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Washington's Creation Myth

In his Post Outlook piece this week, Joel Kotkin repeats the conventional wisdom about the founding of the nation's capital:

Washington has always occupied a unique and somewhat incongruous niche among U.S. cities. It came into being not because of the economic logic of its location, but because it was a convenient compromise between North and South. It never developed into a center of commerce or manufacturing. Nor was it meant to be a fortress. Instead, it was designed for one specific purpose: to house the business of governance.

I certainly hope that the authority with which Kotkin writes, and the seemingly self-evident nature of the assertion, will not mislead readers into thinking that what he is saying is actually true.

Yes, it's true that Washington was a backwater for many decades after its founding, and that, as a planned city, it is congenitally different from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc. But it most definitely came into being because of "the economic logic of its location."

There's a book about this topic, called "The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West," which, though tragically ignored by the reading public, and now residing primarily in boxes in my basement, establishes at great length, with abundant footnotes and all that kind of crap, exactly why Mr. Washington desired a Potomac capital, why he thought its geography would help make it an economic powerhouse, and why Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, and various other highly influential folks enthusiastically shared Washington's vision.

[Indeed, the more I think about it, the more it's clear that it's a really good book, and it's a miracle that its failure to sell more copies has not inspired greater resentment on my part or resulted in more extensive psychic damage.]

George Washington knew the geography of the young nation better than just about anyone, having actually explored it, and surveyed it, and supervised a revolution across its varied landscapes. He and Jefferson corresponded extensively about the providential geography of the Potomac. As the owner of 50,000-plus acres of western lands -- mostly in the Ohio territory -- Washington had a personal interest in seeing the "West" settled. He also feared that the West would become a breakaway republic, with the Appalachians serving as a kind of wall that would confine the United States to the Eastern seaboard. Some kind of commercial connection between West and East would help bind the interests of the people living on opposite sides of the mountains. And Washington and Jefferson had their provincial interests: Both hoped to see Virginia capture the western trade. The New Yorkers had their own route mapped out via the Hudson and the Mohawk valley. The Pennsylvanians had notions about the Susquehanna and its tributaries serving as a western highway. But Washington and Jefferson corresponded extensively about what they perceived to be the Potomac's advantages as a commercial route to and from the West -- for as they surveyed the maps, they saw the Potomac as a western river, slicing across the mountain ranges (see Jefferson's famous description of the water gap in the Blue Ridge).

This was not a passing notion for these men, and for Washington in particular it was an obsession, his major hobby, the inspiration for his canal-building, and a critical part of his long-term plan to extract some money from his vast western land holdings.

Yes, there was a "compromise" that put the capital on the Potomac (the Assumption/Residency debate, allegedly resolved over a wine-soaked dinner betwixt Jefferson and Hamilton, is too convoluted to explore in this tiny space), but keep in mind that the Residency Act of 1790 did not pinpoint the location of the capital but rather declared that it would be somewhere along a 100-mile stretch of the Potomac between the Eastern Branch (now called the Anacostia River) and Conococheague Creek, with George Washington in effect given the right to say where, precisely. And Washington exercised that right, after first galavanting up and down the Potomac and visiting various hamlets almost as far north as Pennsylvania.

He ultimately selected the site for quite specific geographical reasons. Just east of Georgetown, on the far side of Rock Creek, was a kind of bowl, rimmed by an escarpment that ran from Georgetown to the Eastern Branch and then continued on the far side of that river. It was covered with pasture and forest and some marsh here and there. To Washington, it was a fine place for a federal town.

Here's a passage from my book:

Washington's philosophy about the Potomac had been consistent all along. Great cities should be built at the fall line, that reef of rocks where the Piedmont gives way to the Coastal Plain, and where cargo has to change from one form of transportation to another (from a deep-water ship to a canoe or flatboat or wagon, for example). As he looked at the land around Georgetown, he saw the perfect nexus of transportation: a place where the Potomac, slashing in from the northwest, met the Post Road, bumping along from the northeast. There was practically a giant 'X' on the map.

Kotkin writes: "Nor was it meant to be a fortress." But in fact, George Mason, a proponent of the site (he owned the island we now called Roosevelt Island, as I recall), told Jefferson and Madison (who did their own exploration, complete with canoeing on the river up to Little Falls), that one of the virtues of the location was its "defensibility, as derived from the high & commanding hills around it" (TJ to GW, 17 September 1790, The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 6, p. 463).

Kotkin writes: "it was designed for one specific purpose: to house the business of governance." The founding generation could never have imagined that the business of governance would ever fill the vast spaces laid out by L'Enfant. The city that L'Enfant designed, with Washington's blessing, was most definitely supposed to be a commercial city, an industrial city, a metropolis in command of the western trade via the Potomac River. But the Hudson route proved the better connection to the West, particularly after the construction of the Erie Canal, and New York boomed. Later, the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad meant that the Potomac route to the West juiced the economy of Baltimore rather than Washington. And so it wasn't until after the Civil War, and particularly after the New Deal and WW2, that Washington became a great city.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 26, 2009; 7:54 AM ET
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What's that music playing at the end of your kit, Joel?

Very moving.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, Joel, *EYE* bought a copy of The Grand Idea, so it's not a complete failure.

Doesn't it just drive you crazy to read somebody who hasn't done the research screw up the history completely? I so understand the motivation behind this kit.

And I think The Grand Idea is a well-researched, well-written history.

So there!

Posted by: slyness | January 26, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Who *is* this ignorant Kotkin jerk? I say we take him out back and beat the snot out of him.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

On a somewhat more serious level, I wonder if the Post Outlook section will print a retraction saying essential that a lot of what Kotkin said was full of crap.

Joel's is taking this well, and humorously, but I'm betting that at some subterranean level he's seriously pi$$ed, and I don't blame him one iota. If it was me I'd have smoke coming out my ears.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ah, found that Dodge of a violinist tucked in a corner playing "Sympathy" already.

Now to find these &^%*%& accordions next.

Musical tinnitis ain't no way to start Monday.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Nor is historical ignorance, of course. Sorry, dude. You'd think those whelps knew how to check facts along with their grammar and such.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

No, not pist at all, Mudge...Glad to have a chance to dig out a copy of my book and re-live the glory.

Posted by: joelache | January 26, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

This is a great rebuttal based on a great book. I actually own two copies. One of which I actually paid cash money for.

Even those rare reviewers who felt that "The Grand Idea" might not by itself render all other scholarship on Washington moot highlight the extensive, nay heroically obsessive, amount of research that went into this book.

Besides being a fascinating tale in and of itself, Joel's book also highlights the fact that motivations are sometimes subtle. When it is not clear why someone, historical or otherwise, makes a certain choice, the temptation to impose an outside narrative can be overwhelming. Yet, even if such narratives "make sense," this doesn't make them true.

Yet, if repeated enough, such narratives morph into conventional wisdom. And conventional wisdom, especially in historical matters, is hard to overcome.

So kudos to Mr. Achenbach for helping to overcome one such myth. He deserves our timeless gratitude.

And, perhaps of more salient value, at least a mild bump in his Amazon rating.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I've been eying Jon Latimer's "1812: War With America," which could have been the end of Washington. Wonder if there might have been a small archaeological park at the site of the Capitol and a few old buildings still in use, like Octagon House. Maybe houses around Lafayette Park, minus a White House. On the other hand, the old White House neighborhood might have been enveloped by growing Georgetown.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 26, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I know the feeling. Indeed my life is marked by mistakes others have made due solely to their failure simply to ask me for my opinion or assistance.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 26, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey guess what, I just got my copy of The Grand Idea on Saturday from Amazon. In the early part of last week I had a wild hair to treat myself since I've been working like a dog for the last several weeks. My treat was JA's book and the 7th season of the X-files. In a fit of decadence, I laid around for a couple of hours yesterday and watched a couple of episodes. I'll start the book as soon as I'm done with my current read, "Run" by Ann Patchett.

Posted by: Kim1 | January 26, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I was going to suggest giving "The Grand Idea" as a gift but I see by RD's 10:50 that it's already been done. Unless, of course, he swiped his unpurchased copy.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 26, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"it seems about to emerge as Pyongyang on the Potomac, the undisputed center of national power and influence..."

This guy is so full of s---.

"But already the dukes of Wall Street and Detroit have submitted their papers to Washington for vassalage. Soon many other industries, from high-tech to agriculture and energy, will become subject to a Kremlin full of special czars. Even the most haughty boyar may have to genuflect to official orthodoxy on everything from social equity to sanctioned science."

A kremlin full of special czars. Jeez.

"A financial collapse driven by unrestrained private excess -- falling, ironically, on the supposedly anti-Washington Republicans' watch -- seems to have transformed federal government cooking into the new comfort food."

Comfort food. Sheesh.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, you're a better man than I am if you aren't a bitt nettled, Joel.

Over the past week or so, I've been e-mailing a boatbuilder from Ohio, who had some questions about Elco boats. He happened to mention he also ran across my name from somebody who heard me lecture on the subject about 20 years ago. This guy told the boatbuilder that WoodenBoat magazine had told him I died in 1994.

(As it happened, I've written two articles and three book reviews for WoodenBoat SINCE 1994, and they know I'm alive. They sent me checks and everything.)

The guy who died in 1994 was the fellow I got all my Elco stuff from; I'm the one who wrote up his obituary and had it printed in National Fisherman and a few other mags.

So it appears the rumors of my death, etc., etc.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Whew, Mudge, you had me worried there for a minute! I'm so glad rumors of your death are exaggerated.

TBG left early this morning to pick up SonofG and drive home. After two weeks, she's really looking forward to her own bed. I think the two of them had a great time. What a wonderful thing to do, take a trip with your kid in a convertible.

Posted by: slyness | January 26, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know Mudge, let's give this all some thought... wouldn't you be due a refund from M&S for all the BPH goodies? Dead men don't do happy hours.

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

Good afternoon, all.

Perhaps one reason Washington is ignored so often is because so many people don't know exactly where it is, or where the land (such as it is, or was) on which Our Nation's Capital was placed, came from.

Comically perhaps, I note that neither Kotkin's piece or Joel's Kit use the word "Maryland."

[arching my right eyebrow here]

Virginia - on which not a single inch of our Nation's Capital borders other than that shared with the Potomac River - is mentioned several times.

Someone please call me and wake me up when Virginia completes the Nation's Capital by handing over the planned lands to the Federal Government. C'mon Virginians, stand up and do your part - stop acting like your state's too good to actually follow up on the plan after two centuries of Denial and Complete the Nation's Capital, Now!

Or, stop acting like DC is in Virginia, for George's sake.

It ain't.



Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, it would explain a lot about my sex life.

(OK, I just couldn't resist that.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

My 12:33 referred to Weed's 12:12 and my 11:42. It had nothing to do with bc's excellent point about Maryland and Virginia.

At least, I don't think so.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Virginia: mother of 8 presidents, 2 vice-presidents, a few secretary of states, yadda yadda.

Maryland: home of jousting.

You were saying, bc?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm... It's been awhile since the last BPH. Any suggestions? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that's not fair, Wilbrod. We had the first "real" president of the U.S. (John Hanson, q.v.), numerous signers of the Declaration, a boatload of crabs, and...uh...Spiro Agnew.

OK, you win.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

(But it *is* in Merlin, yanno.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I suggest we have one.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Before we start negotiating a BPH date, any of you out-of-towners gonna be here in Warshington over the next couple weeks or a month, such that we should schedule the BPH around your visit? Speak up!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, our flag, while yawningly dull, doesn't induce instant migraines, coulrophobia, or retching.

Heck, Maryland is a fun state to bash, always has been.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you know why you haven't seen a whole lot of Presidents from Maryland (name of state may be a give away...)?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

My suggestion on a BPH:

Not on a Tuesday, please.

Wilbrod, with that mother comment - are you suggesting that the District of Columbia was born of some sort of immaculate conception?

And what was Spiro Agnew, chopped liver?


Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I like our flag! Coolest one of the 50! Way!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Well now wait a minute--Virgina did indeed provide part of the 10 mile square. Then through some kind of back-door real estate deal they got it back. Apparently ceding all of the Potomac River up to the Virginia shore to Maryland was part of the deal. Hence the "oyster wars", and gambling houses on piers in the river accessed from the Virginia shore.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 26, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Dag, Mudge beat me to Agnew.


Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, after watching Spiro take envelopes filled with something while dining in Sabatino's, your guess is as good as mine.

I would guess that Spiro came by his resignation honestly.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 26, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm an out-of-towner now, and while I don't have any specific plans to come into the city anytime soon, I'd be happy to do so if a BPH were to be scheduled for a Monday night (babysitter night).

Posted by: LostInThought | January 26, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

bc, yellojkt, you might want to sit down...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut - "Commonwealth," indeed.


Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Washington was born of no state. It was from Maryland's womb untim'ly ripped, bc.

Virginia did donate land too-- Alexandria-- but D.C. returned it due to economic conflicts and poor oversight in February 1846. Virginia accepted it mostly because it added pro-slavery votes.

If D.C. hadn't returned that land, perhaps the Civil War would have been different, and D.C. would have forced actual voting representation sooner, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I had had hope, 'mudge, that another DC trip was imminent, now it looks at though it won't be in February. So go ahead, BPH to your hearts' content, while I undergo the agonies of envy and deprivation.

I'll be fine. Really.

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

LiT - there are several Monday Nights coming up quite soon (aside from tonight)...

Scottynuke, thanks for mentioning Gaiman's award. I've been meaning to read "Graveyard," now I have motivation to move it closer to the Top 'o the Stack.

I suppose purchasing it at some point would help.


Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Listen, hon, you don't wanna go saying nothing bad about Maryland. It's got just about everything (except natural lakes). Besides, it's the Free State. I like that kind of defiance. We nod our head, say, yeah, you got a point, I see what you're saying, uh-huh, and then do what we want. Gotta love it.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 26, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

If Virginia is so damn hot,how come us here in the west decided to leave ole virginia and form our own state? I still hold my alligance to Maryland and all that it is. good point about the jousting though Wilbrod.

Oh and if anyone want to know what the shape of the state of West Virginia is.Make your right hand into a fist,extend your thumb to the right and put up your middle finger. Though it is not a good idea for you do this towards anyone such as the boss,your spouse or the guy on the Harley that just passed you doing 80. That is unless the deserve it of course.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 26, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh Yoki, I suffer the agonies of envy and deprivation EVERY TIME there's a BPH. I still have grand dreams of attending one someday.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse


*tres désolé*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

At least Ottawa became the capital in an honest, proper way. Queen Vic pinned her jewelled hat pin through Ottawa's location on a map shown to her.
Apparently Ottawa was the only town approximately mid-point between the 2 cities claiming the right to be the Capital, Montreal and Kinsgton.

Lucky she didn't slipped and picked L'Orignal. Having a capital named in French for a large ugly ruminant would have been embarrassing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 26, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Awwww, that's sweet, Curmudgeon.


Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I was irritated when Kotkin right away went for the erudite crowd by using "centrifugal", except that what he meant was its antonym, "centripetal."

What's the deal about bc and yellojkt regarding Gaiman's success with the Newberry Award?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 26, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I completely understand, Aloha. Give me lots of notice when you are able to make a BPH and I'll come too, would love to meet you in person. Or we could do that in Hawaii!

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Having a capital named ...for a large ugly ruminant would have been embarrassing."

Good thing we Marylands picked Annapolis instead of Elkton.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I didn't want yello or bc to faint upon reading of Gaiman's good fortune, SciTim. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I think it's because one of them likes Gaiman and the other had a roommate who was one.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the capital at Brookeville, MD.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 26, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Ah Yoki, the day I make it to a DC BPH, I hope you'll come too! Of course, if y'all want to come out here, we could certainly make a BPH right here on the beach. No problem!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading Neil since he was writing "Sandman." I'm not sure I think anything he could do would make make me faint, with the possible exception of working with Pratchett on a sequel to "Good Omens."

And Wilbrod - uh-huh, you've got a good point.


Posted by: -bc- | January 26, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

A BLH. Boodle Luau Hour

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

BBLH - Boodle Beach Luau Hour

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse


Boodle Beach Bash Luau Hour

Posted by: omnigood | January 26, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

More likely a Boodle Lanai Lokowanakalookaiilawmaolohaakalawika.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm fluent in faux Hawaiian.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: omnigood | January 26, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mudge. I suspect a few faux Hawaiians would say you need to wash that mouth out-- with heavy-duty bleach.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Did I spell it wrong?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I've never been to Hawaii, but I do like to wear Hawaiian shirts. Also I had many Hawaiian friends in college. I was their token mainlander. There was another expression, "The H word" that they used for me, but I was never really convinced it wasn't vulgar so I shan't repeat it here out of deference to delicate sensibilities.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I believe it's about as vulgar as "The G word"

Posted by: omnigood | January 26, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

RD, you are, alas, a haole. AND pupule.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 26, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

You know, there are people with way-cool jobs all over this town:

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I believe the term haole actually means foreigner. By that definition, all of us who are not of Hawaiian blood are haole. Today, however, it has taken to mean white people. I don't use it in a derogatory manner, but I know many people do.

Pupule, on the other hand...just kidding!

I just read about the lady who won that million dollar house in Maryland. Who said good things don't happen in Maryland?!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Nice faux Hawaiian Mudge. I'd hate to have that translated and find out what it really means.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

RD - new word of the day, snarge. I will file that one away for future reference.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

MotP - I never felt within the context of a group of college guys that the term was derogatory. But, you know, definitions change and this was 25 years ago now.

There was an extensive list of Hawaiian terms that my friends used. At one point I knew a lot of them, but, having little call, they have all evaporated from my poor brain.

Which is probably just as well as many referred to concepts that were not entirely of a proper nature

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Isn't "snarge" a great term? (This is from the article I linked to.) And you never know when it might come in useful at a sophisticated cocktail party.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

RD - like many terms, it's all in the way it's said. The word itself is innocent and descriptive. Spoken with anger or animosity, it has a very different meaning.

Having known many college aged Hawaii guys in my lifetime, I can just imagine the words they taught you.

When we have a Boodle Lanai Hour, you must wear your Hawaiian shirt RD!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

That would have to be QUITE a sophisticated cocktail party.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I imagine there'd be poi and poke on the pupu platter at the BBLH, yes?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 26, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hello to all. Classes back in action, so I am snowed under but in some good and reasonable drifts.

I tasted poi once. A fellow graduate student, from Hawaii, and also a new parent, shared poi with us. perfect first baby food.

Love JA's book on George Washington; overlooked gem. Try Amazon or stand in line at the WaPo offices. Amazon takes credit; the WaPo office option might earn stalker-status.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 26, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Poke? G-word? Pupu?

*oh so very lost...*

Speaking of "Lost," anybody see that season opener? Can ya explain it to me?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Snarge" is an excellent word. But did you happen to read the name of the Feather Identification Lab's director? A fine aptonym.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 26, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course Scotty! Can't have a luau without that stuff. We can even have spam musubi. Anthony Bourdain loves the stuff.

Poke (po-kay) - chunks of raw fish like sashimi, mixed with seaweed, onions, Hawaiian salt, soy sauce, and other seasonings.

Pupu - appetizers (can't spell the french word for that)

G-word - I have no idea what that is either.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

That you, MotP.

I'm pretty sure he wasn't referring to the spot of the same name.

Definition of "snarge," please?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think John Prine included that word in his "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian" song, Mudge. Maybe that was in a different mix. Or maybe some mix of German, Welsh, and Hawaiian meaning "the joy at realizing that not everyone can be on the beach getting drunk like Dylan Thomas" or some such.

Posted by: -pj- | January 26, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yuck. This just in from the gummit e-mail system for the Warshington (which is in Maryland) vicinity:

"NWS has issued both a Winter Weather Advisory and a Winter Storm Watch. There are two waves of precipitation entering the D.C area. The Winter Weather Advisory, effective from 4AM Tues (tomorrow) morning to 6PM Tues, is for the first wave. 2-3" of snow is expected, with no mixed precip. The Winter Storm Watch is for the second wave, from Tues night to Wed. afternoon. This is expected to be a wintry mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain. The precise percentage and quantity of each type of precipitation will depend heavily on temperatures at that time. Please take proper precautions."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If I recall the NPR story correctly, "snarge" means "ground-up bird." Ground up by a jet engine, that is.


Posted by: KathrynAPage | January 26, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, KAP. BTW, meant to tell you the other day, I already *do* have a dressage hat. Doesn't fit me, of course. But it is real/authentic.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 26, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh you lucky dogs you, Wintry Mix. No chance of that here, it's too effing cold.
A nice hors d'oeuvre of snarge-on-toast anyone?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 26, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the dreaded wintry mix.

They're talking about snow here tomorrow morning, then turning to rain later. I have to head out to my doctor's office in the afternoon - we shall see. The parking lot is on the shady side of a very steep hill - I hate it without snow or ice.

Posted by: seasea | January 26, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I do have a dorky hat. It's one of those foam/neoprene/thinsulate liners for hard hats. It's authentic, I've hanged around looking like a dork with it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 26, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

SD, you're so kind to offer, but I think I'll pass.

We have a link on the front page, but since it's just Achenbach and not a controversial hede, I don't think we'll have to open the bunker.

Mudge, do you want us to open it anyway, as a place of refuge from the weather? We may have to postpone tomorrow's flights.

Posted by: slyness | January 26, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

We had a rousing meeting today about the mechanics of the impending layoff process (how they figure out who, etc). Woo hoo! There are advantages to being over 55, regarding certain benefits, which was nice to hear.

And I can't help but think that Joel missed a fine opportunity to get rid of his basement-full of books. Seems like some of those inauguration visitors would have happily snapped up a book. (OK, maybe he would've had to slap an Obama sticker on the cover, or something.)

Posted by: seasea | January 26, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. We are rejoicing in a wintry mix here. While the precipitation appears to have abated slightly (at least out here in the sticks) the roads are unpleasant and likely to get worse, and the sidewalks are dangerous. I ended up out and about teaching, running errands, briefly stopping by the office to pick up work, before retrieving the Boy. The school system, reacting to future events, already cancelled school for tomorrow. Cowards.

I too own a copy of that fine volume "The Grand Idea" etc. I'm glad Joel set things straight in the Kit. The Truth is Out There.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I didn't think so either Mudge, but I didn't want to ask. About the spot, that is.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

As an afficienado of revolutionary history, I bought "The Grand Idea" when it first came out. This was before I knew JA was a columnist, or blogista, or whatever he does to make a living. Anyway, I read it as a history and was very impressed with the scholarship butressing a unique perspective, and with the quality of the story telling. The first part, when we are taken along with GW after the war to survey his western holdings, read like a fine novel. Makes me wonder if there are any other histories to come from our host.

Posted by: gwollberg | January 26, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day! Or BWAP, as it were.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

No-one appreciates bubble wrap more than I. Keeps me amused for hours.

I am surprised at your news of a dressage hat, 'mudge. We knew that KAP, Raysmom and I all have one, but this is the first I've heard of yours. How very nice.

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna stick with my tiara, but your dressage hats are just lovely.

This is so us. Has nobody linked to it before?

Posted by: -dbG- | January 26, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed gwolberg's description of Joel's work and approach:

"... the scholarship butressing a unique perspective, and with the quality of the story telling."

We used to just call it warped.

(is that too close to wrap?)

Posted by: russianthistle | January 26, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I *so* want to live in a place with a name like that. I still aspire to live in Savage, MD, after I saw a news report years ago of "the governor confronting Savage residents." Man, *I* wanna be a Savage resident.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 26, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

dbG-I do believe someone pointed out England's many versions of Mianus over the weekend.

Have to order _The Grand Idea_ from Borders before they go under and take my gift cards with them.

Back in the way frozen north and once again my office is barely above freezing. Temps rarely rising into positive double digits is getting just a tad tedious. In January '06 St. Paul had 22 days above freezing, not one so far this year and the week long forecast is making it look like a shut out is very likely.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 26, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Progress report, please, if you will.

Tim, that's great.

I'm just waiting for TBG to chime in. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | January 26, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Is Borders really about to go under? I'm having trouble keeping track...I suppose I should check out the local store before it's gone. I always feel guilty when this happens, like I didn't buy enough books and CD's. We did our part to prop up the auto industry by buying a new-to-us car over the weekend...figured we should take advantage of the buyer's market for once.

Posted by: seasea | January 26, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

seasea-Borders sacked their CEO early this month and is closing 200 of their Waldenbooks stores. Of the chains, I've been a Borders fan because they've just happened to be in convenient locations for the frostfam.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 26, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I love the word "sacked." You rock, frosti.

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG should be close to home by now. I'm gonna worry till she checks in.

Good for you, seasea! What did you purchase? Mr. T and the Elderdottir have made noises about taking advantage of the buyers market in vehicles, but neither has gone any further than that.

Frosti, I've never been very impressed with Waldenbooks, but then my taste in books does not even begin converge with what's currently popular. Me, I read Joel and Jane Austen. The last best seller on my list was Harry Potter.

Posted by: slyness | January 26, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Candorville has been having a black history month dream series centering on the inauguration.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

We got a Passat - I don't even know the model - kind of a wagon-like thing. Looks clean, low mileage. Mr seasea was able to bring them down to what he thought was a reasonable price. We had a 1992 Toyota wagon that was going to need some major work, so we're hoping it's as reliable as that was (we've had good luck with used Toyotas.)

Posted by: seasea | January 26, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear. Oh deary me. I was just on a web site that had an ad for new hair products made by Axe! As if the cologne weren't bad enough! Can you image the overwhelming aroma in middle and high-school classrooms if this catches on?

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Only if every girl around lacks a nose, Yoki.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, my son has yet to discover Axe. I hope he never does.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I just thank my stars that my young ladies are old enough that they bring home rather more grown-up young men. The houseful-of-teenaged-boys stage is over.

MotP, if he does, I suggest you cut off his allowance forthwith.

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

We have forbidden the Boy Axe. I tell him it does not make him smell good, I don't care what his friends say.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, if one has to smell like a farm implement, I suppose it is better to smell like an axe than a hoe.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 26, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

And for this alone you deserve the Parent of the Year award.

Posted by: Yoki | January 26, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Oboy oboy oboy oboy *rubbing hands with glee*

Karl Rove has been subpoened by the House Judiciary Committee (John Conyers).

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 26, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - Continuing the theme of domestic beautification - I have concluded that home improvement is like a malevolent expanding swarm of rising expectations. As soon as I walked in I was informed that we needed to run to Home Depot after dinner to check out the carpeting tiles. (not to be confused with ceiling tiles, which I have been known to do...)

At least they are self adhesive. Now I just need to locate my snap chalk line.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 26, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh come now Yoki, Aloha, Ivansmom, Axe smells fine, if used sparingly. Very sparingly. Young People Who Lack Anything Resembling Good Judgment just haven't figured out moderation. And using axe requires a lot of moderation. Which is why I am glad that Axe wasn't a big thing here until after I finished high school.

'Mudge you have my full agreement.

Posted by: Kerric | January 26, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I was once called a gringo in my own neighborhood, and not in a nice way (just the one time).

A friend of mine, visiting Costa Rica was constantly called gringa, but they always meant it a nice way. She had a charm about her.

Posted by: omnigood | January 26, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Moderation isn't part of a teen's cognitive reality. I know it wasn't for me when I was one.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 26, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

When judging how much is enough I usually like to follow Dolly Parton's lead "Less is not more, more is more." Except when it comes to scents, then I can't stand any and the older I get the more sensitive I've become. Can't wear any perfume at all and am happy not to be in classrooms full of adolescents any more.

Feel a migraine coming on (cold induced) but just might have caught it in time to watch 24. Don't know how I got hooked on this season as I haven't seen it since the first season. Perhaps it's just that I'm ready to look at is as fiction again.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 26, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I also own a copy of The Grand Idea for which I paid a non-trivial fraction of full retail for. And I fully intend to read it someday.

I also own The Graveyard Story and may get to it before Grand Idea. Sorry, Joel. And S'nuke either remembered that I had gotten Gaiman's autograph a few years back or was observant enough to notice that I have an entire subsection of my blog devoted to him:

My sister attended high school in Hawaii and said that haole is either a term of endearment or a racial slur, depending on the context.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 26, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

RD, Ivansdad and I were inundated with home improvement projects when we moved - which all had to be done in order to make the place livable. We quickly dubbed the house the Malignant Agent of Chaos, given the vigorous, random and unceasing nature of its demands. Then, of course, we had the Boy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 26, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

It appears that the New York Times' loss is the Post's gain, if that is the right word for it. I can't find any evidence on, but the blogosphere is abuzz with the rumor that Bill Kristol will be writing a monthly column for the Op/Ed page and contributing to one of the political blogs.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | January 26, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

No...say it ain't so...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 26, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Guess it would just be wishful thinking that the 'Post" might be referring to the New York Post?

Posted by: dmd2 | January 26, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Taro for poi is grown in paddies along a stream in Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua'i. Birds like the traditional agricultural landscape. Taro plants grow with abandon in Florida, so it would be possible to make poi here.

Is Axe that bad? I'm having trouble with scented Tide laundry detergent.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 26, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he's going to take over the Douala Tit-bits section of Cameroon's "The Post."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 26, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

G word: Gwailo?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 26, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought the g word was "goy", myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to be moderate enough with some scents and Axe is one of them.

I tried some of the fancy new Tide Scented detergents a while ago. I washed my bedding in it along with some towels. We always keep the bedroom door closed, and it took 3 days till I could go in and not be overwhelmed by the scent. Too much. The towels made it to the bottom of the towel pile in the closet and I came across them a long time after. By then, the scent had softened into something much more pleasing.

Just don't wash clothes in it. People look at you funny. When you try to explain its not cologne, that it was the Vanilla Lavender detergent, well they just keep looking at you funny.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 26, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear! Rule of thumb: if it's vanilla, it'll be way too strong.

I'm personally prone to vanillism from even low doses of vanilla scents, so I refuse to have any in the house. Vanilla belongs in ice cream, nowhere else.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 26, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Speaking of scents (and some would say I have none, others would say I have too much) the mentions of Axe and vanilla made me think of scent products for deer hunting, like Buck Bomb:

"The Buck Bomb is a revolutionary scent dispersal system that helps both novice and expert hunters achieve their hunting goals. Our easy to use, cost-effective solution provides unequaled dispersion and broadcast range of five different scents: Doe Estrus, Dominant Buck, Young Buck, Doe P and Vanilla Curiosity Scent."

Spray cans of animal urine - how great is that?

More from the Buck Bomb site:
"Do you only have one scent? No, we offer 5 whitetail scents, 4 are pure urines:
1. Doe in Estrus – harvested during the estrus cycle and best used during pre-rut and rut.
2. Dominant Buck – harvested from 3 ½ + year old bucks and best used during rut and pre-rut to encourage dominant behavior from mature bucks.
3. Doe P – harvested from young does and fawns and best used during early bow season and post-rut as a natural cover scent and attractant to both sexes.
4. Young Buck – harvested from young spikes and forks and best used during early bow season and post-rut to attract larger bucks to investigate an intruder in their territory. Will attract does as well.
5. Vanilla Curiosity (non-urine) – great all around scent that peaks the natural curiosity of deer and provides excellent cover scent."

Your choice of urines *or* vanilla.
Is this a great country, or what?

Seriously - in this time of financial difficulties, people are eating a lot of venison this year and I understand it completely. If Buck Bombs help people feed their kids, I'm all for it.

See, I'm blindly supporting *any and every* aerosol urine dispersal system (I'm still undecided about unneutered male cats and those that used the Men's room at the old 'Vous at College Park, MD, for example.)


Posted by: -bc- | January 27, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

"See, I'm NOT blindly supporting *any and every* aerosol urine dispersal system (I'm still undecided about unneutered male cats and those that used the Men's room at the old 'Vous at College Park, MD, for example.)."

One word makes a big difference, doesn't it?

Oy, me.


Posted by: -bc- | January 27, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I have been reliably informed that I should never, never sniff deer urine, even on a bet.

I now pass this information on.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I love vanilla! I used to buy vanilla cologne when I still used such a thing - I use hand lotion with vanilla, vanilla-scented potpourri. I like vanilla chai tea, vanilla lattes, vanilla coke, vanilla ice cream, of course. My favorite scent. Lavendar is nice, too, maybe not so much in laundry detergent - I'll stay away from that.

Posted by: seasea | January 27, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

The only thing my family can handle to wash our clothes is Tide with bleach, powder. Anything else drives us mad. Same for Downey, must be the original scent of forget it. As for vanilla, I love it in food, that's about it.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 27, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Oppenheimer had a dog named Buddy.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 27, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

IIRC Kamal Attaturk had an entire menagerie called Abdul.

Sorry, Scotty, it's late.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 27, 2009 4:19 AM | Report abuse

No, boko, it's very early. HoCo Schools has already thrown in the towel on the day and it's just a dusting so far. Alas, I am not the one employed by the public education sector.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

You're right, yello, it is early. That's what I get for standing on my head.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 27, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Snf. SNFFF. HMPH - it smells like HAI KARATE in the cockpit... Oh yeah, this crate used to be Mudge's...

Breaker ON
Panel lights ON
Fuel line OPEN
Fuel pump ON

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 27, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Just a quick drive by. I have the g-girl, so we have to get ready for school.

I did not see anything about the President's interview last night on the Arab station on the front page of the Post. It was interesting. And no one ask me, but I think it's okay to market adults, but kids don't really have a say about their lives, it's up to their parents. Not crazy about the dolls. I watched the governor from Illnois making the rounds yesterday. I keep thinking this guy is on meds, but he's not taking them or they need "tweaking".

Yoki, Slyness, Mudge, Scotty, Martooni, and everyone, have a great day. *waving*

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 27, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

"Spikes and forks"????

'Morning, Boodle. Count me among the vanilla lovers.

My son has some Axe, I think, but his use of it seems to be judicious. It is my daughter who stinks up the house and my car with her...whatever it is.

"Hai Karate"? No, that's not mine, Jumper. Either English Leather or Canoe, back in the day, or an occasional spritz of my father's Aqua Velva. Nowadays all I can afford is generic green aftershave from Walgreen's, "Eau de Pharmacie."

Nothing meteorological here yet, but it is hanging over us like impending doom.

Breaker ON
Panel lights ON
Fuel line OPEN
Fuel pump ON
Pull the chocks!

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 27, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Here it is, Cassandra.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 27, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

My newest blog is now out of beta. It is called No Duh News and is devoted to stories of the obvious.

I want to tip my hat to Scotty for the inspiration for today's post, even if it took me two days to get to it.

The behind the scenes explanation of its raisin d'eter is here:

I'm not going to blatantly link-wh0re to it as much as my other blogs (note that I didn't say never), so you are on your own to keep up. But feel free to tip me off to potential post items either by e-mail or in the boodle. Or I'll just steal them like I have been doing.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! I see everybody is up early this morning. I hope bad weather isn't terribly disruptive for our metro DC contingent. We're merely overcast at the moment.

I'm looking forward to rain, the vehicle is a total mess and needs to be rinsed off. When the rain is over, I'll take it for a real wash.

Posted by: slyness | January 27, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Here is Politico reporting some very kind words about Bill Kristol from WaPo's Fred Hiatt.

I would have thought that Chuckie K filled the crazy neo-con quota.

My eulogy for Kristol Meth's passing from the pages of the Gray Lady:

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | January 27, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra, all. It is a fine day chez Yoki with a chinook blowing so hard there is a wind warning on the federal weather site. Overnight the temperature has gone from -25 to 0C, very nice.

Cassandra, you made me laugh with your comment about Blago. The man is mad, I tell you.

I have four back-to-back meetings this morning. This is enough to drive me screaming from the building.

Have a great day, everyone.

Posted by: Yoki | January 27, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm just a no-duh kinda guy... Or was I an inspiration by being a "duh" kinda guy?

*putting on thinking cap*

And I be seein' plenty o' snow this morning, so I'z a happy guy anyway.

My aftershave of choice is "Stypic Pencil," apparently. *checking local stores for razor sales*

I see Ruth Marcus doesn't really get the whole foofaraw over the Ty dolls. *shrug*

And thanks to whoever left the M&Ms in the cockpit for this morning's Dawn Patrol.

*zooming-off-for-another-cuppa-caffeine-while-observing-I-can-barely-see-the-ground-from-my-elevated-point-of-view-and-that's-a-GOOD-thing Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 27, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Finally, eight years of Al Gore over...

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 27, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Well stated argument by Rachel Maddow about the Republican appeasement efforts on the Economic Stimulus package.

Guest on the segment is David Serota.

As my personal income plummeted, the one thing that I hoped for were more tax cuts for the very well off. Thanks! Barrack.

Whatever it takes to make those very wealthy folks happy, please do. I am really thinking that, at some point in the next couple of years, they are going to feel so gosh darn good about the economy and its future to pull money from offshore to invest in a venture.

(While we little people are creating work and paying each other low wages, just to build a business)

It's the small struggling entrepreneur who is in the majority. When will we learn that starting with THAT group would be the "wise" way to go?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 27, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I love perfumes and scents. In fact, I'm wearing perfume now, and the smell of it is sending me over the edge. As I get older, I can hardly tolerate perfumes and candles. I think it's the asthma, and may be an allergy. Still love it. And not going down without a fight. Everything is a fight these days, and I must acknowledge, I'm losing badly.

Mudge, thanks for the link.

I read the interview on television last night as he gave it. It seems this President is about the business of being President. He most certainly has his work cut out for him. I think what I wanted to see was what the critics had to say about the interview. I do believe we have to take the "whole" approach to the region as the President stated last night. The folks in the Middle East are all related, even though they don't act like it, and I think we forget that sometimes. Plus a little respect wouldn't hurt one bit. If that doesn't work, we can always go back to doing it the way we've been doing it, I guess.

Time for my meds. I'll bet you knew that, right?

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 27, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

The airfield is covered with snow. I was going to take the 4 engine Ilya Murometz for an extended patrol. Meh.

Good Kit, JA.

People are ignoring most books. There are lots of unhappy authors. My publisher tells me it's the economy.


Posted by: Braguine | January 27, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Am I missing some sort of snark in Robinson's column, or is he choosing to gloss over the allegation of conspiracy to commit a crime, which does not require the actual crime to be committed? *RCA Victor dog sort of head tilt*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 27, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Yoki-kindly remember to send the moderating temps along with the wind as it heads this way. -23F here this morning with a wind chill warning. I'm not going anywhere for a few hours. Thanks for the shout out yesterday.

Gaiman's Newbery is all over the MN news as he is a "local" author. Local if you consider the western Wisconsin sort-of exurbs of the Twin Cities local. The DC equivalent would be claiming Front Royal I suppose. It sounds like a good read though, and kiddie lit is about right for my attention span these days. Here's his blog entry from yesterday about learning he won-

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 27, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Loved the discussion of "Axe." When I was in high school I wore "Jovan Sex Appeal."

Didn't much work.

Fortunately, my son has had no interest in such things. His tolerance for strong smells is low. He comes by this honestly as his mother is also easily annoyed by heavy scents. The magic phrase for all products in our house is "fragrance-free." Therefore, my personal grooming goal in life is to smell like nothing at all.

Which, one must admit, is a worthwhile objective.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

A plea for some boodle wisdom.

I'm trying to draft a letter from Our Fair City gummint, to residents, inviting them to a forum on programs to help with home weatherization and repairs. All but a few of our home owners would qualify for assistance, and frankly the local contractors need the work as much as the disabled/seniors/low income folks need insulation or more efficient furnaces.

Would it be better to send it out with or without a personal salutation. Am I worrying too much that the recipient will feel singled out, or not worried enough that not addressing someone by name will create form letter antipathy?

Any suggestions for a compelling argument for those who don't want to take "charity?" Save the planet, save some jobs, save future increases in heating costs by reducing demand?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 27, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I see yello's gonna steal the Drudge siteclick stats. Got your work cut out for you.

New kit

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 27, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

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