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Who Speaks for Failure?

[Yesterday I stopped by the Slate offices, which are really nice, indeed palatial when compared to the A-blog's sad little cubicle in the Post newsroom. Michael Newman has a view of Connecticut Avenue, and TWO WINDOWS. But Jack Shafer really has it made, with a corner office so vast he needs a golf cart to get from his desk to his bookshelf. His office is so big it has its own microclimate. Seagulls can be seen riding the updrafts near the ceiling. Filled with envy, I left the place vowing that, before my 50th birthday, I will have my own office, my own Shaferesque realm. Even if it turns out to be a large cardboard box parked next to a dumpster.]

Here's an excerpt of something I typed up for Slate:

By J.A.

Some possible new slogans for the Obama administration:

"Yes, we might."

"The buck stops in my general proximity."

"Failure is not an option, except when it can be sold as a mere strategic retreat."

I recognize that such slogans might be a hard sell, since optimism, success, believing in oneself, defying the cynics, having gobs of that "hope" stuff, and general indefatigability are the hallmarks of the Obama Age. But someone's got to take a stand on behalf of defatigability. Enough with the optimism! Who speaks for failure?

Anyone with a thimble of brains knows that despair is an essential element of a healthy emotional armature. There's nothing sadder than someone who gives in to hopelessness in situations where that should have been the starting point. It rankles me that, somewhere along the line, words like quitter and loser and hysteric started to sound like pejoratives. You call it defeatism; I call it managing expectations.

Yes, there was a lot of fanfare and pomp and hoohaw a week ago when the new president stood on the West Terrace of the Capitol, looking out at a crowd of, what, about 1.8 million people, not counting the 100,000 or so purple-ticket holders trapped in the Third Street Tunnel. And, yes, he's young, handsome, smart, hip, and has a gorgeous family and a reliable jumper from beyond the arc. No question, he is now the most powerful person on the planet. But he can't let this go to his head.

Click here to keep reading.


Meanwhile, from the folks down the hall from Slate, here's a great story from Dayo Olopade of The Root.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 28, 2009; 8:13 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: John Updike
Next: The Obama Stimulus


Rooting for tubers?

All the more important, then, to plan for homegrown tomatoes this summer.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

LiT, good point about no "normal" women in John Irving. I'd argue few men in his books are wholly normal either.

That's why I enjoy him. I like how he does internal identity vs external identity imposed by the world.

Not all of us fit "this height to ride" the roller-coaster of normality.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Cardinals can't speak for failure this year...

How 'bout the 'Skins?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I hate tubers. Guess I need to develop a green thumb and a stockpile of seeds that aren't tubers.

Posted by: Sara54 | January 28, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

How long will he honeymoon last? Is 100 days a good benchmark or just a completely arbitrary and meaningless figure?

Is author Bernard Goldberg right when he claims that the mainstream media has a slobbering love affiar with Obama?

Or are the beancounters right to look at the $850 billion spending/stimulus plan to ensure that the 650-page document contains expenditures that are truly stimulative and not pork-laden?

Or is Dowd right that Obama should be acting less New Testament and more Old Testament?

Is it really good news today for Wall Street today that Wells Fargo lost only $3 billion in the last quarter and Wachovia only $11 billion?

Or is Howard Kurtz right when he fears that newspapers were more engaged in the marketing of Obama than the reporting about Obama?

How about realism (rather than despair) as an essential element of a healthy emotional armature?

Posted by: laloomis | January 28, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

How about we deactivate the question mark key on your keyboard?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

This is part of an email I received this morning that presages a conference call I will be forced to join:

"In definition of target processes, we'd like to leverage any existing SOPs for managing this issue, with increased focus on limited inventoried product. Can you advise to the use case set that current exists for inventory management in the contemporary software?

"We are going to shoot for target process definition meeting this Friday at 12pm EST which of course we will include you on."

I solicit your collective sympathy. (*insert Scotty-style sigh here*)

Posted by: kbertocci | January 28, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, definitely shoot that meeting, kbert.

Several times.

With Anaesti-Darts, of course.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I go to lunch mid-boodle and when I come back everybody has moved to the new kit.

I want a full barbecue report from TBG. When I was in Durham on business just a few weeks back I got taken to Bullock which was very good family style BBQ, but not the small little open pit places that are so good to find.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not quite ready to define hallmarks of the Obama Age (like the Ice Age (pick one) or the Space Age or the Age of Aquarius) quite yet, myself.

If you'd have suggested the hallmarks of the GW Bush Age a week or so after his Inauguration, you'd have probably had very different hallmarks after his first term, and very much so after his second (Sort of like the Paleolithic Age (with a CT Event in there) followed by the Dark Ages).

It's too soon for me to tell for one of the hallmarks of the Obama Age might be - empty pockets and a smile, for example.


Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Is the new Versailles-esque office before or after you get covered parking?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

You have my sympathy kbert - Oh My.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 28, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have never experienced a failed to fail failure.

Posted by: Braguine | January 28, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, while normal is relative, it doesn't even visit my house. (The good news for the kids is that non-traditional childhoods tend to make the most interesting adults. The bad news is if they one day lament their upbringing instead of basking in it, there's the potential for some pretty hefty shrink bills.)

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Who speaks for failure? Any sports fans raised in Philly or Chicago (we wrote the book on it), or football Cardinals fans (until a week or two ago), and some Mets and Tampa Bay Bucs fans during the early years.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, bc, omni -- speaking of failure...I'm gonna take the Cards. And root for the Steelers. What are the chances my team fails?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a very funny piece. Personally, I like the idea of defining economic success as no more than keeping alive long enough to reproduce. You know, the Darwinian approach. Because, let's face it. Everything else is just superfluous.

Loomis - those are interesting questions. But why not try answering some? You know, putting your own ideas out there backed up with reason. I think this would be far more useful.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I think JA must be an honorary Minnesotan.

Who speaks for me, I am failure?
I’m worthy of aspiring to
through your darkest days
my mere existence
is just a warning
don’t get your hopes up.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Cubicals stimulate creative angst. All the great artists and writers worked in cubicals.

Few people know this.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

RIP Billy Powell... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The Age of Obama? I think he's 47.

I like to keep things simple. Occham's razor, and all that.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Sweet, Joel: "he's young, handsome, smart, hip, and has a gorgeous family and a reliable jumper from beyond the arc." Thanks for the shoutout.

Funny. After retiring from the boodle yesterday, I kept thinking about the questions that arose about writing opposite-sex characters and also thought of submitting James Tiptree as a humorous example. And Tim beat me to it. I'll explain now, rather than sooner: Alice Sheldon wrote under that pseudonym. A great SF author by the way. I was so sad when she died. This also led me to ponder why I am probably unqualified to comment on Updike. I don't like realism in fiction; or more properly I don't like fiction about lives I am familiar with. It's the strange and exotic I crave. Historical fiction qualifies if it's set in an era I want to learn about. Science fiction, certainly. Some war, as I have not gone to war. Some horror and serial-killer stuff, too: I said strange. Humorous fiction. So I loved Thomas Berger's early work. I will read Stephen King when I'm reading for trivial reasons. I liked John D. McDonald: fanciful private detectives are not in my sphere of acquaintance. So, since much of this fiction is ghettoized, that's where I proudly read.
But I read a lot of non-fiction too. It's odd to me how many people will rarely touch it. I just picked up Seven Pillars of Wisdom, waiting all these years for the right time. Now. Memoir is often good. I still worship Thurber.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

To me, what Joel is talking about is embracing the inevitability of hardship. Instead of pretending that all is just *peachy* in the world, accepting the notion that, as in football and love, pain is pretty much guaranteed. And this is a wise outlook.

Some time ago I read about Victorian London, where life was just a little above that Darwinian threshold I defines above. Yet people managed to be happy. At least in moments when the lice were resting.

Carl Hoffman, who just completed his "Lunatic Express" journey, also blogged about how joyful life was in some of the poorer parts of the world despite being on the razor's edge of destitution.

Both of these lead me to embrace the notion that only only people who know security truly feel fear. Only people who expect the world to be easy get bent out of shape when it turns out not to be.

So, in a way, Joel is presenting an optimistic, if even joyful, outlook on life. I don't see it as cynical at all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, if you don't care for realism, then try Updike's "The Centaur." Or one of his ten (!!) volumes of non-fiction.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I don't think the media are in a slobbering love affair with Obama. However, they are now covering a President whose actions and reactions are based on logic and reason rather than rote phrases and reflex. It certainly is possible to disagree with him, find his policies wanting, identify error, and so forth. It's just that it requires actual thinking on each issue because that's what Obama is doing -- thinking on each issue, considering compromise, balancing desirable vs. undesirable outcomes. The strategy is 100% commendable, and I think that's what you presently see in the press. Strategy has to be converted into tactical decisions, however, which are inherently imperfect and subject to disagreement. Now that he is the actual President, I expect you will see more criticism on that basis.

I have no idea what to make of your citation of Dowd regarding New Testament vs. Old Testament. Without context, it is an uninterpretable metaphor.

My impression is that a stimulus package is nothing but pork. The only question regards how evenly and fairly the pork is distributed. Virginia ham here and there, or Underwood deviled ham spread in a smooth and even layer?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps Bacon Explosions all around...

*getting more napkins* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Jumper; I, too, worship tubers.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Just listened to a Robert Reich (former labor sec'y) speech over the noon hour (hey, things are hopping Chez Frostbitten). A couple things struck me. First he recounts attending the inauguration and when he shakes hands with President Obama the only thing he can think to say is "Thank God."

Second is his point that the economic stimulus can be portrayed as pork by people who think private enterprise is the only engine of prosperity. However, there are some things that are in the realm of public good that no private enterprise will ever do because the benefits are spread over the entire economy-like infrastructure improvements.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

So Tim, this so-called stimulus package is just a Vast Culinary Conspiracy against Jews and Muslims?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

and the non-porketarian vegetarians, of course.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you all.

JA, that envy will get you down, every time. Sounds like you may have one window (or maybe none) instead of two. Now, a corner office with lots of windows IS something to strive for, but not necessarily LARGE SPACE, which will just fill up with more STUFF. If you can aspire to a small office with great windows and views, maybe you can shake off the negative envy influence.

Well, I know you are grateful to read the boodle comments from your new kit, particularly if you read some of the comments posted after your piece on Slate. They weren't directed at you, of course, but at Slate. Negativity is Legions...seems to me.

As for Obama, he will receive challenges galore as he goes about his business. It's going to be a while before I bother to read any headline that I perceive to contain negativity. It's the privilege of aging, in my case, not necessarily wisdom, just aging....

Posted by: VintageLady | January 28, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Once again RD and I are thinking along the same lines. I don't advocate embracing failure, but I don't think Joel is either. I have always believed that the worst can happen to anyone, at any time, for reasons entirely beyond our control: and "worst" can be defined any number of ways. My response to what I view as a matter of fact is to plan as best I can my response to the worst, then let it go and live my life. As RD says, we who live in security have the opportunity to be ruled by fear. I choose not to take that opportunity. Or as the late Error Flynn constantly reminded us, "Plan for Error."

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

About those window offices. I have comforted myself during the long days of winter with the happy realization that the window offices of my colleagues and superiors are Very Cold this time of year.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I did listen to an entertaining interview rebroadcast today on Terry Gross's show with Updike.

Yet I fear this:

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

People who cannot accept failure, cannot recognize when they are on the road to it, or learn from it when they get there. People who see success, particularly short-term and immediate, as the only worthy goal don't see when victory comes at such a cost it might as well be failure. To paraphrase Sun Tzu anyway.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Madoff. I got into an argument with my neighbor yesterday about a brainstorm I had. I said that Madoff's early payouts should be recoverable from those early investors who got the money back with interest. I liken it to a bank robber who "gives" a wad of cash to a bystander. The bystander is not going to be allowed to just keep it. Imagine!

Well, neighbor goes off on me, saying it's impossible to get that money back. So I ask the boodle, why is that so impossible? Aren't records recoverable?

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, the officials are indeed trying to get back some of the proceeds from the early "winners."

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama's coming to Ottawa Feb 19th. W came so late for a visit (shortly after his re-election in 2004) he had to endure a forest of raised digits on his way to Parliament. Passive-agressive people don't like to be ignored by their neighbours.
Let's just hope the weather will be a tad better than today for his visit. Some department have started to let their people go at 14:00 because of the snow that has been falling non-stop since 06:30.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Jumper-It is not impossible. There are records and since money is fungible recipients of Madoff payouts can't say "I already spent it." The ill gotten gains would merely be taken from present assets, should there be enough to cover the amount received from the scheme.

Having said that, much of the "loss" incurred by Madoff victims turns out to be just the loss of fictitious profits. The bilked investors would only be entitled to recovery of real money they invested.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

sd-our 40% chance of snow has been flying horizontally past my window for 2 hours now. But, we have +11 on the thermometer so I'm not going to complain, much, yet.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Snow looks like it has stopped here SD - started around midnight - with luck in a couple hours should stop in your area. As I started typing noticed it is still snowing - very fine snow as opposed to the big fluffy flakes a while ago.

Notice to CDA - GTA has snow :-)

SD you must admit one of Bush's greatest lines ever was thanking those Ottawa citizens who waved at him with all five fingers.

My thoughts on failure - it is only failure if you do not learn from the experience - in this I have much practise and using that rational am quite proud! hehehe

Posted by: dmd2 | January 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

If you fail, try again and fail better.

(plagiarized from somewhere)

Posted by: Braguine | January 28, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

To avoid any Super Bowl failures, her is a video for the "right" wine selections for Super Bowl foods.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 28, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

From Samuel Beckett in Worstward Ho, brag: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night...

But recession? Yep.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I've been debating about posting this, but my brain and I gotta move on to other things, so I'm clicking submit.

Linda, your seven questions were all over the place....they'd be better organized 2-6-4-1-5-3-7. While at times I think you'd write some kick-@ss stuff if you had a decent editor to keep you focused and help you to tone down some of your (I hope unintential) swipes, you generally do a halfway decent job in construction. You're off your game. Way off. Seriously, is everything all right? Not like you.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Just curious... if a long-haired leaping gnome were to roadtrip-it to DC and biatch-slap the bejeezus out of every pompous/posturing Republican in the House and Senate he could find, would he need bail money?

Just a hypothetical question, of course.

Posted by: martooni | January 28, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Those were interesting wine recommendations, dmd. I note in particular his recommendation for the best wine to go with chicken wings: a wine from Canada, of all places (who'd a thunk?), called Baco Noir, from Ontario. (Lakeview Cellars' Baco Noir Reserve)

Best with chili: a red zinfandel
Best with guacamole and corn chips: a beaujolais
Best with Pringles (?!?): Alberino
Best with pizza: a Spanish wine called Barbera.
Best overall wine to go with an sort of smorgasboard or buffet mixture: a riesling (yeah!!!! my fav!)

Beer mavens, of course, are cowering on the floor. Too bad.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Is there also a Spanish wine called Hanna, one wonders?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, you'd need bail money, martooni. But I don't see that as insurmountable. As Richard Nixon once said, we could [raise]it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

One does wonder, doesn't one?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid to look, 'Mudge. They might have some interesting mascots.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Best with shrimp cocktail: Sauvignon Blanc (preferably New Zealand)
Best with pasta: Sangiovese
Best with burgers: a nice big Australian Shiraz
Best with spicy Thai: Riesling (you there, Mudge?)
Best with hot dogs: beer

Posted by: Raysmom | January 28, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

There are about 128 wineries within 40 minutes of me, this area has a lot of Reislings, but are expanding out, due to the microclimate caused by the Lake and the escarpment it is a good wine region. Absolute specialty (and creator?) of Ice Wines - not to my liking but popular, and very pricey.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 28, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Book World is disappearing. This just totally sucks.

Posted by: -pj- | January 28, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

1. kb, I translate the email you mentioned at 12:55 as “We’d like to continue doing what we’re doing, but less so. Anybody know what we’re currently doing?”

2. Jumper, I found some of Seven Pillars interesting, skimmed other parts. The most fascinating part was the biographical sketch of Lawrence and his bizarre life post-war.

3. That Ontario wine is actually Bacon Noir, and goes well with log sized rolls of hamburger, bacon and sausage.

Posted by: engelmann | January 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Hot girl dogs on beach
Slobbering chases of love
those best autumn days...



Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Excellent power shopping today. The blizzard kept the sane people away.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

///[Reich] recounts attending the inauguration and when he shakes hands with President Obama the only thing he can think to say is "Thank God." ///

Did Obama say "You're welcome."?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse


Interesting revelation there. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Book World getting killed off? Jeez. That's the only reason I buy the Sunday dead tree Post. I understand the advertising problem, but still...

At least it appears Yardley's coming back with a weekly column (not necessarily book-related); I've been asking for this for several years.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 28, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Taro (Colocasia esculenta) has spread along Florida's roadside ditches and represents a vast and valuable resource when we begin foraging for tubers (or corms, in this case). Poi, everywhere!

The woods are full of feral hogs, so there's pork everywhere, too.

I think the taro plants became abundant after Joel's youth and, beside, poi isn't part of Gainesville culture, no more than eastern grey squirrels have been part of English cuisine, at least until lately.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 28, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I like reading Yardley (and Dirda) in general, but I really enjoy Yardley's "Second Reading" columns where he looks again at books he read or reviewed long ago to see how they hold up. Those are fun columns.

Posted by: -pj- | January 28, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dave - I think you ought to get a poi pounder and start making some of that sticky stuff. You can market it as nature's best baby food (best non-allergenic nutrient rich food for babies). With the whole organic-good-for-you-but-tastes-like-cardboard-food movement happening these days, I think it would be a big seller. Of course, there's always kulolo, taro chips or poi sweetbread. Or, sell it as wallpaper paste.

Me, I put sugar in mine.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The book world will be merged into Style and Outlook to some extent, Mudge. And there's always the full-color Sunday comics, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Bacon noir, engelmann, very funny. The perfect Super Bowl wine indeed.

I only hope the Hanna is anywhere near as tasty as the Barbera. The two served at the same meal could start a nice theme. Accompanying foodstuff, y'all?

The sun shone brightly all day and the ice/snow is beginning to melt, but it is still packed on the two sloping roadways here at the home place. I confirmed yesterday that 48 is not too old to slide down an icy hill on cardboard. Today We used hard foam sleds, which work much better. I figured, I can sit and work at the computer tonight but I could only sled with the kids (supervising, that's what I was doing) this afternoon.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Please look carefully
at this wanted poster of a
identity thief.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I picked up a nice Spanish sherry called Alear's Fino that, according to the label, hails from Montilla in the heart of what was once Andalusía where Muslim alchemists first discovered the secrets of sherry ( Not, as commonly believed,in Bristol).
I reckon it will make fine snow shovelling fuel and the bottle fits nicely in a parka pocket.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse


That's hilarious!

Posted by: Sara54 | January 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC Not, as commonly belived, by a giant invisible rabbit in Bristol.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

At least I should get the name of Alvear's Fino right.
I'll be able to tell you more when I've finished the label. It's long bugger.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The right food to go with Hanna Barbera wine, Ivansmom? Isn't it obvious? Yoki Pear.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 28, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Huckleberry Poundcake

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Queso?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Fricassee Rabbit Ricochet

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Scooby doo snickerdoodles?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what the food is, so long as it comes in a pickinick basket.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

If I put sugar in my wallpaper paste it go right to my hips.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Cow and chicken
Banana splits adventure

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I have come across the released version of an audio interview with a couple of scientists known to me, on the subject of astrobiology:

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Hot Buffalosaurus wings?

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

In their infinite wisdom the local public school district has decided that school will be cancelled tomorrow. I know that side roads are still bad and I should be grateful that the district administrators are keenly aware of the district's liability -- oops, the safety of our children. G*****n cowards.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

We have two hours late tomorrow because some of the sidewalks might still be icy. Complete over-reaction. If we were a two-income household I can see how this would get to be a serious disruption. As it is, I just fear the cutting words of our President. Because he is right, and I have complained about this for years.

Some of the Chicago Flintiness would indeed come in handy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention Canadian-type hardiness. We scoff at you, we really do.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Flintiness is good, and being prepared better.

With that in mind, how about President Obama start a public works program to add air condtionining to schools *now* rather that waiting for the temperatures to rise via Global Warming. Speaking of rising, it might not be a bad idea to start building new schools on pilings/stilts about 2 meters off the ground rather than waiting for the warming sea levels to swamp them where they are now. If we start soon and use some of President Obama's public works money supplimented by lots of bake sales over the next 40 years or so, we might get things up where they need to be before The Bad Stuff happens.

Feel free to call this a Higher Education Program if you'd like.

As far as what to serve with that Hanna Barbera wine, I'm thinking a nice Smurf pate.


Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Food pills.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 28, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

As you should, Yoki. I, for one, know my limitations. I will stay indoors and absolutely not get behind the wheel of a vehicle in snow or ice. Thank heavens I was only a passenger when my minivan slid down an icy hill. Scared me popeyed.

On the other hand, I know and can handle hurricanes and August humidity.

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

DNA_girl! The Jetsons! You totally so totally rawk, squirt!

One of us old-types should have referenced Tennessee Tuxedo!

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you are a better woman than I, as I cannot deal with or stand Southern August heat and humidity. If you can, you rawk. You rawk anyway, of course, but now you rawk twicewise.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

This winter weather is really a godsend. Instead of having normal destructive behaviour like gliding the intertube for p0rn, watching debilitating TV shows or drinking myself to a stupor I had two sessions of invigorating outdoors activity. 1.5 hours of blowing and shoveling before dinner and a bonus 30 minutes just now after the bleeping plow filled the bleeping driveway with a bleeping additional 10 tons of snow. And it snows, still.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I was messing around with the Ouija Bored again this evening, and seem to have been visited by the Ghost of Americas Past (who looks a lot like Donald Rumsefeld, I'm told).

He asked me to tell you that not a single American is losing sleep over being scoffed at by Canadians.

And he suggested if it makes y'all feel better about yourselves, feel free.

Then he started cackling and said that I should fire the Ouija board back up when you guys develop a Q-bomb or something.

I think that guy was a real jerk.


Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

And don't you feel just all engerized and in need of an aspirin?

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

If the money materializes, I hope to wallpaper my refurbished kitchen. Home-made poi might save a couple of dollars.

I like the way Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge protects a substantial acreage of taro because birds like the taro-patch habitat. Quite a bit different from the bird forest NWR on the Big Island, where the whole idea is to conserve forest.

We have (or at least my yard has) another wallpaper-paste source. Coonties. A century ago, vast numbers of the little cycads were being dug up so starch could be extracted from their underground stems. The stuff was apparently in huge demand during the great 1918 flu epidemic--one of the few foods that victims could tolerate.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 28, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

bc, I am truly laughing out loud and embarrassing myself!

Hahahahaha! You are amazing and awfully clever.

Often, when American reporters interview eminent (to Canadians) Canadians, the first question the subject asks is, "What do the American's think of us?"

"We don't think of you."


Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I've hit the robaxacet already Yoki, a combination of the bus hitting a curb hidden by the snow really hard and the shoveling. What a bleeping day. Good night all.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

'Night shriek

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

SD, you sound like one man in sore need of repatriation. Or at least a move to Vancouver.

Good night, and don't let the frost bite.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki. Some things are just in our blood, yanno? August in the south is one of mine.

Wake Forest beat Duke, such a good thing. Now if Carolina can beat Florida State, Mr. T will be a happy man. I'm not going to stay up, though.

G'night everybody!

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki.

I agree with you somewhat - I'm amazingly awful.

Hmmm. I wonder when I'll be visited by the Ghosts of Americas Present and Americas Future? [I'm guessing that last will be wearing swim trunks, a big floppy hat with a windmill built into it to generate electrical power, and SPF 1000 lotion. And he'll probably hit me up for $100 to buy a McSoylent Happy Meal.]


Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki or Wilbrod, y'all still up? I have a dog question: If a dog is shipped from Canada to the States, or vice versa, is quarantine SOP?

Posted by: -jack- | January 28, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

jack, I'm here

No. The dog needs a 'health' passport. Must have been certified healthy by a board-certified vet within ten days of shipment; must have been vaccinated for rabies and parvovirus within ten days of shipment, and must be accompanied by a responsible human. (that last one is my rule, not in the regs)

I last accompanied a large dog by air from Seattle to Kelowna in 1999, so my information may be out of date, but I doubt it. The wheels of gov't grind slowly.

You can check the web sites of the customs and immigration departments of both countries, and also agriculture ministries (departments). If you need somebody to check on current Canadian federal regulations re: transport of live animals, you know my email.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yoki. You confirmed my hunch. Our Dane girl is still in dire straits. The vet diagnosed pyrometrirosis, did a section, and cleared an impacted lower GI. The diagnosis was a bit off; she found that the ovaries had cysts and felt like clearing the GI would bring back her appetite, but she hasn't turned the corner. Pretty much time to make a decision. *sigh*

Posted by: -jack- | January 28, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry jack. I know this exactly.

But do you know, I am serene about these last days. This is the last kind thing we do for our good friends. Just, we don't do it until we know that they have many more bad days than good and have no prospect of better days.

I writing to you off the Boodle, right now.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

ghosts of America's past...

Posted by: -jack- | January 28, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

...and of the future...

Posted by: -jack- | January 28, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. BC, I don't think I picked Baldwin because of the "ecthinc(sp) thing", I think it was just a case of picking books. I had War and Peace in that collection too. Of course, during this time frame, there weren't that many African American writers to chose from, so that could have played a part. And I picked War and Peace because it was so thick. I thought I would hate the book, but actually enjoyed reading it. After reading Baldwin the first time, I kept reading. I think that's why I love the library so, one can like put a blindfold on and just pick up a book, any book. Who knows what one will find, and even better, really, really, love it. I don't get a chance to read now like I did earlier in my life. I miss that.

As for failure and President Obama, I think he has considered the down side, and that probably has pushed him to do "fairyland". His considerations would be serious, because the downside is serious and fatal. I suspect I don't need to voice them. And as the doom and gloom person here, when faced with those kinds of considerations, hope and optimism are like old friends. A comfort, and there when needed.

Mudge, Yoki, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone, good, good, morning.*waving*

There's a CNN morning anchor that does not say President Obama. She either says the President or Mr. Obama. Can anyone guess who this person is?

I got a chance yesterday to listen to a second grader read a book to me. It was, Go, Dog, Go, and I don't remember the author. It was a pretty big book for a second grader, and he read the whole thing. He was so proud. And I was too. It was just the highlight of my day. That and Bible study, good day.

Have a great day, folks. It rained here yesterday, and was cloudy all day. It even got kind of warm. A little chilly this morning. I have the heat off. I'm so ready to start back walking. I have a few more pills to swallow and I should be finished with the new medications then.

Time for coffee.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot....

I'm in the process of trying to get together a diabetes forum for my community, and I need all the help I can get. First of all, because I don't know what I'm doing. I welcome your suggestions, comments, input, whatever. Just email me. Diabetes is a nightmare. I just want to bring in as much information as I can, and this would include new treatments, everything that would help a person to take control and live a better life. I need help with every aspect of this project, so whatever you can contribute in the form of information or even how to set this thing up, I would so appreciate it.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 5:24 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Cassandra, I can't do it right now, but later today I'll e-mail you some stuff.

Not much going on today on the WaPo home page. WimpySnowgate hasn't developed much traction, and what little it has is mixed. If I get a vote, I'm with Obama. The way this town behaves when the sun goes behind a cloud is nuts. A bit unfortunately, yesterday was a bad example, because there was a fair amount of ice, which is different from snow. But this town doesn't know about snow, either, and Obama's general objection is correct. If we'd had just two inchesd of snow yesterday, it still would have been the same: armageddon and everything closed. He was much more right than wrong.

I'm quite frankly surprised how obstructionist the GOP has been, and that their vote was 100-percent party line. O has bent over backwards to be bipartisan and accommodating, but pretty soon that's going to come to an end if he doesn't see any progress. I'm really, really disappointed in a handful of the "reasonable" GOP, like Snow, Spector, Dukakis, etc. If they don't peel off, there's going to be hell to pay. I don't think we've ever seen what Obama looks like when he gets mad, but I have a hunch it won't be pretty.

OK, gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 29, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

I went and had some fun with the inauguration mega-picture.

That thing is a really fun time sink.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Oh man was I crabby last night, Sorry about that.
Much better this morning but I must fetch more coffee. The drive to work was a perilous two-hands-on-the-wheel affair so I didn't get my full dose. Big honking snow plows and snowblowers mixed with numerous incompetent idiots makes for an interesting ride.
Ah Jack, those big dogs break your heart, do they?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

You know, Mudge, I was thinking the same thing about the President. And I keep wondering if the Repubs that voted the way they did have any folks back home that are suffering or is everybody in their neck of the woods rich. I mean do they just represent folks that have no need of anything? I couldn't believe that vote. Of course, if memory is correct, and you history buff would probably know the answer to this one, didn't a single Republican vote for Social Security either?

Didn't we have eight years of tax cuts, and what Republicans thought would work, and it turned into what we have now? So where is the logic in all that? And is it still called "pork" when everybody gets some or is it just "pork" when a few get it? I don't know about where you folks live, but here, it's getting real tight. The governor is asking for cuts in everything, and what that means in human terms is that people will be left out, whether in food, medicines, health care, you name it, it all goes on the table. And where do these folks go? When one is scraping the bottom, any and all behaviour is perceived as up, and that truly will not be the case in every action.

I remember some guy made the comment that when Bush became President, he(Bush) was going to kill all the old people. I laughed at the time. That comment haunts me now.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone. It sure was quiet overnight, did everybody go to bed early because of the weather? Not that I would blame anyone for doing that...

Looking clear in the east, and 36 right now. I hope today will be a better day, weather-wise, for all of us.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' everybody...

Little Bean's on a two hour delay for school (thank goodness not another whole day off -- I love her, but she drives me nuts).

Cassandra... it's not just bad where you live. I bought a paper yesterday and took a look at the classifieds. There were four -- count'em, four -- jobs posted and one was for an exotic dancer. (If only my butt didn't look so big in a thong). The local GM plant just laid off two shifts of workers. Retailers big and small are shutting their doors. Even the bars are having trouble -- people are staying home to drink because you can't smoke in the bars anymore and you can get a bottle of hootch for what they charge for two shots.

Ohio never really recovered from the mills shutting down, so we're a little more vulnerable than most states when the guano hits the fan. And who do we have in Washington? Boehner (which I pronounce Boner, because it's more fitting). That full-of-himself jackass leading the obstructionist Republicans better stay the hell out of *my* district or he's gonna find himself facing an angry mob. With pitchforks and everything.

I think I better go get some coffee and maybe take a walk. Just thinking of the mess we're in (and seeing iceholes like Boehner do all they can to make it worse) makes my blood boil. Especially when I've got bill collectors up my butt, business stinks, cash flow isn't, and it's freakin' cold outside to boot.


(deep breath)

Peace out (and good luck)...

Posted by: martooni | January 29, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! The runway was clear and the hangar was basically defrosted, so it was a good Dawn Patrol, particularly with the clear sky and current stunning sunrise.

Cassandra, it's not a sign of disrespect if a journalist calls a sitting president "Mr.," it's an accepted convention.

jack, I echo what Yoki said about doing one last kindness for our furry friends, as difficult as it is. My thoughts are with you.

*off-for-yet-another-dose-of-caffeine-but-this-time-without-the-ice-skating-moves Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra, 'mudge, all.

Cassandra, I'm going to email you a couple of things I have found useful in managing Himself's diabetes, and some links too. That will be later today.

Sorry to hear that the weather in the east is still playing merry hall with commutes and moods.

We are still in a Chinook, and I am keeping my fingers crossed it sticks around through the weekend, as moving at -25 is no fun.

Have a good day, everyone.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Time to roll down the window and ask the locals for directions...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning.
I spent a 1/2 hour clearing the plow deposits from the end of the driveway and am now ready for a day of porn, booze, and bad TV.
Enjoy your day.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 29, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Jack, I’m sorry about your Great Dane. I still miss #2’s GD, she had such a calm (and slightly neurotic) personality, unlike the new not-GD who is cute but nuts.

Icier here than it’s been in a long time. I almost fell last night in our driveway when we went to dancing lessons. Four miles down the road we hit a warm pocket of air, it was in the 50’s and getting from the car to the hall meant walking thru’ deep puddles. The joys of winter.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 29, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse


I don't think an anchor has the moxey to be out and out disrepectful of a sitting President regardless of who he is. Critical within limits. I'm just saying this anchor does not say, President Obama. She find alternatives. Perhaps it's nothing, perhaps it's everything. I'm from the South. Forgive me.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Oboy... Might have to extend my vacation next month...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki, and thanks, Mudge.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 29, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you big-time Mudge on both the weather wimpiness and, more importantly Obama's rebuffed olive branch.

HNot only did Obama bend over backwards to hold serious discussions with the Republicans, he pulled out the contraception clause specifically to mollify criticism from the right. And by doing so he risked alienating some of his base. This was, politically, a moderately risky thing for him to do. Yet, despite all this, not a single Republican broke ranks.

Clearly, this shows that when he reaches out across the aisle he can expect nothing but a septic bite.

Now, I don't know if none of the Republicans refused to budge because of political necessity, philosophical opposition, or sheer orneriness. But no one can say Obama didn't try.

But here's the thing. He's a smart character. I think he will keep on trying, keep on getting rebuffed, and then use political jujitsu to make that work for him.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

You know, I kinda like thinking in Celsius like those Canadian-type people - and much of the civilized world - do. T

hat the dividing line between positive and negative is the freezing point of water makes heuristic sense. And once you keep in mind that a Celsius degree is about twice as large as a Fahrenheit, it all falls into place.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

We are just a little too far east to have a real good old fashioned chinook, but we sure are feeling the effects of it. We are covered by a fine brown snow melt schmootz, with just a hint of fresh snow overlay. It ought to be *really* clean and nice today.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 29, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Let me circle back to the kit for a second.

I've been thinking a lot more about the freedom that comes when one is able to abandon fear. It really is the fundamental trade-off of life isn't it?

I mean, as a middle-aged person I look at painfully young people and wonder why they do not leap out of bed each morning delighting in their youth. But then I remember, to be young is scary.

There are so many things that can go wrong. Maybe you won't get into college. Maybe you won't get a decent job. Maybe you won't fall in love. You have so much uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes fear.

We older folks don't have that same uncertainty. And while we might get wispy at what once was, and what might never be, there are a lot more knowns in our lives. And this reduced uncertainty should, ideally, reduce fear.

Well, at least that's how it's supposed to work.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I first noticed the haphazard way the media uses titles during the Clinton Administration..anchors just calling him Bill Clinton. Technically, though, it's Mr. President when speaking to him, and The President (and not President Obama) when referring to him. (This goes way back to Geo Washington, who thought that the use of an honorific would be counterproductive to our type of government.) Further, technically, when an elected official retires (or is voted out of office) they retain the Senator Soandso is still Senator Soandso long after he's left the office (but they lose 'The Honorable' when no longer in office). When it comes to Presidents, we call them former President Suchandsuch.

So even though the anchors might be sounding disrespectful, technically, they're right.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 29, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I noted a definite mudge-like tone of umbrage in this editorial defending Washingtonians against Obama's accusations of weather weenie-ism.

Down in Florida we had a saying for Yankees that came down and shared their wisdom with the locals:
"We don't give a d@mn how you did it up North."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... if you saw some of the re-frozen-slush roads the school buses around here have to traverse, you'd understand the two-hour delay. Remember that the HS kids are getting on the bus before 6:30 a.m. in some areas... that's not nearly enough time for the roads to re-slush. It's not all neatly plowed suburban landscape around here, believe it or not.

OK.. sorry for the mini-rant...

Glad to be back in my normal life again and that means back at my wonderful job, too. But I've missed the Achenblog the most, I think... wow... who would have thunk I could go two weeks without it?

Did someone mention a BPH? LiT can make it on Mondays, eh... how about this coming up Monday? A Groundhog Day BPH?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 29, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I've got time for just a quick drive by howdie-do; I'm still working on a stupid project that has my boss's hair on fire. It's all 'bout some really glamorous stuff like crunching budget numbers. (Raysmom would love it; me, not so much.) I really do miss you guys. Anyway, an interesting event:

The local NBC TV station, WRC, has a contest each winter, where folks can guess the date and time of the first official inch of snow that falls in DC. The winner gets a cheesey snow shovel painted gold, and the station's weatherman, Bob Ryan, comes to his house to shovel his sidewalk. I picked my birthday, which was yesterday.

You guessed it, I won. Here is the link to the story. I hasten to add that what I said was scripted by channel 4. It's not my style to talk like that, much less on camera.

I'll be back when the craziness at work subsides.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | January 29, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Don, that's great! Congrats! Got a knack for lottery numbers too?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 29, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

RD... I understand your point -- got a 22 year old stepson here who simply refuses to do *anything* productive, let alone get a job (he's never late for dinner, though).

But I would argue that "certainty" does not come with middle age or even old age. The only certainty in my middle-aged life is uncertainty. Consider my mother-in-law, now in her 70's, who had to take on a part-time job because her investments tanked. Her house is paid for, but property taxes and utilities are wiping her out. Instead of kicking back and enjoying a well-deserved retirement, she's cleaning toilets for invalids so she can make ends meet.

Posted by: martooni | January 29, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Boodlers!
Slid all over the runway for Dawn Patrol takeoff.

Monday BPH sounds good to me.

Posted by: Braguine | January 29, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Good for you, Don--I made an exception and watched the video at work (didn't get fired, either). **I saw you on TV!** Bask in that limelight while it lasts.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 29, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, Miss Manners explained the etiquette about presidential honorifics in her column last week. As usual, hers is the final and definitive word:

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Don, that is great. Now that you have this fancynew shovel, do you do custom work?

TBG, I hear you. While it is easy for those of us who live with snow that is light and dry, we get enough wet stuff to know what the obstacles are when you have a foot of frozen wet slush, and people with vehicles and tires not meant for winter driving. It is nothing to scoff at. (We Canadians will continue to scoff at Snow in Toronto, though. But only in metro Toronto ;)

There is a push on here to make it illegal to let your car idle to warm up. It would be almost un-enforceable, because some days you just must. What needs to happen is the wholesale mockery of those who auto start their cars when its warmer than -20C.

The other thing the province is trying to do is to make it mandatory to have winter tires on your vehicle rather than all season tires. This one makes a lot better sense. Better traction means less accidents.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 29, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Don, and good morning boodle.

We had our first above 0 night in I don't know how long and are headed to a high of 34 on Saturday. I would rejoice, but 34 this time of year just turns everything to a gloopy mess. Kids who could cross country ski or otherwise play outside in 15 degree weather without tracking in a bit of snow are turned into mud monsters. These mud monsters must be rabid because they get building custodians frothing at the mouth pretty quickly. Then the warm spell is over and we have to live with deep frozen ruts that suck vehicles into turn lanes the drivers hadn't anticipated.

Better run, we're sorting robot parts today in anticipation of spring programs. On a day like today I'd like to have underlings, or a spare child or two with OCD. (My best part sorter ever was a girl in 6th grade whose parents divorced while she was off her meds. Make lemonade I say.)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The other day I was wondering about who said "President Obama" and noticed that the boodle used that phrase a a fair amount prior to the inauguration. More than others, I think. Let's turn on the Wayback Machine!

greenwithenvy | October 25, 2008 10:47 AM
slyness | September 4, 2008 6:26 PM
greenwithenvy | July 1, 2008 9:56 PM
Dave of the Coonties | June 30, 2008
Joel Achenbach June 4, 2008

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Economist Paul Krugman saw it coming--the Republican vote on the stimulus bill--in his Jan. 4 column:

News reports say that Democrats hope to pass an economic plan with broad bipartisan support. Good luck with that.

In reality, the political posturing has already started, with Republican leaders setting up roadblocks to stimulus legislation while posing as the champions of careful Congressional deliberation —

This writer at the NYT looks at both the pluses and minuses of the stimulus package, his article a reasonable assessment in my opinion:

By my count, the current package has just one major flaw. It could do a lot more to change how the government spends its money. It doesn’t have nearly the amount of the fresh, reformist thinking as Mr. Obama’s campaign speeches and proposals did. Instead, the bill is mostly a stew of spending on existing programs, whatever their warts may be.

I understand that this approach reflects the realities of political negotiations. It even has some economic merits: it may help speed the flow of money out the door. But it still is a missed opportunity in a few instances.

The biggest is infrastructure. Transportation experts had hoped the package would be the start of not only more spending on infrastructure but also smarter spending on highways, mass transit, sewer systems and other public works. So far, the experts are disappointed.

In the current system, the federal government sends money to states without any real effort to evaluate whether it will pay for worthy projects. States rarely do serious analyses of their own. They build new roads before fixing old ones. They don’t consider whether those new roads will lead to faster traffic or simply more traffic. They spend millions of dollars on legislators’ pet projects and hulking new sports stadiums. In the world of infrastructure, cost-benefit analysis is still a science of the future.

Certainly there should be some balance between the need for timeliness (Krugman's point of view) vs. smart spending? I would agree that birth control and sodding the National Mall were in all likelihood not stimulative, worthy and cosmetic though they may have been.

Posted by: laloomis | January 29, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I would expand a bit on RD_Padouk's theme. Being young is scary. I don't know that we have certainty in middle age (I know I don't. All kinds of terrifying and delightful things happen all the time!), but what we do know is our own capacity to cope, to be resiliant, to plot strategies to overcome difficulties. I would say the greatest thing I've found in the middle years is the knowledge of my own powers. That reduces the fear and leaves us open to the possibilities all around us.

At least, this has been my experience.

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle!

For some, I suspect RDP's certainty may take the resilient form of "been there, done that, survived anyway. I can do this."

Posted by: -dbG- | January 29, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Stupid Wayback Machine!
Achenbach - January 8, 2008

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 29, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

How wonderful is that?

1 thought spanning continents, although Yoki certainly said it better than I did.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 29, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Pretty wonderful, dbG! I don't know that I said it better; you certainly covered the same ground more efficiently!

Posted by: Yoki | January 29, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

As always, thanks for the kind words, everybody. Busy...I'll duck back in this evening.

Posted by: -jack- | January 29, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Please don't rub it in boko.

Way to go Don. I should play by birthday too (it's in late August). With the way the winters have come earlier and earlier lately I might stand a chance.

A bit of good news at least, the murderous b@stard who killed the sister of my young co-worker will sit in jail until the trial. That's not much but every small victory counts. His brothers keep making a-holes of themselves, annoying the cops and the judge. I think that's good news too.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on the golden shovel, Don.

RD, I do feel sorry for the young people during this economic downturn. They've never really seen anything like this before, whereas I lived through the misery of the 1982 recession. From that experience I have confidence that, no matter how bad things are, they will eventually get better. Plus it's how I'm able to call it a "downturn" vs. some of the more dire terms used in news reports.

Monday BPH questionable for me. Raysdad will be on business travel, so won't be able the assume nightly dog duties for me.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 29, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that being young is scary; I think sometimes that it is more like "Being young *ought* to be scary, but the young seem to be oblivious." Which is to say, the young often do incredibly dumb things much too fearlessly (read: thoughtlessly). I'm thinking mainly of drinking, driving, and some aspects of drug use, etc., and some other kinds of behavior as well (unprotected sex, etc.). A lot of these things thjey *ought* to be either scared about, or at least be smart enough to take better protective measures.

So in one sense, I think they *ought* to be more scared than they are.

But then again, I also see a lot of kinds of "small cowardice," in my own kids anyway, when they are deathly afraid of stupid things, such as looking for a job when they are too afraid to talk to the manager, to ask, "Are you hiring?" or to make a return phone call after handing in a job application. Little stupid stuff, when I find myself thinking, jeez, get some backbone, wouldja?

I think the Bush administration has utterly let Bin Laden cow them and hence cow the country into a kind of vast cowardice, with all this trembling at the prospect of an attack, blah, blah, blah. At some point, one has to stand up to the extremists and say, OK, you sumsab1tches, take your best shot and see what happens. Instead, we have spent a gazilion dollars trying (futiley) to protect ourselves, mainly from ghosts. We are afraid of those idiots hiding out in caves, and we shouldn't be. They are the ones who ought to be afraid, but they aren't. In terms of psychology, they have completely won the last 8 years, and the superhawks like Bush and Cheney have completely lost, by giving in to fear, and making an industry out of it. Bush and Cheney and their ilk have let fear win.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | January 29, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Internet issues this morning, but as I prepare to go out in shovel I was thinking about the complaints about the cold in DC and the cold here, this is what might be useful - a heated vest that keeps you warm enough so that you do not require gloves - designed for the Canadian Army.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I remember those days, Mudge. I still don't like to call people on the phone and ask for something. I would starve in sales.

That said, there is much to be said for surviving all that can be and is thrown at you, and leaving on your own terms with you head high. Yep, I did that, and it felt very good.

I never cease to be amazed at the stupidity of management, though. Some things never change, and that's one of them. This is the miracle that is President Obama. Not stupid, and doing the right things. A real leader, a wondrous exception to the Peter Principle.

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

New kit!

Posted by: -dbG- | January 29, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: dmd2 | January 29, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

My advice to my stepson (which he ignores):

1. Pull up your darn pants. Nobody wants to see your boxers.

2. Lay off the "Axe".

3. Instead of playing "Warcraft" all day, try browsing Monster.

4. Flipping burgers is better than sitting on your rear end all day making no money.

5. Your girlfriend will eventually tire of supporting your lazy rear end.

6. The military is a very good option, especially now that Bush and Cheney are out of office.

7. Lifting a finger will not kill you.

8. I just might.

9. Finding a job requires *looking* for a job.

10. If no jobs come knocking on your bedroom door, I've got a long list of things you can do around the house that I'm sure you'll mess up but if you at least make a half-hearted attempt at them, I won't have to strangle you.

Posted by: martooni | January 29, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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