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Major NASA Kerfuffle

[Cross-posted from 44, formerly known as The Trail.]

NASA Adminstrator Michael Griffin today denounced a report that he and the space agency had been uncooperative with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team. The story, headlined "NASA Has Become a Transition Problem for Obama," stated that Griffin had obstructed efforts by the transition to get information and had recently told a transition team leader that she was "not qualified" to analyze plans for rocketing humans into space.

"This report, largely supported by anonymous sources and hearsay, is simply wrong," Griffin wrote in an e-mail to NASA employees.

Not known as a diplomat, and fierce in a debate, Griffin had a very public face-off last week at a book party at NASA headquarters with Lori Garver, a leader of the Obama transition team assigned to the space agency. According to the Sentinel story, the encounter became heated and Griffin became "red-faced." The article quoted a snippet of conversation based on the account of unnamed eyewitnesses.

"Mike, I don't understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood," Garver reportedly said.

"If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar," Griffin reportedly replied. "Because it means you don't trust what I say is under the hood."

Chris Shank, NASA chief of strategic communications, told The Post that Griffin and Garver are friends and Griffin did not perceive their encounter as heated: "He said to me this morning, 'I sure didn't think that was an argument. We were having a discussion about stuff.' "

Shank said the two were discussing the merits of Griffin's plan to develop a new rocket, Ares I, to put people into orbit after the space shuttle is retired. The alternative would be to upgrade an existing rocket, not yet rated as safe for human flight. Shank confirmed that Griffin questioned whether the Obama transition team had the engineering qualifications to analyze the merits of the different rockets.

John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, said he could see but not hear the conversation as he signed books across the room.

"No voices were raised. No blows were struck. It was an eyeball to eyeball in the sense of two people having an intense discussion, people gingerly walking around them," Logsdon said. "These kind of conversations are going on all over town now. But almost all of them are behind closed doors. What's different on this one is that it was in a public setting."

Garver said she was not permitted to comment.

Griffin's e-mail today declared that NASA would be fully cooperative with the Obama transition team.

"I would like to reiterate what I have stated in a previous email to all NASA Officials: we must make every effort to 'lean forward,' to answer questions promptly, openly and accurately.

"We are fully cooperating with transition team members. Since mid-November, the agency has provided 414 documents and 185 responses to 191 requests.

"There are six outstanding responses, and the agency will meet the deadline for those queries.

"Also, we strongly urge full and free cooperation by companies performing work for NASA. I am appalled by any accusations of intimidation, and encourage a free and open exchange of information with the contractor community."

[For more on this, check out Keith Cowing's NASA Watch blog and in particular the comments posted by his readers.]


--

From my story earlier this fall on NASA's 50th anniversary:

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin knows all the challenges the agency faces, but there is no more persuasive advocate for a civilian, government-run spaceflight program.

Griffin, interviewed recently in his ninth-floor NASA office -- he took a few swings with a golf club, then held forth for 100 minutes, answering some of the questions with 15-minute dissertations on why we go into space -- thinks that human beings thousands of years from now will benefit from what we do today. He says the Constellation program isn't just about going back to the moon.

"What we've put in place is a system capable of taking human beings around the inner solar system," he said. "One day, I have no doubt, you'll see people a million miles from home servicing a telescope."

Or maybe they'll help build that radio telescope on the far side of the moon.

"You can literally roll out a radio telescope on the ground. It could be kilometers wide. You would roll out strips of antenna," Griffin said.

Why go at all? Partly it's prestige, Griffin said. It's definitely a strategic move. History tends to be written by countries that explore. Griffin emphasizes that we won't know in advance how space will be useful, or even whether it will be useful at all. It could be like Mount Everest -- or it could be more like one of those North Sea oil platforms. Or maybe even like North America, a resource-rich place colonized by people from around the world.

Griffin asks us to be cautious about what we presume: In 1830, Daniel Webster in the U.S. Senate decried wasteful spending on Western lands. The West, after all, was just a desert.

"Will the solar system be a place to live, a place to work? Will it be restricted to a tourist attraction? Or will it have no value at all? Nobody has the answer," Griffin said. But he added, "As technology changes, the definition of what is useful also changes."

He panned back for the cosmic view of why we go.

"Fundamentally, it's about long-term human survival," he said. "If we believe that human life is worth preserving, then we have to face the fact that the history of life on Earth is the history of extinction events. Diversification of our portfolio is a good thing in the long run."

--

Bulletin: Bush Administration to be prolonged.

--

Every blogger's nightmare.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 11, 2008; 6:07 PM ET
 
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Next: Remembering Liz Donovan

Comments

Howdy boodle everyone staying dry on this lovely night.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 11, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I know people who could get red-faced and intense and it would not for a moment mean there was a serious interpersonal problem.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I know there have been some glitches in the comments but the folks at dot.com are not clear what exactly is happening. If people experiencing a comment problem can email me, I will forward to the technical authorities: As always am at achenbachj@washpost.com -- thanks...

Posted by: joelache | December 11, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, gwe! How are you? Haven't seen on the Boodle much in the last few days.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Who is this joelache guy showing up and pretending to be all helpful? We have getting so many trolls around here lately.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I haven't had any problems posting, but I use Chrome, which seems oddly WaPo friendly.


I think the key observation here is that "These kind of conversations are going on all over town now."

Whenever there is a change in administration the permanent bureaucracy gets nervous. This is especially true in agencies like NASA, and a few others I can think of, that have been associated with controversy.

If rumors are to be believed some of these discussions have, indeed, been a little intense. But that's because the issues involved are so important. Folks worry that in the understandable desire to "start fresh" worthwhile programs, and people, might be cast aside.

But you never fight in public. It scares the children so.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 11, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lache... didn't he play for the Redskins?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 11, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I was just on the Mount Vernon website, and they have The Grand Idea on sale! Too bad I already own it.

Joel, you make me worry. If you have problems posting to the blog, the rest of us are screwed!

I had a Windows update and I think that was part of the problem here. When I went to Firefox I was fine, then I went back to IE and was okay there also. We'll see if it lasts.

Snow in Texas and Mississippi. Wow. We are in for a real winter, it appears.

Posted by: slyness | December 11, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Those two links at the end of the kit are just plain scary.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 11, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

been lurking today Yoki

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 11, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Big Microsoft patch beginning Tuesday, automatic for many and no doubt automating today for some. Plus the effect of the patch itself, if noticeable, in obscure configurations. In any case, response is often slow when downloading. so maybe that is it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 11, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/orgasms-during-childbirth/#comments

I have NO COMMENT on this, but do read some of the comments following the posting....

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't even need to read it. I don't know what drugs those women are taking, but I can tell you when you give birth drug-free and unassisted (twice! What can I have been thinking?!) this is not an issue. Nope.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I can report, without fear of contradiction, that during childbirth not only did my wife fail to experience that particular sensation, but she vowed, as God as her Witness, that if she had anything to do with it I would never again do so either.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 11, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Even if one had orgasms (probably hard-core masochists only), just how joyous would a mother-class painful orgasm be?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 11, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Can we talk about spaceships or sumthin now?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 11, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

You mean I shouldn't have had that epidural?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 11, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

As God is my witness, I'll never discuss spaceships again!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we should, RD. Maggie O'D, I thought that line was about flying turkeys?

*WKRP in Cinnicati: good days.*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 11, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, *I* didn't have an epidural either time, and I can assure everyone that sexual pleasure was not in my universe at that time.

Now I *do* recall the feeling that I was about to poop when I was pushing...

Sorry! TMI.

Posted by: slyness | December 11, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm framin' this!

http://news.yahoo.com/comics/081206/cx_peanuts_umedia/20080612

And this! I never knew Snoopy was a hearing dog!

http://news.yahoo.com/comics/081207/cx_peanuts_umedia/20080712

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 11, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Yanno... half the time we get off on astronomical tangents, but now that Joel posts a NASA kit--we're discussing childbirth.

He must really think it's all a conspiracy to drive him insane before the inevitable alien kidnappings for comparative reproductive study.

No comment.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 11, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Great. Now I can't even read the original kit, what with the red faces and going into orbit and looking under the hood and all, without feeling contextually conflicted.

Time to go let the bunny rabbits out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 11, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I didn't look at the "Bush Administration prolonged" link, but can guess that it's about the extra second added to 2008, because I groaned when I heard about it the other day, for that very reason.

As far as NASA goes, they *do* need to develop some new crew flight hardware, and if Griffin's in charge, then he's in charge, isn't he? I have no idea if the story or quotes are accurate, but as RD points out, transitions are bound to be tense. And few things at NASA arouse passions like the crewed flight systems and missions.

I think there's something Griffin isn't saying - hasn't the US and NASA dithered on this decision long enough? There's a plan - and it's as good as any we've seen in the past 30 years, and there's funding for it. Might as well try to make it work, since scrapping it and starting over will take a long time, and there's no gurantee it would be any better.

Ha, I picked New Orleans in tonight's game, and 15 seconds into the game Chicago's up 7-0, having run the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Ah, well, I had a feeling it was going to go like that...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 11, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

You should consult LostinThought, bc. She's pretty good at that game.

Slyness, you are my hero and Goddess.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Laughing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

*blushing*

You are too kind, Yoki!

I starting typing a story about my experience with childbirth, but there are members of the opposite sex present, so I'll refrain. It's unladylike to gross out half the audience. Isn't it?

Posted by: slyness | December 11, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

While we're on the subject, briefly, of childbirth, does anyone else appreciate John Irving's little riff from The World According to Garp, after the undertoad takes the wee boy?

And I here paraphrase:

Sometimes, if we are lucky, there is birth after s3x. And sometimes, if we are very very lucky, there is s3x after birth!

How lovely is that?

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

But slyness, you should save and email me that story about childbirth to dbioyoki@hotmail.com. I think my next career is going to be as a midwife (a very very very old midwife, or douala, to tell young women to be unafraid. I am interested in this, and my Stoney teacher is a midwife, so I have a lot respect for the wisewomen and medicine men of this world.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, far be it from me to bring up the tetchy subject of spaceships, but I might note that the AMC channel is showing the old original "Day the Earth Stood Still" right now. Great timing, I'd say.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read the blog item about childbirth, but I've seen three of them up close and without effective anasthetics.

And the mother of my children didn't have any either.

Having said that, I believe that the human brain and body are weird and wonderful and capable of just about *anything.* Including mothers who are Very Happy to deliver.

Frankly, I've heard of weirder, and not just in the Canadian government.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 11, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

My experience was that this thing was going to happen, with or without me, and so being present was better, and powerful. Amazing.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Is my work here done?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Griffin must, with grace and tact and forces of immense strength, undo NASA from some bizarre commitments-- many unfunded but mandated-- under Bush.

He must anticipate a better time for science, in terms of exploration. I expect the Earth Observation Systems work to expand.
HUGE tensions I would think. But, being looked at under the hood is a requirement.

Women know that the very fact of motherhood means lots of under-the- hood moments

About our specific comment thread, I will say nothing at all! My goodness.


Babies born healthy and into warmth and safety is what we all desire. We all come into being and leave as Nature requires. Would that were, sigh, unite us more.

Nature will not be bounded or controlled or nudged much at this time. Three times I was laid out by forces that I must respect and honor; and three times the sweetest faces were suddenly mine to behold. For CPBoy: I am in debt forever and ever to all the kind and wonderful nurses and doctors and etc. who worked to made him whole and well after six years, I can only say that I am grateful that he was born now and here. He would have died 50 years ago in the US; he would be dead or deaf now, in most places

And back to the grading. By the way, grades are DUE ON CHRISTMAS EVE by 9 PM. I am astounded at this. We usually turn in grades by January 5.

And, my grading now is simply the guiding of 66 students toward reasonable projects. I believe they get their tuition's worth with me. I believe I am making -4.76 per hour now.

I do believe in the gift economy of knowledge....but wow...I will be Roberta Cratchet scritching/scratching until the very moments of holy night!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 11, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Amen and amen, Yoki!

We do so much better about labor and delivery nowadays than we used to. And I am so grateful for modern medicine and the miracles it performs, as with the healing of CPBoy.

My latest experience with childbirth was with Third Dottir and the twins, in April. I was amazed at the services provided and the advances in settings. She had to be induced and labored many hours before the doctor realized the boys were too jammed in together for a natural birth and performed a C-section. But she was okay with that, and so were all the rest of us.

To be a doula would be wonderful, Yoki. I'm glad that the doctors have finally realized that their convenience can be harmful and they had better put the laboring mother first.

Posted by: slyness | December 11, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is just the thing, isn't it?

We need to get these new short people borned, because we can't do without them.

I was lucky, I think, that I could do it on my own.

CP needed some help, and thank goodness help was there, because we can't be doing without CPboy in this wide world.

And the twins? Blessings to the whole Boodle.

The dottirs too.

Blessings on all of you, my sisters, who have given birth and those of you who haven't. We are essential. We should be proud of ourselves, and I am.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Elaine Stritch is on 30 Rock - I want to be like her in a few years.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 11, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

For me, it's already a few years, and I still want to be like Elaine Stritch, instead, Yoki has assigned me to Helen Mirren. Sigh.

~~Maggie O'D

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Helen Mirren is wonderful as well, she is too classy for me though.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 11, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Evidently not for me! she says modestly and with complete humility!!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Maggie. Can't help myself. You are so elegant, so fine, you'll have to wait a few years to be like Elaine, a big ol' broad.

For now you'll have to settle for Helen.

*Bowing my head in shame.*

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Maggie is the picture of grace and class... even if she did get us talking about orgasms and childbirth.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 11, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Schnorrrtttt!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

And I got us of NASA and other abstruse thingies! I am so proud. She says, ever humbly. (I do notice, however, that the boys are balancing their checkbooks and tuning their engines.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Dammit: I meant Orff, of course.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to crash the Girls Night Out but I feel giddy. I baked a cake. I haven't baked dessert in 25 years until tonight, I feel like a happy criminal.
Witch no 2 needed some ingredients for her project of taffee (total balls up, she made hard caramel, mostly clinging to the pots) so I stopped at the supermarket. I saw a picture of a cheesecake on a box of graham crackers crumb and decided to do that for Witch no. 1's birthday tomorrow. With a bit of luck Mrs. D may even be back from her travels. Got the recipe from Kraft Canada website, how cheezy is that?
Lemon and Poppy seed cheese cake. The cheese was from Liberté and I used butter instead of Parkay but there you go...

Mrs. D produced 3 fine chemical-free offsprings, I was there and mostly cognizant the whole time and never noticed any moment when the pleasure level became unbearable. Her favourite summary of the process is still what her Nova Scotia co-worker's old aunt said: it's like sh1tting a water melon.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 11, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

It took my new great-niece about three weeks to make it back up to her birth weight. It was amazing holding her at 2 1/2 weeks and realizing that she was that size inside her mother.

Doubly amazing to think she actually came out of "there," too.

(We'd better stop this; the guys may start talking about fighter jets if we're not careful.)

G'night all!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 11, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations SD. 25 years and you attempt a cheesecake? 1st. Yummm. 2nd. I hope it turned out as well as it sounds.

I'll refrain from the other thread, it's just beyond my male comprehention.

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Frostson is 31. I barely remember being pregnant, much less his birth.

Time to catch up with the news, haven't seen any in two days. The big robotics tournament is Saturday and already I'm getting frantic e-mails about the weather forecast. We will go unless T Paw declares a state of emergency and closes the roads.

Toodles boodle. I'll be back on Sunday, after I sleep until noon or later.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 11, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Shriek, I Now Declare You an Honourary Girl! (notice the Canandian spellouing).

TBG: When they start discussing those dammmmmed fighter juts, I say we counter with Beauty Products!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

*deep voice-over*

This is Bruce Marsh for Kraft Canada.

Take KRAFT fairy marshmellows, blend them with Cheez-Whiz, a Little Kraft Mayonnaise, and some Miracle-Whip.

Stir in KRAFT PEANUT BUTTER, until the mixture is smooth.

This is BRUCE MARSH.

Pour the mixture into a cake MOULD, and bake it in a 350 oven until it is bubbly.

THEN (this is BRUCE MARSH) stir in blue cheese and pecans.

Return the mould to the oven until it is set.

UNmould the form, and chill for 72 hours.

Then throw the whole mess in the garbage.

The early 70s Kraft Recipes (WITH BRUCE MARSH) taught us how not to cook!

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

SCC-That reads like I'm going somewhere. Actually, the tournament is here and I'm the director-the only place I'm going is crazy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 11, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

*snort*
Yoki, I'm still getting back into lurking/boodling, but please tell me that was NOT a real recipe.
(I liked the voice over though.)

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Quite frankly, I'm happy my wife didn't have any orgasms when our last three kids arrived. We got one of them at the airport, one at the adoption agency, and one at our social worker's house, and...well...it would have been pretty embarrassing, like the scene in "When Harry Met Sally."

I gotta say, though, she *was* pretty happy nevertheless.

I smoked a cigarette afterwards, if that helps.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck Frost, being the director may drive you a little crazy, but well worth the effort!

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

What do you think, ra1967?

Nah, I just made it up, but doesn't it sound just like (BRUCE MARSH) telling us we should eat something horrible?

My brothers and I used to try to cook all the recipes recommended by BRUCE MARSH on Wide World of Disney, of a Sunday night. Never could stomach any of them.

And then we got creative with Kraft products!

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Y'all can just call me RA or ra, the 'boodles a little more strict than it used to be. I had to take a 2 year hiatus from the blog, due to downsizing in the midwest.
Yoki, I've tried to follow, everyone from Emeril, to Paula D, and I just can't make the transfer from the tube to the kitchen. I'm a fairly good cook though.
Kraft... Hmmm Mac&cheese with sliced hot-dogs. Ahh the college memories. Now about those fighter jets.... :)

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, do you remember the coloured miniature marsmallow and mayonnaise aspic, to be served with ham or other cold pork cuts?
**shudder**

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 11, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC: delete comma after follow. Sheesh.

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, rai1967! With sliced wieners.

On a blue plate.

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Jaysus God! shriek, people have been asking me to eat this *thing* all my life, and I can't put one bite of it in my mouth.

What the heck is that called, anyway? Aspic? Ambrosia? I put the aspic to my vein...

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

*refrains from discussing pregnant fighter jets*

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

and the asp to my breast

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

YES!! Yoki, The blue plate specialite de la maison.
And Shriek, anything with the colored marshmellow "aspic" or worse, (or better depending on your memories), anything with Jello and vegetables too. Interesting, but not on my normal menu.

Posted by: ra1967 | December 11, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Your Saints just went up 24-21 over the Bears with 3 minutes left, bc. (This means his chances of regaining the tiara are looking good.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

MacNCheeze makes me throw up in my mouth a little; add the weiner, and Katie Bar the Door!

Mudgie, dear, it's girls night out (pardon to TGB and LiT): Stuff the tiara!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

LOL! jello and vegetables (in dice - suspended)!.

We've come a long way, food-wise, in a relatively short time, wouldn't you say?

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

I'm sorry; that was tasteless!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

This is very exciting. I have finally upgraded to the new MacBook that arrived at my desk about a month or so past. Everything is simply... better. Life is good! Of course, now I need to finally get the upgraded versions of antique software that I have been comfortably running in Classic mode. Alas.

I read the comments on the NASA Watch blog. Unlike my usual comment about cranky people on blogs, I won't say that those people don't think too hard. Many of them are thinking a lot. But, I wouldn't sign my real and proper name to those cranky things. For at least one of those names, I can vouch that it's not a pseudonym, unless the guy has lifted a name from someone that I know. Handicapping the selection of the next NASA Administrator is, of course, a popular sport. There is at least one name cited on the NASAWatch blog comments, however, that is reported by scuttlebutt to be on the "No Way. No How. Never." list.

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

*Tim! ScienceSpouse! *Waving*

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

Evening all
Rare i get home before tomorrow,but got out early.Looks like we had heavy rain in west by god,so far no ice or snow thank goodness.Lotsa fog out and the sky looks bright despite the rain.Kinda eerily wierd looking tonight.I thought I saw a frog jumping in the road,but it couldn't be.

Now back to the boodle babes birthing and cooking.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 11, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Ooops. Sorry, Maggie. My bad.

The MacNCheeses just kicked a field goal with two marshmellows on the clock to tie it up, 24 weiners to 24 weiners and send it into sudden-orgasm overtime.

*hoping bc understands the secret code*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Mad rocket scientists
Don't augur well for their foes
remaining earthbound

-Wilbrodog-

(Roh-ruh!)

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

"I'll have what she's having!"

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Yo! greenwithenvy! How you doing, buddy?

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I assume that the Obama administration-in-embryo would just as soon have NASA on autopilot, what with all the other stuff going on, not to mention the inevitable but not-yet-revealed Major International Crisis.

My best guess is that the International Space Station is now actually useful, thanks to the new Japanese module. So it needs to be cared for and fed.

Now about the Major International Crisis. All sorts of things might happen, so predictions are futile. I nevertheless suggest that North Korea will stage an underground nuclear test in a tunnel 400 feet beneath Seoul.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

happy to be home and getting semi warm and I'll have whatever your having Yoki!!!!

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

Sorry, bc -- the MacNCheeses just ...um...this orgasm meme is getting to be problematic. Let's just say they are now rolling over and going to sleep smiling.

*wink wink, it's code*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 11, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

New proposal for space:
Forget the robots on Mars;
Plant some trees instead.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 11, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I *so* knew Wilbrodog was our mysterious haikuist!

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

Well, this has been fun, Boodlers, but now Stephen Colbert and I are going to bed.

Later.


Tee Hee.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 11, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Good Night, Boodle. Much fun was had tonight.

See you in about 4 hours.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

goodnight Boodle
Pleasant dreams one and all

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 12, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

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

Friends, friends, good morning. Well the Achenblog went from space to toliet paper, and now childbirth. What a place! Only in America.

And back to yucky food. I love it. I had two children delivered the old fashion way, and also had a miss. I must say the miss was harder than the births. The part I liked most was after. Those sweet babies. So soft and bright-eyed, and the baby smell, all wrapped up in that bundle of life. And the fact that God has allowed you to participate in all of that. Just doesn't get any better. We forget the pain. Our hearts are happy. Truly happy. And then they grow up, and that's another story,but still a heart story.

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

Slyness, the weather here has been looking really threatening, but I think the temps will go back to cold. Yesterday it was so warm, one didn't need a coat or a sweater. And of course, there was lots of rain. We had the parade. It wasn't long, just a few floats and cars. And Santa Claus.

I didn't walk yesterday, but will head out the door this morning. I know it's going to be like starting all over again. I feel the pain already. Oh well, I'll think about the gain.

Have a great day, folks. I guess the folks at NASA are worried about their budget with the economy not looking so good. Or would that be off the table? And wasn't this a conversation between a man and a woman? Perhaps a little of that "tension" came into play? That phrase, "looking under the hood" is so male, don't you think?

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 12, 2008 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the auto industry news this morning, I keep wondering, do we really want that many people unemployed in this country along with those that are already that way? Are these folks in Congress that determined to send the country into anarchy and chaos? Perhaps I'm making too much of all this, but it doesn't feel good.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 12, 2008 4:35 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle, Cassandra.

Looks like the car company bailout is dead. Like everyone, I'm conflicted over lossing so many jobs; I could care less about the companies themselves. But at least we'll now know who to blame (the Republicans who killed the deal).

RIP, Bettie Page, age 85. She had a long and difficult life, alas.

Wonder what's for breakfast over in the mess hall? Well, time to get moving. C'mon, Dawn Patrol, let's get 'em flying. And TGIF.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 12, 2008 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Mudge

Care to do a little history lesson on Bettie Page, if you have the time?

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 12, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

'morning all, Cassandra. Last day of a rough week. That hour+ commute is getting to me. I know it would be a short one in DC but still...
Witch no 1 turns 19 today, I just can't believe it. Time flies when you are having fun.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 12, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

My wife stole the laptop last night to surf teacher supply websites and I missed all the fun. I'm not even sure there was an orgasm during conception. I work on the don't ask, don't tell policy.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle.

Nasty morning for flying. Watch for wing icing.

Vroom, vroom, chughah,chughah. Taxiing to the end of the runway.

Posted by: Braguine | December 12, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Better weather for the dawn patrol this morning, blue sky and a lovely sunrise in the east.

Last time Mr. T checked the rain gauge, there was 1.9 inches in it, and that was before the heavy rain in the evening. I'm glad for it, and glad it's gone for now. We need all the rain we can get. Well, maybe not all, but a lot.

Today I'm scheduled to volunteer at the fire museum. I wish I enjoyed it more, but few people come. The building, an old fire station, has been sold, so all the stuff will have to be out by summer. I don't know where it will be put. The fire trucks take up a fair amount of room. We have the 1895 steamer, which has been restored and is gorgeous, the 1928 Mac, also restored and lovely (although it leaks oil terribly), and the early 1950's long-nosed Seagrave with a manual transmission. Great vehicles, but where to put them?

Posted by: slyness | December 12, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Happy B-day to SD’s #1. Wild weather up here. It’s 61 degrees and very windy at our house but to the north and west there is one bad ice storm going on. Today is our office Christmas party which is just lunch at a local restaurant. But it gets us out of the office at 1 pm and I’m all for that.

#2 has to have more surgery on her knee. They found little pieces of bone floating around in there which is, I hope, the reason she continues to have a lot of pain. It’s day surgery and will happen on Tuesday, so she should be fine by Christmas. It’s been a long and difficult time for her and she has not accepted her limitations yet.

Glad it’s Friday, looking forward to a weekend full of housecleaning and baking.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 12, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Gonna be hiding out in the back lab (This place is like Studio 54 - there is always another room to gain access to) working through a slew of data.

I echo CP's comments about the unexpected thrill of being presented with an infant who needs a little help. Let's just say that I almost passed out *after* my daughter was born. And yes, a rather dark game to play is to estimate how many times a child would have died had said child not been lucky enough to have been born here and now. In this manner we feel greatly blessed.

But she still has to stop stealing the spare toilet paper from my bathroom.

I'm sure I mentioned on the boodle before, but my son was a "near precipitous" labor. It was about 90 minutes between when my wife experienced pain and the appearance of the young man. So, yeah, she did that one the ol' fashioned way.

Shockingly, we delayed about 30 minutes because my wife kept insisting that she wasn't in labor. And I was stupid enough to believe her.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 12, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Report from the six o'clock position.

Mumbai yields unexpected benefit.

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JL13Df02.html

Posted by: Braguine | December 12, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra.

I'm flabbergasted at the bailout failing. Why stop throwing billions around now? When so many more jobs are affected than in almost any other industry? Those companies are never coming back, if they go down.

The really cold weather is setting in today, will be a week of enduring. And no snow to compensate.

Corporate christmas lunch today (many people spend the whole afternoon and wake up a little thirsty the next day), always a good time. One of the strangest and most difficult people I've ever met is the host, and he is gracious and kind, so there's a dicotomy to ponder.

Have a wonderful day, Boodle. The weekend hurries near.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

RD, your wife's 90-minute delivery reminds me of a goalie I used to play hockey with; his wife's labours for their three kids totalled six hours. The third took thirty minutes to deliver.

Mr. Goalie was jealous that it took the missus less time to deliver a kid into the world than it took him to get out of his equipment after a game.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 12, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

RD and CP, you both point out how lucky we are to be living in the age we do. I often think about that. So often you hear people talking with nostalgia of simpler times. It shows a very limited imaginative range, I think.

Just think, we have heat and light and clean water and effective medicines and surgeries, safe food (for the most part), the technology to communicate with people everywhere...

It is really paradise, compared to any earlier time. Even when things are hard, they aren't as hard as they would be been in the past. Very lucky indeed, says I.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, Yoki. Nothing like a little history to put our present troubles into perspective. Something to keep in mind when we watch the Dow drop.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 12, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, Bettie Page was a 1950's pin-up model who kind of revolutionized the pin-up calendars of that era. Her photos were "everywhere" on men's calendars in every garage and barbershop in North America (most of them fairly modest by today's standards. Then a few years ago several movies were made about her. Here's her obit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/11/AR2008121103932.html?hpid=artslot

OK, gang, three items on today's TGIF agenda:

Number One

Which is it?

VAL-ker-ee, with VAL pronounced like Val Kilmer;

val-KEER-ee;

or

vall-KEER-ee, vall rhyming with hall?

All my life I've always heard it the third way. But that new movie with Tom Cruise pronounces it the first way, which really grates on my ear. Your opinions, O learned Boodle?

Number Two

When I was a kid there were only a handful of ways to address one's grandparents: granny, grandmom, grandma, granddad, granddaddy, grandpop, and an occasional and rare Pop-pop.

However, over the years, I have become aware of many more nicknames for these two people, some of them (to my ear) pretty silly and/or embarrassing. In my oldest daughter's inlaw clan, for instance, my own wife's counterpart is "Me-maw," which I find...well...unusual. And if I go into the Hallmark store I can't find any Happy Birthday Me-Maw cards, that's for sure.

So fess up: this is today's major thread. What names does your family use?

I'll start. I myself am "Granddad" to my grandkids, plain and simple. My wife likes "Granny" for herself. My oldest daughter's clan refers to our counterpartsd on the other side as "Pop-Pop" and "Me-Maw," which I cannot bring myself to use (so I just call them by their first names).

and Number Three

What's for virtual lunch? And where? It started off cold and rainy and raw here, but the rain has gone and the overcast seems to be lightening up. I've been eating a fair amount of leftovers this week, so I'm kinda in the mood for something fresh. And I haven't had Italian in a while. I could do spaghetti and meatballs, I think, though that's kinda pedestrian, even though this is still a good day for comfort food. What think you, Boodle?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Yoki,
I think, regularly, about how much better the cars and (especially) pickup trucks are now than in the 1970s.

On the other hand, nature in Florida and the South is a mixed bag. In bird conservation, we saved the egrets and such that were once hunted for plumes, but snail kites and roseate spoonbills are cause for concern. Crested caracaras and sandhill cranes are doing fine; sandhills even park themselves at Ikea in Orlando. Vegetationwise, the once-vast southern pinelands with their grassy understories maintained by frequent fires are nearly gone, and a lot of plant species with them. So far, few if any outright extinctions, but it's become very difficult to see vast fields of terrestrial orchids, nor of pitcher plants (the Serengeti of the plant carnivores was at Garcon Point in the Florida panhandle. An awesome sight circa 1972). Florida's Kissimmee Prairie State Park, a vast, nearly treeless wet prairie, was acquired in the nick of time, before it was planted to non-native pasture grasses.

Far to the north, the Piedmont region, the South of red clay hills, was devastated by wall-to-wall cotton growing that peaked around 1900. The pines that colonized abandoned farmland were a great blessing, but the lush new forests were biologically impoverished. Equally serious was the fate of the soil, washed down into the rivers.

Today, patches of Piedmont that escaped cultivation can still impress. I'm thinking of a wooded backyard in Macon, Georgia with wild oakleaf hydrangeas and fringed campion, a beautiful little wildflower.

The European impact on the eastern US still hasn't been fully appreciated. A creepy new study of southeastern Pennsylvania shows that pre-settlement streams were inhabited by lots of beavers, whose structures produced parallel channels (not looping ones), heavy with peat because there was little erosion of mineral matter from the hills. The moment European farmers arrived, the beavers were trapped or shot, sediment flushed from the freshly-plowed uplands, and streams cut into what had been their wet pastures. It was the start of the sort of process that led the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and fill the Potomac at Washington to its present-day shorelines.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 12, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.. .going to the doctor for a checkup this morning. Fun!

SD... Happy Birthday to Witch #1! It's amazing how fast it goes... Son of G turns 20 in just a few weeks and I am still stunned every time he enters a room and I see a man walk in.

Yello... your 7:41 cracked me up.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 12, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

U.S. Drought Monitor made it official yesterday: the near-majority of our county is now in exceptional drought.

Just this Tuesday was strange: a record-setting high in the mid-80s, then winds gusts exceeding 40 m.p.h. in the afternoon, thunder, lightning and light hail in the evening along with a few raindrops, and late night, light snow flurries passing just to the north of us, the same storm that dumped better amounts of snow on Houston and Baton Rouge.

Posted by: laloomis | December 12, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A wag would suggest the Obama Administration adopt the public works philosophy for to salvage the auto industry.

NASA could contract part of the unused auto industrial capacity to build rockets and other launch vehicles. There's Plenty of heavy lift SUV capacity there, I think. Plus, who wouldn't want spacecraft in a variety of tasteful colors with wood and leather interior trim and 22 inch chrome exhaust bells? Fins will come back in a *big* way, baby!

DOT (under the direction of the Senate/Car Czar) could take over the other part of the auto industry directly and build *precisely* the kinds of vehicles they think the American public deserves. [We'll see if they sell better than Zils or Trabants]

Presumably some of these vehicles could be built out of the recycled paper that was wasted developing and documenting plans for Ares and the Big 3 Bailout plan. [Let me say for the record that I think the Ares/Constellation system is as good a plan as any, that that if I had my druthers we'd just get it flying and develop it rather than continue the 30+ years of dithering.]

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 12, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Breaking news:

(1) New kit.

(2) Bette Page has died.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 12, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... that's a great question and I hope lots of folks chime in... not urgent or important, but one of those things that makes us such a North American melting pot...

My parents were Yia Yia (YA´ya) and Papou (pa POO), the Greek words for Grandma and Grandpa. My paternal grandmother was Yia Yia, pronouned yaYA´instead. My maternal grandmother was Nana (pronounced Nonna, not Nanna)

My sister, the new grandmother, is Yia Yia, like my mom and her husband is Pop-Pop, which is what one of his grandfathers went by. (I think Me-maw usually comes from a child's attempt to say Grandma)

I will be Yia Yia, too, but Dr G says he wants to be called Gran'pappy. I'm hoping it's many years before we put this to the test.

On an side note... we call all Aunts in my family "Thea," the Greek word for aunt. We still use Uncle, though, instead of the Greek "Theo."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 12, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ah! Going back, I see that Mudge used the "Bettie" spelling, which is why I missed it by searching on "Bette". My apologies.

Nevertheless, there's that new Kit to be read and commented upon. Off you go, malingerers!

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 12, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

To answer your question, Mudge, I had Grandma and Grandpa on one side and Baba ("buhbuh") and Zada ("zayduh") on the other. My father called his own grandparents Babi(sp?) and Zeydi (sp?), so I grew up thinking that putting the "i" at the end meant great-grandparent. To my sister's kids, my parents have chosen to be Grandma and Zada. On the other side, those kids have Nai Nai and Ye Ye (Mandarin). Unambiguous grandparent terms: a little-noted advantage of "mixed" marriages.

Posted by: -bia- | December 12, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

In our family, my father is Gran'pa. There are four grandmothers, of which one is Granny [name], for the alliteration and the rhythm, my mother is Gran'ma, and the other two are Gran'ma [name]. One oddity of this is that we have no tradition of using "Ma" or "Pa" for parents. It only has shown up in grandparents. My own grandmothers were Nonna and Grandmother (I was a formal little child). My father's mother's mother was Mamaw, and my father's mother's father was Pappy. He was a former professional welterweight boxer who tried to shoot the mailman when he was single-digits old (no word on whether he failed due to missing, an unloaded gun, or being captured first), and who beat the tar out of a protection-racket thug who tried to bust up his barbershop when Pappy was in his sixties. And, yes, he spent his retirement as a slum-lord, during which he was a family scandal for taking rent payments "in service." Colorful guy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 12, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

What, no Cap'n Gramps (or Grumps) for you, Mudge?

We used "grandma" or "grandpa" + surname. Kinda awkward actually, but easier to translate.

And, I buy blank cards and write down what I want to say. Problem solved.

"Dear Me-Maw and Cap'n Grumps,
Thank you for your generous gift of 10 bucks and for Cap'n Grumps's offer to indenture me to a Chinese junk captain..."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 12, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

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