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Universe Won't Rip Apart

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Bulletin: The universe is not going to be torn asunder in the distant future by that dark energy stuff. Not that I was ever really worried. But there was this theory out there that the universe would come to an end in what they call the Big Rip.

The gist is that dark energy is repulsive -- we mean that in the best sense of the word -- and causes galaxies to accelerate away from one another. If dark energy is strong enough it will eventually cause each galaxy to disintegrate, as well as all the stars and planets and people and everything else. But the new measurement by the Chandra space observatory shows that dark energy ain't that nasty.

Here's the take-home quote from Alexey Vikhlinin: "The accelerated xpansion will proceed forever but will probably not result in a Big Rip."


Here's a chunk of my story on the site today about this new research:

By J.A.

New research shows that the mysterious force known as dark energy is still as mysterious and as dark as ever, but scientists are at least becoming more certain that they're not simply imagining it.

In the process, they've discovered new evidence that Albert Einstein's theory of gravity works even at the grandest, most cosmic scale.

In a report published today in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say they have succeeded in producing a new technique for measuring dark energy using NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory that orbits the Earth. The results match the dark energy findings from observations of supernovas made by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Chandra observed changes over time in the densities of galactic clusters, which are collections of galaxies, and found a pattern consistent with the supernova research. This is a much-needed confirmation that the earlier work was correct, the astronomers said, comparing it to football referees examining a controversial play with multiple camera angles.

Astrophysicist David Spergel of Princeton said the results also provide a cosmic-scale confirmation of Einstein's general theory of relativity. "It's never been proved right on the scale of the observable universe," Spergel said.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 16, 2008; 2:54 PM ET
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Next: The Anthropic Principle


snow now sleet,what a pretty mess out there!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

A well-behaved Boodler would go back to tell the others before posting, but I'm not that big a person.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for checking out the RSS Feed for me Yoki. I was thinking it was a WaPo problem but wasn't sure. Guess I'll just have to wait till they fix it.

Stay warm!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 16, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Ya ya, rub it in, Aloha. I can take it.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hee hee, sorry Yoki, didn't mean to gloat, honest! If it's any consolation, it's rainy and gloomy here. Has been for over a week now. Lots of rain and flooding over the weekend. So, it's not all beautiful in paradise right now.

BTW, I tried the RSS feeder and it works now.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 16, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Joel, I hope they aren't the same referees who reviewed the Steelers' touchdown in the Ravens game.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 16, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You are forgiven, MotP :)

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Amen Mr. 1 Amen

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It's a small thing, but the 1954 "Brown" case was Topeka, KS.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 16, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I found God in a catalytic converter
in Topeka on a Monday night.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Ack! Attribution:

Topeka, Ludo, from the CD You're Awful, I Love You (2007?)

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"The accelerated xpansion will proceed forever but will probably not result in a Big Rip."
Best news of the day. He's talking waistline and pants, right?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 16, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh thank God!
Whadda relief! I mean one of the most persistent problems of living for ever has been, for me, the whole Big Rip thingie... Now that I don't have to worry about that anymore, I can go on with the bizniz of aging gracefully throughout eternity.

Posted by: dschalton | December 16, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse


Nice to see you, dschalton.

OK, now I'm really going out in the cold to provision the household. Later, you all.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Bob; good catch. I had it confused with the Little Rock case three years later. Also a biggie, also a non-TV event.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 16, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

So you're trying to make a point, 'Mudge? Don't be subtle, tell us how you really feel!

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So does this mean the universe is a seamless garment?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

... made of spandex?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Well as long as the universe isn't like the new jeans with memory stretch, that shrinks back to its original size - now there might be a problem.

Had a weird boodle moment driving home today, as I was skipping through the presets on my car radio I came across a Christmas song that seemed familiar but very unusual to be played on the radio. Sure enough it was "The Miser Brothers" - put a big smile on my face.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 16, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please tell me the universe isn't made of Spandex. I have enough problems with my rolls of fat as it is.

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Suggested kit headline: Universe Not for Rent.

OK, maybe ya have to think about it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 16, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, *I* got it!

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Just installed the new browser, and turn it on to find the "Universe won't rip apart." Good.

In other universe-ripping news, my best contact FINALLY returned my email with some advice on whom to contact to seek the new job (and he said they wanted to hire!)

I don't believe a word of this dark energy. It's more a geometry we are not understanding. Probably Homer Simpson was right: the universe is shaped like a donut, and this geometry explains it all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I got it too. Lots of good word-folk around here.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I love the phrase "proved right on the scale of the observable universe." I mean, talk about a moment of profound affirmation. Too bad Einstein isn't around to appreciate this revelation. Of course, if the stories are true, old Al would have expressed nary a hint of surprise.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, finally able to sign in! I had something profound to say to say about Griffin in the last kit. Something about his examples cited were actually more dork-like than nerd or geek qualities (based on our expertise with the nomenclature). Like I said, profound.

While I'm being profound, SD, it's not the Big Rip that should be a concern - it's the dark matter.

Also, given the parallel universe theories, even if the Big Rip were to occur, wouldn't we be just be torn a new one, as it were?

Posted by: engelmann | December 16, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Stuff like this always makes me feel shallow. For consider what this really means. The cosmos may endure much longer than many have feared. Perhaps this newly-found vastness of time will allow glorious new civilizations to arise from the muck. One can envision great societies of wise beings capable of fully understanding what we can merely imagine. Creatures, perchance, who will unravel the deepest mysteries of love. Truly, the enormity of these implications should leave one in an absolute swoon of Ultimate Revelation.

And yet, I still can't stop thinking about the weird gurgling noise being made by the upstairs toilet.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I always fancied it a mobius-strip of a donut, Jumper, or a long string balloon twisted in a pair of lips that keeps inflating until full contact is achieved.

Besides, remember Pumbaa saying in "The Lion King" that he thought the stars were large balls of burning gas, only to be told by Timon, "everything's gas with you, Pumbaa."

The cake is a lie, but the donut might not be?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow, RD_Padouk.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I know, I know. I mean, I hate spending money on a plumber. Maybe I just need to replace the floater assembly.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

That could be, RD. Often the easiest thing to do with a tank problem.

Oh, the other stuff was pretty too, but doesn't exactly help you if you get an overflow, does it?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Engelmann, you deserve a nice spruce (Picea engelmannii) for Christmas. Although given a choice, I'd take a noble fir (Abies procera). They tend to be a little leggier than the currently accepted US Platonic idea of a Christmas tree, but that just means the Platonian version is imperfect. Flawed.

Could Dark Energy be a bit like a rubber band, stronger the farther you move from the source? Will it eventually cause the universe to fly across the room?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Well.. you know what they say... Die strafe des schweigens!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse


How was second-day?

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Who says that?

Posted by: seasea | December 16, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

They do!

Second day was better than the first! Thanks for asking, Yoki. How was your day? Did the fires get put out?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

hehe. DaveotC said "Platonic Idea."

Yoki usually says "Platonic Form," to express the same paradigm, but Idea does just fine.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for asking, TBG! I guess I should have elaborated, since a couple/three Boodlers wondered if there was *trouble at mill* for me.

No no. Herewith the explanation, sent to one friend.

>>No, no trouble. Very good for me, actually. Everybody wants to promote me, they’re just arguing about who gets dibs (the COO wants me to be his deputy, the Chairman wants the same thing, and the Calgary managing partner says that’s fine but I’m not to ever consider not being available to the Calgary partners).

That’s nice, not trouble. I’ll calm them down, don’t worry.<<

What they forgot, typically, is that I have some say about this. My choice? Easy. COO's Deputy. He's one of the smartest and nicest people I have had to do with in a long time. A real leader, and a mensch, and I have learned a tremendous amount in the last year when he's called upon my skills for special projects. I want to learn more about really *managing* a large and profitable business, and he's the guy to mentor me.

I did, in fact, calm them all down by reminding them that I have SAY. And now it's all good. Come sometime in the new year, I shall be COO, Jr. and begin the learning. Yay, Me! And Yay! COO! for picking a smart and motivated and not young woman (a woman! in a law firm! the universe may yet be rent!) to mentor.

All is very well in my professional life, today.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Well done Yoki.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 16, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Fabulous news, Yoki. I'm frenvious.

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, Yoki! Ya done good!


Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dmd. I kind of understand, while not sympathising with, Griffin from the previous Kit. Sometimes we get our self-esteem from doing well at work, and when that is so it is just a joy to let our work-legs free to run and play.

There was a story in the New Yorker several years ago, now, that I can't really remember, but it was about working, engaged. And this phrase was written by a now-forgotten-by-Yoki New Yorker staff-writer, but I still have the anthem on my bulletin board in my office:

..and sometimes, if we are very lucky, work is so engaging and rewarding that it is indistinguishable from play.

That is how I feel about my work. And I guess it shows.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Awww, TBG. You know what that means to me. Thank you.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm green with envy Yoki...well done!!!

you da (wo)Man

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

LOL! gwe.

Do you have that commercial in the States where some big old high-powered white guy in a suit says, "Let's stick it to the Man!"

And his subordinate says, "But aren't you the Man? Does that mean you're sticking it to yourself?"

And the BOHPWGiaS says, "Maybe."

I think its for a cell-phone provider. Cracks me up every time.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Good on you, Yoki (and TBG too)

My relationship with my Christmas tree has always been Platonic. Well, usually.

Posted by: engelmann | December 16, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Good news Yoki!

Yes, that cell phone commercial was very popular early in 2007, although I haven't seen it lately. And it always cracked me up too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse


I'm going take your word that all of this is on the up and up. I don't have a clue.

Yoki, glad to hear you're loving work. And TBG, good for you on the second day.

I'm also happy that the Walsh family will have some peace of mind after today, as to who killed their son. It probably won't ever go completely away, but they do have that knowledge now. A long time, but finally.

The g-girl is here, and I'm getting ready to hit the sack. Been a long day.

As always it has been good to talk with all of you today. Have a good evening. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 16, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Good night, sweet Cassandra. Sleep well. I really love you.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, you'll be handling the big guns, Yoki! Congratulations!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Hee hee. I am fully capable of handling the big guns, Wilbrod, and teaching others how to *put them down slowly,* to find comfort and peace.

Not a gun-fighter at all, me, just easy-going and model the female way-of-being, sending pings out regularly.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki the great thing about my new job is the most important function we have is to create play!

Posted by: dmd2 | December 16, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Zackly! That's why we both love our jobs, dmd, isn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I love the fact that I am NOT at my job tonight....been sleeting for a couple of hours,thankfully no wind yet. the fire is roaring in case we lose power.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 16, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! gwe, you're not at your job, so that's a good thing, right? And safe and not on the road (also good). All is well.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure they'll be pleased when they see the big guns have been turned into macrame holders, Yoki.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I say, "Feh!" to macrame, Wilbrod.

Sorry. More about kindness and nurturing and seeing my wee babies step up and do well. No crafts!

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my gosh, I missed so much to comment on today.

Mudge, loved that Ken Block video, and the retired Prodrive WRC Subie STi that they've put an unlimited drivetrain in. I could critique the driving a bit, but overall, that was a fun video.

MissToronto, I don't know if JA will write anything about the relocated Dakar, but if you never read the bit Mudge and I wrote that may bear purely accidental resemblances to any cross country rallies, you may want to see the first part here...

More in a minute...


Posted by: -bc- | December 16, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

NOW that's a housing plan.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, COO somehow has an urban sound to it. Like the bird you'd see in both Billings, MT and Panama City, Panama. Calgary, too, I suppose.

The former Dodgertown in Vero Beach may not be taking in the Orioles. County commissioners threw shoes at them today for not making a sufficiently good offer.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

That is one of my most favourite 10th circle posts. Beautifully written, funny, insane, car-centric... all good.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

And I'll never look at spare socks the same way again, thanks to bc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

You know, Wilbrod, I could get used to living in a cave, in the right circumstances. Not hilly enough here in the Piedmont, but I'll bet it could be done in the mountains. As long as I had some sort of heat and indoor plumbing, I'd be set.

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

DotC, sorry. But delighted to learn that horticulture-man also kills bedding plants!

Not cooing, just COOing. I'm not dove-like at the best of times, and not now in mourning.

As I once said to word-welder friend, "I used to be an artist, but now I am a capitalist."

Hey, did anybody else read Eugene Robinson's chat today? Used the phrase "Weejuns of mass destruction." HAHAHAHAHA!

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I learned how to drive on central North Carolina's paved but twisty roads in a Datsun 510, which (I didn't realize at the time) was a bit of a budget BMW. Subsequently there was a lot of driving pickups on unpaved roads. Maybe reasons why I still manage to frighten passengers?

Didn't Washington society once include bands of "cave dwellers"? My recollection is from a magnificent history of the city from the 1960s, but a Google query brought up:

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

whoa, that's just awful. Everything I have fought against all my life is right there. Geez.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

They still exist, Dave. There are plenty of reclusive rich neighborhoods from Georgetown to NE D.C.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Everybody sounds so happy. Glad to know none of us will rip apart anytime soon, Joel.

It was a miracle to run into Raysmom (and her husband, and, of course, Ray) on a neighborhood culdesac watching Santa drive by on a firetruck last weekend. Wow. Even my brother was impressed.

But family complexities are trumping any joy for me and I don't want to rain (or snow) on anybody's holiday cheer.

I'll be staying under the covers til everything in my world lightens up.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 16, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

hey, windy3, truly we all speak openly here, and comfort each other as much as we are able.

Come out from under cover if you feel like it. And not if you don't.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, do I gots some comments on *this*...

Firstly, didn't Einstein believe that his Cosmological Constant was the biggest mistake in his career, but was the only way to resolve Relativity with the Observable universe (what we could see of it back then). That fudge factor he applied (for lack of a better phrase) has turned out to be so close to the values we assign to it now, that one as to wonder if human Observation and belief in it has affected the Universe to the point where it's aligned itself with Einstein and human thought, rather than the other way around. Kinda QuantumMechanical in an Uncertain sense - and could be some sort of Cosmic hint from the Beyond. After all, Al criticized QM by saying that God does not play dice with the Universe, but wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that the game wasn't dice at all, but that He cheated at poker?

And, finally, dmd2, you can blame the Miser Brothers song on me, I mentioned it seeing it on TV the other night when I flipped back and forth between "The Year Without a Santa Claus" and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Even more in a few...


Posted by: -bc- | December 16, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

bc, dude, only you could work quantum uncertainty and Kafkaesque angst into one post and stay on-Kit.

I throw Jungian archetypes and some analytic philosophy into the mix to try to confound you. And do not succeed. *Sigh*

You are The Master.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

If God is playing poker, bc, who's he playing with, and for what jackpots?

And will he decide to quit when he's ahead, leaving the universe deserted?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

ahhhhhhh. a pointy-head kit. excellent.

just doing a drive by to say hello. glad that things are going well on the work front for people.

Posted by: LALurker | December 16, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Would there be any chance of a BPH being planned between Christmas and January 1st?

Wilbrodog likes those cheeseburgers best in company.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Steve Ostro, a pioneer of planetary radar, has passed away. Please take a moment to Google him, and gaze upon his works.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

This commercial also sticks it to the man. Those up north may find it odd. It's a bit of a tradition around here, he's been doing them so long.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

No, I should have put this link, the correct one:

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm not the Master, for goodness' sake. I'll answer to "The Jackson Pollock of the English Language" and continue my Human Journey reeling beerily between ignornace and profundity, and laughing at the ridiculous spectacle of myself the whole way.

Ok, back to the Kit for a few more moments. There may not be a Dark-Energetic Big Rip, but there could still be a Heat Death of the Universe, where Everything just thins and cools over time Until Everything Just Stops, couldn't there? We humans might act like it's better to burn out than to fade away because of our mortality; but Everything Else may not end with a bang, but with The Last Whimper.

Or not, as this article puts some (more) science behind the idea of a Hinduesque cyclic Cosmos and that the Start of This Mess was not a Big Bang, but a Big Bounce (Brahma on a trampoline?). Now, how do we get from a Dark Energy stretching Everything out, the 'verse accelerating over the Observable Horizon like a runaway train, to bringing it back to a collison or bounce point without invoking Homer Simpson's donut shaped universe, as folks mentioned above (chuckling to myself considering Homer Shiva, the Destroyer of the Universal Buffet. The Eater).

I think we humans are sadly ill-equipped to understand the 'verses we live in, starting with the one between our ears and extending from the Beginning(s?) to the End(s?) of time.

Everything looks to us to behave so weirdly, so counter-intuitively from the most basic quantum to the most immense cosmological scales. And the very weird idea Laws such as the speed of light, and the strenghts of gravity and dark energy may not only have been variable over distance but time as well. Even now, I wonder who could best explain this 'verse - Born, Newton, Einstein, or perhaps Lewis Carroll?

Ah, it's midnight, and time for bed.
G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: LALurker | December 17, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

well i thouroughly enjoyed my snow/ice day off.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 17, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

yo yoki,your up late tonight.Whatcha doin?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 17, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Yo, green man! I'm taking online therapy with a good friend, and very much needed and overdue and welcome it is, too. You?

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

just reading the sports page,drinking some apple juice,yelling at my cat.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 17, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Kerric | December 17, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Kerric | December 17, 2008 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Just in case you were wondering.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 17, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

oh carp, it snowed quite a bit!
'morning boodle, Bob.

bc, it was a classic 10th circle posting.

Big office party this afternoon. I think that every single time I've won a door prize at that party it was a bottle of cheap wine. Some meat need marinating, luckily.

The mood shall be subdued for people in our section. A tragedy affected a young woman working with us last week. They were 4 sisters and best friends now there is 3 of them. I saw her yesterday for a few minutes, I'm not sure she started her grief yet as she is taking care of her parents, who are taking all this the hard way. And in truth it's not right for parents to have to bury their child but it does happen, tragically.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Pirates are having a good day in the gulf of Aden, 3 boats and a ship.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 5:07 AM | Report abuse

If universal will can change the cosmological quotient, why doesn't it work with my bank account?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2008 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of letting rip (or not), here is an essay inspired by the Iraqi journalist shoeing off Bush:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 17, 2008 5:47 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. I love you too, Yoki. And yes, Shriek, it doesn't feel right when parents have to bury their children, but it does happen. My heart goes out to the parents and the siblings, and my prayers.

Well, the g-girl is still here, and we have to move to get ready. Getting dressed and finding that favorite cereal. And playing in the water while brushing the teeth. I may not be able to walk this morning.

Just wanted to drop in and say good morning. I don't have time to read Cleaver's op-ed piece of why African-Americans should lower their expectations from President-elect Obama. It sounds as if he thinks we're out in the place that JA's kit is talking about. I don't think I am. My feet still feel like they're on the ground. And with all that's going on in our country, I hope they stay that way.

Have a great day, folks. I hope it's warming up where it's really cold. Yesterday it was so warm here, one didn't need a sweater. By evening, I could feel the cold air settling back in. One doesn't know what to wear.

Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty(hope to hear from you soon),Yoki, and all the boodle gang, good morning.*waving*

Time for school.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 17, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse


It was good to hear from you. I hope all is going well for you and family. You sound really busy.

Can someone explain this Microsoft mess that is going on? I will read it later. I have a funeral to attend today, plus the radio program. Thanks.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 17, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

*rather enervated Grover waves*

Much backBoodling to do, but wanted to get a low-level Dawn Patrol flyby in...

Stay tuned for the Ballad of the Vacation that Deserves a Mulligan...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2008 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, good to see you back.

I read Cleaver's opinion, and the title is, Obama, Job First. It's good. He brings out some interesting points. He suggests we, as in African-Americans, should work with President-elect Obama instead of putting a lot on his already filled plate. And that does include the country as a whole, but because President-elect Obama is a first for the African-American community, our expectations from him may be over the top. I'm not wording it very well, but I believe that's the main point.

We're waiting on mom. She's slow. It's still foggy here. I just might be able to get the walk in.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 17, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Scotty. Interesting weather in ye olde New England, wasn't it?

This commute in the middle of the night, and in a blizzard to boot this morning, is getting old quick.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra, Scottynuke.


Another beautiful morning, snowing, a balmy -10, and even though I'm now on vacation I must to downtown.

Have a great day, friends.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | December 17, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodlers!

At least, the freezing rain did not materialize here last night.

Have a good day, everyone!

Posted by: Braguine | December 17, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Hey Cassandra, I hope you get to walk. I think I'm going to do the exercycle this morning instead. It's almost pea soup out there, and my morning has been totally disrupted by taking Mr. T to work.

Since we're going to the mountains this afternoon, it makes no sense for him to have to drive back home and leave from here, when the office is only slightly out of the way. But it surely messes up my morning to have to drive 45 minutes before breakfast. I'll survive.

On tap before the mountains is a trip to the local mall so that twin boys may have their first visit with Santa. This will be fun. I hope they enjoy it, and don't fuss.

Wait. Scotty, where did you go on vacation? I thought I heard you were in Louisiana. Did I miss something?

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I have yet another busy morning, and have been composing further thoughts re. Joel's piece and the Larger Questions, which I'll post later after I've transcribed them from my handy dandy nighttime notepad (now, where's that Midnight Rosetta stone - I can hardly read what I wrote)...

Have a great day, everyone, and Scottynuke, welcome home. I'm sure your cats gave you and Nukespouse a resounding greeting upon your arrival.

The patrol's warmed up and ready to go, and I'm ready for coffee and muffins. Have a great day, all.

Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Algerian shoe factory launches new product:
Zaidi Shoes! :o)

Posted by: Braguine | December 17, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Hello everyone,

not to be such a political downer, but did you see some of the latest from the "non-press news orgs?"

That and the coming from behind the curtain by the spying on USA citizens whistleblower, and hearing a bit of his story and his concerns (and mine)...

I have come to the conclusion that someone should do something (more). At this point, we have a sitting VP who just said that he condoned waterboarding (and if you take the reports from Congress that I believe were unanimously approved by the committee), actually called for it, it wouldn't be a bad idea to (1) really look into this and (2) do something other than throw a couple of corporals into the brig.

If it is true that the corporals are expected to know better, then so too shouldn't the VP and President?

Didn't our nation hold trials after WWII where we actually executed Japanese military officers for directing waterboarding?

For starters, wouldn't it be nice for Congress to put some teeth into the official records act?

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. Trying to maintain a good face today, as my aunt passed away last night. After my Mom died, she kind of took up the matriarchal duties for the family. Like my MIL, she persevered until she was called home. She made the strongest coffee of anyone in the family. I continue to follow her example, and added an extra measure to the pot this morning for gp's.

Posted by: -jack- | December 17, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

jack, I'm very sorry to hear your news. My condolences to you and your family.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

jack - my condolences and best thoughts to you and yours. Sounds like it's been a tough year.

I have nothing but respect for those capable of making good, hot, strong coffee.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh my Jack, so sorry for you. Just this morning I boosted to coffee so much that my daughter rejected that batch as too muscular. I honor her passing also, with the coffee that fortifies.

Take care, indulging as you need with doggie therapy and a good hymn or too. I am thinking of this one just now.

Angel Band as by the Stanley Brothers in "Oh Where Art Thou" or as Emmy Lou Harris does.

Off to student 911 Term Paper Rescue, but with the sweet strains of

Oh, come, Angel Band, come and around me stand.
Bear me away on your snowy wings to my eternal home....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 17, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

For those who read my post last night I have most exciting news.

'twas naught but a faulty flapper valve.

And now I must go tend The Machines. For their demands are without end.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

That *is* momentously good news, RD_Padouk. So satisfying to identify a problem and actually fix it, don't you think?

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Still backBoodling, but I must add my condolences to omni and jack, and a combination condolence/congratulations to Yoki.

And NukeSpawn said to make sure to say she said "Hello!!"

Tales to follow indeed, bc... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to all.

Posted by: -jack- | December 17, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

jack.. so sorry about your aunt. It really has been a tough year for your family. Hope the puppies are doing their job to comfort you all.

Shriek... the tale of your co-worker hits too close to him to this one of four sisters who are best friends. Please be sure to give her an extra bit of comfort from me.

Gotta run off to work.. or since CP reminded us of my favorite movie, "I'm gonna R-U-N-N-O-F-T."

Have a great one!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 17, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Jack, you and your family are in my prayers. Your friend's family too, Shriek.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm behind in my backboodling, and I know there are a dozen important things I should be saying to people. I'm thinking of each of you in your triumphs and sorrows and joys.

If the universe isn't going to rip apart, could we just invent longer days? Please? Pretty please?

And less dark. I could really do with a little less dark. (Thankfully this will be addressed any day now)

Posted by: --dr-- | December 17, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Jack, I'm so sorry about your loss.

Excellent news about work, Yoki and TBG.

*faxing sunshine to Scotty*

And RD, Faulty Flapper Valve would be an excellent boodle handle.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 17, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

It Office Holiday Celebration Day here. a.m. breakfast for my office, then late morning all-agency doings, then lunch at my boss' house for our little group. Have I mentioned I love his sense of humor? He asked us to RSVP on lunch so that he would know how many cans of spam to buy.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 17, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I posted this about three and a half hours too late in the previous boodle...

remind me to tell you a story and another... (this is my Karma story that is actually a Pay It Forward ask already deemit

And after I'll tell another that is a scary one....I managed to...inadvertently scare a non intended target into a three second paralysis

Posted by: omnigood | December 17, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Tell us the tales, omnigood.

Posted by: FaultyFlapperValve | December 17, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

You know what I don't like? The way every time, when I "Sign In" to comment, every time I submit a comment, the new blog regime kicks me back up to the top of the page. Wastes valuable time getting back down here to follow the conversation.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I thought god played roulette

Posted by: omnigood | December 17, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

So sorry SD.

A relink:

Play 'Wistful Elegey' for the young woman

Hold her close, and let her cry on your shoulder.

Posted by: omnigood | December 17, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

‘Morning, Boodle. Welcome back, Scotty. I’ll give you half an hour to grab a cup of coffee and a crueller, and then it’s back to work for you, old son. There’s a lot of paperwork that’s piled up in the deputy shop steward’s inbox that needs attending to.

First, there’s an application for “Blenderized Anchovy” as a Boodle handle. You’ll have to log it in, do a file check verification to make sure no one has already claimed it, etc. – you know the drill on allocation of Boodle handles. Also check out who owns "FaultyFlapperValve." I don't remember that one going out, do you?

That reminds me, I can't find the office copy of "Toilets for Dummies: Official Field Guide to Repairing Commodes, Loos, WCs, Potties, Bidets, Porcelain Thrones, Crappers, Techno-Johns, Banyos de Comfortantes, and Seats of Ease." Padouk may have borrowed it and forgot to put the signature card in the checkout box.

Next, we’ve had some more complaints about Brag’s early morning tree-skimming, when he’s caught the undercarriage of his aircraft in someone’s topiary. This time the allegation is he flew too low over a house decorated with Christmas stuff on the roof, and (so the claim states), hooked three strands of icicles and five lighted reindeer, and buzzed off trailing them behind his plane. I sent a couple of riggers out to check out his aircraft, but by the time they got out there all evidence was gone. Check it out for me, wouldja? Maybe we can blame it on a wind storm or microburst or something.

Someone stole my only DVD of Die Strafe des Schweigens again; would you order me another copy from Blockbuster? Thanks.

There’s the usual requisitions for fax machine cleanser; chicken soup degreaser fluid; tracer ammunition for the Dawn Patrol (I think somebody on the overnight patrol has been firing a lot of tracer rounds trying to make some sort of light show over the Disselschnaffen aerodrome, but I can’t prove it; Intell reports hearing from a captured soldier a weird story that enemy ground staff at Disselschnaffen claimed the sky was lit up one night last week at about 3 a.m. by a glowing giant middle finger in the sky); and the Ready Room waiter says we need some more Splenda and Carnation Coffeemate, plus we’ve run out of orange & spice teabags again.

We need to send out some condolence cards, plus “Attaboy” certificates to Wilbrod, Yoki, and my oldest granddaughter, who finished up her first semester of college with two A’s, two B’s and a C, much to my relief (I was worried). Oh, and send a note to SD telling him the book he sent me arrived yesterday, and thanks.

After you’ve got all that taken care of, call TBG and see if we’re having lunch at her club today. If not, then see what there is in the larder we can fax to virtual lunch.

When that’s all done, why doncha take the afternoon off? You’ve probably got a lot of Christmas shopping to do.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 17, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I can't omni, I'm her boss. The rules say "You must be a cold fish at all times".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

oh, SD, that sacks....

I say scroo the rules just this once

But you're there and know best

Have a meeting soon, but will try to get some stories posted after meeting and lunch.

Posted by: omnigood | December 17, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

You are a hard-driving taskmaster, Curmudgeon. EYE think we should all sit around the Ready Room drinking coffee and laughing our fool heads off. I expect bc will opine on matters of import, and that is allowed, too.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

You're such a slavedriver, Mudge, I'm glad I don't work for you!

SD, if it's appropriate, please tell her that your imaginary friends are praying for her and her family. If we're lucky, your explanation of imaginary friends may bring a little smile.

Gotta go, baby boys are arriving!

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Coffee? I got coffee. I think we have more than you (ha ha ha!!!). When I say we have tons, I mean it. If you have frequented farmers markets in Virginia or Takoma Park, you probably know the flashy bright red bags!!!

I was skimming and noticed the reference to both strong and dark. If you are an espresso drinker, you should try an espresso grind of a medium or mixed roast. You will certainly get the richness of the bean, that way.

It is true that you can be in the mood for a stronger cup. BTW, I was waiting for a friend to show for a casual meeting yesterday at a Starbucks... If you want to have fun with them (in a nice way) ask them for a cup of there fair trade coffee. Only once have I been at a shop where they could locate the coffee. The roasting is better but fresh isn't even in the cards.

Alas, we get spoiled at Hondo Coffee.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Jack, I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt. I second collegeparkian's music - I'm humming "Angel Band" now. It's for you too, shrieking denizen.

Windy3, I sympathize. My extended family is experiencing some serious health problems as well. Share whatever you're comfortable with, and don't worry about the mood - the Boodle is here for good and ill.

I love this Kit. I know I'm not up to a profound comment but fortunately we have bc for that. I'd settle for witty but several of y'all have that covered as well. I'll just say that the Homer Simpson Donut Theory of Dark Energy is mighty attractive. I wonder if Einstein liked donuts?

Brag, I've really been enjoying your pirate updates, and your shoe comments as well. Thanks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 17, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

That's the plan mudge, Mrs D is also having her office party this afternoon and she is supposd to pick me up in front of the pub where we are having our party at 15:00 for a spot of shopping.

That is if we are not buried in snow by then (it's still snowing).

I hear a strange noise. The boodle has developed a Faulty Flapper Valve?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Morning all
An icy mess here in west by god this morning,ice on everything.But we have fog so the air must be warmer.I can see it melting from my window.We still have power so that is a good thing.

cp,thanks for the tune cootie,although I choose Big Rock Candy Mountain instead.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 17, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I like the Peasall Sisters' cover

My latest sun is sinking fast
My race is nearly run
My strongest trials now have past
My triumph is begun

Oh, come, angel band
Come and around me, stand
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home

Oh, bear my longing heart to him
Who bled and died for me
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin
And brings me victory

Oh, come, angel band
Come and around me, stand
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home
Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home

I've almost gained my heavenly Home
My spirit loudly sings
The Holy Ones behold they come
I hear the noise of wings

Oh come angel band
Come and around me stand
Oh bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal Home
Oh bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home

Posted by: omnigood | December 17, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Four Bucks isn't trying very hard. The local coffee pusher where I get my fix offers only fair trade coffees. The prices are better than in most coffee traders as well. "Organic" coffees are expensive, fair trade one not so much.

They must have got in this intertube business early, given their address.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni, cp,, for the tune cootie.

Hang in there, omni. Positive thoughts, your way, shriek. WTG, Yoki, TBG.

Posted by: -jack- | December 17, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I learned how old you gotta be to no longer want 6 big stereo speakers in the living room. My age. So one pair and one of the big bass speakers went to Salvation Army along with a game of Risk I bought 20 years ago and had no one, ever, to play it with. Now I have a center speaker for my "home theatre" audio. Minimize, cut, edit, simplify.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

SD, our organic coffee isn't that expensive. The fair trade thing is as much of a business angle. It is better than nothing. I will not call it a scam, but it is a money making proposition.

One of the interesting things to look for in your coffee is how and when the coffee cherries (if they are cherries) are harvested. I am working on building a group of growers who only handpick ripe beans or cherries. Handpicked coffee may be done twice a year where when the beans are picked by the calendar and not by the ripeness.

Then there are those farms where the coffee beans are picked only when they are ripe.

The fair trade thing, as it has been best explained to me, enforces a minimum payment per bag of coffee. There is no interest in quality there. Starbucks does not pay that minimum amount for most of their coffee as I understand it. I believe they machine harvest their beans. As far as I know, they don't use a serious C3PO's looking for ripe cherries, either.

Machine harvesting will really hurt the plants.

So, the Fair Trade group does have an impact on getting some additional monies back to the farmers or growers who are usually at the buyer/importers mercy.

SD, by employing the growers at a higher net return rate and with little risk, we maintain and indeed improve the quality of our land, plants and product.

Long winded way to say that we can send you inexpensive farm raised organic beans to you as well. You just don't have to pay a bunch of middle men.

As a final aside, SD, you might want to get a bag of green beans and play around roasting them yourself. If you have an air popper for popcorn that you can see inside, it is a fun little game learning what you are doing.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Jumper... I would play Risk with friends just to see if I could get my Italian Navy into the Baltic Sea.

With you on electronic gear. I just had a conversation with a writer/sports guy with whom we talked about the "two camps" ... "the bigger and better toy guys" camp and the "just put it into a window on my computer... too much to do" camp.

TVs are an inefficient media device.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' everybody...

A faulty flapper valve? Would that be a woman in a speakeasy with bladder control issues?

Sorry... just had to.

All this talk of office parties has me *almost* wishing I worked with people again. I do miss the table-o-goodies and the free drinks. But I am a party unto myself, so every day is office party day for me.

A little icy here this morning, but not too bad. I did almost land on my dupa while walking Bean to her bus this morning, but I gracefully recovered (like one of the Three Stooges) and took a bow afterward to prove I *meant* to do that. In any case, I'm actually liking this cold weather.

Anyway... back to the shop. I've had my Irished-up coffee break and have loads to do...

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | December 17, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

New Kit (steps aside for the stampede).

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 'Mudge, still have some leftover ice on the aerial. You came in all broken after "I'll give you..."

Tales coming soon, really.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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