to you. You are the best of the best.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, TBG. Why don't you celebrate by having lunch at the club?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

A very happy and enjoyable birthday wish for you, TBG.

And, Mudge, all that in a weekend? Demolition does sound like fun.

Now it's time to head out the door again. It is so cold outside, and I realize we're only getting a tiny taste of what is so much worse for others. Stay warm. Hope your FIL does okay, Jack.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 22, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about you folks, but at the top righthand-side of the kit, above, there is an advertisement for (...ready?...) Canada.

Just thought I'd call that to everyone's attention. Especially those of you in Canada. Where it's even colder than it is here.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, there are few things in this world as satisfying as knocking down a wall in your own house with a sledgehammer. I know. I have down this several times. It's exhilarating.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

wet-sawing stone is far beyond my own capabilities.

Last night, it did occur to me to clamp toekick strips to the new kitchen cabinets so I could saw a slender strip off the top of each (the cabinets were installed just a bit too low). It was important to do the sawing last night because the granite countertop's being installed right now.

The question of the moment is whether it was really worth an extra $200 to get a more interesting-looking granite. First look indicates "yes".

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 22, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, TBG!

*sending best wishes to jack's FIL*

Mudge, you seem to have a very long honey-do list. But the destruction part *is* fun. Nothing seems to bring the same twinkle to a man's eye as the prospect of destroying some particularly heinous part of his dwelling.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 22, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... your DESKTOP thermometer says 17 degrees?

Er...your desktop's in a deep freezer or busy frolicking outside?

'Cause if you're suffering 17 degrees in a gummit building, some Scrooge McManagers need to be fired pronto.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

When you are done with your bathroom upgrade you can come over and be the consultant on our bathroom upgrade. The developer that built the townhouse neglected to use any waterproof backing materials in the shower so I have been fighting a ten-year war of attrition to keep the shower stall from rotting away.

My wife wants to convert the roman tub to to double-headed shower stall but as always, her dreams exceed our budget, which is currently zero. If I could get the kid to flunk out of college for a semester I could maybe swing it, but he seems pretty intent on actually passing classes.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Try subsonic .22 shorts boko. With a bit of luck the rat doesn't squeal and alert the gang so you can keep on shooting until you get a squealer. I know, I know, I've squandered my youth shooting rats and drinking beer while I should have been chasing girls and drinking beer.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 22, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck for your FiL. A quick recovery would be the best Christmas present of all, no?

And tardy B-Day wishes to TBG. I really need to look at the master calendar more often.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

TBG, Happy day, and many happy returns of it!

If anybody is looking for a good family movie -- one that is worthy of the Big Screen treatment -- we saw _Australia_ yesterday, and I'm recommending it. Here is the caveat: if you only like sophisticated, cynical, self-referential, artistic *films* it might not be for you.

This is a big, rollicking, old-time Hollywood blow-out of a movie. The stars are too beautiful for believability, so you can just suspend your disbelief and enjoy watching them. The acting is fine and the story includes a full spectrum of emotion so that all the actors get to demonstrate the full range. Obviously Baz Luhrman had _Gone With the Wind_ on his mind making the film but he used the other 1939 blockbuster, _The Wizard of Oz_, as a visible and auditory reference point. It's a very beautiful movie. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I saw it.

I hope _Australia_ wins Best Picture because Jackman is hosting the Oscars this year and that will give him a reason to get to the end of the program.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 22, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if Joel will do a Joyeux Noel kit anytime before the New Years'?

This big government boodle is getting bigger by the day.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and happy birthday - Saturnalia - solistice - lunching hour to you, TBG.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I have a very fond memory of putting the sledgehammer to a PINK cast iron bathtub.

That thing had been haunting me for 6 years.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 22, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I hope Australia, the film, doesn't receive any Academy nomination for best picture, since it's undeserving in that category.

I also plan to boycott any media coverage of Obama's inauguration if the homophobic pastor Rick Warren delivers the invocation.

And the person to replace Hillary Clinton as senator from New York? A Carolyn, to be sure. But not Caroline Kennedy, but Rep. Carolyn Maloney from Manhattan.

Posted by: laloomis | December 22, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Steady on, there, Wilbrod. You'll have us frolicking again. Government offials across the continent will be shocked, *shocked* at the goings-on.

Consider 'Mudge's poor giblets.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci - thanks for the recommendation. I loved the "red curtain trilogy" and am looking forward to seeing what else Baz has come up with.

Another busy day Tending the Machines. Just popped out of the Lab of Perpetual Darkness to grab a bite of food and try to figure out why I have started Writing Things In Caps.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 22, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

SCC: officials. They're not offal, not usually.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, even a casual mention of the length of my honey-do list is enough to send me into a deep depression.

Yes, Wilbrod, it is the thermo gizmo on my desktop. Fortunately, it appears to be reading the temperature OUTSIDE rather than in my cubby. Although my cubby ain't exactly snuggly warm, either.

yello, since your budget for the makeover is approximately zero,I find my consultation calendar to be filled up at the moment. I can, however, give you this advice for nothing: you need more money. Have you considered disowning anyone in the family? This is my wife's favorite suggestion.

Bertooch, I'm wondering how many times Jacman took his shirt off in that movie. -- and would that have influenced your admiration for the cinematography?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps You Are Feeling Particularly Emphatic, RD.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

A pink cast iron bathtub, SD? *eyelids fluttering, eyeballs rolling into back of head, respiration increasing dramatically* That sounds positively orgasmic.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Googleuno of the day is "hash schnapps." Soon to be a googledos. I was adding some foreign newspapers to my "favorites" list, saw it, and wondered about the Google.

Happy birthday TBG!

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Distilled from corned beef? Ewww.

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

Sd, but I would have adopted the pink cast iron b-tub. And painted the walls a brilliant gecko green ala Windy['s choice.

KB -- thanks for the recommend.

Mudge, I have spent two of my Christmas Fairy (TM pending by wishes and took off seven of the honey-dos. However, the certificate does not specify which.

Am dreaming of new energy efficient windows in the sieve-Florida room off the back. This room is 54 Degrees today. Go Obama -- do the energy credits soon and with a generous dollop of lots o' tax credit etc.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I unknowingly, unwittingly became sloshed upon Peppermint Schnapps, plied by my future MIL. Unbelievable, that experience, and my only time.

Boko -- tis a good day to see your tag. Where is Mr. funny-as-bones Byoolin? The B-brothers, I say, of ironic drive by subtle joki-ness.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

(Imagine CqP as a Lucy)

RD, you obviously are carrying the burden of repressed anger. You may need to consider your feelings toward your mother, circa about age three.

5 Cents, please.

And, can you take this handmade doily Christmas present to Schroeder? It is for the top of his piano: underneath the Liberace-style candelabra (sent last year by me), the doily will catch the bayberry candle drips (sent two years earlier by me).

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

New kit, I'm going to check it out.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't get any idea about a romantic bathtub with legs and all that. It was a utilitarian affair from the late sixties. Perfect match for the PINK toilet, PINK enameled sink and PINK floor and shower tiles. Yes, it was called the Pink bathroom. The BLUE bathroom had a blue toilet , blue floor tiles and blue enameled sink.
The main bathroom, the PINK one, was about the size of the placards found in modern McMansions. Back in the 60s people weren't interested in that carping in style thing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 22, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, TBG! And may you have many more happy ones!

Will add your FIL to the list, Jack. The list is long enough that I should write it down, so as not to forget anyone.

Shopping at one grocery store done...the countdown has begun!

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Shriek,sounds like a stick of dynamite was more in order then a sledge hammer!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 22, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I liked part of a review of Daniel Day-Lewis' acting in Last of the Mohicans, by a particularly enthusiastic (female) movie reviewer: "Even his nipples were eloquent!"

Can the same be said of Hugh Jackman? I feel ill-prepared to judge masculine nipple-eloquence, although I have to say that Daniel Day-Lewis is brilliant in every role in which I've seen him, and beautifully portrays an astounding range of characters.

I heard an NPR interview with Hugh Jackman the other day -- he sounds like a decent, hard-working, serious actor. A propos of Loomis' futile gesture of boycotting media coverage of the inauguration due to homophobia, Jackman described a moment in a play in which he had the role of a gay man and, as he was kissing his on-stage boy-friend, an audience member cried out "Don't do it, Wolverine!"; he had to hold the kiss for an extraordinarily long time while getting control of the urge to break character and start laughing. Nicely, there was no mention whatsoever of Jackman's own sexuality, only the implied dichotomy with a different character played by the same actor. Slowly, we are moving toward the future.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 22, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hi all... thanks for the B'day wishes. Yes, lunch at the club sounds perfect today. Tee hee.

As for West Side Story... don't want to sound like a negative nellie (sorry Nellie), and you all know that for the most part I'm an amazingly positive person, but I didn't like it at all.

Here's why...

I hated the use of Spanish during the songs. Sondheim wrote some fantastic lyrics and they were lost in Spanish, especially the beautiful juxtaposition of the Jets and Sharks together during the second "Tonight." Just didn't do the songs justice, I thought. And having to watch the surtitles meant I didn't see the action on stage. I didn't need to read them during the songs because I know them by heart, but during the dialog I did.

The costumes and hairstyles were HORRIBLE. It looked like the costume designer didn't know the different between the 1980s and the 1950s. It is a period piece... should have been period dressing and hairstyling.

Tony was bad... his voice was so quiet it sounded like he was holding back... singing through this throat. Since you mentioned that too, I know it wasn't because of where I was seated (front row Mezzanine--great seats.)

The acting was pretty bad... I thought the comic acting during Officer Krupke gave us a quick view of what they were capable of. The direction was lousy, I think.

All in all, it was to me on the level of a high school production.

Now you have to understand, I'm VERY EASY TO PLEASE. I love high school productions, but not a high school production that cost me $91 a ticket.

If this show goes to Broadway as is, I predict it will close in a week.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 22, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I think your criticism of Obama for inviting Rick Warren to give the invocation is misplaced and is an example of a self-defeating insistence on ideological purity. Obama spoke at Warren's Saddleback Church, despite disagreeing with Warren on many important issues, because we can't even begin to understand and accept each other in a pluralistic society if we don't try to listen to each other and treat each other with respect. Obama now is inviting Warren to speak at the inauguration for the same reasons. Demonstrating respect for Warren (and his fellow-travelers) is not the same as agreeing with him on every issue, and Obama has done an extraordinary job of expressing that fine distinction. I have no doubt that he will succeed this time, as well. If I understand correctly how these things work, Warren will speak first, while Obama's inaugural address will come later. Warren will not have the opportunity to write a coda to Obama's speech and repudiate or chastise him. Obama, on the other hand, will get to make a closing argument that expresses his own political views and aspirations, which definitely differ from Rick Warren's. By inviting Rick Warren, he gets the chance to address that 45% of voters who did not vote for him and make his case for how he will serve them as President even as he pursues the policies that they did not support. We have already had the President who ignored the part of the country that did not vote for him. Let's see it go the other way this time.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 22, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I see I was unclear -- I meant Loomis' boycott due to anger with Warren's homophobia. I do not mean that Loomis herself is homophobic -- she is not -- which I think is known by regular Boodlers, but wouldn't be known to drive-by visitors.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 22, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

No, Tim. "Eloquent nipples" is not available as a Boodle handle. Don't even ask.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Is everybody out to lunch (celebrating at the cluib with TBG?) or did Rick Warren kill the Boodle?

A report from Colonial Williamsburg: due to the economy, the convention business down there is suffering mightily. After the holiday season, they are closing the taverns (Chowning's, King's Arms (my fav) and Christiana Campbell's) for the rest of the winter (lack of tourists). They have also laid off 140 workers including no less than 40 chefs. The Williamsburg Inn is closing its convention business from January to March, something like that.

Very disconcerting.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I made the "New Kit" call at 11:36 AM, mudge. You need to turn off your anti-yellojkt bozo filter. ;b

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

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