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Obama Needs My Advice

[I just noticed that we're coming up on the 1,500th Achenblog item. Probably I should make sure it's a good one. But I think part of what makes any blog feel casual and fun is not just the use of the vernacular and the stream-of-consciousness narrative, but also the willingness to be mediocre, with magical flights of extreme lameness. Also, sloppiness. Which relaxes everyone. Message: I care not. You say the logic is scrambled, I say I'm experimenting with intellectual structures. You say it's vapid, I say it's uninhibited by mainstream standards of substantiveness. Sure, I do still harbor a few feeble ambitions for this blog, like adding a blogroll (but who has time to track down all those URLs? and how DO you change the format on the deelyboppes along the side?). And when I really indulge my fantasies, I imagine that one day I'll post a blog item that the bosses will deem sufficiently meritorious to print in the paper. Maybe by the 3000th item I'll break through the ink ceiling.]

The other day I wrote about the inevitability of failures for any presidential administration. But we're a solutions-oriented society, we're not whiners, we're not negative, so here are some suggestions for how the new president can achieve great things in the weeks ahead. If he follows my advice, then even if he fails, he will fail with style and brio:

1. Don't go wonky. Keep making speeches to adoring throngs. Just because you finally have a real, executive-type job, and 2.6 million employees under your particular branch of government, doesn't mean you should stop doing what you do better than just about anyone, which is campaign -- or, more precisely, inspire people. You got the biggest megaphone in the world, so don't hesitate to use it. And the Republicans don't have to sign off on any of your speechifying. Which brings up:

2. Use the big plane, it's awesome! Travel the world! Or just make some domestic trips that get you back home in time for dinner. You can stay in the "presidential suite" in fancy hotels, and call your old friends and lord it over them ("You're never going to believe what room I'm in..."). What would be the point of being president otherwise?

3. Don't try to save the world overnight. Don't take ownership of what are bound to turn out to be bad assets. Entire swaths of the planet are equivalent to mortgage backed securities. Your first acts as president included a rash of phone calls to leaders in the Middle East. Yeah, right, they're going to stop hatin' on each other because you are Mr. Happy Vibe. Delegate the intractable messes to Hillary.

4. Don't try to run the government. You can't. It's too big. If you find yourself getting granular with the government, you should hit the gym immediately and take 1,000 jumpers. Most decisions can be handled by those people around you with one syllable names - Rahm, Joe, Bob, Tim, Hill, Tom, and so on. Not only should you not personally select the deputy assistant under secretary of energy for fossil fuels, ideally you should go never learn that person's name.

5. Avoid timesucks -- people who want to turn every information transfer into a deep conversation and bonding experience. Your time is not just a personal asset, it's a national resource. Don't be afraid to tell people that you're tied up until roughly 2013.

6. Listen to your wife and kids. This is not merely smart domestic policy. Michelle has the innately trustworthy status of someone who is not in danger of losing her job. And the kids will keep you centered. Though don't let them guilt-trip you into going to the Sidwell PTA auctions (you can't afford to jump into the bidding on the big ticket items).

7. Don't read blogs. Especially blogs offering advice!

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 30, 2009; 8:25 AM ET
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Next: Super Bowl XLIII



Oh, c'mon. Obama is just doing some political CYA. One need only look at the Washington Post coverage around Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, with a number of prominent reporters covering the story, to recall that Obama broke off from campaigning in Wisconsin to return to D.C., where he played a minor (according to the coverage) role in persuading reluctant Senate members to vote for the financial rescue package. The end vote was about 75 percent for, 25 percent against, with Obama voting yea.

And one of the provisions of this bill signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 3.?

And it would place curbs on executive pay for companies selling assets or buying insurance from Uncle Sam. One provision: Any bonus or incentive paid to a senior executive officer for targets met [unclear what "targets met" means] would have to be repaid if it's later proven that earnings or profit statements were inaccurate.

So, of course, Obama says it's shameful, since he must now, as a politician, go hat in hand to Congress to ask for probably MORE THAN $350 billion of taxpayer money, the supposed second half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to prop up these same institutions.

And there's the rub, actually. If these institutions in the private sector had failed and had paid out big bonuses, then there would be lots to tsk, tsking and "Ain't that too bad"--and economic turmoil. But have Uncle Sam take on a "parental" role (with zero, zip, nada oversight, mind you) and prop up and intervene in the private sector with OUR money, then you've got, to paraphrase what they say in Texas, ten dead skunks down a well.

My husband heard Obama's "shameful" comment again this morning as NBC's morning show started. His immediate retort was, "Yeah, so what's he gonna do about it?"

David Brooks' column at the NYT discussing the stimulus package is particularly good today. and it was a fascinating exchange between NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd and CNBC's financial guru Dylan Ratigan on Morning Joe this a.m. Wish MSNBC'd put out a clip of the Ratigan-Todd back-and-forth, or maybe Todd might talk a little more about disgorgement.

Posted by: laloomis | January 30, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Re-posting, and then I gotta scoot along. Have a happy day all.

dmd2, I'm from an unusually large family too. I'm with ya. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's probably just as hard for those from small families to understand our viewpoint as it is for us to imagine being an only child.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 10:17 AM

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

This kit is clearly ink-worthy. It is timely, humorous, and full of profundity. Really, it fairly reeks of the stuff. As even the most casual student of history knows (and I am such a casual student I routinely wear nothing but ratty old sweats) many a past President have fallen prey to some of these precise mistakes.

Wilson - Trying to fix the world.
Carter - Mr. Micromanagment.
Clinton - Timesucks. (Stop thinking that.)

But none of your pieces of advice are as valuable as the first one.

Among those 2.6 members of the Executive Branch are some who look to him for inspiration and invigoration every day. Who plan on getting just all gushy when he decides to drop by. And it is important to keep such individuals energized. 'Specially since that free coffee business just ain't happening.

But I do strongly disagree with your last point. I think the Pres would do well to check your blog out. Maybe clip a few and stick them to the White House fridge. I think this would be most beneficial.

And yet another strong argument for Ink.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"Yeah, so what's he gonna do about it?"

Well, be ashamed, obviously!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

reposting from the last Kit, addressing points raised by LiT and dmd:

I see no specific claim that the woman is incompetent to handle 14 children, although I wonder how a person could be competent to handle that many [added just now: "wonder" means "I'm personally amazed", not "I think there should be legal intervention"], especially when 8 of them are of one age and have a good chance to be special-needs children. I certainly would not feel qualified to handle that situation.

I am thinking more of the fact that this woman already has a fairly large family (6 kids). I can understand wanting more kids to raise. What I can't understand is using the extraordinary measures of IVF and fertility treatments to get those children, when she has already more than satisfied any imperative to see herself in her offspring, by any reasonable standard. If you have a multitude of children in the normal course of events and you choose to do nothing to prevent that from occurring (like, contraception), that's fine and dandy (even though I disagree with the self-indulgence of such large families in an increasingly crowded world). IVF, on the other hand, is a non-trivial route to parenthood that requires substantial intervention. It is not like you could call this "God's plan" for her to have this horde of children; it is her plan.

In fairness, the CNN article does not quote any nonsense from the family trying to claim divine intervention, it is an interpretation that we are making here in the Boodle, relating to specious nonsense about other multiple-birth events resulting from fertility drugs.

Regarding marital status: the CNN article mentions that the mother's husband is a contract-worker in Iraq. What that means is not clear, other than that the parents are married and not indigent.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 10:29 AM

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Can we just get off this whole "100 Days" stuff? It goes back to Roosevelt, and frankly it has become this artifical marker on the success of a new Presidency. The current economic situation results from a complex series of events, and it will take a long time (maybe 2 or 3 years) to bottom out and begin rising steadily again. What happens in the next 3 months is probably going to be a little import in the long run. Even the pending stimulus bill is acknowledged to be a longer-term solution, and not a quick-fix.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 30, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I hear that they might be getting a new big plane. A 787 Dreamliner most likely. The government could get a sweet deal, as I suspect Boeing may end up with a few spare ones sitting around.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I sympathize, ebtnut, but you're asking the media to voluntarily dispense with a time-honored cliche and crutch, the 100-day metaphor. Ain't gonna happen, buddy. Might as well ask anchor people not to josh around with the weather guy/gal.

The media doesn't do alternatives.

Thank, you, SciTim. You said it much better than I could have.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama seems to have solved a personal problem, that might not be mine alone. You know how sometimes you find yourself on the same side of an issue with someone you find embarrassing, if not repugnant? I've found that happening less and less often these days.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Frostbitten! Funny... I know that I am slow, but had to re-read a couple of times.

On contract worker in Iraq. Sandbox pay.

Not a good situation to try to support on local paycheck.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

frostbitten: maybe your standards of embarrassment and/or repugnance are changing.

Posted by: engelmann | January 30, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Having not traveled at all in the past 4 years, do Motel 6's have Presidential Suites? Are there any Motel 6s left?

Are they now Motel 5.8s?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

100-day honeymoon! Mudge, do you think that folks get that on their mortgages?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Motel 5.8? Try Motel 4, Weed. And Tom Bodett doesn't leave the light burning all night anymore.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

They don't even get that on their honeymoons.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all
I was finally able to get home last night.We have 4 inches of snow covered by a glaze of ice.It is really quite pretty,windy here today and everything that isn't covered by ice is scooting across the top of the ice.

My advice to Obama is to throw a big super bowl party at the white house,they must have a couple of kick a$$ TV's in there and it would be a good way to get to know the neighbors.Downtown DC,there must be a couple of pizza delivery places and a few wing joints nearby.

In talking to a couple of guests from Pittsburgh,schools on Monday after the game will be opening 2 hours late,so all the kids can stay up and watch the game and the trophy presentations.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 30, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand large families myself, meaning it would not be an option I would choose, but I have seen many people both related and unrelated who manage large families almost as easily as others manage small families.

I am sure the woman had no idea she would get pregnant with so many babies, it was a risk I faced when I had fertility treatments but you honestly do not worry about it happening. We looked into adoption and the reality is it is so difficult, has such a long waiting period and can involve great cost (much higher than fertility treatment). I did not have IVF that would have been the next stage, fortunately for me I got pregnant as I was unsure if I wanted IVF.

That said I have nothing but compassion for this family - whatever the decisions they made they are now faced with a big challenge and I wish them the best - judging them will not do any good. According to her doctor she is highly intelligent and capable and spent the last seven weeks devoted to ensuring the best possible outcome. As a note number 8 was a surprise to the doctors - not viewed on what must have been multiple ultrasounds.

I do not think the world is overpopulated because the rare Canadian or US family is well above the norm, lack of education, birth control, access to quality health care and information and respect for women in many parts of the world are a much larger cause

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Obama will get new Marine 1s too, based on the 3-engine EH101, eventually. It will be the Cadillac of choppers but the project is slow in coming to fruition. So many modification to do.
I suspect that, unlike the Canadian Coast Guard version, he'll get the reinforced tail boom version. I've heard it's an expensive fix, better get the option in the first place.
I'm from a family of 5 kids and got three myself. My mother is from a family of 8 (living) kids. I'm not going to make the total of great-uncles and great aunts I had but I suspect the average, for the non-chastity vowed elements that is, was 8 kids per family in that generation. Catholics you know. Mrs D's family's even worse, her grand father on one side was third of 13 living kid. Her brother has 5 kids spread over 12 years. A good friend of mine (both parents being "good" catholics, I'm a "bad" one myself) has 6 spread over about 18 years.
So I'm not afraid of big families but I'll say that woman was completely off her rocks to go for IVF if she already had 6 small children to take care of already. This would irresponsible and self-gratisfying if she did that.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 30, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

SCC the worst one: gratifying

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 30, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

SD, that new presidential helicopter has been in the works for a long time. They were working on the selection process down at Pax River NAS when I worked down there six years ago (a good friend of mine was and still is that unit's chief public affairs officer [read: flack]). (Strangely enough, in many ways and appearance he reminds me of martooni.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is going to make a trip on the big plane, shortly. And He could be back home for dinner should he wish it. Ottawa is not so far away.

What I want to know is what happened to VP biden. Where is the news about him? What the heck does a VP do in these first few months?

Posted by: --dr-- | January 30, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

SCC Biden


Posted by: --dr-- | January 30, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I would think Biden has his hands full just debugging, de-sanitizing and deCheneying the Naval Observatory (his residence), dr.

There was a news item about him heading out to the middle east soon.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Biden's busy trying to find the undisclosed location. Cheney's penmanship really bites.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I suppose it would be "sanitizing," not de-sanitizing.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse


I forgot to tell you yesterday, I really enjoyed the story.

Yoki, whenever you get the time is fine. And you too, Mudge.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Great kit, JA, and funny. I think the President would enjoy your blog, kits and comments.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Obama touts middle-class task force lead by Biden

The Associated Press
Friday, January 30, 2009; 11:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in struggles with management.

Obama also used the occasion at the White House to formally announce a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans, and installed Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman.

In another move favorable to organized labor, the president signed three executive orders that union officials say will undo Bush administration policies that favored employers over workers.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, did I hear correctly that this past month was the first rise in union membership since the protozoic age? Or was it percentage? or none of the above?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Good morning, all (just barely).

A wonderfully snortworthy Kit, Joel. More on that in a minute.

Catching up on the morning's Boodling and the CNN story on that woman and her children: Tim, 40 years ago when neither birth control nor IVF was easily available having a lot of children wasn't considered self-indulgent or selfish, it was considered being a good Catholic.

In the neighborhoods I grew up in, families had 7, 8, 9, even a dozen children, and few people gave it a second thought.

In many cases, large families were traditional for other reasons, such as helping on the family farms and caring for older generations.

Personally, I don't feel any more comfortable suggesting how many children people should have or how they conceive or adopt them than I would suggestions about sexual orientation or religious affiliation or observation.

I don't think it's any of my business.

I believe that a large part of the reason America has been as successful as it has been in the long term (such as it is) is because it accomdates so many belief systems and practices *and* has a government and economic system that collectively allows its citizens to support each others' individual "Pursuit of Happiness" that Jefferson wrote of in the Declaration of Independence. Inalienable Rights, and all that jazz.

More later.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The actual LA Times article on the now-mother of 14 answers some of our questions and will undoubtedly raise additional questions:,0,5460225.story

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, i like jazz too. good thoughts.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think he should go for a helium-filled zeppelin -- no hydrogen, please, a little backsliding on the man's effort to quit smoking could be disastrous. A quiet aircraft, with good fuel economy. After all, does the President really need to get to specific locations all that quickly? I think not. What he needs is style. Or, as Joel says, brio.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Obama's pick for the Super Bowl is the Steelers

Biden too

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Unions have made the largest gains in a quarter-century: 428,000 members--12.4% in 2008 versus 12.1 in 2007. Maybe now we can finally get the Employee Free Choice Act passed.

Posted by: CoraCollins | January 30, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

What's the bar? Dave Berry? some say it's high, some low. But you are over it.

Maybe I will head TO the bar. There's a new place, run by surly Serbs. They toss out anyone they don't like, or who mentions Milosevik. I'm not sure if they were for 'im or again 'im. But I will make sure not to.

Or maybe they are angry at becoming "trendy." And anger at trendiness, especially when it's YOU, is the new trend. Count me in! And the brown ale is amazingly inexpensive.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

But bc, you and the others keep missing the point. Having a large family when one has the means and the support systems is fine, and presumably the births are spaced out over time, so one doesn't have to try to manage more than one or two (worst case, triplets) infants at a time. Also, it assumes the older kids can sort of fend for themselves as well as lend a hand with the younger ones.

NONE of that applies in this case, and you guys just won't acknowledge that fact. Further, a nice, large Catholic family that has ten or a dozen "normal birth" (meaning non-preemie) children over a dozen or 20 years is NOT the same as seven (or eight, in actuallity) preemies added on to six more kids under age 7.

You guys from large families keep insisting you and your families were/are the same as this woman's. But you aren't. Coming from a large happy Catholic family is NOT the same as deliberately and willfully committing millions of dollars and countless hours of highly specialized doctors' and nurses' time (possibly at public expense) and resources. This is why this is self-indulgent, whereas the large families you come from were not.

I also understand some of you have strong religious feelings about not aborting fetuses. But some of us also have equally strong feelings about the utter absurdity of willfully continuing with eight embryos, placing all eight of them at very serious risk, when it would have been highly prudent --as a *safety* measure, fer cryin' out loud -- to abort five or six of those embryos in order to ensure that the remaining one, two, or maybe three had a decent chance at survival and a healthy life. This aspect you guys turn a blind eye to.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I am not talking about 40 years ago, I'm talking about today, when infant mortality and education levels are substantially different, and have been for some time.

No, the occasional large family does not make a major difference to over-population, in the same way that the occasional vote for Lyndon LaRouche or Mickey Mouse makes no difference to the outcome of an election. It is when these occasional events become widespread that it makes a difference.

It is self-indulgent when we declare that "I can afford" to have a large family, while declaring that folks in other countries should ignore their own cultural norms by restricting their own birth rate now that their infant mortality rate has been reduced. As Mr. Gandhi advised "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Either live with over-population (until it becomes catastrophically impossible to do so), or lead by example. A draconian policy of enforced small families, or childlessness, is neither desirable nor necessary. A sense of moderation is all I ask.

I am judging only to the extent that I am trying to understand, and recognizing that I cannot. The situation makes no sense to me. My judgment is that I have encountered a values system that is fundamentally incomprehensible to me.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

A *zeppelin,* Tim?

Wow, I used to complain about it seemed like GW Bush wanted to take the country back to 1950.

Seems like we're talking 1935 or so now, aren't we?

Personally, I'm not crazy about trading in AF 1 for a zeppelin - it'd make those holiday surprise troop visits in - say, Afghanistan - not so much of a surprise if it took a couple of days to get there.

I'd add that such an airship would make for a very tempting target for Very Bad People with RPGs and Stingers and such during takeoff and landing manuvers.

At a guess, it would be the rough equivalent of several barns...

My advice - convert Karl Rove's WH basement lab (you know, the one with the dark guestroom that has the bar hanging from the ceiling so he can sleep upside down there and the drain in the floor) into a Fortress of Solitude Cave. Bigscreen HDTVs, refrigerators, pool tables, faux leather furniture, a well- stocked bar with nice crystal ashtrays. Take an hour or Sunday or March (Madness) off every so often and decompress with good friends or even by yourself (have a desk down there, too).

After all, if anyone *really* has the weight of the world on his shoulders, Mr. President, you do.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The time story indicates that it was the woman's father who was going to Iraq, so that just leaves the woman herself and her own mother as the only two adults in the household. No mention whatsoever of the father of the babies. At this point one *must* assume she is a single mother, because if there was a boyfriend or even a husband in the vicinity, that surely would have been mentioned by now.

Anybody want to try to reconcile a strong Catholic belief system with mass unwed motherhood?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

cora, so it is as a percentage or also real numbers????
From another angle, here we will see how the Republican Senators from the southern foreign-auto-plant-for-big-tax-givebacks states will do.

If those southern plants start closing up their production lines, then we will see how their attacks on Detroit and the bailout really works out.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge good points but this women did not ask for 8 babies, there are many ethical questions, starting with whether she should have been accepted as a candidate for IVF, followed by the number of embryos implanted. I understand the US has a higher rate for planting embryos - as this results in an overall improved success rate for IVF. However, it also in the rare cases causes higher rate of multiple births.

There are many health issues with cost/benefits analysis that could go either way, how about an accident victim that is miraculously saved at great expense, but will require expensive medical treatment for the balance of their life.

I believe fully in pro-choice, as in it is the woman's right to choose.

In several of the large families I knew, the births were right after each other, my father was the seventh of seven children born in 9/10 years. Other families I knew had large families, with multiple births, we actually had a record in my neighbourhood, and some that included at least one special needs child. The other children did have more responsibility - but that helped them as they grew, they may have missed out on what others received in small families but gained in other experiences. Many of these families struggled financially but so to did many of the small families I knew, and continue to know.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Direct cut/paste from the LA Times this morning:
It's going to be difficult," Suleman added, noting that her daughter's father is going back to Iraq, where neighbors said he worked as a contractor, to help support the expanded family.

This makes it quite clear the bread winner is the grandfather of newborns, not the father. No mention of father or other contributor. If CNN altered this language, shame on them.

I have no problem with large families, even though my experience there is just short of dismal.

Even if this pregnancy had resulted in only one child, as I believe was intended, there is no way this family group can afford to take care of the future and present medical, educational, and shelter needs of 7 kids, much less 14. This story further quotes the grandmother that her (the grandmother's) husband is going back to work as a contractor in Iraq to support everybody. Fine, but even though contractors make good money there, he is not going to even come close to what this family will need. For a child born today, it is estimated that it will cost $1.8 million (ok, even I think that is a little high) to raise that child and send them to college. Seven times $1.8M is $12.6M. Reality is that there are now 14 kids, resulting in the need for $25.2M. This is without any special needs. Contractor jobs in Iraq are not THAT good.

So where does all that money come from?


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and what ScienceTim said. Twice.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Percentage and real numbers. I belong to a very progressive union that operates from the bottom up and we know that organizing new members and listening to and representing the current members is the only route to follow.

At the end of 2008 there were 16.1 million union members. The government union membership increased by 275,00. The private sector union membership increased by slightly more than 150,000. This was reported by Steven Greenhouse of the NYT.

The national anti-union Senators and Rep's are going to see some fight on their hands. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the foreign plants in the South cut back production or laid off employees.

And the so called "right-to-work" state laws need to be changed, too.

Posted by: CoraCollins | January 30, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

No, DMD, she didn't ask for 8 babies. But she already had six, and was a single parent, and she asked for at least one more. That's where I get off the bus right there. That's indefensible decision Number One, as DLD just said. Then, having tried the IVF, she is told there are seven successful embroyos/fetuses/babies, and is THEN given what I regard as a perfectly reasonable choice of aborting some number of them in order to save/improve the chances of the others. But she didn't. Bad decision Number Two, and one which I woukld regard as actual reckless endangerment, never mind the pro choice versus pro life arguments, which are serious enough as it is. But she willfully put the lives of those seven in extreme danger. For what? Because she has strong religious values about abortion?

Look, if this had happened "by accident," by act of God, I'd have no problem with it. But it didn't. This was all willful behavior, willful decision-making. And if it costs a lot of taxpayer money, it is no longer a question of "none of our business." It becomes a legitimate public policy question. I don't find the woman as the only one responsible. The IVF clinic should have never gone ahead with the implnting of the embryos in the first place. I see no way anyone can dance around the question of a single mother with six children under age 7 deciding to have more, at high risk and in what became reckless endangerment, and at someone else's expense.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, a few quick comments, then it's back to work for me.

Of course, you're free to criticize this lady and her choices - again, I don't feel that it's any of my business.

There are plenty of things that my tax dollars and even the money I pay into Heath Insurace plans go to that I may not necessarily agree with (speaking of lives, a war or two come to mind, for example). Just as I accept my repsonsibilites as a citizen and plan participant, I also derive benefits from the governments and the health care according to what I want or need, and I accept that other will do the same according to theirs.

"Personally, I don't feel any more comfortable suggesting how many children people should have or how they conceive or adopt them than I would suggestions about sexual orientation or religious affiliation or observation.

I don't think it's any of my business."

But, that's just me.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Cora, great discussion. Yes... right to work looks good on paper. Someone, yesterday, made the point about libertarian ideas... sound good at the time, but, boy, when you finally realize that "it ain't like that," then you are toast.

Libertarians represent my two favorite human instincts (1) It can never happen to me, and (2) Who cares about my fellow man.

Hate to have to sit next to a former libertarian in a bar while they have a beer after they get foreclosed on and then lose their job. ... sorry, man, you must not be trying hard enough.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Well if her decision was based on extreme religious views she may not have had IVF at all, as a rather extreme relative explained the evils of IVF to me when I accidently mentioned a topic in a medical law course I was taking. Never made that mistake again.

The only thing I read was that she had difficulty with the decision of deciding which child would not be allowed to have a chance. A decision I could understand, while logically it makes sense to decide on the best viability that choice to actively reduce the number of fetus' would be difficult.

A fail to see how seven child while not socially the norm currently could be considered evil.

There is no comment either way on whether there is a husband or not, whether any money is received or not, who paid for the IVF, nor will I condemn single mothers. If the father is not involved where is the vitrol for a father neglecting his parental duties?

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, the IVF wars agalore!

Mudge has adopted children when presumably IVF was an option if they wanted it. I personally knew of a very large family consisting entirely of adopted deaf children from latin-american countries.

Let us agree that it's not the number of kids alone, but the manner in which they were begotten. Personally I think this case was medically and ethically unwise-- and that's a mild term.

I happen to believe that IVF is incompatible with the seamless garment concept.

That the parents chose not to abort any embryos is very admirable, and probably what a lot of people would have done in their place-- they want babies, they don't want to kill babies.

However, the initial choice to undergo a form of IVF in which that became a real risk-- not wise. The orginal fertility specialist was irresponsible.

As mentioned in that article, guidelines in women under 35 specify no more than two embryos be implanted at a time.

The problem is that IVF treatments cost. It's cheaper to implant 8 embryos at once rather than 2, wait, implant another 2, wait. As fertility declines with age, it's easier to rationalize a higher number.

But, I fail to see why any doctor should assume she needed eight embryos for a sixth successful pregnancy. Just being over 35 isn't enough, not if she wasn't a primagravidas (first-time mom).

I have very mixed feelings about multiple-embyro IVF, precisely because of the impossible ethical choices the parents are forced to make as a consequence.

Also, even with successful IVF treatment with modest numbers of embryos, there are still a lot of surplus embryos produced that get discarded or put on ice indefinitely.

For those who believe life starts at conception, this isn't any better than abortion.

So let's not mix this up with the rights of having big families.

I'm sure she probably would have been happy to just have twins or one if that was what the outcome had been.

The only reason this woman has 8 babies is due to financial and medical judgements in a highly commericalized branch of medicine.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, I doubt that raising 14 children costs 14 times as much as raising one. You do achieve some economies of scale, I'm guessing.

On a different note, Slate had an interesting article about possible solutions to the unfairness inherent in the coin-toss of the NFL's sudden-death overtime procedure. (Or did we discuss this already?)

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

So, my solution would to horsewhip all fertility specialists who implant more than three embryos at a time, Mudge. Or to outlaw IVF altogether.

It wouldn't be to demonize the woman for wanting one more kid when she already had six.

Benjamin Franklin was the eighth child of his parents (and his father's fifteenth child). None of his other siblings contributed as much to America as he did.

Edison was the seventh and last child in his family.

The Wright brothers were two of seven children.

Tesla was the fourth of five children.

If we want to get into the humanities and music, there are even more examples, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's the weather, but I just feel like taking my umbrage out for a brisk walk today.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

As for single moms, it certainly is not an ideal way to raise children but being a single parent does not in of itself me it can't be done, I believe your current President would be a great example.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Back to basics: left,
Left fore, then right, then right fore
Poodle promenade!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I will cease on this topic with the statement that money alone should not be the reason this woman is so harshly judged, here is a list of the top ten most expensive medical treatments, many of these conditions are controllable with proper diet etc, but we do not so harshly condemn the victims. Note Normal childbirth is number 10.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, what about corporate bankers? Are we talking only children?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"I am judging only to the extent that I am trying to understand, and recognizing that I cannot. The situation makes no sense to me. My judgment is that I have encountered a values system that is fundamentally incomprehensible to me."- SciTim

Frustrating, isn't it?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

A *helium* zeppelin, bc, fill it with helium. An RPG would puncture a balloon and cause it to descend, but it would be a pretty gentle impact. Like shooting styrofoam -- it would punch a hole through part of it, but structural integrity would be nearly unaltered. The passenger gondola would be quite small, a much tougher target than a 787. You could solar-power a zeppelin. Not a good choice for over-seas travel, I admit, but I think it would be splendid to glance overhead at the sound of whirring electric motors, and wave your cap to the man in the zeppelin. Then, 15 minutes later, wave it again, 'cause those zeppelins are really not all that quick, y'know?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't possibly understand the woman who had the litter of children, nor do I pretend to know her financial situation, but just a part of me can't help but think she was motivated by wanting to be world famous. Come on, you can barely crack the front page of a local rag with quints these days. The more she looks like a nut job the better the chances we'll see the whole family in a "reality" series.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This woman isn't a "victim." It's her children who are the victims -- and to the extent that society has to pay the bills for her, society is the victim.

She can hardly be a victim if what happened was a result of her willful, informed decision-making.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Lord, frostbitten, I hope not. That doesn't sound good for the children.

Taking fertility drugs sounds like intent, but I'm with BC on this one, so not my business. I certainly wish the mother and the babies the best. The whole family, in fact.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I love this Kit. This is great advice. In fact, I plan to take it myself. It is so perfect, I won't even adapt it to my (slightly) different circumstances. I do think that President Obama should include ScienceTim's helium zeppelin for domestic travel. You gotta smile at a guy in a zeppelin.

I will call the first 100 days a success if, during that time:

the United States is not hit by a giant asteroid, forever changing life as we know it.

the United States is not hit by a tsunami, severely disrupting life on some coast or other.

the United States is not hit by a plague of locusts or grasshoppers, devastating the High Fructose Corn Syrup industry.

Bonus points if none of the above happen during the Super Bowl.

No further animated episodes of "Star Wars" or related material are released.

Tom Cruise fails to make a fool of himself on national television.

No new reality-based television show is launched.

Bonus points if Oprah finds her inner beauty and accepts her body as it is.

The New York Times and the Washington Post continue to publish a print version. [What is that in the Kit about wanting ink? I thought print was dead.]

The Wall Street Journal continues to publish a "print" version (and hey, I'm a subscriber).

Bonus points if Rupert Murdoch buys neither the Post or the Times.

Now, I know not all these things are within President Obama's control. Nonetheless I think the avoidance or completion of any of them is a hallmark of a successful first 100 days.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I hope not, Frostbitten. I abhor those big family reality shows, but yes, that entered my head.

Russianthistle, if you want to horsewhip corporate bankers, be my guest.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I do not approve of horsewhipping anyone. Why must the horses suffer?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

They must not, SciTim. However, 18 billion can buy a lot of medical care for lashmarks.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The best crazy-zeppelin story ever: Philip José Farmer's "Greatheart Silver", originally published by Byron Preiss Visual Publications. Since BPVP folded about a decade ago, it's probably available only in antique paperback editions. Of course, that was a nuclear-powered helium zeppelin. Shot down by a red Fokker Triplane. On a dark and stormy night.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ah, aroccora, Weed, "right-to-work". Several years ago, when Oklahoma was in the Doldrums economically, man of our conservative leaders got together with the business community and succeeded in - years after everyone else - making this a "right-to-work" state. The rapidly increasing loss of manufacturing jobs, we were told, and the failure to replace them with anything paying remotely near the same salary, was directly the fault of the unions. Never mind that union membership was down here, as elsewhere; the mere fact that unions existed was blocking employers from entering our market. We were assured that if only we enacted "right-to-work" then jobs would beat a path to our door.

Well, we did. Guess what? The existing jobs, in real terms, lost wages and benefits. Those new jobs, particularly those new manufacturing jobs? They never came. In real terms, the worker essentially got nothing out of the deal and, frankly, business wasn't so well off as it expected either.

But I guess, like voting against the stimulus package, it was good for us because it was the Right Thing to Do.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please explain "right to work" to me? The only thing I can glean is that, like most policies whose title implies that it is supposed to help workers and ordinary people, its purpose is to harm workers and ordinary people. But how does it accomplish that?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Tim, it is code for breaking unions, removing the right to collective bargaining... you see where this goes. Putting unmatched power back into the hands of the employer with minimal protection for workers.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I-mom, a sound argument can be made that much of the efficiencies in the US economy over the past 10 years are the result of lower real wages.

In addition, as we lowered the personal income tax rates for the higher brackets, there is less of a reason to leave moneys in a business and cause it to grow.

Corperations of 2000 and after were becoming less and less prepared to weather an economic downturn. Especially after the corporate raiders passed a couple times threw our nation's businesses and pulled out all of the assets that weren't nailed down and then loaded them up with debt.

your story about Oklahoma is a perfect image of what has happened to most of us. We got shaken down by the uber-wealthy and the corporations. Despite what Loomis says, our President and VP are fighting the crowd that was getting away with the "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" routine.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Right to Work" is a union-busting measure, Science Tim. In most states, unions may bargain on behalf of all workers at a business, even those not in the union. In right-to-work states, workers may reject those meddling unions. In theory, this empowers the worker. In practice, it allows employers to hire only non-union workers, who then have no entity advocating on their behalf for fair labor practices as required by the gummint. Oddly, many employers do not seem prepared to pick up the slack and empower their non-union workers with higher wages, benefits, safety measures, etc. They will happily empower them, however, to find a job elsewhere if they don't like the conditions, since after all the employees have a right to work.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The basic provisions of most "right-to-work" laws forbid companies to require union membership as a condition of employment.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Federal laws protect working citizens. States that have "right to work" laws give you the right to work for less. People in unions earn higher wages and usually have better benefit packages. It helps to level the field for women and other minorities. A good union gives its members a voice in the workplace and also allows members to decide how their union is run and what they want to achieve in their contractual agreement with management.

I've lost count of how many times I've been arrested for civil disobedience in order to obtain new contracts from my employer. (Must be up to a baker's dozen by now.) But after twenty or so years they finally decided it was wiser to bargain fairly than to see us go out on strike. We'll see--January 2010 will be most interesting here in New Haven.

Posted by: CoraCollins | January 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

As always, Ivansmom hits it out of the park. A sports metaphor! From Yoki!

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

That was delightful Ivansmom.

But a new reality show?

Oh, good woman, do not even jest about such a thing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I will try my best. Right to work is basically that an employer is allowed to get rid of workers for no reason. It is best described as right to fire.

Like most things, in principle, it sounds OK. Except that benefits and pay are usually based on tenure and longevity. Large companies can "game" the system and now how to get rid of folks before they start costing them money and benefits and raises.

You know, if our retirement and health benefits weren't often tied with a work situation, this wouldn't be bad, but, all over the place, large companies (but getting smaller) have dumped older workers and also offered devious pay plans while coaching their low paid employees on applying for govt services.

Using "right to fire" they can flip their service staff and keep people in part time status to hold costs down.

An additional cost is that the labor force often filters through the unemployment system.

You can probably make a business argument for this, but it sucks for the community.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know of a thoughtful centrist writing on the topic of labour today? I ask because, though it puts me in risk of losing my good standing in the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor party in MN) I'd like to see our teachers' union crushed. On the other hand, I hate to think of where our taconite miners would be without union protection. A big scandal over the state health department suppressing mining related fatal illnesses is just one of the reasons.

Ivansmom-I worked in a manufacturer's premier "union free" plant in your state as my first job out of the military. That's part of what puts me in the center position on unions. With management paying strict attention to worker satisfaction-which included pay, but wasn't limited to it-I saw a more productive, just as well paid work force as in unionized plants. Ironically, this is the same company that cheated Ms. Ledbetter. She worked in a union plant, but as a manager was not part of the bargaining unit. I doubt that the United Rubber Workers, and later the UAW, were all that interested in making sure women earned as much as men over the years she was employed anyway (at least not in Alabama).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

russianthistle - I think you're talking about "at-will" employment, which is a different (but not entirely unrelated) issue.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC-that should be "suppressing the results of a study" of course the health department's job is to suppress the illness.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, teachers' unions cause trouble when they:

1) bed management (or politicans) by backing lousy plans in exchange for job security

2) replace accountability and merit evaluations with artifically inflated standards for entry-level teaching.

The real issue is that education is a governmental, thus political, issue, rather than a corporate issue, so traditional labor-management issues do get skewed. (And teachers do vote too.)

I don't know what private school teachers have in the way of unions, but I understand they often get paid less, but often in exchange for smaller class sizes and more flexibility in teaching.

I really don't know what to say, except to point out the very different playing grounds between teachers and miners.

You can pay a miner to do X amount of work, and their unions can negotitate safe conditions and to make it X-1 amount of work.

Teaching is more problematic to evaluate.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Right to work" goes hand-in-hand with "employment at will" to give employers the right to hire and fire anybody for any reason.

North Carolina is a right to work state. It's not too much of a problem if you're a white collar worker with technical expertise needed by your employer. For others, not so much.

Forty years ago, members of the Charlotte Fire Department went all the way to the State Supreme Court to win the right to form a union and have dues deducted from their paychecks. Unions exist for public safety employees, but said unions do not have the right to collective bargaining or to strike. However, the City has fairly decent wages and benefits, so it generally isn't an issue.

There was great scandal last year when the local paper did a series on the poor treatment of employees in poultry processing plants, especially in safety and care for injuries. I read a story this morning that said there is a move afoot to take workplace safety away from the commissioner of labor and give it to the governor, to ensure that inspections are done correctly and workers are actually protected. What a concept, protecting people from dangers at work.

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

This might be helpful, frostbitten.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten - you've articulated the problem with union v no-union, and with right-to-work. A manufacturer's premier plant, where management pays strict attention to worker satisfaction, is going to be a good place to work whether it is unionized or not. If all managements paid attention to worker satisfaction, then union status wouldn't matter. My observation is that, at least here, not all do. In a right-to-work shop with no union presence, there's no insulation, as it were, beween worker and bad management practice.

And I also agree that not all unions are equal. Added to that is the fact that what was once a great union effort may either harden or change with time into something truly benefitting neither the bulk of workers nor the business as a whole. I'm afraid teachers unions, at least in some respects, are a good example. Although last year I saw some parents go after a couple of teachers they didn't like - it was ugly - and the rest of us were very glad their union was there for them.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I do know it's not a *centrist* site, but sometimes it has interesting viewpoints.

For many jobs in the federal goverment, governmental experience is the only experience that counts.

To transfer from commerical industry into a governmental job, you often must take a paycut until you gain one year of governmental-related experience and then you get a big pay raise.

This is an effective barrier to competition from experienced talent from the commerical sector that would otherwise laterally move right into government. The pay cut isn't something many people want to risk unless they're already out of work.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten asked for centrist writings on labor. I don't think Heritage Foundation will help - they don't even pretend to be centrist. Here's their mission statement: "To formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

deelyboppes- Oh, how precious!
I suppose you get something for the weekend at the Prophylactic Shoppe.

Where I come from they's deelybops

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The right of public employees (or anyone, for that matter) is an entirely separate issue from "right-to-work" regulations. Employers tactics & strategy against unionization of their workforces have a long & ugly history, but "right-to-work" legislation is generally only marginally relevant.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, *Tim, and whoever else is still paying concern was that some of the earlier posts didn't contain phrases like "in this situation", but rather things along the lines of 'you shouldn't have lots of kids because that's plain selfish' (not really quoting, just general impressions, cuz I'm kinda busy today). Even though I know neither of you were talking about large Catholic families of my generation, it could have been interpreted that way. Good that that's cleared up. Thanks.

I'd also like to reiterate that it seems to me that trying to understand the viewpoint of large families when you don't have one must be a lot like me trying to imagine the viewpoint of an only child. If CqP were around now, I think she'd understand what I'm trying to explain, and do a better job at it, but she's not here now.

About this seems there's a fair amount of paperwork to fill out and firing hoops to jump through in order to adopt children, yet nobody anywhere (even if it was her very own insurance company) put the brakes on this? What's that about?

The weekend is almost here, and the Superbowl is Sunday. I'm like a kid the week before Christmas. Have a great weekend all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Its just too bad there is no Football this weekend.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Bob! You are absolutely correct. The issues do often go hand in hand (I think that there is about a 70% or so parallel pattern.

I say the motivations and arguments are paired as well... as Imom's discussion from OK. OR, better the source of the arguments are paired. Implied contracts of employment in the eyes of the state followed the what used to be the blue states.

The Right to Work state map almost exactly mirrors the 2004 red state map. (with a few exceptions).

Right to work is really there on the basis that an employee or potential employee cannot be denied employment solely because of union membership causes the union to both work for those same employees without fees and also have less teeth.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse


The poultry workers' suffering goes way back. The Imperial Fire was the devasting result of lack of supervision and labor laws and regulations thrown to the wind. The poultry industry still hasn't come up to what it needs to be. And Raleigh doesn't seem to be interested in forcing their hand. We'll see what the new governor does concerning that situation, and Cherry Hospital too. And Lord knows, Dorthea Dix needs overhauling. Your local paper has been on spot with their reporting about the poultry situation. Thumbs up!

Many of these rural and smaller communities got hoodwinked by companies telling them they didn't need unions. They would pay them so, and so, but what happened they left them high and dry. That's what happened here. These folks went along with that dribble, now all they have are empty plants. During the latter part of the eighties they skipped town taking their jobs and everything else. Left these folks high and dry, big time. Same thing for the race track. Butter could melt in their mouth, but oh, the stench. I've never understood why they fell for those lines. Everyone knows companies and corporation are only interested in profit and the bottom line. These folks would sell their mother, grandmother, only child, last child, or my child for a dollar. And color doesn't matter because the only color is green.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Joel is so cute when he tries to speak Blog. It's called a sidebar. But he knew that.

Random comments on the mother of 14:

It's a womb, not a clown car.

Nothing rankles me more than parents that go through a fertility procedure and then insist they have to take all the embryos to term because it's God's Will. God did not tell that IVF doctor to do that to you. Maybe God's Plan was for you to adopt some kids rather than paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to make your own. Quit talking out of both sides of your mouth about the 'sanctity of life'. It doesn't mean what you think it mean.

I blame Jon and Kate. Big time. That show, which is heavily subsidized by sponsors, makes it look like fun and games even though they pay a lot of lip service to how hard it is. Not everybody gets or deserves an enabling reality show.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What a discussion. My beliefs line up with some of Wilbrod's; my belief also is very much like BC's. Couple of points.

1) ScTim, I appreciate your tone. I am with you in that I really don't understand -- given the details filtering through the press -- about these family matters. But, my goodness, I often do not understand all sorts of family and personal choices. Our manners should guide us in most situations. The family appears to us as a news story. If the family were in our town or neighborhood, I expect that many would wish them good will, send coupons for diapers, and rejoice if they are given car seats, etc. And, even a car.

2) The children are here. Wow. Nothing to be said or done but be kind. And, we can breath a great sigh of relief that our families will not face such challenges. We should always recall that children have nothing to do with the circumstances of their births. Nada!

3) I so appreciate DMD and others' quiet yet firm defense of largish families. Hey, I resemble that remark in many ways, much as LiT and BC describe. Living as No.1 of seven sibs in 8.5 years has formed me greatly. I find it easy to be flexible and generous and organized a bit like the von Trapp family. When we think about consumption footprints, I know of two Manhattan families, one child and two children respectively, that now before college even, outpace forever the consumption and "stuff" footprint of my seven sibs through college and graduate school.

4) What choices were made here look problematic. Mudge -- I respect your differences about the fertility Sophie's choice situation. But, in this situation, I would keep all and hope for the very best. Tis me. That would be my choice. For others, I see the rationale for making a heart-wrenching choice for reduction.

5) Will these children need public monies? Likely yes. I can live with this. They are here. I do not think that the numbers of families similarly situated will be so huge as to drown the assistance systems of states. We do not have to make policy for this outlier case.

6)If the implantation number turns out to be high, I would hope that the fertility experts start to police themselves better in terms of practices and outcomes.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't stand that show, yellowjkt. Oh! The Enabling!

Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Down hyar in North Cackalacky, they got a "fire at will" deal, meaning you more often than not have no contract at all. Not even a contract that says you can only be discharged for good cause. I can tell some stories, but I won't, at least not today. Now's the time to give the shout out to Ralph Nader: Repeal Taft Hartley!

So much good dialog going on here today. I like Tim's earlier views on forgiving the individual large families so long as overpopulation isn't out of control. And in the U.S. population increase is due to immigration only. And not knowing the octuplet family, I will only say it looks atrocious from the outside, but that's all I know so I will hold my judgments. And I'm a Malthusian for sure.

What gets me is the refusal to fund decent birth control programs. Here in Charlotte a roughly 50% of births are by the unmarried. When I was younger there were lots of free clinics, now I'm unsure. And TV shows awful commercials about "enhancement" yet where are the info / public service spots about tubal ligations and vasectomy? And where are they free? Nowhere.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

See? I was right! Thanks CqP!!!

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Practical question: LinkedIn.

Thumbs up?

Thumbs down?

O Boodleaire, spin a wisdom web for us on this webby-professional social networking thingie.....

my former students keep inviting me. I feel rude.....should I respond and become a node?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

And Joel, you still promised the blogroll.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, there are no unions whatsoever in private schools (having worked in one six years ago). None. Zero. Also, I can tell you that on average, private school teachers get paid about one third less than public school/unionized teachers. There are all sorts of stats on this with the private school industry. (Kind of ironic, considering that a lot of private schools are thought [usually correctly] to be "upscale." One tends to think that exclusive prep schools with breath-takingly high tuitions MUST be paying their teachers as well or better than the surrounding public school. They ain't.)

LiT, we're in agreement. My argument has always been that this octuplet situation is vastly different than the sterotypical big, happy Irish or Italian -- or any other-Catholic or even non-Catholic family. And god knows, I have no objection to single mothers-- I married one. Nor to large families: I'm the one with five kids (at one time, six), and 10 grandkids (would have been 11 except for a miscarriage). (And 2 of the 10 were born out of wedlock, so I know a thing or two about "s--- happens.")

Yeah, DLD, no football this weekend. Guess I'll just have to go to bed early Sunday evening.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

O! Clown car!

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

collegeparkian, people kept inviting me to join them on LinkedIn so I did, but I don't understand it at all. I've never given the service any money, but I don't know if it is free so I might be a subscriber. I have sort of completed a profile (not what I'm working on now, thank you, are you kidding?, also no personal information). I am apparently in their system because they keep sending me updates.

It strikes me as a useful resource if you understand and keep up with that stuff. Someday I will. You wouldn't think it would be time-consuming but, like most of us, I have very little disposable time. I like the idea that it is a professional networking thing. Although I have been contacted by my friends on it, nobody there is pretending to be "friends" with me. Also, I'm unlikely ever to run into something I don't want to know or see some goofy picture I'd rather not see.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news on the home page. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...

"Md.'s Michael Steele Elected GOP Party Chairman"

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh, I HATE John and Kate. And I refuse to put "plus eight" in that sentence because then it would rhyme and I'd feel like someone who should like that show.


On a completely unrelated note, I've been out of the loop around here so I don't know if this has been discussed. Excuse me if it has. Does everyone know about the CPSIA law and how all books for children under 12 will be gone on February 10th because there might be lead in the paper and the children might lick it?! Idiots. (The gov't and the CPSC, not the children.) I had to pull all my children's art from my shop because I can't afford to spend $2,000 testing my markers, paint, and paper for lead and phthalates every time I do an illustration.

Posted by: Sara54 | January 30, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Do forgive me for being completely off-kit, not to mention not talking about all those kids and other things otherwise discussed above.

What I need is some expert (or not) advice from a boodler who can help me get rid of some registry files which are apparently hosting some malware I'd like to get rid of. I'm in (*gag*) Vista. I have the actual name of the files (there are two) as they exist in my Program Directory.

Can any dear Boodler out there do a dear favo(u)r to another dear Boodler? Like soon?


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 30, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

My union comment on teachers, this from someone related to many union peeps, including miners/smelters.

Wow. The teachers unions must be reformed. We do need protections for teachers but whoa Nelly, indeedy do, jeezy peezy, hells bells and cowpiegoodness! these unions need an attitude and culture adjustment....I am privy to three local,hair-curling problems traceable directly to teachers unions.

And, the many fine teachers I know, this is not against you.

Union standards before, certain qualification lines in No Child Left Behind-regs now, keep me from teaching high school English in any public school in the nation.....I am not "highly qualified."

I need an undergraduate degree in English. Period. Ten years of college teaching and an UG philosophy degree do not count. Period.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 30, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

And yes, what IS LinkedIn? Is it like Facebook? I've been there a couple of times for about 2 seconds.

Posted by: Sara54 | January 30, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

And in other news...

"Feds allege plot to destroy Fannie Mae data"


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful wording, sums it up well.
I think we needed reminding that none of us had a hand in how we got here. I really do wish this family the best, and I hope their friends and neighbors, and all of us will embrace them. They're going to need a lot of help.

I don't really watch those reality shows. Of course, I do watch the food channel and the DIY channel. Are those reality shows?

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I have mixed opinions about unions. My wife, mother, and father have all belonged to one at one time or another. I worked for a union mechanical contractor in college. There is a vast difference between a trade union and a labor union and they have different roles and places.

And if you don't think the AMA and ABA serve the role of a union, you are missing the big picture. Workers need more rights than they currently have and unions have traditionally been the cudgel with which to get them.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, lots of good discussion. I'm certainly all for a woman's reproductive freedom but also believe in responsibility for those choices--looks like the public at large will be bearing responsibility for this choice; as CqP wrote, the children are here and it's not their fault.

As most of you know, I don't have children and have my hands full with work, 2 dogz and sometimes a foster dog. My hat's off to most of those who become parents.

I, too, wondered about the medical ethics of the case, and without commenting on it further, found this:

I have a friend who's the oldest of 9, and was confidant to both his father and mother. After child #9 was born, his father got a vasectomy, telling only his oldest son, my friend. A few days later my friend's mom confided to him alone that she'd had her tubes tied immediately after the birth.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 30, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the new president of the Republican Party an African-American? Get out of here!

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

ftb - A good place to start is with Windows Defender, Microsoft's own cleaner-upper.

The big problem with downloading new anti-anything programs is that already installed malware, if it is at all smart, will deactivate new stuff. Sometimes it can even defeat already installed anti-virus programs.

Give it a try though.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse


The category is RT and the answer is Michael Steele and Joel Achenbach

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the link:


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Cassandra. Michael Steele is a Marylander and happens to be Catholic.

His sister, a pediatrician, used to be married to Mike Tyson. Ended sadly and due in part to MT's difficulties.

I know people who know MS through Maryland political connections. He is well-liked and respected. And, this is a very Democratic state; Maryland is rather like Chicago. Republicans are rather scarce.

Well-liked, Cassandra, very well liked. Good choice, I would think.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

firsttime, hold off on that until you are sure you need to. There are a lot of bad advisors on the internet forums, and you might not need to necessarily panic. Research it on microsoft's site. I've seen people telling others to delete perfectly normal files is why I say that.

My personal bugaboo is when bad RAM or a half-fried motherboard is constantly misdiagnosed as a virus.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Also sift through Brian Krebs' and Rob Pegoraro's blogs at the Tech Site here:

There are sites that can do on-line scanning. Use only sites recommended by other trusted entities. There are many sites out there that will do more damage than good.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I prefer my half-fried motherboard with white gravy and biscuits, thankee.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

It's called putting lipstick on a pig Cassandra.
I'd say the IVF team who put that many embryos in this women are ethically challenged. Don't they know that most preemies stories don't end-up as the ugly duckling turned swan story? Cripes.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

dbG I saw that article earlier as well, but did not comment as given the state of US real estate not an isolated event.

I guess only time will tell if the children require help from the government - I haven't seen any evidence to show that will be the case - unless I missed something.

I am simply trying not to prejudge.

I do hope that ethical limits are put in place to prevent so many embryos from being implanted - to think that those going for IVF so desperately want children and then to be faced with the heartbreaking decision of deciding to risk going full term or selectively abort must be excruciating. Risks either way.

This discussion has reminded me of the Medical Law/Ethics course, a full semester of like minded topics, a wide range of opinions, at times heated discussion and no easy answers. It was up there a the top of the list of the most interesting courses I took, taught by a great Prof.

It will surprise no one that I was often on the minority side of issues.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that one bit, CP, but I can also imagine that delegation from South Carolina can't be too happy since their candidate didn't win. It seems the grand old party is trying to move forward, and I live to witness it. Wonder how this is going over with their ultra conservative branch?

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

My boss got a LinkedIn invite. I had to explain to her that Linkedin is Facebook for people with jobs. It's a networking site that as far as I can tell is used for headhunting and B2B marketing. I'm sure there are worthwhile user groups and discussion areas, I just haven't found any yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks DLD and Jumper. Here's the deal -- I used to use Spyware.BOT to identify and remove all the spyware in my system. Turns out, when I tried to upgrade, I got hit with some nastiness. So, I am now using Spybot-Search & Destroy. So far, so good. But it identifies the Spyware.BOT as malware (in two presumably related files) and can't remove them. This means that I need to go into my system manually and remove them from the directory/registry (whatever). Spybot-S&D identifies the malware as being in my Program Directory. I just don't know how to get there from here. At least in XP, I could click on Start and then Run. In Vista, I can't find the *expletive* Run.

Hey, you guys wanna come over and help me out?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 30, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

As for Michael Steele, in some ways it sounds like a cynical attempt by the RNC to capitalize on the fact that Barack Obama is African American (although which half I can't quite tell yet) with their "own" African American. Kinda interesting, actually. If not completely transparent.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 30, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

And will the new chairman give Sarah Palin a call? It seems she has her website up and running. This just might turn out to be material for the greatest movie yet!

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If you have the filenames of some questionable executables (.exe, .dll, etc) this is a great place to check them out:

They also have a downloadable scanner. Have not tried it myself.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Sara, if Facebook is MySpace for older people, then LinkedIn is Facebook for much older people, who have no lives but connect socially through work.

Or something like that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I echo CqP's description of Mr Steele. I have had multiple opportunities to speak with him in a family/community situation and he is a warm, helpful and easy going person.

I don't think that his selection is as cynical as some would paint it. I also think that Steele, as L. Gov of MD, was painted by the impressions of the Gov. at the time.

Steele's challenge may have already gotten a whole lot more complex with the absolutely ham-handed political theater presented by the Republicans on the hill.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

That's what I always thought. I always thought it was mostly for headhunting, especially for those with the higher salary requirements. My father-in-law was on there when he was looking for a new job.

Posted by: Sara54 | January 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Just don't bring any oreo cookies to a Michael Steele event. He's a little touchy about that sort of thing.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Don't really "do" Vista, ftb. And as I am in SC, it may be best if you come visit me. Where are you located, generally?

Now the bad news. A Google of SpyWareBOT seems to indicate it provides many false positives in an effort to persuade you to buy it. It then refuses to uninstall. Does not sound good to me. Hopefully Windows Defender or the ProcessLibrary will be of some help.


Posted by: DLDx | January 30, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

One thing I do remember from Urban Problems (the hardest course I ever took!) was the professor's comment that the American Medical Association is the most reactionary union in the country. That was in 1977 or 1978, but I'm confident the statement is still true.

Cassandra, I was thinking about the Imperial Foods fire when I made my comment. The damage done by unscrupulous and unethical employers is incalculable.

Why is it that management is so difficult? When my managers tried to get rid of me, they effed up so badly that I basically kept my mouth shut and let it play out. I knew - and the HR Director knew that I knew - that what they had done would not stand up in a court of law. But I was privileged, in that I had taken the course on public employment law in grad school. It was a soul-searing 29 days, but I kept my job. And retired on my own terms, 11 years later.

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The Boodle should present the Oreo Cookie award for any really great "contrived" umbrage moment.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Teacher unions seem to run into real and percieved problems when their bargaining function and their education/child advocacy duties become confused. I don't know how to untangle them since issues like class size encompass both education quality and working conditions.

Canadian doctors have the same problem when they're promoting better health care while negotiating more bucks for themselves.
If you Merkins ever get universal health care and the govt. is fighting with the doctors over fee schedules make sure to re-schedule any mammograms or rectal exams until after the dispute.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Probably safe on mammograms Boko, they are performed by techs. Rads read the mammograms.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Boko!!

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Boko may not have been completely serious in his recommendation, dmd.

On a related note, we may have some health care costs savings coming up on mammograms; maybe all those soon-to-be-unemployed waterboard techs will provide competition. That's probably a transferrable skill set.

Posted by: engelmann | January 30, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Woohoo! CPSIA suspended for a year! I can start selling my children's art again!!

Hopefully by then they'll realize illustrations, clothing, and books aren't going to kill all children under 12.

Just had to share my happiness. :)

Posted by: Sara54 | January 30, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, dmd. I never had a mammogram and though I would never allow anyone with less than an MD mash my more tender bits, I should have added: And beware their minions.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm back briefly to announce that I bought (reasonably cheaply) some help and am now running Housecall software from Trendmicro. It is currently solving ALL of my problems (um, well, you know, not really, but you get my point).

So now I'm gonna go make some dinner and get back to finishing up the computer stuff.

Happy weekend, fellow boodlers

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 30, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

engelmannn, unemployed waterboard techs, transferrable skills, you crack me up!


That was a nightmare, Slyness. I don't think I've recovered yet. I had the chance to inspect the charred remains of the plant. There was actually human hair stuck in the wall were many of those folks died. Because of the smoke, they ran into a locker, one way out. Most of them were killed by the smoke, then and later.

Have a good evening, folks. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 30, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Just want to wish you all a happy weekend. This is my moving weekend; packers arrive at 10:00 am tomorrow, and the movers at 10:00 on Sunday. Sunday night I'll be living at the apartment! Yay me.

There is just an awful lot of work to get from here to there, so behave yourselves while I'm offline and please, please don't say anything interesting until I get back, OK?

Happy days.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Lift with your legs, not your back and the beer's for after, not during.
Other than that, have fun,,,,,

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Have a safe and successful move. Until you return, we will confine our discussions to the various uses of tree moss and possibly the many uses for spent coffee grounds.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 30, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with the move Yoki, Cheers to You.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I heard about CPSIA. It was threatening a lot of secondhand clothing businesses.

I do agree it's not the wisest strategy... it should ideally be aimed only at toys that might be mouthed by kids under 3, not clothes, art, etc. The burden is too much on the retailer, not the manufacturer, as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Not a patch on the infamous noodle incident, Yellojkt.

Yet, I feel his pain-- in my stomach.

I'm going to buy some oreo cookies right now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you go, girl! But take it easy. It took me two years to recover from my last move. Take it easy; take it slow.

CollegequaParkian, I hear you about teacher certification. In Massachusetts I was "certified for life;" when I moved to Illinois, I was not certified because I had never taken a physical education course. Did it matter that I was teaching English and History? Not at all.

(And NO jokes about my mental health!)

Posted by: rickoshea0 | January 30, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Venus and Luna are at it again (go out side and look east soonest

I can't determine if if Luna is Mooning Venus or flashing a...

The Goddess of Love and My Goddess flirting in the Heavens

Yeesh, I need a cold shower

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I was just admiring the same sight Omni.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I think Sappho wrote a poem about this conjunction!

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, good luck with your move, and we're looking forward to hearing from you from your new pad.

*Tim, of *course* I know that heluim is not flammable when exposed to oxygen as hydrogen is.

What I would say is that a zeppelin has a rigid spaceframe (metal in the old days, today, perhaps some sort of composite?holding those helium nacelles in and for mounting the outer skin. A plain old RPG hitting some of that framework might be enough to trigger the fuse and detonate the warhead. And a Very Bad Person with some knowledge and some time to wait (and salute as it went by, perhaps), might have time to develop or modify a fuse to go off under a variety of circumstances that does not require hitting something as hard as metal or armor.

Having said all that, I'd expect Zep1's skin to be some sort of kevlar composite for weight and strength; don't know how it'd hold up to an RPG-type armor-piercing shaped charge, though. I'm not comfortable with the idea of our President's level of exposure in such a contrivance.

But again, that's just me.

Wow - Mike Steele, RNC Chair.
How about *that?*


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I've been admiring the Maidens dancing in this evening's sky as well.

Lovely, and I'll be toasting them later.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi dmd, I've been so busy lately I've only been able to BoodleSkim

It may be a cold evening, but the view is exquisitely beautiful

'You All Everybody' get out there now and see it...

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

You mean as in NONE?
Be reasonable, maybe we could cut down a bit.

Ignore peremptory instructions.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 30, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Have fun storming the castle, er, new home.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The Beacon! Bad, bad Zut.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

bc and Tim, you guys are worried about (and talking about) the wrong weapon. An RPG seldom has a range much above 500 yards, and so is no particular threat to a zep, which would be well beyong range except when landing, and then it would be at an airfield, and certainly should have a safe perimter of well beyond 500 yards around it.

What you *do* need to be discussing are SAMs (surface-to-air missiles), mainly the smaller one-person types such as the SAM-7 and the U.S. "Stinger" types [tehcnically now known as MANPADS--Man-Portable Air Defense System]. These have a range of up around 4,800 yards or better-- nearly three miles. So yes, *that* one you'd have to worry about, since a zep in flight would presumably fly below 10,000 feet, otherwise it would need a pressurized cabin with air supply, adding a lot of weight to the system.

The problem is, Air Force One as it now exists is every bit as vulnerable to a SAM as a zep would be.

MANPADS are a serious threat to combat helicopters, such as the ones used in Afghanistan to drive back and eventually defeat the Russians.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 30, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought Zeppelins were made of Lead...Oh wait...different Metal altogether

Heavy dude


OK, another tangent (where is that former cosine lover

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

He he, omni, I actually followed your train of thought on that one! For perhaps the first time ever.

(I'm a little slow.)

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I always thought MANPADS were where guys gathered to watch football.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 30, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I think MANPADS are for when we guys have our monthlies. You ladies go berserk, but we guys just want to shoot something down.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 30, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, cripes. Daschle owes a hundred grand in back taxes. Our favorite political party certainly isn't covering itself in glory lately.

Jeez. *&%$#@^%$. And the vetting appears to have missed it. Geithner, Caroline Kennedy, now Daschle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 30, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

At least Daschle is up for Commerce and not Transportation.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

once again mudge has it absolutely correct

RPGs are useless against Led Zeppelins

A purty gal named Samantha with a nickname of Sam

It's all over

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey yoki

Sometimes I have trouble following my train of thought

And sometimes it actually hurts trying


Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

You know what would make a lovely antimaccasar material for a led zeppelin, omni? I'm thinking kashmir.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 30, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

mudge, you slay me in a funny way, thanks

Smiles all around

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

It's a bloodbath in the UK over catastrophic apostrophe droppage...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

did anyone besides mudge catch my 'Lost' reference

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Omni, I almost always follow your train of thought (except on television matters -- I don't really watch television). Scary, huh? Or is spooky?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

scc: or is *it* spooky?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 30, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Not me, omnigood.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Daschle was nominated for HHS. Looks like he didn't pay taxes on a car and driver provided to him for free, and had some "issues with charitable contributions" (via NYT)

Not defending him, or Geitner, but I'd be hard pressed to tell O, "no Mr. President, I don't have any issues with back taxes." We do our best and are diligent in record keeping, but I'd be a lot more confident if the tax code were a lot simpler.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, Alexis Simendinger is wearing a lovely yellow blouse under a yellow cardigan on Washington Week. I see the First Lady's hand in this. I bet the sweater is cashmere, looks very rich on screen.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC-v-neck pull over, not cardigan.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Now I've bored even myself into a stupor. Good night boodle. Sleep tight.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 30, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I've given a lot of thought to this helium zeppelin business over the years. Yes, I admit it, I have a problem. Anyway: I would use transparent thin-film mylar for the upper surface skin, with ripstop-reinforcement webbing. The under-skin would be silvered, so that sunlight would penetrate the outer skin and then reflect back into the interior, where the helium cells would be flat black-colored, to absorb sunlight, thus giving us a solar-powered hot-helium lift-enhancement system. I would shape the airframe like a giant lifting body and design it to be somewhat negatively buoyant even when totally toasty, so that it can be controlled like a very sluggish airplane, to save the trouble of venting gas to lose altitude. The frame could be made from extremely fragile materials -- probably composites. The whole thing would be built on principles somewhat similar to a bicycle wheel, a flimsy outer ring tension-spoked with Kevlar cables.

It would be *so* cool!

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

cp, if you're not currently on the linkedin network, i don't think anyone would interpret it as rude if you didn't respond.

linkedin is a way that people can manage a public, professional profile, as opposed to facebook, which tends to be more for personal. i think a fair number of recent grads are on it.

i'm on linkedin, although i do very little with the profile and don't find any particular value in it. it is valuable, though, for professional networking.

another thing is that you can do endorsements of other people in your network. i was asked to do this once (but screwed it up technically or waited too long or something). i don't know whether former students would ask for endorsements, but it's theoretically possible.

Posted by: LALurker | January 31, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

*Tim, I can appreciate your zeppelin proposal.

A lifting body shape is a good idea but wouldn't it require a somewhat slab-sided shape due to the requirements for upper and lower surfaces to generate lift? I'd be concerned that it would have a significant aerodynamic drag penalty compared to the tradional elongated teardrop shape, making it less efficient to move through the air, requiring additional thrust and energy as compared to the traditional shape. I'd also be worried that it's slabsidedness would make it subject to crosswinds and wind shears that would require more energy to steer through those winds and possibly making that zepplin glide ride less than Queen Mary smooth. But that's just me thinking out loud...

Stil, it's a cool idea -- when are we going to see it on the cover of Popular Science?


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2009 3:16 AM | Report abuse

bc said goodnight,

I say good morning ALL!!!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | January 31, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Al's not here.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 31, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Have a great day, all. Mudge, Slyness, Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone, good, good, morning. *waving*

Yoki, with all my heart, the best on your move, and new life. Prayers and blessings your way.

I may try to walk this morning since I'm winding down on the meds. A cold morning to revive exercise.

When people start making tons of money, do they believe that taxes aren't part of that equation? Even if the person is not familiar with the tax laws, and how many of us are, with that kind of money, can't they hire someone? Republicans and Democrats both seem to fall down on this issue. And why doesn't the government "inform" these folks of their failures? It only comes up when they're trying to get another job. A factory worker, mistakenly carries his grandmother, and the IRS made him pay every dime of that money back because the grandmother was receiving assistance. Every penny. Perhaps the more zeros, the harder to find the failures?

Serena won the Australian Open. Good for her. Enjoy your Super Bowl weekend, and take care.

Time to decide.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 31, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

The New Age Of Dirigibles has been an ever-green cover story for Popular Science for as long as I can remember. They publish at least one article a year, just updating the artist's conception each time. I long ago filed it away with personal jetpacks and food-in-a-pill as retro-futurism that will not occur in my lifetime since it's been on the drawing boards for the half of my life I've lived so far and it's not showing any signs of progress.

Sorry to rain on your parade zeppelin fanboys, but it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Boko, I want Al to be here. Al Franken, to be exact!

Posted by: russianthistle | January 31, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. Thank you Cassandra, I will carry this with me into the new life.

Weed, has he not arrived yet?

Have a great day everybody.

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Much chill and ice outside. The small dog objects to this so much that her morning excursion is greatly extended.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yoki, you're up early. Nervous energy? Anticipation? Hope all the move goes well, and that by tomorrow night you aren't too sore and too pooped to finally sit down, pour a nice glass of wine and say aloud to your new home, "Mine mine mine mine mine!"

OK, Dawn Patrol, let's get 'em airborne.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 31, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

yellojkt - new-age zeppelins on the cover of Popular Science? And articles and everything? Really? Here I was thinking I was breaking new ground for them...

All right, I have some heavier-than-air lifting to do this morning, have a good day, folks.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. I woke up to this happy post by Maira Kalman and wanted to share the joy:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 31, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Wow, DNA_Girl, that was DEEE-lightful! That really makes me smile.

But then I read about Tom Daschle....gggrrrr. I know the tax code is crazy but... come on now!

Posted by: Kim1 | January 31, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

oh and happy moving day, Yoki.

Posted by: Kim1 | January 31, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

That works out even better for you. Blimps are a proven genre. That and Hot New Supercars.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle! Won't be around today, Chinese New Year party prep will demand all my attention. Have a good start though and Mr. F is here to ask "How high?" when I say "Jump."

Have a happy move Yoki. I'll fax some things for you to nosh on. None of yello's buffalo chicken dip though, you have too much to do to end up in a Roquefort coma.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good late morning, all. Mr. T and I slept in, a rare and happy occurence.

He is already outside working on today's project, mounting the hose reel he gave me for Christmas. That involves taking up the drain pipe, which is okay because it's got holes in it, and digging up the rosemary that has taken over its corner of the yard. I was going to get rid of it and start over in the spring anyway.

Yoki, I hope the move is smooth and quick! I'll be thinking of you all day. Cassandra, enjoy the walk; I hope you are feeling much better. Frosti, don't overdo the cooking, but have a wonderful time with your party.

I'm helping with lunch tomorrow for a committee I'm on at church, so I need to make a run to the grocery store.

Later, folks...

Posted by: slyness | January 31, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, not that anyone ever takes any chances with AF 1, but I would tend to think the 'ol bird has more than a few tricks up its sleeves when it comes to SAMs. :-)

And if we turned AF 1 into a dirigible, wouldn't we have to change the Presidential Anthem to "Up, Up and Away" or something? :-)

*off-to-a-rare-shared-weekend-day-with-NukeSpouse-and-therefore-girding-my-loins-for-lots-of-shopping-and-such Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

WaPo buried the lead on this story:

///Duelfer assembled a list of more than 40 high-level officials who could help run Iraq following an invasion. He cultivated old contacts in the oil industry and the Iraqi government, meeting secretly with a top Iraqi official at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He traveled to Vienna for OPEC meetings that included key Iraqi oil officials. But the plan to put together a team that would form the basis of a future government was shelved.

"Once U.S. forces were in Iraq, they used the lists as targets," he writes. "Those named would find their homes raided, and they would be thrown in jail. . . . We continued to make more enemies." ///

One group in the government was making a list of potential allies in Iraq and another was using as a hit list.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! Happy Moving Day to Yoki.

Thanks, DNA Girl, for sharing the Maira Kalman. She wrote all our favorite children's books (many featuring the dog Max). They combine a story and wit to interest an adult with pictures that are Art, not cute. We thought they were a good start for a small person just beginning to understand the world and inflicted them on the Boy beginning in infancy.

It is sunny and lovely here today, expected to reach 70 degrees (F). That should melt even the stubborn, no-sun ice on our driveway. I have lots of errands and transporting to do. I am under the impression that people have been invited to my house to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow. While I heartily approve of this, I wish I knew how many, or what time they're supposed to arrive, or what sort of food my co-host was planning. I keep reminding myself to be flexible.

Enjoy your party, frostbitten!

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Few people know that the President already travels by Zeppelin. A Zeppelin fitted out with beautiful brass accoutrements reminiscent of the Victorian age. This Zeppelin is hidden from view by a special cloaking device derived from mysterious space-alien technology. Air Force 1 is just a cunning decoy.

Look, I said few people know this. Basically, really just me.

I'm cleaning the basement and I get bored easily.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was done with smoke and mirrors, RD. Space alien technology, really. I wish we could get some for the bunny bunker.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey know I get all messed up sometimes letting things richochet around in my head like an errant handball. A word you used yesterday -- wedlock -- just keeps bouncing around. Aren't all children born out of wedlock? They aren't born married (shoot, DC's not allowed to have a boyfriend until she gets her driver's license...when she's 30.)

The Tims, just wanted to say that while I'm from a very large family, we had neither money nor support from extended family (my mother eloped with that hunky from over the mountain, or my dad married that d@go woman, take your pick). We didn't have two red pennies to rub together when I was little, but we had what we needed and were happy. My parents couldn't afford a tv, and my mom was a good Catholic. Hence the big family. The upshot...there may be a lot of us, we may be somewhat clannish (there's strength in numbers) but we don't take government hand-outs (well, I had that Senatorial Scholarship that one year), and We're All Good People. As I'm sure (downright positive!) you and your smaller family are.

One other seems to me that if you wait to have children until you can afford them, you'll never have children.

Okay. I really need to be looking at this spreadsheet and figuring out a bit better where all the money went. Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 31, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"wouldn't we have to change the Presidential Anthem to "Up, Up and Away" or something?"

And the problem with this is...? zeppelin dreamers are sooooooooo yesterday. You need to catch up with this:

Projected speed of about 70 knots, which isn't bad.

You guys ever take a ride in a blimp? I did, down at Pax River. It is sooooooooo way cool. If I ever win the lottery, I'm gonna have my own personal blimp/dirigible, and call it the Graf Curmudgeplin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 31, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning all
Finally a day off and I slept in. ususally i get up during the night and add another log to the stove,but last night I just slept through.It just meant I needed to start from scratch again this morning.

I too am from a large Italian family,well I have 4 siblings all older then me and it was the same for all my aunts and uncles.When we had a cousins party it was alot of kids running around.I have 22 first cousins and that is just on the Italian side of the family.Now most of them are married with large families of their own. Needless to say,we have to rent the *Big* pavillion at the park when we have our family reunions.

Good Luck with your move Yoki,I am so happy for you.Hope the weather is good this weekend for you.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 31, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Gwe, similar to my family, although my mom has more than 100 first cousins, and I have less than 10.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I just bought a nice half ham, which I had decided on a whim to cook for tomorrow (to go with my cousin's gumbo). I like cooking "real" ham and haven't done so in a while. That may be this evening's project. I'm also making hummus and Yoki's olive cheese balls (curse you, Yoki, those things are absolutely addictive! and I did finally figure out how to encase the olives). Throw in olives, olive salad, bread, a few chips, and we should have snacking and supper galore.

I have had nothing to add to the discussion of children, but I liked Lostinthought's observation that if you wait until you can afford children you'll never have them. Ivansdad and I always said we were waiting until we were solvent.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey all. Adding my good wishes (hey! They are *BEST* wishes) to Yoki for a successful and lowest-stress-possible move!

My 'puter is working exceptionally well without that nasty Malware, due to a lovely help guy online at a low price, too.

Just read in the Swedish newspapers that Ingemar Johansson died at the age of 76. Now, Mudge and I and probably a number of other Boodlers "of a certain age" will remember when he knocked the lights out of Floyd Patterson in 1959 for the world heavyweight boxing championship. Patterson apparently knocked back the following year, to become the first boxer to regain his championship. The two became good friends and hung out with each other through the years. The newspapers offered up a number of photos of "Ingo" and I gotta tell ya, that guy looked good even through the aging process and even though he'd put on more than a few kilos. I have fond memories of him, even though I'm not at all a boxing fan.

Now to lunch. And then finishing filling in the blanx for my accountant. Grrrr.

Cyall later.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | January 31, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Morning all (well, it's morning for me)!

First thing I see on my Yahoo home page is this article on the woman with 14 kids.

Seems like there's more here than we thought. Some women get obsessed with plastic surgery, this woman seems to have become obsessed with having children. I think she could use some psychiatric help. Oh, those poor children.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 31, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Rather ironic that she is studying for her MA in counselling. A new spin on Physician heal thyself?

Posted by: dmd2 | January 31, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it said that therapists are crazier than their patients?

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Ah, airships. I can tell some here read McPhee's wonderful book The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed. I recommend it to anyone. I also suspect some had the movie Swordfish on TV recently.

When I wore my R&D hat, I found up to 8% hydrogen in neutral gas (process used nitrogen but let's say helium) is practically unigniteable in air. Probably far less so at low temperatures such as at altitude. Of course gaining lift from solar heating would raise the risk right back up again. Still, it's bad publicity.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I know I make comments here that are better left unsaid, and I probably hurt some feelings in the process, and I do hope that person will forgive me. I am motor mouth sometimes, and speak before thinking, as many of us often do. I offer this apology because of the medication. It has a severe side effect of mood swings, and behaviour changes. I should finish it in a couple of days. If there isn't any change, then we know I'm doomed, because it is the "real deal".(smile) Of course, we know I'm not on that island alone.

Slyness, I got a chance to walk this morning. It was cold, but it does clear up the head, and makes the nose runny. I'm feeling the medications. I don't know if that's better.

I have a class reunion meeting this afternoon. I'm not too hyped about attending, but it beats sitting in this apartment all alone. I just might get a chance to exchange words with some folks. Even grown-ups. Perhaps it might not be a good idea to raise the bar that high. We'll see.

CNN has aired some of the comments concerning the mother of the babies, and they go from moderate to the extreme. Some of them vowing they don't care how many kids she has as long as their taxes don't pay for their care. As we read more information concerning this young woman, the extremes may not get their wish. And according to the news, the grandmother is tired. Lord, I know how she feels, and I'm only getting a fraction of what's in front of her.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 31, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Well Cassandra, I know you're not talking to me because not only did you not say anything to hurt my feelings, I can't imagine whose feelings might have been hurt by anything you've said recently.

Have a good time at that reunion. I went to one recently and I think everyone there was truly surprised at how much fun we had. I guess as we get older there is more memory of friendships (after all, we all survived this far) and less memory of teenage squabbling.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ivansmom.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 31, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I have no earthly idea what your first paragraph is referring to. Offend or hurt anyone's feelings? Not seeing it here.

I came across the following link recently, to a camera on a bald eagle's nest at the local raptor center. Two eggs! I look forward to watching them:

(The link Meet Samantha and Derek gives their history.)

Posted by: slyness | January 31, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Like many here, I have long been fascinated by lighter-than-air transportation. When I was in junior high, I decided to make a working model of a delta-shaped dirigible. I figured out the weight/size ratio to be buoyant with helium gas, and then added a generous guestimation factor.

All of which just means that for a few months in the middle seventies I spent spare moments creating a big wedge-shaped structure out of crosshatched thin wood doweling, which I then covered with tissue paper painted with bright orange "dope." (It is a testament to my mother's saint-like nature that the latter activity was done on our kitchen table.)

My plan was to fill this structure with helium balloons fed through a little hatch until lift-off was achieved. Then, powered by a small battery-operated motorized propeller, I envisioned it making graceful circles above our house tethered with lightweight fishing line.

So I used all my birthday money to procure a large canister of helium (which my mother had to sign for) and proceeded to bring my Clever Plan to fruition.

Alas, like many of my Clever Plans, I left something out. In an attempt to create a "sexier" delta shape, I forgot all about trim. Which is a fancy way of saying the thing flew all right. It just flew upside down and did more bobbing about than anything else.

But my mother was impressed.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid I must concur with yellojkt, despite my desire for cool passenger zeps, and despite Curmudgeon bringing the Zeppelin NT to our attention. I have seen various items about the future belonging to various configurations of lighter-than-air, or low-density, vehicles since I was a small ScienceSprout. I have yet to see a Zeppelin cruise offered to the public.

But I'd still like to see one.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

In seventh grade Industrial Arts, I started to build a scale model of an actual pedal-powered one-man dirigible that had been built in the early 20th century, I think. Then I had an industrial accident -- while sitting down in my folding metal chair in class, the chair pinched my fingertip between two pieces of metal. It turns out that it is a bad idea to rip your finger out of such a situation, as it removed my fingernail. Lots of blood. I don't recall that I ever got very far with that model.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

You got a little further along than I, RD. I built a little inflatable delta thing about 4' across with some dowels and black plastic skin. The most difficult thing was calculating the shape to cut out the top piece. It had to have camber. I finally got it together. I found out the bottom piece was not going to stay flattish even if I had cut it flat. So I had to add a piece of flat cardboard. This had the advantage of keeping the heavier side down. I inflated it with air (I knew my prototype would gain no advantage from lighter-than-air gasses - only a scaled up model would do that).

It was stable when hurled like a paper airplane. Amazing. It flew.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I still want a lighter-than-air house. A dwelling that floats. No real-estate taxes. The envelope would have to be huge. And unintentional around-the-world drifts would be, I'm afraid, inevitable.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I hope you would be up far enough that you don't get shot at, Jumper.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Oooooh, Jumper -- I like your thinking! I have had a similar dream for a good long while now.

Have you ever read the story "Blooded on Arachne"? I recall it as igniting my interest in such ballooning travel.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

But there are zeppelin cruises. Well at least one. It made big news last year.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 31, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Hi all.. .interesting conversations going one here... too bad I get too busy at work (and that my computer is visible by anyone who is anywhere nearby); I've got to play boodle-catch-up, which means any comments I have about the current topics are days late. But here goes...

Scotty... as somone who has had a C-section, I can say eight babies in five minutes is pretty amazing. They don't cut open a big, wide hole... they still have to pull and tug the baby out of a small opening. It probably took more than five minutes to birth Son of G, so eight in that amount of time, especially when #8 was a surprise, is pretty impressive to me.

As for her having IVF when she already had six babies... hmmm.. that's a little weird to me, but we don't really know the whole story.

OK.. Right to Work... When Dr G was in grad school and working part time in DC, he was required to belong to AFSCME, the union for public-service workers. He only worked a few hours a week (it varied from week to week) and many of his paychecks were made out for $0.00 because his union dues got pulled out even though he would have rather not belonged AND they didn't help when he did have problems.

I understand that Right to Work isn't really the answer, but it was kind of ridiculous that the union was being paid when we weren't.

OK.. I think that's it. Yoki... hope all goes smoothly. Everyone... have a great weekend!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 31, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Love your zeppelin Jumper, it reminds me of something Martooni would be happy to fly also.

I’ll follow TBG’s lead and briefly throw my two cents worth of comments on some recent topics. The more information that comes out about the woman with the multiple births, the more uneasy I get about the babies’ futures. All her children were IVFs! Isn’t this an expensive procedure, did she pay for them? I wish her and the children all the best but I’m concerned that maybe IVF is being used in situations that don’t warrant it.

I don’t have any personal experience with unions. #1 SIL belongs to one which hasn’t been terribly effective, but as the state is the employer, it might be a special circumstance.

Cassandra, you worry too much! I don’t think anyone here has anything but the highest regard for you, nor would we take anything you might say the ‘wrong’ way. I hope you are feeling better.

Saw #2 briefly today. She is walking a bit better and still has two weeks left on the IV meds. Her husband is back in CR taking care of their property and she’s sort of depressed that she couldn’t go with him.

Think we might finally get in a walk tomorrow, the snow has melted off the sidewalks.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Jumper in the sky with diamonds

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 31, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

For my first prediction of the weekend I predict the Ford Motor Company will be bankrupted by lawsuit awards won by victims who bought the new Ford pick-up with handy steps for side loading and back rupturing.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 31, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of Zeppelins, I just have to throw in the first song that just "blew me away"

Dazed and confused

So young they were,I would see them several times a few years later,but this was the song that really got me interested in rock n roll. My goodness they sure had a lot of great tunes.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 31, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Didn't they just, gwe?! Still one of the best rock bands there is or ever has been. Even my 20-year-old #2 loves them (of course, she plays a mean rock guitar) and finds the total sound very current as well as, in her words, "old school." She loves old school.

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Quick! Somebody else post some comment so that I talk again, without having my "comment held because you are posting too much."!

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

*snort* squirt

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 31, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

well, Yoki, if you'd just give us a chance...

Posted by: -TBG- | January 31, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | January 31, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I got a laugh out of this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

My soon to be 18 year old son loves Zeppelin. He is also a huge fan of Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues.

We're trying not to worry.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

That does sound like a gruesome meal, Jumper. My guess is major mislabelling of ingredients and some very drunk caterers.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

No worries RD, We listened to all that music of the seventies and look how normal we turned out!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 31, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Sez ya, Gwe.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"You All Everybody"

The one hit wonder song by Drive Shaft

Written by Charlie

A passenger on Oceanic 815

That I remember

the Sam=>Samantha???

I lost my mind and have no clue what that was all aboot

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Good evening all.

Cassandra, please dear -- all is well when you tell the truth as you see it and consider what it's like to be in the other person's shoes. You're fine - please don't worry about it.

Like several of you, as a younger person, I used to design and build my own small-scale lighter- and heavier-than-aircraft as well. Balloons, blimps, zeppelins, parachutes, hang-gliders, various lifting bodies, airplanes, helecopters, rockets, and even a pulse-jet. I even tried combinations - rocket-engine powered airplanes and even a rocket-powered helecopter (engines on the main rotor blades - I never did get the solid rocket engines to light at exactly the same time.) Some of them even worked. Most didn't (at least as intended) but I learned a lot from the experiences and from the failures as well as successes, of course. My Mom was a saint, too, but being a single parent, I had a lot of unsupervised time to let my imagination - and my hands and feet - run wild.

My Most Spectacular Failure involved rocket-launched lifting body. I developed a small cardboard and balsa lifting body that flew (well, perhaps 'fell in a controlled fashion', is a more appropriate description for a heavier than air lifting body) reasonably well in secret tests from the roof of our house. My idea was to affix it to and Estes-powered rocket as a nosecone then boost it to altitude as a rocket, then have the ejection charge separate it from the rocket body and triggering some spring-loaded (ok, rubber band-loaded) flaps that would stabilize the body aerodynamically for descent to the ground (the rocket would just deploy it's chute normally). We aimed it a bit downrange (across a field) rather than the traditonal striaght up trajectory, with the rocket underslung to the launch rod. Unfortunately, when we ignited this contrivance, the flaps deployed immediately, and when the rocket left the guide rod, it immediately began a rather large loop up, over (that "Oh, $#!+" moment), and back around to the launch point.

Where we were standing.

(Maxwell Smart: "What a great view - it's coming right at us!")

Fortunately, we'd all seen enough WW II movies to scatter out of the way and grab some ground.

The errant experiment whooshed past us, picking up speed as the thrust built and headed back towards the skies. And we didn't hang around to see what happened as it looped back around towards a parking lot.

I suppose my Biggest Success is probably not ending up in Juvie Hall or even jail for such things. And there were several such notable events.

Who says science is dull or boring?
I don't.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

To conclude -- criminals do return to the scene of the crime, don't they?

In this case, my guilty conscience had me saunter nonchilantly (so as to not draw attention to myself) over to the parking lot a short time later (15 minutes, maybe?)to see if anything bad happened, but mentally prepared to throw myself on the mercy of anyone who would listen if it had (or really, if anyone even looked at me crosswise), and beg forgiveness.


And in this case, that was OK.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

To the memory of our dog, happily romping about in the heavens...

Posted by: -jack- | January 31, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

This is a true Angel! Jack. How blessed! Angel.

Much love,

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, thanks for the link. That letter is perfect and laugh out loud funny. I love the part about how the potatoes were mashed.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

So sorry Jack.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 31, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

...on the up side, one of our pups has a new home. I'm spent. time to rest. thanks to all for the positive energy.

Posted by: -jack- | January 31, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh Jack, you have my deepest sympathies. Just a year ago I was in your shoes. So sorry.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | January 31, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry for the major BOO, Jack.

You have my sympathy, so hard to lose a friend.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about your dog, jack. They are tough members of the family to get over losing. Hardly a day goes by that my wife or I don't mention ours.

Jumper's Keseyppelin was a genuine LOL.

At 12,000 euro, those zeppelins hardly count as mass transportation.

How did you make it to your current age with all your appendages?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, jack. Raga. Most excellent and I think Angel knows this. Well done.

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I am so out of the loop , and it is way too late to back boodle, but I bring to the all knowing and scientifically minded boodle a problem of the most serious sort.

This is my popcorn maker.

I need to know how to:

a.)make the popcorn stay in the chamber when it is almost ready to pop rather than being spit out onto the floor mid-pop.

b.)how to get the popped popcorn out of the funnel neck rather than it getting stuck on itself and becoming one mass in the neck and chamber and thus being prone to burning. I mean really, it should be impossible to burn air popped popcorn.

This machine is evil with its all stuck or none popped in the bowl scenario (the add says 'fewer unpopped kernels'. We think the writer forgot to add 'in the bowl'.) and I would not wish it on anyone.

Anybody have any ideas how to fix this beast, or should I just toss it and go with one of those fancy theatre sized poppers.

Help me ObiWan Kaboodle, you are my only hope.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 31, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Use less popcorn to start with, or get a new popper?

Sounds like you're using a brand of popcorn that's pretty consistent in kernel and size, hence it tends to pop all at once.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Try Jiffy Pop again dr :-), do they still make those, remember popping jiffy popcorn on the stove when I was young always a coin flip as to whether I would burn myself or get lazy and let it sit on the burner too long and scorch the popcorn.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 31, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Hallo boodle. Dead tired but in possession of enough fine left overs to make a Super Bowl feast. The Spam fried rice was a big hit. Anyone want a bed time snack of bittersweet chocolate brownie with semisweet chocolate ganache?

Jack-so sorry about your dog. We're going on three years without a dog, but our Alex was with us for 16 years and I am still not over it. Hugs.

Time to snooze. Sleep tight boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 1, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

jack, sorry to hear about your dog. So tough to lose them. That's a great Neil Young song.

Posted by: seasea | February 1, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Again, I get to wish a Good Morning to Al!

Posted by: russianthistle | February 1, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning sleeping boodle.

We've tried different kinds of popcorn and its not the corn, its the maker. We've tried underloading it, overloading it, and the only solution to the mess seems to be not to load it. sigh.

Our last one died a painful death by falling off the counter, the one before that, could not stand the pace, then there was the oil one that did not fit in the cabinet and before that, one popper for 10 years, used 3-5 times a week.

Jiffy pop is just not like real popcorn, nor (shudder) is that thing called 'microwave popcorn'. That will kill you in an instant.

We eat a lot of popcorn around here, and silly as it seems, being without a proper popcorn pot is the death knell to a complete evening. I may yet have to spend big bucks on a really good heavy duty top of the stove popcorn pot.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 1, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Sorry to hear about your dog, Jack. dr, I don't like the microwave popcorn either, but my grandsons love it. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that they can make it.

Just a drive by this morning. I'm running late. I enjoyed the meeting, and got a chance to see some classmates that I hadn't seen since we finish high school.

Yoki(hope the move was good)Scotty, Martooni, Slyness, Mudge, and all, have a great day. *waving*

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 1, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Still cold and icy.

Great stories bc!

Jack, I know how it goes with pets.

Today's project is putting carpet squared down in the bathroom. My goal is to achieve a geometric perfection rarely encountered in my efforts.

I understand there is some Football Contest of note going on later. I miss the days when the Super Bowl didn't require you to stay up late.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 1, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The odds of me missing the game are approaching 70%.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 1, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

jack, I'm so sorry.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 1, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

dr, go out and buy the one you really want. Enjoy it for years, pass it down to Kerric. Life's too short to be battling a popcorn maker.

No yardsale was too small for my aunt to pass, it drove my cousin crazy. But it was a good time for some individual attention while I was growing up, so I'd go. As an adult, I graduated to small-town Wisconsin and Ohio estate auctions, but still always seemed to have another friend or two who liked sales as well as the auctions.

I recently discovered (remember the tool-porn estate sale?) a very old friend here is also into it, so we've been going to one or two estate sales on Saturday mornings. Yesterday I bought 2 5x8 wool Chinese oriental-styles for the bedrooms upstairs, $55 apiece. While I wish I'd made them move the furniture on them yesterday and just taken them then, I'm sure I'll feel just fine as I pick them up and bring them home in a little while.

Little vacuuming, a good steam cleaning, I can feel my aunt beaming. This Spring, back to the auctions!

The chances of me watching any of the game are 0, tiara or no.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 1, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

So sorry, Jack, about the dear dog passing. We know this is life's telos but oh my, what they teach us: faithful kindness.

I think the game will happen at every house around me but I will be busy with flotsam and jetsam.

Get the popper of your dreams, DR.

dbG -- nice work. I need a mail sorting cabinet, where the slots are open at both ends. We had one growing up. Thanks!

Have fun with the tiara battle, y'll. I guess I would be tipped toward Pit. Gotta love a steel-working town, 'specially if you grew up five blocks and the river to a copper smelter. When I hear the timid campus uni-purpose church bells, I always wish for the brassy upstart of a lunch whistle.

I am plumbing the depths of the pantry; pinto beans in the crock pot, from scratch. Anybody remember buying Ranch Beans? Miss them. RoTel sauce is now national, but not so, Ranch Beans.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 1, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck on the carpeting project, RD. Measure twice, cut once...a rule I can never seem to live up to.

Posted by: -jack- | February 1, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Words to live by jack.

Of course, that's the advantage of carpet squares. One mistake won't trash the whole project. I am sure it will take me many mistakes to do so.

Fortunately I have a nice sharp utility knife to work with. And many little bandages.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 1, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra, all.

Ranch beans! I make them from a recipe in Gourmet a couple of years ago. Very easy. CP, let me know if you would like the recipe and I shall email it to you.

Today is the final push for the move!

And so away to do the last few things before the heavy lifting, which is left strictly to the pros.

Good luck with your carpeting project, RD. Be careful though, new carpet in the bathroom will make the bedroom rugs look shabby, and you know what that means. As we say chez Yoki, never paint the front hall.

Posted by: Yoki | February 1, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! It is a lovely sunny warm day here.

Jack, I'm sorry about your dog.

I'm with everyone else, dr, buy that good popcorn popper. It sounds like you'll get good use of it. Our water is so hard (and yes, we have filters on it) that Ivansdad goes through two or three coffeepots a year, even with regular cleaning. Appliances, feh. I try to interest him in the old-fashioned boil-on-the-stove version, with or without fish, but he'll none of it.

Speaking of collective Boodle wisdom, X-Box Live Lives! Breathes! and is every bit the monster I feared. Ivansdad and the Boy thank RD and other Boodlers for your advice.

Enjoy your final moving day, Yoki.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I'd probably cut some aluminum screen, wash and dry it, and jam it in the area that keeps getting stuck with popcorn. Keep it out of there altogether. Then I'd probably toss it all out, and write an evil email to someone. Or find an alternate use for it, but I sure can't think of one. I'd come up with the perfect use for it a week after I disposed of it no doubt.

As everyone knows I'm interested in "degrees of separation." So I have to ask: Do you know Delmar?

And, yes, I have met Delmar. But I bet someone here who's not in NC has met Delmar, too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Nice zeppelin, Jumper. I have been astonished and delighted by the many Boodlers who at one point or since actually made one of these things. I'm not surprised, mind you. I was trying to think of some comparable project but came up blank, unless you count all that denim counter-culture embroidery (*really* liked the zeppelin, Jumper!) in high school. Nope. I stand in awe. Thanks for sharing those memories.

CollegeParkian, we still have Ranch Beans here, in the can on the shelves.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I hadn't seen an air popper like that in twenty years. That was the popper of choice when I was a teenager. We'd pop up huge batches for our Dungeons and Dragons games. I don't know how to help since we never had a problem with ours.

Last year my brother-in-law gave us a Whirly Pop which cooks on a stove-top but requires a special blend of popcorn and oil which is hard to find.

I went out and bought a jumbo bag of chips and a large tub of french onion dip for my football viewing this evening. I'm not a big sports fan, but football is the killer app for HDTV. Plus I have to see Brooooce play. I'm a geezer and I have the music tastes to prove it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Morning all
warming up quite nicely here in west by god,up to 50 already.Perhaps the top layer of ice will melt today and walking around won't be so difficult.

This week I have been throwing all types of food outside for the critters dealing with this ice and cold.everything has been eatin except the oranges.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 1, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Morning all -- I'm fighting what is probably a UTI, so I'm guzzling all the cranberry juice I can muster. Other than that, I plan to take advantage of this glorious warm, sunny day and prepare my taxes. Yeah, I'll bet you thought I'd say something else, eh???

Gotta go dry the hair.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. It's supposed to hit the low 60's here in Tidewater today, but it was only 38 when we left for church this a.m. I still haven't warmed up, although the hubby has done his part by making us eggs. He's a keeper.

I laughed at bc's story, I can just picture it. I have 5 younger brothers and if I've seen them saunter "nonchalantly" once, I've seen it a thousand times. When we tell stories as adults I realize how much they got away with, but there were definitely times I saw the sauntering end with a boy running pell mell for an older brother to help with damage control because of smoke, propellant run amok, fire, bleeding orifices or broken limbs, etc. before Mom found out.

RD - my now 18 year old son loves Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc. I'm relieved when I hear some of the rap songs that his compatriots listen to...

Taking homemade salsa and buffalo chicken dip to friends for the Superbowl soiree. It sounds like yello's recipe but I use Ranch dressing instead of blue cheese. I can eat that stuff like nobody's business, unfortunately.

jack - I'm sorry about your dog.

Happy Sunday!

Posted by: Kim1 | February 1, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Reports of my death
Are greatly overstated--
Not so for Jack's pup
Now busily chasing squirrels
In the great Park in the Sky



Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Played the traffic cop
Stopped an elderly female
WHAM, got bit. My fur!
My wish: Kevlar for all, please
And the sense to leash bad dogs...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle! Lazy morning chez frostbitten. Unfortunately it was 45 degrees here yesterday. I say unfortunate because now it is 30 and we are headed down back below 0. The front walk has a 3 inch coating of ice and the wind is already whipping in from the Dakotas. With luck we'll be able to chip away at the ice enough to preclude litigation for negligently allowing the evidence of weather to accumulate and cause someone to slip and fall. All must be accomplished before the big game. Chinese food and football, what a combo.

Yello-use regular popcorn and oil in your Whirly Top popper. The frost-in-laws gave us one about 15 years ago and we've always used whatever was available in it. Pops up just fine.

Our fair city has a real theater type popcorn popper in the fire hall. I do not read the ingredients on "butter" mix that goes in the kettle with the corn, the color and consistency are scary enough.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, when you settle, would love that recipe for Ranch Beans. You cannot go wrong with Ranch Bean version, but am very happy to have yours.

"Ranch" can be code in the west for recipes that came from the famous King Ranch in Texas. King Ranch casserole is one such churchy-concoction of goodness.....will try to post a recipe later.

Back to my crockpot:
The beans should be soft by 4PM. Trick to beans is to leave off the ingredients until you achieve softness. That we no longer teach home economics in in high school is a shame.

beans and rice

So many ways to enjoy this basic goodness, at pennies a plate.

Ivansmom, I frenvy you your Ranch Beans. I recall the can label colors and design in early scenes of Brokeback Mountain. I wanted to leap forward and pause the image to read the label. I remember that brand from growing up. My mom would remember the name but my dad looked at me, saying, "just beans, dear, beans."

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. [Well, not anymore...]

Jack, I'm sorry to hear of your beloved pet. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Yoki - glad to hear the move-in is proceeding apace.

Preparations are in full swing for Uber Bowl #@$%VII or whatever it is. In my case, that means stewing various meats, vegetables and spices into something called "chili," simply because no one knows what I mean whan I say "meatastrophe" and then try to feed it to them.

Have a great day, all.


Posted by: -bc- | February 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Everything's a process. Rugs (which turned out to be 7x9, 8x10, even better) are bundled and in the kitchen, waiting to be cleaned and placed next week.

CqP, please give me approximate dimensions, materials, etc., I'll keep an eye out for one.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 1, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Two version here of King Ranch casserole:
(one that is truly pure; the other would earn the Prairie Home Companion Cream of Mushroom Soup Seal of Better Living Through (Food) Chemistry)

One year, the soup kitchen bagged several cases of canned chicken from a group of kind Mormons who had a surplus. We made this and I must tell you about a very elderly man who wept with joy at this dish from his West Texas childhood.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 1, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

gwe -- Aren't oranges loved by elephants? You had better stand back!

Posted by: nellie4 | February 1, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

jack, sorry to hear about your dog.

yoki, i look forward to your fully moved in report. good luck with finishing up all the odds and ends.

hope everyone has a good day. happy football watching and all that.

Posted by: LALurker | February 1, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

*manly hugs* for you, Jack.

bc, I speak fluent meatastrophe. Bring it on!!! :-)

*back-to-house-cleanup-and-other-game-prep Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Nice moving men ran into a snag with a large cabinet, and are having to knock the whole thing apart to get it out of the basement. And they are happy to do this! 'Tis a wonder.

Posted by: Yoki | February 1, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

That is a wonder indeed, Yoki. Hope they do a good job of it. I always regretted the day I let my roommates hire day laborers to move my furniture behind my back. I had scratches all over.

When properly moved later, they were nicely padded against damage but the damage was already done.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm. King Ranch chicken. On my list for sure. Thanks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 1, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Please clarify: "properly moved"= by professional movers. They can be well worth it, unlike a few guys splitting $100 or whatever it was to get everything in an apartment in the next 20 minutes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I spent the next year picking sawdust and splinters off the ceiling.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, Boodle. It is a nasty, miserable, foul, mean-spirited, cruel day here, weather-wise. One of the cruelest in memory, in fact. Why? Because it is sunny and 61 degrees, and I have been running in and out in my shirtsleeves doing honey-dos (manly honey-dos at that: using the table saw, router and saber saw) to put a faux oak cabinet door-looking fake front on our raised-mounted kitchen dishwasher, so the entire facade looks uniform and oak cabinetty. And very nice it looks, too. (I got soooooooooooo lucky routing out the hand-hold opening.)

So why is this kind of weather nasty and cruel? Because it lies. Lies, lies, lies, I tell you. Sunny and 61. Pffft. Thou foul cheater, February. I know thee well, February. Thou art cold and miserable and raw and snowy/sleety/ ice-stormy and a thoroughly rotten month, and thee artn't fooling me for a second, no siree bob. I have thy number, February. So you can try and be 61 and sunny, but I'm not fooled for a second.

Never mind what they say at chez Yoki, Yoki. What do they say at chez nouveau Yoki? That's what I wanna know. (I'm hopping they say yippee cai-yay!!)

Meanwhile, this afternoon my wife is making her encore presentation of a dish called Scott's Short Ribs (no, not you, Scotty) she saw on Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa a few weeks ago, and she came out of cooking semi-retirement to try it. And it was really outstanding (and the house smelled outta sight for about three hours). So tonight she's making it again for Super Bowl dinner. I highly recommend the recipe, which is here:,1946,FOOD_9936_323208_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html

(It's really prime winter-type comfort food. I almost wish it was a typical cold, miserable raw Feb. day outside.)

So far I have resisted all the Super Bowl pre-game foreplay. I mean, I'm all in favor of foreplay, and all, don't get me wrong. I'm all about the foreplay. But, like, nine hours worth? I don't think even Sting could do nine hours of tantric foreplay, could he? (Well, maybe he could. But the rest of us mere mortals? How much football can they be talking about? A nine-hour stretch of time is enough for somebody like me to take two, maybe three naps. At what point are you supposed to take your Cialis during nine hours of foreplay?

And 3-D. Some of this stuff is supposed to be in 3-D. Not just HD, but also 3-D.

All I wanna do is watch the damn game, not become a life-partner with Al Rooker and Chris Collinsworth. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm just getting around to reading the WaPoMag and I'm furious at the anti-Springsteen screed they printed.
"Bruce has gotten old and rich and famous and changed. Waaaah!"

Certain hard-core fans get very mad when their idols don't stay the same way they first found them.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you have hit on a major reason I dislike televised sports, particularly that one.

I just want the raw action, not the frikkin' Illiad as a build-up.

I've seen enough pseudopoetic swill about "titans" and "gridiron" and other cliches to last me forever.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

You know, "steroid-fed circus" is a nice phrase.

As for the rest, if she had gotten laid around when she first saw Bruce, she could be a grandmother now-- several times over.

I'd get Bruce the restraining order.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so, like, I think I have discovered a new fundamental law of nature. Or at least home improvement. Here it is:

I have concluded that the ease of a project is inversely proportional to the apparent happiness of the individuals shown on the related packaging. Take, for example, say, carpet tiles.

The individuals shown installing said tiles look rapturous. They look like they are oh so pleased that they skipped lunch with the President because installing carpet tiles is so much more delightful. They look as though each perfectly cut, precisely aligned chunk of carpet positioned with their callous-free hands totally lacking in multiple fabric cuts (way worse than paper cuts) has brought them closer to orgasmic bliss.

Of course, that is because they are actually just professional hardware-store models. Not real people. Like me. A man who clearly needs to take a hot shower and tend to his injuries.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. Weather's nice here too, Mr. T is out finishing the lattice fence/hose reel thingie. It looks very nice, much better than the ugly hose cabinet that finally fell apart and had to be discarded.

I think I will make an appointment to get my eyes checked tomorrow. Not only has it been a year, I am concerned about my ability to see correctly. I took chocolate chip cookies to my meeting after church. Everybody loved them, which is good because I put twice the butter called for in them.

I think I will go put on more comfortable clothes and maybe go out and dig up a few wild onions while the sun shines.

Posted by: slyness | February 1, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I must disagree yello, of your characterization of Liz Clarke's article as an anti-Bruce "screed" as well as your summary of it that the Boss has gotten "old, rich and has changed." I don't think we read the same article at all.

First, I thought it was very well written, and there were some lovely lines in it. Second, you seriously mis-characterize her problems with Bruce as being related to his aging, his success, etc. If you were paying attention, you would have noted that her first objections started in 1985, and she then references 1995. I don't think she never once mentions his money or anything about his wealth and his success "ruining" him. She has qualms and regrets, yes. But they aren't money- and success-related, nor age-related. And you're calling it a "screed" makes it sound like she now hates Springsteen, and is beating up on him; but she doesn't.

About 70 percent of the piece is nothing short of an unadorned love letter to Bruce, and the rest was was kind of sad and elegiac. No, she doesn't like him playing at the Super Bowl, but her reasons are more for nostalgia for the old days when Bruce hung around small clubs on the jersey shore.

I'm not nearly as big a fan as Liz is (although I *do* like him a lot), but overall I liked the piece. I have no clue whatsoever why you should be "furious" about it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Awww, jeez. Now everybody is getting all bent out of shape because Michael Phelps took a hit off a bong. And he's making it worse by apologizing and groveling and sniveling about it. In my view his proper response should have been: "Yeah, I took a drag. So what? I'm not in traiuning, and it's none of your business. Go eff yourself."

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What Mudge said at 3:33 and 3:42.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

And one stinking drag of grass doesn't belong on the front page of the WaPo, either. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

good afternoon all. 61F? Lucky b@stards!
We didn't get the break in the weather we we supposed to have, it's still fairly cold. We had that freezing fog again this morning, I've seen it maybe five times in my life but twice this year! The local rag reported this morning that it was only the fourth times Ottawa didn't get a thaw in January since temperature data is recorded (1880). Clearly, we are being punished for our politicians childish behaviour.
I'll watch the Big Game on my 24" TV but it's going to be for the last time, hopefully, if we find the time to go shopping.
I've made Yello's hot dip with some modifications though. Nobody in this family is manly enough for a cup of Frank's hot sauce so I used a 4oz can of chilpotles peppers, diced finely. It was hot enough the first time around. It's great with cucumbers and celery sticks as well. I also used crème fraîche instead of cream cheese because some hungry teenagers found the frozen bagels and pillaged the cream cheese from the fridge. It's like having giant cockroaches around.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Exactly Mudge.
Stop The Press! We found a pot-smoking teenager! Jeez.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 1, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, my father likes to go out in the yard and pick wild onions to put in his omelettes. When extended family members visit, they like to tease him about serving them eggs and grass.

It's nice weather here today, too. We've got the windows open (just on the edge of warm enough, but so nice to be able to), so we get to follow along with our neighbor's conversations. She has a whole living room set-up in her carport for porching.

Posted by: -bia- | February 1, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly open windows weather here, although the porch hit 60 degrees in the sun. We walked to the beach and only had to venture into the road three times to avoid the ice on the sidewalks.

We just finished homemade pizza and I’m ready for a nap before the big night of commercials begins. Mudge, “S” has avoided all the pre-game hooha by watching the Celtics, the Bruins, some golf and now I think he’s watching the History channel. RD, sorry to hear about your carpet tile related injuries. All this do it yourself stuff is overrated except for the rare occasion when it all goes together perfectly. And yes, the Phelps thing about the bong is a tempest in a teapot.

Yoki, meant to wish you the best with your move but it sounds like things are going very well. Congratulations, it's wonderful to have your very own new place to go with your new status.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

dr, seasea, yoki, wilbrod, wilbrodog, Ivansmom, bc, dmd, LaL, yello, snuke, thanks again for the positive energy.
Yello, I need to be at your house with my own chips and FOD. The latter is my favourite. Left to my own devices, I would consume an entire bag of chips and FOD, and consider it breakfast and lunch. Go Steelers.

Posted by: -jack- | February 1, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

My son (Korean) just turned my TV to the pre-game stuff, because Journey is about to play (and now they are). They are playing "Don't Stop Believing," which my son loves (Guilty confession: me, too.) But my son is all outraged, because this isn't the "real" Journey, because it isn't Steve Parry singing lead. Instead it's some kid who is...wait for it...Asian ... and a look-alike for my son. Bwahahahaha.

(Also, the kid is pretty good, actually.)

If I'm not mistaken, we not supposed to like Journey, anymore, are we? Were we ever allowed to? I don't track these things.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

63 degrees here. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I believe Journey in the Steve Perry era can be categorized as a guilty pleasure.

Mr. F just discovered the Puppy Bowl and claims he's never even heard of it before. For crying out loud, his lack of acquaintance with popular culture mystifies.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 1, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Bob Costas is interviewing Springsteen, who won't disclose tonight's playlist dur to an "omerta" clause in his contract. Very nice.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

We will have to agree to disagree on the Springsteen article. The author is one broken leg (Bruce's not hers) from being Kathy Bates in 'Misery.'

I have about 2.5 degrees of separation from Michael Phelps, so it'll be interesting to hear some reaction from those quarters.

I've written about the phony lead singer phenomenon before.

I will not pay to see a classic rock band without the original singer. (Bands like REO and AC/DC are excpetions, not that I'd be going to an AC/DC show anyways) Otherwise they

That is fully what I intend to do with those chips and dips. My wife is a little dismayed at the size, but I say better too much than not enough. I can always consume the leftovers watching a Tech B-Ball game.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to you, also, shriek and frosti. Dur, indeed, 'Mudge.

Posted by: -jack- | February 1, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Otherwise they are just fancy tribute bands.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Jack, the "r" key is right next to the "e" key. I figure if I'm within one key of the right letter, I'm good to go. (Thing is, I haven't even started drinking yet, and have been waiting for the sun to go below the yardarm at 5 p.m. But I may have to give myself a little dispensation here. Is a Yuengling "cheating"? If I go straight for the black Russian, I'm not gonna make it to the end of the game, methinks.

Decisions, decisions. And 90 minutes to kickoff.

Yeah, the Yuengling wins.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hot showers are wonderful things. I feel almost human. Well, as close as I ever do.

I think it needs to be kept in mind that the only commercially valuable thing Phelps has is his sponsor-friendly image.

Regarding Bruce I have but three words to say: "Red Headed Woman."

(I would link to the words but they do make me blush so.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Cannot BackBoodle. People coming. Must find bowls for gumbo. Hummus is made, Yoki olive balls are made. Ham is cooked but not carved. Bread half cut, pita bread not cut. Ivansdad cleaned den, looks amazing. Moved computers, furniture. Awesome. Snacks are out, beer on ice. We have perhaps half an hour. About to open first beer.

I probably won't even watch the game. After all, it is football. Will check in later.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Mudge on the weather torture,so nice today, I took a walk next to the river without a jacket.Found a big pile of Bear S**t right in the road. But tomorrow they are calling for rain and snow,all snow Tuesday and colder next week.

I wonder what Punxsutawney Phil will have to say about this tomorrow.I hope he's not Hungover from the super bowl party.

Off to watch the game at my neighbors house,my contribution(other then my vast football knowledge and general good nature) will be a crock pot of chicken cacciatore.Plus snacks and dips and such.

I have been thinking since the AFC championship game that rooting for the Steelers wouldn't be that bad of a deal. But everytime I tell someone that I get a little pain right here>>> in the back of my neck.Is a pain in the neck an omen that I shouldn't root for the hated Steelers?

Either way the NFL's best defense against and potent offense should be fun to watch.

My prediction is 24-10 and Bruce sings 4 songs,Glory days,Thunder Road,Working on a dream and Born in the USA.

Oh with Pittsburgh winning it's sixth super bowl.

Go Sqeelers!!!.......Ouch!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 1, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, we had a lovely sunny mild day here today 4 or 5c, amazing how warm that feels after much colder temps, however, it caused lots of melting, and water which as the temps start dropping is turning to ice - sort of like a backhanded compliment day.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 1, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Just in time for the Super Bowl...New kit!!

Posted by: joelache | February 1, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer is looking lovely and a bit nervous

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Tempest in a "teapot" = bong. LOL

Yippe CAI yay? Hoot mon. Yuengling and black Russians? Hoot mon-ier.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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