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Obama as Gym Rat in Chief

Most American men at the age of 47 do not have what are known, in the body-building trade, as "abs." Indeed, the very anatomical existence of "abs" was unknown until about 20 years ago, when various commercial entities and magazine publishers decided that there was money to be made in persuading men that they needed these things desperately.

Having really good abs was necessary for your mental health, we were told. A man was supposed to be cut, ripped, shredded, lacerated, flayed, eviscerated and so on -- all wonderful things to be in gym-rat speak.

The problem is, there is another, competing paradigm, one that comes to a man more naturally. That is the paradigm that says that when you are entering middle-age, it is time to develop a substantial presence that includes a "tummy," a protuberance of excess flesh so pronounced that you find yourself reflexively patting it as though it were a house pet.

For many of us, self-esteem is inextricably connected to our sense of being massive. We want to enter a room and immediately distort the spacetime continuum. We want others to feel the floorboards shuddering and see the hors d'oeuvres running for cover.

All of this explains why these photos of Obama in Hawaii are deeply disturbing. We already knew he was a gym rat, but do we really want a president who has no body fat at all and seems to have been working obsessively on his abs?

Look at him: He may be the new Leader of the Free World, but he doesn't look like a good eater.

When was the last time he had a cheeseburger? Or has the pressure of running for president turned him into a political Thomas Merton, a fanatic for discipline, someone who can't feel totally in control of his life on any given day unless he's performed 300 sit-ups and eaten nothing but wild greens, whole grains, acorns, tree bark, tubers, and (as a wild indulgence) a single, three-ounce medallion of poached chicken (from an animal raised humanely on open prairie, with a heated coop and piped-in Mozart).

This isn't jealousy talking. It is good that the man sets a fine example. Indeed, the moment I finish typing this, I'm headiing to the gym (and then on to the House O' Liposuction). This is merely a good-government issue. I'm concerned about Obama's apparent agenda:

1. Rescue American economy and way of life.

2. End Iraq War.

3. Work on quads and delts.

4. End dependence on foreign oil.

5. Moderate global warming.

6. Tighten glutes.

And so on. There's just a lot on his plate, figuratively; now that he's won the election, maybe he should let that be literally true as well.

--

Like many of you, no doubt, I spent a good chunk of the morning riveted to the TV/Internet, watching the Swift Water Rescue Team of Cabin John save a bunch of people who were trapped in their cars in a river that hadn't been there earlier in the morning. Mind you that it was 19 degrees outside. Mind you also that these rescue folks are trained to operate in actual rivers, and not in the downspew of a busted water main. It was pretty thrilling to watch, and reminded me that, when I take the kids to school, I should remember always to wear shoes, just in case I have to wade and scramble out of a surprise river. Question: In driver's ed classes, do they teach you these days how to get into a basket lowered by a chopper? Good news is that everyone seems safe. But my teeth were chattering just watching it.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 23, 2008; 8:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

So not only is Obama our Coolest President Ever, he's our Hottest President Ever.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 23, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I assume this article is written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I think it's fantastic that our president-elect exercises regularly. In a country with one of the highest obesity rates, Obama's exercise routine can serve as an example of how Americans can model positive behavior. Maybe he'll inspire a few more people to improve their health through exercise and healthy eating. In a high-stress job such as Obama's, it's all the more important to be physically fit.

Posted by: kschlem1 | December 23, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I find it so strange that I'm 37 y.o. and sexually attracted to my real-life President (elect). They're only supposed to be this attractive in movies/tv. Am I officially old?

Posted by: flabbergast | December 23, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to have a President with great abs and eating humanely-raised chicken and greens. It's another to have a smoker in the White House. I really don't understand how such a health lifestyle can be maintained if you're also a cigarette smoker. Mr. Obama, take out that cigarette!(please!)

Posted by: ShepCWillner | December 23, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, George Bush exercised a lot, and according to some, he's the greatest president ever.

Lets just hope Barack is taking it easy in the blow and booze like George was doing when he was Barack's age.

Posted by: dmls2000 | December 23, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Queen Victoria thought that Millard Fillmore was the most handsome man she had ever seen. But back then, I doubt if presidents donned swimtrunks, with the image available for public consumption.

Millard Fillmore was the only president to be born in a log cabin, although others tried to claim such humble beginnings. I've wondered if being raised by a welfare mother trumps a log cabin?

I wonder how many men give pet names to their girthy guts?

As far as Joel's claim that Obama has zero body fat, I suggest Joel read up on Covert Bailey. Just ain't so.

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

flabbergast...

just because you're horny doesn't make you old.

Enjoy it (and him) while you can.

Posted by: dmls2000 | December 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Years ago I read that Spielberg said he'd begun doing 1000 sit-ups per day, and it changed his life. I told this to a friend. After a year in Europe he returned, having reached a daily 1000 sit-ups. It changed his life.

Here's a comment on War
http://aboutthesizeofit.blogspot.com/2008/12/death-art-animation.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't particularly care if Obama is a gym rat or not, but his level of fitness does set an example. If he is a gym rat, like George W. Bush, let's hope that he's not at the gym, or riding a bike around Washington, D.C., or playing golf, when there are important matters of state to deal with...like George W. Bush.

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on TBG. You know that women always swooned over Millard Filmore too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Heck, I was just kidding...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I wish Obama well in breaking his tobacco addiction, but let's not kid ourselves about anyone being the perfect example of all the right things to do for good health and fitness. Besides, it might be good to have the adult in chief understand just how hard it is to quit smoking. Does anyone doubt that he sees it as a problem both for himself and the example he sets?

In the write the blog I want to read department I offer up this rhetorical question- Why didn't JA write about Obama and his basketball playing cabinet lineup?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

And to us men of a certain age, do not be intimidated. These so called "abs" are nothing but some cunningly-devised body armor. Really. It's all titanium alloy.

Now and again I have been motivated to get in touch with my inner Clooney. Like when I was 15 after that whole "Aimee at summer camp" business. Or after I watched Iron Man and wondered if Robert Downey Jr looked that way despite of or because of years of drug abuse.

I break out my weights and the jump rope and put on the Theme from "Rocky." (I sensibly draw the line at the raw eggs though.)

But here's the thing. Body types are heavily influenced by genetics. You got your mesomorph and your ectomorph and your mallamarmorph and what not. You can work out all you want and the results will still not be what you desire.

Case in point. Recently I was lifting weights in the basement when my daughter asked if maybe I should buy some new ones. I asked why, and she, with the irritating honesty of youth, strongly implied that my old ones were clearly not working right anymore.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

...Hillary high-heels her opponent as she goes to the basket, lays up, and it's going around, around, it's INNNN!!!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a wallabymorph gnome myself, RD. I feel your pain.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

That water main break has messed up the commute of many people around here. I find it amazing that they had to use helicopters.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Gnome wombatmorphus
Is more accurate, Wilbrod
(Truth to power, sorry)

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Compare that to the picture of the last President (and future Secretary of State) to be shot in their swimwear.

http://www.wgmd.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/clinton2xart280_1.jpg

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Safe and dry at home... :-)

Some of us cleverly camouflage our abs so as to avoid undue umbrage or excitement...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Is Obama's discomfort with gays a result of too many lusty glances at the gym?

But then how to explain Rick Warren's homophobia?


Posted by: HughBriss | December 23, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Some guys have six-pack abs. Others have a pony-keg gut.

I have a washboard stomach. Too bad it's hidden under a pile of laundry.

I'll be here all week. Remember to tip your waitress.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

When do the Christmas Chuckers and Carlers come by?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I've still got a 6-pack. OK, it's hidden in the back of the fridge, but that's beside the point.

Off topic and reposted from the end of last kit:

Hi Raysmom, hi TBG, hi y'all. I've found a new addiction that put me into Boodle lurking mode for the last month. I read Joel's list of things a man should
do in his lifetime, - raise a kid, write a book, vote from the grave...

In the spirit of Joel's kit, I wanted to add "compose a symphony" to the list, but I first had to write a program that was ADA accessible because I couldn't
find any music studio software that a blind person could use. (I wunder how Stevie does it?)

Anyway, a score of 1000 measures begins with the very first note, or something like that. So, for your listening enjoyment and without any further ado,
this is my very first song:

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze35fvj/FirstNote.mp3

Posted by: DandyLion | December 23, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Joel's in sync with Weingarten over at Gene's pool.

"Describe the Beefcake-in-Chief."
Gene's entry:
"Pitt and Damon ain't got nuffin'
On Mr. President-elect Studmuffin."


Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I like it DandyLion. I really do. It has such a sense of fun to it, and enough hooks to keep me interested. I like the unexpected chord progressions you throw in and the ambitious way you play with rhythms. Really, a delightful effort and one that I hope leads to many more. Bravo.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's
abdominals
ain't abominable
they
phenomenal.

Indominatable,
indubitable,
non-inscrutible.

Comprehensible,
defensible,
simply hoopy, not loopy.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein


Add "grow a set of abs" to that list

Posted by: osmor | December 23, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I can't think of anything to say to this Kit.

Well, other than I think the Pres Elect and I probably wear exactly the same size Gladiator gear.

Oh, and I have some chest hair.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Today's one of those days I wish I had a little more of a protective coating to shield me from the elements. [Was on a phone meeting today where I could have used a little ablative shielding, too.]I've some things to do outdoors, and it's a little chilly for folks like me. Hawaii sounds very nice right now...

Here's something that I find a little disturbing:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - A French executive whose fund is reported to have lost large sums it invested with Wall Street adviser Bernard Madoff was found dead in New York City, police said on Tuesday."

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2354182220081223

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

RD-great point on needing the right genes for great abs. Mr. F is extremely fit, with buns of steel, but I think he went directly from toddler belly to middle age jiggle at age 22.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

at home and just sent Mudge my picks for the last pool (unless we continue into the post season?

It's funny that I get to wear the Tiara on everyones worst pool week

sheesh, I thought last week was bad

Posted by: omnigood | December 23, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

bc with the chest hair is always bragging. It does look like Obama has a nice EVOO sheen to him.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

One last thing -- Joel, you *know* you're really looking at Obama's pic on the laptop and then up at yourself in the mirror while posing in swimming trunks and Carrera shades, and thinking, "Huh. He ain't all *that.*"

Plus, you have Flyaway Genius hair.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, don't be impressed by the copter rescues, Joel. They do it because it's faster and easier than trying to set up lines and wade people out in 19-degree weather. It's dramatic but that's no reason to get excited about it. All in a day's work.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Dandylion, when I opened it, the ambience was set to "water"-- it's a kind of watercolor with a big whitish "sun" set in the middle, with a thin horizon.

The colors change everytime it's played and the colors change throughout...

It started off with a slow expansion from dark purple, then quickly went to a very intense red-pink, with changing loops, lines, flowers outlines on the "sun", slowish rhythm-- with puffs of red smoke.

Around 1/3 ways through, it faded to grey and then a very bright sky blue, and the tempo increased on the "sun", a lot of vibration--it made me think of tense water. Then 2/3 way through, it changed to green and to yellow... seems more a funky beat, not sure-- it ended with yellow.

I haven't seen that much "action" in the water ambience visualization of any song-- not boring. I particularly like the middle of it. So well done!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I have completely forgotten what Hugh Jackman looks like.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 23, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I meant to add earlier - the area of River Road where those copter rescues took place earlier today has a lot of trees and hills. Given the strong cold wind today, those rescues took some top-notch flying and some really great work by the folks on the ground.

Slyness is right -- those folks are heroes every day.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I would give a D-minus to the owner of that water system though. It's got to be an antiquated system.
Not being able to isolate the line and shut-off the water supply reasonably quickly, in this day and age, is inexcusable.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Most of you are way too young to remember Millard Fillmore, so I guess I'm the only one. And he was SUCH a dreamboat in high school [New Hope Academy, class of 1819], too. I was so jealous. (He gave rise to the expression, "flip your whig.")

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

River runs through it! Glad no one was seriously hurt. Wow, that's some rescue huh. I agree with Shriek though, shoulda been a way to shut the water off. Seriously time for an upgrade of that water system.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 23, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah Kbert, all you gotta do is watch that scene in Australia where he dumps that bucket of water over himself. Sigh...

Still, I'm very proud to have such a hot looking president!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 23, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Bravo DandyLion, Bravo! That's the stuff of standing ovations!

I seldom hear a tune for the first time, even from an artist I like, that interests me. I enjoyed this one right out of the box. To my untrained (and possibly untamed) ear I hear hints of Oriental themes and a good bit of a fugue. Good stuff.

Five claws up DandyLion!

Oh, and I enjoyed Wilbrod's unique description of her experience, tailored to the artist. Well done to the gnome also.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Mudge, Fillmore was a good looking guy, in a Gilligan's Island Skipper sort of way.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 23, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Gosh darn it, the Boodle-guys were comparing their muscles, and I was shopping!

All the Christmas shopping in now done! Yay me. Plus a new leather jacket for me that I describe as 'rock star' and #2 as 'hard core,' so that's nice, I think.

It is a simply beautiful winter day out there, bright sunshine, little wind, a day to lift the spirit.

This afternoon, ribbons and bows, and more delicious food. Alt-rock on the Ipod and a song in my heart.

Enjoy the rest of your day, whatever it brings.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse


Bush was the President for 8 years and NEVER once did I see a column heading calling Bush a "rat" for any reason, so I'd appreciate a no name-calling rule when it comes to our new President Obama who is by no means any kind of "rat."
_____________________________

As to dmls2000's claim that: "...George Bush ... [was] the greatest president ever."

You must be blind as a bat and dumber than a bag of hammers.

dmls2000 goes on to write: "Lets just hope Barack is taking it easy in the blow and booze ...."

Scandelous Republicans sicken me. They had GWB who is an admitted alcholic and drug user, who completely ignored the will of the American people, spent more money and created the largest deficit in American history, and now Republicans want to try to switch identities.

I don't think so.


Posted by: lindalovejones | December 23, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I meant to say that I find Joel's second 'graph hilarious, very Joel-ish.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Too bad he turned into a "Know Nothing Party" anti-immigrant anti-Catholic jerk, aloha. I wonder how Pat Buchanan would have felt about him. Love-hate relationship, I guess.

-----------

I amused by some of the Obama comments that seem to suggest that "setting a good example" actually has any effect whatsoever in this day and age. Like anyone's gonna run to gym because Obama has abs, or that anyone's gonna stop smoking because he does (or start, because he does). Yeah, right.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

What kschlem1 said.

Also, hey, the U.S. needs all the image help it can get. The rest of the world views us as overweight, sweatpanted, gluttons who consume far more than we give back. I think it's wonderful that we are about to have a buff prez brimming with vitality.

Now if he can ditch the cancer sticks, he'll be gold.

Posted by: Terrimisu | December 23, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, it seems that lots of attractive men can be political and religious jerks. Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson for example. Interesting corollary.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 23, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm definitely going to be doing more sit-ups. Starting tomorrow. Or maybe January 2nd. Of 2010.

A coworker that has been following the MoCo flood said that fire rescue people wouldn't let the utility folks get to the shut-off valves because the water was too high. The pipe had to be isolated two sets of valves upstream to let the water drain before they could isolate the broken main.

The main was installed in the 1960s. Infrastructure repair spending plan, anybody?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Or we could just read the WaPo coverage:

//Neustadt said the depth and speed of the current also made it too dangerous for workers to reach the site where the 44-year-old pipe had ruptured and turn off the valve. Instead, workers cut the supply from the Potomac Filtration Plant, near the Mormon Temple, to reduce the amount of water flowing through the pipe, which is a direct line from the plant. They located two valves up the line from the break and were trying to close them in order to stop the water entirely, Neustadt said. //

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122300847_2.html?sid=ST2008122300848&s_pos=

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

And more from page 4 of the story:

//John C. White, a WSSC spokesman, said engineers were trying to shut down three valves that supplied water to the ruptured pipe. They successfully closed one valve, he said, and were working on another.

"It's more complicated than turning off a faucet," he said. "It's like turning a big wheel." //

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

MotP,
Based on your correlation, I am in little danger of becoming a jerk.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That's nothing, yello. I've been sitting up most of the day. Stood for a little while on the way to lunch, waiting for the elevator. (I like to set a good example for the transportation-impaired. All those stairways and all that up/down nonsense is hard on my shin splints.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

From our local NBC affiliate website, WCBD:

"No problems with tires, breaks in Denver plane crash"

Headlines like these just brake my heart.

Oh and, MERRY CHRISTMAS Boodlers!

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, thanks for the visuals, I only learned last week that some media players do an electronic interpretation of the music that they render. I'll give you my best shot at trying to describe the music.

It starts out with an electric guitar, distorted, playing an upbeat, catchy little riff that gives way to violins that repeat a motif as more instrumentation is added, including the drums. It gets heavier and heavier as it melts into a pounding violin / slap bass duet which, in turn climaxes into a chipper pop-style bass and keyboard routine. After the bass is finished, the clarinet and flute take over the keyboard and the piece gets soft and quiet. Then the bassoon moves in like a dark cloud with a few deep, elongated notes. This sets the tone for the violin rally, Vivaldi style, which begins somewhat daintily and plays along with the base, wind instruments whose rithym had been established by the keyboard. It gradually charges into a full blown violin frenzy and ends with a punch.

Hmmm. After reading what I wrote I have a notion that a picture might be described in a thousand words, but it may be impossible to describe music with the written language.

Posted by: DandyLion | December 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, DLDx, no. Please tell me that's a joke...

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Nope, no joke on there part, all intentional on mine.

http://www.counton2.com/

DLD

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

>>I break out my weights and the jump rope and put on the Theme from "Rocky."<<

I recently heard reported a study of the music that the genders choose while exercising. Men, the researchers concluded, almost always, if given a choice, choose one of these triumphant anthem-type pieces (the old HNIC theme [maybe not that one!], Rocky, Chariots of Fire) and women, something danceable.

So there you have it, RD. The study proves it. You're a guy.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I blame spell checkers for the most part. People have come to rely on them too much and have become lazy. It's one thing to read it in our quicky communications in IMs and chats, quite another to see it from professionals in newspapers and websites.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

DandyLion - Very cool. Nice work.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I can only assume the idiot "journalist" who wrote this drivel and the folks who've posted about the "magnificence" (huh?) of Obama's physique believe the President is such a paid-for cipher (compared to Hill committee chairs) that making fun of him/her is fair game.

Obama's "hot"? Compared to Barney Frank? He's "cool"? Compared to Pat Leahy?

Puh-lease.

May he be an efficient, intelligent chief executive of the U.S. gummint.

Let's leave the "hot", "cool" to Hollywood, and teeny-boppers. Like Achenbach?

Posted by: mftill | December 23, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I've got the screen capture on my blog.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/12/brakes-my-heart.html

And I've stolen your pun, DLD.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Chariots of Fire" Reminds me of the story my wife (Scottish) tells of her Dad taking her and the siblings to the movie. About half-way through it he started muttering, "Where are the gladiators?" :>)

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Did Weingarten have a chat today? Was it outrageous? There is no transcript anywhere.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I know, I know, I've been in lurk-mode lately. And, so the same today. BUT, I wanted to let the Boodle know that the water main eruption in Bethesda actually made the Swedish newspapers, video and all.

And, now I take my leave again, only to start drafting a software licensing agreement with enough idiosyncrasies to make it fun. I hope. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 23, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear Joel:

You obviously don't work out much, do you, or even spend time at a gym gawking, and wondering why people your own age look better than you do.

The President-elect is an ectomorph; he has a slim man's body, looks good now and will continue to look good for years. He is not ripped, nor does he have no body fat. He doesn't have the much-prized vascularity and he has no six-pack. That's not a slam, simply the facts. He's in excellent shape for his age, but it's primarily his genetics. As the trainer said in "Chariots of Fire," "You can't put in what God left out."

Posted by: LevRaphael | December 23, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

ftb!

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

No GW today or last week, Yoki.

More's the pity.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I wonder what it is like, to go on living after a humorectomy?

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DLD.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This is some interesting news... The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun will be sharing some content after the new year...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122301161.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: -TBG- | December 23, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Take heart, we still have Joel.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You're complaining about Barack being a underfed gym rat? Joel, time to reevaluate!
Not only does he have abs, but he has pecs and well-defined, if not overly muscular upper arms. His legs are also well defined.
Barack Obama could well be the centerfold poster man to lead the way in reducing obesity, diabetes, heart disease (in all its variations), falls, and lack of exercise that has become a plague on the citizens and children of this country.

Stop dissing the man, put on a pair of shorts and jogging shoes and follow him. Or do you really prefer to be a fat, ugly, blogger for the rest of your short life?

Posted by: mhoust | December 23, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I love drivel. Tee hee.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 23, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I not worried about me. I actually think Joel is at least as funny as Weingarten, maybe funnier.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm just loving today's drive-bys. It's like the bar scene from "Star Wars." I think maybe we need to start rating them, you know 8, 9, 9.5, 9, 8 and so on. Right now, 3:35 is, like, three laps ahead of everybody else. It's wonderful.

FTB, you lead such a wild, crazy, madcap life. Software licensing agreements...it just doesn't get any better than that.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I not only love drivel, I speak it frequently and write it, at length. It took long study to master, but the rewards are great.

I feel about drivel the way Wanda did about Italian and Russian!

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Now now, no attacks on our esteemed Boss. We'll all leap (well, lumber) to his defense.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This just in:

Tina Fey voted AP Entertainer of the Year

By JAKE COYLE
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 23, 2008; 1:35 PM

NEW YORK -- Tina Fey is the entertainer of the year? You betcha. Fey was voted The Associated Press' Entertainer of the Year, an annual honor chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers across the country.

Fey was selected by AP members as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008.

The 38-year-old comedian bested runner-up Robert Downey Jr., whose comeback was capped with the blockbuster smash "Iron Man," and the third-place vote-getter, Heath Ledger, who posthumously wowed audiences as the Joker in "The Dark Knight."

But it was Fey who most impressed voters largely with her indelible impression of Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live." Her cameos on her old show (where she had been a head writer until 2006) helped drive the show to record ratings and eventually drew an appearance from Palin herself.

"Tina Fey is such an obvious choice," said Sharon Eberson, entertainment editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "She gave us funny when we really needed it and, in a year when women in politics were making huge strides, Fey stood out in the world of entertainment."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122300898_pf.html

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Yoki. GW tries too hard and it shows, even to someone like me who is normally brain-dead to such things. Joel is more of the thinking-persons' humorist.

But sometimes one just needs a good underpants joke.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Yea for Fey!

It's time a smart sassy woman with hawt librarian glasses won an award.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | December 23, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone mentioned/commented on Jim Brady leaving the WP.com soon?

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | December 23, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

What? The Boss needs help? I'll be right there, after I finish my afternoon snack.

It won't take long will it? I usually have preprandial cocktails and hors d'œuvre around five, five-fifteen.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There will just nicely be time for tea and cookies between mid-afternoon snack and cocktails, bobsewell.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree that GW isn't as funny as Joel, but I just like Joel's brand of dry humor. Much of the time, GW's humor either passes me by or leaves me cold.

Drivel is a talent that takes a lot of honing, wouldn't you say, Yoki?

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

That's why I practice so much here, slyness.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Weingarten has written some great articles and was a gifted editor for the Tropic magazine. I respect his talent.

HOWEVER, it is a fact--and this is nobody's fault but his own--that every time I use a public restroom, I think of him. That is not good.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 23, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Good kit, Joel. Laughing out loud funny. And those who don't see the humor just don't get it (like the old WP ads.) Obama is the hottest prez I've ever been alive to see. But the fact that he smokes does tarnish his image a smidgeon. Quit smoking Mr. O.

bc....someday you must post a pic of you in full gladiator ware.

Mudge: so glad you stood waiting for the elevator. There is still hope for you, ya know.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I would have sat down while waiting for the elevator, Windy, but I wanted to set a good example for the yoot of America.

Plus somebody moved the bench.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Me too, Yoki! How wonderful to have a place where it's so appreciated.

LOL, Kber. I think GW's talent is more in stories, not straight humor. The Joshua Bell story deserved the acclaim it received. His work with Gina Barraca is passable, but many of the columns in the WaPo magazine - I'm not feeling it.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I just realized!!!! Today is "Hump Day" -- and Hump Day is almost over! Only one more work day 'till Christmas!! (I better start my Christmas shopping tonight or tomorrow.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: rebel with a cause.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

laloomis, I know you're a stickler for getting facts straight, so I wanted to let you know that Pres J Buchanan was also born in a log cabin. Originally in Cove Gap PA, it has been moved to Mercersburg PA. My understanding is that a handful or so of our early presidents were born in log cabins. Not a big surprise, seeing as aluminum siding was so far in the future (yes, I know bricks were made on site back then, and that plenty of houses were made that way...I was going for humor).

On a different topic, I was recently reminded that Ezra Pound's full name is Ezra Weston Loomis Pound. Knowing of your fascination with genealogy I thought I'd mention it, in case you weren't aware, and he turns out to be another distant relative.

About the fly-by posters, geez, some people just don't get humor. I bet they don't know why the Horwitz brothers were funny either.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 23, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

DLD - Well, I left the following comment on the announcement article:
- - -
bobsewell wrote:
Obviously, many thoughts here, from many directions. I'll toss mine up against the wall:

Thanks, Jim Brady. The Washington Post is an extraordinary institution, and the online branch (under your direction) has been a fantastic addition to the mix. I'm a rather skeptical prick by nature, but you (and your organization here) are among the good'uns.

12/23/2008 3:56:14 AM

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Windy3,

You missed the Big Boodle Sleepover where I took this picture:

http://s127.photobucket.com/albums/p156/yellojkt/boodle/?action=view¤t=BunkerHotel.jpg

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

In re the barbecue debates, it's nice to provide something for people who try to keep kosher, at least in public. Do not shy from brisket and beef ribs, ye Carolina brethren.

I just got back from the store that sells spices such as fenugreek, whole mustard seeds (both brown and yellow), pickling spice, cumin seeds, etc. I'm going to whip up some homemade cucumber pickles now. With plenty of garlic.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I agree with you. Weingarten is super-smart and proud of being a smartelick. Gets old at times.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You've also got the right combo for a very fine aloo gobi, Jumper. Don't hold back!

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I like Gene W. I like Joel's writing better, but Gene W. has his moments. Besides, didn't I say that I like drivel?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 23, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt--Thanks. I have to switch to another PC to view the pic but I will. Now that you mention it I may have viewed it when first posted but forgot about it. Maybe that's why I always see bc on my American Express card. :-)

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm grateful for the job Jim Brady has done at WaPo.com, but I was a little confused at the story about his leaving. Is he going somewhere else in WaPo? I hope his job wasn't RIF'ed.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

drivel   /ˈdrɪvəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [driv-uhl] Show IPA Pronunciation
noun, verb, -eled, -eling or (especially British) -elled, -elling.
–noun

1. saliva flowing from the mouth, or mucus from the nose; slaver.
2. childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle.
–verb (used without object) 3. to let saliva flow from the mouth or mucus from the nose; slaver.
4. to talk childishly or idiotically.
5. Archaic. to issue like spittle.
–verb (used with object) 6. to utter childishly or idiotically.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The way I understand it, wapo.com was being folded into the parent newspaper company which essentially demoted JB, so he decided to pursue other opportunities. Anyone with real knowledge is welcome to correct my random speculation.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

My wife wants a bottle (like, an inch and a half tall, and that diameter) of Regeneris Micro-Scultping Cream for Christmas. I just looked it up. It's $27.99.

I'm in husband-shock.

And running for the bus.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Again, from the horse's mouth:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/22/AR2008122202029.html

Read those tea leaves any way you want.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Really? In Canada its about $47, and worth every penny to a woman of a certain age.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

My opinion of GW is well-known and on the record:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/07/comic-strip-temporal-dynamics.html

He's the only man I know who has coasted his way into a Pulitzer. But since he is Turkey Day buddies with Joel, I should try to keep my mouth shut. After all, he is some sort of inexplicable gonzo father figure to a generation of far funnier writers than himself.

Did I say any of that out loud?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll be heading out shortly to pick up my mom and brother from the airport. They'll be with me until Sunday. Sis and her husband join us for Christmas Eve and Day. Wish me luck--my family puts the "fun" in "dysfunctional."

DandyLion, hope you don't mind if I share your music with my brother--I think he'll enjoy it.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Raysmom!

This year, I've decided that I'm going to sleep in my bed and other people can sleep on the air mattresses. I'm sending the teenagers to sleep on the sofas at the Elder Dottir's condo. I realized that giving up my bed deprived me of much-needed rest and was the source of most of the angst I experience at holiday time. So I'm going to keep my bed for myself.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, slyness!

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Does there exist in the world a composer who would mind his music being shared with ANYONE? Such a creature must be rare indeed.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

slyness,
As matriarch, you are entitled to your regular bed. When my parents visit me, they sleep on the fold-down double futon. After all, when I visit them, my wife and I are stuck in the guest room with no closet, limited AC, and two twin beds with marshmallow soft mattresses.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

So, yello, you're saying that your family would have as much of a laugh riot about these suggestions

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/10/AR2008121001102.html

as mine will. I saved that section of the paper for Mom to read. I'll ask her what she misses most when staying with me--the terry cloth robe or the luggage rack.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Agree, Yoki. If mudge (not to mention my husband) knew how much my face cream /neck cream/ eye cream really cost they'd faint. :-)

Good luck raysmom--I'm sure many of us can identify with you.

Slyness, you deserve your own bed!!!

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Why, those designers must have stayed with me at one time or another!

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's just say there is a reason I don't make the guest room any more comfortable than it already is.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Windy3, don't know if its available across the border, but one word: Dermaglow.

http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/style/story.html?id=b9ac9cd0-baa1-41e3-b1b9-7ba29df142d7&k=65366

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

It's not like I make guests sleep in a pup tent and use a Porta-John! The bed has extra blankets and memory foam. I have almost-coordinating bath linens. They'll have their own bathroom. I set out coffee and tea in case they're up before me.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

And the Horowitz brothers still are funny, IMO.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the aloo gobi inspiration, Yoki. I think that will work. This may be of use in another way, too... more on that later. You have caused me to go ahead and cross the line: I don't like ginger. Me, who likes everything. I even got over my fear and loathing of capers. Me who takes pride in not being a food crybaby. With the cowboy ethos that if I didn't work hard enough to be hungry enough to eat what's on the table, I failed. But I don't like ginger. I don't like gingerbread, I don't like ginger in the kimchee, nor the stirfry.

I'm going to make the aloo gobi. Without ginger. You can't stop me!

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Dimmer switch? Old photos? Plants? Sheesh, I'm glad to crash on clean sheets in a room with a door that closes when I stay with other people. At my house, you get a folding mattress (that has a depression in the middle), pillow and a blanket with a clean set of sheets. You gotta share the bathroom with the Alohakids and hope there's still toilet paper when you get in there. But, it's free!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 23, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

ScienceKid#1 and I both find Weingarten tremendously funny. I have no beef with him. I think he's one hell of a writer, both purely for humor and in feature-writing. His chat persona is, obviously, just that: a persona, a public face that is an intentional exaggeration of personal behaviors, especially the unattractive ones, as a satire of himself and everyone who remotely resembles him in gender, political outlook, etc.

I once offered a comment to his chat that there seem to be folks who hate and despise him with a deep and thorough-going passion, but who nevertheless make it a point every week to follow the Tuesday chat, apparently to refresh their supply of outrage and contempt. Given this, and the fact that it is trivially easy to figure out where he lives, I wondered if this ever bothered him in a, y'know, "fear for life and limb" sort of way. Oddly, this question never was posted to the chat.

It is the job of a humorist, especially a political humorist, to push the envelope of acceptable discourse. That means that there are people who never will find that humorist to be funny. What I don't understand is those people who find the humorist not merely unfunny, but personally vile and repulsive, as if they have ever been in the presence of the actual person instead of his public persona and have had the opportunity to assess his actual ethics and morals and personal habits.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 23, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that the joy of cooking with real ingredients, Jumper? If you don't like ginger, you just leave it out. If you were using a pre-packaged mixture, you wouldn't have that option.

I think Tom Sietsema once admitted to not liking anise-like flavours.

To each his own, I say.

I don't like eggplant. There, I've said it.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

So Tim, do you think he really has deeply-held beliefs on milk chocolate, dark meat, and bumper-tapping, or is he just baiting us. I mean, milk chocolate! (Although he is right about that little knuckly part of the lobster...)

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how people will try to persuade you to like it. I won't.

There's a million food blogs out there. I recently put these two on my favorites list.

This one because I need to explore it more; it's looking r-e-a-l good:
http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com/

And this one because I have a psychological double out there, apparently, who does it better than me:
http://www.thepauperedchef.com/

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Insightful. Unusual.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Just think, if you didn't like gobi, you could make just aloo. And if you didn't like aloo...

Getting punchy now, apparently. Apologies.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I have never found GW particularly funny, like Ma Frostbitten I still bemoan the loss of Kornheiser's column in the Wapo Sunday Mag. But, Wapo is very lucky to have as its unfunniest humorist someone who is better than most.

I will not eat organ meat, I don't care what domestic or game animal it came from. Ma Frostbitten can drive me mad with the tantalizing smell of liver and onions, the sort of aroma that makes one happy just anticipating the first delicious bite. Alas, the texture makes me gag. Once in Officer Candidate School, back in the day when you cleaned your plate for fear of being identified for some sort of ridicule, I took liver and onions in the chow line. (I was so very hungry, and the 15th meal in a row of veal -frozen breaded patties made a million different ways-made me ready to submit to any gastronomic insult.) I sat down light hearted and eager to dig in, realizing too late I could not swallow the first bite, much less more. Candidate Petersen, where ever you are now, and to whatever rank you rose, I am forever in your debt. I mark the day you let me slide my plate up to yours and scoop the liver over, without a single word exchanged, as one of the happiest of my existence.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I find Weingarten funny, that's why I follow his chat. I just don't think he's as funny as he says he is (Tim, I know, that's part of his schtik, too). I do think some of the people who get their questions/comments posted are a gas.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

frosti, I feel exactly the same way about liver - love your description. As for other "organ meat", I will not try it. No tongue, either. Bleh. Things that have been deep fried into submission, like kalamari, are fine. Ginger - I love ginger, gingerbread, gingersnaps. Dark chocolate.

A few weeks ago I was doing a crossword, with a clue for "ingredient in Brunswick stew". Took me awhile, but the answer was "squirrel". Ewwww.

Posted by: seasea | December 23, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

See, seasea, didn't I say that very thing? Just last night?

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know! When I was trying to figure out the answer, I knew the Boodle had discussed Brunswick stew - and eventually, the answer became clear. And here we are talking about it again.

Speaking of people losing their jobs (sigh), Ketzel Levine of NPR was doing a series about just that, and then 2 weeks ago, found out she is getting laid off:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98591249

Posted by: seasea | December 23, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

seems like a good thing for the new prez to be a gym-rat of sorts. basketball is a fine pastime, you know. the real question is, can he dunk? and in that regard, mr. joel, some dedicated work on your glutes and quads might enable you to dunk, too.

is it permitted to wish all the regular members of this blog merry christmas and happy holidays? or at least to mention that i very much appreciate all the fine writing and thinking and joking that goes on here. not to be too gushy or anything, but you all really are a gift on many days when i can check in for a few minutes.

Posted by: butlerguy | December 23, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

sorry folks.
he's fit because...gasp...and i say that advisedly...HE SMOKES!
it's a simple, easy way to keep slim and trim.
ask the french. that's their secret to keeping off the pounds.
peter jennings and johnny carson were absolutely sleek until..well..they died of lung cancer.
you don't start paying for it til you reach...oh...about 47.
you just wait. if obama ever really beats nicotine, he will balloon like the rest of america did when we all quit and became a nation of health conscious fatso and sos.

Posted by: postal1 | December 23, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, of course, it's permitted! Hope you have a good Christmas and New Year too. You remind me of where I grew up when you post...we're all part of this stew.

And let me just say to postal1, I doubt very much that Obama's occasional cigarette contributes to his trim (and very fine) physique. He works out, he eats sensibly. He's trying to quit smoking, for crying out loud. But welcome to our little world.

Posted by: seasea | December 23, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

But...but...Ginger is soooo hot!
How can you resist?
http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=1080

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 23, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you too, butlerguy! And to all boodlers near and far. A monster cold has laid me low but I'm on the mend and officially ready for my 8 days off after tomorrow.

Dandylion - wonderful! I enjoyed it very much.

Brunswick stew - gaaaaachhhhh. I've only had it once and clearly it was not made by master boodler chefs, but I will never try it again. I finished my entire portion so that I wouldn't offend and it almost killed me. I think I had my face under control, yep, I'm sure I did. But no, no, no, I will never eat it again. I'll fake an attack of gout or mad cow disease and beat feet away as quick as I can. It was that bad.

Posted by: Kim1 | December 23, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

We aim to please, butlerguy :-)

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=890

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 23, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

How very kind, butlerguy. It is always such a pleasure to see you here, wish it happened more often. Ping!

Have a very happy Christmas.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Kim, did that Brunswick stew have squirrel in it? Or rabbit? I make it with whatever I have on hand, generally chicken and/or pork. I did use leftover turkey last week. I hope you would try mine, it's pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I was taking a few minutes to myself, catching up on backboodling.

laloomis, not that you'll ever reply to me or in any way indicate that you read my posts (either this one or the previous) but I saw there was something on the last boodle about federal employees never being laid off. In 1995/96, there were two furloughs of federal employees (one, beginning just over a week before Christmas was the longest in US history); the effect on the public and the trickle-down effect on other non-governmental sectors was staggering. CRS 98-844 gives a good overview of those effects, if you're so inclined to educated yourself on the topic.

Also, I don't think you can go after someone for something they might have implied six months ago, and you can't go after someone for liable/slander when what they said was true. Doesn't work if you started it either. Kinda like throwing the first punch in a bar fight, getting the cr@p kicked out of you, then crying foul. Can't get any traction on something like that. Besides, 6 mos later, you'd have to show actual harm, not just the potential for it.

RD, you're a gem.

bc, yes, they're still funny. And my 'file' is probably something more like a 'file drawer.'

omni, ya look good in the tiara. Really does something for you. Who knew?

Mudge, I'd say that the cream is cheap, and besides, the wife's worth it.

Okay...me time is up. Time to make the doughnuts.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 23, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The dude plays hoops and works out. He should be buffed. Clinton lifted Big Mac curls and what did it get him -- a triple bypass. Maybe the workouts will keep Obama in good enough shape to solve all our problems, but to make sure, he's got to get an ab-shaper and Nodic-trak for the corner of the Oval Office.

Posted by: ursadog | December 23, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think omni looks good in the shoes, too.

And I remember those Govt. furloughs in '95-'96, and I think they made huge messes that cost almost as much to clean up as it might have to just pay folks to stay on the job.

And I do like Brunswick stew, as I like scrapple, too.

As far as PE Obama's physique goes, I could care less if he smokes or not. I think that's his business, not mine.

And let me say that one of the things I look forward to during the Holidays is my Mom's liver pate. It's absolutely delicious.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Would love for the Washington Post to show a picture of Rahm Emanuel and family on safari, on vacation, in Africa.

Obviously, Obama doesn't need Jenny Craig, but probably can't live without Greg Craig.

This blogger has an interesting take on today's events:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Weblogs/TWSFP/TWSFPView.asp

Looks like things are mostly innocent, here, aside from Rahm's suspiciously faulty memory. I don't wish to cast aspersions on Team Obama before there is evidence of misdeeds, but I will note that the Washington press corps is awfully happily credulous of a Democratic internal investigation, conducted by Democrats, of Democrats, to clear Democrats of possible collusion with another Democrat, released on a holiday weekend at 4:30 p.m. while the principal and powerful subjects of the internal investigation are temporarily absent from the American mainland.

Yep, not raising any flags for me, either. Now, everybody go on vacation.

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Jumpin' Bose-Einstein condensates! They're talking about states of matter on TV!

Hey, I just realized physicists are squishy and cool and our prez-elect is ripped and hot.

A new state of affairs is indeed in offing

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 23, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

And not before time, DNA Girl, not before time.

G'night all.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Just sort of caught up with today’s boodle. Kim, I must have the same cold. Spent tonight cooking ahead for tomorrow night’s feast and had to enlist “S” to taste things for me. Seems not right to be cooking without the ability to smell or taste. Although even I could tell I used too much vinegar in the salad dressing! I hope everything comes out okay.

Mudge, you don’t want to know what I spent on some eye serum that was smaller than the stuff you mentioned. I too wish Obama didn’t smoke, but as a former smoker I have to empathize with how difficult it is to quit.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas (if applicable), and a safe holiday weekend. I have a half day tomorrow and then the gang shows up. I love Christmas Eve!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 23, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Received a hand written Christmas card today with a photo of a man and his two sons with not a clue who they were as it was signed with first names only. Finally turned the envelope over to see the return address from Mark Dayton, former senator and presumed candidate for governor. Last month it was a birthday party invite from some county attorney who would like my support in her race for the dem nomination. Sheesh, are we never free of campaign season? It's longer than hockey.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

*Nothing* is longer than hockey.

Thank goodness.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Funny piece by Hank Stuever, wherein he mentions yellojkt's favorite Christmas song!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122302885.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: seasea | December 23, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I love Hank Stuever. Thanks for that, seasea, I would have missed it otherwise.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Having burned the candle down to a mere nub from both ends over the last weeks, I am, Boodle, to bed.

Good night all.

I'll be mustering for Dawn Patrol no doubt.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe no one mentioned this one as their favorite Christmas Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjaPXihbORk

Well, I suppose it's understandable given the horrid video quality...

Had a funny conversation with Steuver once; he seemed appalled that not only had I actually used blue tarps, I actually owned them. I guess I'm glad I didn't mention that I own real moving blankets.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 24, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Hank rules! [Just ask almost anyone who's ever met him, or any number of other folks who've read him.]

Posted by: bobsewell | December 24, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm not at all proud of myself, but I must say what I must:

I will have no congress with wenches who eschew contact with organ meat.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 24, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Recently the US Embassy here started a weekly section called “Ask The US Ambassador” in the newspaper. I thought that was very good PR. Last week someone asked :

Q: What does 'G.I.' in the US Army stand for?

G.I. is a term describing members of the US military or items of their equipment. The term is often thought to be initials for "Government Issue", "General Issue", o "General Infantry" but actually refers to galvanised iron
The letters "GI." used to denote equipment such as metal trashcans made from galvanised iron in US Army inventories and supply records. During World War I, US soldiers cynically referred to incoming German artillery shells as "GI cans"; it was assumed that "GI" stood for "Government Issue".
The term was later applied to all military equipment then to the soldiers themselves. The term reached its climax with the deployment of American troops during World War II.
However, the term G.I. was always used much more by civilians and the media than it was by Army soldier: themselves. By the time of the Korean War, the term was largely restricted to use by the press; war correspondent in particular.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 24, 2008 3:16 AM | Report abuse

'morning all.
The conversation turned to offals again, better hold my experiences to myself. Calf brains sandwiches anyone?

Really got to start my own shopping soon. Before leaving yesterday at 06:30 Mrs. D handed me a list of 12 books and 4 CDs I had to buy. Such is the life of those working downtown, we are shopping mules. It cut into my own shopping time.
Again, I've got to make the effort this morning.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 5:08 AM | Report abuse

A short photo spread. Merry Christmas to all.

http://picasaweb.google.com/ShriekingDenizen/Noel08#

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Bob, first of all, eww
but must you really eschew?
wenches know 'tis true
there is so much more to you
just don't ask me how I knew

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=907

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 24, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

I heard "Father Christmas" on the radio the other day and really listened to the lyrics real close. Great song. There is no official video of "Christmas Wrapping" but this video is a great lip-synch version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acrM-KoMHiI

I like Stuever a lot even if I disagree with him frequently. That Christmas lack-of-spirit hits me square. We've been going through the motions: smaller tree, fewer presents. Maybe Hank could come over for some egg nog.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 24, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. Cassandra.

Christmas Eve! Isn't that fine? A white Christmas.

Today will be one to stuff stockings, make the dressing ('Mudge would approve of mine, I think), and welcome friends in for a glass of wine. You should all drop by.

DNA_Girl, you rock.

Have a wonderful day, Boodle. If you savour, as I do, anticipation, Christmas Eve may be the best day of the year.

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2008 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. Happy Christmas Eve day. Here’s a candidate for the Darwin Award:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/12/man_using_blowt.html

Gearing up for a quick half day at work. Raining here and warmer than it’s been. Have a great day all.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 24, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. All the buses are on holiday schedule this morning, so I'm on a different schedule myself.

Yoki, I approve of everything you make, you know that. And yes, I like Christmas Eve, too. When I get home from work, I have a lot of wrapping to do. Including a teeny little jar of platinum-based face cream for Herself. Tomorrow afternoon we're going to oldest dottir's house for Xmas dinner with her clan (four of the grandkids), plus whoever else shows up. In the spirit of moderation and cutting back, I have been prevailed upon to NOT make my usual corn pudding this year, as there are already 27 other food items on the menu, including both turkey and the spiral-cut ham we're bringing. So I doubt anyone will starve.

OK, time for the last Dawn Patrol before Christmas. Cassandra, Brag, Scotty, you guys out there? We've already got Yoki and yello, DNA and SD aboard. Magneto ready! Clear? Contact! Chocks away!

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 24, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

I went and did 10 push-ups, 20 knee push-ups, two sets of 25 sit-ups and I still don't have Barack's abs. This is too much work. I'm going to go have some eggnog.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 24, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Curmudgeon, I had totally forgotten the pixie dust cream for Ms. D. I won't say the price, it's even worse than Yoki's, probably because of the French name printed on the tiny jar. The store is right in front of my bus stop, I'd be in trouble if I forgot (again)...

They've got snow in Victoria BC! Totally white Christmas!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! In the spirit of the season, I slept past my normal time of arising. Oh well, that's okay for today. At least I didn't completely miss dawn patrol. I didn't, did I?

Everything's ready here, as best I can tell. The major task for the day is to take presents to twin boys. Although I've had them since June, they weren't wrapped Sunday when the babies were here. An excellent excuse for a Christmas Eve visit!

Posted by: slyness | December 24, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

It is a bit warmer today.

Me likes that.

Have a good day, everyone.

Posted by: Braguine | December 24, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning all, managed to stop procrastinating long enough yesterday and got a lot done, cleaning, cooking and a quick grocery shop on the schedule today.

Friends came over last night and I didn't get to bed until 1:00 was past my bedtime.

Shriek nice family photos.

Snowed for several hours yesterday but warmed up over night and is now raining.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 24, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I'm up and heading for the grocery store in preparation for a full day's cooking for my family's Seven Fishes dinner tonight.

OK, perhaps there's a present or two left to wrap...

More later, folks.

Oh, cool. They're playing a bit of John Hiatt's "Perfectly Good Guitar" on NPR...

Ciao, I'm off to the market.

Batteries to power! Turbines to speed! Let's move out!

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 24, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... Shriek... thanks for the Christmas "card." I love your house... and your family looks wonderful. Nice to finally see you, too!

Christmas Eve... it's Birthday Eve for my sister E. I was the Christmas Baby until she was born five years and three days later! In a snowstorm!

Tomorrow the G family has what we like to call "Jewish Christmas." We relax all day (after opening presents, of course), then go to a movie together in the late afternoon and then dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I love it.. best Christmases ever. Relaxing, quiet and lots of good family time. Any movie suggestions? I'm proposing Australia or the new Brad Pitt movie.

We have our Big Family Christmas on another day (this year it was last Saturday), so we're free to celebrate The Big Day the G way. As sad as it is to have lost both my parents, there are some benefits to being an adult orphan. This is one of them.

Have a Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I'm off to work (very happily) and will get home early to wrap presents.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 24, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Eve to one and all boodlers and lurkers too. I'll post a new kit later this morning but must first rush out and buy a bunch of stuff.

Here's a good piece by Oliver Morton on the famous Earthrise picture taken by Apollo 8:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/opinion/24morton.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Posted by: joelache | December 24, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

TBG,

As long as you're not committed to maintaining your Christmas spirit, go see 'Rachel Getting Married'. It's the feel-miserable dysfunctional family movie of the season.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 24, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. You know, those words in the kit about the self-esteem of being massive have triggered an old memory.

As a young teen I suffered from the "Gumby Effect" in that my weight didn't keep up with my height. At the towering height of 69 inches I typically hovered around 120 pounds.

So for a brief exhilarating period in my life my personal self-improvement goal was to gain weight.

Ah, youth.

With great effort, and many, many peanut-butter and honey sandwiches, I gradually expanded my physique. I remember quite clearly going to a dance and sauntering confidently across the gymnasium floor while reveling in the glorious sense of massiveness that came from being nearly 135 pounds.

I remember thinking that, one day, I might even reach my ideal weight of 149 pounds.

Now, in the years that have passed many things have changed. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are no longer my friend. I seldom get accused of being gaunt. And dancing "The Hustle" is right out.

Yet, ironically, I have maintained one thing in common with those distant days. I still maintain the awesome dream of reaching my perfect weight.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 24, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone. Lots to do around here before I take off this afternoon, where more chores await. We have last-minute food preparations to complete before the in-laws arrive. Apples to peel, things to chop, and, of course, the Christmas plates to haul up from the basement.

I think my perfect Christmas would be along the lines of the affluent Victorian Ideal. You know, lots of plum pudding and porcelain ornaments. Oh, and servants. Those would come in handy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 24, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Mudge & CP and All, thanks for yesterday's comments on Rick Warren. Sometimes I throw out questions (sincerely) knowing that I will get quite a response from the boodle, and believe it or not, it makes me feel more a part of you all. And if I learn a thing or two along the way, so much the better.

About Obama, he's only one man, but he has given so many of us hope for an intelligent administration for our Country. And, I love Joel's humor and his inclusion for all on the boodle.

Happy Holidays, you all.

Happy Christmas, happy holiday to you all.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 24, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

You're too kind TBG, I'm getting to call the house the Kennel That is Falling Apart Faster Than I Can Prop It Up.

I have similar memories RD padouk. A handball coach was specially insistant that I gain some of the 35 pounds needed to reach my ideal playing weight of 170lbs. Alas, I just zoomed through that ideal weight 20 years ago.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

RD,

I too weighed around 125 at high school graduation. It was a pain to find 29 waist dress pants. I used to shop at Merry Go Round in the mall because they had the best selection of skinny clothes.

For my sophomore winter break I visited my parents in Italy and ate pasta for three meals a day. I haven't had trouble finding jeans in my size since.

I once heard a rule of thumb that part of our national weight problem is that we gain two pounds each holiday season and then never lose them. Over 25 years, that is a gain of fifty pounds. Which seems a pretty reliable estimate in my experience.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 24, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, the ultimate Christmas song is obvious:

Santa Claus and His Old Lady --

"...They used ta come down to places like, oh, Chicago, L.A., Nueva York and Pacoima and all those places, y'know, and then land on top of people's roofs, and then 'ol Santa Claus would make himself real small, y'know, like, a real small guy? And he'd come down da chimney and then he would give you all da stuff that he
made, man. And...dig this, man...he did it all in one night, man!

Hey, just a minute, man. Now, how'd he do that, man?

Oh, well, man, he took da freeway. How else, man?"

:-)

Well, there's water at the office, so there are at least a few more things to do before cranking up the revelry machine...

*fully-decked-out-with-tinsel-and-candy-canes-and-a-glowing-nose-and-stuff-while-riding-inna-really-charp-chort-with-twice-pipes-and-candy-apple-red-ooooooooh-CLEAN Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, I once hovered around 120 pounds, too. It was right after I came back from the Crusades.

*sigh*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

G'morning, all. Thanks, DNA Girl!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 24, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

My ideal weight is 107, she says with a chuckle. I was there once, when I was 12. Not ever since. My excuse now is that I have much more muscle than I did then (really! it's what using an Airdyne for 23 years will do) and that weighs more than fat. Oh, and the post-menopausal gain.

Posted by: slyness | December 24, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I was once down to a rather skeletal 140 after a bout of bronchitis around 1977. One of these cases of not having a doctor, and in any case feeling too bad to find one. Antibiotic shot did wonders.

My body's been in marmot pre-hibernation mode ever since.

Over in the cycad world, a substantial scientific paper on Zamia skinneri and its friends in and around Bocas del Toro, Panama just got circulated. Another reason to visit one of the more beautiful spots in the Caribbean (along with its outstanding surf, which is surprising since it's on the Caribbean side).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 24, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

bobsewell!

I've been fighting anorexia all my life. I'm winning.

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Uploaded my grades. In about a half an hour, I might have something cheery and festive to say.

About to place stuffing amalgam in crock pot and marinate fondue meats.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 24, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't "stuffing amalgam" be mildly redundant? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Uploading grades is something to be thankful for... not just that you finished but that you no longer have to go to the Registar's office to turn them in.

We used to do that every year when Dr G took me out for my birthday lunch. A stop at the Marymount campus, Toys R Us and then lunch. We haven't been inside a toy store for probably 10 years.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, Scotty, all I have done today is wash the dog. She is now fit for visiting. My family will be dispersed around, so I have a trip to the mountains upcoming. The sister will make the same trip to see the same people later in the week. I will meet her here for the Exchange of Gifts today. I suspect my neighbor will be one of the Unsung Heroes of the Newsroom, and go in on Christmas, in exchange, of course, for favors and bossly gratitude.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 24, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Just in time for Christmas...chatter from my husband about his company's "new" severance package. When I asked him this morning why he was talking about the details, he said that the information was on the internal company website and some folks had already been offered severance packages. This does not bode well for the new year.

This is a season I have chosen as no stress, no fuss, no muss. There is no tree. There has been no decorating. The front yard is immaculate, though, with all leaves cleaned up. There are no gifts--since it's been replacement spending. We replaced the lamp shades that had been damaged long ago in the cross-country moves--the plastic behind the linen had big cracks in many places. If we had turned over once more on our old flannel sheets, our toes probably would have made holes, so we ordered new ones online since none of the local stores carry Cal King.

Big discounts from book retailers--so treats here: Ackroyd's history of the Thames, Jane Mayer--wish I had gotten her autograph in Austin (as Doug Brinkley had when they both were on the dais, Brinkley mentioning how hot her book is), Tom Friedman for the first time, and a tome from Yale University Press about the British and Spanish influence on the North American continent from 1492 onward.

I have not baked. There is no special dinner tomorrow. We shall probably be eating East Indian food at a restaurant tomorrow, perhaps among Hindus. I hope for the dine-out. I would love to see a movie, but that probably doesn't pass the realm of possibility since my husband is on-call. Long 15-hour day for him yesterday.

Hpefully, a relaxing, quiet day Thursday with no calls from corporate.

Posted by: laloomis | December 24, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I wish doctors could administer injections of tiny, controllable amounts of anorexia virus from time to time, so maybe I could lose a little weight.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm ready to be a grandfather. I brought a sampler of Mrs. D Christmas cookies, as I do every year on the 24th. I saw, with glee, a young mother wince when her 20 months toddler got hold of a mini cup filled with raspbery jam. I'm sure she hoped he would go for a ginger snap, the chocolate-dipped shortbread croissant or even the cat turds but no, he dived for the sticky-est. hehehehe

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I plateaued at 135 lbs. for far too long in HS. 170 was way too brief, sort of like driving through and waving. But I held 178 for a long time. Now the old days of 195 seem faraway.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 24, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Me too, 'mudge, me too. Instead, it's the age-old formula, and gosh darn it, that's work.

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC raspberry

Ooooh, it's snowing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

http://www.808talk.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/artd.jpg

Joel implies images everywhere, so I was just on Google image search looking for Obama Hawaii.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 24, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe that was the bulimia germ I was thinking of. One or the other.

Wonder what would happen if they injected little bits of botox around one's tummy? Could one tighten one's glutes this way?

How come I hafta do all the creative medical trailblazing around here?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Oop, almost forgot...
Season's greetings for the irreligious:

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2896

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 24, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Doncha just love those last-minute holiday chores? Such as cleaning up a work mess not directly relating to your own duties? *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

What happened, Scotty -- they put you on River Road lifeguard duty?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Right there with you, Scotty.

Posted by: Moose13 | December 24, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm posting this without comment...except to add that I received notification of my pay raise yesterday, and it is 3%, not what's in this report (I know that'll please Loomis no end):

Bush issues order implementing 3.9 percent pay raise

By Alyssa Rosenberg

December 19, 2008 President Bush on Thursday issued an executive order implementing the 3.9 percent pay hike for federal employees included in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act passed in September.

The 3.9 percent figure is 1 percentage point higher than the administration initially proposed in its February budget, and brings the 2009 civilian pay increase in line with the raise for members of the military.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said she was pleased with the pay raise, but wished the initial proposal had been higher.

"It is disappointing that in every year of this administration, it has failed to make the connection between fair and competitive pay and the ability of agencies to secure and keep the high-quality employees they need if they are going to meet public expectations of government service," she said.

The executive order was necessary to specify how the overall civilian pay hike will be divided between base and locality pay. Bush allocated 2.9 percent to basic pay, and 1 percent to locality increases.
For General Schedule employees, base pay will range from $17,540 for employees in Grade 1, Step 1, to $127,604 for employees in Grade 15, Step 10. For employees in the Senior Executive Service, pay will range from $117,787 to $177,000 for executives in agencies with certified SES performance appraisal systems, and from $117,787 to $162,900 in agencies without such systems.

Members of the SES paid the current minimum salary of $114,468 will receive guaranteed 2009 raises of 2.9 percent to bring their salaries in line with the new floor of $117,787. Raises for other senior executives will be determined on an individual basis and will vary by agency.

The Office of Personnel Management posted updated locality pay tables to accompany the order.

Employees in the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia area will receive the highest total pay adjustment, at 4.78 percent. Those in the "rest of U.S." category will get an overall boost of 3.52 percent.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I am working a half day today (although I say it's on PST so technically I finish at 10 a.m.!). Then, heading out to the stadium for the Hawaii Bowl to see our Warriors go up against the Fighting Irish. I believe the point spread is 3. Should be interesting. Alohaspouse usually ends up at the Hawaii Bowl each year with the rest of the Aloha family going to an Xmas party. This year we thought we'd make it a family Xmas Eve event. Somethin' different.

It's breezy and a little cloudy here. Hope you all are staying warm up there!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 24, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... don't spend that raise all in one place, now.

Change of topic... my sister sent me this excellent feel-good story about a high school football team in Texas...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3789373

Posted by: -TBG- | December 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I passed on my Peach Bowl tickets to my brother in Atlanta who is going to take his son that is in Pee Wee football. That strikes me as a better use than spending a lot of money on airfare so my wife can play her iTouch when the marching band isn't on the field.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 24, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It is a double-edged sword working for the Government.

The base salaries really are significantly below those of the commercial sector. I could easily be making more than 25 percent more as a contractor - even with the bad economy.

Further, Feds have to deal with far more regulations and restrictions than do most employees, and in certain areas the rules mandate intrusions into personal privacy that would horrify many.

And, of course, being a Fed makes you an easy target for disdain. Especially for those who work in areas where they are legally forbidden from fighting back.

On the other hand, the benefits are great and the job security high. Finally, of course, there are some who really do think that working for the Federal Government is part of a higher calling to public service. A way to truly improve the system instead of just grousing about it from a safe
distance.

Finally, realize that the civil service isn't an inherited class, nor are positions handed out by royal decree. You need to compete for such positions. So feel free to apply.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad that Obama has once again made it "cool" to be a civil servant... and is making it clear that it is indeed a calling to public service.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 24, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Hoping that all have a wonderful Christmas Day, whether they celebrate or not. Of course, I am one of those who views Christmas as a purely secular holiday open to all. So in that spirit I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 24, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Indeed TBG - you should see the new standard issue shades. Way cool.

Now I am off. Much work to be done before the in-laws arrive.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 24, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Morning all, finishing up a few work chores from home then at 2:00 it's time to go over to the rental place we're letting the dott use for the holidays. Double edged sword there, I'd rather have paying guests in it but we are not quite at the adult relationship where having her in my home is preferable to down the road a piece. No tree at Chez Frostbitten, which doesn't feel as bad as I imagined. Our real tree is in St. Paul and I put up an undecorated fake tree in the rental for Frostdottir. I think her best present this year will be the 3 crates of long unused ornaments and instructions to "decorate the tree any way you want." Mr. F has seen it, and suggests I have a couple glasses of wine before the official unveiling this afternoon.

If I don't get back here today, Merry Christmas, and whether you celebrate or not, all the best to you and yours.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 24, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, PD, over here in the private sector, my generous employer has gifted me with the rest of the day off (without pay, natch) and I am leaping (!) at the opportunity. I shall be leaving momentarily, and I plan to take the scenic beach route home. It's a little farther and doesn't have bike lanes but I will enjoy the sea breezes, the gulls, the sound of the surf...long weekend, here I come!

I hope Joel didn't get caught up in some sort of shopping vortex, or maybe he's just circling the mall parking lot, looking for a parking space...really, who actually fell for that prediction, I mean, forecast, of a "new kit later this morning" - ? I guess we all know better by now than to take those pronouncements literally.

Merry Christmas, to Joel and all the minions!!

Posted by: kbertocci | December 24, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"PD"? Who is that? I guess it's a dyslexic mashup of RD and Padouk -- your handle is strange enough already without my scrambling. Sorry, guy.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 24, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Snow in Victoria, snow in Vancouver, snow in Seattle! It's really coming down, on top of all the snow still on the ground and in the streets. The good news is that it's slightly above freezing, which gives me hope that one of these days it will warm up enough to become rain. Then we get the heavy, rain-soaked snow which causes roofs to collapse...but we won't get into that now.

Christmas Eve is the day I enjoy. After the excitement of Christmas morning, I get the holiday letdown. Today is all about the possibilities (tomorrow, the reality).

And I'm the backup oncall person today, which wouldn't be so bad, but some bright people scheduled a power outage at one of the data centers today, so there is a probability I'll have to help out.

Mr seasea likes to watch the Hawaii Bowl. Aloha, wave to us! Merry Christmas, Boodlers all.

Posted by: seasea | December 24, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Before you all scatter to the corners of the earth, I too would like to wish each of you a very happy Christmas and send warm thoughts your way.

Thank you, Joel, for the porch and the great writing. Thanks Boodle. You know how I feel about you.

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to all you who are heading out early, hitting the road, going places, etc., and otherwise departing the Boodle for a while. Wanna hear all your stories when you get back. Travel safe. Distribute hugs wantonly. Over-eat only a little bit. If any of you are stuck for a last-minute gift and the stores are closed, I believe there are some Lladro in you bunker you can have. And if the Kinkade is still there, for god's sakes somebody please take it.

Meanwhile, TBG, thanks for that football story. It sure had a ton of verklemptness in it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Psst. New Kit. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, wouldja like a nice piece of Lladro? I think it's Pan or somebody like that.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 24, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Snowing here in the banana belt again this morning. Tenth day in a row we have had snow. Yesterday we had some sun and all the snow not in the shade melted. Got up at 4:00 this morning and it was snowing pretty good. When I took the puppy out to do her business at five the was an inch and quarter of new fluffy stuff. It's been off and on since. The temp has raised from 32 to 34. Warm moist air coming up from the south is supposed to meet a cold blast of air from Alaska tomorrow. Mount Shasta ski area is expecting 13 inches.

Posted by: bh71 | December 24, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Have a Merry Happy Whatnot!

From Buddy and Jim

Rush Rush Rush Rush Rush

Posted by: Boko999 | December 24, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Special holiday update!

It's the fourth night of Hanukkah. The ducks are in the roaster. The ScienceTree was purchased today as a live tree on clearance from the Home Despot and, even now, it is being decorated by the ScienceKids with the ScienceGrandma. The ScienceSpouse is out braving the crowds and surely will require beer or perhaps wine when she reaches our contemporary-styled homestead. We are coming down to the wire, but it looks like success will be ours.

Boo-Yah!

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 24, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

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